Dr. E. Dale Locke
Sermon Series: Up Your Game
Week 4: Carry On
- This is Palm Sunday weekend – the start of what Christians call “Holy Week”. Share with your group what you remember about how your family celebrated Palm Sunday and Easter during your childhood.
- The Gospel of John records Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem at the start of Holy Week over 2,000 years ago. Read John 12:12-16:
The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. 13 They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna! ” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the king of Israel!” 14 Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written: 15 “Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.” 16 At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that these things had been done to him.
What questions or comments do you have from this passage?
- “Hosanna” means “God save us!” What did the people in the crowd want Jesus to save them from?
- What did Jesus actually come to save them from?
- Read John 15:5-17:
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command.
15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit– fruit that will last– and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.
This passage took place on the night before Jesus was crucified. What did Jesus talk to his followers about on this last night before He died?
For Lent this year, we at COH are focusing on “upping our game” in terms of serving others. Our catch phrase for this season is, “You down?” because Jesus descended from His high position in heaven to come down and humbly serve humanity, in order that we could connect with God.
- Pastor Dale talked about promises. How would you define the word “promise”? What is a promise?
God had made many promises to humanity, from the first chapters of Genesis throughout the whole Bible. But with each promise, humanity rebelled against God and got worse and worse. But God didn’t give up on us. After many centuries of human failure, God fulfilled all His promises by coming to earth Himself, clothed in human flesh as the God-man Jesus Christ. In Christ, God did all that needed to be done to rescue people as He had promised He would.
- Jesus’ words “Remain in me” presuppose that a person has a relationship with Him. Tell your group what you recall feeling the moment you started your relationship with Jesus.
If you don’t yet have a relationship with Jesus, you can start one right now by simply trusting Him enough to give Him control of your life. If you have questions about how to do that, talk to your small group leader or to one of our staff; or check out our next Connections Class series (starting Tuesday, April 25 at 7pm) or our Follow Class (starting Thursday, April 20). We explain more about this important decision in these classes.
How Do We Remain in Christ?
- We remain in Christ by faithfully attending worship services at a local church. Pastor Dale said that this is like the “heartbeat” of our faith.
- What are some reasons why some people don’t attend church regularly?
- Why did Pastor Dale use this “heartbeat” metaphor to talk about regular attendance at worship services? How is that similar to the heartbeat in our body?
- We remain in Christ by having a regular place to “breathe in” – a small group.
- If we don’t breathe in physically, we die; because our bodies need oxygen. How is being part of a small group like breathing in oxygen?
- We remain in Christ by having a place to “breathe out” – a ministry or a mission.
- What happens when a person takes in more and more biblical information in church services and small groups, but doesn’t “breathe out” by serving?
- Jesus also asked his followers to “bear fruit.”
- What did Jesus mean, when he told his followers to “bear fruit”? Why did He choose
“fruit” as a metaphor here? What does it meant to “bear fruit” spiritually?
- Pastor Dale asked each of us to stand in the gap between God and someone else. What are some practical ways we can do that? Who comes to your mind that you could you do that for?
- One way to “stand in the gap” for someone who doesn’t yet know Jesus Christ is to invite them to our upcoming Easter services. List some people who come to your mind regarding this. Pray for God to open opportunities for you to do that this week.