Dr. E. Dale Locke & Rev. Trevor Johnston
Sermon Series: The Exciting Church…
Week 3: …Is Focused
- We’re talking in this series about church. The first century church was fueled by the event of Jesus’ resurrection. The passion of the first believers was such that the church attracted others and grew quickly. It also elicited resistance from leaders in authority. When you think of the word church, what comes to mind? Compare today’s view of church to what the 1st century church may have been like.
- Read the following scriptures:
Acts 2:44 “All the believers were together and had everything in common.”
Philippians 2:1-3 “Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,”
Discuss how these scriptures portray FOCUS, particularly as it relates to church.
- Read Matthew 28:16-20 “Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go.17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
This scripture is called “The Great Commission.” Why do you think it’s called that?
- We heard in the sermon “It takes a disciple to make a disciple.” Do you think this is true? Why or why not?
A Disciple is a Devoted Follower – How to Become a Disciple
- Luke 8:5-15 is a parable that can be used to illustrate the qualities of a disciple that will yield a crop.
Read Luke 8: 5-15: 5 “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds ate it up. 6 Some fell on rocky ground, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.” When he said this, he called out, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” 9 His disciples asked him what this parable meant. 10 He said, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that, ‘though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand.’ 11 “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13 Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. 14 The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. 15 But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.
- Read verse 5 and then verse 12. A path can be defined as ‘a hard and narrow place where nothing grows’. Discuss some ways we can prevent being like the path, hard and narrow, where nothing grows.
- Read verses 6 and 13 together. Rocky soil refers to a superficial or shallow faith. What are the dangers of having shallow faith, and what is the remedy?
- Read verse 7 and then verse 14. Share some distractions that can preoccupy you. Are you willing to ask the Holy Spirit to help you with those distractions? Discuss ways specific distractions can be addressed.
- Now read verses 8 and 15 together. Think of someone you know who exemplifies Good Soil, and share what they do that ‘yields a crop’.
- Do you think of yourself as ‘Good Soil’? Why or why not?
- Read aloud the Mission Statement of Community of Hope: “Community of Hope exists to interest disinterested people in Jesus Christ and to grow together into fully devoted followers of Him.” How does this Mission Statement compare with The Great Commission?
- Share with your group ways to be more focused disciples, so that you can live into the Great Commission.