07 01&02 2017 Sermon Series: The Exciting Church
Dr. E. Dale Locke & Pastor Trevor Johnston Week 4: …is Well-Fed
- In this series we have been discussing what makes a church, and what makes a church exciting? One of the exciting aspects of the Christian church has been its sustainability over the past 2000 years. What one thing do you think has contributed more than anything else to make the church sustainable over time?
Your spiritual condition is directly connected to what you feed on, and how often you do it.
- What does the above statement mean to you?
- Read Acts 2:42-43 “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles…Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts” Discuss with your group what this scripture passage tells us about the early church in regards to being well fed spiritually. What did they do? Is this different than we do as church today?
- Read Ephesians 4:1-5: “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” Early followers did not have the Bible at their fingertips as we do today in our culture. How did they maintain their spiritual ‘diet’ so that they could grow in their faith and grow the church? Share how you maintain your spiritual diet.
- Read Ephesians 4:7-16: “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he took many captives and gave gifts to his people.” (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
What stands out to you in this scripture?
Christians who don’t eat well or often never become wise
- Read Ephesians 4:14-16: Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”
What are some ways we can easily be ‘tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming’? Have you ever experienced times when this has described you or someone you know? Tell about it.
Christians who don’t eat well or often do not grow
- Now read the same scripture verses from Eugene Peterson’s translation, The Message: No prolonged infancies among us, please. We’ll not tolerate babes in the woods, small children who are an easy mark for impostors. God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love—like Christ in everything. We take our lead from Christ, who is the source of everything we do. He keeps us in step with each other. His very breath and blood flow through us, nourishing us so that we will grow up healthy in God, robust in love. Compare the two translations of this scripture and discuss who you think Paul means when he is referring to ‘infants’ ‘babes’ or ‘small children’. How can we avoid being like infants in our faith?
Christians who don’t eat well or eat often get sick
- Read 2 Timothy 4:3 “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teaches to say what their itching ears want to hear.” What does Paul mean by ‘itching ears’? Why would it be easy for someone who is not self-feeding in God’s Word regularly get persuaded to listen to whatever their ‘itching ears’ want to hear?
- Psalm 1 provides a word picture of the difference between a person who feeds on God’s Word, and one who does not. Read Psalm 1: Blessed is the on who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers. Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. For the Lordwatches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction. What does this Psalm show us about being spiritually mature?
- Read Matthew 4:4 “Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Now read John 6:57 “Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me.”
Go to communityofhope.church/wellfed to read how to develop a journaling plan with S.O.A.P. (Scripture, Observation, Application and Prayer). If you have experience utilizing this plan, please share how it has affected your spiritual growth and health. Discussion Group Homework: As a group, discuss whether you are willing to each practice this journaling plan on your own daily, and discuss it together over the next few weeks. Encourage one another throughout the week to S.O.A.P. journal, by texting each other, praying for each other, and sharing what God is revealing to you as you journal.