Sermon by Rev. Trevor Johnston
Series: Welcome Home, Week 3 – “When Near Isn’t Close Enough”

  1. Pastor Trevor pointed out that Christmas is an unusually “spiritual” time in our culture. What are some things that you have noticed lately in our culture that show that there is a heightened awareness of the spiritual world around Christmas?

God has come to be with us.

  1. Read John 1:14:  The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us…

  2. In Genesis 1, we see that God originally intended to dwell with humans in a perfect relationship, but then sin broke our relationship with God. Pastor Trevor pointed out that all other religions are about people trying to behave in ways to get back to paradise with God; but Christianity is about God leaving paradise to pursue His rebellious people and seek to get us back into a relationship with Him.  From what you know about other religions, describe their plan for people to get into paradise, and then compare that with Christianity.

4.  What are the benefits of having a God who comes to us, rather than us having to get to Him?

God wants to live not just among us but in us.

  1. Read Ephesians 3:16–17a: I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.
  1. Pastor Trevor pointed out that God doesn’t just want to hang around “near you”, but rather, he wants to actually live “in you”.  What’s the difference?  Describe how it changes things to have God “in you”.

The heart is like a house and God wants to move in.

  1. Read John 14:23: Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.”

8.  Jesus uses the metaphor of a house to talk about the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Think of a college roommate or another person you’ve shared a home with.  How does living in the same house with someone impact your relationship with them?   What kind of relationship is implied by Jesus when he says God wants to do that?

Jesus only comes in when invited, but he asks to be invited in.

  1. Read Revelation 3:20:  “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”
  1. Holman Hunt painted a picture that was intended to represent this verse. In the painting, there is no handle on the door.  Why is there no handle?  What spiritual truth was the artist seeking to represent with that intentional omission?

11.  Pastor Trevor pointed out that the “knocking” spoken of in this verse represents how Jesus tries to get our attention. What are some ways that Jesus got your attention in order to help you open the door of your heart to Him?

Spirits of some kind will dwell in your house, but you get to choose

12.  Read Matthew 12:43-45:  When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order.  45 Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.

13.  How do we actually come to have God’s Spirit live in us?

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