Weekly Sermon Discussion Questions

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June 28, 2020

This Week’s Readings:
Psalm 24, Proverbs 3:1-8,  Matthew 22:34-40, 2 Peter 1:3-8

The 3P Spiritual Priorities

  1. Dr. Elliott talked in his sermon about how an impure heart makes a person less usable by God. Can you think of an example of an impure or contaminated trait of the heart which makes an individual less usable by God, and less attractive to others?
  2. He also mentioned the Bible indicates both God and we have roles to play in purifying the heart and life (2 Cor. 7:1). What are the types of things in our lives we are individually capable of cleaning up?
  3. The National Superintendent indicates he sees evidence that the church of Christ has a ton of potential but is functioning anemic and weak not fully able to carry out the mission of God. Where do you see the church being anemic (i.e., in things like discipleship, evangelism, congregational care, being salt and light in a dark world, overcoming addictions and bondages, standing up to evil, etc.)?
  4. The sermon mentioned the dramatic difference the infilling of the spirit made in the ministries of D.L. Moody and Charles Finney. Can you name a person (present or historic) who gives evidence of having the power of God flowing through their life and ministry?
  5. Why do you think Christians living in Canada tend to be passive and unemotional when it comes to the issue of faith?
  6. If God’s love and power are quantitative (varying amounts, some believers having more, some having lesser amounts), using the analogy of a litre of water, how full would you say your jar/life is of God’s expressive love and power?

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June 14, 2020

This Week’s Readings:
Psalm 100, Exodus 19:2-8a, Romans 5:1-8, Matthew 9:35-10:8

Learning from Jesus as We Consider Stage 2 Reopening

  1. In what personal situation are you tempted to live frantically when you will do well to slow it down and pay attention to the way of Jesus?
  2. Read Matthew 9:35 – 10:8.
  • What were Jesus’ primary activities in the cities and villages (v. 35)?
  • What is the good news of the kingdom? What is life like when God rules and reigns over all?
  1. Read verse 36.
  • What does it mean for people to be harassed and helpless?
  • Jesus had compassion for harassed and helpless people. What does compassion mean?
  • Give examples of times when you’ve seen Christian people mix things up and serve from a place of being harassed and helpless themselves.
  • How does serving from a state of being harassed and helpless interrupt true expressions of compassion?
  1. What are the activities of God’s rule and reign (9:35 – 10:8)?
  2. What is a disciple of Jesus’ first step in view of harassed and helpless crowds? (vv. 37 and 38)
  3. How does your prayer life naturally become the platform from which you become the answer to your own prayers?
  4. In view of Sunday’s sermon and our small group discussion, what are Sunnyside’s priorities as we consider how to truly be the church these Stage 2 days?

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June 7, 2020

This Week’s Readings:
Psalm 8, Genesis 1:1-2:4a, 2 Corinthians 13:5-13, Matthew 28:16-20

Living our Baptism in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit

1. Tell a story about a time in a human relationship when you had an ‘aha’ and understood the other person in a whole different light. How did that change the way you acted in the relationship?

2. Read Matthew 28:16-20.
In the course of a lifetime, our view of God changes as we consider scripture, acquaint ourselves with the multifaceted tradition of the universal church, ask questions and seek new understanding, and experience life. It is normal to develop new perspectives about God.

  • What new perspective did the disciples develop about Jesus in relation to God?
  • Why “when they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted”? (Verse 17)
  • If doubt is defined as “to waver or lack confidence,” what good reason did the disciples have to doubt (waver, lack confidence)?
  • How did Jesus reassure them?

3. Describe a time in your faith journey when you had a perspective shift about God, and you wavered or lacked confidence as you tried to move forward in the changed relationship.

  • What were you afraid of as you saw and related to God differently?
  • How might Jesus reassure you?
  • How can you know when you are on track in your view of God? Or, when you are off-track?

4. What does it mean to be baptized “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”?

  • If God is these three who are one, what does that tell you about God?
  • How does this “name” – Father, Son, Holy Spirit – affect and correct your view of God?

5. God as Persons-in-Relation – as Communion – is hinted at right from the beginning (see Genesis 1:26). You were made in the image of God. Jesus lived, died, and was raised from the dead to destroy all that mars God’s image in you and restore you to bear God’s image wholly.

  • If God is three who are one, and if we are made in God’s image, what conclusions may we draw about ourselves as the church? How do we relate to each other, and to society at-large, in the name of this God?

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May 31, 2020

This Week’s Readings:
Psalm 117  John 7:37-39  I Corinthians 12:3-13  Acts 2:1-21

Read Acts 2:1-21

  1. What do you notice about the Holy Spirit?
  2. What is God’s mission?
  3. Participating in God’s mission takes all kinds of forms.  What’s it look like in your life?

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May 24, 2020

This Week’s Readings:
Psalm 68:1-10,32-35  Acts 1:6-14  John 17:1-11  1 Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11

Read 1 Peter 4:12-14 and 5:6-11.

  1. The believers are told not to be surprised by the fiery ordeal taking place among them. What reasons does Peter give for why it shouldn’t surprise them?
  2. Make a list of the truths about who God is or what God will do that are contained in these verses. How might holding on to these truths help the believers to whom Peter is writing as they face this fiery ordeal?
  3. How does the instruction to “humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God” relate to the instruction to “cast all your anxieties on him”?
  4. How might knowing that others are enduring the same suffering help them to resist the devil?
  • Take a few moments to pray for your Christian brothers and sisters around the world in places like North Korea or Afghanistan. (For more information about what’s happening in the persecuted church around the world, click here.)
  • How does remembering their experience encourage you to remain faithful?
  1. Looking back over the past week, what is one way that you have experienced God’s powerful care for you?

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May 17, 2020

This Week’s Readings:
Psalm 66:8-20  Acts 17:22-31  John 14:15-21  1 Pet 3:13-22

Read the whole of 1 Peter (it’s only about four pages long) and make notes where you see the following:

  • The ways God protects and cares for us.
  • The places we’re called to do good works.

Re-read 1 Peter 3:13-23

  1. Read 1 Peter 3:14-15.
    a. How does “sanctifying Jesus as Lord,” or setting
    Jesus apart as Lord, address fear?
    b. Given your earlier notes you made about 1 Peter, how might we sanctify Jesus as Lord?
  2. Read 1 Peter 3:18-22. Peter compares Baptism to Noah and the flood.
    a. What did Noah’s ark do for those on board?
    (See Genesis 6-9 for the whole story)
    b. Why were the passengers on board?
    c. What did they have to do to get on board?
    d. In what ways is baptism similar to the ark?
    e. Why would Peter be drawing our attention to Noah’s ark and baptism in this passage?
  3. Look at your notes about doing good works. Talk about the context for each case.
    a. Why does Peter keep bringing up good works?
    b. What does the book of 1 Peter say is the purpose of doing good works?
    c. For whom should we be doing these good works?
    d. Think about your own life. Do you do good works? If so, why do you do them?
    e. Does it matter why you do good works? Why or why not?

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May 10, 2020

This Week’s Readings:
Psalm 31:1-5,15-16; Acts 7:55-60; John 14:1-14; 1 Peter 2:1-10

What Does it Mean to Grow into Salvation?

  1. Read all four of this week’s readings, keeping in mind the question: “What is salvation?” Notice references to and aspects of salvation in each text.
  2. It is clear that salvation is secured through Christ (vv. 1:18, 19a): “You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ…” Peter later describes his readers’ state in Christ: “you have been born anew.”
    Consider the following definition of salvation, which aligns with Peter’s idea of being born anew. Salvation is “the redemption of the whole [person], lifting [their] entire being into the orbit of grace” (Mildred Bangs Wynkoop, A Theology of Love: The Dynamic of Wesleyanism, 1972).
  • How do we sometimes reduce salvation to less than the definition above?
  1. Read 1 Peter 2:1. How are the behaviours listed in this verse opposed to salvation?
  2. Keep in mind Peter’s earlier reference to being “born anew.” (v. 1:23) Growth is impossible without nourishment. Read v. 2.
  • What does he mean and what does he not mean by “newborn infants”?
  • What does it mean for his readers to “like newborn infants, long for the pure, spiritual milk”?
  1. Several commentators equate “spiritual milk” to the “living and enduring word of God” in v. 1:23. How does this pure, spiritual milk promote your growth into salvation?
  2. Share a scripture verse that has helped you grow into salvation.

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May 3, 2020

This Week’s Readings:
Psalm 23, Acts 2:42-47, John 10:1-10, 1 Peter 2:11-25

Entrusting Ourselves to the Shepherd and Guardian of Our Souls

  1. What are some of the painful, and even evil, situations people find themselves trapped in at this time in our society?
  2. Read 1 Peter 2:11-25. What sufferings did Peter’s readers experience?
  3. In no way does Peter glorify oppressive leadership or abuse. He simply names life as it is for the people to whom he writes. Then, he instructs them “as servants of God, live as free people, yet do not use your freedom as a pretext for evil.” (v. 16)
  • What is Christian freedom? (See v. 24.) What is it not?
  1. During Covid-19, some evils are on the rise, including domestic abuse. We must not use Peter’s words to justify passivity in suffering.
  • How might Christian freedom (v. 24) be exercised within a modern-day abusive situation?
  1. There is nothing good about suffering itself. Some suffering has no apparent meaning; there is such a total lack of freedom that a person loses the ability to find any meaning at all in the situation. In some instances, meaning may be found in suffering.
  • What is the meaning or purpose in the sufferings of Christ? (v. 24)
  • What does it mean to “follow in Christ’s steps,” to participate in the sufferings of Christ? (vv. 21-23) What does it not mean?
  1. How might your exercise of Christian freedom and choice to suffer in the way of Christ impact those who witness your life? (v. 12)
  2. Read v. 25. In view of Christ’s suffering for you and for your healing (salvation), “[return] to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.” Take some time to pray together in a spirit of return to and alignment with your good Lord.

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April 26, 2020

This Week’s Readings:
Psalm 116:1-7, Luke 24:13-35, 1 Peter 1:13-25

1 Peter 1:13-25

  1. Do you feel you are “sober-minded” when it comes to your hope in Christ? How could you grow in that regard?
  2. Does “Be Holy for I am Holy” feel more like something you have to do or get to do?
  3. How might God want to purify you during our current, challenging times?
  4. How can your small group help you specifically in being sober-minded and growing in holiness?

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April 19, 2020

This Week’s Readings:
Psalm 16; Acts 2:14a, 22-32; John 20:19-31; 1 Peter 1:3-9

1 Peter 1:3-9, A Living Hope
First Peter is a letter written to believers going through various trials and sufferings. Praising God, even when things are not going the way we hope, is important. Peter outlines for us the reasons why we can legitimately praise God in the midst of such times.

1) What does it mean to praise/thank God for the moments of trial you find yourself in?

2) What does it mean in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 to “give thanks in all circumstances”? Note that the word is “in” and not “for”. How does that fit with the 1 Peter passage?

3) What is the Living Hope that you have that gives you security in trials?

4) Would it be a good spiritual discipline for all of us to take a moment three times per day to simply thank God for being God? What difference do you think that would make in your spiritual relationship with Jesus?