Community Group Questions 12/24/11

Sermon Title: The LuminaryMain Text:  John 1:4, Luke 2:8-16

Topics:

  • Jesus, the light, is the life to mankind. The night Jesus was born, The Life to mankind came into the world.  What an incredible moment, the birth of Jesus.
  • The angels told the shepherds to look for this sign: a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
    • Swaddling clothes were linen strips that would wrap around a baby like a mummy.  In fact, this was the same practice that was done after death in preparation for burial.  These would have been the two moments in one’s life when they would be wrapped like this, right after birth, and right after death.
    • A manger would have been a little different than we depict it today.  It would not have been a wooden box, but a large stone that was hewn out.  Often out of limestone.  Much like they carve out stone graves or sarcophagi.
  • So consider what this baby would have look like? He would have been dressed up like a little mummy in a little sarcophagus.  Think of the irony:
    • One at the beginning of His life, depicted as at the end.
    • One living, dressed like One dead.
    • The birth of the author or life, depicted as a dead person.
  • It all points to the fact that his death will bring us life.
  • Ironically we view God’s ways as a “kill-joy.”  Further ironic, is that what we consider “living-it-up” is what brings destruction.
  • Jesus says, that He has come that we may, “have life and have it abundantly.”  We have to ask ourselves do we believe that or not?  Is that guiding our lives or not?

Key Questions:

  • What are some of the emotions that you associate with Christmas Eve?
  • Read Luke 2:8-16. Put yourself in the place of the shepherds, what would that experience have been like?
  • The sign that God gave to the shepherds (Luke 2:12) is one of death. What elements in the sign to the shepherds points to that?
    • swaddling clothes are similar to grave clothes
    • stone manger is similar to a grave
  • Read John 1:4. In light of who Jesus is, what is ironic about that sign?
    • One at the beginning of His life, depicted as at the end.
    • One living, dressed like One dead.
    • The birth of the author or life, depicted as a dead person.
  • what is the significance of this sign?
    • Jesus would bring us life through His death.
    • His death is in our place. He is paying the penalty that we deserve to pay because of our sin.
  • Read John 10:10. In what ways does “the Thief” (the evil one), steal kill and destroy? (push the group to think in concrete examples)
  • In what ways does Jesus bring life abundantly? (push the group to think in concrete examples, ultimately heaven, what else?)
    • *NOTE* - this verse if often used to promote a false doctrine often referred to as “the Health and Wealth Gospel.”  That false doctrine says that God wants all Christians to be financially wealthy. It says if we are not growing in financial wealth or if we have a physical ailment, we are either in sin or do not have enough faith to get out of it.  This contradicts scriptures where Jesus points us to treasures in heaven, and tells us to have joy in the trials that He often allows. God does like to bless us, but we have to learn to be content no matter the circumstances He brings us out of His love (Philippians 4:11-13).
  • What are examples of how our culture often believes the exact opposite - that God is a “kill-joy,” and our ways are actually “living=it=up”?
  • Does anyone have a personal story from your life that reflects how Jesus has livened up your life?
  • When we are tempted to believe the lie that doing things our way rather than God’s will make us happy, what can we do to remind ourselves of the truth?
  • How can we encourage and remind each other?
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