Community Group Questions 5/13/12

Tip of the Week:
[vimeo http://vimeo.com/40180350]
Announcements:
Please share whichever of the following announcements apply to your group
  • West Pines 1.0
    • Ever wonder what is your next step to get involved here at West Pines?
    • Find out how at West Pines 1.0
    • This Saturday at 10am in the Multipurpose Room
    • Write 1.0 on the back of connection card
  • Super Summer Fun Family Movie Nights
    • Do you want to help us introduce families to West Pines this summer?
    • We are going to make that easy for you
    • We will be having SSFFMN several times this summer on Friday Nights
    • More Detail to be filled in after planning meeting
    • More Detail to be filled in after planning meeting
    • More Detail to be filled in after planning meeting

Sermon Title: Born Again

Main Text:  John 3:1-8, John 3:16-17, Ezekiel 36:35-37

Topics:

  • A ruler of the Pharisees comes to meet Jesus. He is a guy that has power, influence, recognition. He would be accomplished and highly educated. He would have lived the utmost of all rigorous lives.
  • Nicodemus admits that one would have to be from God to do what Jesus is doing. That would be a huge statement because Jesus doesn’t have any of the background that he does.
  • So Jesus tells him what it is all about. He tells him, what God is looking for is that you are born again. In fact, everyone has to be born again, if they want to be saved.
  • Nicodemus doesn’t understand.  Jesus tells him that he is not talking about another fleshly birth, but a spiritual one.
  • It is a birth that has to do with “water and spirit.”  In other words, you are cleansed and the Spirit of God is at work in you. Similar to what the prophet says in Ezekiel 36:25-27.
  • He tells Nicodemus to not be wondering about this.  He can tell that it sounds bizarre yet alluring to him. So Jesus uses the metaphor of wind. He tells him that it’s just like how you can feel and hear the wind but you don’t see it or even know where it comes from.
  • Jesus says that is what it is like when we are born again. All of a sudden we feel the effects of the spirit: our desires change, we feel a weight off our shoulders, we feel a peace and a joy, we enjoy interacting with and worshiping God.
  • Nicodemus comes at night time. Many scholars thinks that John highlighted this detail because he was showing how symbolic that is. Despite all that Nicodemus knows and has accomplished, he’s still in the dark. What needs to happen is not something that we can do on our own. It is something God has to do in us.
  • The fact that Nicodemus of all people needed to be born again, reveals what being born again IS NOT:
    • aligning ourselves to the Christian faith over another faith
    • attending or joining a particular religious organization or church
    • being moral
    • trying hard or being fervent
    • a family tradition or heritage
  • We can have all of those things and not be born again.
  • Being born again is believing in God’s son, whom He sent out of His love for us, as it says in John 3:16-17.
  • For some we feel like that initial spark is gone. Did we spiritually feed and nurture our faith like a newborn?

Key Questions:

  1. Nicodemus would have been a very strict, religious person. Who is the strictest religious individual you’ve encountered?
  2. Knowing that Nicodemus, is fervently religious and very powerful, why do you think Jesus used the the metaphor “born again”?
  3. How would that have made you feel if you were Nicodemus?
  4. In light of the fact that even Nicodemus was a person that needed to be born again, how does that address some misconceptions of what being Born Again is?
  5. Read John 3:16-17. If someone were to ask you, how to become Born Again, what would you tell them?
  6. What was your experience like when you became Born Again - the circumstance, your thoughts, your feelings?
  7. He says in the same way we can observe the effects of the wind, though we can’t see it, someone who is born again can feel the effects of the Spirit of God at work in them. What are some of those effects?
  8. What are some of the needs of a newborn baby? What would be the equivalent to a newborn Christian?
  9. Is there a way that you feel challenged to nourish your spiritual life?
  10. Is there someone you feel the urgency to share Jesus’ message with?

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