Community Group Questions 12/9/12

Tip of the Week:
Make sure you plan a social during the Holidays to give your group the chance to interact outside of the usual group setting
Announcements:
Please share whichever of the following announcements apply to your group
Christmas Eve Service Times

  • We just wanted to give you a heads up that we will be having 2 Christmas Eve Services this year.
  • They will be held on Christmas Eve at 5pm and 6:30pm
  • Grab some cards and give them out
  • Start inviting your friends and neighbors now

Happy Birthday Jesus Parties

  • Next Sunday, 12/16, in ALL the Kids Ministry classrooms
  • It wouldn’t be a birthday party, now would it without  Cake, Cookies, and Juice Boxes
  • Special gift going home with each child
  • Great opportunity to invite your friends with kids, they will have a great time

Razzle Dazzle

  • Mark your calendar for 12/12/12 (this Wednesday) as our Women's Ministry will be hosting an ornament exchange called Razzle Dazzle. The cost of the event is just $5
  • It’s not too late to get registered -- think of your registration as your fast pass the night of the event
  • You can register online of in the back of the auditorium after service today
  • And yes, you can still just show up the night of the event and register then.

Sermon Title: The Gift is a Who, Part 1: A Visible God

Main Text:  Colossians 1:15, Matthew 1:18-23, Col 1:19, John 20:28, Romans 9:5, Titus 2:13, Hebrews 1:8, 2 Peter 1:1, Jude 25

Topics:

  • In Colossians 1:15, we are told that Jesus is the image of the invisible God. He is the visible of the invisible.  What does that mean about Jesus?
  • Does that mean He is a representation of God? Or that He is like God? Or like a hologram of God?
  • Scripture is clear, that Jesus IS God. Check out these verses:
    • Colossians 1:19, For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,
    • John 20:28, Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”
    • Romans 9:5, To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.
    • Titus 2:13, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,
    • Hebrews 1:8, But of the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.
    • 2 Peter 1:1, Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:
    • Jude 25, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
  • When the Angel appeared to Joseph, he told him that Jesus would be called, “Immanuel” which means, “God with us.”
  • So Jesus is God in the flesh. And because He is the visible image of the invisible, looking at Jesus helps us understand who God is.
  • On what do you base your understanding of who God is?
    • Some people see God like an OVERBEARING PARENT. To them God is always finding things that we are not doing good enough. He is a hyper-critical fault-finder.  So for them, their parent or other authority is the visible image of the invisible God.
    • Some people see God in light of THEIR CIRCUMSTANCES. If their circumstances are bleak, God is uncaring and mean. If their circumstances are good, God is happy with them at the moment. If there was some tragedy in their past, perhaps God is even evil to them.
    • Some people see God in light of OTHER CHRISTIANS or a church they went to. God is stuffy, condemning, out-of-touch, demanding, arrogant, and unlikable. For those people Christians are the visible image of the invisible God.
    • Some people simply have their OWN IDEAS of what God should be. God is supposed to work in their favor and play by their rules. If something doesn’t make sense to them, it can’t be true. If they believe everyone should go to heaven, then that is what God must be like. If God must honor all religions, then that is what God must be like. If the trinity doesn’t make sense to them, then it is probably not true. If the Bible says something is wrong but it doesn’t seem wrong to them, then the Bible must be outdated. This may be the most common belief in our society. But if we believe this, what we are actually saying is that WE are the visible image of the invisible God.  And that is an awfully arrogant thing to say. Especially considering that God is supposedly timeless, and we are constantly changing our minds.  It is not even logical.
  • But there is good news! A baby was born, Who was a gift to mankind. Jesus, God in the flesh, gives us a visual image of the invisible God. We can learn about Jesus, hear His words, watch His actions and learn who God is.
  • God is not overbearing. Look at Jesus. He was kind to the broken. He was gentle and patient to those who were entangled in wrong things. He was forgiving and loving towards His enemies.
  • Is God uncaring or even evil, like my circumstances seem to dictate? Look at Jesus. We follow a God who took on the greatest trial, the greatest torture, to absorb our wrath. We look at Jesus and see such incredible love from God. We look at Jesus and realize, because He absorbed all of God’s wrath, because there is nothing left for us but love, then even these difficult circumstances will be redeemed for good.
  • Is God condemning or stuffy or unlikable? Look at Jesus. It was the sinners that flocked to God. And Jesus was condemning of those who were self-righteous. The hyper-religious was repelled by Jesus’ message of acceptance and forgiveness.  Jesus doesn’t condone sin, but instead of standing back and condemning, He paid for it on the cross.
  • Does God fit into what WE think He should be? Look at Jesus. He never fit into anyone’s mold of what they thought the Messiah would do. His plan was far greater. He came to gave His life, so that anyone who accepted Him, would be washed clean and accepted into heaven by God.
  • That is what this gift of Jesus is. Jesus was God in the flesh, here to help us understand who God is.
  • Of all times a year, we cannot miss who Jesus is. What an opportunity to get to know Him.

Key Questions:

  1. What things make it start to feel like Christmas time for you?
  2. Read Colossians 1:15
  3. What does it look like when someone bases their view of God on their parents or another authority?
  4. What does it look like when someone bases their view of God on their circumstances?
  5. What does it look like when someone bases their view of God on other Christians or a church that they’ve interacted with?
  6. What does it look like when someone bases their view of God on their own opinions of what God should be like?
  7. Can you think of any other things that people base their view of God on?
  8. Which of these are you most susceptible to? Why do you think?
  9. Take some time and think about what Jesus reveals to us about God.
    1. Jesus was accepting and loving to sinners and outcasts.
    2. Jesus sacrificed His life.
    3. Jesus was patient and gentle.
    4. Jesus was intolerant of self-righteous, condemning people.
    5. etc.
  10. What is something you can do personally to intentionally connect with Jesus this season?
  11. What is something you can do with your family to intentionally connect with Jesus?

Don't forget to post your attendance after group.