Community Group Questions 3/31/13

Easter Sunday - Resurrection * This video is a repost from last week. If you have not watched it yet, please take a few minutes and watch it. If you have watched it already, here's a great opportunity to watch it again!

[vimeo 62494103 w=500 h=281]

Announcements

(Sorry for the long list, but there is a lot going on. Announce whatever applies to your group.)

  • We opened the Kids Space on Sunday!!! We are so thankful for everyone who participated, painted, gave financially, volunteered time, and prayed for our work in that space.
  • WPSM Camp and Spring Calendar (MM)
    • We have an incredible student ministry that is enjoying their new space
    • If you pull out this insert, you will see information about Summer Mission camps that the student ministry is offering as well as several events that are happening this spring
    • If you are in middle school, the regular meeting time is 6pm on Sunday nights - although they will be taking tonight off and if you are in high school, the regular time is a 7pm on Thursdays.
  • WP1.0 (DG)
    • If you haven’t been to West Pines 1.0 before, this is for you
    • An event we do to help you get to know West Pines and find your next step.
    • After the 1st Service @11AM on 4/14
    • Write 1.0 on the back of your Connection Card to let us know you’re interested in coming.
  • FDC (DG)
    • This Mother's Day (5/12) we will be having our newly redesigned Family Dedication Celebration. Save the date in your calendars now and pick up a Family Dedication Celebration packet in the Kids Ministry starting in April. Our goal with the Family Dedication Celebration is to look at this as the beginning of your journey as you teach your children what it means to love God with all your heart. If you have questions please feel free to contact Melissa Mashburn, Kids Ministry Director
  • Guys Night Out (MM)
    • Our Men’s Ministry is having their next Guys Night out on Monday 4/1/13 at 7pm in The Fuge.
    • Come play some pool, ping pong, dominos and eat some pizza and Flanigan’s wings with us
  • Evidence (MM)
    • Next week we are starting a new series
    • Some people think that to be a Christian you have to stop thinking. They believe they cannot be rational and logical and still believe in God and in what the Bible teaches. But what if there is actually good EVIDENCE that not only supports what the Bible teaches. What if there is EVIDENCE that actually makes the biblical position a MORE logical position?

Sermon Title:Resurrection in the Garden

Main Text: John 20:11-18

Topics:

  • In John 20, we have the account of the resurrection of Jesus. There are some details that are interesting and even significant.
  • When Mary sees that Jesus is not in the tomb, she begins to cry.
  • Jesus is standing behind her and asks, “woman why are you weeping?”
  • She thinks that He is the gardener. Jesus says her name and she turns and realizes that it is Jesus. He tells her to go tell the disciples that He is going to ascend to God soon.
  • Why would she think that Jesus was a gardener? Because Jesus was buried in a tomb in a garden. It says earlier:
    • “Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden an new tomb in which no one had yet been laid.” (John 19:41)
  • That’s an odd detail. What is the big deal with Jesus being buried in a garden? Why in the limited amount of details that we are given, why is that detail included? Why would John include that Mary thought He was a gardener? Why didn’t it just say, Mary didn’t recognize him?
  • What is also interesting, is that Jesus doesn’t correct her. He doesn’t say, “you thought I was the gardener?” He doesn’t say, “you didn’t recognize me?”
  • What is the significance of all of this?
  • Gardens are an interesting theme throughout the Bible. We have to look at the Bible as one giant story to see the significance of the Bible. The Bible is the story of all of humanity and how God saves us. There is a theme that shows this story, tied in with the concept of the Garden.
  • Everything starts in a garden, the Garden of Eden. It says specifically that God planted a garden and placed Adam in the garden to take care of it. So adam was a gardener. Here are some of the things that are used to describe the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:8-10, 15):
    • Every tree that is good and pleasant to sight and for food was there
    • There was a tree of life there
    • A river flowed through it
  • The problem is that things really went bad. Adam disobeyed God, he literally ate what is now known as the proverbial, “forbidden fruit.” And that breaking of God’s commands is what is known as “sin.” Adam’s sin changed everything. It introduced evil and suffering and death into the world. Adam was kicked out of the garden.
  • Also everything ends in a garden. At the very end of the Bible in Revelation, this is how heaven is described (Revelation 22:1-3):
    • a river flows from the throne of God
    • there is a tree of life
    • there will be nothing bad there
  • So everything starts with a garden, and will end with a garden. Everything starts with God’s good and beautiful creation. And it will end with God’s good and beautiful creation. But how does the story end well when it started off bad. We get kicked out of the garden, how do we end up back in it?
  • But right in the middle of the story, we see another garden. Jesus is dead, buried in the garden, and rises up on from death in that garden.
  • Jesus is the key. What Jesus’ death and resurrection did is what saves humanity.
  • God created a beautiful world, symbolized by a beautiful, perfect garden. But our sin messes it up. It leads to destruction, evil, suffering, and death.
  • But God didn’t want to leave us like this. He didn’t want to leave creation in this state. So He sent Jesus to die. And Jesus being the Son of God absorbs all of our sin. He absorbs all of our death, all of our evil on the cross. He goes through it so we don’t have to. He takes our place. But then He rises from the dead.
  • And we see Jesus back in a garden. We see Jesus referred to as a gardener. And when Mary thinks he is a gardener, he doesn’t correct her.
  • It is humanity’s do-over. It is like a giant reset button on humanity. God wants to be with us in a good and perfect creation. He wants to be back in the garden. So God made a way for that to happen.
  • Anyone who accepts what Jesus did, will one day be in heaven with God. If we believe that Jesus died on the cross for us, God will count Jesus death for us. Our debts will be paid by Jesus.
  • This is how the Bible describes what will happen (2 Corinthians 5:17):
    • “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
  • All of this garden language, is simply communicating that when Jesus rose from the dead, God gave each of us the opportunity to restart, to refresh, to redo, to reset. We are right now living for ourselves, with ourselves in control. But we can live with God in control of our lives. We can get back to what was intended and live lives that are the way our creator intended.
  • We can follow the old gardener, Adam. Or the new one, Jesus. We can continue in our own way: with sin, suffering and death. Or we can be reset too.
  • You may feel like you need a reset:
    • You may feel guilt and shame with what is in your past
    • You may feel like you are missing something, and want to have God in your life
    • You may be asking, is this all that life is? And wondering about death.
    • You may feel like your life is broken right now
    • You may feel like you are all alone, and wonder how you got there and how to get out.
  • Because Jesus rose again, God wants to give you a brand new start. That is why Jesus used the phrase, born again.
  • Christian, you may have forgotten that you are a new creation.
    • Are you still letting the past haunt you?
    • Are you forgetting that His mercies are new every morning?
    • Are you forgetting that you have eternity waiting for you?
    • Are you forgetting that what He creates is good, and so what He asks you to do is for your good?
  • Because of the RESURRECTION of Jesus, you are a new creation too.

Key Questions:

Read through these two options and decide which one is best for your group.

Option 1: Ask people in your group to share their story of how they met Jesus. This is a great opportunity to get to know your group better and hear stories of how Jesus changed their life. Say something like,

"Tonight, rather than focusing on application, I'd like to hear more of your story. We're talking about Jesus being something like a reset button in our lives, giving us forgiveness and eternally changing our lives. I'd love to talk about how Jesus changed your life tonight and hear a little of your story. So let's go around and everyone can share their story of how Jesus impacted their life and gave them a reset button. I'll start..."

Option 2: Run through these questions:

  1. Has there ever been a time in life when you wished you had a reset button?
  2. How is a reset different than a redo?
  3. Read John 20:11-18
  4. What do you think it was like for Mary when she showed up at the empty tomb?
  5. What do you think it was like for Mary to leave after seeing Jesus?
  6. Why do you think Jesus rising from the dead in a garden is significant?
  7. Why do you think God wanted to represent his creation as a garden?
  8. How is Jesus a "reset button?"
  9. When we try to redo our life rather than let Jesus reset us, what are we forgetting about Jesus' resurrection?
  10. Why is it significant to you that because of Jesus you are called a “new creation?”
  11. How does being a new creation change the way you live your life?

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