Community Group Questions 4/7/13

Evidence Series Artwork [vimeo 63463985 w=500 h=281]

Announcements:

  • West Pines 1.0
    • 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 NEXT WEEKEND!
  • Family Dedication Celebration
    • 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 today.
    • 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
  • Giving 2.0 Update
    • One of the ways you can give financially to West Pines is through our Website’s secure online giving portal.
    • We’re happy to announce that we’re updating our online giving service and the new portal is much more secure and easy to use. Also works well on your phone or tablet, making it even more convenient for you to use.
    • The new portal will go live Monday morning.
    • If you’ve already setup recurring online giving, you don’t need to do anything.Your schedule will continue. You won’t lose any of that giving history.
    • The first time you log in to the new portal, from our website, it will ask you to create a new user ID. Log in with your password and all of your previous information and giving history will be right there.

Sermon Title: Evidence, Part 1: Resurrection, Fact or Fiction

Main Text: Mark 16:1-8

Topics:

  • Possibly the most unbelievable claim that the Bible makes is that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead. The claim is literally that Jesus came back to life on the third day. He talked to people, they touched him, he ate with them. It is an incredible claim.
  • Can a logical person believe that a man actually rose from the dead?
  • That is an important question. The resurrection of Jesus is not a secondary claim. It is central to Christianity. In fact the Bible says that, the Christian faith is nothing without it! 1 Corinthians 15:17, 19 says,
    • “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins... If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.”
  • But with such a far fetched claim, how can we believe that and still be rational thinking people. We should examine the evidence.
  • One of the resurrection accounts is in Mark 16:1-8. Here are some of the things we see in that passage:
    • Several women went to the tomb on Sunday morning to see if He was there.
    • They see an angel that tells them to look around and see that Jesus was not in the tomb.
    • The women are told to go tell the disciples that he is alive. They ran away afraid.
  • The story continues in verses 9-14:
    • We are reminded that Mary Magdalene had been possessed by seven demons. This is the women that Jesus first appeared to. She is the person that told the disciples.
    • The disciples did not believe her.
    • The two other disciples told them that Jesus had been raised from the dead, and they wouldn’t believe them, either.
    • Then Jesus appeared and He rebuked them for their hardness of heart.
  • Let’s look at the evidence of this account. Does this look like a legitimate account or was it made up?
  • First off, there are some very inconvenient details that are included:
    • If you were writing a story, you would pick the most credible sources. In their culture, women were unfortunately not viewed as credible sources. They were not even allowed to testify in court or study the law. That is a pretty inconvenient detail to make up.
    • Also, if they were making it up, why would they make themselves look so bad. All the characters in the story were either afraid or unbelieving. Why would the disciples invent that Jesus rebuked them and told them they were hard hearted.
  • Secondly, embedded in the story is an invitation to examine the tomb.
    • The angel says look around the tomb and see that the tomb is empty. If you are the original recipients of Mark’s account, the easiest way to prove that Jesus did not raise from the dead is to examine the tomb. Even more so because one of the characters mention that the tomb is empty.
    • It wasn’t a mystery which tomb it was. In fact, in John’s account he gives details: “in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid.” (John 19:41) It was not a secret where Jesus was crucified, this was a very public event during a festival with hundreds of thousands of visitors present.
    • The Gospel writers are giving an open invitation to go inspect the tomb. They wouldn’t do that, unless the tomb was for sure empty.
  • The next logical answer is then what if someone stole it? But who would? The enemies wouldn’t have stolen it. They don’t want the Jesus cult to continue. And even if they did they would later have produced it to prove that He didn’t rise from the dead.
  • The disciples could have. But let’s think like a detective. What is their motive? Because of this information they became impoverished and all were tortured and almost all killed for their beliefs. What did they gain from this hoax?
  • There is good evidence that the resurrection is true.
  • If the resurrection is true, what does that mean for us?
    • Jesus is who He said He is.
    • There is life after death.

Key Questions:

  1. Why is it OK to ask questions about the evidence for Jesus' resurrection?
  2. How is that not a lack of faith?
  3. Read Mark 16:1-8
  4. Why do you think it's significant that Jesus showed up first to women?
  5. What is the hardest thing to believe about the resurrection of Christ?
  6. What evidence of the resurrection do you think is the most plausible?
  7. If Jesus did rise from the dead, what does that mean about everything else he said and did?
  8. If Jesus did rise from the dead what are the implication on your life?
  9. How would you dialog with a skeptic if they asked you about the resurrection?
  10. How does the evidence for the resurrection affect your faith?

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