Family Tree (part 3) Sermon Questions

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On Sunday, June 12, 2016, I preached a message at Wildwood Community Church based out of Romans 9:30-10:4.  This message was part 3 in the “Family Tree” sermon series.  Below are a set of questions for personal reflection or group discussion related to this message.

 

Sermon Questions:

  1. Read Romans 9:30-10:4
  2. According to this passage, why have the majority of Jews in this era (from the first century until now) rejected Jesus Christ as Savior?
  3. People for all of time have gravitated toward a spiritual salvation that was based on their own zeal, knowledge, and obedience.  Christianity (however) offers something different (and better).  Instead of being a religion of “try,” we are invited into the economy of “trust” where belief in Christ (not our performance) is the key to our salvation.  What are ways you feel pressured to have your spiritual life be all about YOUR performance, not Christ’s work?
  4. Who do you know that does not know Christ as Savior?  Are you praying for them regularly?  Why or why not?
  5. The Jews worshipped the Law and rejected the One to whom the Law pointed (Jesus).  In what ways have you seen Churches (or groups of Christians) do the same thing — focusing on their PRACTICE of religion instead of on the PERSON of Jesus Christ?
  6. Are you trusting in your effort or Christ’s work for your salvation?
  7. What stood out to you most from this message/passage?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

Family Tree part 3 Preview

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Let’s say all of us are going on a trip together to Orlando, Florida.  In order to get to the Magic Kingdom, we are going to fly together on an airplane.  So, on the day of our trip, you drive to the parking lot, hurry through the tunnel to the terminal, check your bags, present your boarding pass, walk through security, and grab a snack in the coffee shop.  After all these activities, you are finally ready to head to the happiest place on earth.

As the clock clicks down toward takeoff you look out the window to see a large winged vehicle with two jet engines attached and a pilot inside.  A call is made to board this airplane and many of your friends begin lining up to walk inside.  You, however, look out the window and notice that the vehicle is sitting just east of the terminal, blocking the path you would take to walk to Orlando. 

You stand up in the terminal and voice your concern.  Some of your fellow travelers are sympathetic to your objection and join you in your protest.  “That thing is blocking the way to the kingdom!  Move it or else!”

Others (who are now boarding this plane) respond and let you know that the plane is actually THE WAY to get to your final destination, so get on board and enjoy the flight.

You retort, however, that this vehicle is actually impeding progress, not creating a solution.  After all, who does this pilot think he is that he knows the way to Orlando better than you?

After a few minutes of conversation back and forth, the pilot leaves the plane and comes out to see what the ruckus is about.  He lets you know that he is actually the OWNER of Disney World, has flown there hundreds of times before (as he is a skilled pilot), and knows that the only way to get to the theme park in time is to board the plane and trust him to get you there safely. 

What will you do?  Will you trust the pilot and get on the plane, or see the plane as a stumbling block, preventing you from getting to your desired locale?

I am sorry to say, we are not all headed to Disney World together this summer, but this hypothetical story does hold value in helping us understand Romans 9:30-10:4. 

God has offered to save us and bring us into His Eternal Kingdom.  He has prepared the way for us by giving us many things.  He has parked us in a world that declares His awesome power and creative expertise.  He has tunneled into our world through His Son Jesus Christ to show us who He is and to teach us what it means to follow Him.  He has handed us His Word, and offered to check the baggage of our sin so that we might be forgiven and free.  In fact, He has offered us security in our salvation and offers to provide for our deepest needs as we await takeoff!  As we sit and wait for departure, however, we are presented with a dilemma.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ sits directly between us and Heaven, therefore we have two choices – we can either see the Gospel as THE WAY of our salvation, or as a stumbling block in the way of a more human pursuit.   With Jesus as the Pilot, will we have the faith to board the Gospel and allow Him to deliver us in time?

This story sets the stage for our sermon this Sunday at Wildwood Community Church.  This week’s message will focus on the Good News of Jesus Christ and invite us to board His Gospel by faith, seeing Him as THE WAY (not an obstacle) between us and eternity.  See you Sunday at 9:30 or 11:00 . . . and bring a friend!  We all need this message of hope and life.

Family Tree (part 2) Sermon Audio/Video

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On Sunday, June 5, 2016 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Romans 9:14-29.  This message was part 2 in the “Family Tree” sermon series.  The sermon audio and video are posted below for you to watch/listen to or share.

 

To download the audio to listen to offline, click on this link:

Family Tree part 2

 

To listen to the audio online, use the media player below:

 

To watch the sermon video, use the Vimeo video below:

 

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Family Tree (part 2) Questions

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On Sunday, June 5, 2016 at Wildwood Community Church I preached a sermon based on Romans 9:14-29.  This message was part 2 of the “Family Tree” series.  Below are a set of questions related to the sermon for group discussion or personal reflection.

 

Sermon Discussion Questions:

  1. Read Romans 9:14-29
  2. What are the biggest questions you have about the topic of “election” and “predestination”?  Are any of your questions addressed in this week’s verses?
  3. What is Paul’s basic response to the questioning of God’s justice in His judgment of humanity? (9:14-18)
  4. What is Paul’s basic response to the questioning of God’s fairness in His judgment of humanity? (9:19-29)
  5. How does the topic of election ENCOURAGE evangelism?
  6. What do you learn about the justice and fairness of God by looking at the cross?
  7. What stood out to you most from this message/passage?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

Family Tree (part 2) Preview

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Our dominion is small.  All of us.  Seriously, anyone reading this post has severe limits to their sovereignty.  Think about it.  Who is the most powerful person on earth?  The President of the United States or some other country?  Their authority knows limits.  While they may have the ability to rule one piece of earth, they have no jurisdiction inside another’s country.  Even the most powerful person on earth has limits to their ability to govern on this planet . . . much less the far reaches of the galaxy!

If those truths apply to the most influential people, how much more do they apply to me!  I can pick the paint color of my living room, but if I tried to paint my neighbors closet, they would look at me funny (and rightly so) . . . I have no right there!  If this connects with our ability to paint a room, certainly it has greater meaning on more influential matters.

Our dominions are small — even smaller than we think — and we often even give up some authority in our dominion to allow an expert to guide us through difficult circumstances.  I give up some of my freedom to my doctor who instructs me on what I need to do to be healthy. 

Given our relative “smallness,” isn’t it interesting how opinionated we are?  We often criticize the leadership of others in politics, sports, business, and church — believing we can (or would) do better.  We cannot even select a paint color for our neighbor’s house, yet somehow we think we could run the free world!

Even more relevant, however, is how people often want to criticize God for the job He is doing in running the universe.  Sometimes we want to call Him unfair, unjust, or unwise because He has not done things the way we think are best.  The irony is thick when we think of how we trust fallible doctors with our bodies, but we don’t trust a perfect God with our souls.

Yes, we are small  . . . and God is large.  And we need to remember that when we ponder the most complex issues in the universe.  God has revealed great insight on these matters to us in His Word . . . but when we read it, we still have questions.  “How can that be!” we sometimes ask.  Though God is not required to give us an answer, He lovingly relates to us and walks with us through our struggles.

Last Sunday at Wildwood Community Church, we began a series called “Family Tree” which is walking us through Romans 9-11.  Last week we began a discussion about election and predestination and how they show us that our salvation is secure because it is God’s work, not ours.  This topic, however, raises questions about the fairness of God.  We will gather around God’s Word on Sunday to see how God answers our questions concerning the topic of predestination.  Hope to see you there at 9:30 or 11:00 as we look at Romans 9:14-29 together in part 2 of our series.

Family Tree (Part 1) Sermon Audio/Video

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On Sunday, May 29, at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Romans 9:1-13.  This message was part 1 in the “Family Tree” series.  The sermon audio and video are posted below for you to listen to/watch or share.

 

To download the audio to listen to offline, click on this link:

Family Tree #1

 

To listen to the sermon online, use the media player below:

 

To watch the sermon video, use the Vimeo video below:

Family Tree Part 1 Sermon Questions

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On Sunday, May 29, 2016 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Roman 9:1-13.  It was part one in the “Family Tree” series.  Below are a set of questions for personal reflection or group discussion related to the message.

Sermon Discussion Questions:

  1. Read Romans 9:1-13
  2. How secure do you think your salvation is (0%-100% certain)?  Why do you think it is so secure or insecure?
  3. Does your heart break for those you know who do not know Jesus Christ as their Savior?  Why or why not?  What are some things you can do to reach out to those around you with the Good News of Christ?
  4. Salvation is secure because it is God’s Work, not ours.  The biblical doctrine of “election” is ultimately about God’s sovereignty over the salvation of His people.  What are the big questions you have regarding “election” and Romans 9:6-13?  Are you questions originate more from your head or your heart?
  5. What are some applications that you have drawn from your life from this idea of God’s sovereign choice in election?
  6. What stood out to you most from this message/passage?

 

To download a copy of these questions in pdf format, click here.

“Family Tree” Part 1 – Preview

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Imagine for a moment that you are a child up for adoption, living in a local orphanage.  One day a family comes into the orphanage and suggests that they want to adopt you.  How exciting it would be to finally hear someone say that they WANT you to be a part of their family. 

Before the adoption goes final, however, you have a chance to spend some time with your potential new mom and dad.  They share a number of very encouraging things with you.  They tell you that they will never leave you, that you are a part of their forever family, and that nothing you could do would ever stop them from loving you.  You are very encouraged by this interaction. 

After talking for a bit, you ask your possible parents about any other children they may have (after all, these would be your new brothers and sisters!)  They tell you that they used to have a biological child, but they grew tired of the child’s behavior and kicked the child out of the home at the age of 4.  It appears that they are adopting you as a replacement for their firstborn!

As encouraged as you were by learning of their choice of you and the nice words that they said, you suddenly feel terribly uneasy about your new family.  If they kicked out their other child, how long until you are shown the door?  By watching how the parents treated one branch of their family tree, lets you know how they would treat you.

I walk us through this illustration today as we are on the verge of beginning a new sermon series at Wildwood Community Church called “Family Tree”  (kicking off this Sunday, May 29 at 9:30 and 11:00 AM).  This series walks us through Romans 9-11 . . . a fascinating section of God’s Word strategically located in the middle of Paul’s great letter to the Roman Christians.  In this section, the Apostle Paul is talking about God’s family tree. 

In Romans 8, we see that God has chosen to adopt many Gentiles (non-Jewish people) as His children (8:12-17).  God tells us that He has chosen us (8:29) and that nothing can separate us from His love (8:31-39.)  All this news is quite encouraging, but there is a potential problem.  Israel is God’s “first child.”  God made promises to His first born (Israel), just as He has made promises to His adopted second child (the church).  Yet because of Israel’s rejection of Jesus, it sure seems like God has abandoned Israel, and has adopted the church as a replacement.  But if God rejects one half of His family tree over disobedience, how can the rest of us in this family tree ever truly feel secure, knowing how He has treated His first “born.”

Paul writes Romans 9-11 to provide an articulate defense to this accusation.  He will do so by talking about election, evangelism, and our secure hope for eternity.  Join us this Sunday morning as we begin this series by looking at Romans 9:1-13 together.  Hope to see you then!