Discussion Guide: For the Love Week 10

Ice Breaker

One of the things we value within community is fun. In the midst of all the pressures life throws at us, it is our ability to laugh, play and celebrate together that reminds us we serve a good, loving, and resurrected Lord who stands above it all. So, we want to take the first few minutes of our time together to play, have fun, and celebrate the fact that we belong to Jesus.

Today’s Ice Breaker: Drop a Hint

Split your group into two teams with at least four people. Only one team will play at a time while the other team watches. We will call our teams Team A and Team B.

When you say go, the standing members of Team A will try to get the guesser to guess the word on the card by saying one word, per person, at a time.

For example if the word was pumpkin, teammate #1 might say orange, teammate #2 might say Halloween, teammate #3 might say squash. Teammates continue to give one word hints in the same order (1, 2, 3) to the guesser until the guesser makes a guess. The guesser has ONE guess to get the right word. If they guess the wrong word, the team moves onto the next word.

Team A continues trying to guess words for two minutes, or however long you designate each round. Teams get one point for each word they guessed correctly.

Once the two minutes is up, switch over to Team B and give them two minutes to guess.

After both Team A and Team B have gone once, switch the guesser for Team A and play again. Repeat until each person on each team has been the guesser or for the number of rounds, you designate at the beginning of the game.

Keep track of the number of correct answers each team gets each round. The team with the most points at the end of all the rounds wins!

What You Will Need:

  • Slips of paper or index cards that you will write a word or phrase on each. You can access a sample list of words/phrases, and even print them out, by clicking here.
  • Timer. Probably just use someone’s phone.

Today’s Discussion

This week we continue our series that will take us into the Fall titled For the Love. We will be walking through the Gospel of John and seeing God’s love as revealed through the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Christ. We will see that love may not always look and feel the way we think it should, but that if we will allow God’s love to reveal itself to us then our lives will never be the same. 

Discussion Questions

What would you say are some of the most impactful moments/movements in world history? Why?

Preguntas en Español

¿Cuál es el momento más importante en la historia del mundo?

Timothy Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism

“If Jesus rose from the dead, then you have to accept all that he said; if he didn’t rise from the dead, then why worry about any of what he said? The issue on which everything hangs is not whether or not you like his teaching but whether or not he rose from the dead.” 

Why do you think the resurrection of Jesus has been one of the most, if not the most, impactful and debated moments in human history?

Why, despite, the overwhelming, historical evidence, do you think people want to dismiss or disprove the resurrection of Christ?

What are the implications if Jesus did not really rise from the dead?

Preguntas en Español

Timothy Keller, La razón de Dios: la creencia en una era de escepticismo

“Si Jesús resucitó de entre los muertos, entonces tienes que aceptar todo lo que dijo; Si no se levantó de entre los muertos, ¿por qué preocuparse por algo de lo que dijo? El tema sobre lo que todo cuelga no es si te gusta o no su enseñanza, sino si se levantó de la muerte”.

¿Por qué crees que la resurrección de Jesús ha sido uno de los momentos más impactantes y debatidos de la historia de la humanidad, si no el más importante?

¿Por qué, a pesar de todo la evidencia histórica, crees que la gente quiere rechazar o refutar la resurrección de Cristo?

¿Cuáles son las implicaciones si Jesús realmente no resucitó de entre los muertos?

Leader Notes

Paul gives us the implications of a non-resurrected Jesus in his letter to the church in Corinth. In 1 Corinthians 15 he writes:

Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

If Jesus did not rise from the dead then everything He said and claimed can be discredited since He promised that He would rise from the dead. If Jesus did not rise from the dead then we have no guarantee of the forgiveness of our sins, which means we have no guarantee of God’s love, approval, and affirmation of us, which means we cannot be confident in His unconditional love, which means our fears and insecurities and self-centered motivations remail. If Jesus did not rise from the dead then death has the final word and our suffering has no ultimately greater purpose in this life. As Paul said, the resurrection of Christ is not just a historical argument, it is at its very core an argument of identity for all to claim to follow Him.

Fortunately, the evidence of His resurrection is simply overwhelming. Not only can we see the sociological argument for the resurrection in that cultures spanning across space and time, over the history of the world, have continually be transformed by the name and power of Jesus and His resurrection, but we also have actual, historical records of the resurrection taking place. Yes, we have the Gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, all of which are eye-witness accounts. But, we also have extra-biblical, historical accounts of people claiming to have seen and experienced the resurrected Christ.

Jewish, Roman Historian, Josephus, in his work, Jewish Antiquities, a lengthy history of the Jewish people from the early, first century, writes:

“About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man.  For he was one who performed surprising deeds and was a teacher of such people as accept the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. He was the Messiah. And when, upon the accusation of the principal men among us, Pilate had condemned him to a cross, those who had first come to love him did not cease.  He appeared to them spending a third day restored to life, for the prophets of God had foretold these things and a thousand other marvels about him.  And the tribe of the Christians, so called after him, has still to this day not disappeared. “– Jewish Antiquities, 18.3.3 §63 

Tacitus, a Roman Historian, when writing the history of the Great Fire of Rome which occured in 64 AD references this in regards to Nero assigning the blame for the fire to Christians:

“Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judæa, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular.”

The “Mischievous Superstition” is a reference to the claim of Jesus’ resurrection by those called Christians.

As you can see, not only were all the disciples willing to give their lives for the claim that Jesus had risen from the dead, within the 30-40 years following Jesus’ death people were still willing to die for the claim that Christ had been risen. Many of these people were alive and around when the disciples were claiming the resurrection, and when Paul was writing about the resurrected Christ appearing to over 500 witnesses at once. Point being, these people who are willing to die for the claim of the resurrected Jesus would have had ample opportunity to disprove it or discredit it and instead they are willing to affirm it with their own persacution and crucifixion.

NOTAS EN ESPAÑOL

notas

Romans 6:1-11

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
5For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

According to Scripture, what was accomplished through Jesus’ resurrection on a global scale?

What has it accomplished for you and me on a personal level?

Preguntas en Español

Romanos 6:1-11

¿Qué diremos, entonces? ¿Continuaremos en pecado para que la gracia abunde? 2¡De ningún modo! Nosotros, que hemos muerto al pecado, ¿cómo viviremos aún en él? 3¿O no saben ustedes que todos los que hemos sido bautizados en Cristo Jesús, hemos sido bautizados en Su muerte?
4Por tanto, hemos sido sepultados con El por medio del bautismo para muerte, a fin de que como Cristo resucitó de entre los muertos por la gloria del Padre, así también nosotros andemos en novedad de vida. 5Porque si hemos sido unidos a Cristo en la semejanza de Su muerte, ciertamente lo seremos también en la semejanza de Su resurrección.
6Sabemos esto, que nuestro viejo hombre fue crucificado con Cristo , para que nuestro cuerpo de pecado fuera destruido, a fin de que ya no seamos esclavos del pecado; 7porque el que ha muerto, ha sido libertado del pecado.
8Y si hemos muerto con Cristo, creemos que también viviremos con El, 9sabiendo que Cristo, habiendo resucitado de entre los muertos, no volverá a morir; la muerte ya no tiene dominio sobre El. 10Porque en cuanto a que El murió, murió al pecado de una vez para siempre; pero en cuanto El vive, vive para Dios. 11Así también ustedes, considérense muertos para el pecado, pero vivos para Dios en Cristo Jesús.

De acuerdo con las Escrituras, ¿qué se logró a través de la resurrección de Jesús en una escala global?

¿Qué ha logrado para ti y para mí a nivel personal?

Leader Notes

The resurrection of Jesus accomplished way more than what it has come to be associated with within the western church. Ask the average American Christian what the resurrection means to them and he/she will likely respond with some form of, “it means my sins are forgiven and I get to go to Heaven when I die.” However, this is a sentiment rarely expressed by Jesus, His disciples, or by Paul in his letters. Yes, forgiveness of sins is closely connected to the resurrection of Christ all through the New Testament, but not to the effect of going to heaven when you die. Rather, the forgiveness of sins as proven by the resurrection of Christ predominantly points towards followers of Christ being a New Creation kind of people who are participating in God’s Kingdom coming on Earth as it is in Heaven within their present-day realities.

What Paul, and the other New Testament writers, say about the resurrection is that it ushered in God’s reign as King of the Universe, it conquered the dark powers that had held God’s people in slavery to sin, it ended the exile humanity had experienced because of our idolatry, and it has, and, is reconciling all things back to God’s original purpose of humanity ruling over creation as God’s image-bearers.

NOTAS EN ESPAÑOL

notas

N.T. Wright, Surprised by Hope

“Jesus’s resurrection is the beginning of God’s new project not to snatch people away from earth to heaven but to colonize earth with the life of heaven. That, after all, is what the Lord’s Prayer is about…The resurrection completes the inauguration of God’s kingdom. . . . It is the decisive event demonstrating that God’s kingdom really has been launched on earth as it is in heaven…The message of Easter is that God’s new world has been unveiled in Jesus Christ and that you’re now invited to belong to it.” 

What does it mean for us to be, “raised with Christ to the newness of life?”

Preguntas en Español

N.T. Wright, Sorprendido por la esperanza

“La resurrección de Jesús es el comienzo del nuevo proyecto de Dios no para arrebatar a las personas de la tierra al cielo, sino para colonizar la tierra con la vida del cielo. Eso, después de todo, es de lo que trata la oración del Señor … La resurrección completa la inauguración del reino de Dios. . . . Es el evento decisivo que demuestra que el reino de Dios realmente ha sido lanzado en la tierra como en el cielo … El mensaje de la Pascua es que el nuevo mundo de Dios se ha desvelado en Jesucristo y que ahora estás invitado a pertenecer a él. ”

¿Qué significa para nosotros ser “resucitados con Cristo a la novedad de la vida?”

Closing Thought

What does it mean for us to be a “resurrection people?” How do we live that out together?

Preguntas en Español

Pensamiento Final

¿Qué significa para nosotros ser una “gente de resurrección”? ¿Cómo podemos vivir eso juntos?



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