06 Dec Discussion Guide: Jesus God With Us Week 1
Before We Get Started
For our discussion today we will be using the sermon series discussion guides. If you would like to follow along you can access this discussion guide on the website at mosaicchurchaustin.com and then select “community group resources” in the menu options.
Because the main goal of our time together is to establish relationships and learn how to walk with one another in all that God has called us to be and do, we’d like to begin by praying for one another. So, does anyone have anything you’d like us to pray for, or anything to share regarding how you’ve seen God moving in your life that we can celebrate together.
This Week’s Topic
Over the next three weeks we will be taking a look at the Christmas story, the narrative of the birth of Christ, and discussing the implications of what Jesus’ coming in the flesh has on our lives. We will be looking at how Jesus is with us to reign, to suffer, and to heal. When rightly understood, the reality of Christmas should shake us to the core and move us to worship God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to give ourselves to others the way Jesus gave Himself for us. Let us begin, as we seek to celebrate Jesus, God with us.
With us to reign.
What is you favorite Christmas memory or tradition?
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.”
What were the implications on Joseph’s and Marry’s lives in regards to giving birth to, and raising, Immanuel (God with us)?
Why would these implications have been so difficult for them to live through?
In an honor and shame culture, to follow through with what God was asking of them would have completely cost Mary and Joseph their reputations, and subsequently their prospects for job security, financial prosperity, social interactions, etc. Mary was committing to being seen as an adulteress, an unfaithful woman. Joseph was committing to being see as weak, immoral, and a man unworthy of respect as he seemingly allowed this adulteress woman to use him in caring for another man’s child. They would have been the gossip of the town. They would have been shunned from worshipping in the synagogue. It would literally be them against the world.
This would have been difficult to swallow for anyone. God was essentially asking them to allow their reputations, their livelihood, and their future to be obliterated by the perceptions and opinions of others all so the future of the world might be saved through the life of this child they were being asked to birth and raise. Mary and Joseph were going to have to die to themselves so that others might live, the very thing their firstborn boy would be asked to do some 30 years later.
Dr. Tim Keller, Hidden Christmas
“When you come to Christ, you must drop your conditions. You have to give up the right to say, ‘I will obey you if . . . I will do this if . . .’ As soon as you say, ‘I will obey you if,’ that is not obedience at all. You are saying: ‘You are my adviser, not my Lord. I will be happy to take your recommendations. And I might even do some of them.’ No. If you want Jesus with you, you have to give up the right to self‐determination. Self‐denial is an act of rebellion against our late‐modern culture of self‐assertion. But that is what we are called to. Nothing less.”
What implications does the birth, and subsequent life, death, and resurrection, have on our lives today?
Why are those implications so difficult for people to accept today?
For you personally, what is the most disturbing implication to Jesus’ coming in the flesh? And, what is the most encouraging implication?
The implications the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus have on our lives today are not much different than what Mary and Joseph experienced. To follow Jesus, to make Him Lord of your life, today also leads to people’s perceptions and opinions of you potentially being altered to a state of unfavorableness. Some will assume you are judgmental. Some will say you are weak. Some will say you are foolish. Some will dismiss you as narrow minded. You might lose your job, lose your friends, maybe even lose your spouse. Following Jesus can be a costly endeavor.
After multitudes of people turned away from Jesus because of some of the implications He had communicated would befall them if they continued to follow Jesus, Jesus turns to Peter in John 6 and asks if he and the other 11 disciples were going to leave as well. Peter looked around for a moment and then replied, “‘Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God” (John 6:68-69).
Peter is saying yes, following you is hard, and getting harder by the minute, but we believe you are who you claim to be and there is no where else we would rather be in life, or in this moment, then following You into whatever and wherever you might lead us. You have the words of life. Following Jesus, letting Him be the King that is seated on the throne of your life, is going to cost you. Jesus said it would. But, we are also promised that when we lose our life for His sake, and for the sake of the Gospel, we will find true life. Are we willing to lay down our reputations, our security, our personal desires and goals for achievement, so that others might see Christ in us and live?
“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.”
As Americans, the idea of being under the authority of a king, or any leader for that matter, is something we push back on as oppressive. Why is submitting to the kingship of Jesus not only not oppressive , but liberating and freeing?
How might this discussion change something about the way you typically approach and/or celebrate Christmas this year?