12/03/2017 : GO…in faith

12/03/2017: FELLOWSHIP GROUP NOTES | GO…in faith

Let me begin by asking a question: “Do you always feel loved and blessed by God?”

I know that the Bible tells us we should, and that God does love us, but we also know that there are times when life appears hard and dry and it grinds away at our energy! Or, we try our best to be faithful and live for Jesus but then the strident voices of culture and political noise seem to rise and shout louder and louder and drown out the call of Jesus! All too often the world looks at what we are like on the “outside” to determine if we have any value as a person!

Do you agree? Have you experienced times of confusion and hurt like these?

BIBLE READING

Genesis 12:1-4 (NIV)

The Call of Abram

1 The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.

“I will make you into a great nation,
    and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
    and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
    and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
    will be blessed through you.”

So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran.

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® 

DISCUSSION

  1. Abram is told to “Go…”in (vs.1); take note of what he must leave behind. Do you think following this instruction will impact on his national, cultural, and personal identity? Is it fair for God to make this demand? Have you ever faced such a challenge in your faith?
  2. Take note of the blessings Abram will receive; why are they important? Are the blessings only for Abram?
  3. Why do you think God chose Abram?

BIBLE READING

John 3:1-17 (NIV)

Jesus Teaches Nicodemus
1Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.” Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely, they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

“How can this be?” Nicodemus asked. 10 “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? 11 Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® 

DISCUSSION

Let us put the conversation with Nicodemus in context:

Vs. 1 – Nicodemus is a Pharisee.

Vs. 2 –  He comes to Jesus at night.
              He calls Jesus “Rabbi”.

              He focuses on signs and wonders.

Vs. 3 –  Be born again!
John the Gospel writer, wants the audience to understand that Nicodemus is on a journey of faith. Nicodemus is searching for answers of faith and he understands that Jesus is the one to tell him what he needs to know.

  1. Do you understand what the office and function of a Pharisee is?
  2. Why does Nicodemus come to Jesus at night?
  3. Why does he call Jesus – “Rabbi”?
  4. What does Nicodemus think of the “signs and wonders”?
  5. Jesus makes a startling claim that being a disciple is about “being born again” (vs.3). What did he mean by this?
  6. What do you think (vs.6, 7) mean?
  7. Take time to absorb the “Good News” (vs. 16-17); do these verses have special meaning for you?
  8. Do you agree with the following statement that I made:

“Miracles are important but they are only the vehicle that brings the life changing Gospel message to the world! Think about it, if a miracle does not lead to a changed life, if it does not lead to the person affected coming to God, then what is the point?”

PRAYER THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

“Faith must not be dependent on signs and wonders alone; faith requires a radical shift in thinking and learning to see God at work through the eyes of the Holy Spirit at work in us and through us! Faith is about trusting in God – and not relying on what is seen! [2 Cor. 5:7 “For we live by faith, not by sight]. It is about being “born again”.”

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