Archive for April 5th, 2018

5
Apr

2018-04-03 Life Group Observations

   Posted by: John    in Life Group

The theme for this week’s sermon and discussion is

Resurrection Sunday: I Am With You Always

Click here to watch the sermon for this week

2018-04-03 Life Group questions

2018-04-03 Life Group questions

Things learned and observed from this Life Group session:

Loneliness

The sermon for Easter Sunday had a lot to do with how Jesus’ Resurrection had the power to help overcome loneliness.  There were several examples that Pastor Steve Moore gave as reasons people become lonely, namely Grief, Mistakes, Suffering and Uncertainty.

Loneliness

Loneliness

Some of the Life Group questions listed those four specific items and asked if there were some examples where we experienced loneliness and what we had done to overcome them.

I mentioned ‘indifference’ as a cause of loneliness.  The definition of indifference is ‘a lack of interest or concern’.  When asked to expound on what I meant, I talked about how so many people in various places in my life had been indifferent towards me.  These included my previous spouse, people at my previous church, people at my previous job.  There is crossover from some of the items that Steve had mentioned, but the general feeling was indifference.  It didn’t matter that I was there, or not, at least not until someone wanted something.  Essentially, what I had to do to overcome it was marry a person who loved and cared for me, find a church that was not filled with cliques and hypocrites and accept a job where I am appreciated for what I can do.

A comment was made that not all people respond or react the same to any of the loneliness causes.  This is true.  Some people are able to disconnect themselves and be able to function, and may even consider it normal (Normal being a relative term as it relates to a person’s perception and character).  However, most people, being social creatures, need to have positive interactions with other people.

There are some other contributing factors.  Laura and I talked about stress.  Earlier in the day, her doctor talked about stress and how it can relate to a specific thing (such as work) and bleed over into other parts of a person’s life (such as family).  One can be stressed at work but not at home.  Sometimes the work stress can and will show up at home and cause problems there.  A potential result is that a person may feel loneliness in a place where it does not truly exist.

Barbara mentioned that even though she has experienced isolation and loneliness in regards to her work, she has never truly felt alone because she has always been a believer in Jesus and has felt Him with her.  And that leads to…

 

How Jesus can always be with us

Steve Moore mentioned briefly in his sermon that Jesus had promised the Apostles (as well as his followers) that He would always be with them.  And that question was also a point of discussion at Life Group.

Always with us

Always with us

Jesus, being a man during his ministry, told his disciples that he would not always be physically present.  Matthew 26:11 says “The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me”.  This same message is also given in Mark 14:7 and John 12:8.  Jesus meant that they would not always have him physically with them.  As a man, he was only able to be in one place at a time just like any other man.

However, after his resurrection, Jesus was no longer just a man, and his message in relation to being with his disciples changed to match.  Matthew 28:18-20 says “Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  In other words, He was able to provide His influence and power to them without being physically present.

Another component of this message has to do with the Holy Spirit.  We know early on in Acts that the Holy Spirit was poured out on the believers.  The Holy Spirit’s job is to teach and testify and guide.  I believe that Jesus meant that He and the Holy Spirit would take the place of His physical presence and do so in a way that was even more powerful because it comes from a direct Godly source.  I believe that’s one of the reasons why the Apostles (who at times in Jesus’ physical presence showed great weakness and fear) became holy, confident and very stalwart men.

There is no question of Jesus and the Holy Spirit always being with us.  The question becomes us.  Are we always with them?  If we strive to be, their influence will help us overcome the loneliness discussed above.

 

The stone at the grave

Jesus was laid in the tomb just prior to the Sabbath. The Jewish rules regarding the Sabbath were very strict and the leadership harshly punished those who broke the rules.  Therefore, Jesus’ body was put in the tomb and any embalming or other ‘preparation’ set aside until after the Sabbath.  They closed the tomb by putting the stone in place.

Empty tomb

Empty tomb

After the Sabbath, the women went with spices to dress the body.  The Angel had moved the stone, greeted the women and told them that Jesus was risen.  The tomb was open for all to see that it was indeed empty.  There was some discussion about the events with the women and the angel.  The guards who had been placed at the tomb were overcome with fear and lying as if dead on the ground.  The angel told the women to tell the disciples that Jesus was risen and would be seen by them and others in Galilee and other locations.

One of the questions asks to share thoughts about Peter Marshall’s observation: “The stone was rolled away from the door of Jesus’ tomb, not to permit Christ to come out, but to enable the disciples to go in”.

We didn’t get to stay for the entire session, but I have thought about this for a couple days now.  Jesus will not force someone to follow Him but we have the ability to choose to follow Him.  His grace is always open to us.  Like the tomb, laid open for the disciples to enter, we enter His grace.  The empty tomb is a physical result of His resurrection and a reminder that the grave is not the final answer of this life.