Seeds of Faith Podcast

A companion podcast to Growing in Christ

April 20, 2014: The Resurrection of Jesus

We are unable to provide a podcast for this week’s lesson. Regular podcasts should resume next week. Have a blessed Easter!

    The text for this lesson is Matthew 28:1–10

    Key Point

  • The resurrection reveals that the Father has accepted the Son’s sacrifice for our sins, and it fills us with confident hope that, as Christ has been raised from the dead, we, too, will rise to eternal life.
  • Law: Because of sin, I deserve eternal death and separation from God, and I am filled with fear.
  • Gospel: The Father has accepted His Son’s sacrifice for sin, making me an heir of eternal life. He works through His Word to comfort me, replacing my fear with joy and empowering me to tell others about the Lord’s resurrection.

Discussion Points

  1. In a time of war, we often say that soldiers “make the ultimate sacrifice” as they lay down their lives to defend their country. We also say that they “pay the price” by spilling their own blood so that their fellow citizens may live in freedom. How can we apply this image to Jesus’ death and resurrection and thus thank our God for His victory over death and the grave?
  2. Read the whole Easter story in Matthew 28:1–10. Why does Matthew say, “After the Sabbath”? Why does he specify that this event takes place “toward dawn of the first day of the week”? See also Genesis 1:3–5; 2:1–3. What is significant about the women, “Mary Magdalene and the other Mary,” going to see the tomb? See 1 Corinthians 1:27 and Genesis 3:6.
  3. In Matthew 28:2–3, what does the earthquake mean as the angel descends to roll the stone away from the tomb? See Isaiah 29:6. Why is the stone rolled away from Jesus’ tomb? What is significant about the angel’s appearance and clothing? Also see Mark 16:5.
  4. Matthew 28:4 gives us the only reference to the guards in all of the four Gospel accounts of the resurrection. Why does Matthew mention that “the guards trembled and became like dead men”? See Matthew 27:62–66.
  5. Read once again the angel’s message to the women in Matthew 28:5–7. Why does the angel tell the women, “Do not be afraid”? Why does the angel mention “Jesus who was crucified”? What grand proclamation does the angel give, and what is the force of the phrase “He has risen”? What proof does the angel give for this grand proclamation? In verse 7, why does the angel tell the women a second time that Jesus “has risen from the dead”?
  6. In Matthew 28:8–9, what mixture of emotions do the women have? How do they respond when they actually meet and see the risen Lord?
  7. The Early Church considered each Sunday a “little Easter.” As a result, every Easter was viewed as “a big Sunday.” How does this show the centrality of Jesus’ resurrection for our Christian faith? How might we unwittingly downplay the centrality of our Lord’s resurrection victory over death? To help discuss these questions, look up 1 Corinthians 15:14, 17, 20–23; Romans 4:25; and 6:5.
  8. What is the most appropriate response that we can have to the great proclamation of Jesus Christ risen from the dead? Why does the Church celebrate Easter for seven whole weeks? How do we truly get to celebrate Easter every Sunday in the Divine Service?
  9. Some people believe that the Christian Church should still worship on the Sabbath Day, that is, Saturday. Why did the one, holy, Christian, and apostolic Church decide to worship on Sunday, the first day of the week, and why does she still worship on Sunday? See Acts 20:7 and Colossians 2:16–17.

Written by sengelem

April 16th, 2014 at 1:43 pm

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April 13, 2014: The Passion of Christ

 

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    The text for this lesson is Matthew 27:11–66

    Key Point

  • The Father, the perfect, righteous judge of the universe, forsook Jesus on the cross so that, as the perfect and righteous sacrifice, Jesus Christ could be punished for the sins of the whole world.
  • Law: The wages of sin is death.
  • Gospel: Jesus Christ paid the price for the sin of the world by His suffering and death.

Discussion Points

  1. We normally think of the word passion as referring to the romantic love between a man and a woman. What do we mean, however, by the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ?
  2. Read Matthew 27:11–14. In obedience to the Fourth Commandment (see also Romans 13:1–2), Jesus submits to the governing authority, Pontius Pilate. How does this scene, especially Pilate’s question to Jesus, recall the beginning of Jesus’ life? See Matthew 2:2. How does Jesus fulfill Scripture in His silence? See Isaiah 53:7.
  3. Read Matthew 27:15–25. How does Pilate try to release Jesus and still appease the crowd? See Mark 15:8–10. What does the name Barabbas mean? What is the great message of salvation in the release of the murderer Barabbas? See 2 Corinthians 5:21. How does Governor Pilate try to distance himself from the blood of Jesus? What hidden meaning can you see in the people’s response to let “His blood be on us and on our children” (Matthew 27:25)? See Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:20; Hebrews 13:12; and 1 John 1:7.
  4. Read Matthew 27:26–31. What happened when Jesus was scourged (v. 26) and mocked (vv. 27–31), and what saving significance does this torture have for us? See Isaiah 53:5.
  5. Read Matthew 27:32–44. What is significant about Simon of Cyrene carrying Jesus’ cross on the way to Golgotha? See Romans 3:29; 15:8–12; 16:13; and Mark 15:21. In verse 35, we read simply that Jesus was crucified. What did crucifixion entail, and why do the Gospel accounts not go into detail? How does Jesus continue to suffer the full weight of our human sin as He is crucified?
  6. Read Matthew 27:45–56. Why does Jesus cry out, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani” in verse 46? See Psalm 22:1 (and quickly scan the rest of the psalm). What is vitally important about Jesus yielding up His own spirit in verse 50, and what did He say when He “cried out again with a loud voice”? See John 19:30. Summarize the things that happened after Jesus’ death. What good confession does the Roman centurion make?
  7. Read Matthew 27:57–66. How do the burial of Jesus and His rest in the tomb fulfill Scripture? See Isaiah 53:9 and Genesis 2:1–3.
  8. As we study this passage of Jesus’ Passion and crucifixion, we stand at the beginning of Holy Week, a time of extra and special services in the Church. How can you observe and celebrate Jesus’ Passion, and hence His wonderful works of saving you from sin and death, through this most sacred time of the Christian Church Year?

Written by sengelem

April 8th, 2014 at 6:09 am

April 6, 2014: Jesus Raises Lazarus

 

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    The text for this lesson is John 11:1–45

    Key Point

  • In resurrecting Lazarus, Jesus demonstrated that He can indeed raise all who believe in Him for salvation. True life is eternal life with Jesus.
  • Law: In this life, I see and experience the effects of sin: sickness, injury, and death.
  • Jesus, who is the source of all life, will raise me and all who believe in Him to life with Him forever, where I will no longer experience the effects of sin.

Discussion Points

  1. What comfort does your Baptism give you when a loved one dies? What comfort can you find in the body and blood of Christ in the Eucharist when you miss your departed loved one?
  2. Read John 11:1–16. Jesus mentions the historical Lazarus only in John 11 and 12 in connection with this greatest miracle. What do we learn of Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38–42? Why does Jesus delay going to Lazarus, despite His love for this family? What fear do the disciples express, and how does Jesus answer their fear? How does Jesus refer to Lazarus in John 11:11? What do the disciples understand by this, and what does Jesus mean by it?
  3. Read John 11:17–27. Why is it significant that “Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days” (John 11:17)? What does Martha say to Jesus when she sees Him? How does she understand “the resurrection”? How does Jesus refocus her understanding of “the resurrection”?
  4. Read John 11:28–37. When Mary goes to meet Jesus, what does she say to Him, and how does Jesus respond this time? How does John 11:35, the shortest verse in the Bible, teach us about Jesus’ humanity and divinity as well as about how God views death?
  5. Read John 11:38–44. The English Standard Version (ESV) says that Jesus was “deeply moved again” (v. 38), and other translations say that He groaned again. Why is this important? When Jesus commanded that the stone be taken away, why did Martha object? What event does this removal of the stone foreshadow? See John 20:1–10. Why does Jesus pray to His Father in John 11:41–42? How specifically does Jesus miraculously raise Lazarus from the dead? See Genesis 1:3; Hebrews 11:3; and 2 Peter 3:5.
  6. Read John 11:45. What important conclusion to the story do we read in this verse? Also recall John 11:4, 26, and 42.
  7. In this story, we see Jesus delaying while Lazarus is sick, but then performing His greatest miracle after Lazarus has died. What comfort and hope does this give us as we face prolonged or even terminal illness? Also see Romans 8:28.
  8. In John 11:43, we see Jesus raising Lazarus purely by His powerful and effective words. Based on this story and this verse, how can we grow in our appreciation for the words of Jesus in preaching and in Holy Absolution?
  9. How does this story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead prepare us to observe Holy Week and Easter?

Written by sengelem

April 2nd, 2014 at 7:42 am

March 30, 2014: Jesus Heals a Blind Man

 

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    The text for this lesson is John 9

    Key Point

  • Jesus came into this world to forgive us and grant us faith—spiritual sight. He gives sight to our souls by forgiving our sins.
  • Law: Sin has blinded my eyes so that I cannot see or believe in Jesus.
  • Gospel: In His Word and Sacraments, Jesus gives me eyes of faith so that I can believe in Him as my Savior and trust His love for me..

Discussion Points

  1. When you were a child, did you ever close your eyes, or cover them with a blindfold, and pretend that you were blind for a time? Think of the immense loss that you would experience if you were unable to see. How does this describe our spiritual condition before God?
  2. Read John 9:1–7. What do the disciples ask Jesus in John 9:2? What assumption do they make? Is this assumption correct? How does Jesus answer their question in John 9:3–5? What is He saying about the blind man? What is He saying about Himself?
  3. In John 9:6–7, Jesus makes mud, applies it to the blind man’s eyes, and then tells him to wash in the pool of Siloam. What is the significance of this method of healing this man? See Genesis 2:7; Titus 3:4–7; 1 Peter 3:21; Matthew 26:26–28; and John 6:54.
  4. Read John 9:8–23. Strangely enough, the healing of the blind man does not meet with universal rejoicing! How do the man’s neighbors and others around him respond to the healing? How do the Pharisees respond? How does the formerly blind man confess Jesus the Christ in both instances?
  5. Read John 9:24–34. How does the formerly blind man continue to confess Jesus as the Christ? What “reward” does he receive for his confession?
  6. Read John 9:35–41. As Jesus seeks out and finds this formerly blind man, we come to the focal point (or the “punch line”) of the whole story. What does Jesus ask the man, and how does the man respond? What “sight” that goes beyond physical sight does Jesus give this man? How does this “sight” explain what Jesus says in John 9:39? See also Matthew 9:12–13.
  7. When we suffer from some physical illness, injury, handicap, or deformity, we may wonder, “God, what did I do to deserve this? What sin did I commit that I should be punished like this?” How can Jesus’ words in John 9:3 give you comfort and patience as you endure whatever physical “cross” you happen to bear?
  8. In John 9:6–7, Jesus used the physical means of saliva, dirt, and the water of the Siloam pool to heal the man born blind. What physical means does He use in the Church to heal us of our sin and death? See Titus 3:4–7; John 20:23; Matthew 26:26; and John 6:51.
  9. How can the blind man serve as a good pattern for personal witness to Jesus Christ and His saving works? See John 9:10–11 and 1 Peter 3:15.

Written by sengelem

March 26th, 2014 at 9:17 am

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March 23, 2014: Jesus and the Samaritan Woman

 

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    The text for this lesson is John 4:1–42

    Key Point

  • Jesus gives the Holy Spirit, who cleanses us from sin and unrighteousness in the living water of Holy Baptism and gives us new life in Christ.
  • Law: Because of sin, my soul is parched and dying.
  • Gospel: The living water found in God’s Word and in Holy Baptism quenches my spiritual thirst forever, giving me new life in Christ.

Discussion Points

  1. In the opening paragraph of his great Confessions, Augustine speaks to God and says, “You made us for yourself and our hearts find no peace until they rest in you” (Augustine, Confessions, I:1). How is this true for you?
  2. Read John 4:1–6. Why do the Pharisees begin to take note of Jesus’ ministry? See also John 1:19, 24. Why does Jesus “have to” pass through Samaria, and why is this so radical and strange? What does this passage teach us about Jesus’ human nature? What is significant about “the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph” and the well that was located there? See Genesis 33:19; 48:22; and Joshua 24:32.
  3. Read John 4:7–15. Jesus keeps His “divine appointment” with this sinful woman and uses His weary, thirsty human nature to lead her to thirst for His divine refreshment. What does Jesus mean by “living water” in John 4:10? See Psalm 36:8–9; Isaiah 55:1; and Revelation 21:6 and 22:1. How does the woman understand His words?
  4. Read John 4:16–26. Since the woman did not understand His words about “living water,” Jesus changes the direction of the dialogue. What does He ask her to do, and why? After this exchange, what does the woman want to discuss? How does Jesus answer her question? What does Jesus mean by “the hour is coming” (John 4:23), and what does He mean by “worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:23–24)? See John 14:6; 15:26; 16:13; and 20:22.
  5. Read John 4:16–26. Since the woman did not understand His words about “living water,” Jesus changes the direction of the dialogue. What does He ask her to do, and why? After this exchange, what does the woman want to discuss? How does Jesus answer her question? What does Jesus mean by “the hour is coming” (John 4:23), and what does He mean by “worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:23–24)? See John 14:6; 15:26; 16:13; and 20:22.
  6. Read John 4:27–42. Upon returning to Jesus and seeing Him talking with not just a Samaritan, but a Samaritan woman, how do the disciples respond (John 4:27)? How does Jesus respond to the disciples when they insist that He eat something (John 4:32, 34–38)?
  7. When the woman returns to town, how does she make known her conversation with Jesus (John 4:28–29)? How do the people of Sychar respond to the report of the woman and the Good News of Jesus the Messiah (John 4:30, 39–42)?
  8. How do you thirst for the “living water” of Jesus’ forgiveness, life, and salvation? How does our Lord Jesus satisfy this thirst and give you His life?
  9. Consider the outcome of the woman’s encounter with Jesus the Messiah, how she told her fellow townsfolk and how they came to believe in Him first through her words, but ultimately by hearing Him. How does this pattern instruct us for God-pleasing missions?

Written by sengelem

March 18th, 2014 at 7:53 am

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March 16, 2014: Jesus Teaches Nicodemus

 

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    The text for this lesson is John 3:1–21

    Key Point

  • Since the fall into sin, we are born spiritually blind, sinful, and unclean. As children of God, born of water and the Spirit, we can see our sinfulness and the salvation that is ours in Jesus Christ.
  • Law: As a child of Adam, I am by nature sinful and unclean.
  • Gospel: As a child of God, I am by grace righteous and pure in God’s sight, born of water and the Spirit in Holy Baptism, through which God the Holy Spirit creates faith in my heart to believe and trust in Jesus and receive the gift of eternal life.

Discussion Points

  1. Suppose that you are walking down the street and you meet up with a friend. After you greet each other, your friend asks in a very kind, caring voice, “Are you born again?” How do you respond?
  2. Read John 3:1–8. Who was Nicodemus, and why did he come to Jesus “by night” (John 3:2)? See also John 7:50–51 and 19:39–42.
  3. In John 3:3, what does Jesus mean by being “born again” and seeing “the kingdom of God”? How does Nicodemus understand Jesus’ words at first? How does Jesus correct his faulty understanding in John 3:5 and thus show that “born again” has a double meaning? Also see John 1:12–13; 1 John 5:1, 4; and Titus 3:4–7.
  4. In John 3:6–8, Jesus again plays on words with a double meaning. What does this verse say about the Holy Spirit? What does it say about Christians, who are born again by the Holy Spirit?
  5. Read John 3:9–15. In John 3:11, who is the “we” who speak and bear witness “to what we have seen”? In John 3:14–15, how does Jesus fulfill the Old Testament story of the bronze serpent in Numbers 21:4–9?
  6. Read John 3:16–21. John 3:16–17 is appropriately called the “Gospel in a nutshell.” What does it mean in John 3:16 that “God so loved the world”? See also 1 John 4:10. How does John 3:17 prevent us from viewing God as a bitter, angry, vindictive deity intent on punishing us unless we believe in Jesus? See also John 3:18 and 1 Timothy 2:4.
  7. This reading, John 3:1–21, shows us that the season of Lent is not about watching “poor Jesus” go to the cross to suffer and die and, thus, making ourselves feel guilty for making Him do that. Instead, Lent is the time to renew our Spirit-given life in Baptism. How can this lesson help you be renewed in the “new birth” and the life of faith and love that the Spirit has worked in you by means of your Baptism?

Written by sengelem

March 11th, 2014 at 7:56 am

March 9, 2014: The Temptation of Jesus

 

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    The text for this lesson is Matthew 4:1–11

    Key Point

  • Jesus faced the temptation of Satan for us and resisted it with the Holy Word of God. God’s Word strengthens and enables us to resist Satan and grants us forgiveness when we fail.
  • Law: With crafty words, Satan tempted Adam to disobey God’s will, and he tempts me to do the same.
  • Gospel: With the Word of God, Jesus overcame all the temptations of Satan, bringing forgiveness and life to me and all sinners who believe in Him.

Discussion Points

  1. The fourth-century pastor Jerome told the story of a young Christian wrestling with tempting thoughts. An older father in the faith advised the young man: “Dear brother, you cannot prevent the birds from flying over your head, but you can certainly keep them from building a nest in your hair” (cited in Luther’s Works, 42:73). What does this vivid picture tell you about temptations in your life? What does it tell you about how Christians can respond to temptations?
  2. Look up and read 1 John 2:15–16. What three things does the apostle John warn us about as we live in this fallen, sin-filled world?
  3. Immediately after He was baptized by John (Matthew 3:13–17), “Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil” (Matthew 4:1). How is Jesus’ temptation tied back to His Baptism? Why does the Holy Spirit lead Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan? See Hosea 11:1 and Exodus 15:25–26; 16:4.
  4. Read Matthew 4:2–4. What “weak point” of Jesus does Satan target in this first temptation? How does Jesus resist and overcome this temptation? How does Jesus replay and reverse the original temptation of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden? See Genesis 3:1–7, especially verse 6. How does our Lord replay and reverse the failed test of Israel in the wilderness? See Exodus 16:2–4.
  5. Read Matthew 4:5–7. How does Satan use Holy Scripture to tempt Jesus in this second temptation? See Psalm 91:11–12. How does the Lord resist this temptation? How does this temptation replay and reverse the temptation of Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:6? How does this temptation replay and reverse the temptation of Israel in the wilderness? See Deuteronomy 6:16 and Exodus 17:1–7.6. Read Matthew 4:8–10.
  6. In the third temptation, to what does Satan appeal as he further tries to lure Jesus away from faithfully trusting God? How is this similar to the original temptation in the Garden of Eden (again, see Genesis 3:6)? What infamous event in Israel’s history showed that God’s Old Testament “son” utterly failed to worship and serve Him? See Exodus 32:1–10. How does Jesus again replay and reverse these temptations?
  7. In Matthew 4:11, we read that “the devil left [Jesus], and behold, angels came and were ministering to Him.” What crucial detail does Luke 4:13 add to this picture, and when does this happen in the life of Jesus? See Matthew 26:63–64; 27:40; and 27:43.
  8. How does Jesus’ work of resisting temptations and conquering Satan give you hope and comfort when you face temptations? How does your Lord give you an example of how to fight temptations yourself?
  9. How does Hebrews 4:14–16 give us Christians great hope and comfort as we do hand-to-hand combat with Satan on the battlefield of temptations?
  10. Why is the account of Jesus’ temptation important for observing the season of Lent?

Written by sengelem

March 4th, 2014 at 8:28 am

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March 2, 2014: The Transfiguration

 

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    The text for this lesson is Matthew 17:1–9

    Key Point

  • At the transfiguration, Jesus’ glory was unveiled before the disciples. Today, His glory is unveiled for us in the Word, in the water of Baptism, and in the bread and wine of His Holy Supper. In heaven, we shall see Him in all His glory!
  • Law: As a sinner, I tremble at the sound of God’s voice, for I deserve punishment and am unworthy to see Him face-to-face.
  • Gospel: As God’s child, I have nothing to fear, for in His Word and Sacraments, Jesus gives me pardon and peace through His death and resurrection, making me worthy to stand face-to-face with God my Father.

Discussion Points

  1. In the hymn for this lesson, we sing with Peter, James, and John and place ourselves on the mountaintop as if we, too, were eyewitnesses of Jesus’ transfiguration. Three times, we sing, “’Tis good, Lord, to be here!” What would be so good about seeing Jesus brilliantly transformed before our very eyes?
  2. Read the whole text of Matthew 17:1–9. Matthew begins this story by saying, “And after six days.” What significant events happened six days prior to Jesus’ transfiguration? See Matthew 16:13–28. Why are these important for understanding the transfiguration in the proper light?
  3. What is significant about the “high mountain” (verse 1) and the “bright cloud” that overshadowed the three disciples? See Exodus 3:1–6; 13:21–22; 19:16–20; 33:9–10; 40:34–38; 1 Kings 19:8–18; and Isaiah 2:3.
  4. In Matthew 17:2, we read, “And [Jesus] was transfigured before them, and His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became white as light.” What is the source of this brilliant, radiant light of transfiguration? See 2 Peter 1:16–18; John 8:12; and Revelation 21:23.
  5. According to Matthew 17:3, the three disciples not only witness Jesus’ brilliant, glorious transformation, but they also see Moses and Elijah appear and talk with Jesus. What is significant about both Moses and Elijah appearing with Jesus? For the significance of Moses, see Exodus 3:1–10; 24:16–18; 32:15–20, 30–34; and 33:17–23. For the significance of Elijah, see 1 Kings 17:13–16; 17:22–24; 18:36–40; and 2 Kings 2:9–12. What did they discuss with the Lord Jesus? See Luke 9:30–31.
  6. When Peter, James, and John are overshadowed by the bright cloud, they hear the voice of God the Father. According to Matthew’s Gospel, when did we hear this same voice speaking these same words? See Matthew 3:17. What is different in this account of Jesus’ transfiguration? What does this mean for Jesus’ work of salvation for us, His Christians?
  7. In Matthew 17:9, why does Jesus command the disciples to “tell no one the vision, until the Son of Man is raised from the dead”?
  8. What does it mean that we celebrate the Transfiguration of Our Lord at the end of the Epiphany season and immediately before the season of Lent?
  9. How does the story of Jesus’ transfiguration give us a picture of our life as Christians, both now and into eternity? See also 1 Corinthians 15:44; 2 Peter 1:3–4; and 1 John 3:2.

Written by sengelem

February 25th, 2014 at 8:00 am

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February 23, 2014: Sermon on the Mount: Enemies, Ananias Cares for Saul

 

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    The text for this lesson is Matthew 5:38–48; Acts 9:10–19

    Key Point

  • Through Christ, we can forgive and serve even our enemies, as Ananias did in serving Saul.
  • Law: My sinful flesh causes me to fear for my life and fight against my enemies.
  • Gospel: The perfect love of Jesus drives out fear and moves me to reach out to those who persecute me.

Discussion Points

  1. In our last session, we focused on relationships with the brother, that is, the fellow Christian. In this session, we will consider how to relate to “enemies,” or those outside the Church. What are your initial thoughts? How do we relate to our enemies? What about those who are regularly cruel, unkind, abusive, and ungrateful to us?
  2. Jesus quotes to His disciples, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” From what is He quoting? On what basis does He counter this saying?
  3. Does this mean that a Christian is never to accuse another person of a crime or of wrongdoing? Is a Christian never to make use of the civil courts? Is a Christian never to resist violence with violence?
  4. Jesus goes on to say that nonresistance is not enough, but that we are actively to love our enemies. What is the viewpoint that He is opposing?
  5. Now look at the account of Ananias’s call to baptize Saul, who would become Paul (Acts 9:10–18). How does this illustrate Christ’s call to love our enemies? What additional insight and inspiration does it provide?
  6. Let’s take a closer look at how the “eye for an eye” principle still applies. We mentioned that one can resist an evil person for the sake of the neighbor. How exactly does that work in today’s society?
  7. What about those in the Church? How do we deal with a fellow Christian who has committed an evil against us or acts as an enemy?
  8. This all seems so demanding. Even when we understand Christ’s call to love our enemies, how can we possibly accomplish this? Is there any Gospel in this passage?

Written by sengelem

February 19th, 2014 at 7:36 am

February 16, 2014 Sermon on the Mount: Anger/Onesimus and Philemon

 

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    The text for this lesson is Matthew 5:21–26; The Book of Philemon.

    Key Point

  • As God has reconciled us to Himself through Christ, we seek to be reconciled to one another in the forgiveness of Christ.
  • Law: My forgiveness frequently falters.
  • Gospel: God’s forgiveness in Christ remains constant, transforming me to work for reconciliation with my neighbors.

Discussion Points

  1. There isn’t a commandment that says “You shall not be angry,” or “You shall not hate.” Or is there? It can be tempting not to reflect on the implications and full scope of the Commandments. But what do you think about hate or being angry? Can you think of some Scripture passages that teach us about hate or anger?
  2. How does Jesus explain the command not to murder? Are the various illustrations He offers, along with their corresponding punishments, fundamentally different from one another (Matthew 5:22)? What does the Small Catechism say about this commandment?
  3. Jesus refers to the “brother” as the one against whom we should not be angry. Who is the brother? How does forgiveness fit into this? Does this mean those who are not “brothers” can be insulted and hated?
  4. What more does this passage tell us about the place of forgiveness (v. 23ff.)? How does this connect to last session, where we saw the demand of the Law not diluted in any way, yet full justice obtained by Jesus Christ?
  5. Do you see the subtle shift in language beginning with verse 25? What has changed in this illustration to cause this shift?a
  6. Turn to Philemon. Much of what Paul writes here is indirect language. Why is that? What message(s) is Paul trying to get across to Philemon? What does it have to do with anger as we have spoken of it?
  7. Let’s look back at part of the Matthew passage and apply it specifically to our own contemporary context. Matthew 5:23–24 refers to offering a gift on the altar and being reconciled with one’s brother. What is the comparable situation for us today? What does this teach us about the connection between worship and fellowship? What are some ways that we could do better at being reconciled with our brothers and sisters prior to “offering our gift”?

Written by sengelem

February 12th, 2014 at 7:12 am