Thursday, February 29, 2024

A Cautionary Tale  | John 15:18–25

The Gospel of John is a unique and powerful account of the life, teachings, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Written by John, one of Jesus' closest disciples, this gospel presents a deep and thoughtful perspective on the person and work of Jesus. Unlike the other three gospels, which are known as the Synoptic Gospels and focus on Jesus' actions and teachings, John's gospel emphasizes the spiritual and theological significance of Jesus' life and ministry. For this series I will write some of the small group questions that go along with each sermon. It seemed like a waste to leave them in a file on my computer and not share them with everyone.

Small Group Questions | A Cautionary Tale  | John 15:18–25

Growing up many of us were told ‘cautionary tales’. This could have been not to eat watermelon seeds, swallow bubble gum, or to go outside with wet hair. For the last couple of weeks, in the Gospel of John, we’ve seen this reoccurring theme of love. Jesus instructed them to keep His commands as a way to show their love for Jesus. Today we have a turn in our passage. Today Jesus is going to tell them that the world is going to hate them. It’s a cautionary tale but one that will come true. Jesus is preparing for them for what will happen to them for following Him. Jesus wants them to know that those who follow Him will endure persecution and be hated.

1) Think of some of the cautionary tales you were told as a kid. It might have been, about food, facial features, swimming, what happens with food, or something else. Share one of your favorites from your childhood with the group. 

2) Read John 15:18-19. Jesus told the disciples they would be hated by the world for two reasons: They are not of the world and They identify with Jesus. As someone who identifies with Jesus do you feel like the world hates you for following Jesus? 

3) Think historically for this question: Much of Christianity has experienced persecution for following Jesus. Share some things that seem like persecution and then share things that are really examples of persecution. 

4) Have everyone in the group take out their phone and do some quick research on global statistics for persecution and martyrdom against Christians. What does the research data show about persecution that is happening right now? Thinking of these statistics: what surprises you most and what saddens you the most? 

5) Read John 15:20-25. Jesus was hated by the world for His words and His works. What are the works of Jesus that are so off-putting to those in the world? What do we like the least about our sin being brought into the light? 

6) Most of the American church has yet to experience persecution yet. When you think of this passage, what are you most fearful about if persecution does come to the American church? How do you think you will respond when it comes? 

7) Neal used an illustration of a ladder to explain how we try to straddle the things of the world while walking with Jesus. What are some things of the world that you want to let go of so you can cling more to Jesus this year? 

Close your time in prayer. Pray for strength to invite a friend to meet Jesus. 

No comments: