4/3/2016 Sermon Discussion Questions

April 04 2016
April 04 2016

By

Date: 4/3/2016

Series: Resurrection Revolution

Title: Revolution against Popular History

Speaker: Bart Garrett

Text: Acts 13:13-33a

Reflection Quotes:

“The book of Acts...is full of the energy and excitement of the early Christians as they found God doing new things all over the place and learned to take the good news of Jesus around the world. It’s also full of the puzzles and problems that churches faced then and face today – crises over leadership, money, ethnic divisions, theology and ethics, not to mention serious clashes with political and religious authorities. It’s comforting to know that ‘normal church life’, even in the time of the first apostles, was neither trouble-free nor plain sailing, just as it’s encouraging to know that even in the midst of all their difficulties the early church was able to take the gospel forward in such dynamic ways. Actually, ‘plain sailing’ reminds us that this is the book where more journeys take place, including several across the sea, than anywhere else in the Bible – with the last journey, in particular, including a terrific storm and a dramatic shipwreck. There isn’t a dull page in Acts. But, equally importantly, the whole book reminds us that whatever ‘journey’ we are making, in our own lives, our spirituality, our following of Jesus, and our work for his kingdom, his spirit will guide us too, and make us fruitful in his service.” –N.T. Wright, Acts for Everyone (Introduction)

“Tomorrow, & tomorrow, & tomorrow, Creeps in this petty pace from day to day, To the last syllable of recorded time; & all our yesterdays have lighted fools, The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player, That struts & frets his hour upon the stage, & then is heard no more. It is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound & fury, Signifying nothing.” -Shakespeare, Macbeth (Lord Macbeth upon hearing of Lady Macbeth’s death & his impending demise)

“Father in Heaven! What are we without you? What is all that we know, vast accumulation though it be, but a chipped fragment if we do not know you? What is all our striving, could it ever encompass a world, but a half-finished work if we do not know you?” -Soren Kierkegaard, Purity of Heart is to Will One Thing.

Outline:

Paul's sermon in Acts 13 is about:

1) Nothing more than history's past, present, and future.

2) Nothing less than your past, present, and future.

Questions:

  • Read the Text two times as a group. Circle all of the action verbs. Ask God to teach you through the Scriptures.
  • Past, Present, and Future exercise. Go around the circle and describe your past, present, and future, each one with only one word.
  • Discuss the "problem with history." History seems like a cyclical crapshoot. There is seemingly no progress and thereby no point (see Macbeth's soliloquy). How have you experienced this as you've looked back over history?
  • When we measure history, we often use individuals, families, cities, nation-states, civilizations, or cultures. But what if God became our proper unit of measure (read Kierkeegaard's quote)? Note all 16 action verbs in his sermon that Paul associates with God. What do they suggest about God?
  • "If Jesus was raised from the dead, then your past, though painful, is redeemable, your future, though secret (or hidden), is secure, and your present, though seemingly tedious and futile, is fraught with meaning." How does the work of the crucifixion redeem your past? How does the reality of the resurrection secure your future? What does the day-to-day life in your home, work, and parish look like if it is to be "fraught with meaning"?
  • Question for deeper reflection: If you offered this prayer to God ("Jesus, I want to know you better!") and Jesus showed up in your kitchen in the flesh and said: "Well, you need to eat what I eat (Scripture), have the conversations that I have (prayer), hang out with the people that I hang out with (truthful and loving fellowship), and follow me in my daily work (mission of God)." What would you do? How would you respond?