Sunday Scripture Reading: Jason Pratt
Sunday Song Leader: Russ Robins
TEXT: John 12.20-26
During August, we’re learning what it means to have a servant’s heart. In Jesus’ teaching in John 12.24-26, Jesus revealed a shocking truth: The kingdom would not come into existence unless He died. The time for His glorification had come (12.23) but not on a triumphant physical conquering, but through substitutionary death. The only thing ahead of him, in human terms, was stunning humiliation and overwhelming defeat via death by crucifixion. What Jesus does in our text is turn the human concept of winning upside down. How could Jesus’ death be a victory? How can we develop this same attitude in knowing how to lose? If we want to be true servants, we need to know what this means.
Think of how losing stands in great contrast to success, which is the American goal in everything. We view success as winning. But, Jesus lost so that we might be blessed, Ephesians 1.7-8a. Because He lost, we can be redeemed, sanctified, and forgiven! Will we emulate His attitude? When Christians know how to lose, they become capable through God’s strength to be part of some of the most special things in life. All of these begin with a willingness to crucify the old self - and put on a willingness to serve others.
In John 12.25-26, Jesus gives a general invitation. It is a call to death. Why? If you love your life, you lose it. If you hate your life in this world, you will keep it for eternal life. Will you count the cost? Will you turn from your sinful attitudes and actions? Will you respond in total dependence on God, calling on His name for salvation? It’s important, because if you will, then you get eternal life in Jesus’ presence, and honor from God.
On Sunday, we’ll talk about:
- How Jesus would be glorified.
- See how “knowing how to lose” is the foundation of Christian servanthood.
- Consider Jesus’ general invitation in John 12.25-26.
- Examine what the servant receives by losing his life.
As you prepare for worship this weekend, please ask yourself these questions:
- How strong is your willingness to lose? For others? For your own spiritual life?
- Why is it so difficult to make ourselves vulnerable? What can you do to overcome?
- What are some physical blessings you’ve received because you’ve removed the focus off yourself and placed it on others?
- How is John 12.25-26 a call for us to count the cost?
- Can you think of any New Testament passages which emphasize the need for a person to die to himself/herself? How are you doing in applying these? Where can you begin?
SUNDAY SCRIPTURE READING: Dan Teater
Sunday SONG LEADER: Jim Grushon
TEXT: Matthew 12.14-21
In 2013, a study in the journal Psychological Science compared over 1 million books, looking at how word usage has changed over the last two hundred years. What they found, is that Americans are becoming more selfish. For example, today words like give and help are used far less than choose and get. Media experts now tell us that selfishness is a good thing.
This stands in total contrast with Biblical Christianity. Understanding servanthood is essential because, it is only after you get out of yourself and begin to serve others that you can experience what Christianity is all about: loving God and others.
This week, we’ll examine servanthood from Matthew’s gospel. In Chapter 12, God calls Jesus His “servant.” What does this mean? And, what are three good examples of servanthood that we can explore from this passage?
- Matthew 12.15 -Compassion.
- Matthew 12.18-19 - Humility.
- Matthew 12.20-21 - Encouragement for the weak.
Before we conclude on Sunday, you’ll be encouraged to take out your prayer list and identify someone in the family who is weak and being beat down spiritually. Who do you know who has a hole in their heart because of sin or someone else’s sin? Who can you serve by:
- taking out to lunch?
- sending a card?
- dropping in for a quick visit?
- pray with?
- talk to, or listen to?
True happiness is found by genuine, heartfelt, Christ-centered servanthood. Who will you serve in our spiritual family?
SUNDAY SCRIPTURE READING: Greg Morrison
Sunday SONG LEADER: Jason Schofield
TEXT: Philippians 2.1-5
Our text on Sunday is rooted in an apostolic call to live worthily by maintaining congregational unity. Paul viewed individual church members as being in partnership with one another, standing together, sharing together, striving together, and suffering together (1.27-28a). To accomplish this, he talks about the proper motives for unity (2.1) and defines what unity looks like (2.2).
In Philippians 2.3-4, Paul teaches how unity is achieved or maintained. Unity happens when believers have a humble disposition, counting others as more significant than themselves.
This week, we’ll look at four ways this happens:
- Do nothing from selfish ambition.
- Do nothing from conceit.
- Be humble.
- Look not only to your own interests.
Before we conclude on Sunday, you’ll be encouraged to think about the relationships within our spiritual family. When you get Philippians 2.4, you’ll understand that it is, in fact, a real life application of Matthew 22.39, you shall love your neighbor as yourself. Practically thinking, how can you make the good of others the focus of your life? What are some ways you can find joy in making others joyful? Who within our church family is:
- A widow or widower who you can spend time with?
- A young person you can take under your wing?
- A newlywed couple who needs guidance and encouragement?
- Someone you can go visit and pray with?
- Someone going through a valley that you can join with and walk through it together?
The focus for us really should be will we count others as worthy of our help and encouragement? Will we actually take the time to do things that will help build them up?
Who can you serve this week?
SUNDAY SCRIPTURE READING: Chris Fles
Sunday SONG LEADER: Jim Rutter
TEXT: Philippians 2.1-2
The New Testament has much to say in regards to congregational unity and togetherness. When the church is unified, it is strong and powerful, Acts 4.32-33. Over the last two weeks we have focused on Paul’s teaching in Philippians 1-2. His words are emphatic at the end of Chapter 1. We must live in a way that is worthy of the gospel of Christ and that is accomplished by standing together side by side for the gospel. Last week, we focused on verse one of Chapter 2 where Paul gives us four motives for unity: encouragement; comfort, participation, and affection/sympathy.
And now on this Sunday, we’ll focus on verse 2. Here Paul answers the question: What is unity? He will describe in depth what it looks like by giving his readers four distinct qualities. The emphasis here is on brethren being united together in the same attitude and with the same purpose.
We’ll talk about:
- Being of the same mind.
- Having the same love.
- Being in full accord.
- Being of one mind.
For Your Thought and Reflection
- Why do you think a focus on unity is so important while we live in today’s world?
- When conflict happens, from what does it always arise?
- How can you have the mind of Christ?
- How is this a mark of maturity?
- What does “one-souled” mean to you?
TEXT: Philippians 2.1-2
Previously we learned that Paul called on Christians to “live as citizens” of a higher kingdom, a spiritual kingdom (Philippians 1.27-28a). In first century, citizenship meant that you didn’t live for yourself. Rather, it was a life lived for the good of others, living in partnership with those in society. Now, as citizens of heaven, we are to have positive interactions with fellow believers as we progress on the journey to heaven. We are to live in a manner worthy of the gospel… It’s all about interdependence and relationship.
On Sunday, we’ll move into Philippians 2 and learn about four driving motives for unity. By examining our relationship with Jesus, we can the basis of our togetherness inside the spiritual family.
We’ll talk about:
- The encouragement we receive from Christ and each other.
- Our experience of comfort that we gain through the love of Christ and one another.
- Our sharing life together through the work of the Spirit.
- The deeply affected feelings we have from God and one another’s love and sympathy for each other.
For Your Thought and Reflection
- What are some ways in your life where Jesus has personally, consistently, and faithfully helped you?
- Why must we see what we do spiritually as the result of a relationship and not something impersonal?
- Read Romans 5.1-5. What five things do you read in these verses that demonstrate the result of justification by faith?
- Is unity something we produce? Yes? No? If not, what is it?
- How do terms like affection and sympathy move you emotionally as you think of your connection to God and others?