PETER

Peter and The Return of Christ – March 29, 2015

Luke 19:28-43
Palm Sunday celebrates Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. It was a surprising and unusual arrival for a King. Jesus arrived not with pomp and ceremony or military force, but with great humility, on a borrowed young donkey, and yet many recognized and worshiped him as the King who saves.

Between the triumphal entry and the cross Jesus spoke incessantly about his second coming. He predicted that it would be as unusual and surprising as his first coming. However,Jesus taught less about how his disciples would find that day, and more about how that day would find them. This passage calls every disciple of Jesus to, “Be dressed and ready for service, and keep your lamps burning.” This is a great reminder for us in the week leading up to Easter.

1. Why do you think Peter asked Jesus of the command to “be dressed ready for service” was for the 12 or for all disciples? What would it look like if our whole church orientated their lives around Jesus’ return and not just the ‘radical few?’

2. Speak of a time when you have been awakened to the reality of eternity and how it changed the way you live?

3. Talk about the contrast in Jesus’ response to those servants who were faithful while their master was away and those who were not.Pray for each other to be faithful, watchful servants living for our master rather than ourselves.


PETER

Authority Anxiety and The Devil – March 25, 2015

1 Peter 5:1-11

1 Peter 5 is a short chapter, but covers quite a lot of ground.  It goes from the relationship between elders and members to the issue of anxiety and then on to the problem of the devil.  The early church was still just taking shape especially in this region of Asia Minor to whom the letter is addressed, so some churches didn’t even have elders in place.  Peter is building the foundations of church community into these churches by challenging members to recognize Godly authority, but also urging the leaders to live out their calling under God.  As he deals with anxiety and the devil the interconnection among his seemingly broad spectrum of topics becomes clear.  There are forces acting against each one of them, both internally and externally that will break down God’s intended order and try to subvert his plan.  Peter exhorts everyone to be aware of these things and act according in humility, with vigilance and a deep dependence on Jesus.

1. Pride is a great enemy of healthy Christian community, both in leaders abusing their authority and members inability to submit to elders.  How and why have you struggled with humility as it relates to leadership and other Christians?

2. Anxiety seems to be a growing epidemic in America and we often ignore it trying to deal with it unproductive ways: alcohol, entertainment and consumerism among others.  Discuss why it can be difficult to deal with anxiety Peter’s way, “casting all your anxieties on him.”

3. Peter warns his audience about the devil as if they may not be aware of this threat.  Do you have a healthy awareness of the devil and how does it inform the way you live your daily life?


PETER

Pursuing Christ and Pursuing Holiness – March 15, 2015

In 2 Peter 1:3-11, Peter writes to remind Christians of the avenue in which God has provided holiness, the aim and end result of their holiness, the ambition from which to pursue holiness and the great dangers in a personal absence of holiness. Peter wants his readers to know that God has already made them holy in Christ and they pursue further holiness from a position of full acceptance. He is informing them that they need not be discouraged in their pursuit of holiness, for God has given them “all things that pertain to life and godliness.” And through His wonderful grace, they can further enter into relationship with God and His promises for their lives.

1. In what ways do you have a hard time understanding your positional holiness (the free gift of God’s righteousness) in Christ?

2. How can we create a culture at Southlands of a gospel-centered pursuit of holiness?

3. What wrong ambition (or motive) for holiness do you most often find in your heart? Working for the approval of God? The approval of others? Or the approval of yourself?

4. What is the biggest obstacle in your own pursuit of holiness? Apathy? Fitting into the culture of the world? Or reacting to legalism?


PETER

A New View of the Church – March 1, 2015

Today we begin to look at Peter’s first letter. We have seen his transformation from a faltering follower of Jesus to becoming a founder of the church. We see him now as a wise and gracious father figure in the church. He is writing to encourage Christians who have been scattered by persecution around A.D. 60. Although they are scattered he wants to remind them that Jesus is building his church despite persecution, and in fact through the persecution. Because of the scattering of Christians across cultural boundaries, Jesus was building His church as one new Nation made up of Jews and Gentiles.

1. Family Question: What does it mean to be a “holy nation”?

2. Family Question: If we are a chosen race, what does that imply for our lives?

3. How does a Christian’s identity as a ‘living stone being built into a temple’ challenge our individualism and an aversion to commitment?

4. What does it mean to be a priest offering sacrifices? What sacrifices are acceptable to God for New Testament priests?

5. If the church is called to live as aliens in this world, how are we to engage the world? Do you tend to be more of a ‘blender’ or a ‘ separatist?’


PETER

Take Heart I Have Overcome the World – February 22, 2015 9am

Persecution While Advancing the Gospel – February 22, 2015 11am

Herod persecuted the church after the gospel was preached to the Gentiles. He beheaded the apostle James and sentenced Peter to death. While Peter was sleeping, an angel miraculously rescued him from jail, and he went to tell the praying church that he was alive before he left for Jerusalem. After receiving worship, Herod is eaten by worms. This passage focuses on Jesus’ followers expecting suffering, Peter’s lack of anxiety before impending death, God’s power and sovereignty to rescue us, and the power of prayer for boldness that the gospel would go forward.

1. Family Question- Peter was in prison about to be martyred and was not scared. Why was he not worried and able to sleep?

2. Family Question- If you find yourself suffering because of your faith in Jesus, why should you, like Peter, not worry?

3. In prison Peter was able to sleep through the night although being bound between two soldiers and facing death in the morning. In difficult times, how are you tempted to turn to other things besides God to give you peace?

4. How did the early church pray when they faced persecution? How should we pray when we hear about Christians being persecuted?

5. In this passage, you see James gives up his life for the gospel. Very recently, Christians have died from Isis persecution for the gospel. What are some of things you feel to give up for the sake of the gospel?


PETER

The Gospel and Our “isms” – February 15, 2015

Today we look at a momentous chapter in the history of the Church, as the door of  the gospel is first opened to the Gentiles. However, it requires an angelic visitation, a  heavenly vision and a conversation with Jesus to overcome Peter’s Jewish pride and Gentile prejudice. He eventually obeys and goes to preach the gospel in the house of an Italian Centurion named Cornelius. As Peter preaches, the Holy Spirit falls upon Cornelius and his friends, just as it did upon the Jews at Pentecost, and they are baptized in water. This is the fulfillment of Jesus’ commission to make disciples of all nations, but it first required that Jesus’ heal Peter of his Jewish favoritism. It’s not the only ‘ism’ that gets dealt with in the passage though. God is constantly healing us from having a divided heart, bringing us to a place in which Christ alone is ultimate.

1. When a good thing becomes an ultimate thing, it often becomes an ‘ism.’ For instance, morals are good, but when they are ultimate we fall into ‘moralism.’ Discuss how the angel encouraged Cornelius’s morals but challenged his moralism. How does the gospel heal us of moralism?

2. This passage also confronts Peter’s ‘favoritism.’ Favoritism might be defined as an attitude that holds one group of people as superior to another. This might be expressed in race, age, class, gender or political persuasion. Talk honestly about how Jesus is  healing you of ‘favoritism.’

3. We might not have favoritism in our hearts, but sometimes our ‘conservatism’ causes us to protest against radical obedience. Peter’s “Surely not, Lord,” is often our own protest. What is Jesus calling you to do that causes us to protest with a, ‘Surely not, Lord?” Pray for each other, for courage to obey.


PETER

Peter’s Prayer Life – February 8, 2015

Peter was transformed by the Holy Spirit from being a man who fell asleep in prayer at the Transfiguration and in the Garden of Gethsemane, to being a man of powerful prayer. This week we will look at the qualities of this transformation; qualities of public demonstration, simple devotion and communal passion in prayer. Peter’s weakness in prayer is for our comfort and his transformation is for our encouragement. By the power of the Spirit it can be our transformation too.

1. Talk about your personal struggles in devotional discipline, and also about any progress you have recently made.

2. Peter unpacks the vital quality of faith when praying for people. “This man was healed by Jesu name, by faith in his name and the faith that comes through Jesus.” Talk about your journey of faith in prayer.

3. The gathered church in Acs 4 ‘lifted up their voices together, praised the Sovereignty of God, and asked God to consider the authorities’ threats’ but most of all they prayed for the Holy Spirit’s boldness to speak the word boldly. How does this passage show us the importance of communal prayer? Spend some time praying together for boldness in mission.


PETER

Pentecost and the Mission of God – February 1, 2015

Pentecost is not simply an important moment in the life of the early church, it is the culmination of the entire Old Testament story in which God had planned to fill His people with the fullness of the Spirit for the sake of the entire world hearing the name of Jesus. Peter is among those first believers to be filled with the Spirit and his leadership and person were dramatically changed. He went from being an unreliable and self-reliant follower to a steadfast, trusted leader in the church.

1. Which of the following do you tend towards, reformer (theology and Bible study) or revivalist (desiring the presence and power of God)? How can you pursue a healthy balance of both?

2. How do you see the Spirit empowering you towards mission? In what ways can you be further submitted to the Lord’s leading to share Jesus with others?

3. What are you currently asking or trusting God to do in your own life or at Southlands?


PETER

Peter Breakfast And The Kingdom – January 25, 2015

After Jesus’ death and resurrection, He presented himself alive to the disciples with many convincing proofs over 40 days, speaking about the kingdom of God.” (Acts 1:2) This passage, in which Jesus provides another miraculous catch of fish for the disciples and prepares breakfast on the beach for them, was one such occasion. The beach breakfast led to a conversation between Peter and Jesus that was painfully revealing, deeply healing, and graciously restoring. The passage reveals Peter’s progress in the kingdom, Peter’s problem in the kingdom, and Jesus’ gracious remedy to that problem. It is our remedy too if we will embrace it.

1. Compare Peter’s response to the miraculous catch of fish in Luke 5 with John 21. From asking Jesus to depart from Him he now runs towards Jesus. Which way do you tend run when you are in trouble?

2. Jesus goes to the ‘sin behind the sin’ of Peter’s denial in His question, “Do you love me?” Peter’s real sin was pride and his point of repentance was saying to Jesus, “You know all things.” He shows that he is less self-assured and more sure of Jesus. Talk about the ‘sin behind the sin’ that you struggle with.

3. Jesus’ recommission of Peter came with a warning  against comparing his calling with John’s calling. “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?”  Speak of a situation in which you are tempted to envy someone else life or calling.


PETER

The Transfiguration – January 18, 2015

The Transfiguration is one of the great pinnacle moments of the gospels, revealing the deity of Jesus and foreshadowing his resurrection. It’s an extraordinary passage, describing the arrival of two dead men, Jesus’ transformation into a glorious supernatural being like no one living has ever seen before, the audible voice of God crashing into the scene along with a huge cloud and Peter, James and John are mortified just before it all disappears as quickly as it came. Then Peter, true to form, just blurts out the first thing that comes to his mind in what sounds to be awkward at best if not just a foolish thing to say. The question is, “Why did it happen?” The answer lies in understanding Christ’s purpose in the earth and the confusion that remained around how the Messiah would actually redeem all of humanity through is death and resurrection. By better understanding this passage, we better understand what it means to encounter the glory of God in our own lives to be empowered for His great calling upon our lives.

1 . The glory of God in His presence with us is a key aspect of the Christian faith. Describe your own experience of God’s glory. What was the result in your life?

2. Often we feel that we need to ‘see before we believe,’ but The Transfiguration comes after Peter’s confession of faith. Discuss the ways in which God might be challenging you to ‘believe before you see.’

3. Peter experienced the glory of God on the mountain in accurate revelation, but misunderstood the application. He wanted to stay there forever, but Jesus calls us to go. Describe your own struggles to want to ‘stay’ in what is preferable and where you see God calling you to move on to fulfill His missional calling for your life.


PETER

Defining Moments – January 11, 2015

Last week we looked at the many contradictions in Simon Peter’s life. He makes the progress of following Jesus as master yet tells him to go away from him in the next moment of regress. Today we look at a defining moment in which Simon confesses Jesus as God and King. This is followed by a further defining moment in which Jesus gives Simon a new name and a new task. We are ultimately defined by what we say about Jesus and what he says about us. However, pita is offended at the idea of Hid King suffering and dying on the cross. His eyes are still not fully open to who Jesus is, and the defining continues, this time with a sharp rebuke from Jesus and a teaching on the way of the cross.

Jesus is not just a king. Jesus is a king must suffer and die on the cross and he calls his disciples to come to the cross and to follow the way of the cross.

1. What people have defined you the most? What would Jesus change in their definitions of you?

2. Jesus said “I must suffer many things.” What about the human condition requires Jesus to suffer many things for us? How does Isisah 53 describe the many ways that Jesus redeemed us?

3. What aspect of self-denial is most difficult for you okay as you follow the way of the cross? Pray for each other in this regard.


PETER 

A Call For Change – January 4, 2015

Luke 15:1-11. This sermon begins our series on the life of Peter. We will track his life through the Gospels, Acts and his letters. We will see how Jesus transformed him from a fragile stone into a sturdy rock in the early church.   We will see that his progress as a follower of Jesus  is both dramatic and faltering, and that Jesus is infinitely patient with him. Alongside  his courageous passion, we  will see his frail humanity and recognize Jesus’ power which is made perfect in his weakness. “Peter comes nearer to us than any of his bother Apostles. We revere James , the brother of the Lord, for his austere saintliness. Restrain our eyes in the effort to follow John to the serve heights, whither his eagle -wings bore him. But Peter is so human, so like ourselves in his downsizings and uprisings, so compassed with infirmity, that we are encouraged to hope that perhaps the great Potter may be ablate make something even of our common clay. ”

1. Peter’s life is marked by progress and regress. Tell of an area of your life in which you have struggled to experience progress and how you are trusting Jesus for breakthrough this year.

2. Jesus not only asks to borrow Peter’s boat, he then directs Peter’s to take his boat out into deep water. It is as Peter follows Jesus direction that he experiences the great catch of fish. How is Jesus directing your ‘boat’ this year?

3. Jesus is providing a model for mission for these men before he calls them to join him on mission. What does this model look like, and how can we apply it to out lives together, as ‘fishers of men?’


PETER

Defining Moments – January 11, 2015

Last week we looked at the many contradictions in Simon Peter’s life. He makes the progress of following Jesus as master yet tells him to go away from him in the next moment of regress. Today we look at a defining moment in which Simon confesses Jesus as God and King. This is followed by a further defining moment in which Jesus gives Simon a new name and a new task. We are ultimately defined by what we say about Jesus and what he says about us. However, pita is offended at the idea of Hid King suffering and dying on the cross. His eyes are still not fully open to who Jesus is, and the defining continues, this time with a sharp rebuke from Jesus and a teaching on the way of the cross.
Jesus is not just a king. Jesus is a king must suffer and die on the cross and he calls his disciples to come to the cross and to follow the way of the cross.

1. What people have defined you the most? What would Jesus change in their definitions of you?

2. Jesus said “I must suffer many things.” What about the human condition requires Jesus to suffer many things for us? How does Isaiah 53 describe the many ways that Jesus redeemed us?

3. What aspect of self-denial is most difficult for you okay as you follow the way of the cross? Pray for each other in this regard.

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