July 12th, 2020
Let’s spend some time thinking together with God about this week’s message. If you haven’t heard it yet, you can watch it online here. Throughout this exercise, be aware of what God might be saying to you and what you are going to do about it.
The Scripture for this week was Matthew 3:13-17. Read the passage and spend three minutes of silence while you try to discern what God is saying to you through the passage.
This week we celebrated baptisms including several people who decided to do so spontaneously. Spend some time in your Group sharing about your baptism experience. Where were you? How old? What set of experiences caused you to want to take that step? Who baptized you and why were they significant in your life? If you haven’t been baptized, what is your main reason for having not made that decision?
Pastors often have discussions with folks that would like to be baptized again that have been baptized as infants, toddlers, children, or even as adults. If baptism is fundamentally a public declaration that you are a follower of Jesus, a symbol of dying to your old self, and resurrecting as a new person changed by Jesus, why not be baptized again – or even many multiple times? Are there any good reasons to refuse someone’s request to be baptized?
How important is baptism to you? How important should baptism be to the church? Imagine you lived in a severely persecuted country where you could not participate in public baptism without the likelihood of retribution. Would it still be wise for believers to do public baptisms and face punishment? How would you navigate this situation? What does that say about the value you place on the activity of baptism?
Spend three minutes asking the Holy Spirit to give you some thoughts about how to live differently in light of what was revealed to you through the Scripture and hearing from others in your Group.
FOR individual Study
The Scripture for this week was Matthew 3:13-17. Read the passages and spend three minutes of silence while you try to discern what God is saying to you through the passages.
A striking feature of this passage is the notion that Jesus wants to get baptized at all. There are some denominations of Christianity that stress the importance of baptism as an activity that in some sense “saves” you. Why might someone think this? Does the fact that Jesus decided to be baptized bear on this topic at all?
In verse 16, we read that “heaven was opened.” When you read this, what do you picture in your mind? Is it the clouds parting and a big ray of sunshine beaming down? Could it mean something else? What do you think?
Why did John the Baptist remark that he thought he should be baptized by Jesus rather than the other way around? What does this say about John and Jesus’ relationship? What did John know about Jesus that made him feel this way? Did he have a unique insight into Jesus being divine in some way?
Spend three minutes asking the Holy Spirit to give you some thoughts about how to live differently in light of what was revealed to you through the Scripture.
Use what you learned to spark conversation with someone. Ask what they think about some of these topics.
Want to find a community to talk through some of these ideas? Check out our Groups and eGroups here.