Sermon Discussion Guide 3/10/24

Sermon Recap:

Text: 1 John 5:4-12

Big Idea: Trust God

Summary: John transitions from a long discourse on love to now addressing faith. It is important to remember that these are not two separate thoughts that are mutually exclusive from one another. Rather, they work together to produce the life that God desires in His people. 

In verses 4-5, John places an emphasis on faith. Faith serves as the means by which we overcome the world. It is not our works that give us the victory, but genuine faith will inevitably produce a changed life. If we trust God, then we will listen to Him. If we listen to Him, we will pursue lives of love.

John moves into verses 6-8 and emphasizes the Object of our faith—namely, Jesus Christ. Jesus is attested to through HIs baptism (water), His death and subsequent resurrection (blood), and the witness of His Spirit in the continued work through the Church (see John 14:17; 15:26; 16:13; Acts 1:8).

Finally, in verses 9-12, John articulates the witness or testimony (Greek: martyr) that is produced in those who have faith in Jesus. As we "absorb His testimony in our lives" (D.A. Carson), then we will live as a witness to the truthfulness of the Gospel we believe. Three ways to increase our trust in God (at least three dominant themes in the New Testament) are (1) through the work of the Holy Spirit. Something we can't control. (2) Through trials, and typically really hard and difficult ones (see James 1:2-3 and 1 Peter 1:6-7). And (3) through practices of the spiritual disciplines of prayer and Scripture, as well as the fellowship of other Christians and stepping out "in faith" by sharing the Gospel or giving more generously than you planned to a need.

Questions for Discussion:

1. How do you understand the relationship of faith and works? How can we safeguard from becoming legalists?

2. Three common beliefs about faith were presented: (1) faith is wishful thinking, (2) faith is a feeling or sensation found in an experience, and (3) faith is affirming a set of doctrinal beliefs. How has your journey in understanding what faith is and how it changes your life shifted over the course of your journey as a Christian?

3. Do you struggle to trust in someone or something to supply what you need to have the version of life that you think is best?

4. What does it look like to bear witness in your life to the truthfulness of the Gospel?

5. What would a list of qualities or characteristics comprise of in someone who exemplifies the faithful life? Do you have someone in particular you think of?

6. Do you have a trial that God has led you through that has increased your faith or led to doubts?

7. What practices do you think would assist in pressing deeper into the faithful life?

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