Sermon Questions

Post sermon discussion questions for further reflection…
 
Sunday 12th September – Mark 10:35-45
Questions for further reflection on Servant Leadership
 
What has been your experience of Christian leadership so far?
 
Read Mark 10:35-45
What is the danger even for close followers of Jesus?
 
How do you see that in church leaders/in yourself?
What does Jesus say about how his way is different from the world’s way?
Why is it different?
 
Read Daniel 7:13-14
What sort of status does the Son of Man figure have and how does he get it?
Why would that be a comfort to Daniel, given his circumstances?
 
Re-Read Mark 10:45
What does Jesus’ service mean for him?
What does Jesus’ service mean for others?
Thank the LORD Jesus for his service of us, paying for our self-centred discipleship.
How does remembering Jesus help you as you lead/are led?
What can we pray for ourselves and others as leaders?
 
 
Sunday 25th July – Isaiah 60:1-22
 
There are only two commands in this passage (verses 1 and 4), and a lot of promises!  
 
1. The command to “Arise, shine…” in v. 1 would be very daunting, if it meant shining forth the light of our own brilliance.  But if Jesus is the true Light and glory of the LORD, how does that change things?  
 
2. If vv. 3-9 speak of the nations coming to Zion, where do se see that being fulfilled today?  How will we see it fulfilled one day?  How might that encourage us to arise and shine this week?
 
3. If vv. 10-14 speak of the LORD’s enemies being humbled, how does Jesus confirm that this will happen?  We might instantly feel concerned about family members who don’t know the LORD, but is Isaiah writing to concern us or comfort us? How might that encourage us to arise and shine this week?
 
4. If vv. 15-18 speak of the LORD transforming Zion, what do you find most intriguing and exciting? What picture is being painted of the New Heavens and the New Earth? How might that encourage us to arise and shine this week?
 
5. If vv. 19-22 speak of the LORD lighting up Zion with his presence. Even if it’s hard (or rather, impossible) to imagine what this will be like, what signs are there that it will be good?    How might that encourage us to arise and shine this week?
 
 
Sunday 11th July  – Isaiah 58
 
v.1
How do we know this is a vital message?
 
v.2-5
Fasting was a solemn, serious act which showed a humble, repentant heart.
What has it become?
 
When is our Christianity in danger of becoming the same?
 
v.6-14
What does God require of his people?
 
How would you sum up the life God wants for us?
 
What does God promise for his people as they give themselves to his concerns?
 
How are those things brought by Christ? And experienced by Christians?
 
How might we seek those things elsewhere, apart from our relationship with God through Christ?
 
 
Sunday 4th July – Isaiah 56-57
 
1. Treating chapter 57:13 as something of a summary verse, what’s the warning it contains?  And what’s the promise? How would you fill out those thoughts, given the fuller revelation of the New Testament?
 
2. Chapter 56:9 suggests danger is approaching Israel.  Why aren’t the leaders any help? (56:10-12)
 
3. Chapter 57:1-2 suggests that death is a blessing in this context.  Why?
 
4. Chapter 57:3-13a is a grim picture of Israel’s idol-worship.  Do you think we view idolatry in the same way?  Why or why not?
 
5. Chapter 57:13b-19 are a great encouragement to keep trusting the LORD.  
a) What do we see of his love and grace? How is that displayed in Jesus?
b)What do we see of his intentions for those who are ‘contrite and lowly in spirit’?
c) How have these intentions been fulfilled already for those trusting in Jesus?
d) How will these intentions been fulfilled completely at Jesus’ return?
 
6. When you’re next convicted of sin in an uncomfortable way, how will this passage help?
 
 
Sunday 27th June – Isaiah 56:1-8
 
1. What promises does the LORD make in these verses?
 
2. Read Isaiah 61:1-3.  How do you think these verses (which are about Jesus, according to Luke 4:14-21) relate to Isaiah 56:1-8, do you think?
 
3. If foreigners and eunuchs were usually barred from the corporate worship of God’s people (Deuteronomy 23), how would they have felt hearing Isaiah 56:1-8 for the first time?
 
4. What do these verses teach us about God’s character and purposes?  Does that correct the way we think of him at all?
 
5. Looking at vv. 1, 2, 4, 6, how do you think those commands/expectations apply to us as Christians today?  How would you sum up what God requires of us?
 
 
Sunday 20th June – Matthew 25:31-46
How do you react to these verses initially?
 
v.31-33
How will Jesus come again?
What will happen?
 
v.34-46
Compare the destinies in v.34 and v.41.
What makes eternal life so wonderful and eternal punishment so dreadful?
 
What is Jesus looking for?
 
Who are the people in  v.40? (see Matthew 12:46-50)
 
What do we learn about the deeds required?
(Why is Jesus NOT encouraging salvation by works?)
 
Think of at least 3 ways you could practically help a fellow believer in need. Be specific!
 
If you’re reassured by these verses, how does Galatians 6:9-10 encourage you?
 
If you’re alarmed by these verses, how does Matthew 26:1-2 encourage you?
 
 
Sunday 13th June – Matthew 25:14-30
Intro
As Jesus continues to teach about the coming of the Son of Man (24:39b), what has been the main application so far? (see 24:42, 25:13)
 
v.14-18
What do we know about the master?
 
How would you describe the response of the first two servants?
 
v.19-23
Why are the first two servants commended?
 
What is their reward?
 
What does it mean to “keep watch”?
 
How are the different amounts entrusted to the servants reflected in followers of Jesus today?
 
With whom might you compare yourself as you serve Jesus?
 
What is the reassurance for our serving the LORD?
 
v.24-30
What is the attitude of the third servant to the Master?
 
What mistakes has he made?
 
In which area of life might you do the least to serve Jesus rather than the best?
 
What, from the passage, will set you going again to do your best to serve him?
 
 
Sunday 6th June – Matthew 25:1-13
 
1. What jumps out at you from this parable?  Is there anything you find confusing?
 
2. Until the bridegroom arrived, all ten virgins must have looked very  similar.  When were their differences exposed?  So how does the passage warn us about Jesus’ coming?
 
3. Why don’t you think the foolish virgins took oil with them?  How does v. 13 help you answer?
 
4. In Matthew 7:21-23, Jesus gives a similar warning. Matthew 7:21-23 is followed by the parable of the wise and foolish builder, in which the wise builder represents everyone who “hears these words of mine and puts them into practice”.  Do you think that might help us obey the command of Matthew 25:13?
 
5. In Matthew 24 we learnt that Jesus’ return will be sudden and unexpected.  Here in chapter 25:1-13 we learn that we need to prepare for a long delay.  How do  both of those realities help us as we think about this coming week?
 
6. Is there any area of your life where you feel a particular gap between your appearance as a Christian and your reality as a Christian? 
 
7. If the vital thing is to know Jesus (the true bridegroom) and be known by him, how do we do that?  Why does that look like on a day to day basis?  Think through what that would look like in some different scenarios…
 
 
Sunday 30th May – Psalm 30
 
Main point from the sermon:
Sing praise to the Lord who turns wailing into dancing….
And trust in Him alone.
 
Questions for study:
How would you describe David’s initial experience?
How bad was it?
 
Can you think of similar experiences in your life of being “in the depths”?
 
What was the extent of the change that the LORD brought about in David’s life?
 
Do you have any similar testimonies of deliverance or change in circumstances as a result of calling out to the LORD?
 
How is David’s experience an anticipation of Jesus’ death and resurrection?
How can Jesus also sing this Psalm?
 
How is it that we who are in Christ can share in this experience of being brought from death to life?
 
What should our response be to the truths in this Psalm?
What does David call God’s people to do?
 
What reasons are we given to praise and exalt God, even when our present experience might be weeping and wailing?
 
What lessons did David learn in v.6-10?
When might we need to remember such lessons?
 
What will it look like for you to sing this Psalm in your life?
What things can we thank God for, and continue to thank God for forever?
What are the things for which you cry out to God?
How does our solid future hope in Jesus and his resurrection help us when life is hard?
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sunday 23rd May – Matthew 24:36-51
 
Introduction
How often do you think of Jesus’ return?
 
v.36-44
What does Jesus say about his return?
What does it say about Jesus that he does not know “the day”?
How does it help us that no one knows “the day”?
 
v.45-47
What makes the servant “faithful and wise”?
 
v.48-51
What makes the servant “wicked”?
When might you put following Jesus “on hold”?
Which horizons might distract you from the horizon of Jesus’ return?
 
 
Sunday 9th May – 2 Corinthians 7:2-16
 
Introduction
When was the last time you were told off? How did you react?
 
v.2-7
How is Paul encouraged by the Corinthians?
 
v8-11
What kind of letter has Paul evidently written?
Why do we find it hard to receive words which may “hurt”?
What does the combination of Paul’s loving concern for them (v.2-4) and his hard words to them (v.8) teach us?
What has made Paul happy?
How have they shown godly sorrow? Is there a particular response in v.11 that challenges you personally?
How might you tend to show worldly sorrow?
In what ways can you be better at responding to sin with godly sorrow?
 
v.12-16
Why did Paul write the letter? (see also 2:3-4)
What should be the outcome of godly sorry and real repentance?
What things does this passage prompt us to pray for CCW?

 

 
Sunday 2nd May – 2 Corinthians 6:3-7:1
 
1. Where do you sometimes find yourself longing for Jesus to “fit better” with the world in which we live?
 
2. Looking at 6:3-13, how would you describe Paul’s ministry? Why do you think he commends himself in this way to the Corinthians?
 
3. Thinking about the gospel hope as spelt out in chapter 5, what evidence is there that Paul himself is sustained by that hope?
 
4. Paul is sometimes imagined to be a detached teacher of dry doctrinal truth.  How do these verses challenge that view?
 
5. How do 6:3-13 help to set our expectations for authentic Christian ministry (at a church level and/or a personal level)?  
 
6. Thinking about 6:14-7:1, Paul is not calling for believers to keep away from unbelievers (see 1 Corinthians 5:9-10). What is he calling for?  
 
7. What is the motivation, according to Paul (see OT quotations)?
 
8. Where do you need to hear the call Paul gives in 6:14-7:1?
 
 
Sunday 25th April – 2 Corinthians 5:11-6:2
 
Introduction
What motivates you to keep living and speaking as a Christian?
 
v.11-13
Why does Paul fear the Lord? (see also v.9-10)
 
What does Paul say about why he is writing?
 
How might we take pride in what is seen more than what is in the heart?
 
What would change in your life if you lived for God alone, not for others?
 
v.14-17
How does the love of Christ motivate Paul?
 
How does that change how he sees people? What will that mean in practice?
 
v.18-6v.2
What is the big theme of these verses?
 
What do we learn about…
– how it starts?
– how it works?
– how it is applied?
 
What might it look like to receive God’s grace in vain?
 
Which motivation from this passage do you need to hear most?
 
 
Sunday 18th April – 2 Corinthians 5:1-10
 
Intro
Do you tend to think more of the journey of life or the destination of life?
 
v. 1-5
How does Paul describe the future for the Christian?
 
How can we be sure of the future? (see also 4 v.14)
 
How is the image of v.1 encouraging?
 
What does that future mean for now?
 
When do you most know that experience?
 
v. 6-8
How does Paul describe the future for the Christian?
 
What does the future mean for now?
 
When do you most need confidence to live by faith?
 
v. 9-10
How would you describe the judgement to come for Christians?
 
In which areas of life do you need to change your “goal” to pleasing Jesus?
 
What practically will help keep the destination of life in mind?
 
 
Sunday 28th March – Matthew 26:30-46
 
v.31-35
What is Jesus saying about his death here?
What do we learn about humanity here?
 
v.36-46
Why do the disciples fail Jesus?
How is Jesus in the face of his death? (v.38, 39, 42, 45)
What do the last two verses say about Jesus?
 
How, from these verses, have you been…
– Taught?
– Rebuked?
– Encouraged?
– Trained to live for Jesus?
 
 
Sunday 21st March – Matthew 26:17-29
 
Intro
“Jesus dies for me!” – what does that phrase conjure up for you?
 
v.17-19
What impression of Jesus do we get here?
 
v.20-25
What was so treacherous about this betrayal?
What is so serious about this betrayal?
What impression of Jesus do we get here?
 
v.26-29
Look up Exodus 24:4-11
What does Moses do with blood?
What is the result?
 
Look up Jeremiah 31:31-34
What are the features of the new covenant?
What is Jesus saying about himself?
 
How do you tend to measure the state of your relationship with God?
What might you notice about the person who truly understands the wonder of the forgiveness of sins?
How do these verses fill out the phrase, “Jesus dies for me”?

 

 
Sunday 14th March – Matthew 26:1-16
What is Jesus worth?
 
v.1-2
How does Jesus want us to think of him?
To what extent is that how you think of him day by day?
 
v.3-5
What is Jesus to the chief priests? For whom are they living?
 
v.6-13
In what ways does this woman show the value of Jesus and his death?
Why does Jesus say the woman’s deed isn’t a waste?
What might it mean if I sympathise with the disciples?
 
v. 14-16
What is Jesus to Judas? Why is that alarming?
What might be a rival to Jesus as the most precious thing in your life?
What about Jesus from these verses will keep that thing in place?

 

 
Sunday 7th March – 2 Corinthians 4:7-18
 
The purpose of this chapter is to make sure Christians do not lose heart in Christ proclaiming ministry (see v.1 and v.16). So you could use just one question for the whole chapter.
Why does Paul, and why should we, not lose heart?
 
Otherwise questions for each section:-
v. 7-12
What is the treasure? What are the jars of clay?
 
What is the purpose of weakness in Christ proclaiming ministry? (see v.7 and 10-12)
 
How does that help you to embrace your weakness in ministry?
 
v.13-15
Why does Paul not lose heart here?
 
How is God glorified in ministry?
 
How can you tell if you truly believe in the Resurrection to come?
 
v.16-18
Why does Paul not lose heart?
 
How can Paul call his troubles ‘light and momentary’ given 6:4-5?
 
How does the world celebrate the visible and temporary?
 
What will it mean for us to celebrate the invisible and eternal?

 

 
Sunday 28th February -2 Corinthians 4:1-6
 
v.1-2
What is the danger for us when the work of proclaiming Christ is not going well?
 
How might we be tempted to deceive people or distort the Word of God?
 
What is it about this ministry that keeps Paul from losing heart? (see 3:9, 17-18)
 
Why is it merciful of God to give this ministry?
 
v.3-4
What is Satan’s concern? What is Satan’s tactic?
 
Why are v.3-4 so vital to have when proclaiming Christ?
 
v.5-6
What’s the answer to the problem of v.3-4?
In whom has v.6 happened?
 
Why does Paul preach Christ as Lord?
 
In what ways might we be tempted to preach ourselves?
 
What will it mean for us to adopt Paul’s attitude to his hearers?
 
 
Choose one thing from these verses which will help you reset your life to proclaim Christ again?

 

 
Sunday 21st February -2 Corinthians 3:7-18
 
Intro
What, in your mind, would glorious Christian ministry look like?
 
v.7-11
In what ways was the ministry of Moses glorious?
 
How and when do you sense the condemnation of the 10 commandments?
 
What does it mean to receive God’s righteousness? (see Cor 5:21)
 
v.21-18
What kind of veil does Paul mention? How id the veil taken away?
 
What then happens in a Christian? How does this happen in practice?
 
What application does Paul make in the passage? What will that mean for you?
 
 
Sunday 14th February – 2 Corinthians 2:14-3:6
 

Intro
How is your witness to the world going at the moment?

v.14-17
What kind of smell does Paul spread?

How does he feel about that ministry?

How is Paul different from the “super apostles”?

How does this image of Christian ministry both sober you and reassure you?

v.1-6
What does Paul seem to be saying about the “super apostles”?

How does Paul get his recommendation for ministry?

What kind of letter are Christians?

How do you think you and Christians in your group have been changed by the Spirit in recent years?

How do you feel about being a letter of recommendation for Christ?

In what way does Paul reassure you?

 
 
Sunday 7th February – 2 Corinthians 2:5-13
 
Paul had written before to urge them to deal with sin in the church. It now seems that they have, and the offender has repented.
 
In what way does one person’s sin “grieve/pain” the whole church?
 
Why do we find correcting conversations so difficult?
What would help us to consider those more? (Col.3:16)
 
What is Paul’s concern now? For whom is he concerned?
 
Why is forgiveness so vital in church life? (see also Matt. 6:14-15)
 
What will help you to give forgiveness?
What will help you to receive forgiveness?
 
 
Sunday 31st January – 2 Corinthians 1:12-2:4
 

v.12-14

What seems to be the accusation against Paul?

How does Paul defend himself?

 

What does Paul long for?

In what situations might we struggle to ‘boast’ in Paul?

 

We know we are not perfect, as Paul was not perfect.

But what makes it possible for us to live transparent lives in the world as he did?

 

v.15-22

What seems to be accusation against Paul?

How does Paul defend himself?

 

In what ways has God been faithful?

How does the faithfulness of God encourage you at the moment?

 

v.23 – 2 v.4

How would you describe the state of the relationship between Paul and the Corinthians here?

 

What are his motivations in ministry? For whose joy is Paul concerned?

 

How does this Paul compare with your thoughts about him otherwise?

How might these verses help when we find Paul’s teaching tough to hear?

 
 
Sunday 24th January – 2 Corinthians 1:1-11
 
1.     Where do we long to feel stronger, personally?
 
2. Where do we long for a church that feels stronger, more successful, more secure? What’s behind those longings?
 
3.     If we do long for a church to look stronger, more successful, more secure… how does that sit with the gospel of Christ crucified?
 
4.     How do we view afflictions and weakness? In ourselves?  In our leaders?  Purely as a problem, or as an opportunity for praise and growth and thanksgiving? 
 
5.     Where do I look for comfort when I suffer?  To the comfort that comes through Christ (v. 5), or somewhere else?
 
6. Can you think of a time when you were encouraged by a suffering Christian?  How did they encourage you?  How did you “share in” the comfort they received through Christ?
 
7.     According to vv. 8-11, what effect did Paul’s suffering have on him?  How is that an encouragement to is in our suffering?
 
8.     What would a church look like which cherished strength? Brainstorm what church life might be like – small group leaders, conversations over coffee, website, makeup of staff team, local reputation, finances, PCC meetings, attitude to church planting etc.?
 

9.     How different would that church look  if it cherished Jesus more than its own strength and success and security?  

Some questions are taken or adapted from this study guide produced by St Helen’s Bishopsgate: https://www.st-helens.org.uk/resources/study/43/

 
Sunday 10th January – Matthew 28:16-20
 
1. Looking at the world outside our window, why might we doubt that the Father has given “all authority” to his risen Son? 
 
2. If the Father really has given “all authority” to his risen Son, why is making disciples of Jesus a right thing to be doing?  
 
3. Still, why do we feel nervous about the thought of “making disciples?”  
 
4. How does “making disciples” differ from “making converts” (clue: v. 20!)?
 
5. Where is God giving you opportunities to make new disciples of Jesus?  How could partnership with others at CCW help?  And how does 1 Corinthians 3:5-9 encourage us, if we are feeling nervous and overwhelmed?!
 
6. Where is God giving you opportunity to teach existing disciples of Jesus, in a way that helps them to obey him? How could partnership with others at CCW help?
 
7. As you seek to make disciples, where do you need to remember that Jesus himself is with you (v. 20)?   What small step could you take beyond your comfort zone, trusting that Jesus is with you as go?
 
 
Sunday 13th December -Matthew 1:1-12
 
What is Matthew saying about what kind of King Jesus is?
– In v.1?
– In v.2?
– In v.6?
– In v.11?
 
How would you describe the response to God’s King?
– Of Herod?
– Of the religious leaders?
– Of the Magi?
 
How might your worship be in danger of drifting from Jesus?
 
Which aspect of Jesus’ kingship here will keep you worshiping Him truly?

 

 

Sunday 6th December – Matthew 1:18-25
 
1. What is Joseph’s dilemma?
 
2. How is he reassured?
 
3. ‘You are to give him the name Jesus because he will save people from their sins.’ (v.21)
When might you seek from Jesus something other than his stated agenda?
 
4. What is the significance of Joseph’s response to the angel in v.24-25?
(Bear in mind how the angel describes him in v.20)
 
5. Matthew has been telling us ‘how the birth of Jesus came about’. (v.18)
How has it come about, in terms of what God is like?
 
6. Why is it so important to remember how God works in this year of all years?
 
 
Sunday 29th November – Matthew 1:1-12
 
v.1 gives the headlines about Jesus.
What are the promises God made to Abraham and David?
Read Genesis 12:1-3 and 2 Samuel 7:11b-16 respectively.
 
Read Matt.1 v.2-6a
Where is the pattern interrupted?
Where are Tamar, Rahab and Ruth from? (see respectively Genesis 38:1-6, Joshua 6:25, Ruth 1:1-5)
What point is being made about the line of Jesus?
 
Read v.6b-11
Where is the pattern interrupted?
What point is being made about David as king?
 
Read v.12-16
Where is the pattern interrupted?
How would you describe Jesus’ birth from that interruption?
 
What conspires to make you doubt that Jesus is both Ruler for all time and Saviour for all nations?
What in your life would demonstrate ongoing faith that Jesus is both eternal Ruler and Rescuer for all nations?

 

 
Sunday 22nd November
 
Baptism – questions for further reflection
 
1. What is the work of God associated with baptism in the following verses?
a. Romans 6:3-4
b. Acts 2:38
c. Acts 22:16
 
2. How does baptism seem to function in the Christian life according to these verses?
a. Romans 6:1-11
b. Galatians 3:26-29
 
3. To what extent does your baptism function in your Christian life?
How could you make it have a more prominent, encouraging role?
 

 

Sunday 15th November – Luke 22:14-20
 
1. Jesus is sharing a Passover meal.  How does that help us understand the significance of the last supper (which becomes the Lord’s Supper)?
 
2. Jesus links the bread and the wine to his own death.  
How does the Lord’s Supper encourage us to look back, and rejoice?
How does the Lord’s Supper encourage us to look forwards, and rejoice?
 
Read 1 Corinthians 10:16
 
3. The word ‘participation’ could be translated communion or close fellowship.  If we are not feeding on Jesus physically at the Lord’s Supper, how are we having communion with him?
 
Read 1 Corinthians 11:20-32
 
4. What’s the problem in Corinth? What might that look like today?
 
5. If we are to ‘examine’ ourselves (. 28) before sharing the Lord’s Supper, what questions should we be asking ourselves?  What kind of conversations might we need to have with one another, from time to time?
 
Spend some time giving thanks for the gift of the Lord’s Supper. 
 
 
Sunday 8th November – Psalm 139:19-24
 
1. Against whom are the wicked acting?
 
2. What are the wicked doing?
 
3. What do you notice about what David does and doesn’t do?
 
4. How does David’s strength of feeling compare to your strength of feeling when people do v.20?
How concerned are you for God’s honour?
 
5. What attitude do v.23-24 reveal in David?
 
6. How willing are we to have God search us?
 
 
Sunday 1st November – Psalm 139:13-18
 
1. How would you describe God’s creation of a human being?
 
2. More than understanding God’s creative work, to what extent do you echo v.14? Why/Why not?
 
3. “Any assault on another person (including yourself) is an assault on God!”
How does society assault the people God has made?
How do you assault the people God has made?
In what ways does the coming of Christ meet us in our need?
 
4. How does it make you feel that God has planned your every day (v.16)?
 
5. How does that compare to David in v.17-18?
 
 
Sunday 25th October – Psalm 139:7-12
 

1.     As followers of Jesus in whom the Holy Spirit lives, we can echo the words of vv. 7-10.  Where is that a particular relief to you?

2.     Are there any areas of life where you live as a “closet atheist”?  How does that show itself?

3.     Can you look back and see how God has guided and kept you during a difficult season?  How does that reassure you, looking forward?

4.     If you were conscious of God being with you everywhere, how might that change your… 
a.     … feelings of anxiety or being overwhelmed?
b.     … battling for godliness?
c.      …  expectations in dark days? (vv. 11-12)
 
Sunday 18th October – Psalm 139:1-6
 
1. What makes God’s knowledge in these verses different from human knowledge?
 
2. How does the psalmist feel about God’s knowledge? How should we feel?
 
3. ‘You know me’: what difference does it make that God knows us intimately?
 
4. This is a psalm ‘of David’: how does belonging to Jesus, the true and better David, change how we experience God’s knowledge of us?
 
5. If we are transparent to God, how would that shape our prayers?
 
Sunday 11th October – Matthew 11:25-30
 
1. What gives Jesus the right to invite people to Himself?
 
2. What wonderful things about Christ mean we should come to HIM?
 
3. Where else do you go for rest? Why?
 
4. Why should we take Jesus’ yoke upon us?
 
5. What will it mean to take His yoke upon us? And what will it be like?
 
 
Sunday 4th October – Matthew 9:35-38
 
1. How does Jesus see people?  How is that different to the way that we often see/categorise people?
 
2. How does Jesus’ compassion comfort us?  How does it challenge us?
 
3. In vv. 37-8, what’s the problem and what solution does Jesus give?
 
4. How might we live differently, if we trusted that the harvest was plentiful?
 
5. Where do you see a need for more workers? 
 
6. How does the command of v. 38 liberate us from…   
    a) frantic and self-sufficient activism?
    b) despair?
    c) pride?
 
After your discussions, do obey the command of v. 38 together!
 
 
Sunday 27th September – Matthew 9:18-34
NB – There are more questions here than you will probably have time for. Do select!
 
Intro
You want to ask a fellow believer how they are Christian-wise.
What would be a good question to ask?
 
Matthew’s record of these miracles is much briefer than Mark or Luke.
What do you think he is showing about Jesus in these chapters?
See 9:35; 11:2-6 and Isaiah 35:3-6
 
v.18-26
How are the situations of the ruler and woman similar?
What is clear about Jesus?
How does their faith seem to be different? And how is it the same?
 
v.27-31
What do the blind men see? How would you describe their faith?
What do you think Jesus is checking with them?
 
v.32-34
No recorded conversation and no details with this healing.
Where is the attention in this miracle?
How does that prepare us as we speak and live for Christ?
 
25% extra free! – Chapter 8-9
How has people’s faith varied over these chapters?
(see 8:2, 8:8+10, 8:25-26, 9:2, 9:18, 9:20-21, 9:28-29)
And what do these expressions of faith have in common?
 
How is this a great encouragement to us?
 
Rather than asking a fellow Christian, “How is your faith?”, what would be a better question?

 

 
Sunday 20th September  – Matthew 9:1-14
 
vv. 1-8:
1. What do we learn of Jesus’ priority and power?
2.  How does this add further reassurance, after the challenging call we heard in vv. 18-22?
 
vv. 9-13:
3. Why are the Pharisees so annoyed?
4. What does that teach us about how they view themselves?
5. What have they failed to understand about what God requires? (v. 13a)
6. What have they failed to understand about Jesus’ mission?
7. How does this comfort us, as we feel our failure/sinfulness?
8. Where do we live as if Jesus came for the righteous?
 
 
Sunday 13th September – Matthew 8:18-27
 
v. 18-22
The teacher of the law seems to be a great fan of Jesus.  But if he’s going to follow Jesus, what does he need to understand?  Where do we need that same reminder?
 
The second man seems to have a good reason for not following Jesus immediately.  But what does he need to understand? Where do we need that same reminder?
 
v. 23-27
What do the disciples get right in the storm?  But what do they still need to learn?
 
If vv. 18-22 leave you feeling daunted about following Jesus, how do vv. 23-27 leave you feeling?
 
“You of little faith, why are you so afraid?”  What’s making you afraid at the moment?  Do you need to be afraid? 
 
“Following Jesus wholeheartedly feels far too risky; I’d rather keep playing it safe.”  How does the calming of the storm address that kind of thinking?
 
 
Sunday 6th September – Matthew 8:1-17
 
v.1-4
The sermon focused on the willingness of Jesus with the leper. What else is clear about Jesus?
 
v.5-13
What is it that makes up “great faith” according to Jesus?
 
How should Jesus’ welcome of all kinds (v.11) affect us, the church?
 
How does Jesus’ warning (v.12) “speak” to the church today?
 
How do you tend to talk to Jesus? What do you tend to ask of Jesus?
 
How do they compare with the centurion in v.8?
 
 
Sunday 9th August – Isaiah 54
 
v.1-3
What are Israel instructed to do and why?
How do we see this fulfilled in the gospel of Christ? (Galatians 4:27-29)
 
v.4-8
What are Israel instructed to do and why?
What is this new relationship like?
How is this possible? (note context of the chapter)
How do you instinctively think God is disposed towards you?
How do these verses confirm or correct that thinking?
 
v.9-10
How does God confirm the reality of this wonderful new relationship?
 
v.11-17
What are the features of the new city that God promises?
Which of these blessings do we enjoy now as believers in Christ and which are yet to come?
 
 
Sunday 2nd August – Isaiah 53:10-12
 
1. What is the Lord’s attitude to his servant’s suffering? (v.10)
 
2. What is unusual about this guilt offering? How does that thought continue in v.11?
 
3. What does the servant’s suffering achieve, which satisfies him? (v.11)
 
4. What will help you to take that in for yourself?
 
5. How does God respond to the servant’s suffering? (v.12)
(‘the great’ can also mean ‘the many’)
 
6. How are these images of victory fulfilled in Christ?
(see for example John 6:39, 17:6, Eph.1:19b-21, 2:6)
 
How do those references reassure believers living for Christ in this world?
 
 
Sunday 26th July – Isaiah 53:7-9
 
1. How is Jesus like a lamb/sleep?
 
2. What does Jesus’ silence mean for us? (See 1 Peter 2:21-23)
 
3. What makes us slow to follow Christ’s example?
 
4. What is so unusual and amazing about Jesus’ suffering? (v.8)
 
5. How is v.9 fulfilled? (see Matthew 27:38, 57-60)
 
6. Why does it matter that Jesus was innocent?
 
 
Sunday 19th July – Isaiah 53:4-6
 
1. Try and imagine reading Isaiah 53:4-6 for the first time, without having heard of Jesus.  What would you conclude about the Servant figure?  What questions might you be left with?
 
2. Looking at v. 5 in particular, 
a) What happened to the servant?
b) Why did it happen?
c) What happens to us, as a result? 
 
3. Relating these specifics to Jesus’ crucifixion, how does v.5 teach the meaning of his death?
 
4. How do these verses help us understand ourselves?
 
5. How do these verses help us understand our rescue?
 
6. How do these verses build our trust in the LORD for the future?
 
Questions adapted from David Jackman, Teaching Isaiah (Proclamation Trust 2010)
 
 
Sunday 12th July – Isaiah 53:1-3
 
1. What does ‘The arm of the LORD’ (v.1) represent in Isaiah? See for example: 40:10, 51:5, 52:10
 
2. Why then is verse 2 so surprising? Why is it difficult to believe (v.1) that the servant is the arm of the LORD?
 
3. Using the details in v.2 and 3 try to relate them to their fulfillment in the life of Jesus.

For help see: Luke 2:4-7, Matt 2:13-17, Luke 4:22-30, Mark 3:20-21, John 11:45-54, John 13:27-30, John 18:25-27 (You don’t have to look them all up! Maybe in a group chose one or two each).

4. In what ways might our attitude to Jesus still resemble the rejection portrayed in v.3?
 
5. How does that further highlight God’s grace to us in sending us his servant?
 
 
Sunday 5th July – Mark 4:21-25
 
1. If Jesus is the lamp who sheds light on God and his kingdom, what will it mean in practice to keep letting Jesus light up our knowledge and understanding of God?
2. How do Jesus’ words in verses 24-25 challenge you?
3. How do Jesus’ words in verses 24-25 encourage you?
 
 
Sunday 28th June – Psalm 145
 
1. In verse 3 David declares, “Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no-one can fathom.” How do verses 13-16 demonstrate that greatness?
 
2. We might expect that such a great God would be uninterested in us.  But how do verses 17-20 show that this it not true?
 
3. How do these verses prod you to praise God?
 
4. How do these verses remind you of the privilege of our mission partnerships?
 
5. With whom do you find it easiest to praise the LORD?  With whom do you find it the hardest?  Why not pray about that?
 
 
Sunday 21st June – Isaiah 52:13-53:12
 
Verse 13: 
Who is that God wants us to look to as we read this section (52:13-53:12)? 
What will this servant do?
Can this Servant be any ordinary person? (second half of verse 13. Maybe compare 6:1) 
Who is this Servant? (It might seem obvious, but just to be clear! See Acts 8:26-35, for one of several links to the New Testament.) 
 
Verse 14: 
How surprising is this verse, following on from verse 13?
Why does verse 14 say many will be appalled? Where do we see this fulfilled?
How might people be “appalled” by Jesus today? Does Jesus ever seem weak to us? Why? What should we then do?
 
Verse 15:
What does “sprinkle many nations” mean?* (Some examples of people or things being sprinkled in the Old Testament: Exodus 29:21, Lev 4:6, 14:7, 16:14, but it might be easier to get the sense from 1 Peter 1:2, Hebrews 9:13-14, 10:22, 12:24)
What reaction is there to the wisdom of this servant? Are we amazed at God’s saving wisdom shown in Jesus?
 
Back to the headline in verse 13 – how can we make sure we keep looking to Jesus and what He has done to save us? What might stop us from doing that? What does God give us to help us?
 
 
Sunday 14th June – Isaiah 51:1 – 52:12
 
51 v.17-20
What state are God’s people in and why?
We are not in exile because of our sin, as they were. But why might we be in a similar state? (see v. 12-16 for help)
 
51 v.21-23
What is the big news the people need to wake up to?
 
Read Luke 22:39-44
What do we learn about Jesus here?
When might we find it hard to trust that Jesus has taken the cup of God’s wrath for us?
 
52 v.1-2, 11-12
What is the privilege of being God’s people?
What is the responsibility of being God’s people?
 
52 v.3-10
Why is God going to bring redemption?
What are the features of the coming salvation?
 
Jesus has fulfilled this coming salvation (see Romans 10:15), but, like the people then, we now wait for the Lord’s return.
What will it mean, while we wait, to wake up to the fact that
– God has made us holy?
– God calls us to be holy?
 
 
Sunday 7th June – Isaiah 50: 4-11
 
1. Why can the Servant’s words sustain the weary? How is this fulfilled in Jesus?
 
2. What does the Servant’s obedience cost him? How is this fulfilled in Jesus?
 
3a. What assurances strengthen the Servant to persist with his obedience to the Lord’s will, whatever the personal cost?
How is this fulfilled in Jesus?
3b. Looking at Romans 8:31-38, how can the Servant’s assurances be ours as well?
 
4. How does this description of the Servant enable us to keep walking in the darkness?
 
5. Thinking about v.10-11, what would it mean for us to walk by the light of our own fires, rather than trusting in God?
 
NB Some questions are taken from this Bible Study resource: Jackman, D. 2014, Teaching Isaiah: Unlocking Isaiah for the Bible Teacher, Proclamation Trust.
 
 
Sunday 31st May  – Isaiah 49:14-50:3
 
Introduction
Which grand promise of God is in view in these verses? (Isaiah 49:6, 11-12)
 
49 v.14-21
What is the people’s reaction to God (v.14)?
How does God reassure them?
How does God reiterate his promise?
 
49 v.22-26
What does God promise to do for his people?
What is the people’s reaction (v.24)?
What is God’s purpose in all he does?
 
50 v.1-3
What is the people’s implied reaction in v.1?
Why is the exile not proof of God’s deserting them?
What does God remind them of?
_____________
 
How do we echo the people’s reactions?
How does God reassure and rebuke us?
 
 
Sunday 24th May – Isaiah 49:1-13
 
verse 1-6
What do we know about the servant’s
– identity? (v.1-3)
– experience? (v.4)
– ministry? (v.2, 5-6)
 
How does v.6b correct our thinking about Jesus?
How does it spur us on to serve Jesus?
 
verse 7-13
What does God promise the servant? (v.7-9a)
 
What does God promise the servant’s people? (v.9b-12)
What is the spiritual substance of the metaphors used?
 
To what extent is our response the same as v.13?
Which verses will make it more so?
 
 
Sunday 17th May – John 11
 
verse 1-16
How would you describe the relationship between Jesus and this family?
What is strange about what Jesus does/doesn’t do? What is his explanation?
 
verse 17-27
What does Martha know?
How does Jesus’ claim fit into what she knows?
 
verse 28-37
How is Jesus’ response to death reassuring for us?
How would you answer the question in v.37?
 
verse 38-44
What does Jesus pray here? How does it fit with John’s purpose in writing the gospel in 20:31?
Why is Jesus trustworthy for all of life and death?

 

 
Sunday 10th May – Luke 19:11-27
 
1. Why does Jesus tell this parable?
 
2. How does the parable correct the people listening?
 
3. What was the master looking for in his servants?
 
4. How would you describe the character of the master?
 
5. How and why might you be tempted to think like the third servant?
 
6. When living in the delay, in what ways does this parable encourage us to keep serving King Jesus with all that he has given us?
 
 
Sunday 3rd May – Luke 19:1-10
 
1. How are the rich ruler and Zacchaeus similar?  And how are they different? 
 
2. How does 18:27 help us understand what happens to Zacchaeus?
 
3. How do you think Zacchaeus felt as Jesus summoned him down?
 
4. How would you describe his attitude to Jesus in v. 8?  And his transformed attitude to money?
 
5. When you idolise money, what do you think the “deep idols” are underneath?
 
6. How does knowing (and being known by) Jesus loosen the grip of those “deep idols”?  
 
7. What does 19:10 say about our situation and Jesus’ purpose? Why is it important to understand this? 
 
 
Sunday 26th April – Luke 16:1-15
 
1. In 16:1-9, what does Jesus say is the main lesson of the parable?  How is the manager, in the parable, putting into practice the principle of v9?
 
2. How can we imitate the shrewdness of the steward?  How does that excite you?!
 
3. What kind of things does the world count as a wise investment?  What would Jesus say?
 
4. What is the principle Jesus is teaching in 16:10-12? 
 
5.  Do you see money as your own, or as a resource entrusted to you by God?  How would your spending habits change, if you saw yourself as a steward, not an owner?
 
6. Where might we be justifying ourselves in the eyes of men, when it comes to money?
 
7. Where do you need to ask God for help, in your attitude to money?
 
NB Some questions are taken from this Bible Study resource https://www.st-helens.org.uk/ resources/study/46/
 
 
Sunday 19th April – Luke 12:13-21
 
1. When and how are you most likely to be tempted to greed?
 
2. Which one ‘top tip’ will you work on in the next few weeks? Admit the danger, beware of browsing or grow in gratitude?
 
3. What do you tend to forget more; that life is more than this life or that life is more than your life?
 
4. Reflect on Hebrews 13:5 and the wealth of riches we have in God himself being with us and never leaving us.
 
 
Sunday 5th April – Isaiah 48
 
1. In what areas of life might you still be refusing to submit to the Lord (an iron neck) or change your mind (bronze forehead) (v.4)?
 
2. What is it about God in v.12-22 that will encourage you to keep trusting and obeying Him?
 
3. Read Romans 5:1-2 and Philippians 4:4-7
Christ has secured our peace that can guard our hearts and minds.
What are we to trust and obey in the Philippians verses so that we know that guarding more and more?
 

Sunday 29th March – Isaiah 46-47

 
1. Which idols are you still attracted to? Are there any which surface because of the current lockdown?
 
2. How have you experienced the burden of idolatry (46:1-2) and why is it so foolish? (47)
 
3. What is it about God from Isa.46 that will keep you trusting Him and not idols?

 

Sunday 22nd March – John 18: 1-27

 
1. Jesus said to Peter, “Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”  What was he talking about? 
 
2. Given how much we try and avoid suffering, how do verses 1-11 make you feel about Jesus?
 
3. Do you ever feel like you’re a failed disciple?  How does it help to to see Jesus going to his death while Peter is disowning him outside, just as Jesus knew he would?
 
4. How does this passage prompt you to thank and praise the Lord Jesus?