Going Deeper With the Sermon

Speaker: Rev. Dr. Mark Crumpler
Date: November 13, 2016
Text: Connected for Good: Generous Church

BIG PRAYERS

GENEROUS CHURCH

Luke 10:1-4; 17-20

SCRIPTURE

After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go. 2 And he said to them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. 3 Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. 4 Carry no moneybag, no knapsack, no sandals, and greet no one on the road....

17 The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!" 18 And he said to them, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. 20 Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven."

PRAYER

We are gathered here around Word and Sacrament, longing to be a parable of your kingdom to the world to which we have been sent. We desire that in us the world might see your patient love, that desires not the death of a sinner but that he should turn to you and live.

Grant us the wisdom to steadily proclaim the transforming love of God expressed in the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. May we never alter, amend, or dissemble this message but rather consistently express it with gentleness and respect.

As we gather around your Word, we ask that your Spirit would continue the work of transformation in us-changing us to be more like our Lord, and sending us into a broken and hurting world.

We give thanks this day for those who have served in our nations' armed forces-the Army, the Navy and Marine Corps, the Airforce, and the Coastguard. May they be assured of our gratitude for their selfless service.

We pray for those who this past week were elected to office, especially the President-elect of the United States. Grant him wisdom, meekness, and a multitude of counselors so that he might faithfully discharge the duties that are his under our Constitution.

We pray for peace in our streets, in our homes, in your church, and for your blessing and provision for all people.

Through Christ our Lord, Amen.

BIG IDEA

As we conclude our sermon series "Connected for Good," we turn our attention to our congregation. How are we connected for good? What is the good that comes about because of our connection to one another? This week, as you reflect on or discuss this passage with your group, consider the reasons why you are part of First Presbyterian Church.

QUESTIONS

1.  In the church we are connected to one another as the family of God. Mark noted that sometimes we want to say, "I like God but I don't like his children." Do you ever feel this way? Why or how? 

2.  John Calvin affirmed the saying of an ancient theologian, "You cannot have God for your Father unless you have the church for your Mother." Think about the metaphor of the church as "mother," what does that suggest about the purpose or the mission of the church? 

3.  Mark used the image of painters tape as something that is supposed to adhere to a surface but not so much that it pulls off wallpaper or paint. Sometimes the painters tape pulls off wallpaper; sometimes a nut and bolt will rust together. What's the difference between being connected for good and being "stuck" or "rusted"?

4.  In Matthew 5 Jesus describes Christians as "the salt of the earth." As a Christian community we are called to have a distinct flavor-to season the society in which we live. How do you think you're doing as a seasoning agent? How about the church in general?

5.  Jesus tells his disciples that he is sending them into the world as "lambs in the midst of wolves" (3b) and that they are to take no provisions with them (4). What do you think this means for us as a church today? What about for us individually?

6. We are told to pray that God would send workers out into the harvest. Are you praying that way? In what ways might you be an answer to these prayers?

7.  The disciples are told not to rejoice at the authority that they have, but instead to rejoice that their names are written in heaven. This verse points to the primacy of grace and the gospel-the most important thing about us as believers is that we have received grace and have been united to God in the gospel. Is this reality central to your daily life? If not, how might you begin to grow in understanding the reality and centrality of grace in your life? 

PRAYER

Gracious God,
We ask that by your Spirit you would apply Your Word to our hearts so that we might live for your glory and worthily magnify your holy name. Amen.