This is the final week of our sermon series on “How to Be a Christian in 7
Easy Steps.” As we conclude, I hope that you have found yourselves enriched by this exploration of the core of our Christian faith.
Last week’s message was likely difficult and came with an opportunity to seek God’s presence when we have endured difficult times. One of the things I try to remind myself about in those times is the old proverb: “The night is darkest just before the dawn.”
Maybe I like that quote because I’m an optimist. In fact, I’ve referred to myself a number of times as a terminal optimist. I constantly look for the silver lining in the clouds. I constantly look for the cat poster that reminds me to keep my chin up. I constantly look for the sugar and water to add to the lemons. Because I believe that the core message of the Gospel is hope.
1After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the tomb. 2Look, there was a great earthquake, for an angel from the Lord came down from heaven. Coming to the stone, he rolled it away and sat on it. 3Now his face was like lightning and his clothes as white as snow. 4The guards were so terrified of him that they shook with fear and became like dead men. 5But the angel said to the women, “Don’t be afraid. I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. 6He isn’t here, because he’s been raised from the dead, just as he said. Come, see the place where they laid him. 7Now hurry, go and tell his disciples, ‘He’s been raised from the dead. He’s going on ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there.’ I’ve given the message to you.”
Consider these questions:
- Hope is a major biblical theme. Why do you think that is the case?
- How important is the resurrection of Christ to the Christian faith? Why the level of importance that you perceive? And what would Christianity look like without the resurrection?
- What does Christ’s resurrection mean to you personally?
Post-Sermon Update on 2/21
In Sunday’s sermon that concluded our ongoing series (the full series can be found here), we looked deeply at how we can see God’s light when we are challenged by darkness and chaos. Find the sermon audio here:
The idea of darkness and chaos references an early part of the creation story in Genesis where God creates light in darkness and chaos.
1When God began to create the heavens and the earth — 2the earth was without shape or form, it was dark over the deep sea, and God’s wind swept over the waters — 3God said, “Let there be light.” And so light appeared.
Consider these follow-up questions:
- Is there a time that you have felt so overcome with something that you’ve been unable to move or think or make decisions? (remember Matthew 28:4, above)
- In the time(s) you’ve felt that way, what brought you out of it? What helped you see light?
- Thinking about those times in hindsight, can you see God’s presence calling you to light? If so, what was it like? How did it feel? Did it seem like God’s presence in the moment?