With All Your Heart Worship Series: Preparing
April 14, 2019
Week 6 - Preparing
Fellowship – Snacks or a Meal (10 minutes with snacks; longer, obviously, if there is a meal)
Gathering Time (5-10 minutes) – In pairs or groups of three, share your favorite Easter memory.
Group Dialogue (Approximately 30 minutes)
- During Holy Week, we see many images of Jesus. As a group, have participants choose one of the following images to share why it is a meaningful image to them. (Make sure all images have been chosen before being picked again.)
- Jesus beaten as a false Messiah and then enduring suffering on the cross
- Jesus willingly arrested and mocked
- Jesus hailed as king of the Jews
- Jesus as humble king
- Jesus as teacher of the new law
- Jesus as gloriously resurrected
- Kings and caesars would ride warhorses into cities as signs of victory. What point is Luke emphasizing by noting that Jesus rode into town on a colt?
- What point is Luke emphasizing by observing that the people placed cloaks before Jesus (and not waving palm branches as in other gospel accounts)? [Deemphasizing the joyous nature of Jesus’ arrival, it gives a more sacrificial and humble tone to the story. It also asks what we are willing to lay down for this Messiah.]
- What is the movement of Christ Jesus in Philippians 2:6-11? (Hint: think cosmic movement.) [Downward: from equality to emptying, then slave, humility, obedience to death. Upward: God exalts, gave Jesus position of power, and then glory with God the Father]
- How does this pattern provide a model for us to live with “the same mind . . . that was in Christ Jesus”?
- (R) How will you prepare “all your heart” for Easter during this Holy Week?
John Wesley on Salvation – Discussion
Sanctification or Christian Perfection. One of the most distinctly Wesleyan ideas is that Christian perfection ought to be strived for in this life and can be attained (received is a more accurate way to think of it than a religious state we can achieve). One way to state what John Wesley was espousing is taking seriously Matthew 5:48, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” And in Leviticus 11:45, where God commands the people, “you shall be holy, for I am holy.” John Wesley believed that the power of grace is stronger than the power of sin. If Christians would seek to grow in holiness and love, Christian maturity would blossom into a perfection of love. Read the following excerpt from John Wesley’s “Brief Thoughts on Christian Perfection” and then discuss the follow-up question:
By perfection I mean the humble, gentle, patient love of God and our neighbor, ruling our habits, attitudes, words, and actions . . . As to the manner, I believe that this perfection is always accomplished in the soul by a simple act of faith, consequently in an instant. But I believe a gradual work both precedes and follows that instant . . . I believe that [Christian perfection] is usually within five years or five months after justification. I know of no conclusive argument to the contrary. If it must be many years after justification, I would be glad to know how many.
(A Perfect Love: Understanding John Wesley’s A Plain Account of Christian Perfection by Steven Manskar. Discipleship Resources: Nashville, 2003, 87).
How are you striving for Christian perfection?
Prayer (10 minutes) – Share prayer requests and respond appropriately.
Sending Forth (2 minutes) – End by praying the following together:
You are not removed from our pain and suffering. Because of Jesus’ crucifixion we know you can empathize with our weakness, struggles, and pain. Because of Jesus’ life, we see what true humanity empty of self-glorification looks like as well as full trust in the power of the Holy Spirit send by the Father. This Holy Week, may we have the eyes to see the suffering and joy of your creatures and be able to give you praise in the middle of it. Amen.