1/20/19 Sermon Questions

FREED

Week 3: Galatians 2:11-21

 

Life Group Questions

  • As a group, spend some time summarizing what we have learned so far in Galatians.
  • What has God taught you personally through the study in Galatians?
  • In what way has the community and accountability of our life group kept you from straying from God?
  • Read Galatians 2:15-16. What is Paul trying to drive home to his readers?
  • How did Pastor Luke’s diagram help you understand what justification and sanctification are? What did you learn and how are these truths game changers in understanding your walk with Christ?
  • Read Galatians 2:19-21. Are there ways in which, even if you’re not actively thinking of it, that you are trying to earn God’s grace in your life?
  • How do you see God’s heart and character in this passage in Galatians?

 

Sermon Notes and Scripture

11 When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group13 The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray. 14 When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs? 15 “We who are Jews by birth and not sinful Gentiles 16 know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified. 17 “But if, in seeking to be justified in Christ, we Jews find ourselves also among the sinners, doesn’t that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not! 18 If I rebuild what I destroyed, then I really would be a lawbreaker. 19 “For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” – Galatians 2:11-21

 

STOP BASING YOUR IDENTITY ON YOU AND START BASING IT ON CHRIST IN YOU.

You see,

  • You may feel abandoned, but in Christ, you are loved by God.
  • You may feel condemned, but in Christ, you are spotless and above reproach.
  • You may feel down on your luck, but in Christ, you are blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, all the promises of God are yes in Christ Jesus, and all things work together for good.
  • You may feel neglected by others, but in Christ, you have been chosen by God. Not a hair… goodness and mercy… he knows the plans he has for you…
  • You may feel defeated by temptation, but in Christ, you have died to sins power, and Christ now lives through you.
  • You may feel dead and lifeless, but in Christ, you have resurrection life coursing through your veins.
  • You may feel like you aren’t making any difference in life, but in Christ, you are raised with Jesus and seated in the heavenly places, and he has blessed you to be a blessing.
  • You may feel broken, but in Christ, you have been made complete.
  • In Christ, you are a new creation.
  • In Christ, you are adopted into his family.
  • In Christ, you are a partaker of the divine nature.
  • In Christ, you are a beloved child of God.

That’s who you are. Quit acting like someone else.

CONCLUSION:

STOP BASING YOUR IDENTITY ON YOU AND START BASING IT ON CHRIST IN YOU.

TWO QUESTIONS:

  1. WHAT ARE THE PEOPLE OR THINGS THAT I BASE MY IDENTITY ON RATHER THAN CHRIST?
  2. IN WHAT WAYS AM I TEMPTED TO TRY TO EARN GOD’S FAVOR BADED ON MY GOOD ACTIONS RATHER THAN HIS FREE GIFT OF GRACE?

 

 

 

 

1/13/19 Sermon Questions

FREED                                                                      

Week 2: Galatians 1:11-2:2

 

Life Group Questions

  1. As you share your testimony with others, how would you describe that your personal testimony begins with the story of Jesus? Practice sharing this with your life group.
  2. Paul references his own history. Take a look at what he is sharing about. (Acts 9) How does his testimony prove the power of God to change a life?
  3. How does Paul sharing his testimony provide credibility to what he is preaching?
  4. How have you seen your testimony provide credibility for others as you share?
  5. Pastor Luke said, “Your story is not about you. It’s about what Jesus has done.” Who in your life needs to hear your testimony?
  6. Read Galatians 1:21-24. How do these verses encourage you that no one is too far gone for God to reach them?
  7. Is there anything in your life that God is trying to prune in you? How can our group pray for you about this?

 

Sermon Notes and Scripture

 

YOUR STORY BEGINS AND ENDS WITH JESUS

11 I want you to know, brothers and sisters that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. 12 I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ. 13 For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. 14 I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers. – Galatians 1:11-14

YOUR STORY IN JESUS NEEDS TO BE SHARED WITH OTHERS.

15 But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased 16 to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, my immediate response was not to consult any human being. 17 I did not go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went into Arabia. Later I returned to Damascus. 18 Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Cephas and stayed with him fifteen days. 19 I saw none of the other apostles—only James, the Lord’s brother. 20 I assure you before God that what I am writing you is no lie. 21 Then I went to Syria and Cilicia. 22 I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. 23 They only heard the report: “The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” 24 And they praised God because of me. – Galatians 1:15-24

YOUR STORY IS A PROCESS.

 Then after fourteen years, I went up again to Jerusalem, this time with Barnabas. I took Titus along also. I went in response to a revelation and, meeting privately with those esteemed as leaders, I presented to them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. I wanted to be sure I was not running and had not been running my race in vain. – Galatians 2:1-2

1/6/19 Sermon Questions

FREED

Week 1: Galatians 1:1-10

 Life Group Questions

  1. What is your favorite letter you’ve ever received? What was the content in the letter? Who was it from?
  2. How does your perspective on the book of Galatians change when you read it as a letter and in one sitting?
  3. In what ways do you struggle and mix up the implications of the gospel with the gospel itself? (Galatians 1:6-7)
  4. Read Galatians 1:10. In what areas of your life are you more concerned about pleasing people rather than God?
  5. How can your life group pray for you this week?

 

Sermon Notes and Scripture     

Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by a man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— and all the brothers and sisters with me, Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. – Galatians 1:1-5

  • He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” – Romans 8:32
  • And live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” – Ephesians 5:2
  • Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” – Ephesians 5:25
  • [Christ] gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time.” – 1 Timothy 2:6

 

  1. DON’T MIX UP THE IMPLICATIONS OF THE GOSPEL WITH THE GOSPEL ITSELF.

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. – Galatians 1:6-7

 

  1. A LIFE THAT IS LIVED IN THE FREEDOM OF JESUS LIVES TO PLEASE GOD RATHER THAN PEOPLE.

But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!

10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. – Galatians 1:8-10

 

12/30/18 Sermon Questions

AS IT IS IN HEAVEN

Luke 10:25-37

 Life Group Questions

  1. Read through the passage as a group. What do you think Jesus is trying to communicate through this story?
  2. Have you ever had an interaction like Jesus is having, one where someone is trying to test you? How did you respond in that scenario? How should you have responded?
  3. What can we learn from Jesus’ response to him?
  4. What does this passage reveal about the heart of Jesus?
  5. How does Pastor Luke’s quote strike you, “IF I HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO ACT, I HAVE THE RESPONSIBILITY TO ACT.”
  6. How are you investing your time, energy, and resources into the kingdom?
  7. How can our group pray for you in living these truths out this week?

 

Sermon Notes and Scripture

25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” 28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” 29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ 36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” 37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” – Luke 10:25-37

1WHO? EVERYONE.

2. WHEN? WHEN WE SEE A NEED.

 

IF I HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO ACT, I HAVE THE RESPONSIBILITY TO ACT.

 

3. HOW MUCH? ENOUGH TO TAKE THE BURDEN ONTO YOURSELF.

23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. – Matthew 23:2

 

4. WHY? BECAUSE WE WERE ONCE THE ONES ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD.

 

YOU SEE, JESUS IS NOT GIVING US A NEW RULE AS MUCH AS HE’S MAKING US AWARE OF A NEW REALITY.

 

Hope Has a Name

12/23/18 Sermon Questions

HOPE HAS A NAME

Week 4: Christmas Eve; Isaiah 9:6-7; Matthew 1:18-25

 

Sermon Questions

  1. Over the last four weeks, we’ve looked at Jesus’s names in Isaiah; Wonderful counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace. Which name has the most significance to you personally? Why?
  2. Share a truth you were challenged by during this sermon series.
  3. We know that Jesus is fully God and fully man. How would the gospel not have been fulfilled if He weren’t fully God? How would the gospel not have been fulfilled if He weren’t fully man?
  4. How imperative is it that we believe He is fully God and fully human?
  5. Pastor Luke shared a conversation he imagined might have taken place between God the Father and Jesus the Son. Did any part of the narrative connect with you? How so?
  6. The word Immanuel means “God with us.” How have you sensed God with you this past year?
  7. Who in your life do you need to tell that hope has a name?

 

Sermon Notes and Scripture

2The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as warriors rejoice when dividing the plunder. For as in the day of Midian’s defeat, you have  shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor. Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. Isaiah 9:2-7

 Week 1 – Wonderful Counselor

Week 2 – Everlasting Father

Week 3 – Prince of Peace

18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about[a]: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. 20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”(which means “God with us”). Matthew 1:18-23

 

14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and[c] will call him Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14

 

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

12/16/18 Sermon Questions

HOPE HAS A NAME

Week 3: Isaiah 9:6-7

 

Life Group Questions

  1. Do you know the meaning of your name? Do you think we think of the meaning of names today in America in the same way they did in biblical times?
  2. Explain the difference between modern day use of peace and the biblical word shalom. What are areas in your life can you identify right now that you need shalom? (possibly take time to pray with people)
  3. Josh talked about how we think we will achieve peace when we get something we don’t have (i.e. career, spouse, car, vacations) or we try to achieve peace by avoiding our lives and entering a mode of escapism (i.e. binge watching Netflix, shopping, drinking too much alcohol). Which are you more prone to and why do you think that is? How do you think Jesus wants to meet you in that?
  4. It was said that the “Peace of God isn’t found in absence of difficulty, but in the presence of the person of Jesus.” How does that strike you? Have you found that to be true? What do you think that looks like?
  5. Paul says in verse 6 we should present our requests with thanksgiving. Why is that different than our normal approach? Do you present your requests this way or do you wait until they are granted? What do you think of the idea that “You are never going to be content if you only thank God when your request is granted.”
  6. Paul says in verses 11 & 12 that he has found the secret to being content. Do you feel like you are living in that contentment and peace? If not, have you before? What was it like?
  7. What did you experience when you paused to look at the image of Eve & Mary? Where would you say you are at in the image?

 

Sermon Notes and Scriptures

Philippians 4:4-9

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

 

 

 

 

Angel Tree Program: Giving the Gift of God’s Love

First Free Rockford is proudly participating in the Angel Tree program again this year, delivering gifts and the message of God’s love to children in the Rockford area whose parents are in prison during the holiday season.

Our church has participated in this program for more than 25 years in partnership with Prison Fellowship, a nonprofit Christian organization whose mission is to restore those affected by crime and incarceration. There are more than 2.7 million U.S. children who have a mom or dad in prison, according to the organization, and churches and community organizations throughout the country have already committed to serving more than 275,000 kids this year.

Angel Tree Coordinator Susan Schumacher, a Belvidere resident who’s been attending First Free for nearly 30 years, found a personal connection in this project. She had a loved one in prison and saw the devastating effects an experience like that can have on families.

“We do this out of compassion for the children,” she said. “The program gives us an opportunity to share God’s love by helping to meet the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the families of prisoners.”

You can help by picking a tag off the Angel Tree in our lobby. This year, we have 17 families with 45 children we’re helping. Each child will receive two gifts – an article of clothing and a toy or other fun gift, as well as an age-appropriate booklet about the gospel provided by Prison Fellowship. The families give us suggestions to help personalize the gifts even more.

Grab a tag, shop for gifts, wrap them and turn them in by Dec. 11. We’ll package the gifts on Dec. 12 and deliver them to families on Dec. 15. Let us know if you’d like to volunteer in any way. It’s a beautiful tradition we are excited to participate in again this year!

12/9/18 Sermon Questions

HOPE HAS A NAME 

Week 2:  Isaiah 9:6-7

 

Life Group Questions

  1. Can you think of an example of a father sacrificing for his kids? If you are a father, share an example of a time you had to step in and sacrifice for you kids.
  2. How has your relationship with your earthly father shaped your relationship with your Heavenly Father?
  3. Pastor Luke shared four different types of fathers. Did any of them resonate with how you picture your Heavenly Father? How so?
  4. How can you be praying for your earthly father this week? In what ways does he need your prayers?
  5. How has Jesus been like the everlasting Father in your life? Please share an example.
  6. Is there someone you need to pursue this week in the same way that Jesus is pursuing you? Who is it?

 

Sermon Notes and Scriptures        

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” – Isaiah 9:6

  1. THE NEVER-SATISFIED DAD.

 “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! – Isaiah 49:15

The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” – Zephaniah 3:17

  1. THE TIME-BOMB DAD.

The Lord is compassionate and gracious; slow to anger, abounding in love. – Psalm 103:8

  1. THE EMOTIONALLY DISTANT DAD.

20 So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. – Luke 15:20

  1. THE ABSENT DAD.

20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” – Matthew 28:20

 

12/2/18 Sermon Questions

HOPE HAS A NAME

Week 1: Isaiah 9:6-7, Hebrews 4:15-16

 

Life Group Questions

  1. What is the best Christmas gift you have ever received or given?
  2. Pastor Luke shared that the prophecy we find in Isaiah 9:1-7 was an answer to our problem and that God was dealing with our problem at its roots. How have you personally seen the Messiah deal with your sin at its root?
  3. Read Hebrews 4:15-16 together. Does the fact that Jesus was tempted as we are help you in any way when you think of how you are tempted? How can we follow Jesus’ example in how He lived His life and didn’t sin?
  4. In Romans 8 we see that we are more than conquerors with the power of the Holy Spirit. How have you allowed the power of the Holy Spirit to keep you from sinning?
  5. How then can we approach God’s throne? (Hebrews 4:16) What can we find there? How would you describe this to someone who doesn’t know God?
  6. What do you need to be honest with God about right now?
  7. Share an area of your life that you need to be obedient to what God is asking of you. How can we as a group rally around you to be obedient in this area?
  8. How have you seen Jesus nurture and care for you and your relationship with Him?

 

Sermon Notes and Scripture

14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. – Isaiah 7:14

 

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as warriors rejoice when dividing the plunder. For as in the day of Midian’s defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor. Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning  will be fuel for the fire. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace  there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. – Isaiah 9:2-7

 

15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.  – Hebrews 4:15-16

 

11/25/18 Sermon Questions

ME-TO-WE

Week 2:  Luke 19:1-9

 

Life Group Questions

  1. Whose name did you write on your card from last week? How are you going to intentionally reach out to them for the cause of Christ?
  2. Have you ever fest pressured to share Christ with someone and use a certain technique?
  3. Read Luke 19:1-9. How do we see Jesus connecting too and sharing with those around Him? What can we apply from our lives to this passage?
  4. With your Me to We person, would you say they feel like they belong? Or do they think they need to change before they can belong?
  5. Share with your group the different type of evangelism strategies we as Christians use and what some of the pitfalls are to them?
  6. How can you live a life of high distinction and high connection in order to serve and minister to others better?
  7. Do the people who are far from God want to be with you? Why or why not?

         

Sermon Notes and Scripture

Luke 19:1-9 (NIV)

1 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.

When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.

All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”

But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”

Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham.