Sermon Study Guide – St. Thomas’ Church, St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador

 

(Date: 5 Aug 2012) “Moving from prophecy to witness” 2 Peter 1:16-19 & Luke 9:28-36

 

  1. St. Peter talks about his own experience of being there when Jesus was transfigured on the mount. He says that his experience was important because, although there were already prophecies of the coming of the messiah, what he and James and John saw was “so we have the prophetic message more fully confirmed” (v.18). Our experience of the reality of God is important. Without experience there can be no witnessing.

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Leader’s Guide:

We have all been watching the Olympics these past tow weeks. What if the Olympics we have been watching on TV have been a cleverly devised fake, to lure us into spending our money on the products advertised between “events”? How do we know that the Olympics are actually taking place? What role has personal witness by believers made in your faith walk? Could you have come to faith without other Christians speaking about their experience of God’s presence and power in their lives? What experiences have you had that ‘fully confirm’ your faith in the witness of the Scriptures? How do you ‘know’ that Jesus is real and is the Son of God/Man?.

  1. In the gospel the (Father’s) voice came from the cloud and said, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!” If you were there and heard these words, what would that mean to you? What would you do? Why weren’t the disciples to do anything about what they saw for quite a while (see Matthew 17:9)? Why do we sometimes need time to let experiences percolate? What happens when we experience deep things and then talk about them too quickly?

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Leader’s Guide:

 

Becoming a witness follows the same process in every area of life: hear, experience, tell.

  1. We begin with something revealed to us: vision/prophecy/revelation/scripture.

  2. We need a confirming personal experience with God: practice of prayerful presence.

  3. We witness to what I/we saw: witness of God’s faithfulness & reality to me/us!

Our lives are not meant to be lived in isolation. We are made for intimate relationship with God and other persons. If we have no experience of life with God then we will not be able to witness of his reality or presence to anyone else either. The Holy Spirit is the one who will help you to understand your life when lived in Jesus’ presence.

Human beings have three needs in relation to God’s revelation: Need to know our Bible stories to see how God has worked in the past. Need to invite God into our days- every day, to experience life with God. Need to share what it is like to live with God for those who have no such experience. We are the eye-witnesses to our own lives.

Many people miss all three: no biblical framework, promise, hope, therefore they do not experience God as with them in anything, therefore they have no witness of God’s activity in their lives, even if he has been very active all around them.

  1. There are a lot of prophecies in the Bible that sound like the opening of the Olympic Games! Prophecies of the gathering of the nations from all corners of the earth, of the fruit of human hands laid down before the Lord of hosts, of the great judgement fire that will illuminate the whole stadium of history…

Do you believe it will happen one day not just because it says so in the Bible, not just because you saw it on TV or someone told you, but also because your experience of what God is like in your life authenticates the stories you have heard from His Word and other faithful witnesses in your life? Could you tell someone else about this? When and how?

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A Transfiguration Prayer:

Father, speak to each one of your children who seek you today. Speak so that we can hear. Show us the reality of who Your Son is. Help us to be silent before Him, so that we can hear Him speak to us. Then send us out by the power of Your Holy Spirit to invite others to do the same thing we have done, so that all people and nations may glorify you forever. Amen.

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Prayer for the Feats of the Transfiguration (August 6):

 

O GOD, who on the holy mount didst reveal to chosen witnesses thy well-beloved Son wonderfully transfigured: Mercifully grant unto us such a vision of his divine majesty, that we, being purified and strengthened by thy grace, may he transformed into his likeness from glory to glory; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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