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

 

(Date: 30 Sept 2012) “Bridled lives”                                 Revelation 12:7-12 & John 1:47-51

 

Often, when people think about angels, they think about cosmic beings. They are right. Angels mostly work in the realm of the invisible (to the human eye), yet sometimes they appear in the visible world as well. The Bible is full of stories of angels that people have seen. But the main work of angels is to do the will of God wherever He bids them.

 

  1. When Jesus met Nathanael he said something to him that helped him overcome his initial scepticism about Jesus. What was it?  (John 1:47). What is “a true Israelite”? What did Jesus mean by His promise that Nathanael would see heaven open and angles ascending and descending on the Son of Man? (v. 51) Did it happen? When?

 

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Leader’s Guide:

Read Genesis 28:10-22. Why would that have been chosen as the Old Testament reading for this week? Have you ever seen an angel? Have you ever felt the presence of an angel or felt you have wrestled with God? Share that with the group. Where is Jesus in our spiritual struggles? How do we find blessings when we feel God may have put our lives ‘out of joint’?

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Now we have the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Messiah”. (Rev 12:9).

  1. When did the events described in Revelation 12 take place? Was it pre-history or post-history? Is the Bible always chronological in its description of events? “Ontology” is a kind of philosophy concerned with studying of the essence of things. What would an “ontological history” of your life look like? How much of your Christian life is lived in the light of the salvation, power, kingdom and authority of Jesus Christ which we now have? How do we have it? How can that make a difference in our lives? Does it?

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Leader’s Guide:

Why come back to Church? To be with God, and to access the salvation, power, kingdom and authority of Jesus Christ which we now have. As followers of Jesus we do actually have all of those things, yet so many Christians’ lives are marked by feelings of loss, inability, limitedness and lack of authority. Why do we go to church if not to deal with some of these feelings of defeat by remembering the victory of our Messiah and accessing the power He gives us to live in Him, and He in us.

 

We can’t get everything in church but gathering with God’s people, on the day set apart to commemorate the resurrection victory of Jesus over all that accuses and keeps God’s people down, is still the best way to commune with God, and the most likely place to meet Him.

 

When two or three gather in Jesus’ name we can still experience the grace of:

 

Worship….when two or three are joined in His name Jesus has promised He will be present. Period.

 

Missional Work- worthwhile, purpose driven, activity joining our bodies and souls- holistic work- as spiritual beings, with other spiritual beings, when the body is together!

Sacraments- living signs of God’s presence and guidance in our lives. Baptismal belonging to God and each other and Altar/Table sharing of our Communion with God and one another. Regardless of who we are.

Teaching- that helps us to see our lives in a bigger, spiritual perspective- God’s will for us and for His community of faith. Connects what we are experiencing of life with God’s purpose for our lives. Gives us direction and assistance in understanding ourselves and what we are essentially about.

Community- Feelings of isolation are countered with declarations of belonging to God’s family.

Spiritual disciplines & practices- tools that can empower us to live as children of God and forever are made available to us! Life is not a sprint, it is usually more like a marathon- endurance and resilience is needed to make it through as beacons of Jesus’ light in the world.

Significance- beloved child of God whose life is intended to last forever! Eternal life is meant to start now!

Back to Church is still and always will be the best place to go to meet the God who took on our humanity to meet is in Christ.

 “Follow Christ for His own sake, if you follow Him at all.” – J.C. Ryle

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Collect for Saint Michael and All Angels  

O Everlasting God, who hast ordained and constituted the
ministries of angels and men in a wonderful order: Mercifully
grant that, as thy holy angels always serve and worship thee in
heaven, so by thy appointment they may help and defend us
on earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and
reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever
and ever. Amen.

 

 

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