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practices of the Christian life

Practices of the Christian life: Worship

Practices of the Christian life: Worship

Luke 19:28-40

28 After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, 30 “Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it.’”

32 Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. 33 As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?”

34 They replied, “The Lord needs it.”

35 They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. 36 As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road.

37 When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:

38 “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”[a]

“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”

40 “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

Listening guide

Name an item you have that is worth very little: __________________ 

What do you feel about that item? 

When is the last time you talked about that item?  

What did you last say about that item?  


Name an item that is worth a great deal to you (put down something tangible, not kids or family) __________________  

What do you feel about that item?  

When is the last time you talked about that item?  

What did you last say about that item? 


Worship takes all of you:  

  • Throw coats down for Jesus (v36) =  

  • “joyfully to praise God in loud voices” (v37) =  

  • “for all the miracles they had seen” (v37) =  


Worship gives __________ ____________ to someone or something.  

Worship comes from old English words ________ _________. 

Jesus lost all his __________ , his ________. (v37)  

You’re his treasure, that will make him your treasure. 

Take a palm branch home.  

Study guide

  1. Tell about a time when you naturally worshipped or praised someone/something. Also, tell about a time when worship felt forced or awkward.  

  2. Do you think Jesus knew what was going to happen as this event took place?  

  3. What is the meaning of: 

    1. The donkey (Zechariah 9:9) 

    2. The palm branches  

      1. “There was little difficulty obtaining palm branches: date palms were plentiful around Jerusalem, and still grow there. But there is nothing in the Old Testament that prescribes palm branches at Passover, whereas the people were commanded to take ‘palm fronds … and rejoice before the LORD your God’ at the Feast of Tabernacles. This is one of the factors that prompted T. W. Manson to argue that the triumphal entry actually took place six months earlier and was transferred to this setting.4 In fact, this expedient is unnecessary. From about two centuries earlier, palm branches had already become a national (not to say nationalist) symbol. When Simon the Maccabee drove the Syrian forces out of the Jerusalem citadel he was fêted with music and the waving of palm branches (cf. 1 Macc. 13:51, 141 BC), which had also been prominent at the rededication of the temple (2 Macc. 10:7, 164 BC). Apocalyptic visions of the end utilize palm branches (Testament of Naphtali 5). Palms appear on the coins struck by the insurgents during the Jewish wars against Rome (AD 66–70, 132–135); indeed, the use of the palm as a symbol for Judea was sufficiently well established that the coins struck by the Romans to celebrate their victory also sported it.5 In short, waving of palm branches was no longer restrictively associated with Tabernacles. In this instance, it may well have signaled nationalist hope that a messianic liberator was arriving on the scene (cf. 6:14–15). (D. A. Carson, The Gospel according to John, The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; W.B. Eerdmans, 1991), 431–432.)  

    3. Laying down cloaks (2 Kings 9:13) 

  4. What aspects of this story show Jesus’ ... 

    1. Power 

    2. Humility 

  5. (Verse 38) What does the shouting of Psalm 118 signify?  

  6. These people worship Jesus with their mind (“for the miracles they had seen”), their emotions (“joyfully praise God”), and their wills/actions (laying down their cloaks). Do you worship Jesus with your whole person?  

  7. Why did the Pharisee’s object to the disciples’ praise and worship?  

  8. What does the statement, “I tell you, he replied, if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out” tell you? (Genesis 4:10; Joshua 24:27: Psalm 96:11; 98:7-9; 114:1-8; Isaiah 55:12; Habakkuk 2:11)  

  9. Jesus gave up so much that he didn’t even have a mode of transportation to get into town (v31 “the Lord needs” the donkey). What does that say about your worth and value?  

Practices of the Christian life: Forgive and reconcile

Practices of the Christian life: Forgive and reconcile

Based on Luke 15:11-32

The Parable of the Lost Son

11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.

13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 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.

21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on.27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’

28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’

31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”

New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.®Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

I need ______________ to be reconciled with me.  

To reconcile means =  

They have tried the following to fix the relationship:  

  • ________________________________________________________

  • ________________________________________________________

  • ________________________________________________________

Forgiveness and reconciliation is a key practice of the Christian life  

  • Mt 5:24 ““Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.”  

  • 1 John 4:19-20 “We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.”

Everyone is _______ and has this call to come _________.   

Son #1  

  • ___________________

  • ___________________

  • ___________________

  • V17 “When he came to his senses”  

  • Some people want to get home by ___________________.  

Son #2  

  • ___________________

  • ___________________

  • ___________________

  • V29 “All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders.”

  • Some people want to get home by ___________________.  

The lost still want ________.   

The father gives them his own __________.  

The Son must pay a high price.

True _______________________ costs too much.

Only the father can _______ ____________ the lost, because only the father _______ everything he has.  

So let’s __________.

With whom could you celebrate the Father’s compassion and the Son’s sacrifice? ________________________________________

Let’s party, because only the father gives everything he has.

Studying this section is most beneficial if think of someone who you need to forgive and someone else with whom you need to be reconciled. As we start, think of one or two specific people.  

  1. What is the difference between forgiveness and reconciliation? Which one do you think is harder?  

  2. What makes it hard to forgive people?  

  3. What makes it hard to reconcile with people?  

  4. In this event (not just in the story) who are characters?  

  5. Verses 11-12 Explain what happens in these verses and the significance of them. Here is a comment from Joel Green, a New Testament scholar, explaining the social dynamics. “According to tradition and reinforced by political rhetoric, the family in Jesus’ world was hierarchical in *authority. The eldest male of the household was the patriarch, possessing all the power that patriarchy entails. Husbands held power over their wives (see Sir 25:26; 4Q418 10, 3–10), and mothers and fathers were in authority over their children, including their adult children (Ex 20:12; Tob 4:3–4; Sir 3:1–16; 4Q418 9, 17–18). Jesus supports the power of parents (Mk 7:9–13; 10:19; cf. Lk 2:51), and his *parables reflect patriarchal hierarchy (Mt 18:23–34; 21:28–31; Lk 15:11–32). The challenge of these expectations makes stories like the parable of the prodigal son and Jesus’ call of *disciples away from their homes quite surprising (Mt 8:21–22; 10:34–38; Lk 9:59–62; 15:11–32)."  

  6. Compare verses 17-19 with verse 21. What is the difference?  

  7. Why do you think the father is able to forgive his son but the brother is not able to forgive his brother?

  8. One of the things that bothers people is that the father seems to offer forgiveness to the son free of charge. The gospel tells us that Jesus Christ paid for our sins with his life and death. How is the father able to forgive his son?

  9. In this parable, who are you right now? Who have you been at various times?

  10. With whom could you celebrate the Father’s compassion and the Son’s sacrifice?  

Practices of the Christian life: Repent

Practices of the Christian life: Repent

Based on Luke 13:1-9

Nathaniel Timmermann

Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. 4 Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”

6 Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. 7 So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’

8 “‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. 9 If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’”

New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

  1. When was the last time you said, “I’m sorry.” Was that repentance or an apology?

  2. What keeps you from repenting or makes repenting hard?

  3. Why do you think these people told Jesus about all these tragedies?

  4. What was wrong in the thinking of these people, based on Jesus’ question “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered in this way?”

  5. When do you most often find yourself comparing yourself to others?

  6. What are the two convictions that are part of repentance?

  7. Do you regularly repent?

  8. Verses 6-9 do not only teach that God is patient toward us. What else do they teach us about God?

  9. Are you certain that you will not perish?

Practices of the Christian life: Be still

Practices of the Christian life: Be still

A sermon on Psalm 46 by Kelly Huet

Ps 46:10 “He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;

I will be exalted among the nations,

I will be exalted in the earth.”

  1. What are common fears people face?

  2. What are common effects of fear in our lives?

  3. Evaluate: you must not have a strong enough faith if you are often afraid and have anxiety.

  4. What psalms would you offer to people when they are afraid?

  5. 46:8-9 What is so surprising about the way that God brings peace?

  6. 46:10 What does it mean to “be still” for you?

  7. Tell about a time when God's Word and presence stilled you.

  8. Who do you know that needs God's Word to still them?

Practices of the Christian life: Fight sin

Practices of the Christian life: Fight sin

A sermon based on Luke 4:1-13

Nathaniel Timmermann

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 where for forty days he was tempted[a] by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.

3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”

4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’[b]”

5 The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6 And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. 7 If you worship me, it will all be yours.”

8 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’[c]”

9 The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. 10 For it is written:

“‘He will command his angels concerning you

to guard you carefully;

11 they will lift you up in their hands,

so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’[d]”

12 Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’[e]”

13 When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.

  1. When you think of the practices of the Christian life – activities that Christians practice to know the Lord and receive his gifts – what do you think of? Which do you practice most often?  

  2. Luke 4:2 Do you think the devil exists? What has convinced you?  

  3. Luke 4:3 What is the first temptation? What is wrong with bread? How is this a temptation then?  

  4. Luke 4:5-7 What is the second temptation? What is wrong with kingdoms and splendor? How is this a temptation?  

  5. Luke 4:9-11 What is the third temptation? How is this a temptation?  

  6. The heart of temptation is to make a good thing an ultimate thing.  

  7. In the sermon, pastor made the point: You will fight your whole life if you follow Jesus. Where have you fought the devil and temptation lately? Or are you running away from some fight?  

  8. Craig Evans provides an interesting insight into the temptations. He says, ““All of the suggestions put to Jesus by the devil reflect popular ideas and beliefs about what the Messiah would do when he appeared. Just as God had during the wilderness wanderings, the Messiah was expected to bring bread down from heaven, to subject the other kingdoms to Israel, and to perform some dazzling sign that would convince religious leadership.” (Craig Evans, Understanding the Bible Commentary Series, 242) If it is true that these temptations reflect popular ideas and beliefs about what the Messiah would do, what would temptations that reflect popular ideas about today’s messiahs look like? That is to say, what do we expect a messiah or savior to do today and how would he/she be tempted?  

  9. Do you find yourself resisting temptation or just hoping to be saved from the consequences of sin?  

  10. God has given us three tools to handle and overcome temptation: God’s Word, God’s Spirit, and God’s Servant. What is each and how does it help when we face temptation?