WHO IS JESUS? JESUS IS OUR PEACE

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

INTRODUCTION

The last two weeks we’ve been studying Colossians 1:15-20. Paul makes the exact same point six different ways: 1) [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God (v 15a); 2) [Jesus] is the firstborn over all creation (v 15b); 3) By [Jesus] all things were created (v 16); 4) [Jesus] is before all things (v 17); 5) [Jesus] is the head of the body, the church (v 18); and 6) God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in [Jesus] (v 19). In this passage, Paul is saying that Jesus is God. But as God, He didn’t come as a conquering king, or a super hero; He chose to come as a baby, and He chose to be born into extremely humble beginnings. And He came offering “peace to men on whom His favor rests.”

SCRIPTURE

15The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16For in Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 18And He is the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything He might have the supremacy. 19For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, 20and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross. Colossians 1:15-20

GROUP QUESTIONS

How have humans tried to achieve peace? How effective have we been?

Read Colossians 1:15-20. How does Jesus “reconcile to Himself all things” and “make peace”? What are “all things”?

Why does reconciliation and making peace with humanity matter to God?

Read Luke 2:6-14. What is your definition of peace?

Aaron defined peace as “wholeness, completeness”. Does this definition change how you view peace?

The angels declared “peace on earth” at the birth of Jesus, but has there been “peace on earth” since His birth? If not, what do you think the angels meant by this declaration?

Read Isaiah 9:6. What are the four titles of Jesus in this prophecy?

The Hebrew phrase “Sar Shalom” is translated “Prince of Peace” in Isaiah 9:6. According to Aaron, “Prince of Peace” means “Chief of Rest”, “General of Wholeness”, “Captain Completeness”. Is this how you experience peace in your everyday life?

APPLICATION

All of the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and atoms—would be properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies by making peace through Jesus’ blood, shed on the cross. This is the reason for the season. This is why you celebrate. This is why Jesus left the perfection of heaven and entered the chaos of His creation. He came to be your peace…not just a feeling; emotion, or experience based on your surroundings, but Sar Shalom…the redemption, restoration, and reconciliation of every broken part in you. Meditate on this during the next week as you celebrate Christ’s birth!

FOR FURTHER STUDY

Read the following Scripture verses in at least three different translations. Journal what God is speaking to you through these passages.

  • Psalm 55:22
  • Psalm 119:165
  • Isaiah 26:3
  • Isaiah 54:10
  • John 14:27
  • John 16:33
  • Romans 12:18
  • Romans 14:19
  • Philippians 4:6-7
  • Colossians 3:15
  • 1 Peter 3:8-12

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WHO IS JESUS? JESUS IS OUR GUIDE

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

INTRODUCTION

Our world is confused over who Jesus is…many say that He was a good man and a great moral teacher but not the incarnate Son of God. This is the teaching that crept into the church at Colossae and the reason why Paul wrote the Book of Colossians.

SCRIPTURE

15The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16For in Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 18And He is the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything He might have the supremacy. 19For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, 20and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross. Colossians 1:15-20

GROUP QUESTIONS

What are some of the different views you have heard for who Jesus is?

Read Colossians 1:16-20. Does “firstborn over all creation” mean Jesus was created first? If not, what does it mean?

Read the following passages. What is the range in meaning of the word “firstborn”?

  • Psalm 89:27
  • Luke 2:7
  • Romans 8:29
  • Hebrews 11:28
  • Hebrews 12:22-23
  • Revelation 1:5

Paul wrote Colossians because the people in the church had become confused about who Jesus was (God). If Paul were to write to the Church today, what false beliefs do you think he would address?

Why is the deity of Christ important to your faith?

Discuss the meaning of these phrases in verses 17-18:

  •  “He is before all things”
  • “In Him all things hold together”
  • “He is the head of the body, the church”
  • “He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead”
  • “In everything He might have the supremacy”

Why is it important that Christ is supreme? What impact should this knowledge have on the way you live your life?

APPLICATION

Aaron re-read Colossians 1:17-18 with the understanding the Jesus is FIRST:

17 He is before all things, [So, Jesus is FIRST in everything] and in Him all things hold together. [because He’s FIRST] 18 And He is the head of the body, the church; [So, Jesus is FIRST in the Church…and…] He is the beginning [which means He’s the FIRST] and the firstborn from among the dead [again, Jesus is FIRST].

Is your view of Jesus full and complete? How will you give Him the position of FIRST in your life?

FOR FURTHER STUDY

Read the following passages and list how Jesus is described. Spend time this week mediating on Who He is.

  • Matthew 22:41-45
  • Mark 9:2-8
  • Luke 5:17-26
  • John 1:1-18
  • Hebrews 1:1-14

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WHO IS JESUS? JESUS IS OUR EXAMPLE

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

INTRODUCTION

This is a season most of us love – lights, cookies, decorations, traditions, festivities, family. Christmas is now several months long; in 2013, the United States’ retail industry generated over $3 trillion during the holidays. For the next three weeks, in the midst of the hustle and bustle, we are going to look at Colossians 1:15-20 and answer the question “Who is Jesus?” to help us re-discover the significance of Christmas.

SCRIPTURE

15The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16For in Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him.

Colossians 1:15-16

GROUP QUESTIONS

If you could ask Jesus ONE question about Himself, what would it be?

Read Colossians 1:15-20. What stuck out to you the most in this passage?

Why is it significant that Paul uses the term “image” to describe Jesus? (See Exodus 20:4, Hebrews 1:3, and John 1:18.)

What does it mean to be “the firstborn over all creation”?

Read the following passages. What do they tell you about Jesus’ relationship to creation?

  • Genesis 1:1, 26
  • John 1:1-3, 14
  • 1 Corinthians 8:6

What “invisible” things has He created?

What are the “thrones”, “powers”, “rulers” and “authorities”?

Since “all things have been created through Him and for Him”, this means that He created you for Himself. How does that make you feel?

APPLICATION

Each day this week, read through Colossians 1:15-16. Think of how Jesus is described in these verses, and then meditate on the incredible humility of His birth. Spend time in prayer thanking Him for being Emmanuel (God with us).

FOR FURTHER STUDY

In Colossians 1:15-16, Jesus is called “Image”, “Firstborn”, and “Creator”. Read the following passages and list the other names of Jesus. Which of these names are most meaningful to you?

  • Isaiah 7:14
  • Isaiah 9:6
  • Luke 2:11
  • John 1:1
  • John 1:29
  • John 1:41
  • John 6:35
  • John 8:12
  • John 8:58
  • John 10:9
  • John 10:11
  • John 11:25
  • John 14:6

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HAPPY LIFE: MONEY IS A TRADEMARK

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

INTRODUCTION

Over the last two weeks we’ve looked at how money is a tool God gives to advance the kingdom, and how it is a test that reveals your heart. But how you use your finances is also the Trademark of a generous God! What does God’s Trademark look like?

SCRIPTURE

6Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9As it is written: “They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever.” 10Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. 12This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. 13Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. 14And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. 15Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! 2 Corinthians 9:6-15 (MSG)

GROUP QUESTIONS

What saying best describes the way you view money?

  • “Waste not, want not.”
  • “Eat, drink, and be merry.”
  • “You can’t take it with you.”
  • “A penny saved is a penny earned.”
  • “Penny wise, pound foolish.”
  • “The one with the most toys at the end wins.”

Read 2 Corinthians 9:6-15. List the principles and promises related to giving in this passage. Do any particularly stand out to you? Why?

What does it mean to give “under compulsion” (v. 7)? Have you ever done this?

Do you believe it is possible to have a vibrant faith and yet be ungenerous towards others? Why or why not?

If you are to reveal God’s Trademark of generosity, why is your motive for giving important?

Joe shared that the lack of generosity conceals God’s Trademark in three ways; what were those ways?* Have you noticed these in your life? If so, what does that say about generosity in your life?

Joe also said that generosity reveals God’s Trademark in what three ways?** How have you seen these revealed in your life?

If generosity is God’s Trademark to show an unbelieving world that you belong to Him, do you reveal or conceal God’s Trademark?

*How generosity conceals God’s Trademark:

  1. Fear rules your heart and mind.
  2. Distractions take priority.
  3. Self-centeredness becomes your natural position.

**How generosity reveals God’s Trademark:

  1. You trade the worthless for the worthy.
  2. You move from consumer to contributor.
  3. Your head and heart align.

APPLICATION

On a scale of 1-10 (1 being not generous and 10 being very generous), rate your level of generosity. What is one tangible step you can take to grow in your level of generosity?

FOR FURTHER STUDY

Read Psalm 112. What does it mean to fear the Lord? To be blessed?

What are some of the specific ways that God says He will bless you? Do you feel God has already blessed you in any of those ways?

Is God promising financial wealth and security in this passage? Why or why not?

Paul quotes Psalm 112:9 in 2 Corinthians 9:9. Who is the “they” in this passage? What do you think it means that “they have freely scattered their gifts to the poor”?

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