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The Real Gospel (discussion questions)

This past weekend at Eastbrook Church, we continued our series, “Free: A Study on Galatians,” by looking at the real gospel from Galatians 2:1-21. Here are the discussion questions that accompany my message, “The Real Gospel,” which is the second part of our series.

Discussion Questions:

  1. As we continue our series, “Free,” this weekend, we are looking at Galatians, chapter 2. Whether on your own or with a small group, take a moment to begin with prayer, asking God to speak through your study of the Scripture. Next, read that Bible passage out loud.
  2. Background: The first two chapters of Galatians include a lot of biographical background on Paul’s life and ministry. This is important because it helps to show that Paul’s message and calling were derived from God and not human authority. It also helps us understand some of the challenges Paul is facing in the Galatians churches.
  3. How would you characterize Paul’s reasons for going to Jerusalem in Galatians 2:1-10? What role did the leaders in Jerusalem – James, Cephas (Peter), and John – play in his ministry and the unity of the early church’s work with Jews and Gentiles?
  4. In Galatians 2:11-14, Paul relates an incident with Peter while they were in Antioch that he sees as a challenge to the gospel. What is the challenge and how does Paul address it?
  5. It is a fascinating moment to see tension arise between two heroes of the faith, Peter and Paul. Why do you think Paul viewed this issue as significant enough to make such a big deal about it with Peter, instead of simply letting it go?
  6. How important is the core gospel message to you? Do you think it is it worth getting excited or riled up about? Why or why not?
  7. It is likely that Paul is using these stories to address the tensions in the Galatian churches. In verses 15 and 16, Paul outlines the fundamental issues at stake in the Galatian churches. What are these fundamental issues and why are they important?
  8. Galatians 2:19-21 have been described as “the central affirmation of the letter.” What is being affirmed here and what is its significance for Paul and his message, the Galatian churches, and us today?
  9. Name one thing you will take away from this study on the real gospel? If you are with a small group, take some time to discuss these things with one another. If you are alone, share that with someone this week. Close in prayer.

Action step: Pastor Matt encouraged us to memorize Galatians 2:20 during this series as a way to let the gospel message sink deeper into our lives. One way you could do this would be to write Galatians 2:20 on a notecard and keep it in your pocket, pulling it out to memorize it. Another way you could do this would be to print it out and place the verse in several prominent places where you will see it often.

[Next week: We continue the “Free” series by looking at Galatians, chapter 3. Prepare by reading this passage ahead of time.]

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2015 in Eastbrook, Scripture reflections

 

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The Real Gospel

Free Series Gfx_FacebookThis weekend at Eastbrook Church I continued our series “Free,” in which we are walking through the book of Galatians, by looking at the real gospel that Paul outlines in Galatians 2:1-21. In my message, I contrasted the real gospel with the pale imitations of legalism and libertinism. I referenced fasting as a helpful spiritual practice, and you can read more about fasting here.

You can view a video of the message and the accompanying outline below. You can listen to the message via our audio podcast here. Mark Lynch did a great job starting off the series last week, so if you haven’t viewed his message, I’d encourage you to take a look here.You will be able to view all the messages from the “Free” series here as the series unfolds. Comment on the series on social media using the #ebcfree hashtag.

Connect with us further at Eastbrook Church on VimeoFacebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

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Posted by on January 11, 2015 in Communication, Eastbrook

 

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An Overview of Fasting

This weekend in my message “The Real Gospel” at Eastbrook Church, I mentioned how fasting can be a helpful spiritual practice to fight against turning the liberty of the gospel into libertinism to sin.

I want to refer to a series of posts on fasting that I wrote a number of years back as a resource for understanding fasting in general, certain specific aspects of fasting, biblical backgrounds on fasting, and a few other practical helps on the topic. I hope this is helpful as you utilize fasting to say ‘no’ to yourself and ‘yes’ to God.

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2015 in Discipleship

 

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World Watch List 2015

Today, Open Doors released the World Watch List 2015, a resource developed “to track and measure the extent of persecution in the world.” Open Doors has been tracking religious persecution of Christians since the 1970s and their approach to the work is well-informed and reliable. Religious persecution affects many religious groups and not just Christians. Still, there has been widespread recognition over the past few years that religious persecution of Christians is on the rise globally (see my earlier posts on Iraq, Syria, and the trials of Christians in the MidEast).

You can see an infographic of the list below and can read the entire report here. Christianity Today also has a nice overview of the watch list today in the article, “‘Not Forgotten': The Top 50 Countries Where It’s Most Difficult to be a Christian.”

Here are a few highlights within the overall trends on this year’s list:

  • “The Top 10 countries where Christians face the most pressure and violence in the reporting period of the WWL 2015 are, in order: North Korea, Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Sudan, Iran, Pakistan, Eritrea and Nigeria.”
  • North Korea continues in the #1 position, as it has for the past decade and more
  • Kenya (a majority Christian nation) and Djibouti have the highest jump in persecution ranking this year, from  positions in the 40s to the 20s
  • The impact of the group known as the Islamic State has strongly impacted the persecution levels in both Iraq and Syria. This includes a dramatic flight of Christians from these countries to other havens for safety.

World Watch List 2015

 
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Posted by on January 7, 2015 in Issues and Theology

 

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Free

Free Series Gfx_Facebook

It’s a new year and an opportunity to step into new things, including new things in our life with God. Beginning this weekend, January 3 & 4, we begin a new series at Eastbrook entitled “Free.” In a culture and world that values freedom, we encounter strong words from the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Galatians: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1). The message of Jesus Christ is a message of radical freedom that leads to abundant life. But what does that look like for us? Join us as we walk through the New Testament epistle of Paul to the Galatians, exploring themes of the gospel, freedom, grace, legalism, salvation, inclusion, and discipleship.

January 3/4 - “The Only Message” (Galatians chapter 1)

January 10/11 – “Living by Faith” (Galatians chapter 2)

January 17/18 – “Receiving the Promise” (Galatians chapter 3)

January 24/25 – “Becoming Children” (Galatians chapter 4)

February 28/March 1 – “Spiritual Freedom” (Galatians chapter 5)

March 7/8 – “Planting the Harvest” (Galatians chapter 6)

 
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Posted by on January 2, 2015 in Communication, Eastbrook

 

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Christmas

jesus mary

This is why we celebrate (from Luke 2:1-20):

2:1  In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

 
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Posted by on December 25, 2014 in Scripture reflections

 

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Christmas Eve at Eastbrook

Christmas Eve 2014

Join us for worship on Christmas Eve at Eastbrook Church this year. We have services at 2:30, 4:00, and 5:30 PM. Find directions to Eastbrook here.

 
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Posted by on December 24, 2014 in Eastbrook

 

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