Lent Sermon Series: SUBTEXTS (2/14/16): “The Wise Groomsmaids”
Sermon Series: Subtexts
Today we began our first sermon in the Lenten sermon series called “Subtexts.” For more information about this sermon series click here, or for an extended introduction to the significance of Lent click here.
Sermon Discussion Info: “The Wise Groomsmaids”
This sermon was on the Parable of the Bridesmaids found in Matthew 25:1-13. We learned this morning that the next three parables are all about the coming of the kingdom of God and how that future coming should inform (indeed transform) our present lives. We also learned that in each parable a line is drawn in the sand separating, in one way or another, authentic faith from inauthentic faith. The four lessons from the parable were as follows:
- Some Christians have it (authentic faith). Some Christians don’t (25:1-2).
- Authentic faith is oriented toward (a) seeing Jesus and (b) helping others see Jesus (the role of a “groomsmaid”).
- Authentic faith must be shared with others, but it cannot be supplied for others (25:8-9).
- The essence of authentic faith is simple: it is knowing Jesus, which is not the same as knowing about Jesus (25:11-12).
Sermon Discussion Questions
- The best way to reflect on this parable is in reverse order. Each person take a few minutes to share with one another about how you came to know Jesus. This is not only edifying to one another, but it also helps us practice sharing our testimony to unbelievers. Maybe you don’t remember when you first met Jesus (if you were a child)–that’s okay. But navigate your journey with Jesus through particular highs or lows that stand out.
- Talk about the distinction between knowing about Jesus and knowing him personally. Why are both important? And what does it mean for you not just to know about Jesus, but to know him personally.
- Have you ever struggled to draw a line in the sand with people you know do not have a personal relationship with Jesus, whether in the Church or without? It should be hard to tell people that you believe there are eternal consequences to rejecting the grace of God (if a person delights in others going to hell, they are perhaps in more danger of hell than those others, according to the way Jesus dealt with people in the Gospels). Nevertheless, the Gospel is clear: God wants a relationship with each of us personally, not just all of us as a mob impersonally. We are not connected to Christ by virtue of our relationship with the Body of Christ; we are connected to the Body of Christ by virtue of our relationship with Christ.
- Share about times you have shared your faith with others. That may be giving someone your testimony, sharing the Gospel, praying with someone, etc., but it should include bringing the name of Jesus into a moment with another, Christian or non-Christian. (If you haven’t shared your faith with anyone, share about your inhibitions or the obstacles that make it hard for you to share your faith. This is not about how well you have or haven’t done, it is about moving forward.) Talk about the obstacles you’ve faced, the ways God has (or seemingly hasn’t?) shown up.
- Lastly, each person identify where you are in the wedding ceremony. Are you still waiting to meet Jesus? Having met him, have you begin to help others see him? Who are the people in your world whom you need to help see Jesus and anticipate his coming?
Here is the video clip that was played during the sermon: