Life Groups

Sermon Discussion Questions John 5:18-29

Hey leaders,
Here’s a recap on this last week’s message. I hope it’s helpful in your own preparation process. Since a lot of this study will have to do with the relationship between God the Father, God the Son, and (implicitly) God the Holy Spirit, I would urge you to spend some time praying for the Spirit to come and reveal his truth to you and your group this week and ask him to show you where to apply these truths before you launch into the study.

Teaching Goal: Jesus imitates God the Father as Healer, Giver of Life, and Judge.

Application Goal: That when we know who Jesus is, we are able to imitate him in our lives in such a way that it brings other people to life.


The message this last week was all about how Jesus the Son imitates God the Father. To some degree, we all imitate our parents. What are some of the things that you imitate from your parents that you’re thankful for? What are some things that you imitate from your parents that you previously thought you’d never do?

Background info:

In the preceding section in John 5, Jesus healed a lame man and had him take up his bed and walk. The Pharisees ignored the fact that a man was just healed from his infirmity, and instead took issue with him for carrying something on the Sabbath. They later became enraged that Jesus would dare to heal someone on the Sabbath. This sets the stage for Jesus’ interaction with the Pharisees and his explanation of his relationship with the Father.

Read John 5:15-20

It says in v.18 that they wanted to kill Jesus because he made himself equal with God. Does Jesus deny this allegation? (No). What does he do instead? (Explains his relationship with the Father).

What do we learn about Jesus’ relationship with the Father in this passage?

  • They both work (v.17), the Son is not independent of the Father (v.19), the Son imitates the Father (v.19), the Father loves the Son (v.20a) and reveals everything that he is doing to him (v.20b).

What do we learn about how Jesus is imitating the Father in this passage?

  • 17 “My Father is working until now, and I am working”

Specifically, Jesus is referring to why he did the work of healing on the Sabbath. We learn from the creation account in Genesis 1 and 2 that after the work of creation was done God “rested” from his work. The Sabbath commandment points back to that event (Exodus 20:8-11) when God told the Israelites to honor his work of creation by resting.

What do you think Jesus means when he says “My Father is working until now”?

  • At one level, it refers to God’s act of sustaining creation (see Hebrews 1:1-3)
  • Another thought here is that the original Sabbath was lost by the introduction of sin into creation. Ever since that time God has been working toward restoring the good creation he made that the Sabbath points to (Hebrews 4:9, Revelation 14:13).

How does knowing that God is at work for us help us to experience true rest?
Do you feel like you have this kind of rest in your life?

How can we imitate Jesus as he imitates the Father in healing?

  • A few answers could be: Being a community of healing from brokenness, praying for healing for physical, emotional, and spiritual needs, etc. Bearing one another’s burdens… 

Read John 5:20-29

There are two themes that Jesus addresses throughout the rest of this passage, so we’ll look at both of them: (1) Jesus imitates the Father by raising the dead; (2) Jesus imitates the Father by Judging

Jesus imitates the Father by raising the dead

Have people read aloud all the verses where Jesus talks about raising the dead in this passage

  • 21, 24, 25, 28, 29

According to verse 20b, why does Jesus tell us about his ability to raise the dead and give spiritual life?

  • So that we might marvel

As a group, talk to each other about the glories of the resurrection. What makes it important to you? Work on marveling at what God is doing in the resurrection! Contemplate the fact that he sent his Son to be the firstfruits of it (1 Corinthians 15:23). Honestly, for all I care you and your group could stay here and not even get the rest of the study if you spend time marveling at the resurrection.

If you do move on, follow up with this question: How can we “imitate” Jesus the way he imitates the Father when it comes to the resurrection?

  • 25 “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.”
  • We can imitate the way Jesus imitates the Father by being obedient in bringing the Word of Christ, which is God’s power for raising the spiritually dead to life, to those in our lives. God can raise the dead through us by the preaching of the gospel (see previous verse, John 5:24, John 6:63,68, John 20:30-31, Romans 1:16).

Lastly, Jesus imitates God the Father as a Judge.

Read the verses that speak of Jesus being a Judge:

  • 22, 24, 27, 28, 29

For starters, we have to notice that the resurrection and judgment are inextricably linked. Judgment is typically thought of as a bad thing; if anyone knows anything about the teachings of Jesus, it’s to not judge (Matthew 7:1).

Why is it good that Jesus is Judge?

  • It’s the foundation for our own ability to “turn the other cheek” (Romans 12:19-21)
  • It means that there’s actually purpose to our world, it’s not just random stuff happening all the time, some of which is ok and a lot of which that just plain sucks.
  • It means that evil will be punished, which is a good thing. It’s also a bad thing, because we do evil things. Which is why it’s so amazing that the Judge himself became the Defendant and was found guilty on our behalf so that we could experience the resurrection of life (v.29, 2 Corinthians 5:21).

There are many religions whose beliefs make Jesus to be something less than what is portrayed here. Adherents of eastern religions are happy to view Jesus as a philosopher or a good moral teacher. Western religions will recognize him as a prophet (Islam) or even a god-like being (as is the case with Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons), but Jesus’ words in John 5 don’t seem to leave room for these interpretations (never mind the rest of the Gospel of John).

Why is it important for us to have a proper understanding of who Jesus is?

  • Essentially it boils down to v.23b (“Whoever does not honor the Son [you could argue, “for who he is”] does not honor the Father who sent him.”)

Think through some implications of how Jesus’ imitation of the Father and his role as a Judge have implications on our lives.

  • Here are some thoughts:
  • We can be peaceful like Christ because we know he will judge
  • We can become servants/lay our lives down for others (including enemies) like Christ because we know that he will judge
  • We can warn others of the judgment of Christ and share the fact that he will grant amnesty to anyone who trusts in him for salvation
  • We can grow in our own understanding of righteousness by looking to Christ, and then working toward restoration in our own communities because he is a perfect Judge

John 1:1-5 Follow Up Discussion

Here’s a few sermon discussion questions to help our church love God by applying his Word to our lives. Feel free to use these questions for personal reflection, alongside your family, within a smaller discipleship/journey group, or even within the context of your Life Group. If you missed Sunday’s sermon from John 1:1-5, you can view online here:

John 1:1-5  Discussion Questions:

TPQ (Thought Provoking Question):  In his sermon this past Sunday, Aaron described a scene in a dark cave. Where’s the darkest place you’ve ever been? (a cave, a rural road, camping on a mountain, etc.)  How did you react to such literal darkness?   As we begin to look at this passage in John’s gospel, we’ll see how the apostle John contrasts light & darkness.

1.  In verse 1, John uses wording that calls to mind the opening verses in Genesis (In the beginning…). How does this set the tone for the rest of this passage? Why does he want to harken us back to Genesis when he’s about to tell us about the ministry of Jesus in first century Palestine?  How does Christ as “the Word” connect with the creation account in Genesis?

2.  John goes on to tell us some things about this Word (Jesus).  Pastor Aaron brought out 5 characteristics or roles of the Word in these 5 verses. Can you identify them and share a little about the significance of each one?

>> The Word (Jesus) is:

Eternal-  John points to Genesis 1 and a new creation, but a story older than time.

Personal-  Jesus was with God, in relationship. ‘face to face’. Points to the Trinity

God (divine)-  Jesus being not just like God, but God Himself. We’ll see this unpacked in the 7 ‘I am’ statements.
Q:  what difference does it make to you that Jesus is God?

Creator-  Jesus created all things and He Himself was not created. He is the source & the force behind all creation. (cf Col 1:15-17)

Life & Light-  Jesus is the essence of spiritual life & glory that overcomes sin. The darkness has no power or means to overcome or to vanquish the light.

3. How does this knowledge about Jesus affect the way you see Him and act toward Him? Why does John think it’s important for us to know these things about Jesus from the very start of his gospel account

4.  Christ is the source of all light & life. Where else do you & I look for ‘life’ rather than in Him? What about non-believers; where do they look for ‘life’ this time of year? How can we, with the knowledge of Who the true Life really is, where pure Light really defeats darkness, how can we connect with those who are searching for life & light? This week? This season? Be specific.


For further reflection on the Trinity:

Here’s a great graphic explaining the trinity:

Here’s an article for further reading on the great doctrine of the Trinity:

How does our view of “1 God, manifested in 3 distinct person’s” challenge your thinking? How does this view of God differ from other religions such as Islam, Hinduism, Mormonism and Jehovah’s Witnesses?



Bible Reading Plan 2016

Let me take you back to a year ago…it’s now January 12, 2015 and I’m debating if I should do a bible reading plan. I’ve read most of the bible but never actually gone through it in it’s entirety. I’m not much of a reader but I love reading God’s word. So I begin to search for some reading plans and I come across a tweet that led me to Tim Challies blog. From there I decided to do a reading plan that doesn’t start on January 1, since I was already 12 days late, but one that I could start whenever and not worry about staying on schedule. I decided to do Professor Horner’s System since it was touted as an intense reading plan and I like to think of myself as a pretty intense guy, just look at my beard. Anyway, you can click the link to find more information on that reading plan but basically it’s 10 chapters a day from completely different books of the bible. I started this plan on January 15th and I was going pretty strong for a couple of months. Eventually I waned and had to restructure my approach in June of 2015. I decided to cut it down to 5 chapters a day and wouldn’t re-read sections I had completed so I could finish the bible before the end of the year. Well fast forward to January 12, 2016 (today) and I’m still not done! I’ve got just 7 chapters left in the book of Esther (which I’ve read before!) and then, Lord willing, I’ll complete the bible in a year.
Now I share that story with you all not to get attention for my intense beard, or my over achieving bible reading plan, or even that I’ve read the entire bible. I share it with you because there’s been an incredible amount of joy that came from reading/soaking/meditating/ingesting God’s word over the last year. Making this a priority has brought me such a greater understanding of God’s character, his purposes for his people and a holistic view of scripture. I’m all about bible overviews and viewing the bible from Genesis to Revelation to have a clear understanding of how God is redeeming his people. But to read commentaries or watch really good videos on the topic is no substitute for actually reading the bible for yourself. We have a tremendous gift of God’s word that the reformers fought for us to have in our hands. We believe in Sola Scriptura, or the doctrine that scripture alone is our authority for faith and practice as a Christian. Let me urge you, if you haven’t read the entire bible before or if you’re feeling spiritually parched, try a reading plan. Try one with someone in your Life Group so you can dwell on scripture in community. I’ve linked to number of them below to help you get started.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” – Colossians 3:16-17



The Bible Project This plan is broken up into 16 “chapters” and will have you read through the entire bible. You will read a 2-3 chapters a day, a psalm and it has some of their great videos that accompany each chapter.

ESV Daily Bible Reading Plan
This plan has four daily readings taken from four lists: Psalms and Wisdom Literature, Pentateuch and History of Israel, Chronicles and Prophets, and Gospels and Epistles.

Chronological Bible Reading Plan
Read through the Bible in the order the events occurred chronologically.

5×5×5 Bible Reading Plan Read through the New Testament in a year, reading Monday to Friday. Weekends are set aside for reflection and other reading. Especially beneficial if you’re new to a daily discipline of Bible reading.

You can find more examples here.


Song of Solomon 8:6 quiz

Song of Solomon 8:6, “Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm..”
This past Sunday we looked what it meant for Shulammith to be a seal on Solomon’s heart and arm. Here is a fun little quiz to see how we are doing husbands.

Lover’s Quotient Test*

We need to find out just how creative you are as a husband! let’s take the following Lover’s Quotient Test. Give yourself ten points for each item on the following list if you have done it once in the past six months. If you have done any item on the list two or more times, you get twenty points.
Once again: don’t take the results too seriously, but do take them seriously enough!

____ Have you phoned her during the week and asked her out for one evening that weekend without telling her where you are taking her? A mystery date is what we have in mind!
____ Have you given her an evening completely off? You clean up the kitchen; you take care of the kids; you get things settled for the night.
____ Have you gone parking with her at some safe and secluded spot and kissed and talked for an evening?
____ Have you drawn a bath for her after dinner? Put a scented candle in the bathroom; added bath oil to the bath; sent her there right after dinner, and then you cleaned up and put the kids to bed while she relaxed? (In order to get any points for this you must also clean up the tub!)
____ Have you phoned her from work to tell her you were thinking nice thoughts about her? (You get no points for this one if you asked her what was in the mail or what is for dinner!)
____ Have you written her a love letter and sent it special delivery? (First class mail will do.)
____ Have you made a tape recording of all the reasons you have for loving her? Given it to her wrapped in a sheer negligee?
____ Have you picked up your clothes just one time in the past six months and put them on hangers?
____ Have you given her an all-over body massage with scented lotion? (If not, why not?)
____ Have you spent a session of making love to her that included at least two hours of romantic conversation, shared dreams, and much variety of approach and caresses?
____ Have you repaired something around the house that she has not requested?
____ Have you kissed her passionately for at least thirty seconds one morning just before you left for work or one evening when you walked in the door?
____ Have you brought her an unexpected little gift like perfume, a ring, or an item of clothing?
____ Have you replaced her old negligee?
____ Have you given her a day off? Sent her out to do what she wants? You clean the house, fix the meals, and take care of the kids. (My wife says you ought to get thirty points for this one!)
____ Have you put a special-effects recording of ocean waves on tape and played it while you had a luau on the living room floor? Other creative evening adventures may be substituted!
____ Have you spent a whole evening (more than two hours) sharing mutual goals and planning family objectives with her and the children?
____ Have you ever planned a surprise weekend? You make the reservations and arrange for someone to keep the children for two days. Tell her to pack her suitcase, but don’t tell her where you are going (just be sure it’s not the Super Bowl). Make it someplace romantic.

This ridiculous test has been given to men all over the country. Let’s see how your scores compare with theirs:

200–360 – Awesome! You are the man! You undoubtedly have one of the most satisfied wives in the country. You are in the top one percent!
150–200 – Way to go! Very few make this category. You are a top-ten candidate! Your wife probably smiles a lot!
100–150 – This husband is the norm and usually not very exciting as a lover. You are steady, but there are not many fireworks in the area of romance from your wife’s perspective.
50–100 – Boring! You can do better than this! Too many score in this category. I hope you will begin to work to move up soon.
0–50 – Ouch! Sad! Sad! Sad! There is a huge difference between a typical husband and a lover. The only reason your wife is still married to you is that She’s a Christian. She has unusual capacity for unconditional acceptance (of you!), and some verses in the Bible sustain her.

*(Adapted from Jody Dillow’s “Lover’s Quotient Test.”)