Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Victory Shared

My Life Group lesson for April 9, 2017, using Lifeway’s “Bible Studies for Life” curriculum, as well as help from Bible Gateway, Lynn Pryor and Adrian Rogers.

FIRST THOUGHTS

This week Pepsi suffered a bit of embarrassment when they released an ad that was wildly and widely derided as tone deaf by all sides of the political debate. It features Kendall Jenner of the Kardashian clan solving all of the protests and political and pop culture disagreement by giving a Pepsi to a police officer. A couple of days later Pepsi pulled the ad.

Let’s think about some ad campaigns that actually worked.

What are some marketing campaigns you will always remember?

Ad agencies live to create that one slogan or campaign that’s remembered for years.

Here’s what one site chose for the top 10 catchiest jingles of all time:

10. Dr Pepper: “Wouldn’t you like to be a pepper, too?”
9. Wrigley’s Doublemint Gum: “Double your pleasure, double your fun.”
8. Juicy Fruit: “The taste is gonna move ya.” (When you pop it in your mouth!)
7. Chili’s: “I want my baby back baby back baby back ribs.”
6. Alka-Seltzer: “Plop plop fizz fizz, oh what a relief it is.”
5. Kit Kat: “Give me a break.”
4. Band-Aid: “I am stuck on Band-Aid brand cause Band-Aid’s stuck on me.”
3. Oscar Mayer: “My Bologna Has A First Name…” and “If I Were An Oscar Mayer Weiner.”
2. Coca-Cola: “I’d Like to Buy The World A Coke.”
1. McDonald’s: “I’m lovin’ it!”

Research shows that the memory retention of a radio or TV commercial that incorporates a jingle, is recalled 10 times faster than that of an ad that just relies on spoken word and a generic audio bed.

Researchers actually have a name for this – they call it ‘Song-Struck-Syndrome’ or ‘Earworms.’ These are typically 15 – 30 second snippets of melody and music that make their way into our brain and never seem to leave.

(Source: https://creativeready.com/top-10-advertising-jingles-time/)

And when we sing a catchy jingle we want to sing along with everyone else. Some things are too good to keep to ourselves.

In today’s lesson we’re going to talk about the victory we have in Jesus, how it’s too big to keep to ourselves.

UNDERSTANDING THE CONTEXT

*** After the resurrection Jesus appeared to two disciples on their walk to the village of Emmaus (see Luke 24:13 35). On Easter evening, Jesus appeared among His disciples (see vv. 36 43).

*** It was there that Jesus reminded his disciples of everything He had said and they had witnessed.

*** What Jesus had done is incredibly good news, and like any good news, the story of God’s saving work in Jesus had to be told.

Luke 24:44-45

44 He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” 45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.

*** Know your history.

--- It’s been said that those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it, but clearly no one knows their history.

--- One reason the Da Vinci Code book and movie was so laughable is that it’s facts go against every bit of Biblical knowledge that we have.

--- Jesus’ disciples had all the facts but not only didn’t remember the scriptures, they didn’t remember what Jesus said for the past three years.

--- It would be an understatement to say that Jesus’ disciples were surprised by the crucifixion.

--- Jesus had repeatedly told the disciples He would be arrested, killed, and resurrected (see 9:22,44; 17:25; 18:31-33; 22:37).

--- Furthermore, the Hebrew Scriptures themselves (what we know as the Old Testament) predicted what would happen.

--- Yet, when Jesus appeared to His followers on the day of His resurrection, He reminded them of His warnings from the past: “This is what I told you while I was still with you.”

--- Despite all this, Jesus didn’t rebuke the disciples for not figuring things out. Instead, “he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.”

--- Jesus showed them how these passages that were well known to every Jew were ultimately about Him!

--- When Jesus said “everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms,” he’s emphasizing that the entire Old Testament points to Him.

--- This wasn’t the first time Jesus said that He was all over the place in the Old Testament.

--- Earlier, Jesus told this to the Jews who were persecuting Him: “You study the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me” (John 5:39)

--- When it says that Jesus “opened their minds so they could understand,” it reminds us that the Scriptures need to be understood. It takes the help of the Holy Spirit to understand God’s Word fully.

*** Question - What practical tools help you engage and understand the Scriptures?

(((Unfortunately we still find too many examples of people who misinterpret the Bible or choose to read it in light of what they want it to say. How do we know when we’re reading the Scriptures correctly? Look for Christ. Reading the Bible as God intended will always bring us back to Jesus.)))

Luke 24:46-48

46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things.

*** We’re gonna steal the New Testament.

--- You don’t have to be Nic Cage stealing the Declaration of Independence to be privy to secret knowledge about Jesus.

--- God’s people have everything we need in the Bible.

--- The early church would go on to use several Scriptures to point to the crucified and resurrected Christ.

--- Philip used Isaiah 53:7-8 to help the Ethiopian (Acts 8:26-38) discover Jesus.

--- In Acts 10:43 Peter testifies to Cornelius that the prophets witness about Jesus.

--- Love Worth Finding (https://www.lwf.org/bible-study/posts/jesus-in-the-old-testament-12419) points to about 300 prophecies in the Old Testament about the coming Christ.

--- From the beginning, God has been working across the generations so that—at just the right moment in history—Jesus Christ would be born. Knowing this, we see that Jesus’ arrest and death were not merely unfortunate events. They were all a part of God’s perfect plan.

--- Jesus didn’t just come to be a Messiah, he brings forgiveness and salvation for those who repent and believe.

*** We are witnesses.

--- Just as the earliest disciples did, we also live as witnesses for Christ, and what we proclaim comes out of the overflow of our own relationship with Jesus.

--- We may not stand behind a pulpit every week, but neither did most of the disciples. Instead, we share what we know and have experienced with those who need to hear it.

--- Remember: the gospel is good news! Most people—even people who seemingly have it all together—are walking around in terrible pain. They have things in their past they can’t forget or forgive. They have failures they can’t get over. People they trusted have let them down, or worse. These are the people who sit on the pews around you in church, live down the street in your neighborhood, go to class with you, and work where you work.

--- Such people are desperate for the good news Jesus brings. Some of them may think they know about Jesus, but in fact, they don’t. At least, they don’t know the full story of His grace and salvation.

--- That’s where we come in as witnesses. Under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, we’re brought into people’s lives at just the right moment.

--- Just as Jesus was born in the fullness of time (see Gal. 4:4), God leads you and me into other people’s lives at just the right time to make a difference. Then, perhaps beginning with a cup of coffee or a little banter about the latest ball game, we listen to their stories. Right where they are, we begin to tell them the story of Jesus. We tell them everything that happened to Jesus and about what His victory means for all of us.

REVIEW AND TAKE-AWAY POINTS

Why do we hit the share button to post things on Facebook?

We might want to show a news article, or the secret to healthy living, or an adorable video of puppies. And yes, sometimes we share what Jesus Christ has done for us.

We share those things that move us emotionally and express what is truly important to us.

What is the primary obstacle that hinders you from sharing the gospel with others?

Nothing should move us more—or be more important—than knowing we have eternal life because of the resurrection of Christ. The message went viral in the 1st century as the gospel spread around the world.

*** Invite. Pray for an opportunity to invite a friend or family member to church.

*** Study. As you read the Old Testament look for those signs, events, and teachings that point forward to the coming of Christ.

*** Share. As a church, we don’t need cheesy advertisements or viral marketing to spread the good news of the gospel. Instead, we simply need to share stories of lives changed through the victory and power of Jesus—stories like yours.

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