1.How can the example of Jesus help Christians deal with the temptations that accompany popularity and power?
Popularity and power are things that many of us won’t have to worry about personally! Even so, we all are painfully aware of “high visibility” Christian leaders who have fallen with a loud crash. Popularity and power can be useful in advancing the kingdom, yet each has the potential to produce harmful effects. Jesus’ example re-minds as that the eternal, spiritual reality takes precedence over the temporary, physical reality. Despite Jesus’ popularity, He made sure that everything in His life was aligned with God’s agenda.
Jesus’ example also reminds as of the need for regular reflection. Between John 6:14 and 6:16Jesus separated himself from the clamoring crowds (compare also Luke 5:16). Given our tendency to misuse both popularity and power, meditation on the example of Jesus is vital.
2.The phrase/will in no wise cast out pro-vides great comfort! But what are potential dangers to this assurance? Explain.
When we experience difficulties, especially persecution for our faith, it is tempting to question either God’s goodness or the reality of our salvation. In effect we begin to ask, “If that promise is really true, then why did such and such happen to me?” We also should be wary that the phrase / will in no wise cast out may become an excuse for disobedience (see Romans 6).
3. What are some ways that the example and teaching of Christ can help you assess the will of God for your life?
There are clear differences between the will of God for Jesus’ earthly life and His will for ours. Jesus’ life is a reminder, however, that God’s will for all people is a right relationship with Him. In wrestling with the details of God’s will for our lives, we remember that God has revealed in Scripture that which is central regarding his intentions for all Christians: the Great Commission of Matthew 28:19, 20. God wants us to be involved in helping reconcile people to Him. He wants us to help others learn to love and serve Him.
God also wants to reflect His character in our lives. Personal holiness is a must (1 Peter1:15, 16). While Christians sometimes disagree on the extent to which God has a specific will for each person’s life, Scripture makes these primary concerns most clear.
4. In what ways have you found the Holy Spirit’s in dwelling presence to be an encouragement in living the Christian life?
The Holy Spirit is God’s presence with and within us. Knowing of His presence is (or should be) a great source of strength, especially in places or life situations in which we are not surrounded by strong Christians.
The Spirit’s ministry as described by Jesus also reminds us that the Christian life is not a matter of “trying harder” to employ our own meager resources. God’s power is at work to transform our lives and fuel our service. Since the Holy Spirit indwells all believers, He also works through the community of faith. He encourages us through the Word and through the timely insights and input of others. This pro-vides spiritual comfort or challenge according to our needs.
5.How do you intend to use the images of hunger and thirst to communicate the gospel in the twenty-first century?
The creative teaching style that Jesus demonstrates is still worth emulating. First, the images of hunger and thirst are relevant to all people of all times. Second, the images involve the whole person—thus they are memorable and powerful. Third, nothing is suture fundamental than hunger and thirst (except perhaps the need for air).Fourth, these images are grounded in the rhythms of everyday life.
A big hurdle that we face is in transferring images of physical hunger and thirst into the spiritual realm. Spiritual hunger and thirst cannot be felt in quite the same way that physical hunger and thirst are sensed. Many people have sup-pressed their spiritual needs for so long that they barely are aware of them. In those cases the Holy Spirit can create the feelings of spiritual longings that we can then address.