Immanuel: God With Us – Part 3
December 19-20, 2020
1 John 4:8b-10
“God is love. God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” 1 John 4:8b-10 (p.943)
- The reason for the season is sin.
“She (Mary) will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’” Matthew 1:23b (p.733)
- God’s Love Is With Me.
- The motive for the season is God’s love.
“God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. …Our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies….” Romans 5:8, 10a (p.860)
How will I respond?
- Obedience: Mary & Joseph.
“Mary responded, ‘I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.’” Luke 1:38a (p.780)
“When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife.” Matthew 1:24 (p.733)
- Praise: The shepherds.
“The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.” Luke 2:20 (p.781)
- Worship: The wise men.
“Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.” Matthew 2:2 (p.734)
Another response option:
“King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this [news about the birth of Jesus].” Matthew 2:3a (p.734)
- Willful rejection: King Herod.
“Anyone who isn’t with me opposes me, and anyone who isn’t working with me is actually working against me.” Matthew 12:30 (p.743)
Choose to experience and remain in God’s love.
“If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9 (p.864)
“I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.” John 15:9-10 (p.824)
Next Step: ____ I will pray every day this week: “God, please help me respond to and remain in Your love with genuine trust, praise, and worship.”
Discussion/Groups Guide from the Weekend TalkFrom the Weekend Talk of December 19-20, 2020
Immanuel: God With Us – Part 3: Love
Use this guide to discuss the Weekend Talk with your family or friends.
When Life Groups are in session, they use questions like these to go deeper into what we talked about on the weekend. Find out more about Groups (in person and online) at alivechurch.com/groups. Our Groups Winter/Spring Semester starts in mid-January.
- How will your Christmas be different this year?
- How can you make it meaningful, even if it’s not what you would have planned had there been no pandemic?
- Who can you reach out to this Christmas that you have not been in touch with for a while?
- Looking back at your Talk Notes, was there anything you heard in the service that stood out or maybe even confused you?
Discussion Starters from the Weekend Talk
Refer to the Talk Notes and related Bible verses from this Weekend’s Talk Notes.
The One Thing from the weekend Talk that Pastor Steve wants us to remember is: “God’s Love Is With Me.”
- Our key verse for this series is Matthew 1:23b (p.733)
Steve taught a couple of significant truths regarding the Christmas Season.
- The reason for the season is sin. (1 John 4:8b-10 (especially verse 10) (p.943*))What do you think about this statement?Have you ever had to reconcile a relationship (friendship, marriage, family, etc.)?Who took the first step?
- The motive for the season is God’s love. (1 John 4:8b-10 (especially verse 9) (p.943*); Romans 5:6-10a (p.860*)) How does it make you feel to know that Jesus died for you EVEN WHILE you were still a sinner and an enemy of God? God took the first step!How can you demonstrate God’s love to someone else this Christmas season?
Steve also challenged us to consider how we will respond to God’s love. He gave three responses that should be part of all our lives. People from the Bible’s historical account of the first Christmas illustrate the responses.
- Obedience: Mary & Joseph. (Luke 1:38a (p.780*); Matthew 1:24 (p.733))
- When have you simply trusted and obeyed God even when you didn’t fully understand what He was doing or what was going on?
- How would you have felt if you were in Mary’s or Joseph’s shoes?
- Praise: The shepherds. (Luke 2:20 (p.781*))
- Do you find it interesting that the shepherds went back to their flocks while praising God instead of hitting the traveling evangelism circuit?
- If you were in their shoes, what would you have done after you had seen baby Jesus, the Prince of Peace?
- Worship: The Wisemen. (Matthew 2:2 (p.734*))
- We sometimes find it hard to set aside time for God.
- How far out of your way would you go to worship Jesus?
- What are at least 3 ways you can worship Jesus?
- We sometimes find it hard to set aside time for God.
Steve also talked about another option we have when responding to God’s love:
- Willful rejection: King Herod. (Matthew 2:3a (p.734*); Matthew 12:30 (p.743*))
- Have you been in this position, where you just found it really hard to let go and surrender to God?
- Why is this so difficult for some people?
- Have you ever honestly taken a step back and realized that—even though you were a follower of Jesus—you were living AS IF you were not? What did you do about it?
So what do you do with this information? In other words, “what will you do with Jesus?” It’s the most important question anyone can ever consider. Will you choose to experience and remain in God’s love? (Romans 10:9 (p.864*); John 15:9-10 (p.824*)).
- If you are choosing to make this faith declaration and surrender to Jesus, please let us know about it. You can do so on your Connection Card: www.alivechurch.com/card
Read the historical accounts of the real Christmas Story in Matthew and Luke.
- Matthew 1:16 – 2:23 (p.733*)
- Luke 1:26-56; 2:1-20 (p.781*)
- What is your favorite part of these accounts?
- What do you remember about The Christmas Story from your childhood?
- What did you read that you never really noticed before?
- In this Talk Series, “Immanuel: God With Us” we’ve been talking about Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love.
- Where do you see each of these four parts of the Advent emphasis in these historical accounts?
My Next Step: ___ I will pray every day this week: “God, please help me respond to and remain in Your love with genuine trust, praise, and worship.”
- We’ll culminate the Season on Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve and all other Services are ONLY being presented online for the next few weekends. We will return for in-person services the weekend of January 9-10.
- Find out more about our Special Christmas Offering at www.alivechurch.com/christmas
* The Life Transformation Bible is the New Living Translation of the Bible, including many useful tools to help you better understand God’s Word, including our own Alive Church Life Transformation Discipleship Plan. They are available FREE. Let us know if you’d like to have one.