A United Methodist Pastor's Theological Reflections

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory (nikos) through our Lord Jesus Christ." - I Corinthians 15:57

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Upcoming Sunday Scripture Commentary - May 3

Sermon (May 3) - "Staying Connected"

I John 4:7-21

The letter of I John focuses on God's love.

For John, love is the continuation of God's love that was manifested in Jesus. Love is self-giving. Love is rooted in Christ's love who laid down his life for us. Because of this love, we are called to love one another.

This passage always reminds me of a song I learned back in my youth group days entitled, "Beloved, Let Us Love One Another." The song ends with everyone shouting, "I John, 4, 7 & 8!" In fact, it would be difficult for me to read this text out loud and not sing that song!

John 15:1-8

This scripture passage includes one of Jesus' famous "I am" statements. Here, it is "I am the vine." The "I am" statements is a play on the "I am" statement from the Old Testament which is the divine name for God (see Exodus, chapter 3 and the story of Moses and God at the burning bush.) All of these "I am" statements point to Jesus' divinity.

Vines and branches are meant to be connected. The focus for this Sunday's sermon will be on how we can stay connected in our relationship to God through Jesus Christ. John Wesley referred to the "means of grace" which are ways that we can stay connected to God.

Think of times when you have become "disconnected" from God. What was that like? How did you get reconnected?

The means of grace are meant to help us stay in a relationship with God for the long-term. List the several means of grace that are available to us to help us stay connected to God.

[Note: The resources used for these scripture reading commentaries are based on the Everyone series by NT Wright, Preaching the Revised Common Lectionary, The Wesley Study Bible, and the “Montreal-Anglican”lectionary commentaries.]

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