The Treasure of the Word of God

Sermon by Michael DiMarco, Discussion Questions by Paul Turner, Random thoughts/notes by me. Your thoughts and reflections are welcome!

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The Word of God, the Spirit of God, The People of God…

“There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously
every day. And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who desired
to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his
sores. The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also
died and was buried, and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far
off and Lazarus at his side. And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send
Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this
flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things,
and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish.
And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who
would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ And he
said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house— for I have five brothers—so that
he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ But Abraham said, ‘They
have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if
someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not hear
Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.'””
Luke 16:19-31 ESV

Pastor Michael mentioned that passages that begin with “there was” general indicate the story to follow is a parable…a teaching story, and not necessarily a historical reference to an actual person.

What might our lives be like if we allowed these three to be more important in our daily
decisions and circumstances?

You’ve heard the the advice of three things to ponder before you post something on social media:

  • Is it True?
  • Is it Helpful?
  • Is it Inspring?
  • Is it Necessary?
  • Is it Kind?

You’ve also, I’m sure, Heard the Acronym “WWJD” – What would Jesus Do? This one, I think died out quite some time ago…because well..I’m not Jesus…I can’t ACTUALLY do what he did…but I can strive to more and more like him each and every day.

So, if we are to consider these three things in making decisions…this might be what it looks like…

  • Is it Scriptural? What does the word of God say on this issue or action?
  • What does the Spirit Say? Have I quieted my head and heart and soul enough to actually hear the Holy Spirit’s guidance? Have I committed this to prayer?
  • Will this encourage or advance the Kingdom? How will my actions, or inaction, impact the People of God?

Some decisions, of course are minute and seemingly insignificant…but isn’t it amazing how one small action can change EVERYTHING? Commit to pray and spend time in the Word, and I assure you, it will impact your day to day life, as well as your bigger picture.

What do you think it takes to convince someone that Jesus is Who He says He is?

This is is a tough one for me to answer…personally, I have found just ‘walking the walk’ to have the greatest impact. Living out the life of a Christ Follower shows people what it means, as well as the impact that it has on your life. Sharing out testimonies and stories of answered prayers, blessings, help and comfort through difficult times, etc. When people care about you and TRUST YOU, and can see the living word in your life, they see what Jesus can do. You can all of the intellectual arguments in the world, but it comes down the decision to BELIEVE that Jesus is who He says He is…and can do what He claims he can…you can’t make that decision for them, but you can show them why you made that decision.

What is your history? What was going in your life when you began to realize that Jesus is Who
He says He is?

I was a teenager, in middle school. Through the invitation of a friend, I attended church regularly. My family did not. I was family with the Gospel, with hymns, with the stories, with the Christian Faith. My parents were ‘believers’, but not necessarily ‘followers’ at that time. As a child, I attended church occassionally, most often with my grandparents.

My parents had divorced. That’s a whole tale for another day. What I saw was the contrast between the ‘followers’ and ‘believers’ in my church. I saw Hope, Calm, Peace, Rest, Grace, Love, Prayer, Kindness, Empathy, Caring, Connection…all of the things you’d expect…even in the midst of pain and tradgedy…in my daily life (not necessarily with my family, but with my world as a whole – please don’t misread that), I saw Hurt, Unrest, Discord, Frustration, Escape, Disconnects, Pain, Blame…all the things you don’t want to see and feel…it was a rather simple choice…which of these do I want to be my forever? What is the common thread? It’s Jesus…quite simple, really.

Rela Monastery in Bulgaria fresco- The Rich Man and
Lazarus 10th century Eastern Europe
From Art in Faith

In this passage, we see that:

  1. Wealth comes with responsiibility – dining sumptuously – Royalty? Are you selfish with what you have? (Little or Much?)
  2. Faithful suffering is temporary – the great reveral theme is used throughout Luke. (the first will be last). What are some ways that you have been reminded that our suffering for His sake is really temporary?
  3. God’s Word is wealth (the spoken word of a God through the Law and the Prophets) – this Word was Wealth to the Jews but they were not responsible with it. Are you responsible with God’s word? How about being faithful with the part you already know?
  4. God’s word is sufficient (the Word Contains all that we need). How are you reminded that God’s word is sufficient? What have you learned over the years about God himself that assures you that He is always faithful?

Is God’s Word sufficient for you? In every circumstance and scenario? Who do you turn to when you need to be encouraged or disciplined?Rich Man virus protection:

  1. Compassion for the needy – in every aspect of life, people are needy (there are several ministries at FCC that you can be a part of!)
  2. Don’t envy the rich – be a faithful sufferer (suffering is temporary). How might you become more grateful for what you do have rather than what you still think you need?
  3. Enjoy the wealth of God’s Word. (Spend time in it, meet with others, know His promises.) We have a great treasure waiting to be discovered. It requires us to read, listen and choose to live out the truths of what God’s Word reveals about him.
  4. Rely on his word to save. Jesus alone saves. His word is sufficient. How have you learned to be more depended on God and His Word?

Please share your thoughts on the above questions in the comments.

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