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Smyth and Helwys Uniform Series Lesson Outline for March 8, 2015

Jesus Promises an Advocate               John 14: 15-26

Focal Outline:           John 14: 15-17                       If you love me

                                    John 14: 18-21                       I will not leave you

                                    John 14: 22-26                       Love is obedience

Summary Statements: (To help you get a handle on the lesson truths.)

  1. Love looks like something specific: obedience. Our love for God is reflected in obedience.
  2. Loving God should make a difference in our lives. If we love God, God’s commandments should matter.
  3. God’s commands are not intended to be restrictive. They are given in order that we might have life!
  4. The spirit of Christ living in us gives us what we need to be obedient to God’s will.

 

Questions for Thought: (To help you think of some questions to challenge with a “So What?”)  

  1. What does love look like? What does love sound like?
  2. How is obedience a loving way to relate with God?
  3. Why might restriction of our lives not be God’s true intent for the Commands? How do they give life?
  4. How can I sense the Spirit leading me closer to God, and toward God’s intended kingdom?

 

Points to Ponder

[NOTE: These suggestions are to help your class be more interactive and discussion oriented. Using 3-5 different ideas will enhance your preferred teaching style and involve class participants. Build excitement and intimacy in your learners!]

 

Jesus has said that the Spirit would teach us everything and remind us of all that he has said to us. (p82) That reminder from our lesson this week points us back to the Unit theme. For this pledge of God’s presence is delivered in the Holy Spirit. Isn’t this restrictive, though? God’s commands are firmly in place. Most of us learned them long ago. But, the freedom to either follow them or not reflects Christ. What is more free than a nudge of the Spirit that we are still free to ignore?

God does not hide from us. (also p82) Jesus has come and lived up close among us. He has shown us what living as God intended might look like. Similarly, though, we are not forced to do anything just because we have had this model. Choice is built into each of our lives. How we spend that freedom—those choices—is where things take on meaning.

Ponder this week the nature of Gods’ commands. Our writer will contend that far from holding us back, obedience to God’s intent is life-giving! Beyond whether we will or will not follow, there is the energizing and empowering possibility. That is, when we are faithful to God we gain the life God has designed for us. We are free to be less than God hoped. But, through obedience we demonstrate love and trust for God. In return, our lives can receive the health that these commands would lead us toward. Still, how are commands life-giving? You may have to take some specific commands and work that through for yourself!

 

Introductory Thoughts (5-15 minutes – These are for discussion to introduce this week’s Lesson Ideas.)

  1. What does love look like? What does love sound like? Pose these somewhat abstract questions to your group and see where they go!

 

  1. Most of us would readily proclaim our love for God. But, how has loving God made a difference in your life? Share within the group, listening to each other’s testimony. What is different in your life?

 

  1. What is the oddest law you have heard of? For instance, in one Georgia town it is illegal to eat chicken with a fork and a knife. (But they don’t enforce this!) What is the smartest law you have ever heard of? Why? What purpose do rules, policies and laws serve in our lives—at least at their very best?

 

  1. Take a look at “Beginning the Lesson” on p66 of your Uniform Teaching Guide. When is it good to have someone by your side?

Studying & Discussing the Passage (20-25 minutes – See Brian Harbour’s Commentary for added insights and explanations.)

  1. Share an overview of the Lesson from “Locating the Text” (Teaching Guide ) and then examine the Focal Passage using a variety of teaching methods…

            John 14: 15-17                       If you love me

In this section, a theological stance will be taken. What simple summary of that stance do you hear in v15? In v16, what role has Jesus filled? (advocate) What promise comes here? (Holy Spirit) In v17, how is this Spirit described? (truth) What problem does the “world” have with this advocate?

 

John 14: 18-21                       I will not leave you

What are some promises Jesus makes in v18-19? What does v19b tell us? What is the “day” Jesus mentions in v20? What indication of “love” does Jesus specify in v21? (we keep His commandments)

 

            John 14: 22-26                       Love is obedience

See the question in v22. Is there another one you would have asked? How do v23-24 answer his question? What assurance do v25-26 have to offer in light of Jesus’ leaving? How does the Spirit do this work?

 

  1. On p77 (lrge. print) our lesson author says, “Even so, loving God is not something we can do on our own. As believers in Christ, we are no longer bound by a list of rules and commandments written on stone.” How has the Spirit taken the place of the Law? How would you describe the Spirit’s work in us?

 

  1. How does Ps 119: 49-64 relate to this passage? How about Jn 10: 27?

 

  1. On p80 our lesson author says “Sometimes we have a mental image of God as a stern ruler whose commands are meant to restrict us and keep us from what is good. The opposite is true. Jesus came to bring us life.” What are some others words for “obedience?” Which of these help you to understand how obeying can give us life?

 

  1. In the Uniform Commentary, Brian Harbour leads with a brief, tender story of loneliness. (p51) On p51-52, see 2 ways in which Jesus distinguishes His followers from other people. See p52 for several key word translations. On p53, why is v18 such a key verse in understanding the assurance Jesus leaves? See p53-54 for 2 key promises Jesus makes in v21-23. On p54, Jesus makes 1 more promise about the future!

 

Applying the Lesson (10-20 minutes – Choose one or two questions to encourage action plans for the coming week!)

Discuss any of the following questions…

  1. Why is the Holy Spirit a viable answer to Jesus’ disciples—and to us—who are anxious about the future?
  2. Pray that you will hear these familiar words from Jn 14 in a fresh, more complete way this week!
  3. On p82 our writer says, “The question is not if we will know what to do but if we will be obedient…at times that obedience may mark us as different.” Are you living faith in a brave enough way to be different?

 

  1. See “Applying the Lesson” on p70 of the Uniform Teaching Guide. In what ways to you seek the Spirit’s guidance?”
 Uniform 3-8-15

Smyth and Helwys Uniform Series Lesson Outline for March 15, 2015

The Spirit of Truth             John 16: 4b-15

Focal Outline:           John 16: 4b-7                         You are grieving

                                    John 16: 8-11                         A surprise for all

                                    John 16: 12-15                       The Spirit of truth

Summary Statements: (To help you get a handle on the lesson truths.)

  1. When a leader is gone, an organization can be left in crisis. Before Jesus left, he promised a Helper.
  2. Christ is still with us through the person of the Holy Spirit. Our relationship with God can still have power!
  3. We must be faithful in sharing the gospel, but only the Spirit of God can change hearts.
  4. The spirit of Christ knows the mind of God. Neither we, nor the Church, are abandoned to live alone.

 

Questions for Thought: (To help you think of some questions to challenge with a “So What?”)  

  1. How might the disciples have been more ready for Christ’s departure than they realized?
  2. How might the in-dwelling Holy Spirit leave us in as strong a relationship with Christ as the disciples had?
  3. Where are the boundaries between our God-given callings and the work that only the Holy Spirit can do?
  4. Why am I supposed to feel that the Holy Spirit is just as good as having Christ with me?

 

Points to Ponder

[NOTE: These suggestions are to help your class be more interactive and discussion oriented. Using 3-5 different ideas will enhance your preferred teaching style and involve class participants. Build excitement and intimacy in your learners!]

 

It is to your advantage that I go away. (v7) This we will hear in the scripture for the lesson this week. How would you have responded if you had been among the disciples in that moment? I ponder that. The fact is, Jesus went on to tell them why He felt that way. Still, I am not sure how convinced I would have been. I am pretty sure I would have thought it better for Jesus to stay right with us and to guide us forever.

…if I go I will send him (the Advocate) to you. Here is Jesus’ promise. The coming of the Holy Spirit will advance the cause. God now dwelling in us will allow each member of Creation who may wish to draw closer to God. This bridges the gulf left by Christ’s departure. The disciples knew something we have not—they experienced firsthand a life with Christ. Still, without this Advocate we would be lost too.

My mind does find one detail fascinating: Jesus says here in ch16 that …none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ Yet, earlier in John 14: 5 Thomas said, Lord, we do not know where you are going. So, how can we know the way? Not sure how those reconcile. Oh well. These are Points to Ponder for a good reason. What questions would you like to have asked Jesus? Why couldn’t you pray on those questions this week? Jesus asked us to trust the Advocate (or Holy Spirit). So, one texture of the lesson for each of us is to reassess just how much we do trust!

 

Introductory Thoughts (5-15 minutes – These are for discussion to introduce this week’s Lesson Ideas.)

  1. Who is someone that once occupied a mentor or otherwise influential role in your life—and is no longer with you? What had their teaching or example left with you that helped you to carry on?

 

  1. Think about your typical day. When do you feel the strongest? What moments are the most challenging? (p85) How could being more closely attuned to the Holy Spirit help you in all parts of your days?

 

  1. If you could walk with Jesus, where might that be? Think of your favorite place in the New Testament where Jesus was depicted doing something memorable. If you could, what would you like to ask Him to tell you more about? How does the presence of the Holy Spirit help you to fill in some of these blanks?

 

  1. Take a look at “Beginning the Lesson” on p73 of your Uniform Teaching Guide. How are we supposed to relate to God best in the absence of Jesus?

 

Studying & Discussing the Passage (20-25 minutes – See Brian Harbour’s Commentary for added insights and explanations.)

  1. Share an overview of the Lesson from “Locating the Text” (Teaching Guide ) and then examine the Focal Passage using a variety of teaching methods…

            John 16: 4b-7                         You are grieving

What “things” did Christ not say from the beginning? Why would Jesus have withheld insight or understanding from us, according to v4? In v5, what is Jesus preparing the disciples for? In v6-7, what unspoken issues does Jesus speak to? (fear, grief, uncertainty) In v7, why is His departure good? (coming of the Holy Spirit)

 

John 16: 8-11                         A surprise for all

What summary of the Spirit’s work does v8 give? V9-11, how does Jesus describe what the Advocate will prove? Assess each (sin, righteousness, judgment), discussing how you understand the Spirits’ role.

 

            John 16: 12-15                       The Spirit of truth

How is Jesus limited in v12? (followers not ready) What new thing will be possible in v13? (Believers guided into truth) How do v14-15 add to or clarify the promise Jesus is making about the Spirit?

 

  1. On p85 (lrge. print) our lesson author says, “If our faith seems less vibrant than wht the disciples experienced, it is because we have not taken full advantage of God’s gift of the Advocate.” Are you like me—we wish we could have experienced what the disciples did? How might the lesson’s statement here be true?

 

  1. How does Is 29: 8-14 relate to this passage? How about Jn 14: 12?

 

  1. On p86 our lesson author says “As the Advocate, the Spirit proves the world wrong about sin. In the Gospel of John, unbelief is the root of all sin.” Read the paragraph, and refer back to the scripture section Jn 16: 8-11. How is our sin the result unbelief? Discuss and see how your group understands this?

 

  1. In the Uniform Commentary, Brian Harbour leads with a brief illustration from a novel. See a quote on p56, pulled from this novel that begins “He won’t pamper you…” How does this relate with the roles that the Spirit fills in our lives? On p57, why did Jesus “have” to go away? On p57-8, what is the work of the Holy Spirit—including to “unbelievers?” On p59, how does the Spirit “glorify” Jesus?

 

Applying the Lesson (10-20 minutes – Choose one or two questions to encourage action plans for the coming week!)

Discuss any of the following questions…

  1. Where do you need to experience the Spirit’s power? What moments of life are most challenging?
  2. Life up each part of your daily routine to God. Ask God to tune your heart to the Spirit’s guidance.
  3. On p89 our writer says, “If we want to know God’s voice…we need to pursue a relationship with God through the Spirit.” How might we do that? What new thing do you need to practice in your faith?

 

  1. See “Applying the Lesson” on p77 of the Uniform Teaching Guide. Have you ever had a mentor? How has that person affected your life in an ongoing way?
 Uniform 3-15-15