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LEADERS GUIDE Topic: 5. Forever

Simple Reminders

  • The primary idea you need to keep revisiting during this Following Jesus Pathway is that we are following and being formed by Jesus. This pathway can be learned simply or in great depth. We trust that you as a leader know your people and the dynamics of your group well enough to adapt and impart this topic with grace and wisdom.

  • This guide is designed to help you and others follow and be formed by Jesus. Remember to keep it Jesus-Centered.

  • We pray that you will be Spirit-Led and Spirit- Empowered as you lead and learn together.

Brief Commentary and Context

(Answer this question here: What did this mean in the original context and how is it set in the larger story of the Bible?)

The Gift- ‘The Gift’ is a shorthand description used in the apostles' letters to the churches describing the lavish grace of God given to all who repent and place their trust in Jesus as Lord, believing the gospel. The gospel is who Jesus is and what he has done. ‘The Gift’ is what we freely receive in Christ and continually experience through the Holy Spirit!

Brief Commentary for Luke 23:32-43

The sinless lamb of God hung crucified between two criminals. Some from the crowd, the Jewish rulers and Romans soldiers hurled taunting insults at him. “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God the chosen!” His body ached with unimaginable pain, his soul pressed to breaking as the sin of humanity was placed upon him. One of the criminals at his side joined in the accusations towards Jesus. “But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” A simple moment of compassion from the criminal, a small expression of faith to see this man Jesus as innocent, flings wide the door to be with Jesus forever in paradise.

How is it possible that Jesus offers ‘paradise’ when he is experiencing such hell? How can a man who it seems has utterly fallen short of God’s righteousness every day of his life suddenly be welcomed into ‘paradise’ in his last hours? What is this ‘paradise’ that Jesus has to offer? Paradise is the presence of God, being with Jesus. A word that takes us all the way back to the garden of Eden where God and man dwelt together in harmony. Jesus had lived in the presence of God, embodied the presence of God and offered the presence of God to all people who would believe. Here in his darkest moment, unable to sense God’s presence himself, he once again welcomes the undeserving into eternal life, saying “today you will be with me in paradise.” Paradise is being with Jesus! He will breath his last breath and be with Jesus, in the presence of God, forever. The paradise of God’s presence is available today and will be enjoyed forever!!

Summary Scripture: Romans 6:23- For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Key Idea: Eternal life begins when we are spiritually reborn through faith in Jesus and come into union with God who is life. Those who are born again become partakers of the divine nature and though they die will remain in Christ and at the return of Jesus receive renewed glorified bodies to be with God forever in a new heaven and new earth.

Core Truths/Scriptures for the topic

  • John 17:3- Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

  • 1 Thess 4:16-18- “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.”

  • John 5:24- “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes Him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.”

  • John 3:14-16- “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world,that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

  • 1 Peter 1:3-4- “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you,”

  • 2 Cor 5:6-9- “So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith and not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.”

Learn the Tool: The Gospel and the Gift

Extra Resources to help you Prepare

Anyone new in your home church?

Things to Consider:

  • Is the new individual, or family organically connecting with anyone in your home church? Suggest a coffee hang to begin a deeper connection, or consider having the individual/family over for an easy dinner to get to know them better.

  • Is the new individual, or family interested in receiving communication via text, or email? If so, have them email with their name and phone number.

  • Do they plan to attend All Navah Gatherings? If yes and it is a new family, they can email with their name, their children(s) name, DOB and grade to make for a smooth kids ministry check-in process.

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