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?)
‘Baptized in the Name’ Overview:
Jesus tells us to ‘baptize in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit’. In our culture, "name" refers primarily to what a person is called. But in Hebrew the thought that underlies Jesus' usage, "name" has a deeper meaning. To be baptized “in the name” of another person is to receive the essence of that person’s identity. We are called to die with Christ to our old life and be raised to new life and new identity in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Brief Commentary for Luke 15:11-32 (The Prodigal Son)
The Pharisees were very clear about their disapproval around who Jesus chose to keep company with. Jesus, amidst a mixed audience of the religious elite and those labeled sinners, began teaching them, through parables, the way of the Kingdom of God. His stories brought correction to the Pharisees and inclusive celebration to those in question.
After two shorter parables Jesus began to describe a riveting tale of a father and his two sons. Both sons in the story needed a revelation of the love of the father. The younger was a wayward son of disobedience, driven by self-interest he wasted the father’s inheritance completely. Jesus was speaking to the lost sheep of Israel, led away from the father’s house by sin. Jesus’ portrayal of this undignified, running father reveals that God always receives us as His children. The inclination to serve and satisfy ourselves drives us further from Him, creating an ‘orphan’ identity. But when we remember who He is and who we are with Him, we come to ourselves and race back home to the arms of a loving Dad who has eagerly been watching the road for our return. We witness the fathers embrace and complete restoration of his son.
The older brother reflected the heart of the Pharisees; they believed that obedience to the Law earned them acceptance with the Father. The lavish grace and celebration that the Father showers on the younger son is utterly offensive to the older brother, who has built his life upon his own performance. Tragically, we see that we can have full access to all that the Father is and has, yet never enjoy either and instead live as a ‘slave’ in the Fathers house. This story gives us insight into the Father’s heart for His children. Through Jesus, the Father has now made a way for all His children to come home. We can leave behind our rebellion and the shame of a wasted life, or our self-righteous performance and be baptized/immersed again into the identity of beloved.
Summary Scripture: 1 John 3:1- “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”
Core Truths/Scriptures for the topic
1 Peter 2:9- “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
Zephaniah 3:17- “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”
Jeremiah 31:3- “The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.”
Galatians 3:26- “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus”
Galatians 4:7- “Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.”
Extra Resources to help you Prepare
Teaching: Family of beloved sons and daughter http://downloads.navahchurchkc.com/podcasts/2019_Discipleship/2019:01:20%20-%20Adam%20Cox%20-%20Baptized%20in%20Love.mp3
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com with their name, their children(s) name, DOB and grade to make for a smooth kids ministry check-in process.