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LEADERS GUIDE Topic: I am with you always

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?

Matthew 28:18-20

For the last year, we have engaged in a distinct learning and experiential journey called, "The Following Jesus Pathway", seeking to follow and be formed by Jesus in all of life. As we come to a close, we end very much where we began, orienting ourselves to the presence of God. To follow Jesus and obey His commands, to be formed by Him and to serve one another and the world around us is our deepest passion. We know, however, none of this is remotely possible without His presence with us and in us. The Bible is overflowing with encouragement and assurance that God is always with us. We read time and time again that we are never alone in whatever we may face. Yet it can be so easy to feel alone and to wonder not only whether God is there, but if He even hears or sees us. We can be encouraged that He is and He does! God is an ever-present help (Psalm 46:1), He is always with us, and Jesus reminds us of this in His final words to the disciples. Moments before His ascension into heaven, these are the words that Jesus spoke - "I will be with you always". This was His final encouragement to a group of people whose world had been turned upside down and inside out! This group had been on an emotional roller coaster; they believed Jesus to be the Messiah who would save the world, only to see Him arrested and crucified. The pain and confusion must have been nearly unbearable. Then, three days later, He was alive, and after comforting and ministering to them for days on end, He returned to the Father, ascending to Heaven from the Mount of Olives. Jesus had ‘left’ them before, and now, it seemed, must leave them again. Yet, now He promised that He will never leave them, even though He will clearly no longer be physically present. How can that be? Through the presence of the Holy Spirit, Jesus is constantly and fully present with us. We are blessed to know that not only is He with us, but He also lives in us and works through us. In times of trouble and in times of rejoicing, we can be fully confident that Jesus is with us, hears our prayers, answers our prayers, and is placing us exactly where He wants us to be for our own good and for His glory.

He is with us until the end of the age. Jesus gives us a time limit for how long we can count on this promise – the end of the age. What age is He talking about? He is referring to the Church age, the present point in time that has existed since He left this earth and gave this command. How long will this age last? This age, and this promise, will last until He returns to usher in a new era of His rule and reign on the earth, the fulfillment of all that has been. When will Jesus return? When will this happen? It is not for us to know, but it could be today or centuries from now. The point is that no matter how long it is before He returns, He is with us. Always.

Core Truths from the topic

  • Summary Scripture - John: 14:16-18: “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”

  • Jeremiah 31:33: “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people”.

  • Psalm 139:7: “Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?”.

  • Psalm 145:18: “The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth”.

  • Revelation 3:20: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me”.

  • Deuteronomy 31:6-8: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their ancestors to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

  • John 14:23: “Jesus replied, ‘Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.’”

  • Hebrews 13:5: "Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

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