Jun 3, 2018
Revelation 3:14-22 “Hot and Cold”
A glass of ice water on a hot summer day is so refreshing; maybe you’ve experienced this in the last week.  In a different season, however, there is nothing better than a hot beverage on a cold winter’s day. Both have their place, are useful and enjoyable in the right environment.  What isn’t enjoyable? An expectation shattering, disappointing, room-temperature beverage when you were expecting something else. The church in Laodicea knew all about lukewarm water.  The city was fed by aqueducts that spanned many miles bringing once hot or cold water to the city lukewarm.  What the church didn’t realize, however, is that this had also happened to them spiritually. Years of complacency had left them blind to their lackluster pursuit of God.  In His place were worldly things that made the city great, but were (and are) simply shadows and dust compared to Christ. Questions to take home:
  1. Jesus’ introduction in this letter is related to Colossians 1:15-20.  Do you see similarities between these two passages? What characteristics of Jesus are present here?  What can we learn from them and apply to our own lives?
  2. The church in North America has been described as “lukewarm.”  Do you think that is generally true? If so, what do you think has led us to this?  How do we avoid complacency in the life of Hopkins Community Church?
  3. Jesus relates rebuke (reprimand) and disciple with the image of Him standing at the door and knocking.  How have you experienced this combination of things in your own life? Are there things, right now, that God is challenging in your life that are getting in the way of you letting Jesus in?
WatchNotesDownloadDateTitle
  • Jun 3, 2018Revelation 3:14-22 “Hot and Cold”
    Jun 3, 2018
    Revelation 3:14-22 “Hot and Cold”
    A glass of ice water on a hot summer day is so refreshing; maybe you’ve experienced this in the last week.  In a different season, however, there is nothing better than a hot beverage on a cold winter’s day. Both have their place, are useful and enjoyable in the right environment.  What isn’t enjoyable? An expectation shattering, disappointing, room-temperature beverage when you were expecting something else. The church in Laodicea knew all about lukewarm water.  The city was fed by aqueducts that spanned many miles bringing once hot or cold water to the city lukewarm.  What the church didn’t realize, however, is that this had also happened to them spiritually. Years of complacency had left them blind to their lackluster pursuit of God.  In His place were worldly things that made the city great, but were (and are) simply shadows and dust compared to Christ. Questions to take home:
    1. Jesus’ introduction in this letter is related to Colossians 1:15-20.  Do you see similarities between these two passages? What characteristics of Jesus are present here?  What can we learn from them and apply to our own lives?
    2. The church in North America has been described as “lukewarm.”  Do you think that is generally true? If so, what do you think has led us to this?  How do we avoid complacency in the life of Hopkins Community Church?
    3. Jesus relates rebuke (reprimand) and disciple with the image of Him standing at the door and knocking.  How have you experienced this combination of things in your own life? Are there things, right now, that God is challenging in your life that are getting in the way of you letting Jesus in?
  • May 27, 2018Revelation 3:7-13 “Open Door”
    May 27, 2018
    Revelation 3:7-13 “Open Door”
    Every now and then I get some sort of weird motivation to clean literally everything I see.  You’d probably never guess it if you saw my office desk during the week. When that feeling hits, though, there is practically nothing that can stop me and anything (or anyone) that tries is met with staunch resistance. Jesus’ words to the church in Philadelphia reflect the perseverance that the church had shown.  Through trials and persecution, they held fast to their faith and now opportunities were before them to advance the Kingdom and spread the Gospel.  Unlike my cleaning rampage, though, this door was not open because of their hard work or strength of character, but rather because of the Holy Spirit’s work in and through the church and their obedience to the Gospel. Questions to take home:
    1. Of all the letters at the beginning of Revelation, this one might be voted “most likely to be written to Hopkins.”  How has this church experiences past issues that have shaped who we are now? Do you feel we have done a good job “patiently enduring?”  How and why?
    2. Jesus says in verse 10, “I will keep you from the hour of trial…”  This phrase can also be translated “I will keep you through the hour of trial…”  What do you think the difference is between these two statements?  Both are true; how does this truth impact your life?
    3. Jesus is the one who holds the keys to the Kingdom of God, opening doors that no one can shut.  Where has He opened doors in your life to spread the Gospel? What do you think He is opening doors in Hopkins for us to share God’s love?
  • May 13, 2018Revelation 2:18-29 “Tolerating Jezebel”
    May 13, 2018
    Revelation 2:18-29 “Tolerating Jezebel”
    Queen Jezebel is one of the more reviled characters in the Old Testament narratives.  She was a foreign princess that married King Ahab who was renowned for doing “more evil than anyone before him.”  Scripture records that Ahab considered it “trivial to commit sins” and that his marriage to Jezebel encouraged the worship of Baal and Asherah, idols and gods of other nations, leading God’s people astray. It can easy to dismiss an Old Testament story like this as both past and irrelevant.  Yet there are many things in our culture today that seek to draw us away from God. The question of conformity is one that Jesus poses once again to the Church in His letter to Thyatira.  In our lives, are we transforming into the image of Jesus Christ through the work of the Holy Spirit? Or are we conforming to what the world has to offer us? Questions to take home:
    1. Do you have a Jezebel in your life?  Perhaps it is not a specific person, maybe it is a hobby or passion, a desire that is out of order?  How does this person/thing impact your life?
    2. Read 1 Corinthians 8.  What clarity does this add to Jesus’ words to the church in Thyatira?  Are there times when we participate in worldly things that may cause others in our lives to go astray?  What might those things be in your life?
    3. God's words here are like a parent trying to protect His children against those trying to negatively influence them.  Can you relate? What things do you try to protect your loved ones from? What things do you think God is trying to protect you from?
  • May 6, 2018Revelation 2:12-17 “Speaking of Sin”
    May 6, 2018
    Revelation 2:12-17 “Speaking of Sin”
    No one really likes to talk about sin.  It’s uncomfortable on just about every level.  When we hear about the things that we do that are contrary to God’s desires for us, we see in ourselves the things that we don’t like.  Whether it was small compromises that led to large cycles of sin in our lives or the everyday failings that we experience, it’s never pleasant to see ourselves in that mirror. Jesus has no problem addressing sin head on though.  He was quick to call out the hypocrisy of the religious leaders, quick to call out many of the churches in the book of Revelation, and more importantly, quick to give His life as a sacrifice for our sin too.  This truth of God’s grace and mercy, seen in Jesus Christ, is the place from which sin is called out, and repentance called for, and forgiveness is freely extended. He is the righteous judge and the loving God who graciously invites and makes possible for His children to experience new and renewed life. Questions to take home:
    1. Sin is a very unpopular topic, even in church, in today’s culture.  Why do you think this is? How comfortable are you when it comes to talking about sins you struggle with?
    2. Repentance is another topic that doesn’t often get talked about.  Why do we avoid this topic so much too? Do you think there is a link between our avoidance of these subjects?  If so, what do you think that link is?
    3. Balaam is the Biblical poster-child for enticing God’s people to sin.  The enemy is always at work, trying to draw us into sin, often in subtle and seemingly insignificant ways.  How has the enemy been at work in your life like this? What does repentance look like in that situation?
  • Apr 29, 2018Revelation 2:8-11 “When All Else Fails”
    Apr 29, 2018
    Revelation 2:8-11 “When All Else Fails”
    The city of Smyrna was known widely as the “crown of Asia.”  Seated on top of a giant hill, boarding the sea, it’s fortifications looked like a crown from a distance; the city layout and lifestyle reflected this title quite readily as well.  They prided themselves on their opulence and on their loyalty to the Roman empire. The letter to the church in Smyrna, by contrast, reveals a church that is under duress, experiencing pressure, persecution, and poverty.  Interestingly, though, the word “Smyrna” comes from the Hebrew word for Myrrh, a plant that is not so great looking on the outside. However, when pressed and crushed, it releases a wonderful scent and oil that is known for its healing properties. Questions to take home:
    1. The United States is known for its worldly wealth and advancement.  Do you think that we, the Church, sometimes leans more the riches of our country than we do the riches of Christ?  How?
    2. Jesus’ words to the persecuted church are not ones that promise comfort, but instead promise victory.  How do you think that we sometimes trade “victory” for “comfort” in the midst of struggles in our lives?  Do you think we do this in church too?
    3. Ultimately, Jesus encouragement to the church of Smyrna is to be faithful.  What do you think this looks like for them? What pressure or persecution does our church face?  What does faithfulness look like for us?
  • Apr 22, 2018Revelation 2:1-7 “First Love”
    Apr 22, 2018
    Revelation 2:1-7 “First Love”
    Do you remember your first car?  First relationship? First house?  First childhood friend? There are so many emotions that are attached to the details about the “firsts” of our lives, even the ones we would consider more negative.  But what about now? Do you think about your car or your house now the way you did you did at first? Life can take on a rather mundane feel to it after a while.  Creating a space to live and call your own disintegrates into chores and upkeep.  Your first vehicle, the physical symbol of freedom and adulthood, crumbles into oil changes and maintenance.  Jesus, speaking to the church in Ephesus, points out that the life faith can also just become an exercise of “going through the motions.”  Do you remember what it was like, when you first met Jesus? Questions to take home:
    1. What is one “first” in your life that you can remember really well?  What things can you remember about it? Why do you think it was so exciting?  How do you feel about it now?
    2. Do you remember when you first met Jesus as your Savior?  What did it feel like? What are two or three words you would use to describe it?  What about now?
    3. John’s letters are to churches; how do you think a church can lose it’s “first love”?  What things get in the way? How do you think we might struggle with this at HCC?