2 Corinthians 2:12-17 Sermon-Based Questions

The Core: By claiming us as His own, Jesus has set us free from the struggle to “make something of ourselves.”


From vv. 12 through beginning-of 14

  • “Because Jesus has claimed us as His own, we can count on God to always lead us.
    • What are a couple unknowns or looming decisions that worry you about the days or weeks or years ahead?  
    • How might the truth of God ALWAYS leading you give you courage in those unknowns or decisions?  How can we help each other have the truth of God’s constant leadership sink in?

From vv. 14-16

  • “Because Jesus has claimed us as His own, we can count on God to help people see Jesus in us.”

    • How do you want people to see you?  In other words: How do you tend to brand yourself?

    • Read vv. 14-16.  What does it mean for you to carry the fragrance of Jesus with you wherever you go?

From v. 17

  • “Because Jesus has claimed us as His own, we can count on Him to get His message across.”

    • Read v. 17.  What do you see as the difference between being a “peddler of God’s Word and being an in-Christ speaker?

    • What are some ways we could help each other be in-Christ speakers?  Is there any body in particular that you are praying would know Jesus for the first time or would know Him more?  (take time to pray together)


Believing in Jesus is…

  • to become more and more satisfied in Jesus so that I place less and less faith/hope in this life (verse 35)
  • to increasingly anticipate that Jesus’ grip on us will overcome our weak grip on him (36-47)
  • to marvel more and more that the Father keeps drawing us in and apprenticing us SO THAT less and less of our lives are ruled by the anxiety of believing in ourselves


Read John 6:22-35 and look for what the crowd seems to care about.

  • Why did the crowds follow Jesus, and what might that say about how they viewed Jesus? 
  • What does it mean to have “believing in Jesus” be the work that God has given us to do? (vv. 28-29)
  • Rick said that this passage shows how Jesus is the manna that makes it possible for wilderness wanderers to get to the promised land.  As you think about what you know of Jesus, how do you see this being true?



  1. Rick used the picture of wilderness-wandering as a way to help us think about following Jesus.  He mentioned that we can get sidetracked from following Jesus by “tents with air-conditioner units” and people who invite us to sit down and to maybe buy a tent of our own.  We aren’t told to “stop following” Jesus, we’re just invited to sit down for a while.  What, in your life, tends to claim your attention and side-track you from following?  How have you seen Jesus be better than those things?
  2. Read verses 36-40.  What do these verses say about Jesus’ grip on those who trust Him?  How does the idea of being in Jesus’ grip affect the way that you think of your relationship with God, your level-of faith, etc.?  Can you give a specific example to help flesh it out?
  3. Rick said that we should think of “believing” as an arrow, not a period.  What did he mean by that?  What are some ways that we could help each other in our day-to-day work of believing?

John 4: Sermon Based Questions (For the Sermon Preached on 10/8)

The core:   The Living Water in us is Given in order to Flow Out into Reaping


Read John 4:1-26.   Rick described Jesus as being “gently persistent” in His conversation with the Samaritan woman in spite of the social barriers and boundaries that normally would’ve kept them separated.

How was Jesus gently persistent in the course of this conversation, and what boundaries was he pushing through?


  1. Rick talked about how barriers tend to keep us from gently pushing through people’s “I’m ok” exterior to learn about their deeper thirsts.  He spoke of race, education level, wealth, gender (or view of gender), appearances, religion, disabilities, mental health issues, addiction, and criminal lifestyle as being examples of these barriers.  Have you seen any of these barriers crop up in your own experience?  If so, how?  Have you ever pressed through a barrier like this with somebody?  What was it like?

  2. Read verses 13-14.  The “holiness” video (shown during the sermon) showed how when Jesus touched people who were unclean, He made them clean.  Jesus, the video pointed out, is like the purifying water that Ezekiel wrote about—the water of God’s Presence that flows out and makes the whole world whole.  And Jesus’ followers overflow with that water to a broken world.  How did you first come in contact with the “living water?”  OR “Who are you hoping God might spread His living water to through you?”

  3. Read verses 31-38.  Rick mentioned that, like Jesus, our souls feed off of the mission of carrying living water to people who are desperately thirsty.  Our job is to help people connect their thirst with the living water that Jesus offers.  Have you ever been energized by pointing others toward Jesus with words or works?  How?  What does it look like to develop a hunger for doing this water-carrying work?  

  4. Rick used the imagery of fishing to help us think about our mission.  What might it look like for you to grab onto a piece of the net together as a group?  In other words, how could you help each other use words and works to introduce people to Jesus?

John 3 Sermon-Based Questions (For the Sermon Preached on 10/1)

John 3 Sermon-Based Questions

From the sermon preached on 10/1/17


The core:   Run to the light!  


1.John 3:16 is the famous verse about Jesus giving eternal life to anyone who believes in him.  As Rick pointed out, though, it is sandwiched between verses about Jesus’ death (14-15) and verses about a humanity that is condemned to death (verses 17-18).  

Read John 3:14-18.   How does the picture of God as the perfect judge who condemns all evil shape the way you think of His saving love?


2.  Read John 3:19-21.  Rick pointed out that Nicodemus (vv. 1-14) is a picture of someone who stayed in the darkness rather than running to the light.  John (vv. 22-30), on the other hand, is an example of someone who ran to the light.

Pick either Nicodemus or John.  Then, read that person’s part of the story.  What do you learn about their view of Jesus and His mission from their part of the story?



  1. When talking about John the Baptist in verses 27-30, Rick pointed out that as we get to know Jesus more; the smaller we become in our own eyes, the larger Jesus becomes.  Have you seen this be true in your own experience?  If so, how?  
  2. What does it mean for you to practice coming to the light?  And what does forgiveness have to do with it?  How have you seen forgiveness pull you or somebody else into the light of Jesus?
  3. Are there any areas of your life that you are particularly prone to make yours and yours alone?  What would it look like for you to recognize that those areas belong to Jesus?  What steps could you take to run to the light?


John 2 Sermon-Based Questions: For the Sermon Preached on 9/24/17

The core: 

John 2 is all about God turning us from empty people into feasting people by making us incorruptible worshippers.


The Wedding Feast:  Jesus changes barrenness into feasting (ritual—> reality)

  • Rick noted that John spares no details in the story of the wedding feast.  Read verses 1-11 out loud.  What details do you see, and what do you think John is trying to communicate through those details?  Hint: use Isaiah 25:6-9, Psalm 23:5-6, and John 1:16-17 for background.   

(Note to leader: look for details about what jars were for, their size, their fullness, the quality of the wine, the surprise of the banquet master.  These details point toward Jesus as the one who brings the true fullness of God’s Kingdom).  

The Temple Cleansing: Jesus secures pure worship by removing and replacing the corruptible

  • Read verses 13-22.  What does Jesus cleaning out the Temple say about His priorities?  How does Jesus death and reflection reflect those priorities?

Explore and Apply

  • The wedding miracle and the temple cleansing were both meant to point toward the glory of Jesus—the One Who fulfills us and Who makes us clean.  But not everybody realized what these signs pointed toward!  Rick stated: “God wants us to see his purposes, Jesus’ mission, and the Spirit at work in the details of our daily lives.”  What tends to keep you from seeing God in your daily details?  Can you give specific examples?
  • Rick said: “God is far more committed to changing us than changing our life circumstances.”  Have you seen that to be the case?  How?
  • Reflect for a moment…How have you seen God at work in the midst of a good thing or a hard thing this past week?  Keep an eye out this next week for how Jesus is working behind hard things and how He’s giving you a taste of your future hope through the good things.  Be ready to share with your group.

9/17 Sermon Questions to Pick from or to Just Spur your Thoughts

9/17 | John 1:19-51

  1. Read John 1:19-34.  What does John the Baptist want people to understand about what he has to offer?  What does John the Baptist want people to understand about what Jesus has to offer?

  2. Rick talked about what a relief it is to NOT be the Messiah.  He said that our culture’s urge to “make a difference,” “change the world,” “live a life that counts,” and “be a warrior/hero” can often lead to despair from comparison.  Can you relate?  Why or why not?  If so, could you give a specific example?

  3. What does it mean to have the problem of evil be “in here” and not “out there”?  Can you give an example?

  4. Read John 1:15 and 26-27.  Why is John so eager to point the spotlight away from himself and onto Jesus?  What good things do you find yourself wanting people to notice about you?  How is Jesus better than those things?

  5. Rick pointed out that “To serve Jesus is to surrender lest attention be diverted from him.  As our thrill over His ever-advancing brightness increases, we are released from worrying about how much light our labor adds to it.”  Has there been a time when you were thrilled by Jesus’ work in and through you or in and through people around you?  What was it like?

  6. Rick spoke about the right type of training being important for witnesses of Jesus--training that helps them simply tell what they see.  What relationships and places has God put you in to “tell what you see?”

  7. Read John 35-51. Do you think “come and see Jesus” could be the motto of our small group?  If so, how?  If not, why not?

Questions based around the 9/10 Sermon

9/10 | John 1:1-18

  • Read John 1:1-4.  How was creation a prelude to Jesus’ ultimate creation? For a reminder of the original creation story, and how it uses words like beginning, darkness, and light, read Genesis 1:1-5.  To see how it uses “life,” read Genesis 2:5-7.  

  • In the Genesis account, God breathes the breath of life into the nostrils of Adam to turn him from dust into a living human (Genesis 2:5-7). Read John 1:4-18.  What similarities does Jesus’ work as the Light of the World have with God’s life-breathing work as described in Genesis?  How have you seen Jesus’ work affect your life?

  • Reread John 1:9-13.  In American culture, Jesus is a well-known figure.  In your experience, what views of Jesus keep people from truly knowing him, from receiving him?  (give specific examples).

  • If you had to write a description of who Jesus is for you, what would you write?

Gospel Fluency: The Scenic Route

This option involves using one chapter at a time then focusing in on the text that was preached the previous Sunday.  Matt plans to make sermon-based questions available at redcedarchurch.org/shepherd the Thursday morning before the sermon is preached.

This “scenic route” resource could also be used alongside a deeper study of a key passage referenced in the given chapter.  Or, it could be used alongside a Bible-book study of your small group’s choosing.

If you have questions or followup thoughts, leave a comment on this post or contact Matt.