Sermon Based Curriculum
Sermon Date: Jan. 10, 2010
Sermon Title: When Religion Goes Bad
Sermon Text: John 2:12-25
Small Group Text: John 2:12-25
What kind of impact does a “fallen” Christian leader have on the world’s perception of Christianity? What about everyday life when a “regular” Christian messes up? What response do people have when this happens? Our personal behavior can, and does, impact a watching world – for better or for worse! Our collective behavior as a church (the body of Chirst) can also have an impact for better or for worse. Let’s take a look in John 2 at how the personal and collective behavior of God’s people had an adverse effect upon the religious environment of Jesus’ day– and how He reacted to this.
Read John 2:12-25. Originally, the sellers of sacrificial animals and the money-changers were established to provide a necessary service to pilgrims who traveled to Jerusalem from far away. Over time, they began to exploit the people monetarily. Secondly, they set up shop in the court of the Gentiles, deliberately edging out Gentile believers from the worship of God. 1. How might this once-useful practice have deteriorated into a money-making racket? 2. How do these circumstances account for Jesus’ righteous anger? 3. Read John 2:16. (See also Matt. 21:13) If you were one of the merchants, how would Jesus’ words have landed on your heart? 4. As one of His disciples, observing this scenario, what might you be thinking? 5. As one of the “edged-out” Gentiles, what are you thinking?
Our personal and collective behaviors can attract people to Jesus, or repel them. 1. Read 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. On a personal side, the Apostle Paul refers to each one of our lives as the temple of God. He tells us to honor God with our lives. This becomes important to a watcing world. If Jesus were to clean-up and overturn “religion gone bad” in your life, where would he start?
My heart: my deepest passions, desires and emotions • My mind: my private thoughts and the ideas that direct my life • My will: where decisions are ultimately turned into actions 2. Do you resist or welcome Jesus’ “clean-up” operation in your life? Why or why not? 3. When the Christian church was just beginning, there was great controversy about what steps an outsider (Gentile) had to take to follow Jesus (see Acts 15). James (the half brother of Jesus and a main leader in the controversy) concluded the argument with this statement, “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.” Acts 15:19 On the collective side, as a church (the body of Chirst): • What do we do or not do that might make it difficult for outsiders to turn to God? • What practical steps might we take that would make it easier for outsiders to find their way into a relationship with Jesus? •