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S.O.A.P. – “Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer”

Conversation Starter

What is an irritating fear you sometimes have (or have had in the past)?

Scripture Observation (5 minutes)

Scripture:

But very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. They found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. So they went in, but they didn’t find the body of the Lord Jesus. As they stood there puzzled, two men suddenly appeared to them, clothed in dazzling robes. The women were terrified and bowed with their faces to the ground. Then the men asked, “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what he told you back in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that he would rise again on the third day.”

Then they remembered that he had said this. So they rushed back from the tomb to tell his eleven disciples—and everyone else—what had happened. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and several other women who told the apostles what had happened. But the story sounded like nonsense to the men, so they didn’t believe it. However, Peter jumped up and ran to the tomb to look. Stooping, he peered in and saw the empty linen wrappings; then he went home again, wondering what had happened.

That same day two of Jesus’ followers were walking to the village of Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem. As they walked along they were talking about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus himself suddenly came and began walking with them. But God kept them from recognizing him. Luke 24:1-16, NLT (click for context) 

Sermon Insights:

A “defining moment” is that point in time when something significant happens, and it changes your life forever.

What do we do when hope seems elusive – just beyond our reach?

What do we do when discouragement, loneliness, or fear seems to reign in our world and in our hearts?

Application (5 minutes)

Which person’s “defining moment” in this story do you personally resonate with the most and why?

Has discouragement, loneliness, or fear ever caused you to not see clearly?

Have you ever considered that Jesus “walked with you” at a time you needed him most and did not realize it?

Prayer (5 minutes)

As you take a few minutes to pray, take time to thank God for the times he is walking with you, even when you do not recognize his presence.

S.O.A.P. – “Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer”

Conversation Starter

What is your favorite place to go on a walk? 

Scripture Observation (5 minutes)

Scripture:

He asked them, “What are you discussing so intently as you walk along?” They stopped short, sadness written across their faces. Then one of them, Cleopas, replied, “You must be the only person in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard about all the things that have happened there the last few days.” “What things?” Jesus asked. “The things that happened to Jesus, the man from Nazareth,” they said. “He was a prophet who did powerful miracles, and he was a mighty teacher in the eyes of God and all the people. But our leading priests and other religious leaders handed him over to be condemned to death, and they crucified him. We had hoped he was the Messiah who had come to rescue Israel. This all happened three days ago. Luke 24:17-21, NLT (click for context)

Sermon Insights:  

Everyone has probably used those very words, “I had hoped…”

They are telling him their story. Everybody has a story. At the heart of their story are these poignant words “we had hoped.”

Application (5 minutes)

What is a memorable time when God did not meet your expectations? What was the short-term outcome—more trust or more distance between you and God?

What are your current hopes for you and your family? Your area of influence? Your country? Your world? 

Prayer (5 minutes)

As you pray, openly share your hopes/expectations/disappointments with God and humbly ask that he guide you into more faith and greater trust.

And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. Matthew 6:30-34, NLT (click for context)

S.O.A.P. – “Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer”

Conversation Starter

When did something start out bad for you but, in the end, turned out well? 

Scripture Observation (5 minutes)

Scripture:            

Then Jesus said to them, “You foolish people! You find it so hard to believe all that the prophets wrote in the Scriptures. Wasn’t it clearly predicted that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering his glory?” Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. Luke 24:25-27, NLT (click for context)

(From the prophet Isaiah, written around 700 years before Jesus was born) Who has believed our message? To whom has the Lord revealed his powerful arm? My servant grew up in the Lord ’s presence like a tender green shoot, like a root in dry ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him. He was despised and rejected— a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care.

Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all. He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. Unjustly condemned, he was led away.

No one cared that he died without descendants, that his life was cut short in midstream. But he was struck down for the rebellion of my people. He had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone. But he was buried like a criminal; he was put in a rich man’s grave. But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief. Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have many descendants. He will enjoy a long life, and the Lord’s good plan will prosper in his hands. When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. 

And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins. I will give him the honors of a victorious soldier, because he exposed himself to death. He was counted among the rebels. He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels. Isaiah 53:1-12, NLT (click for context)

Sermon Insights:  

Our friends from Emmaus were looking for the wrong thing. They were hoping for a Messiah who would bring political freedom, not freedom from sin. How many times, in our story, are we looking for the wrong thing?

The “stranger” on Emmaus road was telling them:

Think about this one man. What if the depth of his suffering actually CONFIRMS his identity instead of disproving it like the world thinks?

And what if the crucifixion is not Rome’s defeat of Jesus, but God’s defeat of evil and sin and guilt and death?

Application (5 minutes)

“He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels” – have you turned back to God, realizing that your personal sin and rebellion was paid for by Jesus so that you could be forgiven?

Jesus taught them that “the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering his glory.” What does it mean to follow someone who 1) chose to suffer, and 2) is now indestructible?

Have you ever been tempted to regard Jesus only as a good earthly teacher/leader/king, instead of God’s Son who came to conquer sin and guilt and death?

Have you let Jesus take your guilt and replace it with forgiveness and godly sorrow? see 2 Corinthians 7:10

Prayer (5 minutes)

As you pray, consider that you are talking to the God who knows suffering personally, genuinely feels your pain, has power and patience, and has promised there is coming a day when he will make all things new.

S.O.A.P. – “Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer”

Conversation Starter

What is something you have loved even as a child?

Scripture Observation (5 minutes)

Scripture:

By this time they were nearing Emmaus and the end of their journey. Jesus acted as if he were going on, but they begged him, “Stay the night with us, since it is getting late.” So he went home with them. As they sat down to eat, he took the bread and blessed it. Then he broke it and gave it to them. Suddenly, their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And at that moment he disappeared! Luke 24:28-31, NLT (click for context)

What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:31-39, NLT (click for context)

Sermon Insights:

In Jesus, God triumphed over sin, triumphed over guilt, triumphed over our failure, triumphed over our confusion, triumphed over our regret, triumphed over the human entrapment of sin, and triumphed over diseases, viruses, and death.

Whatever fear you may have, whatever regrets you may be carrying, defeat does not get the last word.

Application (5 minutes)

What do you feel God has triumphed over in your life? What do you still want God to triumph over in your life?

What fear do you need to release to God so he can replace it with his assurance and love?

What regret do you need to release to God so he can replace it with his perspective and forgiveness?

Prayer (5 minutes)

As you pray, thank God that Jesus, not fear or regret or death, has the “last word” in your life! Thank God for his enduring love!

S.O.A.P. – “Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer”

Conversation Starter

What is really worth waiting for?

Scripture Observation (5 minutes)

Scripture:

They said to each other, “Didn’t our hearts burn within us as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?” And within the hour they were on their way back to Jerusalem. There they found the eleven disciples and the others who had gathered with them, who said, “The Lord has really risen! He appeared to Peter.” Then the two from Emmaus told their story of how Jesus had appeared to them as they were walking along the road, and how they had recognized him as he was breaking the bread.

And just as they were telling about it, Jesus himself was suddenly standing there among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. But the whole group was startled and frightened, thinking they were seeing a ghost! “Why are you frightened?” he asked. “Why are your hearts filled with doubt? Look at my hands. Look at my feet. You can see that it’s really me. Touch me and make sure that I am not a ghost, because ghosts don’t have bodies, as you see that I do.” As he spoke, he showed them his hands and his feet. Still they stood there in disbelief, filled with joy and wonder. Then he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he ate it as they watched. Then he said, “When I was with you before, I told you that everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and in the Psalms must be fulfilled.”

Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. And he said, “Yes, it was written long ago that the Messiah would suffer and die and rise from the dead on the third day. It was also written that this message would be proclaimed in the authority of his name to all the nations beginning in Jerusalem: ‘There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.’ You are witnesses of all these things. And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.”

Then Jesus led them to Bethany, and lifting his hands to heaven, he blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up to heaven. So they worshiped him and then returned to Jerusalem filled with great joy. And they spent all of their time in the Temple, praising God. Luke 24:32-53, NLT (click for context)

Sermon Insights:

So, one day this stranger came and lived and walked among us. He said things nobody has ever said and did things nobody has ever done. He went to a cross, and it looked for all the world like a death like any other death…the end of his story. But it turns out he was on that cross dying for you and me. Jesus’ resurrection opened the way for us to connect with God for eternity. God created you and me, and he loves us more than we can ever imagine. And he wants to write a new story for your life—a story of love, forgiveness, grace and hope. 

Application (5 minutes)

“There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent” – have you repented (“turned to God”)?

Do you believe God wants to “write a new story for your life—a story of love, forgiveness, grace and hope?

If you live in that hope, how are you sharing it with others?

Prayer (5 minutes)

As you take a few minutes to visit with your Father, let him meet you at the place where your faith needs to grow. Be honest about your fears, doubts, and failures—so you can move on and experience the Father’s power and peace in your life!

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