Following on from our consideration of how we can live with the joy of Christ in our daily lives, we now consider the reason for our joy.  How through faith in Jesus we can receive the joy of freedom – new life in the family of God. 
In this sermon series through Lent, we’ll journey with Jesus as his three year ministry draws to a climax with His crucifixion and resurrection.
As disciples today, we’ll join with the first disciples as they followed Him – watching, listening, learning and growing. As we do so, I pray that our understanding of the depth and cost of God’s love for us will deepen so that we may live more fully in Christ and for Christ.  This is the life of freedom (John 10:10).
Map showing Jesus’ Journey to Jerusalem

Study1Study 1: Jesus releases His Disciples in ministry
Sermon Date: March 5, 2017
Readings: Luke 9: 1-9; Malachi 4: 1-6


As we journey to Easter Sunday, we’ll consider selected episodes in Jesus’ journey to the cross that reveal aspects of His character and purpose and also what He expects of His followers – then and today. Each study is intended to help us to grow in our love for Christ and living in Christ.
Luke 9 is an important chapter. Jesus knows what will shortly befall him and so he wants to begin to share His life and ministry with his closest followers so that they understand, trust and honour God the Father as He does. There is a sense of urgency in this chapter that reveals much about Jesus and the life that he offers.
We begin by joining Jesus and his disciples as he releases them to share in His ministry. To help you to get the most from the study, can I encourage you to read the preceding chapters.
In the preceding chapter, Luke has recounted events that demonstrate the divinity and authority of Christ, the purpose of his mission and expectations of His followers. A common thread is how Jesus grants new life -  how he sets people free - and what this life of freedom, the life of being a beloved member of the kingdom of God, looks like each day in every aspect of our lives.
Conversation Starter: 
Have you ever been asked to go out of your comfort zone? whom…how…and with what result?
If appropriate, share with friends in your small group.

Questions: (see “Helpful Hints” at the end of this section)

Read Luke 9 verses 1-2: 
1. What “power and authority” does Jesus possess?
2. For what reason does Jesus have this “power and authority”? 
    - then take a few minutes to consider and share some of the characteristics of Jesus as he reveals his power and authority
3. Why do you think it is important that Luke tells us that the disciples were “sent out to proclaim the kingdom of God and heal those who were ill”?
4. What application does this have for us today ?
Read Luke 9 verses 3-9:
5. Why do you think Jesus gave these specific instructions to his disciples?
6. Remembering that this episode took place before Pentecost and the Great Commission, how and for what reason do you think that the faith of the disciples was developed through their specific experience?
In this important episode, we learn more about the identity, character and purpose of Jesus and 
the nature of faith in His beloved disciples.
Take some think to prayerfully consider how this passage speaks to you today.
What has the Lord revealed to you – about Himself, about yourself, about His church in Ashtead?
In what way(s), are you/we being invited to respond now?
Conclude with a time of sharing and prayer.
Helpful Hints for discussion questions:
1 As the beloved Son of God, and member of the Trinity, Jesus has the power and authority of God.
2 To do the will of God the Father. This is to reveal God to humanity and through His life, death, resurrection and ascension provide the means for humanity to be reconciled to God and live in relationship with Him today and for eternity. This is life in all its fullness (John 10:10)
3 Luke wants us to know that Jesus invites and expects his followers to share and continue His ministry. And as we honour him in this way, we do so with the presence and power of God present and active in our lives (the Holy Spirit).  The ministry of Jesus and therefore our shared ministry, is to build the kingdom of God.  This is the rule and reign of God.  To bring what is in Heaven to earth as God decides and enables in His time and ways.
5. To deepen faith in the disciples and to continue to build the kingdom of God on earth.

Richard Jones, 28/02/2017