Essentials #10 – Study Questions
Essentials – What We Believe – Week #10
Response and Eternal Destiny – Mark 8:27-38
Today (11/12), we concluded our 10-week teaching series through our church’s Statement of Faith with Article #10 on humanity’s response and eternal destiny. This article of all the articles may be the most difficult for us to digest as a modern audience. Why? Because it reminds us of the finality to both our time on this side of heaven and the finality of our response to the gospel. You, me, and all people are created in the image of God and share in his likeness (Gen. 1:26). That is, we are to reflect his character, and we share in his eternal reality. If we are truly eternal beings, that shapes the here and now drastically. It means that this life is preparation for an eternity ahead. It also should help us see the gospel in a new, brilliant light. God made the gospel known to us so that we might spend eternity with him.
We have come to the turning point in the Gospel of Mark. The next section (8:22–10:52), which follows Jesus and his disciples as they journey to Jerusalem, begins and ends with the healing of a blind man. These bookends are about physical blindness, but the stories in between are about spiritual blindness. This journey to Jerusalem is actually a struggle for sight. The story of the blind man in 8:22–26 is only found in the Gospel of Mark. One detail stands out right away that troubles many people. Why did it take Jesus two attempts to heal this blindness? After spitting on his eyes and laying his hands on the blind man, Jesus asked him if he could see anything, and the man said, “I see people, but they look like trees, walking” (v 24). He saw but only partially. Then Jesus went to heal him a second time, and this time “he opened his eyes, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly” (v 25). Did Jesus make a mistake or do something wrong the first time? No! The answer is quite simple: this healing is a parable, an object lesson. This blind man represents the disciples. They have partial spiritual sight, but also partial spiritual blindness. The reality is that the disciples are going to have to make a choice about Jesus: either he is the Messiah, or he isn’t. And in this decision, Jesus reveals a key truth: in order to save your life, you are going to have to lose it. That is what it means to follow him. But, by losing it, you will gain the greatest thing you could ever imagine, eternal and abundant life that begins now and carries through all of eternity. Jesus makes plain to us that every person will give a response to the gospel, and that response results in an eternal destiny.
Article #10 – “We believe that God commands everyone everywhere to believe the gospel by turning to Him in repentance and receiving the Lord Jesus Christ. We believe that God will raise the dead bodily and judge the world, assigning the unbeliever to condemnation and eternal conscious punishment and the believer to eternal blessedness and joy with the Lord in the new heaven and the new earth, to the praise of His glorious grace. Amen.”
GETTING STARTED – As you begin your group time, take time to share about experiences in your life where someone willfully withheld key information from you and how that impacted the situation and yourself. Kyle shared an example about learning to wire in an outlet.
IN THE WORD – Let’s dig back into the passage. It is important to strengthen our muscles in reading God’s Word. On Sunday, we walked through the passage in the sermon. Hopefully, that helped you to see the landmarks of the passage with fresh eyes. Now, with your group, go back through it and see what God is saying to you specifically.
First, before you read the passage, take a moment to ask God’s Spirit to quiet your mind and heart and to illuminate the text to you. Second, read the passage aloud to the group. Then, follow the simple method below. (O.P.A)
Observe: Make 8-10 observations from the passage. Pay close attention to observe and note repeated words and phrases, names, places, and themes.
Principles: From your list of observations, what patterns or big ideas do you see emerging? Can you distill it down into 2-4 big idea truths?
Apply: Moving from your list of principles, it is time to apply God’s Word. Remember, we believe that God’s Word is living and active and that it can change the way we live Monday- Friday. What is one tangible way to apply a truth from your list above?
Note: Another way to approach your time together is to talk through the following questions about the article of faith we are studying that week.
- What is core to this article of faith? That is, what is something that, if you took it away or changed it, it would significantly alter the article of faith about our response and eternal destiny?
- What is clarified for you in this article of faith about our response and eternal destiny?
- What is confusing for you in this article of faith? Take time as a group to chat through and offer perspectives on the things that are confusing. The beauty of a group is that often when we study together, we help sharpen and clarify what is confusing for one another.
- How does this article on our response and eternal destiny apply to my everyday life? That is, how does it change my outlook and approach to my Monday-Saturday life?
- Do I actively and daily seek to cooperate with the Word of God so that the desires of God become my desires? If so, how? If not, what is a step I can take this week in this area?
 Jason Meyer, Mark for You, ed. Carl Laferton, God’s Word for You (The Good Book Company, 2022), 119.