30 Jan Discussion Guide: Better Together Week 4
Vision for the Upcoming Weeks
Over the next 6 weeks we will be going on a journey together as a church community. It will be a journey where we encourage one another, challenge one another, and grow together in our leadership and in our pursuit of Christ as we focus in on what the Bible calls discipleship. What we are asking all of our groups to do is to commit to 6 weeks of gatherings. Three large group gatherings every other week, and in between those, 3 discipleship group gatherings in groups of 3. We will have additional material to talk through in these smaller get togethers. So what we want you to do today is to partner up with 2 other people. Ask the Holy Spirit who that needs to be. It could be people you already know, or it could be people you’ve only recently met. And, for the next 6 weeks commit to those 2 people to meet together, to grow together, to pursue one another in relationship, to stay in communication with one another on a regular basis. If you need help figuring out who to connect with then ask your group leader to give you a hand. The goal is that at the end of these 6 weeks we will all have a better understanding of what Gospel Community is all about.
Take the first 7 minutes of your time together to listen to what God is doing in one another’s lives and pray for any specific needs people in your group may have.
This week we continue series walking through the book of Ruth. The series is called Better Together, and we will be looking at the choices Ruth made, and God used, to impact the world and asking ourselves how we can make those same kinds of choices to impact our world today as a multi-ethnic, multigenerational church community.
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you were tempted compromise what you knew to be good and right in order to spare yourself from relational, financial, psychological or physical pain? If so, would you care to share?
Alexander MacLaren, 19th Century Preacher
”Faith, which is trust, and fear are opposite poles. If a man has the one, he can scarcely have the other in vigorous operation. He that has his trust set upon God does not need to dread anything except the weakening or the paralyzing of that trust.”
How does fear tend to affect our choices?
The fear of something bad happening to us causes us to reach for something else to save us from that bad thing. In other words our functional idea of hell (something we don’t want to happen to us) leads to our grasping for a functional savior (something to save us from that hell) and as a result that functional savior takes center-stage in our lives, or as Paul says in Romans 11:36, it takes the place of glory. We then commit ourselves to pursuing that thing, and making sacrifices in our lives for that functional savior because it becomes the object of our worship. So, if we fear poverty we will worship money. If we fear loneliness we will worship the boyfriend, girlfriend or spouse. If we fear ugliness we will worship the gym or the diet or whatever promises to make us beautiful. If we fear conflict we will worship passivity. If we fear uncomfortable conversations or situations then we will worship spending time with people just like us and avoid people who are different.
How can fear keep us from doing what we know to be right at times?
See the leaders note above.
How can God’s Law and God’s love protect us from letting our fear lead to compromising choices?
How might a people who live to both honor God’s moral law and demonstrate God’s perfect love impact the world around them?
For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.
What kind of people should be welcomed and accepted into the church? Why is that?
According to Scripture, there is no one ethnicity or generation or type of person who should ever be unwelcome or rejected from the community of God’s people. We are all made in God’s image and likeness. We have all sinned and fallen short of His glory, and are therefore all in need to His grace. There is no ethnicity or generation or people group who is more or less deserving of God’s love. Therefore, we, as those loved by God, should love all with the love of God that we have received. .
Would you say most churches operate with that kind of mindset? Why do you think that is?
What would you say is the difference between “not hating” someone and pursuing someone in love?
What would celebrating the differences of people not like you look like in your life?
Mark Dever, The Compelling Community
“Our world’s history is a long story of tribal conflict where no one is closer than those who are family. That is, with one critical exception of course: the local church. When two people share Christ—even if everything else is different—they are closer than even blood ties could ever bring them. They are the family of God.”
Why is it so uncommon for people to love those not like themselves?
How has Jesus modeled loving those not like Himself?
The Divine Being, Creator of Heaven and Earth, stepped out of His Kingdom and entered into His creation to love those who are not divine, who are not God. The perfectly righteous One loved the perfectly unrighteous.
How does the love of Jesus empower us to love those not like us?
Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a redeemer, and may his name be renowned in Israel! 15He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age, for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has given birth to him.”
Towards the end of the sermon this past Sunday, Pastor Morgan, in teaching on this passage, made the comment that Boaz’s decision to love the Moabite, Ruth, was rooted in the choice to have his own future bound up in Ruth’s life. His faith was such that God’s grace would flow to him through the life of this woman of another ethnicity, and another generation, as he chose to honor God by loving Ruth.
How do we bind up our future in one another?