05 May Discussion Guide: The Gospel Is For Everyone Week 2
Community Groups Vision
If you have time and feel this would help the new people in your community group better understand what you are trying to accomplish as a group then take 2 minutes to show this video.
This week we continue our new series The Gospel is for Everyone. There are many things in our world that look and feel like they are only for the select few, the wealthy, the powerful, the privileged. In a world that seems so unfair at times, we are going to take a look at something that knows no prejudice and shows no favoritism, and yet it is the most powerful thing the world has ever seen. We are going to take a look at the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the good news that is for everyone who believes.
What is the most gracious thing someone (other than Jesus) has ever done for you? How did that affect you?
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Augustine of Hippo, Confessions
“How sweet all at once it was for me to be rid of those fruitless joys which I had once feared to lose and was now glad to reject! You drove them from me, You who are the true, the sovereign joy. You drove them from me and took their place, You who are sweeter than all pleasure, though not to flesh and blood, You who outshine all light yet are hidden deeper than any secret in our hearts, You who surpass all honor though not in the eyes of men who see all honor in themselves. At last my mind was free from the gnawing anxieties of ambition and gain, from wallowing in filth and scratching the itching sore of lust. I began to talk to you freely, O Lord my God, my Light, my Wealth, and my Salvation.”
What would you say is the connection between grace and love?
What would you say is the difference between obligatory obedience and loving obedience?
How does the grace of the Gospel empower us to obey God?
Disobedience to God’s Word is always rooted in some form of idolatry; looking to creation to provide for us what one Creator can. Idolatry is always rooted in some form of fear. We look to money as our god because we don’t trust the True God to be our provision and security. We look to beauty as our god because we don’t trust the love of God is all we need. We turn to sex, reputations, or material objects as our gods all because in some capacity believe God is holding out on us or doesn’t truly want what’s best for us. This was what lead Adam and Eve to grasp for the fruit and it is what causes each of us to grasp for created things in our lives as well. It is all in an attempt to alleviate the fears that echo around in our hearts.
Grace empowers us to obey God because grace stares our fears in the face and directly counteracts and contradicts them. The fear in our hearts originates from the thought that we are not enough. We’re not good enough. We’re not smart enough. And doggone it people may not like me. But, God’s grace is the constant reminder that we don’t have to be good enough. Paul says later in Romans, “God demonstrates His love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8). Grace tells us that we are loved, accepted and valued despite the fact that we don’t deserve it, despite the fact that we actually deserve rejection and judgment.
In response to that thought, Martin Luther says, “So when the devil throws your sins in your face and declares that you deserve death and hell, tell him this: “I admit that I deserve death and hell, what of it? For I know One who suffered and made satisfaction on my behalf. His name is Jesus Christ, Son of God, and where He is there I shall be also!”
When we are set free from that fear we are then able to experience and understand the unconditional love of God. When we experience that unconditional love then our hearts can get to the place where we no longer need the approval or affirmation from other people because we have already received it from the God who never changes. And, once I no longer need to prove myself to others then I can obey God’s Word, not just in my behaviors but in the very motivations of my heart.
How do you feel God sees you?
2 Corinthians 5:14-21
For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation… For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
According to the Gospel, how does God see you?
How might this Truth of how God sees you through the Gospel impact the way you see yourself? How about the way you see others?