Discussion Guide: The Gospel Is For Everyone Week 6

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Today’s Discussion

This week we continue our 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.

Discussion Questions

What are some broken things/areas you see in our world today?

How does that brokenness make you feel? Why?

Romans 1:21-23

For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. 

 

What would you say is the cause of that brokenness?

Why do you think we (humanity) want to get away from God and His authority in our lives?

In what ways have you done that in your own life?

Leader Notes

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Ralph Waldo Emerson

“A person will worship something, have no doubt about that. We may think our tribute is paid in secret in the dark recesses of our hearts, but it will come out. That which dominates our imaginations and our thoughts will determine our lives, and our character. Therefore, it behooves us to be careful what we worship, for what we are worshipping, we are becoming.”

What does it mean to worship something or someone?

Is it possible for the human heart to not worship something or someone?

What’s the difference between what worshipping Jesus produces in the human heart compared to what worshipping anyone or anything else produces?

Romans 2:1-4

Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? 

How can religiosity (self-righteousness) blind, or even enable, us in our own idolatry?

What does it mean to repent of law-breaking (being “bad”)? What about law-keeping (being “good”)?

What would the world look like if we all lived a life of repentance?

Why is repentance hard for people, including us, to continually walk in?

Leader Notes

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Closing Thought

Father Gregory Boyle, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion

Jesus says if you love those who love you, big wow (which I believe is the original Greek)…but to love the enemy and find some spaciousness for the victimizer, as well as the victim, resembles more the expansive compassion of God. That’s why you do it: To be in the world who God is… And here, finally, is what we seek: A compassion that can stand in awe at what the poor have to carry rather than stand in judgment at how they carry it.”

How can we be a people who operate in the kind of compassion that walks with others through what they carry rather than judges them for how they carry it?
Leader Notes

It’s been said that we tend to judge other people based on their actions, but then judge ourselves based on our motivations. It is easy for us to see the sinful actions and even criminal choices of others and immediately define them as evil sinners bent on destroying our world. Yet, when we lie or cheat or do something we know is wrong we tend to say things like, “I only did that because…” or, “But, that’s not who I am…”

For us to do what Father Gregory is talking about, to stand in awe at what someone carries rather than stand in judgment at how they carry it, we have see others through the same lense we tend to see ourselves, and even beyond that, through the lens God sees us. In 2 Corinthians 5 Paul says that because Jesus died for all, “We regard no one according to the flesh any longer.” The point is that we have to stop judging people from our own sense of justice or right and wrong, but instead to see them as humans (very much like ourselves) who are operating from a place of fear and brokenness both because of their own choices as well as choices others have made that have affected them, both from sins they have committed as well as sins committed against them.

When we learn to see people in that way it allows us to have compassion on them and enter into their worlds in an attempt to lead them to repentance through the lovingkindness of Jesus. This does not mean we enable or excuse their sin. It does mean we seek to understand where the motivation of their sin is coming from and address it from a place of speaking the Truth in love.

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