09 Jun Discussion Guide: The Gospel Is For Everyone Week 7
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 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 would you say is wrong with the world today? And what do you think is the motivation behind the people who contribute to that brokenness?
In the 1920’s Time Magazine posted an article posing the question, “What’s wrong with the world?” In response to this article the author and theologian, G.K. Chesterton sent the following letter.
Regarding your article ‘What’s Wrong with the World?’
– G.K. Chesterton”
How would you describe Chesterton’s mindset here?
How might that kind of humility and self-awareness impact our world today?
Why is it so difficult for us to admit to our own brokenness?
At the root of every sin is some form of idolatry, looking to created things to provide for us a sense of security and significance, and at the heart of every form of idolatry is some feeling of fear and insecurity. We have all been designed in the image of God, Who is the very essence of love. Therefore, we all have an innate desire to know that we belong and that in that belonging we are unconditionally loved. Our rebellion towards God, the sins we commit as a result of that rebellion, and the sins that others commit against us, all leave us questioning God’s love for us and our own sense of significance and as a result, we grasp to find lesser love and lesser significance in our possessions and relationships. This idolatry leads to all kinds of mistreatment and abuse of others, ourselves, and creation itself.
This mistreatment looks like murder, terrorism, rape, exploitation of the poor, systemic injustice and prejudice, corporate and personal greed, destruction of our environment…the list goes on and on. It would be easy for us to look out into the world today and point the finger at all those “sinners” and “evil” people who are causing all the problems, but if we were to be honest with ourselves the way G.K. Chesterton was, then we would quickly realize the motivation that drives all of “those people” resides as the driving force in our own hearts as well. And though we may never fly planes into a building, enslave children in a sweatshop or spill oil into the oceans, the “lesser” sins that result from our own idolatry contribute to the brokenness of our world just as much as those more visible acts of evil do.
The problem is that because we so desperately want to be loved and valued the thought of reflecting on our own brokenness, and admitting to the issues it causes in and through us, is something we avoid like the plague because we believe admitting we’re not perfect somehow means we are not worthy of love and acceptance. But, if we could find the courage and strength to face and admit to our own brokenness and be willing to do something about it then we can become a powerful healing agent in the midst of the broken world in which we live.
Think about it. What would result from my apologizing when I hurt someone rather than blame shifting and justifying my mistreatment of that person? What would happen if I admitted to my neighbor that I struggled with prejudice thoughts and assumptions about them and their ethnicity because of the environment I was brought up in and rather than keeping them at arms length I invited them into my home for dinner and conversation asking them to help me better understand what their experience in life has been like? Healing is what would happen. But, to achieve that we have to be able to move past the fear and insecurities into a place of peace and contentment with my status in life.
“But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.”
What does this passage tell us about humanity?
Then, what does that mean about your brokenness, and my brokenness, in light of everyone else?
What does this passage tell us about God’s view of our brokenness?
The, what does that mean about your status and position before God?
How might that change your ability to admit to, and do something about, the brokenness that resides in your own heart?
The power of Paul’s words here lies in the reality that at our worst God gave us His best. When we rebelled against Him and His design for our lives and deserved judgment and rejection, God pursued us in love to forgive us and reconcile us back to a relationship with Him. This tells us that the unchanging God has loved us with an unconditional love that will never leave us nor forsake us and therefore we no longer need to grasp towards created things to find our security and significance because we already have all we could ever need in Jesus.
Once we realize that then, and only then, we are able to fully and unconditionally love others and give ourselves to others without expecting anything in return. Then, and only then, we are free to admit to our own brokenness and the way that has impacted us and the people around us so that we can repent, ask for forgiveness and move forward with healing and reconciliation.