Discussion Guide: The Story of the Bible Week 6

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Today’s Discussion

This week we continue our series The Story of the Bible. Many of us may know some Bible stories, but we may not actually know the story of the Bible. Over the next couple of months, we will be walking through the overarching story of Scripture by looking at the 9 main acts of the story: Creation, Catastrophe, Calling, Covenant, Crown, Corruption, Captivity, Christ, Cross, Church, and Consummation. Our goal is to come away with a better understanding what the Bible, and history, are really all about, and the impact that has on our lives as a people.

Discussion Questions

What would you say people generally feel about authority in their lives? Why do you think that is?

James Baldwin, Giovanni’s Room

“People who believe that they are strong-willed and the masters of their destiny can only continue to believe this by becoming specialists in self-deception.”

How have you seen the inability to submit to authority affect the self-awareness of others, or of yourself?

How have you seen the inability to submit to authority affect the moral choices of others, or of yourself?

How have you seen the inability to submit to authority affect the ability of others, or of yourself, to connect in deep, meaningful relationships with people?

Leader Notes

When we become the ultimate authority in our lives, and as Morgan said on Sunday, make a monument to ourselves, we force ourselves into a situation in which we have to maintain appearances. The rejection of anyone else as an authority in our lives communicates to us, and to the world around us, that we know best, that we have all the answers, that we’ve got it all figured out. Therefore, when we get it wrong, made bad choices, or fail at being a good or wise king/queen in our own lives we are forced to either admit we are not a good king/queen (which very few are ever willing to do) or deceive ourselves and attempt to deceive others into thinking we are right even when we know we’re wrong.

Of course, this begins to spiral out of control and spins a web of deception we must work even harder at in order to maintain the false reality. In the process, we not only lie to others (people who are usually far less deceived than we think they are), but we lie to ourselves as well. We become more and more detached from reality as we have to rewrite the facts in order to maintain our own self-perceptions. In our attempt to rewrite the facts, or tell a different story, we then are forced to make poor moral choices to cover our tracks or even to numb and distract ourselves to what is really happening. This spiral also leads to our pulling away from deep and meaningful relationships because of the innate fear of being known and found out.

All of this combines to be a very dangerous scenario. We deceive ourselves which leads to poorer and poorer choices that result in our shutting out the very people God has put in our lives to help us. Before you know it you have become someone you swore you would never become.

Ephesians 5:18-21

And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

What is the connection between trust and authority in our lives?

What role do you think fear (self-preservation) plays in our ability to submit to others in our lives? 

What role do you think fear (self-preservation) plays in our ability to submit to God in our lives? 

Romans 5:8-11

but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

How does the Gospel restore us to a place where we can not only trust God but others as well?

Leader Notes

At the heart of our inability to trust the authorities, God places in our lives is fear. We fear that person, or those people, do not have our best interest in mind, or even if they do then they don’t know how to go about accomplishing it as well as we do ourselves.  This is what gripped the hearts of Adam and Eve in the Garden. It’s what happened with Abraham and Sarah with the whole debacle with Hagar. It’s what gripped King Saul when he offered the unsanctioned sacrifice. It’s what took hold of David in his fall with Bathsheba. It’s what caused Judas to betray and Peter to cower and deny Jesus. Fear makes fools of us all.

When we fear we cannot trust others to make the right choices for us or to lead and direct us down the right path, then that fear steps in and causes us to grasp for control of our situation. Think about it…on a roller coaster, you reach for the lap bar. When you think you’re about to be in a car accident you grip the steering wheel or grab the handle on the door. And, when you think you’re going to lose the promotion, the relationship, the reputation, what do you do? You grasp for some sense of control by lying, deceiving, manipulating, compromising, etc. You do this all in an attempt to make your situation more predictable and safe.  When it comes to authority in our lives, when fear or lack of trust takes over, we grasp to take control by becoming our own authority.

But, when we look at the Gospel we see that when we actually deserved judgment, wrath, rejection, at the moment of our greatest failure, God still loved us so much He was willing to send Jesus to rescue, forgive, and restore us back to Himself. In other words, when we were faithless He was faithful. When we were unlovable He loved us. When we were in ultimate rebellion our King didn’t hang us for treason, instead, He took the punishment upon Himself. That kind of unconditional, perfect love sets us free from the fear of the rejection we know we deserve. It sets us free from the fear of not being enough. It sets us free from the fear of not being in control because we have a guaranteed promise that the One who is in control will never wrong us, never leave us, and never forsake us. Once we step into that love then not only can we trust God wholeheartedly, but we can then also trust the people He puts in our lives, even though we also know those people are likely to fail us in some way. When you see God goodness and faithfulness in Jesus then you can begin to see it in the lives of others as well…even when they get it wrong, because that only serves to provide an opportunity for you to better understand God’s heart for you and His desire to see reconciliation take place in our relationships.

Closing Thought

How can a Christian community submit to one another and walk together in truth and love? 

What might that communicate to the world around us if we were able to do that?

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