25 Apr Discussion Guide: How To Follow Jesus Christ Week 4
Before We Get Started
For our discussion today we will be using the sermon series discussion guides. If you would like to follow along you can access this discussion guide on the website at mosaicchurchaustin.com and then select “community group resources” in the menu options.
Because the main goal of our time together is to establish relationships and learn how to walk with one another in all that God has called us to be and do, we’d like to begin by praying for one another. So, does anyone have anything you’d like us to pray for, or anything to share regarding how you’ve seen God moving in your life that we can celebrate together.
This Week’s Topic
This week we continue our new sermon series that will focus on what discipleship looks like through the lens of the life of the Apostle Peter. The series is titled How to Follow Jesus Christ. Over the the course of this series we will be discussing who it is that God has called us to be as Christians, the motivation behind that calling, and what that calling looks like when lived out in our every day lives.
When you hear the word “Discipleship” what thoughts or feelings does it conjure up?
Pastor Alvin Brown
“To follow Jesus means to obediently embrace and pursue God’s will, no matter the reward, no matter the cost.”
What did the disciples have to give up to follow Jesus?
What have you had to give up to follow Jesus?
Why is following Jesus difficult at times (many times)?
“From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”
Why do you think God uses suffering so often in our lives to teach us more about what it means to follow Him?
In the book, The Tale of Three Kings, Gene Edwards writes, ““What does this world need: gifted men and women, outwardly empowered? Or individuals who are broken, inwardly transformed?”
The book is a look into the story of King David and his journey into realizing the call of God on his life to be king of Israel. David is known as the man after God’s own heart. But, what was it that produced that heart in David? It was the brokenness he experienced as the outcast of his own family, as the target of King’s Saul’s spears and the prey which King Saul hunted out of jealousy for over a decade. The brokenness he experienced at the betrayal of his own son. There is something produced in us in those moments of pain and loss and sacrifice that God uses to make us into that which more accurately reflects who He is to the world.
I think it does this in two different ways. First, suffering and pain draws us into the heart of God. We seek to follow a God who suffered, and every moment of suffering we experience provides us with a window into the heart of God. It gives us a glimpse and a shadow of what God was willing to endure because of His love for us. The pain we so often try to avoid, is just a fraction of the pain God willingly stepped into when He put on flesh and came to live the life we could not live and die the death we should have died.
Second, suffering and sacrifice also draws out what is ultimately in our own hearts as well. When we are getting what we want, or at least what we think we deserve, and life is going the way we think it should go, it is easy to follow Jesus. It serves our own self interest. But, when life goes awry, when we have to give up, or lose, that which we think we deserve then what it truly in our hearts is revealed. If love for Jesus is what’s in our hearts then the suffering and sacrifice we must make only serves to bring us joy and intimacy with our Heavenly Father. However, if what’s really in our hearts is a self-seeking glory, then the suffering and sacrifice will reveal that too, as we shake our fists at the heavens, or even worse, we decide to quietly resign to follow Jesus or trust God in our hearts even though our outward behavior may not have changed.
God’s leading us into sacrifice and suffering is His grace at work in our lives forging and shaping us into the image of His Son, into the who He has made us to be all along.
Why did Peter have such a hard time receiving Jesus’ proclamation that He must suffer and die?
What does this reveal to us about what was going on in Peter’s heart?
Based on Jesus’ response, what might have been going on Jesus’ heart in that moment as well?
“Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
What does it mean to deny yourself? To lose your life?
How does that “loss of life” lead to “finding true life?”
What does it take to step into that place of risk and sacrifice?
“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
What does it take to allow others to walk with you, to open up your life and struggles to them?
What might keep us from walking with others in that kind of community?
Is the cost of that sacrifice, humility, and vulnerability worth it to you, if it means following Jesus more closely?