28 Jul Discussion Guide: The Gospel Is For Everyone Week 14
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 conclude 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 are some ways throughout history that the Church, and Christians, have gotten our focus off of who God has called us to be, and what God has called us to do?
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.”
From what we seen in Scripture, what would you say our focus is supposed to be on Jesus people?
Why do you think it is so easy to get our focus off of that main thing?
Describe the difference in the impact we have on others when we keep our focus on Jesus compared to when we allow our focus to shift to something else.
C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
Why is the desire to be loved such a powerful motivator in our lives?
What would you say is the corrolation between love and fear?
What would you say is the corrolation between fear and idolatry (sin & self-righteousness)?
The desire to be loved is such a powerful motivator in our lives because we are made in the image of the God who is Love. That means love is built into the very DNA of our design; the desire to be loved as well as the need to express love. Since that is woven into the very fabric of our souls the thought that we are not loved, or that we not worthy of love, tears us apart at the seems. Not being loved is an absolute violation of our design and our mind, body and soul are all fully aware of the damage and detriment that causes.
Therefore, the idea of not being loved induces great fear and anxiety in our hearts. So much so that we are often times willing to do whatever needs to be done to ensure our value, worth and significance. If people won’t, or don’t, love us the way we are then we will do whatever we can to prove that we are indeed worthy of love. When we get to that place we find ourselves consumed with fear and anxiety and the need to constantly be more, do more, have more. The opposite of love is not lonliness, as our culture would lead us to believe, it is fear. Simply introduce the idea into someone’s mind that the person whose love they desire is somehow not trustworthy, or doesn’t feel about that person the way he/she thought they did and you will see instant dispair and depression.
When that fear grips our heart we instantly begin looking for a functional savior to pull us out of the hell we find ourselves in. We run after money in order to be seen as significant or for the ability to purchase stuff that gives us temporary happiness so we don’t have to focus on the fear of rejection any longer. We run after relationships, healthy and unhealthy, in an attempt to gain some kind of affirmation that makes us feel less alone and vulnerable, even if that affirmation comes at the cost of being treated as an object rather than a person. We run after pleasure because somehow feeling good equates to being loved in our minds. We run after religion, and religous activity, because we somehow fool ourselves into thinking we can put God in our debt and He will owe us His love if we can just do enough good deeds. You see, fear is the root system out of which all of our idolatry and sin grows. It was fear that lead to the fall of Adam and Eve, and it is fear that has been the demize of humanity ever since. The fear that God doens’t truly love us, and/or the fear that others don’t see us as worthy of love, is the most powerful, destructive force the world has ever known.
“Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
If the Gospel is true, how might that Truth of God’s unconditional love set us free from the fear that leads to the idolatry in our lives?
How have you been able to grow in yuour understanding of, and faith in, God’s unconditional love for you? What tools have helped you with that (i.e. reading your Bible, prayer, fasting, fellowship, etc.)?