NOTE: Following is a copy of the discussion guide that will be used in MoSt Church‘s LIFE groups tomorrow night. This discussion guide works the same subjects and primary texts as the Sunday morning sermon. You’ll find these guides categorized each week under the category title LIFE group guides.
To see that the church that Jesus seeks to build his hope-filled, servant-like people into is a one of unity, not uniformity, and that God, no one or nothing else, is to be at the center of our lives.
“I’m not praying only for them but also for those who believe in me because of their word. I pray they will be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. I pray that they also will be in us, so that the world will believe that you sent me. I’ve given them the glory that you gave me so that they can be one just as we are one. I’m in them and you are in me so that they will be made perfectly one. Then the world will know that you sent me and that you have loved them just as you loved me.” (John 17:20-23 CEB)
Icebreaker questions are intended to get all of us talking. Choose one of the following to discuss as a group.
1. If you were to play an instrument in an orchestra or band, what instrument do you believe you would be most suited to play and why?
2. Describe a time when your lack of focus, or your being given over to inattention, cost you.
These questions are meant to help us grapple directly with the sermon’s primary Scripture text (John 17:20-23).
1. What does Jesus mean in vs. 21 when he prays that believers “will be in us” (Father and Son)?
2. What is the “glory” Jesus has given us as believers so that we can be one in him and the Father (vs.22)?
3. Jesus says believers will be made “perfectly one” (vs.23a). Has his prayer been answered?
4. What can happen only when believers behave as one (vs.20,21b,23b)?
These questions facilitate our sharing what we sense God’s Spirit is doing with us through his word.
1. What do you think about the statement “If we disagree we must divide?” Do you consider this a false narrative?
2. What does it mean to stay “centered” on Christ? What would such look like and sound like?
3. Why is it so very easy for someone (or something) other than Christ to become the focal point of Christ’s people?
4. What are some focal points individual Christians, or groups of Christians, sometimes mistakenly seek instead of Christ?
5. Is it realistic, or even desirable, for all Christians everywhere to be exactly alike in terms of belief and practice? Explain.
6. Christianity, in the broadest sense of the term, is divided into thousands of denominations or groups, and that’s just in the United States. How do you tend to see this, like a concert or more like chaos?
7. Engage this statement: “Biblically speaking, as a church we can’t ‘create’ unity nor are we called to ‘make’ it, rather we are called to ‘keep’ it.” What is the difference between ‘creating’ and ‘keeping’ unity?
8. What in Scripture speaks strongly to you that God enjoys both unity and diversity?
9. There is a vast difference between uniformity and unity. How is it we humans seem prone to expect, seek, and try to develop uniformity instead of unity? What is behind this drive?
10. What are some of the deadly consequences of Christians seeking uniformity in place of unity? For individual Christians? For congregations? For the wider community of Christian faith? For those yet to believe?
11. Describe a moment when you experienced a profound sense of unity among a diverse group of Christians. What benefits came from such?
12. As a group, brainstorm how our love for those with whom we differ in the Lord can be encouraged?
13. On a scale of 0-10, how would you rank your passion for keeping the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace among those who declare “Jesus is Lord?” Answer not with your desire in mind, but with your deeds and doings in view.
14. What will you do this week to help facilitate the growth of oneness among God’s people here?