devoted: with your neck on the line

 

NOTE: Following is a copy of the discussion guide that will be used in MoSt Church’s LIFE groups tomorrow, Oct. 14. This guide will enable your follow-up of my sermon tomorrow morning entitled Devoted: With Your Neck on the Line. Look under the category title “LIFE group guides” and you’ll find an archive of previous discussion guides. All Scripture quotations below are from the Common English Bible (CEB).

Aim

To introduce and to explore what it means to bare our neck to God in devotion to him.

Word

The Lord said: … Every first offspring is mine. That includes all your male livestock, the oldest offspring of cows and sheep. But a donkey’s oldest offspring you may ransom with a sheep. Or if you don’t ransom it, you must break its neck. You should ransom all of your oldest sons. No one should appear before me empty-handed. (Exodus 34.19-20)

… they wear arrogance like a necklace, why violence covers them like clothes. (Psalm 73.6)

My son, don’t forget my instruction. Let your heart guard my commands, because they will help you live a long time and provide you with well-being. Don’t let loyalty and faithfulness leave you. Bind them on your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will find favor and approval in the eyes of God and humanity. (Proverbs 3.1-4)

My son, keep your father’s command; don’t abandon your mother’s instruction. Bind them on your heart for all time; fasten them around your neck. When you walk around, they will lead you; when you lie down, they will protect you; when you awake, they will occupy your attention. (Proverbs 6.20-22)

You have captured my heart, my sister, my bride! You have captured my heart with one glance from your eyes, with one strand of your necklace. (Song of Solomon 4.9)

On that day, God will remove the burden from your shoulder and destroy the yoke on your neck. (Isaiah 10.27)

… I know that you are stubborn, your neck is made of iron, and your forehead is bronze. (Isaiah 48.4)

As for whoever causes these little ones who believe in me to trip and fall into sin, it would be better for them to have a huge stone hung around their necks and to be thrown into the lake. (Mark 9.42)

Say hello to Prisca and Aquila, my coworkers in Christ Jesus, who risked their own necks for my life. I’m not the only one who thanks God for them, but all the churches of the Gentiles do the same. (Romans 16.3-4)

Open

Icebreaker questions are meant to help us all start talking. Choose one of the following to discuss as a group.

1. What is a word you think describes the physical appearance of your neck?

2. Tell us of some big risk you once took solely to benefit someone else.

Dig

These questions are meant to help us grapple with Scripture related to this morning’s sermon. Choose some.

1. Select one word that describes the context or theme of each of the nine Scriptures given above.

2. Consider Proverbs 3.1-4 and 6.20-22. Count and name the blessings enumerated in these texts.

3. Read the surrounding context of Jesus’ statement in Mark 9.42. Who are “these little ones?”

Reflect

These questions facilitate our sharing what we sense God’s Spirit is doing with us thru his word. Choose some.

1. What is some good wisdom or strong spiritual instruction you “wear around your neck.”

2. What are some of the greatest burdens or yokes in life you’ve had placed on your neck?

3. What would you would say you might be a stiff-neck or hard-head about these days (cf. Isaiah 48.4)?

4. Where would you draw the line as to for whom you would lay down your life? Why?

5. What good, or harm, have you seen come from your willingness, or your unwillingness, to stick your neck out for Christ? Explain.

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