LIFE group guide: saved from start to finish

 

NOTE: Following is the discussion guide we’ll use tomorrow (Mar. 23) in our LIFE groups at MoSt Church. This guide will enable your follow-up of my sermon that morning. This sermon (entitled “Saved from Start to Finish”) works out of Acts 16.11-40 and Philippians 2.12-13.

To find previous group discussion guides, look under the category title “LIFE group guides” and you’ll find an archive of previous issues.

Reason

Stated in a single sentence, this is the purpose of this particular sermon.

To consider the importance of not only starting life with Christ, but staying with him.

Revelation

These Scriptures form some of the foundation of this morning’s sermon.

• “’… what must I do to be rescued?’ They replied, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your entire household.’ … He and everyone in his household were immediately baptized. … He was overjoyed because he and everyone in his household had come to believe in God.” (Acts 16.30-34 CEB)

• … my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. (Philippians 2.12-13 NIV)

Relation

Use one of the following icebreaker questions to prime the pump, to help the conversation begin. Choose one to discuss.

1. As a group, brainstorm synonyms for the word “saved.”

2. Which is most difficult today for most people: coming to, or continuing with, Christ? Why?

Research

These exercises/questions are meant to help us grapple with the Scripture(s) related to this morning’s sermon.

1. Have the group read aloud of the start of the church in Philippi. That is, read Acts 16.11-40.

2. Read Philippians 2.1-4,12-18. Make a list of what Christians are to work out in their salvation.

Reflection

These questions assist our sharing what we sense God’s Spirit is doing with us in our encounter with God’s word.

1. Who were the people who had the greatest influence on your becoming a Christian?

2. Name those who have had the greatest impact on your growth and continuance in Christ.

3. If you were to advise someone just beginning their walk of discipleship, what would you say?

Response

These ideas/suggestions are for your use beyond the group meeting; to aid in living out today’s message in the coming days.

1. Using the list you created above (Research, #2), dedicate a different item on that list to receive your special attention and practice daily for one full week during the coming weeks.

picture Bible commentary

Brothers and sisters, we must always thank God for you. … we … are bragging about you in God’s churches. We tell about your endurance and faithfulness in all the harassments and trouble that you have put up with. … God’s judgment is right and … you will be considered worthy of God’s kingdom for which you are suffering. (2 Thessalonians 1.3-5)

this went thru my mind

 

Aging & purpose: Why You Aren’t Dead Yet by Michael Hyatt

“If the most important part of your life is ahead of you, then even during the worst times, one can be assured that there is more laughter ahead, more success to look forward to, more children to teach and help, more friends to touch and influence. There is proof of hope . . . for more.”

American Christianity: When Are We Going to Grow Up? The Juvenilization of American Christianity by Thomas E. Bergler

“Juvenilization is the process by which the religious beliefs, practices, and developmental characteristics of adolescents become accepted as appropriate for adults. It began with the praiseworthy goal of adapting the faith to appeal to the young, which in fact revitalized American Christianity. But it has sometimes ended with both youth and adults embracing immature versions of the faith. In any case, white evangelicals led the way.”

Attitude, church, change & relevance: How to Turn a Church Around: Jesus Creed Style by Trevor Lee

“… part of the reason this approach has worked is the spirit of the elderly people here.”

Christian faith & church dropouts: A Lifeless Shadow of Historic Christianity? by K. Rex Butts

“… I think Kinnaman is on to something. There already seems to be a widening gap today between the church and Jesus.”

College & parenting: When Your Child Goes Off to College, They Need You by Syler Thomas

“If you are a parent who is sending a child off to college for the first time, you have a significant role to play. … If you’re a student, all I can say is that college was when my faith exploded. It breaks my heart to see so many students putting their faith on hold at a time when it could be growing. College is about self-discovery, and can be about extraordinary God-discovery as well.”

Endurance: When Things Get Really Rough by Tim Spivey

“… there are some things the wise commit themselves to. Call these spiritual disciplines for a life-storm …”

Hunger for God & learning: A Beautiful Quote

“The soul that wishes to live according to the will of Christ should either learn faithfully what it does not yet know, or teach openly what it does know. But if, when it can, it desires to do neither of these things, it is afflicted with madness. For the first step away from God is a distaste for learning, and lack of appetite for those things for which the soul hungers when it seeks God.” – Abbot Palladius

Marriage: Marriage Among the Homeless by Richard Beck

“So what to do?”

Sexting: Alarming College Student Sexting Statistics [infographic]

“I’ve always known that sexting occurred, but I never knew the numbers where so high. Not only that, but the statistics in the infographic below, points-out that sexting doesn’t always stay between two people. … If you’re involved in any kind of college or campus based ministry, you should know this …”

Politics & voting: Why I Voted for Jesus Instead of Obama in the Primary by Kurt Willems

“Because, Jesus is the only president (King) worth voting for, not just in a ballot box, but every day of my life.”

Women: The entire series published last week by Rachel Held Evans (One in Christ: A Week of Mutuality) is truly full of food for thought. If you’ve ever wanted to know where to start in trying to understand something of the ongoing discussion and debate in western Christendom regarding women and their role in church, this is a good place to start. Here are links to some of the posts in that series: Week of Mutuality: How It Will Work, Definition of TermsAsk an Egalitarian … (Response)Let’s Start at the Beginning, Shall We?Four Common Misconceptions About EgalitarianismSubmission in Context: Christ and the Greco-Roman Household CodesWho’s Who Among Biblical Women Leaders, and For the Sake of the Gospel, Let Women Speak. Want even more? Check out the listings The Mutuality 2012 Synchroblog and Want to Learn More About Mutuality? A List of Resources.

this went thru my mind

 

Change: * How to Change an Organization by Dan Rockwell; * How to See and Cure Sick Organizational Cultures by Dan Rockwell

* “[Brook] Manville said ‘The king and subject model doesn’t change cultures.’ Great leaders don’t change people; they create environments where people change themselves.’”

“Sick organizational cultures focus on themselves rather than customers.”

Evangelism: Be Where the People Are by James Wood

“You won’t make non-Christian friends by going to church more.”

Happiness: Happiness, Harvard Business Review, and the Church by Thom Rainer

“It is time for our churches to get back to being churches. Then, and only then, will people discover true gospel-centered joy.”

Homosexuality: * The Church and Homosexuality: Ten Commitmentsby Kevin DeYoung; * Talking About Homosexuality by Timothy Keller

* “Even for those Christians who agree that homosexuality is contrary to the will of God there is little agreement on how we ought to speak about homosexuality being contrary to the will of God. … So how ought we to speak about homosexuality?”

* “Homosexuality is not God’s original design for sexuality – sex is designed for marriage between a man and a woman. But that belief should have no impact on a church’s or a Christian’s desire to love and serve the needs and interests of all their neighbors, including gay people, people of other faiths, and so on.”

Hospitality: Where Saying “Thank You” is an Insult by Dan Bouchelle

“‘We don’t thank the Venda people for feeding us. It is an insult to them,’ said our South African friend who was traveling with us.”

Manners: Mind Your Mobile Manners: Top 10 On-the-Go Blunders by Christina DesMarais

“If you do anything on this list, you need to stop it right now.”

Music: An Open Letter to Praise Bands by James K.A. Smith

“… let me offer just a few brief axioms with the hope of encouraging new reflection on the practice of ‘leading worship’ …”

Parenting: 10 Things Nobody Tells You About Being a Dad by Daniel Darling

“Before I became a dad, I thought I would be a pretty good dad. … Then, a funny thing happened. I actually became a dad for the first time. I’m now a father of four and I know much less about parenting than I did before I became a parent. I’ve realized that there are certain things about fatherhood you can only learn until you actually become a dad.”

Perseverance: 3 Suggestions to Help You Persevere by Jim Martin

“The truth is that God in Christ is greater than whatever obstacle might stand in our way.”

Philemon: Onesimus and Philemon: Peter Head on the People Who Delivered Paul’s Letters by John Byron

“The most likely candidate for the job of ‘first interpreter’ of Paul’s letters is probably the person who delivered it. … In a recent paper delivered at the New Testament Seminar at Cambridge University Peter Head examined Paul’s letter to Philemon and wondered who carried the letter. Here is some of what Peter had to say as reported by Peter Malik …”

Scholarship: Scholarship as a Way of Life by James K.A. Smith

“Let me highlight three joys of scholarship as a way of life.”

Violence: “Secret ‘Kill List’ Proves a Test of Obama’s Principles and Will” by Sam Alexander

“I’m wondering in what way this can be considered living out American values.”

Worship: Is God Vain for Expecting Me to Worship Him? by Ron Cox

“… to the extent that God commands us to worship him it is not born out of any need that God has.”

word for the weak: week eleven

 

The theme for this week’s reading in MoSt Church‘s Uncommon Truth for Common People project is perseverance and the reading schedule looks like this:

This week’s memory verse is: “Remain in me, and I will remain in you.”(John 15:4a CEB)