LIFE group guide: the twisted text

 

NOTE: Following is a copy of the discussion guide that will be used in MoSt Church’s LIFE groups tomorrow night (April 21). This guide will enable your follow-up in our LIFE groups of my sermon tomorrow morning from the letter of Jude, with emphasis on vs. 3. This sermon’s title is The Twisted Text and it is the next to the last sermon in the I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means series. Look under the category title “LIFE group guides” and you’ll find an archive of previous discussion guides. All Scripture texts reproduced below, unless otherwise noted,  are from the CEB.

Aim

To examine familiar Scripture closely, so as to correct common misunderstandings.

Word

Dear friends, I wanted very much to write to you concerning the salvation we share. Instead, I must write to urge you to fight for the faith delivered once and for all to God’s holy people. Godless people have slipped in among you. They turn the grace of our God into unrestrained immorality and deny our only master and Lord, Jesus Christ. … these dreamers in the same way pollute themselves, reject authority, and slander the angels. … these people slander whatever they don’t understand. … These people who join your love feasts are dangerous. They feast with you without reverence. They care only for themselves. … These are faultfinding grumblers, living according to their own desires. They speak arrogant words and they show partiality to people when they want a favor in return. … These people create divisions. Since they don’t have the Spirit, they are worldly. … But you, dear friends: build each other up on the foundation of your most holy faith, pray in the Holy Spirit, keep each other in the love of God, wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will give you eternal life. Have mercy on those who doubt. Save some by snatching them from the fire. Fearing God, have mercy on some, hating even the clothing contaminated by their sinful urges. (Jude 3-4,8,10,12,16,19-23)

Open

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

1. Did you ever get into a fight at school or on the playground? Tell us about it.

2. How do you tend to act around others when you’re frustrated (whether or not the source of your frustration has to do with them)?

Dig

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

1. From the text above, profile the specific actions of the “godless people” who had “slipped in among” the Christians to whom Jude was writing (vs. 4).

2. Working strictly from the text above, make a complete list of the behaviors Jude urges Christians to be about (i.e. – what it means to “fight for the faith”).

3. Contrast the two lists you just made in # 1 and # 2.

4. Instead of writing “concerning the salvation we share” (vs. 3a), Jude had to radically alter the content and tone of his letter. How and what do you suppose he might have wrote about if he had stuck to his original plan? What makes you think so?

Reflect

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

1. In what contexts have you typically seen or heard vs. 3 used among Christians?

2. How could a group of Christians ever get to such a point that they tolerated, or even condoned, such wickedness in their midst as these Christians were doing?

3. Differentiate (a) contending for the faith and (b) being contentious with those of faith.

4. What happens to Christ’s name when the world sees believers fighting each other?

5. Practically speaking, how can the church simultaneously be “a hospital for sinners” and not put up with the bad behavior such as Jude wrote about?

6. How can small group life help foster the practice of the behaviors listed in vs. 20-23?

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