LIFE group guide: doing the most neglected work

 

NOTE: Following is the discussion guide we’ll use tomorrow (July 27) in our LIFE groups at MoSt Church. This guide will enable your follow-up of my sermon that morning. 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 morning’s sermon.

To consider the heart of our role in maintaining the unity we experience in Christ Jesus.

Revelation

These Scriptures form some of the foundation of this sermon. Therefore, as a prisoner for the Lord, I encourage you to live as people worthy of the call you received from God. Conduct yourselves with all humility, gentleness, and patience. Accept each other with love, and make an effort to preserve the unity of the Spirit with the peace that ties you together. …

So I’m telling you this, and I insist on it in the Lord: you shouldn’t live your life like the Gentiles anymore. They base their lives on pointless thinking, and they are in the dark in their reasoning.  They are disconnected from God’s life because of their ignorance and their closed hearts. … But you didn’t learn that sort of thing from Christ. …

Instead, renew the thinking in your mind by the Spirit and clothe yourself with the new person created according to God’s image in justice and true holiness. Therefore, after you have gotten rid of lying, Each of you must tell the truth to your neighbor because we are parts of each other in the same body. … Don’t let the sun set on your anger. Don’t provide an opportunity for the devil. …

Don’t let any foul words come out of your mouth. Only say what is helpful when it is needed for building up the community so that it benefits those who hear what you say. Don’t make the Holy Spirit of God unhappy—you were sealed by him for the day of redemption. Put aside all bitterness, losing your temper, anger, shouting, and slander, along with every other evil. Be kind, compassionate, and forgiving to each other, in the same way God forgave you in Christ. (Ephesians 4.1-3,17-18,20-27,29-32 CEB)

Relation

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

1. Is happiness something a person should actively pursue or is it a by-product of other things?

2. Which usually motivates to you to do the right thing: being told what to do or what not to do?

Research

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

1. What four phrases in vs. 17b-18 are virtual synonyms of a life “disconnected from God’s life”?

2. In the passage above, what is God depicted as doing? Jesus? The Spirit? The devil?

3. Locate all of the “Didn’t” and Don’t” statements. What are we emphatically told not to do?

4. Find all uses of “each other” and “each of you.” Imagine a church boldly living so. Thoughts?

Reflection

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

1. We’re expected to “live as people worthy of the call.” (vs.1) Why? In context, what’s at stake?

2. Actions, not just intentions, are crucial. How does good intent become good “conduct” (vs. 2)?

3. How/why is it on us to preserve the Spirit’sunity (vs. 3)? He made it, so isn’t it his to care for?

4. A person “created according to God’s image in justice and true holiness” (vs. 24) will _______.

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. Brainstorm practical ways in which you will “renew the thinking in your mind by the Spirit.”

2. Work hard this week to speak “only … what is helpful … so that it benefits those who hear.”