LIFE group guide: the unity of the Spirit – what exactly are we to maintain?

 

NOTE: Following is the discussion guide we’ll use tomorrow (Aug. 3) 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.

• … when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself. (John 12.32 NIV)

• God’s kingdom is … about righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Romans 14.17 CEB)

• … I want to make it clear to you that … no one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12.3 CEB)

• Let me now remind you, dear brothers and sisters, of the Good News I preached to you before. You welcomed it then, and you still stand firm in it. It is this Good News that saves you if you continue to believe the message I told you … I passed on to you what was most important … Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. (1 Corinthians 15.1-2a,3-4 NLT)

• The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. (Galatians 5.6b NIV)

• … lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all. (Ephesians 4.1b-6 NRSV)

• Beloved, while eagerly preparing to write to you about the salvation we share, I find it necessary to write and appeal to you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. For certain intruders have stolen in among you … who pervert the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. (Jude 3-4 NRSV)

Relation

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

1. What is one of the silliest, most senseless things you’ve ever argued with someone about?

2. As a group, make a list of all the matters you know churches in our heritage have split over.

Research

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

1. What connection(s) do you see between the 7 Scriptures above? How do they work together?

2. Note the phrase “the truth” in texts such as Acts 6.7; 13.8; 14.22; 16.5; et al. What is “the truth?”

Reflection

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

1. “Most items Christians have split over don’t concern Scripture’s direct commands.” Thoughts?

2. Is it enough for Christians to be united on the “7 ones” of Eph. 4.4-6? Must they agree on more?

3. When Christians needlessly divide with each other over an issue, the world surely thinks ____.

4. Imagine spending all of your time maintaining the unity God made with “the seven ones” rather than fuming/fussing other things as you’d like to have them. How would life change?

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. With your words/ways, creatively emphasize one of “the 7 ones” on each of a week’s 7 days.

2. Memorize Ephesians 4.4-6 and repeat it to yourself daily, indeed, several times each day.