NOTE: Following is the discussion guide we’ll use tomorrow (Mar. 8) 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.
Stated in a single sentence, this is the purpose of this morning’s sermon.
To call us to be real about faith and genuine in its expression; to be “the real deal.”
These Scriptures form some of the foundation of this sermon.
• They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. (Acts 2.46b-47a NIV)
• Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. (Romans 12.9 NLT)
• Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace (2 Cor. 1.12 NIV)
• We are speaking through Christ in the presence of God, as those who are sincere and as those who are sent from God. (2 Cor. 2.17b CEB)
• … we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. (2 Cor. 4.7 NRSV)
• … let’s draw near with a genuine heart … (Hebrews 10.22 CEB)
• … purified by obeying the truth, resulting in a sincere love for all your fellow believers, love one another eagerly, from a pure heart. (1 Peter 1.22 KNT)
Use the following icebreaker question to prime the pump for group conversation.
1. How do you judge the ripeness of an un-cut cantaloupe? Or how clean a mirror is?
These exercises/questions are meant to help us grapple with the Scripture(s) related to this sermon.
1. Compare Acts 2.46b in several versions. How else do you find “sincere” rendered?
2. “Sincere” means “tested by the light of the sun.” Plug that phrase into 2 Cor. 2.17.
These questions help us discern and share what we sense God’s Spirit is doing as we encounter his word.1
1. “Gladness” and “sincerity.” (Acts 2.46b) How do they feed each other?
2. How is “praising God” and enjoying “favor” related to sincerity? (Acts 2.47).
3. What do you suppose are some of the go-to criteria that those who are yet to believe often use to gauge the authentic wholeness of Christians?
4. Those yet to believe can often smell insincerity a mile away. Ironically, Christians can all too easily become somewhat “nose blind” to insincerity. Why is that?
5. What role(s) must the church play in the healthy development of your sincerity?
This idea/suggestion is for your use beyond the group meeting; to aid your living out today’s message.
1. As you speak with those yet to believe, ask them: “How do you know if a Christian is the real deal?” Note and ponder their answers.