NOTE: Following is the discussion guide we’ll use in our LIFE groups at MoSt Church tomorrow (Dec. 22). This guide will enable your follow-up of my sermon that morning. This sermon marks the conclusion of the Jesus, Master & Commander sermon series.
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 the sermon series, or this particular sermon in a series.
To call our attention, and our conscience, to some of our Lord’s direct charges to us.
These Scriptures form some of the foundation of the sermon.
• She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. (Matthew 1.21)
• Mary said … “In the depths of who I am I rejoice in God my savior. He has looked with favor on the low status of his servant. … He shows mercy to everyone, from one generation to the next, who honors him as God.” (Luke 1.47-48,50)
• … Zechariah … prophesied: “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them. He has raised up a horn of salvation for us … to show mercy to our ancestors and to remember … the oath he swore to our father Abraham: … to enable us to serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.” (Luke 1.67-69,72-75)
• Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. (Luke 6.36)
• For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. (Romans 9.15-16)
• … he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. (Titus 3.5a)
• … judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment. (James 2.13)
• … await our Lord Jesus Christ’s mercy. … In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love. And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering (Jude 21-22)
These icebreaker questions are meant to help us all just start thinking, talking, and relating to the topic or texts. Discuss one.
1. In your own words, define “mercy.” What is it? What is it not?
2. Tell us of an instance in which you know you were the recipient of great mercy.
These exercises/questions are meant to help us grapple with the Scripture(s) related to this morning’s sermon.
1. As you read Jesus’ birth narratives (Matt. 1-2; Luke 1-2), make a list of every act of mercy.
2. Go through the headlines of today’s news. How could mercy be shown in each event?
These questions facilitate our sharing what we sense God’s Spirit is doing with us thru his word. Choose some.
1. How is forgiveness and mercy linked? Why is it often quite difficult to be merciful?
2. How sick is it to expect mercy and not be merciful? Define the elements of the disease.
3. What are some very specific ways in which we can extend mercy to others?
4. What happens inside us, to God, and to others, when we are merciful to others?
5. What essential steps must be taken after extending mercy? After receiving it?
These ideas/suggestions are for your use beyond the group meeting; to aid you in living out today’s message in the coming days.
1. Visualize specific instances and ways in which you will be merciful throughout a day.
2. Pray for someone you need to forgive. Make a decisive and direct action plan to do so.