Fall 2021 Kick Off - Romans 12

Opening Prayer:
God, Your mercies and grace renew daily. We ask that the same be true for our perspective this season. Give us a freshness, that we may experience this fellowship differently. We pray that the presence of your Holy Spirit will overflow and saturate our discussions. Thank you for creating us in your likeness. Our prayer is that this divine imprint will help us to love you with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength AND love others (in our homes, in our CoreGroups, and in our communities), just as we love ourselves. There is always more to learn, more to grow into, and more to live out with you, oh God. We pray this all under the powerful name of Jesus. Amen.

If this is your first time meeting as a CoreGroup or your first time back after a break, spend some time doing introductions and catching up.

  • What was one highlight from your summer?

Historical Context:
This section explains where the passage we are about to read lives in the Bible and how it fits into the overall story of God working in our world.

The book of Romans is a letter from the Apostle Paul to the church in Rome. The beginning of the book is a rich theological text and offers one of the most complete explanations of what God has done for us through Jesus in all of scripture. The beginning of the book emphasizes the righteousness of God. Chapter 12 is a hinge chapter. In some translations it begins with the word “Therefore.” In light of what God has done for us, Paul offers practical instructions for living the Christian life. Once a believer comes to understand how God overcame sin and restored our relationship they are compelled to live differently. Chapter 12 tells us how we ough to live in relationship with other believers.

Read Aloud:
"So, brothers and sisters, because of God’s mercies, I encourage you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice that is holy and pleasing to God. This is your appropriate priestly service. 2 Don’t be conformed to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you can figure out what God’s will is—what is good and pleasing and mature.

3 Because of the grace that God gave me, I can say to each one of you: don’t think of yourself more highly than you ought to think. Instead, be reasonable since God has measured out a portion of faith to each one of you. 4 We have many parts in one body, but the parts don’t all have the same function. 5 In the same way, though there are many of us, we are one body in Christ, and individually we belong to each other. 6 We have different gifts that are consistent with God’s grace that has been given to us. If your gift is prophecy, you should prophesy in proportion to your faith. 7 If your gift is service, devote yourself to serving. If your gift is teaching, devote yourself to teaching. 8 If your gift is encouragement, devote yourself to encouraging. The one giving should do it with no strings attached. The leader should lead with passion. The one showing mercy should be cheerful.

9 Love should be shown without pretending. Hate evil, and hold on to what is good. 10 Love each other like the members of your family. Be the best at showing honor to each other. 11 Don’t hesitate to be enthusiastic—be on fire in the Spirit as you serve the Lord! 12 Be happy in your hope, stand your ground when you’re in trouble, and devote yourselves to prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of God’s people, and welcome strangers into your home. 14 Bless people who harass you—bless and don’t curse them. 15 Be happy with those who are happy, and cry with those who are crying. 16 Consider everyone as equal, and don’t think that you’re better than anyone else. Instead, associate with people who have no status. Don’t think that you’re so smart. 17 Don’t pay back anyone for their evil actions with evil actions, but show respect for what everyone else believes is good.

18 If possible, to the best of your ability, live at peace with all people. 19 Don’t try to get revenge for yourselves, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath. It is written, Revenge belongs to me; I will pay it back, says the Lord. 20 Instead, If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink. By doing this, you will pile burning coals of fire upon his head. 21 Don’t be defeated by evil, but defeat evil with good."

Romans 12 (CEB)

Engaging Scripture:  
Let’s pause before we think about how this passage makes us feel or how it applies to our context. This section can help ground your group in talking about what is written and consider its impact on the original audience.

  1. Paul urges his readers not to “be conformed to the patterns of this world.” Name some patterns of the world today that are easy to fall into.
  2. How would you explain Paul’s image of us being many parts of one body?
  3. Verses 9-21 offer a long list of commands for life together. Which commands stand out to you?

Application Questions:
We are beginning this CoreGroup year with Romans 12 because it both reminds us of the importance of community while also painting a picture of what we should strive for as we do life together.

  1. What instructions from Paul’s list do you hope this CoreGroup comes to embody?
  2. Think about the gifts God has given you (whether they are listed in these verses or not). How can you use your gifts to contribute to this CoreGroup?
  3. What is a command from this list that doesn’t come naturally to you? How can this group help you to grow in this area?

Taking it Further:
Check these out (additional scripture, book, podcast, video etc.) to take the heart of our discussion further this week.

Paul expands on the body metaphor

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