Core Group Guide | Sent - Week 2
This is the second week of SENT, a series designed to unpack the last words of Jesus in Acts 1:8 … “and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and all Judea, and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Last week Pastor Matt suggested our discomfort in sharing our faith could be related to a misunderstanding of what it means to be a witness. He defined a witness as someone who shares something they have personally seen, gone through, or experienced with someone who is close. A witness offers an invitation and not an obligation. This week we are exploring more specifically the invitation.
If you had the opportunity to consider the two questions suggested last week, please share some of your thoughts. In your life: 1) What is one way Jesus has made a difference? 2) What is one way the church has made a difference?
Dear God, thank you for this group gathered today. Thank you for the love shared in and through all of our members - both here and absent today. We pray that our time together would be encouraging to all as we consider what it means to be “sent” with the gospel. We rely on your Holy Spirit to lead us. We pray in the name of Jesus. Amen
Tell about the most recent invitation you extended to someone. It can be an invitation to a meal, an event, an opinion…
12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him.
13 For, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? 14 And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him? 15 And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
In Romans, Paul writes to systematically lay out the gospel of faith in Christ to the young church. In the first several chapters he describes how God established faith as the essence of reconciliation between God and man. He discusses the faith of Abraham and dispels the belief that following the law of Moses was the way to know God. This foundation is important because Paul now says to the believers, because of faith, there is no distinction between the Jew and the Greek. It is radical news to the Jews just as it was to Paul in his dramatic conversion. Before he was adamant about exclusion from God for any but the Jew, and now he is a missionary to every non-Jew (Gentiles).
What are some of the cultural issues that made it so difficult for Jewish believers to accept the idea that the gospel is for everyone?
How do you think vs 14-15 would have been received? Is Paul suggesting that believers are responsible for spreading the gospel? Do you agree?
Through a modern lens we may diminish the divide between Jewish and non Jewish believers, yet there are significant divisions in our own culture that are just as pervasive.
In what ways are they comparable? What divisions do you see within the body of Christ? How do you think those differences impact our cultural divisions, ie ethnic, socioeconomic, and/or political? Do such divisions make it more difficult to be invitational?
“Preach the gospel; use words if necessary.” (St. Francis)
“How are they to hear, without someone to proclaim him?” Romans 10:14b
With which of these quotes are you more likely to identify? Why?
Who do you know who may not have much knowledge or interest in Jesus? How would you compare their values as reflected in their behavior to your own? Should there be a difference? Why or why not?
What does it mean to be Christ-like in your personal interactions with people? Are you aware of how you are perceived in various circles of influence? Can you share one or two words that others have used to describe you? Are those words consistent with what you see of Christ in your life? Does it matter that others identify Jesus in your life, or is it enough to be seen as a person of integrity and kindness?
In closing this week, Matt asked us to pay attention this week to others around us - to look for opportunities to invite someone to church. Come next week prepared to share how this played out for you.
Part of getting to the place of inviting someone to church is developing a relationship of trust. Invite someone this week to build relationship – share a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, meet up for lunch, or even make a phone call to check in on someone.
Father, thank you that you are yourself an invitational God. You did not wait for us to come to you, before your love reached out to us in Christ. Help us to be aware of the people around us who are waiting to be included. Give us courage to simply invite them in. Thank you again for this group and the time we have shared today. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
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