When life moves between the lines our move is to trust God.
Have you ever heard of the five second rule? According to the rule, if you drop something edible on the ground, it’s all right to eat it so long as you pick it up within five seconds (even if you need to wipe off a few germs and a little dirt). Tell the group about a time when you wanted something so badly that you applied the five second rule.
This week we are crossing over the line of church, religion, or whatever else you might feel separates you from God. We will stay between the lines for the next month because the world needs Good News and so do each of us. The purpose of this conversation is for everyone in group to make a move – whether it is beginning a relationship with Christ, taking the next step in baptism, or sharing the gospel with the people in their lives who have not yet believed.
A note to Group Leaders: As you prepare for study this week, be sure to check out the Leader Notes at the bottom of this post!
Read Romans 1:16-17
1. Paul was not ashamed of the gospel. He says the power of the gospel comes from God and it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes. What is revealed in the gospel? Is there any part of the gospel you are ashamed of believing for yourself or sharing with others?
2. The Good News is powerful. The word in the original Greek text for “power” in this verse is “dynamis,” the root from which we get the English word “dynamite.” When dynamite explodes, nothing is the same. How has the gospel exploded like dynamite in your lives and the lives of others?
3. Even though the world is moving more and more towards tolerance, acceptance, and pluralism, we are still living in one of the most judgmental eras in history. Why are so many groups (including believers) judgmental and intolerant towards those who think or believe differently? How is this is possible? Paul spoke of a “salvation for everyone.”
Why do believers, who experience so much love and grace, still judge others?
Read Romans 2:1-4.
4. Through social media, judging each other now happens faster and forces people further apart than ever before. According to Paul in these verses, we condemn ourselves when we judge one another. Why is it so easy for us to judge someone else, while not noticing we also condemn ourselves? Who should judge these evils?
5. Nothing is more available and accepting than the gospel. The Good News is for everyone. Discuss why so many still struggle to grasp the simplicity of accepting the Good News and placing their faith in Jesus Christ.
Read Romans 5:8.
6. God demands perfection, because He is perfect. God demonstrates His love for us by choosing us when we did not choose Him. What are some ways the world misunderstands God’s standard of perfection?
7. We know we are flawed and so does God. None of us are perfect. Jesus covered our imperfection through His sacrificial death. Good News! His sacrificial death makes it possible for each of us to have a relationship with a perfect God, despite our imperfection. No matter how imperfect you are, God recognizes your value, and Jesus died to make a relationship with God possible. All we need to do is repent and believe. Does anyone want to share their story?
Break into Triads (groups of 3) and pray for opportunities for your Triad to share the Good News with specific coworkers, neighbors, family, or friends this week. Make sure to write down names and continue praying for your Triad and the names they mentioned throughout the week. Update and share stories next week in group.
Is there anyone you know who would benefit from knowing God is not distant and desires a relationship with them? God’s desire to show His love is so strong for His creation, He became like one of us, through His Son Jesus Christ. He was bruised, beaten, and killed to pay the price we could never pay. Share the link to this service with them or share how your life changed because of the Good News and the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
1. The righteousness of God is revealed. God’s righteousness compared to our own causes friction or faith, depending on our response. The key to this question is discussing what our natural response is to the gospel versus what it should be.
2. Take the conversation to the next level here and really challenge the group to share how the gospel changed their lives and the lives of others through faith and not being ashamed of the gospel. Share stories of success and failure. Encourage each other to make a move in their own life or the lives of others.
3. We are fine with judgment so long as we get to play the role of the judge. Encourage the group to examine their own judgmental attitudes and motivations towards others (especially non-believers) while carefully avoiding speaking about groups they are not a part of who are different from them.
4. Everyone probably has a story of being hurt or hurting someone else via social media. Sharing a story or two as an example is fine, but be careful to keep the discussion moving and to draw out the main point that ALL have sinned and fallen short, and we ALL need God’s grace. Only God can judge.
6. The impossibility of human perfection leaves us with essentially two options:
a. Accept we fail to meet God’s standard.
b. Refuse God’s standard of perfection.
7. Give your group a chance to express if any of them wish to make a move or take the next step in baptism. There might be someone they know who is wrestling with this decision. Pray as a group for these individuals and offer the opportunity for one on one discussion/prayer if needed.