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SYNOPSIS OF THE SERMON
Individualism is the number one threat to our Christian freedom and growth. If we truly want to be free, we must be in relationship with other Christians. It is not just us and God. Everyone falls into a trap of sin at some point in their lives. To get out of the trap of sin and be restored to health and freedom, we need to open up our lives to other Christians. This creates the only context for true restoration and freedom: Christian community. We aid in restoring our brothers and sisters through prayer and bearing each others’ burdens. Gentleness and caution are required as we help restore one another, or we may also fall prey to the same traps of sin. This helps us to become an interdependent family who assist each other in times of need.
GETTING THE CONVERSATION STARTED
These questions can be used as ice-breakers in the beginning OR interwoven between the questions below to draw the group into the discussion.
1. What situations make you feel the most impatient? Describe a recent situation where you lost your patience.
2. Has anyone ever enthusiastically helped you when you felt like you were being an absolute burden to them? Please share your experience.
3. When you get impatient, is it because you feel you have been wronged, or because someone else has been wronged?
4. Where have you seen God be most patient with you? Briefly share.
INTERACTING WITH THE SERMON
1. In 5 minutes or less. Briefly give a synopsis of this week’s sermon. What insight, principle, or observation from this weekend’s message did you find to be most helpful, eye-opening, or troubling? Briefly explain.
2. Read I Corinthians 12:18-27:
“18 But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. 27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”
• Read verses 21 and 22. What are the consequences of alienating and not bearing with people in our community? Are these serious or very minor consequences?
• Why does Paul bother to emphasize that God honors parts of the body that lack honor? If God gives “honor to the parts that lacked it” (v. 24), what are we to do with these parts of the body?
• As a Christian, do we get to choose to be part of the body or not? If we are all members of the body of Christ whether we like it or not, who all are we hurting by ignoring, isolating, or devaluing a member of our body? How much concern should we have for each person/part of the body (v.25)?
• Being part of a body means that we should each feel things happening to other parts of the body (v.26). Is this true of your life? How does the image of a body aid us in carrying out Paul’s command in Galatians 6:2 to “bear one another’s burdens?” If people around you feel like a burden, do you see them as part of your body, or as someone you consider completely apart from you?
3. In his sermon, Rich said:
“If you are carrying a load, friend, have you considered the fact that God may want to help you carry it through the assistance of your brothers and sisters? Don’t push away the help that God wants to give you because of your pride or your self-sufficiency. The way you are going to know in a deeper way that God loves you, that God is there for you, that God cares about you, you who are overwhelmed, is by bringing into the light a burden, a concern, a sin with brothers and sisters who could help you.”
As members of one body, it is imperative to aid in restoring broken, hurting parts of that body to full health. Take some time to do the following:
1. Spend time waiting on God. Ask Him to reveal areas where folks are burdened, particularly areas where they have not asked for help.
2. Ask people to share these things. Follow up by having several people lay affirming hands on each person and pray for their restoration. Please follow up in the upcoming weeks to offer continued support.