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SYNOPSIS OF THE SERMON
1. Can you think of a great movie about forgiveness/reconciliation? What particularly was appealing about the movie? Please share why.
2. Do different personalities respond differently to being hurt? Is there a personality type that forgives more easily? What would you say about yourself, and why?
3. Have you ever been the recipient of much forgiveness?
2. Read 2 Corinthians 5:11-21:
· What do you believe might have caused people to believe that Paul and Timothy were “out of their minds”? (v. 13) Have you ever been misunderstood or faced criticism because of your faith? How did you respond? What can we learn from Paul’s response to this issue? Thinking back to this week’s sermon on forgiveness, how might choosing to forgive seem “crazy” to unbelievers?
· When was the last time you felt compelled by the love of Christ? (v. 14) Describe that experience. Do you think being “compelled by the love of Christ” describes your daily interactions with others?
· In verse 15, Paul states that Christ died that we would live for Him, not for ourselves. What do you think it means to live for Christ, not for yourself? How does your life reflect this principle?
· What do you believe it means to view people “from a worldly point of view”? (v.16) What is the alternative that Paul is suggesting? Consider all of the ways that life is different as a “new creation” in Christ. (v.17) Is there any aspect of life that isn’t affected by new life in Christ?
· Describe the “ministry” and “message of reconciliation”. (v. 18-19) How might a Christian’s personal experience of being reconciled to God impact his/her relationships with others? How might this impact our ability to love and forgive others?
· How often do you think of yourself as an “ambassador” for Christ? (vv. 20-21) How do you feel about the fact that you were meant to represent Christ to others? Do you feel that you are up to the task? Why or why not? Can you think of some passages of Scripture that might help us when we’re not feeling like a very good representative of Christ?
3. In his sermon, Pastor Rich quoted Brian Zahnd, who wrote in his book, “Unconditional?: The Call of Jesus to Radical Forgiveness”, that “You can become a Christian in a moment. But to become Christ-like is another matter. In our evangelical churches we are very adept at teaching people how to become a Christian – how to receive the forgiveness available in Christ. We’ve not been nearly so adept at teaching people how to become Christian – how to become Christ-like in a way that helps flood a world hell-bent on vengeance with the grace of forgiveness.”
· Does this quote resonate with you? As a small group, consider some ways that you can cultivate this kind of Christ-likeness in your lives.
· Ask the Holy Spirit to increase your capacity for forgiveness towards others in your small group and in your community. Encourage one another to truly represent Christ to the world around you.