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INTERACTING WITH THE SERMON
SYNOPSIS OF THE SERMON
In his message this weekend, Insoo talks about the importance of being others-centered in a self-centered world. He begins by unpacking 3 ways the passage in 1 Peter 4 tells us we can live others-centered lives. The first thing we must do is love others deeply (v. 8). We must love others with a radical love like Hosea gave to his cheating wife. Loving others is especially important when we’ve been hurt or sinned against. Love allows us to be free from bitterness and hurt regarding others’ sins. The second thing we must do to be others-centered is offer hospitality to others. Hospitality was one of the great hallmarks of the early Christians, but many of us have lost sight of its importance. One way we can begin to offer hospitality is to share a meal with someone. Relationships are formed over meals and we may even be able to share our faith with someone because we have shared a meal with them. Thirdly, we must serve faithfully in order to live others-centered lives. We have all received gifts from God and it is essential that we use those gifts and talents to serve others. The only way that the body will function properly is if we are all using our gifts together for mutual benefit. Insoo taught us about serving others in really practical ways and gave several ideas for how we can serve one another. Everyone got a scratch off ticket (an idea from the Cincinnati Vineyard) with a really specific task to serve one person this week. Finally, Insoo taught that the reason we serve others is not to earn God’s love but to glorify God. We want people to praise and know Christ through our actions of service.
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? Explain.
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.
• What are one or two things from this weekend’s sermon that really stood out to you?
• Have you ever received incredible hospitality or service in your life? How did that affect you? Have you ever served someone else in a self-sacrificial way? How did that impact you?
Read Matthew 25:31-46:
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
• VV. 31-34 What is Christ claiming about himself in this passage? What is the role of the Son of Man in this passage? (This is the only passage in scripture where Jesus speaks of the Son of Man as a King.) (observation) What is the significance of this? (interpretation)
• VV. 34 Discuss the idea of “inheritance.” What does it mean that the kingdom blessing is an inheritance? (this concept draws attention to the grace aspect of salvation in this passage. Inheritance is something that comes to one as a gift, not as the result of one’s own earnings.) (interpretation)
• VV 34-46 What are the specific areas of service mentioned? Notice the repetition; what reason would such strong repetition be used? (Observation)
• VV. 35-36 Discuss these specific areas. What kind of people were hungry, thirsty, strangers, lacked clothing or prisoners? What does it mean when Jesus calls them “the least of these brothers and sisters?” What is the picture that Jesus is painting of the kind of person we should serve? (interpretation)
• What is the significance of the kind of people those are today? How is our role in serving others different or the same as people in the first century? How can you individually or we as a group express service in these ways? (application) Context: In the first century, hospitality was a way of life. If a stranger came into a town, there were no hotels for them to stay in. If they didn’t want to sleep outside, they had to be taken in by a private household. There we’re social programs like welfare or unemployment. If someone was in need, they remained in need until an individual in the society met that need.
• VV. 37 What is the reaction of the “righteous?” Why would they be surprised about when they saw the Lord? What does this attitude say about their reason for doing these deeds? (This attitude implies that they were not thinking about doing enough good deeds in order to merit salvation, but that they were living out of what Christ has done in them and through them and they wanted to glorify God.) (interpretation)
• VV. 41-46 What does this passage teach about the sin of omission? What does the absence of good works prove? In v. 44, they are also surprised, what does this reaction tell us about their heart attitude and orientation towards themselves vs. others? (interpretation)
• Take a look back at Matt 25:14-30, the parable of the Bags of Gold. What is the heart attitude that is painted of the servant who hid the gold? How is that attitude continued in this passage about the “goats?” (Interpretation)
• Do you know what gifts God has given you? Have you been burying them in the ground? Revisit 1 Peter 4:10. How can we be faithful with the specific gifts God has given us? (application)
• Is this passage about lining up good deeds vs. bad ones? What is Matthew’s belief about salvation and grace? (See Matt 11:25-30, 20:28) Is service a way to eternal life? Why or why not? How are our actions connected with our salvation? (application)
• How do we become people like the “sheep” in this passage? How do you struggle with being others centered? When do you find it easy to serve others? How will this heart attitude effect different aspects of your life? (time, money, ways of speaking/acting, etc.)
• How can we as a community encourage each other to be like those Jesus called “blessed by my father” in v. 34? (application)
Below you’ll see some options for ministry time with your group. We always encourage you to reserve time in your group to pray for one another and wait on the Holy Spirit.
• Read Matt 16:24-27. Take some time to pray for each other that the heart attitude of Jesus would thrive inside you. Ask Jesus to take your whole life again. Go through specific aspects of your life you’ve been holding back and offer them to Him.
• What was your task on your scratch off ticket from the service this weekend? Have you done it yet? Share your story with the group or receive prayer/encouragement to accomplish it! Pray for your community, the people living around you, working with you, interacting with you daily. Ask Jesus to break your heart for them. Pray that Jesus would open your eyes to see the “least of these brothers and sisters” and give you the heart to reach out to them.
• How have you tried to earn your way into Christ’s affection? Meditate on the attitude of surprise the righteous had in the passage then read Matt 11:28-30. Commit it to memory. Receive prayer for “rest for your soul” in Jesus.