Interacting with the Sermon
Synopsis of the Sermon
“The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes. Unless a particular man made New Year resolutions, he would make no resolutions. Unless a man starts afresh about things, he will certainly do nothing effective.” -G.K. Chesterton
The coming of the new year allows for a sense of newness to be ushered into our lives. There is an opportunity for renewal and “fresh start” to the forgotten goals we once made or intended to make toward becoming healthier individuals. In light of 2013’s beginning, Vineyard Columbus is starting a 5-week sermon series called “Fit For Life.” This series will focus on what it means to be a healthy individual in all areas of life: physical, spiritual, financial, emotional, and relational.
Followers of Jesus often emphasize the spiritual and soul transforming components of God’s power but mistakenly deemphasize the physical components of following Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5: 23 says “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Rich preached this weekend on “Getting Physically Fit For Life” and it is well known that America, the Church not being excluded, is becoming increasingly overweight and having to deal with the repercussions of unhealthy lifestyle including heart disease, diabetes, increased hospitalizations, depression, and early death to name a few. Not only are there personal consequences to unhealthy diet, overeating, and lack of physical activity, there are corporate consequences on families and communities. Likewise, healthy lifestyle changes are proven to be most effectively accomplished with the support of families and communities. God wired us for community. We need a group, a friend, or an accountability partner in order to make long-term changes. We need community support. In addition to this sermon series, Vineyard has a professional and community-based support system developed for individuals to accomplish their physical fit for life goals.
Available to everyone:
(Leaders please share this information with your members. Let’s get your whole group involved!)
- Lose It App and website will help us as a church to get more physically fit in the New Year by acting like a “Facebook” for weight loss. You can share successes and cheer each other on by creating a free account on vineyardcolumbus.loseit.com
- Free Class: Let’s Get Started – Putting Together a Personal Health Care Plan
- Tuesday, January 8th or Thursday, January 10th from 7:00-8:00 p.m.
- Sunday, January 13th at 1:15-2:15 p.m.
3. Free Class: New Year Fresh Start Let’s Get Back To Basics – Nutrition 101
- Thursday, January 17th from 7:00-8:00 p.m.
- Thursday, January 24th from 7:00-8:00 p.m
- Vineyard Community Center has several dozen sports and fitness programs: Personal Training, Zumba classes, Dance classes, Aerobics, Kick-boxing, Programs for kids
- Support and Recovery Groups
Vineyard Columbus is taking a community-wide approach so that adequate support is given that we may be a transformed body of believers in every way, and what better time to make these changes than the new year?
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?
- What is a new year’s resolution (fun/serious) you made this year or in the past? Was it accomplished? If so, what things allowed for you to reach your goal?
1 Thessalonians 5: 11-24
11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.12 Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. 13 Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. 14 And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 19 Do not put out the Spirit’s fire. 20 Do not treat prophecies with contempt 21 but test them all; hold on to what is good, 22 reject whatever is harmful.23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.
The capital city of Roman Macedonia was located in Thessalonica and despite Paul’s short visit of only 4 weeks, the peoples’ response to the good news of Jesus Christ was overwhelming. However, the people were not safe from persecution and Paul was forced to leave abruptly. Six weeks following his visit, he sent the young church an affirming and affectionate letter of encouragement as they experienced intense opposition to their new lifestyle and faith in Jesus Christ.
- (vs. 11-13) Paul places a huge emphasis on how the community of believers interacts with one another. What are some of the instructions he gives them as followers of Jesus?
- (vs. 14) Paul addresses what the community should do with those who are struggling: warn, encourage, help, and be patient. These are all qualities of God’s grace. Godly grace and ignoring/avoiding a problem look very different to God; however, sometimes believers mistakenly substitute grace for ignoring or avoiding. Paul is not telling the believers to ignore the struggles of fellow believers but he gives them specific actions in response to specific struggles. How do these actions contrast from ignoring the problem or avoiding conflict?
- As Vineyard Columbus, and our small group, work towards becoming more physically fit, how might we use Paul’s instructions as a community to encourage, help, and show patience to one another without ignoring or avoiding struggles?
- (vs. 23) To “sanctify” means to be “set apart” and the believers were instructed to be set apart through and through including their bodies. What practical steps can we take to do that?
- (vs. 23) Paul says that he wishes the believers’ bodies to be kept “blameless.” Paul is emphasizing that God significantly values the human body and in another letter he calls the body “a temple of the Holy Spirit” (1Co 6:19). What are ways we can bridge the gap between seeing our bodies as just flesh and blood and seeing our bodies as dwelling places of God’s Spirit?
- In contrast to neglecting our bodies, there is the danger of placing too much emphasis on body image by becoming obsessed and in a sense “worshipping” our bodies. What is the difference between worshiping our bodies and caring for our bodies as worship toward God?
Romans 12: 1-2
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is true worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will
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.
- Pray for the physical health of all your group members.
- It is likely there are people in the group who are struggling with body image issues, physical health problems, eating disorders, and feelings of defeat from unsuccessful attempts at lifestyle changes. Allow people to share and then invite the Holy Spirit to come and impart comfort, truth, strength into their frustration.