Community Group Questions 8/12/12

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Sermon Title: The Assassin, Part 1: The Breach

Main Text:  Mark 14:26-31, Jude 24-25

Topics:

  • The night Jesus was arrested, He warned all the disciples that they would run for their lives and abandon Him. He did not just say that as a probably prediction. He was quoting prophesy from Zechariah.
  • In response Peter said, “Even though they all fall away, I will not.” By contradicting Jesus He was not only saying that the Son of God was wrong. He was saying that scripture was wrong. The prophecy that had stood for hundreds of years was off base.  Peter had more faith in himself than the scripture or even Jesus.
  • But He did more than just disagree. We see another motivation lurking under the surface. He could have just said, “I will not.” But he elevated himself over everyone else saying, “even if they all do, I will not.” This reveals incredible arrogance swelling in his heart. His self confidence had swelled to the point where he viewed himself as stronger than those around him. He compared himself to others and liked what he saw. He might have well as said, “they may be weak enough to deny you, but not me. I am far stronger than them.”  Or worse: “those scriptures apply to them but not me. Jesus, what you say applies to the weak around me but not me.”
  • Jesus responded to him and said, that Peter would not only abandon Him that very night, but worse than that - Peter would deny him. Jesus said to Peter that in reality it was going to be worse than Peter thought and sooner than Peter thought.
  • Even at this urgent warning, Peter still denied that it was possible. He had too much faith in himself.
  • What we know from scripture is that things happened just as Jesus said. Amazingly even before the night was done, Peter had abandoned and then unthinkably he had denied ever knowing Jesus. How does something like that happen?!
  • In this story we see the first step of how a huge mess-up like this happens. We see Peter’s pride. Pride will always precede a huge mess-up. It’s a rule: Pride Precedes.
  • The moment I feel a sin is beneath me. The moment I feel like I would never fall into a sin. The moment I feel like someone else struggling in sin is just weaker than me. The moment I look down at someone, in disgust for their mess ups. That moment is the closest I’ve been to falling into sin.
  • When pride swells, I’ve been BREACHED.  Pride is the signal that the assassin has breached the gates. Pride precede the sin.
  • Why? Pride numbs my self awareness. I don’t see where I’m slipping. Pride makes me feel confident relying on myself. It makes me unaware that I am not strong enough.
  • When we feel that pride swelling up inside of us, feeling like we are strong enough on our own to withstand sin, that if only others were as strong as we are they too could withstand sin, we are denying scripture and denying Jesus. We have the same heart as Peter, and we will have the same end as Peter.
  • Scripture plainly says that humans are weak and sinful, and the only good in us is what God does in us. Scripture tells us to strive hard but ultimately rely on God.
  • And Jesus’ life tells us that there is nothing in ourselves to brag about. The only thing in us that is acceptable before God is Jesus. When I say I am strong enough on my own to withstand temptation, I am denying the foundation of Christianity - The Gospel.
  • This self-righteousness turns our hearts into a festering, breeding ground for sin.
  • Do we sense pride in our hearts? Can we see where we’ve already been breached?
    • Do I think that there are sins that are beneath me?
    • Do I think that I am strong enough to withhold temptations?
    • Do I think there are sins that I am “over?” Do I think there are sins that I have conquered, that could never entangle me again?
    • Do I look down at others in disgust or even anger at their sin?
    • Do I think that if they were just strong like me they would withstand temptation?
  • If we have this as a church, it will sterilize our effectiveness.
    • Our hearts will be breeding sins. But we will be fake, pretending to have it all together.
    • There will be no real, vulnerable community.
    • Hurting people will feel unwelcome, and judged. And they will be right.
    • We will not want people who are don’t fit our mold. People will have to bend to fit our church-culture.
  • If this is what our church looks like, it will be a place where the Gospel is absent. A church where the Gospel is absent is merely a Christian-flavored social club, and not a church at all.
  • We want to be a church where hurting people feel welcomed and loved. And they are right. We want to be a church where we all come to each other to get help, because we know that the only perfect person is Jesus.
  • So the antidote to this pride, this self-righteousness is believing Jesus. Believing that we need Him. That without Him, we are completely frail and susceptible to anything. The antidote is clinging to the Gospel message.

Key Questions:

  1. How do you think the other disciples felt after hearing what Peter said?
  2. Peter viewed himself as strong enough to withstand temptation. What are dangerous ways Christians do the same thing?
  3. Peter viewed himself as stronger and better than the other disciples. How do similar thoughts appear in our minds?
  4. How does pride weaken us, making us more susceptible to sin?
  5. How is self-righteousness a denial of Jesus?
    • [It is saying that we are good enough that we don’t need Jesus and His saving work on the cross.]
  6. How does pride and self-righteousness create relationships that are fake?
  7. How can we as a community group replace self-righteousness with vulnerability?
  8. What does it look like for a Christian to be judgmental with people in their lives?
  9. How can a Christian humbly stand behind God’s truth, but not be condemning and judgmental?
  10. How is being judgmental a bad reflection of the Gospel itself?
    • [When we are judgmental we are communicating that we are morally better than that person. That is not true. We are just as lost as anyone without Jesus. We are inadvertently denying the gospel, by communicating that it is about living perfectly, rather than being saved by the Perfect One.]
  11. How do you see yourself in Peter?

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