Community Group Questions 8/19/12

Tip of the Week:
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Most of you are probably starting back up this week. Please let us know if you need any help.
Announcements:
Please share whichever of the following announcements apply to your group
  • WPMM Guys Night Out
    • Men’s Ministry is starting back up
    • Guys Night out on Monday 8/27
    • Food, Fun and Competition
    • 7pm in The Multipurpose Room
  • Kids Praise Team
    • For kids 3rd thru 5th grade
    • Serve weekly during Kids Ministry
    • They lead our elementary kids in worship
    • Write “Kids Praise Team” on Connection Card
  • Student Ministry Fall Calendar
    • Pull out the insert
    • Student Ministry is back in full swing
    • Several cool events you don’t want to miss
    • Put it up on the Frig

Sermon Title: The Assassin, Part 2: The Diversion

Main Text: Mark 14:32-42

Topics:

  • Jesus warned the disciples that they would abandon him. They all denied it, particularly Peter. Peter said that he would never leave Jesus, even if it meant death. Jesus told Peter that not only would he abandon Him, he would deny Him three times.
  • We know that Jesus was right. All of the disciples fled when Jesus was arrested. During Jesus’ trial, Peter was cornered and denied knowing Jesus three times.
  • How does this happen? How does someone who has walked so closely with Jesus mess up bigger than they could have ever imagined? Last week’s text showed the first step towards a big mess up: pride. We see Peter’s words dripping with pride.  This week we see what happens when pride takes root.
  • After this, Jesus took Peter, James, and John further into the garden, and he told them that His soul was very sorrowful, even unto death. Then He told them to watch. Jesus was in agony preparing for what God had ahead of Him.
  • An hour later, he came and found Peter, James and John sleeping. We find out what Jesus was wanting them to watch for when He says, “watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”
  • Again He went and prayed. And again He came back to find them sleeping.
  • It was as Jesus was speaking to them that the guards came to arrest Jesus.
  • This reveals what happens when Pride breaches our walls: Pride Prevents Preparation.
  • The scripture says, “pride goes before destruction.” That is a familiar concept. But sometimes we view that as if it’s some kind of biblical karma. As if when God sees us being cocky and decides to break into the natural order of things to trip us up to make sure we don’t get too conceited. But we can see a very natural way that pride will necessarily leads to destruction. We can see how that works.
  • Like a crafty assassin, pride builds our confidence and lulls us to sleep with false security. It distracts us from preparing for temptation. We think about ourselves and our own strength, rather than wisely preparing to withstand temptation.  After the Assassin breaches the walls, it creates a diversion.
  • Pride distracts us from reality:
    • When we make a mistake we are so distracted trying to defend and justify ourselves, that we don’t learn from what we’ve done.
    • When we have a glaring flaw, pride helps us ignore it, explain it away, rather than addressing the weakness.
  • Some examples would be:
    • The married couple that needs counseling but they find that too humbling and avoid it.
    • The parents that refuse to accept the thought that their kids are dabbling in the world, so they ignore the signs. They would rather live in the delusion.
    • The addict that is so humiliated that he needs help that he too quickly tries to teach and help others, and ends up getting sucked into temptation.
    • The godly man or woman who sees themselves so above sexual failure, that they explains away some weak spots and take no effort to set up boundaries and accountability.
  • One of the biggest things Pride does is it makes us defensive.  But the more we cling to the Gospel the less we will be defensive. The Gospel taught us that we are all sinners and can do nothing to be good enough to be accepted by God. We are saved only by Jesus, and it is only what He did that makes us acceptable before God. So we regularly remind ourselves that Jesus is the only impressive thing about us. We no longer need to make a case to ourselves and others that we didn’t mess up, because we know we have and we will continue to.  And as we grow in godliness, we know it is God who has done that work in us anyway.
  • Humans have an incredible capacity for self-deception. Pride is what drives self-deception because it distracts us. Pride creates a diversion. Pride Prevents Preparation.
  • We are commanded to watch and pray, but pride will make us fall asleep on the job.
  • Interestingly Peter later in his book, 1 Peter, uses the same word to warn believers that Jesus used with him: “...be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around...”
  • We have to see ourselves in Peter and ask ourselves some bold questions:
    • What are some healthy boundaries I need to set up?
    • What are some weak spots pride is helping me ignore?
    • What are some realities I need to honestly address?
    • Am I defensive?

Key Questions:

  • Read Mark 14:32-42.
  • What should have motivated the disciples to resist sleep and be fervently watching and praying?
  • What would it have looked like if they had “watched and prayed that they may not enter into temptation?”
  • When have you seen pride cause someone to crash and burn?
  • What are some examples of how pride can distract people from weak spots and other humbling realities they need to face?
  • Why does the Gospel remove the need for a Christian to make excuses for themselves?
    • [Because the Gospel reveals that we are all sinners. We are saved and washed clean by Jesus. We are acceptable before God only because of what Jesus did, not what we do. As we cling to that truth, we no longer need to make a case to ourselves or others about how good we are. We have accepted the fact that we have fallen far short of godliness.]
  • How does pride leave us feeling like we don’t need boundaries?
  • What are some healthy boundaries you are challenged to renew?
  • What is a gentle and humble way to help a Christian friend see a weak spot in their life?
  • What are some un-helpful ways to point out someone’s weak spot?
  • What are some things we can do to become more self-aware and less self-deceived?

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