Community Group Questions 8/26/12

Tip of the Week:
[vimeo http://vimeo.com/]
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 ALL Team Meeting
    • Pull out the insert
    • For all Kids Ministry Volunteers, and anyone that is interested in serving in Kids Ministry
    • Sunday 9/9 immediately after the 2nd service
    • lunch, games, prizes, plus ministry focus for the year
    • Write “Interested in Serving in Kids” on your Connection Card for more info
  • West Pines 1.0
    • West Pines 1.0 is an event that we have every few months that is all about letting you get to know West Pines better and letting us get to know you better.
    • It's a great first step to thinking through if you should call West Pines your church home.
    • The next West Pines 1.0 is coming up on Sunday, September 30th, right after the second service.
    • We’ll provide lunch and childcare, should you need it. If you’re interested, write “1.0” on the back of your Connection Card.

Sermon Title: The Assassin, Part 3: The Kill-shot

Main Text:  Mark 15:66-72, Mark 2:17, Luke 22:61

Topics:

  • Peter follows Jesus at a distance. And get’s cornered by a servant girl and the bystanders. They continually claim that Peter was associated with Jesus. He denied it three times.
  • Interestingly, the more he is questioned the more he physically moves out of the light.
  • Each denial was more and more vigorous. To the point that he was swearing at the end.
  • It was then that the rooster crowed the second time, just like Jesus said. Peter completely ignored the first crow of the rooster.  Which was his final warning.
  • It is interesting that the rooster is the symbol of Peter’s denial. Roosters are known for their arrogance. They strut along as if they “rule the roost.” The phrase “cocky” is associated with the rooster. Perhaps that is because it is Peter’s pride that got him intro trouble in the first place.
  • First Peter was self-righteous when he said that he would never abandon or deny Jesus even if all of those around him did. That was when the assassin had breached the walls.
  • Then out of His pride he was distracted by his own flesh and kept falling asleep. He felt no need to watch and be prepared for temptation. That was the diversion that the assassin had set up.
  • It is now that we see his pride in full bloom. He is mired in self-preservation. No matter how hard they press him, he protects himself.  It is this type of pride that is eventually his undoing. It is the kill-shot.
  • When we self preserve we do things like rationalize our sin. We say we deserve to do it. We say it’s not a sin for us, or our situation is different. In order to save face we keep a sin secret, and that’s when things start really getting out of hand. We hide from all accountability and anyone who can talk sense into us. We are safe in our own twisted rationalization.
  • So here is how the whole process works: pride creeps in and we feel like there are certain sins that are beneath us. So we then take our eyes off weak-spots and we then explain away failures. Meanwhile sin is growing in our hearts. It is the same pride that then ignores all the warning signs of sins. It is pride again that ruthlessly tries to self-preserve. The secrecy and the rationalization that can happen at this point is a breeding ground for sin. It is here that we can fall into something we never thought we would do.
  • What do we do? Get sin out in the open.  We have the need to retreat into the darkness, but we have to get it out in the open to someone we trust.
  • If we don’t do this as a church, if this kind of self-preservation becomes our culture, we are at risk of disaster.
    • our self-righteousness creates a need to preserve how we look
    • this creates a culture that is fake and pretentious
    • life-change can’t happen because we can’t be vulnerable with ourselves or each other
    • Sins stay hidden and so they fester and get out of hand
    • Those who are really hurting do not feel like they can identify and aren’t welcome
    • In the self-absorbed focus of keeping up the illusion of godliness, we are no longer willing to reach out to the needy
    • Our effectiveness as a church will plummet
    • We will go from blazing trails forward to trying desperately to maintain status quo
  • Ultimately, the Gospel is no longer present!
    • the Gospel is for those who admit that they need Jesus, not those who are under the delusion that they are righteous enough to not need Him (Mark 2:17).
  • Application:
    • What sins are you rationalizing, and keeping in the dark? Go to a godly Christian friend (outside your spouse) and confess it and ask for help.
    • Are you in a community group? Christian, you MUST have those relationships ready.
    • Is there someone at WP that you haven’t seen in awhile? Often times there is a good reason they are retreating into the dark. Check in on them. That is all of our responsibility. Don’t rely on the staff and leaders to do that, we are all a part of the body.

Key Questions:

  1. Peter was following Jesus and yet denied he knew him. What do you think was the inner battle going on inside of him?
  2. What do you think so distracted Peter that the rooster’s first crow didn’t register with him?
  3. Peter “broke down and wept.” Describe the emotions you think he felt?
  4. What is the impact on the church when self-righteousness and self-preservation begins to affect the church culture?
  5. How does self-preservation lead to rationalizing our actions?
  6. How does self-preservation lead to keeping sins secret?
  7. What is the danger of secret sins?
  8. What are the characteristics we should look for in someone we go to ask for accountability with a sin?
  9. How should we handle if someone approaches us for help and accountability?
  10. What do you think leads someone to pull away from church when they are struggling?
  11. What are some things we can do when we notice that?

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