Community Group Questions 10/20/13

Invincible-CC

Weekly Training Tip

This week we're talking about planning a service project for your group.

Here's the video:

[vimeo 77329519 w=500 h=281]

Announcements:

*Please let your Community Group know about the announcements that matter to them.

Living On One Showings

  • Last weekend we talked about a documentary about 4 college students who moved to Guatemala to live among the impoverished and live on $1 a day.

  • We will be showing that movie here, in the auditorium, for free, in 2 weeks.

  • There will be two showings:

    • Tuesday, November 5th @ 7PM

    • Thursday, November 7th @ 7PM

  • There will be no Community Group that week because we will all be going to see the movie together on either Tuesday or Thursday.

Alternate Directions for Next Weekend

  • Ok, those of you who live North of West Pines WIN! Next weekend they are closing parts of US-27 on Sunday morning for an Ironman race and you will not be able to turn East from Southbound 27.

  • So we recommend you come south on 75 and get to West Pines from Pines Blvd.

  • We’ve included a map in your bulletin & on the Website with alternate directions highlighted in red.

  • If you forget, you’ll be able to see the end of the ironman at Biscayne Bay, where they are routing all of the cyclists.

Sermon Title: Invincible, Part 6: Pure

Main Texts: Matt 5:3-8, Ezek 36:25-26, Jeremiah 31:33

REMINDER: The following Topics are for your preparation purposes only and should not be shared with the group as a refresher.

Topics:

  • When we think of someone who is pure at heart we think of someone who has an innocence about them. We think of someone who is maybe a little naive. Someone who you know doesn’t have ulterior motives and hidden agendas.  You may think of the type of person that doesn’t pick up on someone’s innuendos or sarcasm.

  • This is not far off from what Jesus intended. But Jesus meant much more than this.

  • As a Beatitude this is something that is representing the ideals for how God intends for his creation, humanity to operate.  This is a massive concept. It is something that is intended to be fundamental to us thriving in the world He made.

  • What does Jesus mean by pure?  This is a loaded word. The word for pure usually means something that is singular with no pollutants. If someone says, “He feels nothing but pure hatred for…” that means it is a singular emotion. Another example is what we mean by pure gold. It has no pollutants in it.

  • But purity carries with it other connotations. In the Bible, particularly the Old Testament, the idea of purity carries with it a religious and ritualistic idea. For example, certain animals were considered “unclean.”  If someone touched a dead body they were unclean and would need to be “purified.”  There were sacrifices and other rituals that would be done to cleansed.

  • They would have to be cleansed before they could come into God’s presence in the temple.

  • But Jesus is saying that we need to have a cleansed, purified heart. And that if we do we can come into God’s presence and see Him.

  • This is significant. Jesus is not saying that we simply need to be ritualistically clean from the outside in, we need to be clean on the inside.  Our hearts need to be pure.  It is more than just our behavior and our bodies that need to be cleansed.  It is our thoughts, intentions and motivations.

  • How in the world does that happen?  We know there are rituals we need to do to cleanse our bodies.  What would we have to do to cleanse ourselves all the way down to our hearts? What kind of dramatic ceremony, sacrifice, or practice attains a purified heart?

  • It is something that God told us would happen through the Old Testament prophets:

    1. Ezekiel 36:25–26: 25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

    2. Jeremiah 31:33: 33 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

  • There is one dramatic sacrifice that does this - the death of the Son of God, Jesus.

  • So why does Jesus add this in as a beatitude? Why does He remind us that our hearts have been cleansed?

  • Because so often we start with the Gospel, and then proceed forward with religion! We try to fight sin from the outside in.  We don’t understand two essential things about Jesus statement:

  • 1) We don’t understand how to be cleansed...

    1. When we sin, we think we have to make up for sin by doing penance. We don’t think of it as penance, but we do things to try to crawl out of our hole.

    2. We feel dirty and unholy and have our ways of making up for it. We can call it Protestant Penance: listening to Christian music, extra time in prayer and devotions, going to church activities. Those are all great, but if we do those things to make us feel less dirty, guilty, or shameful, we misunderstand the cleansing we need.

    3. The danger of this is that in the end the devil makes us feel isolated and alone, with a mountain of sin to climb over before we feel purified again. This is demoralizing and usually leads us to more sin.

    4. We have to go to the right source to be cleansed...

  • 2) We don’t understand that it is our hearts…

    1. When we are trying to fight sin we think it is about our efforts, our boundaries, the company we keep, the external temptations. But ultimately sin is in our heart!  It is important to set up good boundaries. It is important to  work hard and strive against sin. It is important to keep yourself from influences that will tempt you to fall into sin. But that is all worthless if we do not realize that there is sin in our hearts!  If we do not treat sin in our hearts, it will find a way out.

    2. We have to treat sin at the heart level. We have to change what we believe about sin.

  • The only way to handle this is to go back to the Gospel.  What does this mean:

    1. When we sin, the challenge is not how do we get cleansed, but it is believing that we already are cleansed.

    2. When we are fighting sin, it is not only the externals we have to fight it in our hearts. We have to look inside and change our desire, uncover our idols.

    3. These both go back to the Gospel.

  • Religion treats behavior. The Gospel treats the heart, which will necessarily affect our behavior.

  • Think of what happens if we just focus on our behavior:

    1. We compare ourselves to other people to prove to ourselves that we have good behavior. This makes us judgmental and self-righteous… Not pure at heart.

    2. We are constantly feeling guilty and under the enormous weight of God’s expectations. But we feel like we have to fake the peace and joy we feel like we are supposed to have… not pure at heart.

    3. We can begin to resent God because of the huge burden we have.  Our obedience is begrudging not loving… not pure at heart

    4. We secretly still harbor our sin in our hearts. We savor it as a star-crossed lover. Ultimately we are hypocrites… not pure at heart.

    5. Really what this all leads to is an attempt to be good enough to get what we want from God - blessing, acceptance, salvation. This reveals what is truly in our hearts religion masquerading around as the Gospel… not pure at heart.

  • What do we do? Constantly treat sin at the heart level. And the medicine is the Gospel.

Key Questions:

  1. What was your high point of the week? What was your low point of the week?

  2. Read Matt 5:8

  3. When you hear the term “pure” what are some of the things you think of?

  4. In your own words how would you define the term “penance”?

    • [Penance are religious acts done to make up for sins.]
  5. What are examples of penance we try to do?

  6. How is this opposed to the message of the Gospel?

    • [Penance would be believing that I clean myself up with my religious works. The Gospel teaches that I can only be truly clean by the sacrifice of Jesus. Penance is putting faith back in my works rather than believing that Jesus already washed me clean.]
  7. What makes us feel better about doing something to make ourselves clean?

  8. Why is that sometimes easier than believing the Gospel?

  9. What is the difference between fighting sin at the heart level versus at the behavior level?

    • [Behavior level - things like: just try harder, set up boundaries, get accountability, surround myself with the right influences, try to remove temptation.  All GREAT things, but not enough on their own.]
    • [Heart level - things like: I uncover the sinful desires and idols that are leading to this sin. I confess those to God. I remind myself of the incredible sacrifice of Jesus. I fall in love with God again, and replace my idol with worship of the Living God.]

  10. Why is it sometimes easier to deal with sin at a behavior level and not at a heart level?

  11. What is the danger of just dealing with sin at the behavior level and never dealing with our heart, our motives, our desires?

  12. What are practical things I can do to fight sin on the heart level?

  13. What are practical things I can do to keep the message of what Jesus did for me fresh?

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