Community Group Questions 1/26/14

Pulling Weeds Header

Weekly Training Tip

This week we're talking about the focus for this next season: serving with our Community Groups. Specifically, how we can get the conversation started.

Here's the video:

[vimeo 85077272 w=500 h=281]

Announcements:

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

Next Class

  • Maybe you just started a relationship with God, or maybe you’ve had one for a while, but you don’t know what to do.

  • We have a class that is starting next week called “next” that is designed to help you find out what your next step is in your relationship with God.

  • In the class we’ll talk about things like “How to read the Bible,” “How to Pray,” and “How to keep growing.”

  • The class will be on Sunday mornings and will start next week at 11:15.

Sermon Title: Pulling Weeds, Part 3: Deception

Main Texts: Matthew 5:33-37, James 5:12

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

Topics:

  • The main point of the Sermon on the Mount, is for Jesus to answer this question: “How good is good enough to be saved?”

  • Jesus starts by reminding them of the command to not break an oath that one has made. But then clarifies the law. He tells them not to make any oaths by heaven, earth, Jerusalem, or by their own heads. He says simply say yes or no.

  • What is all this business about what to swear by? In Jesus day, people would wiggle out of their oaths depending on what they swore by. They would avoid swearing by God, by swearing by heaven, or Jerusalem, etc.  But then they would not fulfill their oath by saying, “but I didn’t swear by God.”

  • It was such a common problem that the rabbis of Jesus’ day wrote a lot about it. Clarifying what was a binding oath and what was not.

  • But Jesus exposes that all of that is deception and lying in our hearts!  We should just simply say yes or no. Jesus is saying that we shouldn’t try to get out of the truth by technicality. We should just be truthful.

  • In fact Jesus takes it a step further. He points out in verses 34-36 that it doesn’t matter if we avoid swearing by God. We don’t have the right to swear by heaven, earth or Jerusalem. Even swearing by our own heads implies that our bodies are our own. What is he saying?

  • At it’s root deception is blasphemy.

  • How is it blasphemy? We are trying to recreate reality the way we want it. There is only one Creator in this universe. Reality is His. We have no right to try to control it. Deception is trying to control reality to meet our designs. Rather than submitting to God’s reality.

  • So do we apply that?  Should we avoid saying, “I swear,” or “I promise”?  Jesus is after more than just creating another legalistic rule about what words we use. He is wanting us to be committed to the truth even down to our hearts. However, it should make us stop and pause and consider:

    1. Do I say  “I swear” or “I promise” at certain times because at other times I am not being completely truthful?

    2. Do I feel the need to say things like that, because my character is such that people question me?

  • We should search our hearts to see if there is deception. There are many ways of deceiving people:

    1. Lying - whether a bold-faced lie or a white lie

    2. Exaggeration - a version of the truth, but with enhancements and improvements that are not precisely true

    3. Spin - sharing parts of the truth in a way that leads people to believe something other than the truth. We may not consider it lying but it is deceptive.

    4. Unreliability - we don’t do what we say we are going to do, we don’t follow through

    5. Excuses - we don’t take ownership of our flaws, faults and failures. It is a lack of integrity.

  • There are many motives we have for deception:

    1. To cover ourselves

    2. To get attention

    3. To avoid conflict

  • How good is good enough? We have to be perfect, like God is perfect. We cannot have deception even in our hearts. We all fall short. Jesus’ sermon, brings us to the point where we realize we NEED God’s mercy. We need a Savior. And that is what Jesus came to do: to pay for our sins on the cross. He rose again from the dead completely paying for our sins, and certifying our future in heaven.

Key Questions:

  1. HIGH/LOW: What was the high point of your week, and what was the low point?
  2. ICEBREAKER: How do people most commonly justify their lying in their minds?
  3. READ: Matthew 5:33-37
  4. What is a modern equivalent to “swearing by Heaven or Jerusalem”?
  5. How would you define “deception”?
  6. What are ways we justify deception by technicalities?
  7. What are common motives for deception?
  8. Of the following types of deception, which is the most common: lying, exaggerating, spin, unreliability, excuses?
  9. Which is the hardest to keep in check?
  10. How is having deception in our hearts ultimately destructive to us?
  11. How does a parent’s example of integrity (or lack of it) get passed from one generation to the next?
  12. When is it the hardest to be completely honest?
  13. How does this section address the main question: “How good is good enough to be saved?”

Don't forget to post your attendance after group.