Community Group Questions 11/2/14


Weekly Training Tip:

This week's tip is about how to leverage your Christmas party for your group, and encouraging our people toward baptism.

Here’s the video:

[vimeo 110705913 width="640" height="360"]

Announcements:

  • baptism class this Thursday at 7pm
  • baptism celebration Sunday, November 16th

Sermon Title: Your Circle, Part 1: Love and Opinions in Your Circle

Main Text: 1 Corinthians 8

Topics:

  • It is interesting how some conflicts that we face with people are universal. They span time and culture. This passage is on an issue foreign to our culture. But the nature of the conflict is all too familiar.

  • Paul discusses an issue in the church in Corinth. There was a dispute among Christians as to whether it was ok to eat meat that had been sacrificed to an idol. This may sound weird to our ears but the bigger issue behind it is very applicable.

  • Here’s the background:

    1. Remember at this time in history (as it is in most of the rest of the world today!), eating meat was not something the average person did every day. Certainly not at every meal.

    2. It was also not something that was purchased at the local Publix. Obviously there were no grocery stores. The place one would purchase meat was at pagan temples. Meat would be offered to an idol, and then would be sold to the public.

    3. This was a common practice. So if you were dining at someone’s house, and they served meat. There was a good chance that they bought it at a temple.

    4. Here was the question: is it ok for Christians to eat that kind of meat? Is it ok for Christians to eat meat that may have been bought at a temple? Is it ok for Christians to eat meat at all, in case someone may think they are eating meat that was sacrificed to an idol?

  • There were differing views on this, that Paul describes:

    1. One view says, there is only one God. So that means the food that is sacrificed to an idol is being sacrificed to nothing. Those who believed this, would boldly eat meat as a statement of their disregard for false Gods. In their minds they expressed their Christian freedom, by declaring there was only one God and all other gods are nothing.

    2. The other perspective on this is that since it is sold at a pagan temple, it could be misconstrued as participation or support for that pagan god. This view advocates for Christians to stay as far away from that as possible. In addition, many of the people who were now Christians, once had participated in the pagan rituals. Some of them couldn’t eat the meat with a clear conscience because it reminded them of what they used to be involved in.

  • Paul affirms the first opinion. He essentially said, eating the meat indicates that the idols have no power. But he says there is something that trumps all of that: love.

  • Paul said he would never let his Christian freedom get in the way of having loving community with those around him. He would rather never eat meat again, rather than alienate a believer.

  • He reminds us of who believers are. They are precious to God. Jesus died for them. To God, they are worth the price He paid for them - the precious blood of Jesus. We should love them that much to.

  • There are many issues that are like that for us as modern day Christians. We can’t let our personal freedom get in the way of our love. We should be willing to set that aside in order to have diverse community around the Gospel.

  • This should bring us to ask some tough questions of ourselves. Do we only associate with Christians who are convicted exactly like us? Do we have grace for each other’s opinions or do we try to make them think exactly like we do?

Key Questions:

  1. HIGH/LOW: What was the high point of your week and the low point?

  2. ICEBREAKER: Has anyone seen or experienced an actual temple with idols in it? What was it like?

  3. READ: 1 Corinthians 8

  4. Can someone recap what the issue is that Paul is addressing, concerning food sacrificed to idols?

  5. What were the two opinions about it in the Corinthians church?

  6. How does love dictate what a Christian should do in tough situations like what was happening in the Corinthian church?

    1. [give up my freedom, so as not to cause another person to stumble]

    2. [not eat meat, if it is going to make someone around me violate their conscience or feel alienated]

  7. What are some tough issues that Christians disagree about?

    1. COMMUNITY GROUP LEADERS: don’t let the group get stuck actually debating these issues. That would go against the whole point of this passage.

  8. How can these issues keep people from loving each other? How does it fracture community?

  9. What types of similarities and commonalities among people that sometimes creates cliques or impenetrable subgroups?

  10. Why are we drawn to people who are exactly like us?

  11. Why does the Gospel itself demand that we are open to having community with people who are different than we are?

    1. [The Gospel is about love. It is not loving to exclude people.]

    2. [Jesus was willing to come to us. He accepts us how we are. He doesn’t force us to first become like Him.]

  12. What can we do as a community group to widen the circle and encourage people into our group?

Don't forget to post your attendance after group.