Community Group Questions 3-22-15

Weekly Tip:

  • **IMPORTANT INSTRUCTIONS FOR GROUP LEADERS**
    • Please take care to handle this discussion thoughtfully. Many in your group may have friends or family members that struggle with this particular issue. Some themselves may have struggled in the past with some of these issues.
    • This subject should be handled with care and with respect. I would encourage you to redirect any inappropriate joking or anything said disrespectfully. At the same time we should have grace for one another, as we are figuring this out. Please do not assume that everyone in your group will be coming from the same perspective on this issue.
    • If you are not sure about a question that is asked or a direction that the discussion is going, table it. You can say, “let me ask one of our pastors about that.” Or you can just redirect the conversation. Sometimes the most sincere and safe answer is “I don’t know”
    • It may not be a bad idea to preface this discussion with a statement like, “This is a highly sensitive topic. It is one that has come into contact with each of our lives in different ways. So let’s make sure we handle it gently and respectfully.”
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Sermon Title: Humanity Hardwired, Part 7: Wired Male Or Female

Main Text:  Genesis 1:26-27,2:21-225, Romans 1:24-27, 1 Cor 6:9-11, 13:4-8a, 6:18-20

Topics:  (Not to be shared or read in group)

  • Why would we care what the Bible says on this issue?
      • Before we even open the Bible, lets ask this question: Why should we even care what the Bible says on this issue? That may sound like a strange question, but that is a question our culture is asking.
      • The question here is why would we consult or appeal to a book that is so old on issues that are so modern. Isn’t the book outdated and archaic. It may have some good ideas, but shouldn’t we be prepared to leave out the parts that humanity has outgrown?
      • If there is a God. Then truths such as justice and love and equality are real. But we have to then ask the question: is God a personal God or impersonal. Has He attempted to communicate His truths to humanity, or has he remained distant and left us to ourselves to figure things out. This is really the question of: does He love humanity and individuals or is He cold and indifferent. If He loves humanity, then we have to believe that He has attempted to speak to us. Not in a confusing secretive way, but in a blatant obvious way that we can understand.  And if He is God, He doesn’t mature over time. He doesn’t change His perspective. He doesn’t take tips from humanity as to His perspective on things. God, by definition, is outside of time and unchanging.
      • The Bible then fits those categories. It claims to be God’s word, blatantly. It is timeless and unchanging. The problem is the Bible has often been misused. It has been used by people to justify rudeness, bigotry, abuse and even violence. But when we look through history and see people who have not used it as a weapon but simply submitted themselves to it’s message. We see it has brought peace and healing and justice and love to this world.
  • What does the Bible say about gender?
      • There is a growing ideology in our culture that says people should have the freedom to decide for themselves what gender they are and whether the connect with the gender they were assigned at birth. Does the Bible ever address this? In Genesis 1:26, the Bible is straightforward: God intended for two genders: male and female.
  • Doesn’t someone have the right to define their own sexuality?
      • This is the underlying question for so much of this discussion. Doesn’t everyone have the right to declare their own sexual identity for themselves? That question bleeds over to the issue of homosexuality in general. Shouldn’t each person have the right to determine for themselves what their sexual preference is?
      • Here is how the Bible addresses that. In Romans 1:26-27, scripture is talking about how all humans have turned away from God. It is talking about various ways we have rebelled against God, here is one of those ways. It says God has given us the freedom to live and make choices for ourselves. He did not make us robots. But this text explains that many of the things are against how God designed us. There are many things that are outside of God’s plan. God designed for the vulnerability of sex to be exclusively within a loving safe covenant marriage. It says specifically in this passage that homosexuality is not God’s plan for humanity.
      • But how can you say that? What about those people who have those desires and impulses? Are you saying they just woke up one day and chose to be that way? With respect, I would not say that at all.  There are things inside all of us that because of sin, seem natural to us, but are outside of God’s plan. What this passage is saying is the effects of sin run deep into the fabric of our lives.
      • But so many people say, “I was born this way.”  There are tendencies that we are all born with. But that doesn’t mean what feels right is always from God. We are in a fallen, broken world. God is in the process of redeeming us from the inside out.
  • What does the Bible say about marriage?
      • Isn’t it more Christian to be loving and accepting and let two people who love each other get married, regardless of gender? Let’s go back to the Creation account and see if the Bible weighs in on this. In Genesis 2:24-25, this is addressed.
      • There are several important things that this is teaching. First, it is saying that marriage is not a social construction. Marriage is not something that a culture has invented. It is not a human invention or institution. According to this verse, marriage is something God invented at the very beginning. Actually what is remarkable about this verse is that marriage is the first human grouping that is ever established. Before there were governments, churches, clubs, or any other human collaboration, God invented marriage.
      • The second thing this passage teaches is that marriage is between a man and a woman. They leave their families and become one. This is something reaffirmed through the Bible, but is most explicit right here at the invention of marriage.
      • But wait a minute… what if two men or two women love each other and are committed to each other? Shouldn’t love win out? Shouldn’t marriage be simply defined as people who love each other and are committed to each other?
      • The question here is what is most important love or truth? I think in the end, the truest love puts truth first. Let me give you an extreme example. If I have a friend who is in a destructive life pattern - maybe he is in an abusive relationship or maybe denying an addiction - it is more loving to risk the relationship to speak the truth to them.
  • Does the Bible say that God hates gay people?
    • 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. defines what “unrighteousness” is. It says that anyone who is sexually immoral is unrighteous. What does “sexually immoral” mean? The word is “pornos.” It means sex outside of marriage. Jesus further defines this subject when he says, “anyone who looks at a woman lustfully, has committed adultery with her in his heart.” So sexual immorality is any sexual expression outside of the marriage relationship between a husband and wife. So that would include: reading or looking at pornography, a boyfriend and girlfriend that are fooling around.
    • He says unrighteousness is also stealing. So that could be shoplifting, plagiarism, having pirated software, cheating on my taxes.  He says unrighteousness is being greedy, getting drunk, having an idol - not necessarily a little statue, but anything we prioritize God. It also says practicing homosexuality is unrighteous. Notice it doesn’t say the tempation of these things is unrighteous but giving in to them.
    • He when he talks about the unrighteous, who is he talking about? All of us. That passage just established that all of us are unrighteous. What it says is, all those who are unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God. In other words, how it stands now, none of us will get into heaven. But the passage doesn’t end there.
    • 1 Corinthians 6:11 answers that. Our only hope for heaven is in Jesus Christ. The Bible explicitly says, no one is good enough to get to Heaven, but God loves us so much. He loves us right now, just how we are. He loves us so much, Jesus the Son of God died for us. His death washes us clean. And if we put our faith in Jesus, we will be saved for eternity.
    • But notice what it says, we are not just declared clean, he begins the process of changing our natural bent to unrighteousness. The word used here is “sanctifies” us. He saves our souls, and then begins to change our hearts.
    • But if someone continues to live in their sin, doesn’t that mean that maybe they have not been saved by God? The Bible does say that if we continue in our sin, we should question whether we have surrendered our lives to God at all. But that warning is for us. It is very hard for us to use that as a way to judge other people. The reason is, we don’t know where they are at in their journey. There are things in our lives that over the rest of our lives, God will be transforming in us. We can look into our hearts and ask am I refusing to give God part of my life? If the answer is no, then the Bible warns me to stop in my tracks and surrender it to God.

Key Questions:

  • HIGH/LOW: What was the high point of your week and the low point?
  • ICEBREAKER:   We all do some dumb things...  Robey shared his light fixture debacle....  Care to share one of yours?
  • READ: Genesis 1:26-27 and Genesis 2:21-25
  • What is evidence that our culture is wrestling with how to define gender and marriage?
  • If someone asked you why you would allow such an ancient book to shape your thinking on issues like this, what would you say?
  • What does Genesis say about how God created gender?
  • What does Genesis say about God’s intentions for marriage?
  • Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
  • What does it look like for someone to handle this topic lovingly?
  • What does it look like for someone to handle this topic unlovingly?
  • Specifically, what does it look like to act or think self-righteously towards someone else?
  • Why does the Gospel, give us no place to be self-righteous?
  • What are ways that Christians can reflect the love and grace of God to people who may not agree with the biblical perspective on this issue?

PLEASE  Don't forget to post your attendance after group.