Community Groups Week of March 26th
Serve this Easter:
Another way you can be mobilized is to serve with us on Easter Sunday. Ask about one of the many of serving opportunities we have available.
* Very Important: Please click on the link below for the week # 6 Leader video:
Main Text: Luke 18:9-14
Sermon Title: In The Ring, Part 3: Religion vs. Gospel
Sermon Topic: (Not to be read or e-mailed to your group … this is for the leader’s review and recollection)
One of the greatest challenges facing us all is an overestimation of who we are and an underestimation of who God is.
Both Christians and non-Christians often struggle with faith, or conversations with others about our faith, because they don't have a firm grasp of the core message that Jesus declared by His words and His life. Both groups may struggle because there is a fundamental lack of understanding on what Jesus message is. It is something completely and utterly different from what the culture thinks.
The Gospel is the remedy here. The message of Jesus is simply and profoundly that God, out of His grace, has done something for us! We work and live like we must do “something” to be accepted by God, that God is more pleased with us the more we perform for Him. That is performance based religion, not the gospel.
- God loves us with an everlasting love, He peruses man with His grace and love, that’s what the gospel declares. Jesus came and died for sinners because God loves sinners and wants them to trust in Him. Religion says, “Look what I have done for you!” but the Gospel says, “Look, I have come for you!”
SUGGESTED DISCUSSION QUESTIONS...
(Please feel free to modify questions to accommodate your specific group!)
HIGH/LOW: What was the high point of your week and the low point?
Please read: Luke 18: 9-14
What are some ways in which we act like we should be accepted because of what we have done rather than what Jesus has done for us?
If the message of Jesus is not more “religion,” how is it different?
What does it mean to be “justified by faith?”
Can you explain how your self-worth, identity and hope doesn't come from religion it comes from the Gospel?
Read verse 9. Why do the self-righteous treat others with contempt?
The sin of self-righteousness is described by Christ as exalting oneself. What does Christ say is the opposite of that? ( Leader see verse 14)
What does it mean to humble oneself before God? How did Christ humble himself before God? (Leader see Php 2:8)
Leader REFLECT on this with your group: (READ in advance)
The lesson is that obedience to rules or "the law" as a means of obtaining salvation is religion; it is self-righteousness. Ultimately it is oppressive since deep down we know our self-righteousness is insufficient. It breeds self-loathing and contempt of others.
On the other hand, humble obedience as a response to the free gift of salvation brings appreciation and joy as we lean on the Gospel for our identity, not our own works.
Remember - Religion asks, "How good are you?" The Gospel asks, "How good is Christ?"
You know, Christians and non-Christians alike have heard of Jesus. Many know some facts and even some stories, but do they really get the message that Jesus brought with Him? It’s amazing to see how easy it is to think we are in “control,” and overestimate just about everything about ourselves. But Jesus has a unique message that strikes at the heart of who we think we are and what we think we can do. Jesus teaches a parable comparing the approaches of two very different men, to God. Therein lies the true picture of the heart that God shows grace to and the one that He resists. That picture comes to vivid life in the Gospel. It is the Gospel that puts in proper perspective the position of man and the position of God. It is the Gospel that displays man in desperate need of God, and God desiring to give grace to man. You see, religion says, “Look what I have done for you!” but the Gospel says, “Look, I have come for you!” The Gospel is the remedy to self-righteousness and shows us a picture of God’s work for us!