March 15, 2015
God’s invitation is to a relationship, not a belief system necessarily. What ultimately decides the fate of people is not the content of their brain, but the orientation of our heart.
- What questions and comments did you have about the sermon and supporting texts?
- When you think of the ‘faith-o-meter’ theology, how have you seen people use it? In what ways was it detrimental to their lives and their walk with God?
- When you look at your own life, how have you understood faith? Was it closer to ‘faith-o-meter’ theology or covenantal faith and in what ways was it closer?
Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
- Read Mark 2v1-12.
- Faith is an action word and covenantal faith is always visible. In what ways have you seen faith in others? What does faith look like?
- Christianity is faith seeking understanding rather than understanding as a precondition to faith. Discuss.
- When Jesus sees the paralyzed man in verse 5 he walks over to him and instead of saying, “Rise up, be healed,” He says, “My son, your sins are forgiven.” Jesus is saying, “I know you have problems. I know you’re suffering and I’m going to get to that. I know you’ve been the victim of terrible things that weren’t your fault, and I’m going to get to that….But you need to realize the main problem in a person’s life is never their suffering; it’s their sin.” How is this offensive? How is this empowering?
The roots of the discontent of the human heart go deep.
- The Bible says our deepest problem is building our identity on something besides Jesus. Do you agree or disagree? Why?
- Why does Jesus give the man forgiveness when the man doesn’t offer repentance?
Faith is a gift, not a virtue. Jesus Christ is so gracious, so eager to embrace us and to welcome us back home that he even responds to fragmentary, imperfect expressions of dependence and need in our heart.
- Read Mark 2v8-9. What do you think the answer to Jesus’ question is?
- What does it look like for you today, right now, to manifest the terms of your covenant relationship with Jesus Christ?
- Who are two or three people in your life that you can ask the questions "Am I reflecting my trust in God in my life? Am I rooted in God's grace and living it out?" Make a plan to have these conversations.
O Lord and Master of my life! Take from our hearts the spirit of sloth, faint-heartedness, lust of power and idle talk. But give us rather the spirit of chastity, humility, and the patience and love to be servants. Grant us to see our own errors and not to judge our brothers; for you are blessed unto ages of ages. Amen. - Adapted from St. Ephrem the Syrian
Deny yourself the ability to experience the “words” of others. Fast from personal use of social media each day this week.
Give your “words” as a source of blessing to others. Write a brief handwritten note of encouragement to someone in your life each day this week.