Sun, Oct 04, 2015

When Christians Fight, Part 3: Fights Over the Gospel (Part II)

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Big Idea: As we protect the core of the Gospel, we do so in a way that avoids needless offense. We need to respect and honor how God has moved as we keep our eyes and hearts open to how God is moving now. This commitment is marked by a willingness to be quiet and listen to what God is doing.

  1. Reviewing the conflict

    1. Overview of the history of the conflict

    2. The Gospel changes everything, and we are not immediately delivered from the power of our backgrounds.

    3. Beware of unauthorized teachers who send themselves.

  2. Understanding the issues

    1. Respect the heritage of how God has worked.

    2. Open your eyes to see the new thing God is doing.

    3. Protect the core and live in peace by not needlessly offending.

      1. What was the solution put forward?

      2. Does this contradict Paul’s teaching elsewhere?

      3. Why does this stuff matter?

      4. Symbol, reality, and relationships

  3. What does this mean to us?

    1. Don’t be quick to discount what God has done in the past.

    2. God has to get the last word. There is a time to debate and there is a time to shut up and listen to what God is doing.

    3. Hold on to the Gospel with both hands while living in sensitivity to others. Make sure that the only offense is the irreducible offense of the Cross.

    4. Don’t be ashamed of the Gospel. Test case: Is Jesus the really the only way?

Discussion Questions:

  1. Have you ever seen a fight spread from being a relatively small issue to dominating almost every conversation? How did you handle that? In your experience, do conflicts grow at a predictable rate? When an issue takes on a life of its own, what drives that process?

  2. How do you tend to remember the past? Are you a little more inclined to be nostalgic, or do you tend to view the past with negative feelings? How accurate are our memories when it comes to assessments about the past?

  3. As you look back on your life can you see seasons or patterns of time with distinct beginnings and endings? In other words, was there a season of life that took on unique characteristics and challenges that distinguished it from other times? Was that clear to you in the moment? Have you ever had a time when it was clear to you that God was taking you through a season? Would you be willing to share about the season of life that God took you through?

  4. Has God ever showed something to you or to a group you were in so clearly that it was beyond your evaluation? Have you been part of a group so fixated on the past that they miss what God is doing? Have you seen the opposite problem? What ideas do you have about keeping these things in balance?

  5. Protecting the Gospel with grace and truth is a hard balance to maintain. If you had a leaning, which way would it be – toward grace or toward truth? What is our tendency as a culture?   Among churches, which do you think is the bigger problem right now? Are churches today more inclined to lean into grace and surrender on hard truths, or are we inclined to hold the line and lose a little on grace? How is Calvary doing? Do we protect the center with grace? Or do you pick up on a lack of grace in our desire to protect truth?

  6. How do you know if an offense is a “needless” offense? Are your friends and relatives offended by your Christian convictions? If someone is offended by the presence of Christian convictions, are Christians then obligated to be quiet about them? If not, in what ways can we express these convictions?

  7. How, in our “co-exist” culture, can we do a better job of protecting the idea that Jesus is the only way? Is the idea inherently offensive?

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