#257 – 2021 WILL BE GREAT IF…WE ARE GOSPEL-CENTRED (5/1/21)
As we saw yesterday, true greatness is found in serving God and others; however, this can easily stray into ‘legalism’ - believing that one's worth and salvation are dependent upon one's performance. Jesus doesn’t tell us that if we serve, we are saved, loved and of worth to Him! Rather, we serve because Jesus has served us. He has loved us in our sin and we now serve others in their sin. Mark wrote,
“Jesus called them together and said, ‘You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’” (Mark 10:42-45)
From Jesus’ words, how does He define true greatness?
Jesus is careful to put our serving in the context of the gospel- His giving Himself as a ‘ransom’ (substitute) for us; how does Jesus’ service transform and inspire us to serve others?
Make a list of the various contexts that you are in on a regular basis; for example: family, flatmates, work, school… Make of list of creative ways that you could serve in each of these situations.
My hope for you in 2021 is that you would be truly great in your serving, but that this service would remain centred on the gospel - the Good News. The Good News is about what Jesus has done in order to deliver us from the effects of sin. Our forgiveness (Justification), our freedom (sanctification) and future hope (glorification) come freely to us from Jesus’ death, resurrection, and His giving of the Spirit to transform our lives. Let’s finish by reading a text that combines grace/gospel and being eager to serve.
‘For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.’ (Titus 2:11-12)
COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY - 2021 WILL BE GREAT IF...
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
Who do you consider to be a great person and why? (Jesus is always the answer but try to think of someone else).
Introduction - please share in your group
This week we took a break from our discipleship series and considered how we might complete the phrase ‘2021 would be great if…’
Too often we can discount what we do as unimportant. The celebrity culture in which we live can cause us to conclude that true greatness is something that is beyond the reach of ordinary people. Too many of us are waiting for our ‘moment to shine’, that opportunity, that point of destiny… when, finally, we will be lifted out of the shadows and take our place of greatness.
Jesus doesn’t want you to waste this year. Jesus makes true greatness available to everyone, and it’s available today. Jesus defines true greatness thus,
“The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Matthew 23:11-12)
1. What were your initial responses to the question, ‘2021 will be great if….’ ?
2. How do you really define greatness? (try to be honest about this).
3. How does Jesus define greatness?
4. How are you tempted to ‘exalt’ yourself?
5. What does it mean to humble ourselves?
6. What is meant by Jesus promise to those who serve in humility?
7. As a group, think of the different contexts (work, home…) that God has put you in on a weekly basis; think of 2 practical ways that you could apply today’s text into each of those relationships
Investing and inviting
i) Who has God put into your life that we could pray for together?
ii) How are you planning to 'invest and invite'?
iii) Finally, Who are you planning to invite to our Alpha Course which is beginning on the 25th January?
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