Crave Pure Spiritual Milk – Group Study Questions


Read: 1 Peter 2:1-3


  • Go around the room and talk about a craving you have had, or still have
  • Discuss together whether it’s healthy or wise to have similar feelings for Christ?
  • What might account for the reality that we do not often feel an intense desire for Christ?
    • Are we people of lesser faith than Peter’s readers?
  • “Knowing Jesus and growing up in him becomes the criteria by which everything we do is evaluated.”
    • How would living by this rubric change
      • How you conduct yourself in your workplace
      • How you do relationship with your loved ones
      • How you read your Bible
      • How you approach corporate worship
  • How has this passage and this message challenged you? What changes is God calling you to make?
  • Prayer for one another and uphold each other in the things you are setting out to do

Craving Pure Spiritual Milk

Reading: 1 Peter 2:1-3, Psalm 34


This is my little grandson, Cedar Rae Groenenboom. Today he is six and a half months old.

He has grown quite a lot. When we was born he was a scrawny little runt. Now, he looks like someone has slipped him into a Sumo suit. Just this last week he sprouted two front teeth. When we skype, he smiles at us. He’s sitting, clutching, started on solids. He is smarter and more handsome than any other child on the face of the earth.

All that growth happens naturally. Just feed him, and he packs it on. As followers of Jesus, we also a called to growth. And it would be good if our growth were as easy and as automatic as Cedar’s. But that is not the case.

Pure Spiritual Milk

God’s word says

“Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation,” (1 Peter 2:2, NIV)

What is this ‘spiritual milk’ and what is ‘growth’?

It’s at this point our ‘bible eyes’ kick in. These are the eyes that read something, assume you know what’s being referred to, and read on, without giving too much thought. So, we read verse 2, and think ‘right: that’s talking about reading the Bible, and hungering for God’s word…”

And we think it’s then calling us to a range of activities that centre on the Bible. Things like

  • Bible reading and personal devotions
  • Listening to podcasts: download great preachers onto your phone or tablet, and you’ve got iWorship and iGrowth anywhere as you drink your pure iMilk
  • Great reading: good Christian books. Seen Tim Keller’s latest? Looks like a cracker
  • Attend worship: sit under the word, get some great preaching under your belt

Now all these activities are good, obviously. And we should be doing a lot more of them. They are relevant to what this verse calls us to. But it’s only half right to suggest they are the totality of what is commanded here.

The problem – if you can call it that – is that they do not actually make us grow. They are a means to growth, for sure, but they do not bring us growth themselves. The distinction is important. Because there is only one thing that actually brings us growth. One thing that makes us alive. There is only one that saves, and it is Jesus.

That’s what Peter is saying here: crave Jesus. Crave him so much! Crave him because relationship with him is the only way you can grow, and live, and have the wherewithal to be people of hope in a hostile world. Crave Christ!

Christ alone both conceives and sustains the life of the new birth. They are to crave the Lord God for spiritual nourishment [Karen Jobes: 1 Peter]

As I said the distinction is important. Why?

  • Because we can read the word, love the word, but miss the ultimate Word, miss Jesus
  • We can enjoy podcasts, but we can love the speaker, even worship the speaker, more than the Jesus he speaks about
  • We can read good Christian literature, but miss the One which gives ultimate meaning to the story
  • We can love worship, love the singing, love prayer, love the act more than worship for the one true audience: the Triune God. [This is the one sole reason for any and every worship war: people lose sight of Christ, and make the form of worship their functional idol – but that’s another sermon]

Crave pure spiritual milk. Crave Jesus. Crave the life only he can give. Crave him above everything else. Only he can bring you life. Only he can bring you growth.

Crave it

Which brings us to the primary command of this passage:

Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk

The picture is of a newborn: she seeks the breast instinctively, eagerly, incessantly. She won’t rest until she’s sated, and then she’ll slip into blissful milk coma. Crave like that.

Consider the overwhelming urge for a favourite food, we call that a craving. Two of the most craved foods in the western world are, of course, chocolate and crispy bacon. Unhappily, bacon has recently fallen out of favour as it may ever so slightly increase the risk of cancer. Dark chocolate, however, is known to contain substances that attack free radicals, and so reduce one’s risk of cancer. So it turns out if you eat bacon, and then have chocolate for dessert, even everything will be ok. [Actually, I have basically made this up, and the paragraphs above is only anecdotal, and is not supported by any scientific evidence whatsoever]

But we know about craving: It’s urgent. Overpowering. And you’ll want that desire to be satisfied.

So, taking into account what I’ve said before, this command is calling us to crave Jesus. To crave his life. To crave his grace.

Does ‘craving’ along the lines of what we have discussed in any way describe your attitude to Jesus?

The question is: Does ‘craving’ along the lines of what we have discussed in any way describe your attitude to Jesus? Does that describe what was in your mind when you walked into this place of worship?

I just want to honour Jesus!
I just want to be drawn into his love and grace!
I want to be nourished by Christ!

That’s what God is saying to us today: crave Jesus! Only he can nourish you, and bring you growth! Your growth in Jesus, growing up in him, becomes the criteria by which all your attitudes, actions, and shared life are evaluated.

Does this help me see Jesus more clearly?

Does this help me love Jesus more dearly?

Does this help us follow him more nearly?

This is why Peter starts negatively. Because if you want to grow in Christ there are a number of things that will stunt your growth:

“Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.” (1 Peter 2:1, NIV)

  • Where maybe someone would say they love the church, but they gossip behind the scenes.
  • Or where they celebrate someone’s giftedness, but in their heart they are green with envy.
  • Or they make out they are people of integrity, but are actually engaged in shonky practices or secret immorality.

If you seriously crave Jesus, you won’t have any part in those things. Why? Because knowing Jesus and growing up in him becomes the criteria by which everything is evaluated.

So, think about how you are nourished, with others, in Christ.

  • This is why we have Home Groups. Think about why you go. The goal is not to know more per se. The goal is not to connect with others per se. The goal is to see Jesus, to know Jesus, to share Jesus, to encourage others in Jesus.
    • Are your discussions drawing you deeper into Jesus?
  • Think about Bible Reading. Many struggle here. Want to know why? Sometimes it’s because we are not praying to see Jesus in his word – who does that? Who prays that simple prayer “Lord, as I read, help me to see who you really are, nourish me with the life only you can give.” There are some steps you can take with others to see Jesus more clearly in his Word
    • Start a discussion group around that goal. Do it online. People spend hours on FB – why not online Bible discussions? A place where you can chat with others specifically about what you’re reading and how it reveals Jesus. A few suggestions
      • – this is good online Bible software, developed by the Logos group. If you get the app, you can make comments right out of the Bible Reading app into your online community
      • Join Gateway Online Community and join the discussion
    • Facebook: If you must use Facebook, why not follow Gateway’s Advent readings. These readings will lead you through Old Testament and New Testament passages that will focus your mind on the coming of Jesus into our world. Seriously, there is so much Christmas rubbish out there, and we are so busy, it would be a smart thing for us all to do this. It’s like taking a pure spiritual milk chill pill…
  • Sunday Worship. Craving Jesus should be the frame we have when we meet with our Christian brothers and sisters, although it rarely is.
    • What were you actually thinking about when you were driving to worship today? Some where thinking about the stress at home to get ready, others thinking that they’d rather be somewhere else – is it any wonder worship does often do it for us? Most of the time we get the worship our hearts expect, and that ain’t often good for us or glorifying to God
    • If ever there was a Sunday morning prayer, or something to pray while you’re driving to worship, it is “Lord, be my focus. Let me worship you. Honour you. Pray to you. Give to you.” That is a prayer for true Christ-centred worship, right? When that is our attitude, we don’t even have to pray for blessing, because when Christ is at the centre, you cannot help but be blessed in the worship you bring.
  • Crave times of thanksgiving together. We need to find times to tell the stories of how God has blessed us. Or share how the Scriptures have comforted you. Or celebrate how Jesus has forgiven you! Why is it that we do not often hear people speak of their challenges, their burdens, their joys and victories, and how Jesus impacts on those experiences?

As these things draw is into Christ, they are mother’s milk! Crave it! Desire it! Seek those opportunities. Let’s do what we can to turn this church into a powerhouse of nourishment.

Grow up in your salvation

That’s the thing: we want to grow!

“Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation,” (1 Peter 2:2, NIV)

We’ve tasted the goodness of God’s glorious grace in Jesus, and we want to grow! In terms of New Testament language, growth in Jesus is always something we do with others, and it is always angled toward maturity.

That is,

  • the full expression of Christ’s character in my life, and
  • the full expression of God’s will for community in the church

For any Christian and for any church this is challenge and privilege. Challenge because we have to let go of stuff that is less important to do that which is supremely important. It might be letting go of some TV time to get to a Home Group. Or letting go of some luxury items to give intentionally to the church. Or letting go of my selfishness, so I can sensitively listen to others, encourage them and pray for them. Or managing my time differently so I can meet with others, and we can together draw one another into a deeper walk with Jesus. As a church community, it might be letting go of some traditions that keep us from growing up in our salvation.

But it’s also a privilege, because when you start to grow up in your salvation, when you’re working it out with fear and trembling, when you get this sense of growing together, of sharing together in new community, it’s brilliant! When we move toward greater spiritual health, when we’re praying for one another, working together toward better ministry and mission, when we’re driven to depend on Jesus more – together – there is no better place, so more stimulating community than the church!

Paul gave his life to the goal of a mature church:
“He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.” (Colossians 1:28–29, NIV)

You probably know Paul was a man of great learning and spiritual depth. But even he knew that on his own he could never reach the maturity God desired for him. His prayer is his admission:

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:16–19, NIV)

The only way we will grow up in our salvation is with one another, seeking pure spiritual milk, Christ himself. And then to seek the very things that draw us deeper into him, together.

As we read in Psalm 34, we’ve tasted, and we know the Lord is good. Today, God is calling you to grow up into Christ. To be nourished by Him.
Don’t stop at the first taste… You need to let go of some things. And you need to embrace Jesus, and start doing things that draw you deeper into him.

You are not alone: He has given his Spirit who will empower you to change, to grow, to be nourished by Christ.

You can taste it, right? That desire to grow, that overwhelming urge to have a more Christ centred life, that hunger to be in a wonderfully restored community, bringing to expression the life Christ himself has put in you. May Christ himself satisfy us as we crave this life in Him together.

Living Members: Witness – Group Study Questions


To start:

Share with your group about a time when you were able to share the good news about Jesus

Read: Acts 2:42-47

Is it hard or easy for you to see yourself as a witness? What factors are at work here?

We believe God is sovereign, drawing people to himself and adding to the church’s number (see John 6:35-40; Acts 2:47). So why does he still want to use us to get the good news out? What do we bring that might add something to the witnessing process?

Read 1 Peter 3:15-16 and discuss what this says about the manner of our witness

Read: Acts 2:14-41

As you read Peter’s sermon, try and identify the different ‘stages’ of his message. What elements of witnessing can you identify in what he says? (hint: there may be 5 or 6)

What would you need to do, or do differently, to improve your ability to witness?

To close: pray for the needs you have identified above, and in coming weeks continue to encourage one another in witnessing

Baptism and Children: Group Study Questions


If you have recently witnessed a baby being baptised, what thoughts did you have at the time?

Thinking about the babies we often see in baptism: think of as many adjectives as you can to describe that child. From that list, which ones really stand out to you?

Read Genesis 17, Acts 2:22-24, 36-39

In Genesis 17, the Lord established the covenant with Abraham and Isaac, although Isaac had not even been born.

What does this tell us about what the Lord was doing?

Read Genesis 17:9-14. To whom was Abraham required to give this covenant sign of circumcision? Discuss the amount of say these people might have had in the matter. What does this tell us about how the Lord works?

In addition to the idea of promise, what other imagery is revealed in baptism? How might these things relate to little children?

What responsibilities does baptism place on those who are baptised?

Are there any other questions you have about infants and baptism? Have someone write them down and post them on the blog at – add the questions as comments under the sermon text.

In closing: Pray for our churches and families to be the best places for little children to see what it means to follow Jesus and love him.

Podcasts now available


Sermon & Study podcasts are now available from iTunes and the Gateway Community Church.

We hope the addition of audio files will enhance your opportunities to study God’s Word and be increasingly transformed by it with the members of your discussion group.

Dave Groenenboom

Living Members: Devoted to the Fellowship


Reading: Acts 2:1-13

Primary text: Acts 2:42

As I look at the these few verses, it struck me again just how beautiful this church is. This Christian community radiates with the love and transformation of the Gospel of Jesus.They were devoted to great teaching, good fellowship. They were filled with awe, and wonderful things were happening. They met together each day. They were generous to one another, and compassionate to the needy.

It is an amazing picture, right? Why is that? What is happening?

God and fellowship

God is busy! God is showing us something of his nature! Interesting, because you normally would not say that about the church, would you? That it shows us something about God? We tend to think of the church as a human thing. People attend. People serve. People worship and engage in mission. But God? Why would we say the church shows us something about God?

Think of Jesus in the Garden:

““My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—” (John 17:20–22, NIV)

Jesus’ prayer shows us how intimacy of fellowship characterises the Trinity. Father, Son and Spirit are one. And in John 17, Jesus prayed that same oneness will be evident in the fellowship of his church.

Or think of creation:

“…God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:26–27, NIV)

Think about that: God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created … them. So, there is something about fellowship, about community, about people being connected together, that reflects the image of God.

We all hunger for relationship

This is not just a point of theology. It explains something we all know at the deepest level: We all hunger for relationship. We all crave a deep intimacy with others. We all want to belong. We all long for relationship which is wonderfully secure and profoundly fulfilling. It’s why no one is satisfied with a lousy marriage or a troubled friendship. We are created for relationship, for fellowship, for community.

What we have before what we do

This is why Jesus’ first act after returning to the Father was to create a community, his church, and pour his spirit into it.

Think about that: On that day, there were God fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. Parthians. Medes. Elamites. People from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappodocia, Pontus, Asia, Phrygia, Pamphilia, Egypt, Libya, Rome, Crete, Arabs. They all heard the wonders of God being proclaimed in their native language by uneducated people who had never learned those languages.

What’s happening? What’s going on? God is busy! And the barriers between people are being broken down by the Holy Spirit. Perhaps the most glaring example of human division – language barrier – is overcome as the Spirit is poured out. In that glorious outpouring Babel itself is momentarily overcome. The curse of human enmity is dissolved as Jesus Christ pours his Spirit water into his newly formed community, the church.

So in those few words in Acts 2:42 we see a relational miracle taking place. God reveals his nature and his plan to overcome division and enmity. He does it through Jesus’ death, rising and rule. And the result?

“They devoted themselves … to the fellowship…” (Acts 2:42, NIV)

There is an important implication: fellowship is what we have before it is anything we do. It’s good for us to remember this. We tend to see fellowship as something that happens when we share a coffee after church, something which happens around a meal, or a congregational event. The bible tells us fellowship is considerably more profound.

This is illustrated by how the word koinonia is often used in the New Testament. The following passages all use the Greek word koinonia – which Acts 2:42 translates as fellowship:

“In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now,” (Philippians 1:4–5, NIV)

That word ‘partnership’ is the Greek word koinonia. Of course, it may refer to how they work together in the Gospel, but primarily it is more that they are together in the Gospel, and this forms the basis for their collaboration.

Or have a look at what Paul write to Philemon;

I pray that your partnership with us in the faith may be effective in deepening your understanding of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ.” (Philemon 6, NIV)
It’s very clear there, right? There is partnership – koinonia – in the faith, and it deepens what they share.

Or 1 John 3:

“We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.” (1 John 1:3, NIV)

God’s people are connected in Christ. They even have fellowship with the Father and the Son. They have fellowship with one another. They share an essential unity, a fundamental, intrinsic togetherness.

How has this connection come about? It has come about through the cross of Jesus. We have those very familiar words of Paul as he teaches the Corinthian church about the nature of the Lord’s Supper:

“Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation (a koinonia) in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation (a koinonia) in the body of Christ?” (1 Corinthians 10:16, NIV)

The koinonia referred to here is not primarily something they do, it is something the share by reason of the fact that they are in Christ. Jesus has conquered the fall, human sin, in his Cross. In this saving act he has drawn people together, ingrafted them into his vine, made them members of his body. At that very basic level, fellowship and unity is established.

Look at the entire history of humanity and you find a glaring inability to create true community. Human history is a chronicle of tension, violence, and death. The creation harmony of Adam and Eve is followed by the fall, with the immediate result of jealously, enmity and death between Cain and Abel. So it began, and so it continues today.

But look what happens through Jesus: Through his death, rising and rule a new community is formed, and they love each other! They serve each other! They cannot get enough of each other! The church, this fellowship, is God’s answer to all our enmity, division and loneliness! The church is God’s plan to bring new humanity to his world!

That’s what Paul says in Ephesians 2

“For he himself [Jesus Christ] is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.” (Ephesians 2:14–16, NIV)

Jesus Christ has destroyed every barrier, and is at work through his Spirit to overcome everything that separates us. And the place God wants you to see this most of all, that people can get along wonderfully, that hurts can be overcome permanently, that none of us is better than the other, is right here: this church, our church.

Fellowship: Living the dream

See, God’s plan is to make the church the best fellowship, the best community on earth. This has always been his plan. Through Israel he was saying to a watching world, “You want to see a place where you can trust people again? Where there’s no threat of violence? Where people get along, where you know people love you and care for you, where if you’re financially busted they will help you out, where if you’re hungry there will be food, where if you’re lonely, there will be friends, where if you have lost hope in humanity, you will find it restored? Then look at my people, my treasured possession, my kingdom of priests, my holy nation (see Exodus 19:6).

When everyone else is looking after number one, in this church they are one, so deeply, so lovingly, they devote themselves to the fellowship. They are one. They are united in Christ. They have fellowship with the Father. There is fundamental unity. There is family.

We read how these people in Acts 2 had everything in common. Their outlook. Their vision. Their mission. We are told that 3000 joined the church at Pentecost, yet with such a huge group, they still shared life together. They met in one another’s homes. They were overjoyed to be together.

Now, we live in different times and a different culture, true. But I believe there’s a desire for us to do more life together, to be just this kind of radical community.

You know, as we move into the future, what my biggest prayer is for Gateway?

It’s not that we have all seats filled. It’s not that we have a big fat black figure bank balance. It’s not that we have terrific facilities and we get to stop juggling rooms.

My prayer is that people will come in here and feel their burdens lifted.

My prayer is that when people come here they will have a sense of relief, not that they finally can go home, but relief that they have come home.

My prayer is that when people come in here they will have a sense of meeting with their closest friends, that they’ll feel new life rippling through the relationships they have with everyone here.

My prayer is that when people come together here they’ll be with people they can cry with, laugh with, face their fears with.

That when a service is finished, we won’t just be talking together or sharing a cuppa, you’ll see people praying together, embracing one another in love, going eyeball to eyeball with the grace of God.

My prayer is that this community will be known for accepting outcasts, the lonely, refugees, people on the fringe. And we won’t look at them as if they are freaks, or threats, but that we’ll find ourselves incomplete until such people are routinely part of us.

My prayer is that with each new day, each new week, every month, for years to come, this community will look less like us and more like heaven.

How will this happen?

It will come about as the power of the risen and ruling Jesus is poured into us through his Spirit. It will come as wel place ourselves more and more under his Word, as we are devoted to the apostles teaching, and devoted to bringing this new community to life, to his glory.

The question you need to ask yourself is this: What can you do to be devoted to the fellowship?

First, thank Jesus, that in his death, rising and rule he has overcome every barrier. Praise God for the gift of His Spirit who draws us to Christ, and through whom we are grafted into Jesus the Vine.

Second, engage: Prayerfully devote yourself to the fellowship. Recommit to weerily worship with God’s people. If you’re not part of a Home Group, join one and love everyone who is part of that group. It must amaze us when God places such a high value of fellowship in the early church, that we tend to minimise its importance. John Wesley has said, perhaps for this reason, “There is nothing more unchristian than a solitary Christian.” God is calling you to re-engage with his church. Obey this call.

Third, share the love: Do whatever you can to bring the fellowship you have to radiant expression in your church. After the service is done, we tend to chat with the people we know and love. You can do that anytime. Today, there are people present whom you don’t know, or with whom you’ve not spoken too much. Talk with them. Take the first step of grace, and speak with those whom you don’t always speak with. Why not offer to pray for them, ask their needs – how can I pray for you? I do this occasionally with people, and sometimes when I do a thought – or is it a vision? – flashes through my mind: imagine if lots of people were doing this every time we meet! That as well as good coffee, there is some great koinonia – palpable signs of the body of Christ praying for, encouragin, and loving each other, being devoted to fellowship. How good would that be?

Friends, in Christ you are one, now be one to His glory. Devote yourselves to the fellowship.

Like a Mother with Her Child – Group Study Questions

Intro: Share your most dominant memory of your mother…

Read Psalm 103 and Isaiah 66:10-13

Ask a few parents to share their experiences of how their feelings toward their children deepened their understanding of God. Choose a few from the following list:

  • the faithfulness of God,
  • his unconditional love,
  • God’s protection (Ps 17:8);
  • God’s patience (Hosea 11:3);
  • God’s desire to protect from harm (Matt 23:37);
  • God’s comfort and compassion (Is 66:13);
  • his desire for his children to thrive (John 10:10)

Discuss the extent and limitations of projecting our experiences onto God (the theological term is ‘anthropomorphism’ – how we speak of God in human terms so we can understand him better). Is there ever a time when this is inappropriate?

How does the reality of Jesus as true man and true God impact on this question (above)? Read Hebrews 2:10-18 for some additional information.

Close: share some prayers of praise for God’s human-like attributes, and for how these have come to expression in Jesus.

DEEP – Thirsty – Group Study Questions

Read Psalm 42


  • Think of a time when you were really thirsty: what was it like? How did it affect you?


  • How would you define spiritual dryness? What would be the symptoms of spiritual thirst in a person’s life?
    • Do you think it’s possible for a Christian to feel spiritual thirst? How common might this be?
  • What kind of life circumstances might contribute to spiritual thirst?
  • Do you think God sometimes allows us to feel spiritual thirst – what purpose might this serve?
  • What did the Psalmist do to resolve his spiritual thirst?

Read John 4:1-26

  • Jesus talks about living water in John 4:13-14 – what do you find appealing about the metaphor Jesus uses?
  • What do you think it means to drink Jesus’ living water (v.14)?
  • Share some stories about people whom you thought seemed to be ‘overflowing with living water’ – how was this seen in their life?


  • Spend some time praying for one another’s areas of thirst, asking that Jesus would pour his living water into our lives

How We Fit In To God’s Plan – Time for Justice #5 – Group Study Questions

Read Philippians 2:5-13

  1. Have you ever found yourself wondering whether you’ve missed something really important? Share your experiences
  2. “Why do Gospel realities sometimes leave us feeling underwhelmed?” Discuss some of the factors that may be at work here
  3. Think of someone who seemed to model a Jesus centred ‘fear and trembling’.
    1. How was that fear and trembling expressed?
    2. Did it tend to make their faith appear more real or less real?
  4. If ‘working out our salvation’ flows out of God ‘working in us’ (see v.13) – what sort of comfort might result?
  5. “Fear and trembling arises from a profound awareness that God is bigger, more powerful, gloriously greater, more disturbingly wonderful than anything we can imagine.” – comment
  6. How might a comfortable western lifestyle dampen the desire to pursue the deeper realities of faith and witness? How is this different if you are living in the developing world? (feel free to leave a comment, below)
  7. What sort of commitment are you and/or your group prepared to make to enter into the justice journey?

In closing:

Pray for one another, asking our loving and sovereign God to deepen your engagement with his Kingdom through the justice journey.

God’s Plan to Address Injustice: Group Study Questions

These questions are relevant to the sermon “God’s Plan to End Injustice“, preached at Gateway Community Church on March 22, 2015

Reading: Luke 10:25-37

  1. It seems you don’t have to talk about Christianity for too long before someone says, ‘One of the issues I have with God is that there is so much evil in the world: Why isn’t he doing something about it?’
    1. Has anyone ever challenged you with that question? Share your experiences
  2. What do you think drove the teacher of the law to want to justify himself? What might have been some of the factors here?
  3. Christians take great comfort from the truth that in the New Heavens and the New Earth God will end all injustice (see Rev 21 and 22). Why is focussing on that aspect alone an insufficient response to the injustices around us?
  4. Who are the people in our community that we would struggle to recognise as our neighbour?
  5. If responding to need and injustice was so prominent in the ministry of Jesus, what reasons would the church today have for not doing the same?
  6. Sometimes we might have a concern that mercy and aid we show might not be responsibly used by those who receive it. How does the Gospel influence how we manage that tension?
  7. In closing: share your thoughts on who you regard as the best modern day ‘good samaritans’

A prayer:

“Lord, open my eyes to how I can be part of your plan. 

Open my eyes to how we in our church can engage with your plan. 

Open our eyes and our heart to 

the people we need to see, 

to the situations we need to address, 

to the dark places, 

the broken lives, 

where the light of your Gospel needs to shine, 

and where the love, grace and forgiveness of your Son will bring healing.”