The Origins of Injustice – Group Study Questions

Magic Bus 008

In which contexts would people of your culture typically come into contact with injustice?

Injustice is when someone uses their power to take from others the good things God wants them to have: their life, liberty, dignity and the fruits of their love and labour (International Justice Mission) – Discuss

Dave mentioned in his sermon that up until the last 10 years or so, he was not aware of much emphasis on the issue of injustice from evangelical Christian preachers. Is that a common experience? What factors might account for it?

Read Ezekiel 22:1-16. What strikes you about the way injustice is spoken about in this passage?

Read Lev 19:35-37, and Lev 11:45. Discuss the ultimate motive for God’s people to embody his law (see also Ex 19:4-6)

Since injustice has its roots in the fall, the ultimate cure is Christ ruling his people and his world – Discuss.

What are the implications of the above for the many good – but ultimately secular – efforts against injustice?

Study Questions: A Time to Hope

Reading

 Luke 1:67-80

Read the sermon here

Questions:

In Australia, some people call the lead up to Christmas ‘the silly season’ because it’s such a busy and stressful time. How does all this busyness and stress impact on your ability to worship Jesus at this time of year?

Prior to the announcement of the impending birth of both John & Jesus, “Plenty of people would have been thinking that following God was a waste of time. That God was either deaf to their cries, or that He did not care. With their world as a dark and hopeless place, it seemed their dreams of God coming to their rescue had come to nothing.”  – In which life situations today would people be inclined to think the same?

“God just entered their mess, their darkness. He just waded into this failed, fallen and fractured people, and spoke words of grace.” In what ways can God’s people today reflect his gracious action and character?

Luke 1:71 says the coming Messiah will save us “from all the enemies who hate us”  – who are these enemies today, and what are the best ways for Christians to help people see see this clearly?

Read Romans 8:1-4. What has God done to take away condemnation? What does this mean to you?

If you would like to know more about the hope God brings to people whose lives are a mess, please feel free to comment.

Mission (Foundations #6) – Group Questions

Discussion Questions relevant to Foundations #6 – Mission

Starters: What is the first thing you think about when you hear the word “mission”?

Read: Isaiah 42:6, Matthew 28:16-20

What do you think about the assertion that all efforts of every Church should serve the mission of God?

“It is not the people of God who have a mission in the world, but the God of mission who has a people in the world” [Martin Robinson]

Read Exodus 19:3-6 and 1 Peter 2:9-12, and discuss “God has always been focussed on his mission.”

The mission God has given to the church has two components: announce the good news, and anticipate the new good. Which component receives more attention in your church? Should this be corrected? If so, what would need to happen?

What aspects of life in your local community would benefit most from Christians announcing God’s good news and anticipating God’s new good more effectively?

What concrete steps can your group take to bring these things to expression?

Repentance (Foundations #5) – How God brings change in his world – Group Questions

Opening:

What do you think the people of your local culture understand by the word “repent’?

What do you think the people of your local church community understand by the word “repent’?

What conclusion do you draw from any differences there might be?

Read: Colossians 3:1-17

If you were to choose one verse from this passage to illustrate repentance, which one would it be, and why?

James I Packer defines repentance as “changing one’s mind so that one’s views, values, goals, and ways are changed and one’s whole life is lived differently”. How does this definition challenge the popular notion of repentance in your church community?

Discuss together: who are the best models of healthy repentance you have observed? What is it about their example that impresses you?

How would you help and encourage someone who was struggling with God’s call to change?

What sort of personal daily disciplines would help us develop healthy expressions of repentance? Discuss together which of these behaviour you would like to try in the coming week.

Dealing with Disaster (Group Questions)

Discuss:

Share your thoughts about how the tragic events of the last few weeks have impacted you. How have these events influenced your prayer life?

Read Lord’s Day 10 of the Heidelberg Catechism: What strikes you about this personal assertion of God’s providence?

Read Psalm 46

Think of a time when life was hard for you or your loved ones. Was it apparent that God was your fortress? What impact did this have – positively or negatively – on how you managed that challenge?

What would the writer of Psalm 46 have to say to those who hold that God’s blessing is measured in health, wealth and prosperity?

In times of tragedy and trial we will often say ‘God will work things out for our good.” Is this what Romans 8:28 actually says? Who are the “those” in the phrase “the good of those who love him”?

What does Genesis 50:15-21 tell us about divine sovereignty and human responsibility?

Are you ‘a person of the problem’ or a ‘person of the solution’? How is this seen in your behaviour?

Read Matthew 5:13-16. List the things your church is doing to be ‘a community of the solution’ addressing suffering in your local community.

Read the full text of “Dealing with Disaster: Where is God in tragedy?” here

Promise (Foundations #3) – Group Questions

What has been the most memorable promise someone has ever made to you? How did it change your behaviour or the course of your life?

Do you agree that God’s most basic response to human rebellion is one of grace and promise? How might the Christian Churches bring this to better reflection in their mission and ministry?

God’s promise of restoration is directed to 1) the human heart, as he promises to deal with human sin and rebellion 2) human relationships, as he promises to reconcile people to one another, and 3) all created reality, as he promises the new heavens and the new earth.

* Which of these areas has tended to receive the most focus in Christian teaching? Does this perceived emphasis reflect the fullness of the Bible’s teaching?

* How could Christians and the Christian Church conduct themselves differently so as to address this perceived imbalance?

God’s plan of salvation is as concerned with physical realities as it is with spiritual realities.

* How does this truth challenge or comfort you?

* What challenges does this present to you church, or to how you live as a follower of Jesus?

Who, in your experience, has been the greatest example of how the message of Jesus brings holistic transformation to all of life?

Rebellion (Foundations #2) Group Questions

Group questions relevant to Rebellion – Foundations #2

Grab a newspaper or read an internet news channel – which stories show there is something wrong with our world?

Read Genesis 3

Referring to verses 1-7, what was so bad about eating from a tree which God had created good anyway?

What was the initial response of God to Adam & Eve’s actions? What does this tell you about the God we worship?

Can you think of any New Testament passages which underscore this core desire and emotion of God for fallen and rebellion people?

Read Gen 3:15 & 20 – what do these tell you about God’s ultimate plan for his world?

How would you answer those who say that the fall is merely symbolic, or a myth?

Col 1:15-20 points us to Jesus Christ as the One through whom God will restore his creation and reconcile it to himself. How does this impact on how you see your world?

How does this passage change the way you look at God?

What difference will it make in they way you live?

Foundations – #1 Creation – Small Group Questions

Foundations – #1 Creation

Gen 1 – 2:3

Home Group Study Questions

“Creation is as historically real as the history of the Jews and our present moment of time. Both the Old and the New Testaments deliberately root themselves back into the early chapters of Genesis, insisting that they are a record of historical events” – Francis Schaeffer

• Comment

What accounts for the pressure to read Genesis 1 through the eyes of 21st Century evolutionary ideology?

• What are the best ways to counter this pressure?

Do you think it is possible for a person to be a Christian and still accept evolution?

Which has the greater authority: western science or the Bible? Are there ever instances where we should accept the voice of science over what the Bible says?

Read Col 1:15-23. What reason would Paul have had to start this section with an assertion grounded in the eternal nature of Christ?

“If God is creator, you as a creature are accountable to him” What are the key implications of this reality?

What advantages are there in referring to creation when sharing the Gospel with others?