With All Your Heart Worship Series: Making a New Thing
April 7, 2019
Week 5 - Making a New Thing
Fellowship – Snacks or a Meal (10 minutes with snacks; longer, obviously, if there is a meal)
Gathering Time (5-10 minutes) – In pairs or groups of three, share stories of the last new thing you received or purchased and why you needed it.
Group Dialogue (Approximately 30 minutes)
- How do you typically respond to change?
- Jump in
- In both passages, what imagery do you find that suggests God is doing a new thing? [making a way in the sea (the sea was a symbol of chaos); a path in the wilderness, rivers in the desert; power of resurrection, Christ Jesus has made me his own, prize of the heavenly call]
- What practices help you form “muscle memory” in learning to live in the “power of Christ’s resurrection” (Philippians 3:10)? [reading Scripture devotionally, reading Scripture in a group, private prayer, prayer in a group, being in worship, visiting the poor, advocating for justice]
- (R) What does it look like to practice resurrection? What are some examples? [During worship when we confess our faith; repentance and encountering the risen Lord during Communion; at a baptism; witnessing an act of compassion; advocating for justice; during a mission experience]
- Spend time sharing stories and testimonies of how you have experienced God working newness, the power of resurrection, in your life. Where is God still calling you to experience newness now?
John Wesley on Salvation – Discussion
Circumcision of the Heart. John Wesley picks up on the Apostle Paul’s metaphor of a circumcised heart (Romans 2:29). This idea is getting at the fact that being justified before God is not just a status achieved by our faith. Rather, just as circumcision was to be an outward sign of an inward reality (Deuteronomy 30:6)—or said differently, the sign of covenant relationship with God full of promises and responsibilities—so being part of the new covenant or justified by faith in Christ was also to be expressed outwardly in terms of obedience and holiness. That is what John Wesley expresses in his sermon, “The Circumcision of the Heart.” Read the selected quotes from the sermon and then discuss the follow-up question:
In general, we may say that the circumcision of the heart is the habitual inclination of soul toward what scripture terms holiness.
To be more specific, the circumcision of heart implies humility, faith, hope, and love.
Love the created thing only as it leads to the Creator. Let every step you take move you toward this goal. Let every inclination, thought, word, and deed become subordinate to your love for God.
The circumcision of the heart means that in every motion of our heart, in every word of our tongue, in every work of our hands, we pursue nothing except as it relates to God and is in subordination to him, working in the service of his desires. The circumcision of the heart means that we do not think, speak, or act to satisfy our own wills, but the will of him that sent us.
(“The Circumcision of the Heart,” Sermon 17, in John Wesley on Christian Beliefs: The Standard Sermons in Modern English. Nashville: 2003, 287-296).
How is God working “circumcision of the heart” within you?
Prayer (10 minutes) – Share prayer requests and respond appropriately.
Sending Forth (2 minutes) – End by praying the following together:
Holy God. You have called us to be holy as you are holy, to be perfect as you are perfect. In humility we ask, in faith we trust, in hope we wait, that you are extending love throughout our character and relationships. May we look for ways to be obedient to your will this week. Amen.