With All Your Heart Worship Series: Coming Together
March 31, 2019
Week 4 - Coming Together
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, discuss: “If you could be an ambassador to another country, which country would you pick and why?”
Group Dialogue (Approximately 30 minutes)
- Why would the people of Israel, and Joshua, have been “disgraced” (Joshua 5:9). [Slaves in Egypt and currently nomads without a homeland.]
- What lesson would the people of Israel learn by no longer receiving manna (Joshua 5:12)? [healthy independence, how to use freedom appropriately, maturity]
- What might it look like to be an ambassador of Christ today?
- Tell a story of reconciliation with a coworker, family member, or friend. How would you explain the “message of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:19) to a friend?
- (R) What would it mean for you to begin seeing with the eyes of faith?
- (R) What are you audaciously hoping for during this journey to the empty tomb? For yourself? For others? For your community?
John Wesley on Salvation – Discussion
New Birth and Reconciliation. Salvation is a gift of God that has personal and corporate dimensions. God continues to change us into the image of Christ. This is likened to a new birth experience. Jesus told Nicodemus that he must be “born from above” or “born again” in John 3. Not only does our relationship with God change, but so does our relationship with the world. Read this passage from John Wesley’s sermon, “The New Birth,” and then discuss the follow-up question:
God works this momentous change [of new birth] in the soul, bringing it into life and raising it from the death of sin to the life of righteousness. It is the change worked in the soul by the almighty Sprit of God, who ‘creates us anew in Christ Jesus, according to the image of the creator.’
The new birth is being born anew ‘in true righteousness and holiness’ when love for the world is changed into love for God. Pride is changed into humility; anger into meekness; and hatred, envy, and hostility into a sincere, tender, unbiased love for all humankind. In a word, the new birth is the change by which the ‘earthly, unspiritual, devilish’ mind is turned into ‘the same mind that was in Christ Jesus.’ This is the nature of the new birth, and ‘so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.’
(“The New Birth,” Sermon 43 in John Wesley on Christian Practice: The Standard Sermons in Modern English. Abingdon Press: Nashville, 2003, 233).
How is God working new life with you? How are you seeing signs of humility, meekness, and an unbiased love for all humankind?
Prayer (10 minutes) – Share prayer requests and respond appropriately.
Sending Forth (2 minutes) – End by praying the following together:
God of reconciliation, you call us into an eternal and grace-filled relationship with you. Because of your great love, you sent the Son and have given us the gift of the Holy Spirit, which breathes your breath of life within us. Help us to be sustained by your grace; and by the power of the Holy Spirit may sacrificial love come flowing out of us this week. Amen.