Week 4: Growing into the New Creation
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, have participants share something new in their lives (this might include a product, an experience, or an insight).
Group Dialogue (Approximately 30 minutes)
- Why do you think Jesus used agricultural metaphors? [The people are mostly rural – this is happening by the Sea of Galilee. These types of illustrations would have made sense to the people who heard Jesus.]
- What might Jesus be stating about the kingdom of God through these parables (Mark 4:26-34)? [The kingdom of God is growing mysteriously—during the night when the farmer is asleep—or is bursting forth from the tiniest expressions into an astounding expansion – birds resting on a shrub.]
- Why did Jesus use parables to relate the mysterious of the gospel to the crowds?
- How might we be a living parable for the kingdom of God?
- What might Paul mean by saying that “from now on . . . we regard no one from a human point of view” (v. 16)?
- How does Paul’s affirmation that we are “new creations” make you feel? What does it mean? [We have a new start, since our guilt and shame have been defeated.]
- Take time to have each participant reflect on (5-10 minutes) and then share their testimony of how God’s grace has affected their lives (should be less than five minutes). If they need help, outline what a testimony is:
- Life before encountering God’s grace
- Encountering God’s grace (Who was there? Where did it happen?) and
- How life has changed because of experiencing God’s grace?
Prayer (10 minutes). Share prayer requests and respond appropriately.
Sending Forth (2 minutes). End by praying the following or a similar prayer:
God of transforming grace, we give you thanks for how you continually and faithfully work your redemption within each of us. Empower us not to be afraid or ashamed to share the life-altering encounter with your amazing grace in ways that are attractive and influential to others. Amen.