Today is Tuesday, December 12. I have heard it said by even the most pious of believers that other people’s opinions don't matter. This is said with the best of intentions - usually something about not fearing man but fearing God. These people might live upright and holy lives with integrity but whether this is known by others is really not their concern. Paul seems to disagree. The faith he proclaimed was to be lived openly and unambiguously. This is because other people’s opinions mattered to him.
(Take time to write down responses to these questions or discuss in your group)
_ Do you feel the need to defend yourself and your faith, or can you bear reproach with grace and patience?
_ How is the Lord impacting someone you are walking with (to help grow in or discover Jesus)
Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
DISCOVER [Romans 12:17-31
17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
+ WHAT is this passage saying and what do we learn? (Use these questions below each portion of text to clarify the main point)
_ Paul references a number of Old Testament principles in this passage. Read them here.
_ How is Paul interpreting the Hebrew faith for a Gentile audience in this passage?
_ Does Paul imply here that the Church is in continuity with the Israel of the Old Testament?
_ How does living honorably in the sight of all relate to the Old Testament calling for Israel to be a holy nation?
_ What does Paul propose as a means to sustain a people who live peaceably?
_ How can goodness and charity be a defense against violence?
+ HOW am I compelled to confess sin and how does the gospel compel me to respond with a simple step of action/obedience? (Here are some thoughts to discuss in break-outs)
_ Have I depended on God’s defense, or have I sought to fight my own battles?
_ When I am scorned, have I responded with kindness or have I scorned them in return?
_ How can I practice today the kind of peace and mercy Paul exhorts me to?
+ WHO are you walking with to discover or grow in Jesus and what is your next step with them, how can we help?
_Who can you tell your testimony to, that you believe would be open to hearing it?