Today's passage exhorts us toward radical harmony. This is not harmony based on equality, but rather assumes inequality and requires more of those who are able to shoulder more of the load. Those whom God has saved and strengthened are then called to bear more on behalf of others, those who have not yet grown to the same level of spiritual strength and obedience. This support is not out of pride, but in all humility, just as Christ did for us. This will certainly be trying, but this passage also indicates that God will enable us to stand strong. Pouring into others builds them up and enables us to unify with each other toward a common goal of glorifying God. Let the word of God encourage your endurance toward evermore Christlike behavior.
The following guide is a resource for your personal time of abiding with the Lord and for your Community Group when you meet. It can also be used for times with family or friends around the table.
VISION + STORIES
Take time to be reminded of our shared vision- We are abiding in Christ that we might experience Gospel Transformation in our homes, neighborhoods, work places and city.
+ Ask… What are you/we thankful to the Lord for? (e.g., how is he working in our community group or the lives of someone we are walking with to discover the gospel?)
+ What is one need in this circle/our Community Group and how can we meet it together?
SING + PRAY
Take some time for song (guitar, hymn, acapella or read a Psalm) and extended prayer as an individual/community. A simple path of prayer is to pray through one of the Psalms as a group or use the acronym ACTS (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication).
DISCOVER [ Romans 15:1-7 ] In Large group
+ WHAT is this passage saying and what is a key truth or thought that I/we learn? (Use the questions interspersed through the passage to help make additional observations to clarify the main point)
1 We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2 Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. 3 For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” 4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
+ What is required of those strong in the Lord? [v1-2]
+ How was Christ an example for us in how to do this? [v3]
+ What does scripture give us? [v4]
5 May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, 6 that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.
+ Through God's power, how should we live with one another? [v5]
+ As we live harmoniously with each other, what should we then do together? [v6]
+ In what way should we welcome each other, and why? [v7]
PROCESS (In Breakouts of 2-3’s, guys/girls)
+ HOW is the Lord calling me to action/obedience? Is there sin to confess, a next step to take, how has it gone since last time? (Below are a couple of ideas to help prompt responses if needed)
+ Where have you not built others up? Or where have you given to others out of pride for selfish glory, instead of focusing on others and ultimately giving glory to God?
+ Where have you become discouraged or given up?
+ WHO am I walking with and praying for to discover Jesus, what is my next step? (e.g., spend time with them, set-up an intentional time to share your story, begin a discovery study on the teachings of Jesus with them)
+ Whose life can you build up today, tomorrow, and this week by giving like Christ gave?