Friday, February 08, 2008

THE TABLE: How are you treating the body

This week's small group curriculum completes the Table Series with a study of the Lord's Table and the importance of properly handling the "Body" of Christ: the elements and the church.

Big Idea: The church is a table of sorts; a place to gather where we connect with the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord. The Table of the Lord is about remembering relationships – first our relationship with Christ, and second our relationship with others who are part of the body of Christ.

Summary: Come to the table and remember that Christ redeemed you by his own blood. If we truly understand what the bread and the wine represent at the Table of the Lord; if we actually remember what Christ has done for us, the sacrifice he made, and the love he demonstrated then we will come to the table in love – love for Christ and love for others. This will bring unity with God and unity among each other. Is there a lack of unity at the table? Is there a lack of grace exhibited by those seated at the table? Then it is because people are coming to the table and forgetting the ultimate reason why. Through Communion, The Table of the Lord, we are refreshing our memories and reconnecting with the Lord Jesus Christ and his body. The “union” in communion doesn’t only refer to our joining together with Christ in his death and burial and resurrection, it also means joining together with his body (the church) in life! If we bring to the Lord’s Supper a divisive spirit, selfishness, or insincerity, then we diminish the true meaning of the table. And if we allow any kind of prejudice, whether social, racial, generational, or cultural, to control our attitudes toward anyone in the body of Christ, then we undermine the integrity of this meal. This is the meal in which we celebrate the death of Christ for the whole world. We’ve got to be certain that we come to the Lord’s Table fully committed to the New Testament definition of agape, or sacrificial love, and Christian fellowship toward everyone. If we don’t, then we could hurt the cause of Christ rather than helping it and we insult the sacrifice made for us in love.

Discussion Questions: (read the Scripture & discuss)

1 Corinthians 11:17-29 Why is Paul rebuking the Corinthians? Based on this passage, how does the way we treat each other affect our ability to commune with God at the Lord’s Table?

Romans 12:9-18 Contrast this passage with Paul’s message to the Corinthians. What are the differences? Is this how we are treating and relating to each other? If not, why?

1 John 4:7-12 & 19-21 When we come to the table, we must come in love. Why does John say we should love one another? Why should we be concerned if we don’t exhibit love to each other? Give examples of how we can live out this love in the church.

Taking Action: What would church look like if we came with the love God commands? Brainstorm as a group what this would look like from the parking lot, to the lobby, in the children’s ministry, before, during, & after service, and even in your LifeGroup. Challenge each other to personally begin implementing the changes this week.

Ministry Time

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