Thursday, March 26, 2009

One Degree of Seperation

This is part one of my Heart for the World small group curriculum. Let's get out of our bubbles and reach the world for Christ.

Big Idea:
“I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”

According to what the Bible teaches us, there is only one degree of separation between us and every other human being on the planet. That one degree is the person of Jesus, who not only stands between God and man as the only true mediator, but He also stands as the only common denominator that draws us together in healthy community in spite of our vast differences. Jesus underscores this truth when he tells us that how we treat one another, especially the needy and broken, is how we treat Him. In fact, the very acts of mercy toward others, which we are called to perform every day of our lives, are the evidence of the reality of our salvation?

If this is true, then what keeps us from serving those in need? Here are five common objections. 1) I don’t feel called. This objection is based on the faulty belief that one has to be “called” to serve the world. You don’t need a call when you’ve been given a command: “Go into all the world.” In fact, you need a permission slip from Jesus to stay home. 2) I don’t know how. However, God said that HE would guide and direct you. He will be with you when you step out in obedience and show His love to others. You don’t have to be perfect; you just have to be willing enough to actually “go”. 3) I don’t have time. It is often not convenient to serve, but we can always find time for what we value. 4) I don’t know if I can make a difference. All of us can, because all of us have been called by Christ to make a difference. We can do all things through Christ. We can go, we can pray, and we can provide financial support. 5) I don’t want to. This is simply your selfish flesh talking and isn’t consistent with a heart that has been changed by Christ. Say no to your flesh and say yes to the will of your Savior. Go and be His hands and feet.

Discussion Questions: (read the scriptures & discuss)

Matthew 25:36-40
What is the fate of the two groups? What are the standards by which the two groups are judged? Whose needs had they met or failed to meet? Did everyone get a fair chance? Imagine yourself in each group and discuss what would be going through your mind. What are some specific actions that can be taken in meeting each of the needs mentioned?

Isaiah 58:6-9
What are God’s promises to those who take action and help the oppressed, the hungry, and the marginalized? How do our actions in this area affect our relationship with God and our prayer life?

Matthew 28:18-20
Is sharing Christ’s love and compassion to others optional? Why can we confidently do this and know that we will be successful? Discuss practical ways that you can overcome the objections mentioned in the summary of this study.

Taking Action: At some point this week you will find yourself just one degree away from Jesus as you look into the eyes of the broken and the hurting. Don’t turn them away. Treat them as if they were Jesus. Share your experience with the group.

Ministry Time

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