Step Up: So That Others May Know!
We seek to encourage our church in reading, studying, and living out Scripture in our daily lives. This study guide is designed to correspond to Sunday’s sermon (Nov. 5th) [Listen Here]. Read through this lesson on your own or with a small group.
We, as the human race, have a tendency to get stuck in our ways. When we discover a way to do things or a way of thinking that we agree with, it is often difficult for us to break away from those methods. It isn’t hard to understand- predictability is comforting.
Take, for example, a school bus route. Every morning, the students wait out at the bus stop at the same time, because that is when their ride to school will show up to collect them. If the driver changed what time he got their every day, the students would not be able to know when to meet them and would probably be late to class- or not even get to school at all!
It’s easy to see why we like our routines. However, there is a danger in becoming too comfortable in those patterns. When that pattern ceases to be efficient or effective, then we probably should learn to change, lest we start to find the ritual more important than why we take part. This was a major issue for the Jewish people. In fact, their inability to break from their long-practices traditions and rituals is what led to the execution of Jesus!
Let’s take some time to examine what is truly important to God, and how we have gone astray from it.
- What parallels can you find between the different stories?
- Why would Jesus rapid fire several stories that lean toward the same underlying meaning?
- Which story speaks to you more? Do you have any personal experience that seems like it could have been used as one of Jesus’ examples of seeking that which is lost?
- The Jews had long assumed that they were God’s chosen people. But when Jesus came onto the scene, he began revealing that His grace is for all, not just the select few. How do you imagine the people in Jesus’ audience would have reacted to these parables when they heard them?
- Compare this passage to modern-day church activity. Do you feel as though we do things differently?
- Notice that this passage does not mention whether or not the believers were going out of their way to evangelize to others. That being said, what would make the church so attractive that they were growing on a daily basis?
- If you were to condense this passage to a simple phrase, like a slogan for the church, what would it be?
- What is something that gets in the way of you trying to keeping evangelism at the heart of your ministry?
- How can we, as a church, try to recreate the feeling of the believers in Acts 2? Is that something we should attempt to do at all, considering the differences in our cultures?
- Who is someone that you can introduce to Christianity, despite their “unworthiness?” Remember, ALL of us have fallen short of God’s glory.
Often, a danger that we may stray into in our evangelism is trying to convince others that they are doing things wrong, and that Christianity is the right way to live. While absolutely true, we must recognize that the early church attracted vast numbers to their group by simply living in a way that created a better world for those involved. They provided when someone was in need, spent time in each other’s company, and, most importantly, worshipped and studied the scriptures one body, yearning to know God better.
We have an opportunity to seek and save the lost, bringing the world to the foot of the throne of God. However, that will not happen until we put our own personal preferences and desires last, and choose to pursue that which is most important to God.
Take some time to pray that we as a church can always strive to keep only that which is important to God at that heart of our ministry to others. To be able to understand that seeking and saving the lost is the heart of the Father, and, therefore, should be the heart of the church, too.