BY: Tim Chilvers
DATE: Sunday 21 January 2024
‘BIBLE PASSAGES: Read online
Romans– Chapter 12, verses 14-21
We live in a tribal world, when it is easy to live in our echo chambers. We dismiss people who don’t agree with us, and only need to embrace those who do. And, in our connected world, we find a steady stream of people who agree with us! But, what if the good news of Jesus makes us see people differently? What if we bless those who are against us, and do good to our enemies? What if we try and live honourably and at peace with everyone? That would change the world!
‘The world is to look at the people of God and exclaim “So that is the gospel? I see it now!”’
‘An inflated estimation of human nature capsizes love for one’s neighbour’
Please scroll to the bottom of this page.
BIBLE STUDY QUESTIONS
Each week there are TWO different sets of questions for you to use, whether you are exploring the Bible within your Life Group, in other group settings, or simply using them on your own.
A | DISCUSSION STARTERS
These are simple questions to provoke discussion together out of the talk (ideal if you are watching our Sunday Service online with others in your group):
1 | Was there anything that particularly helped you during the talk?
2 | Was there anything that you didn’t necessarily agree with, or found difficult to understand in the talk?
3 | As a result of the talk, what:
3a. Changes do you want to see?
3b. Truths do you need to remember?
3c. Actions do you need to take?
B | QUESTIONS TO EXPLORE
These are questions that are based on the talk and the surrounding themes:
Read: Romans – Chapter 12, verses 14-21
1 | In the talk on Sunday, Tim talked about ‘being the church that Birmingham needs’. What do you think that looks like? What kind of things might that kind of church be doing, and what kind of emphasis might it have?
2 | Read Romans 12:14-21. What strikes you about the way that Paul, the author, talks about the relationship between Christians and the surrounding society?
3 | Notice how many times Paul talks about ‘persecution’ or ‘enemies’. Why do you think that is? Do you think Christians should expect opposition or not?
4 | There seems to be quite an emphasis on repaying evil with good – how does Paul describe how we should respond when wronged? Why is this so powerful, and yet so difficult?
5 | Tim quoted Jo Saxton in his talk, ‘Jesus looked over the city and wept for it, then went into the city and gave his life for it.’ How do you think your life would change if you served the city in the way that Paul describes in these verses?
6 | What do you think Paul is talking about in v19-20?
7 | Tom Schreiner said, ‘We are to be so free from vengeance that we delight in doing good to those who hate us.’ Why is this so hard? How does following Jesus gives us a model to follow?
8 | Tim talked about being called to be a ‘radically distinct community that gives help & hope’. Which part of this do you find most challenging and why?
9 | Take some time to pray, asking that God would help you to be radically distinct in your faith; quick to give practical help; and bold to give eternal hope in Jesus.
As you explore these questions pray for one another to deepen and develop your relationship with Jesus.
BIBLE STUDY RESOURCES
Low Anthropology by David Zahl
Many of us spend our days feeling like we’re the only one with problems, while everyone else has their act together. But the sooner we realize that everyone struggles like we do, the sooner we can show grace to ourselves and others.
In Low Anthropology, popular author and theologian David Zahl explores how our ideas about human nature influence our expectations in friendship, work, marriage, and politics. We all go through life with an ‘anthropology’–an idea about what humans are like, our potentials and our limitations. A high anthropology–thinking optimistically about human nature–can breed perfectionism, anxiety, burnout, loneliness, and resentment. Meanwhile, Zahl invites readers into a biblically rooted and surprisingly life-giving low anthropology, which fosters hope, deep connection with others, lasting love, vulnerability, compassion, and happiness.