BY: Tim Chilvers
DATE: Sunday 14 January 2024
‘BIBLE PASSAGES: Read online
Romans– Chapter 12, verses 4-13
Recently, a local man turned up to one of our Sunday morning gatherings because he had been told ‘Go to Riverside, they’ll help you.’ What does it mean to be a church that changes the conversation? Perhaps it means being so transformed ourselves, that we relentlessly work to transform the lives of others. That’s the kind of community that changes everything – were people’s needs are generously met, as they are pointed to the generosity of God.
‘The Church has an unconditional obligation to the victims of any ordering of society, even if they do not belong to the Christian community.’ (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)
“What I miss about church is being forced to be in community with people that aren’t the same as me.’ (Win Butler, Arcade Fire)
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 4-13
1 | One day a friend says to you, ‘Why do you go to church?’ What would you say?
2 | Read Romans 12:4-13. Paul, the author, describes the church as a body that is made of lots of essential parts. Why is this a helpful way to describe ‘church’?
3 | What do you find challenging about this way of describing church? What is the difference between attending church and being part of the church?
4 | In verses 6-8, there is a description of lots of different gifts that God has given to his church. The point is being made that everyone has a unique ‘function’ (v4) in the church. How does this change the way you see your role within church? What responsibility do you have to ‘steward’ your gifts for the sake of the church?
5 | In his talk on Sunday, Tim quoted Sebastian Junger, ‘Humans don’t mind hardship, in fact they thrive on it; what they mind is not feeling necessary. Modern society has perfected the art of making people not feel necessary. It’s time for that to end.’ What do you make of this quote? In what ways can the church be an antidote to this? How is Riverside playing its part?
6 | What does it look like in practice to sincerely love (“really love” in one translation) each other (v9)?
7 | What is the confident “hope” that followers of Jesus have? (v12-13) What role do we all have, as part of the church, in walking together in hardship towards that hope?
8 | Tim quoted Matt Anderson, ‘I sometimes wonder whether people today are turning away from Christianity at all—or whether they are rejecting a cheapened, sub-Christian optimism that worships the false god of personal peace and affluence. Many people my age seem to have made Christianity a means to a stable job, healthy family, and happy emotional life—and then are surprised when the world lets them down.’ How can we all play our part in faithfully serving each other, so that we become resilient disciples of Jesus in the most challenging times?
9 | Take some time to pray for others. Pray that you would be able to play your unique part in the church.
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.