Discussion-Questions & Scriptures

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					Series: Live Free or Die Sermon: How God Wants us to Live Pastor Randy Wilson * 5/25/08
NIV

Romans 12:1-2 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God2 -this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. 1. 2. Salvation has made me free to SERVE God. I am free to give my whole LIFE to God. A. How do I give my whole life to God? 1. Give God your BODY. “…I urge you…to offer your bodies…” (12:1) 2. Give God your MIND. “…be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (12:2) 3. Give God your WILL. “…you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is….” (12:2) 3. The process: A. B. C. Stop CONFORMING (External) Keep being TRANSFORMED (Internal) The end result: I live life yielded to His will

Okay, I’ve heard the sermon…now what? We’re glad you asked! Step #1: Stash your filled-in Sermon Notes in your Bible. Step #2: Meet with God this week and ponder the questions inside. Step #3: Exchange your insights with others next Sunday in your Life Group. Need a Life Group? Please go to the Welcome Center and they’ll help you.

Life Group Scriptures & Discussion Questions For Sunday, June 1
Series: Live Free or Die Sermon: How God Wants us to Live
Sermon Nuggets: Last Sunday we talked about the first step toward ensuring that our walk lines up with our talk. As we know, it’s all but universal in humans to say one thing and do another. The good news, though, is that the gospel is true, whether or not it’s lived out in believers. Sadly, though, unbelievers evaluate the reality of the gospel based upon how it’s expressed in the lives Christ’s followers (e.g. how Christians relate to those inside the church, outside the church (e.g. school and marketplace), and those serving in government). Therefore, it’s imperative that we live out the saving truth in every arena of life. So, after scaling the heights of Rom. 8, Paul leads us back down the mountain into the day to day joys and challenges of living out our faith in critical relationships. In Rom. 12:1, Paul urges us to present our whole lives to God as the only fitting and reasonable response to all He has done for us. Beginning in 12:3, Paul focuses on our relationships within the family of God. At the end of Rom. 12, Paul talks about living among those who oppose us. In the first part of chapter 13, Paul teaches about the proper way to respond to governmental authorities. The foundation of right living begins with getting ourselves aligned with God’s perfect will. Exploring the Bible and Exchanging Insights in Your Life Group: 1. The first word of Romans 12:1 is “Therefore.” This easily-passed over word actually packs a powerful punch. This word tells us that the imperative which it introduces (“offer your bodies as living sacrifices”) naturally and logically follows from all that God has done to rescue and reclaim us for Himself. Look up the following verses from the first eight chapters of Romans. What did (or does) God do for believers that makes the joyful offering our whole selves to God the only appropriate and response? a. Rom. 5:1: [Hint: The war is over] ___________________________________________________ b. Rom. 8:3: [Hint: “Black Death” mortally wounded] ___________________________________________________ c. Rom. 8:15: [Hint: Special “heart” guest] ___________________________________________________

d. Rom. 8:26: [Hint: He talks when we’re tongue-tied] ___________________________________________________ e. Rom. 8:28: [Hint: “Morphing” ministry] ___________________________________________________ f. Rom. 8:34: [Hint: A lawyer like no other] ___________________________________________________ 2. Because of these mind-blowing, voice-raising, hand-clapping, foot-tapping “mercies of God” which we just reviewed in question #1, Paul urges the members of the church at Rome to “to offer [their] bodies as living sacrifices.” When you think about it, that’s quite a twist. After all, sacrifices are dead (at least they are seconds after being offered). But believers are urged to offer our “bodies” (i.e. whole selves) to God as “living sacrifices.” What are the implications and characteristics of a “living sacrifice”? Would presenting yourself to God as a “living sacrifice” amount to never-ending misery? Read Philippians 2:17, where Paul describes his own experience as a “living sacrifice.” Rather than sounding miserable, how does Paul describe his emotional state? Are you surprised? When were you the most joyful this past week, month, or year? (Not happy, but joyful, which is a Sprit-produced sense of wellbeing and peace irrespective of life circumstances.) Were you were the most joyful when you serving others or being served? The Apostle Paul’s Spiritual Advice Column. Dear Apostle Paul, My name is Sam. I’ve been married to Allison for seven years. It’s hard for me to admit it, but I’m hurting her with my heavy sarcasm and criticism. No excuse, but it’s how I grew up—and it’s how I get along in my rough and tumble, dog-eat-dog workplace. But now that I’m “in Christ,” I want God to change me—so I build up, rather than blow up, my wife. I know I need to change—or be “transformed by the renewing of [my] mind” as you write in your bestselling book, Romans—but how? I’m a practical guy who needs practical advice. How do I change? Sincerely, “Sarcastic in Sunnyvale”

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Paul’s visiting another church. He’s asked you to write his column. What advice would you give to Sam in setting up a practical transformation plan to curb criticism. (Remember the all-important means of transformation which is ”renewing” our minds by the power of the Spirit.) Brainstorm in your Life Group. On your Own This Week—Offer Your Whole Life to God in Prayer Each day this week, offer all your bodily parts and powers to God. Monday—God, take my body. I offer it to You for your purposes as I work hard for my company, apply myself to these studies, recover in this hospital room, talk to my spouse/kids, or cook and clean for my family. Tuesday—God, take my mind. Let each thought dwell on what is “true, noble, right, [and] lovely” (Phil. 4:8). Form in me a mind like my Master’s. Wednesday—God, take my eyes. Keep them fixed on You and away from “worthless things” that entice me on television, the internet, and my own imagination (Ps. 119:37). Let me see and savor wonders of nature. Thursday—God, take my will and bend it to Yours. As you transform me progressively, I know that I’ll come to love your will and shout “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!” (Rom. 11:33). Friday—God, take my emotions. Make gladness the rule rather than the exception. Fill me with “inexpressible joy” because I love You (1Pet. 1:8). This Sunday Morning Offer Your Whole Life Group to God in Prayer One last look at our key verse. Romans 12:1 “I urge you therefore, brethren…to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice.…” A final point to ponder. Paul is speaking to a group of believers (We know this because He calls them “Brothers”). Now notice the “fine print.” Paul urges them all to “present their bodies (plural) as a living…sacrifice (singular).” Although the NIV translates this key phrase in the plural (“living sacrifices”), in the original language the phrase is singular, “living sacrifice.” Significant? Yes, because Paul probably intends that in addition to individual members offering their bodies, each house church that hears this letter should offer itself collectively as a “living sacrifice.” So, in your LG prayer time this Sunday, your Life Group Shepherds and others will prayerfully offer your whole Life Group to God as a single “living sacrifice.” Pray that God would lead you as a Life Group to serve Him together in ways that make Him smile (“holy and pleasing to God”).
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