If you’re new to grace (faith in Jesus or going to church), what’s surprising about the idea of grace? Is this the way you expected “religion” to work?
If you’re not so new, do you have grace baggage? Go ahead and unload it. Share with your group about all the things you used to believe about grace but have since questioned. How have those hang ups bound you in your efforts to accept God’s grace? How did you move past them?
You’re only allowed to talk about baggage productively and even then, for a maximum of 17 minutes. :)
In the kingdom of God, everything flows out of grace. Think about why grace would be so inspiring.
- What’s so good about grace?
- Think of a person you know who really appreciates and understands grace. How can you tell?
- Does grace inspire action? Have you seen this happen? Give an example.
- Has that been your experience? Explain.
- Do you personally bristle at a connection between grace and works? If so, share with your group. Be honest and speak freely.
Consider this quote from Klyne Snodgrass: “Salvation is not from works, but surely it is for works.”
- What does it mean?
What is the relationship between grace and our transformation and kingdom activity?
What has grace done in you? How is God changing you? Think of a recent example.
Do you ever feel like God isn’t doing much in you? Talk about that. What do you think you could do to enable God’s transformative grace? (Think back on the jar metaphor from last week.)
On Sunday, Justin suggested the following list of ways we might allow the grace of God to work in and through us. Consider it and allow it to inspire your own short list. What is God ready to do in or through YOU by His grace?
- Love someone.
- Embrace the next interruption.
- Forgive someone who’s hurt you.
- Quit your job because it distracts you from following Jesus.
- Give a bunch of money to someone who needs it.
- Pray all night.
- Ask somebody at work if they want to read through one of the gospels with you every Tuesday morning.
- Tell your wife you’re finally ready to get marriage counseling.
- Go meet your neighbors and invite them over for dinner.
- Write an encouraging letter to someone in your church family who’d never expect it.
- Take your family and move to China so you can tell people about Jesus.
This week pray for God to inspire you to DO STUFF. Ask God to light a fire in each heart AND to light a fire under your group. Before you pray, consider ways your group might respond to the grace of God. Plan a service project for the summer. Commit to pray for and write letters to a missionary. Work out the details to help with an adoption. Sky’s the limit. Once you’ve begun the process of choosing something, pray asking God to pour His grace into you and through you.
Read James 2: 14-19
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
How does James measure a man’s faith?
If your faith were to be measured that way how would you do? Is your faith dead? On life support? Pretty healthy?
If your faith expressed in deeds in lacking, ask your small group for help and accountability.