Have you ever belonged to a group of, um, “different” people? Maybe you were in high school and belonged within a merry band of misfits. Maybe your hobbies place you within a group outside the mainstream. Maybe you have uncommon health struggles and have found a community of fellow warriors online. Tell your group what it’s like to be different and what it’s like to find belonging among people like you.
Start your group discussion this week with scripture. Jump into the text we considered during the sermon on Sunday, Romans 12:1-2. Read it aloud together:
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform 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.
Does anyone have any questions about the text? Anything they don’t understand? Go verse by verse working together toward full comprehension.
- What should inspire us to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice?
- What’s significant about the word “bodies” as opposed to “souls” or “selves”? What specifically might Paul have in mind?
- What do you think of when you think about worship? What behaviors fit inside that box for you? According to this passage, what is true and proper worship?
Justin said on Sunday that us giving ourselves as living sacrifices is certainly hard, but also “proper.” He said, “God is worthy of all of you.”
- Do you feel like you’re giving God all of you?
- What’s a way you’ve recently stepped more fully into that?
- Where’s one place where you still haven’t given God everything?
God calls us not to “conform” to the pattern of this world. What’s the “pattern of this world”? How would you describe it to an alien?
Justin said often God looks at the pattern of the world and says:
- -That’s not good for you.
- -That won’t get you where you want to go.
- -That’s pretty but it’s poison.
- -That’s shiny but it’s empty.
- -That’s a big promise but it’s a lie.
Think through a few examples of the ways the world is lying to you. In asking you to be different, what’s God trying to save you from?
According to Romans 12:2, how does God transform us? What does “renewing” mean?
- How do we/does God make our minds new?
- According to the text, how do we get to the point where we can know what God’s will is? What do we need to do, practically speaking, to get to that place.
A big part of renewing our minds lies in identifying the lies we believe, ripping them out by the roots, and planting God’s truth. Look back up at your list of lies told to you by the world. Are there any you might be believing? What does God’s word say about it? Work together as a group to identify some scripture that you can plant in your heart.
We said on Sunday that we’re different and that different has consequences. What consequences have you experienced for being holy (different like God is different)? Good and/or bad.
Read Leviticus 20:26.
“You are to be holy to me because I, the Lord, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own.”
- While this originally applied only to the Israelites, it’s since come to apply to all God’s chosen people.
- What’s your gut reaction to this command?
- How does it make you feel to know you were created to be God’s?
Before you share prayer requests tonight, have group members meditate quietly for 3-5 minutes, considering the question, "Is God’s calling of holiness making me significantly different than the people around me?"
Encourage group members to personally talk to God about their answer.