Growing In Leadership Wk 6 // Connected to God and to One Another
How do you typically greet people when you see them in person? What about on the phone or in an email? How does your greeting change if you are close to the person
What is the strangest greeting you’ve ever received? How did you respond?
As the book of 1 Corinthians opens, the apostle Paul gave sincere greetings to the believers in Corinth whom he loved dearly. But he quickly moved on from his greeting. His heart was so heavily burdened by reports of troubles in the church that he begged them to change their ways.
Paul encountered many problems with the church in Corinth. Most of these problems were things we still see today, like disunity, leading to the formation of thousands of denominations. But unlike us, Paul saw the disunity caused by these problems as a terrible disaster. He was so worried about the divisions in Corinth that he barely got through saying “hello” before he launched into a rebuke against this gospel-opposing behavior.
In this week’s sermon, Pastor Mike discussed the importance of us staying connected to God and staying connected to one another. Our world is so full of divisions, and even the church can be divided against itself. But Jesus came to bridge the gap between us and God, and through our faith we are united with one another.
Spend a few minutes recapping this week's sermon together. Click here to view the sermon notes.
What was one takeaway from this week's sermon for you?
Were there any stories, ideas, or points that stuck out?
Was there anything that challenged you?
Have a volunteer read 1 Corinthians 1:1-9.
Looking at verses 1 -3, why do you think Paul made some many descriptive statements about the people in the church? Which one means the most to you? Why?
The apostle’s description of these Christians revealed his deep concern for them. First, he called them the church of God. The readers were not merely individuals. They constituted a community that belonged to God. Only God’s desires held sway over the life of this church. Second, the believers in this church had been sanctified, or set apart from the world, by virtue of their faith in Christ. Third, the Corinthian believers were called to pursue pure and holy lives. Fourth, they were called to holiness together with all believers everywhere. Holiness was not to be pursued simply by individuals, but by the entire church. This opening address set the stage for Paul’s central concern in this section: God’s gift of salvation had brought the Corinthians into a relationship with other believers; they were members of one body.
How do you define grace?
Paul’s focus in these first nine verses was on God’s grace. What words or phrases do you see here that speak to God’s grace?
How might our church be different if we really understood all these things about God? How would you be different?
How do these truths about God speak to the problems the Corinthian church was facing?
Often, we need to be reminded who we are and what God has called us to be in order to see how our actions don’t line up with that calling. Corinth was a church that was full of disunity and lacked focus on the main thing. Like us, these people needed to be reminded of what God had called them to be, and just how faithful He would be. Paul did not place his confidence in the church as the Corinthians did, but in the God of the church.
After his brief greeting, Paul immediately turned his attention to one of the dominant problems in the Corinthian church. Instead of serving one another in harmony, Paul’s readers had divided into factions, each of which thought itself superior in wisdom to the other segments of the church.
Have a volunteer read 1 Corinthians 1:10-17.
Why does God hate divisions in the church so much?
In today’s world, what causes divisions in the church most often?
If we are “perfectly united in mind and thought,” what will be our focus? How do we get back to this point?
God hates divisions. They hurt our witness and turn our focus from God’s cause to our own personal, self-seeking cause. When we are unified, our focus is turned back to the main thing—God alone, His cause alone. Divisions have no place when people are on the front line sharing the gospel because they work against God’s cause, even when masked by good intentions.
What are we doing as a group to promote unity in the church? In what ways do you think we can better live out this value?
Looking back at verses 4-9, how does the truth of God’s grace and work in your life affect you on a daily basis? Does it truly motivate you to share the gospel with others? If not, why do you think that is?
How can we help one another keep Christ central in our personal lives this week? What are some practical ways we can each focus our thoughts and attitudes more on Jesus?
Close by asking God to continue to give us grace to love and honor Him through a unified church body. Pray that our church would be marked by a focus on Christ alone and unified to take the gospel to the world.