We have spent a lot of time lately discussing culture. It is important that we understand how our cultural differences and perspectives are valuable and enhance the glory God wants to display through his church. It is also empathetic and therefore Christ-like to strive to understand how our experiences (often impacted by our culture) affect how we view life, our understanding of God, and even our perceptions of the church. When we do, we can better help one another grow spiritually and in our knowledge of the truth!
Most importantly, we need to learn how to mesh and submit our individual cultural characteristics with and to God’s culture! It is God’s culture that must define the church and which will glorify him and impact the world with the gospel!
What are some things in this passage that give us insight into what God’s culture looks like?
“Our Father…” It is a culture of family. What does this mean? How should it practically affect your life and the life of our church?
“Hallowed be your name (on earth as it is in heaven)”. It is a culture which glorifies God and exalts his name here on earth. What would you expect to see in a group whose relationships with one another serve as something which brings glory to God?
“Your kingdom come (on earth as it is in heaven).” What do you think of when you think of the kingdom of God? What must you do, and what should we as a church become, in order to display God’s kingdom here on earth?
“Your will be done (on earth as it is in heaven).” What do you need to change, repent of, etc. in order to better carry out God’s will here on earth? What must the church do better as a community of faith to carry out God’s will? What are some things we know we should be doing to carry out God’s will, both as individuals and as a body? What is your personal role in helping the church do this?
JOHN 17:1-4 & EPHESIANS 1:9-10
Jesus said that he glorified God with his life. Jesus lived to establish God’s culture here on earth. Ephesians tells us that all things are united under Christ. What does all this tell us about the importance of discipleship in establishing and protecting God’s culture?
What is the glorious mystery that God kept hidden but had always planned to reveal at the right time? It has always been God’s plan that Christ be formed in you!
To what end did Paul “strenuously contend”/labor? What is the goal of our faith for ourselves and for others?
This passage tells us that we are to labor to help one another mature in Christ! Our goal should be to be presented, and present others, before God “mature in Christ” on the day Jesus returns!
In what ways do you labor to help others mature in Christ? Below are some good questions to ask ourselves:
Do I have, or am I in the process of developing, deep relationships in the church, in which we talk about more than sports, current events, and work. Do I have, or am I developing, relationships where we also confess sin, talk about our struggles, seek spiritual advice, rejoice in one another’s good news, cry over one another’s pain, and share deeply about what is really going on in our homes and lives and who we really are as people? Do we have relationships where we truly love and know we are loved?
How much do I initiate with brothers/sisters? Even if it is just texts or brief phone calls to assure them I love them and am praying for them, or to let them know what is going on with me and how I could benefit from their prayers?
How respondent am I to brothers and sisters who are initiating with me, recognizing that even if my relationship needs feel met, theirs may not be.
When was the last time you saw sin AND said something to the person? Out of concern for them and the sanctity of protecting God’s culture?
Do you believe the scriptures that tell us we are to disciple one another through teaching, encouragement, example, admonishment, counsel, etc., are divinely inspired, or do you propose that these portions of the Bible are not from God? If you do believe they are God’s word, are you practicing them?
Are you humble enough to seek, accept, and appreciate when others (out of love for God and you) offer you discipling? Or, do you get defensive, offended, and/or use past experiences as an excuse to reject their input and keep them at a distance?
What do you need to change to better help others mature in Christ?
What do you need to change to better mature yourself?