This week on the podcast we’re answering the question: Why do I need a church community? And, is it possible to have a personal experience and relationship with God apart from others? As we’ll discover, community is rooted deep in God’s nature and is the means by which we experience the fullness of Him in our life. This is part of the series on “Defining Community: Restoring Life with God and Others”.
This week we’re starting a new series, “Defining Community: Restoring Life with God and Others”. We’re beginning by looking at what community is, how it’s practiced in our modern secular culture, and how the Bible offers an alternate story and vision for community life, bonded together in Jesus Christ.
Every person is the prized object and target of a spiritual war that we did not invite nor ask to be part of. The war is for the total worship and allegiance of every heart, mind and soul. As eternal Kingdom citizens (the restored body of Christ), our hearts, minds and souls have been rescued, purchased, and saved by Jesus Christ from sin, despair and death in the ways of the evil. But as Kingdom citizens, we’re reminded the war is not over. Instead we’re called to put on the armor of God, because armor is meant for active duty, not vacation.
Questions for Discussion:
- Based on this week’s passage and teaching, what tactics do you believe the devil uses to infiltrate the Kingdom of God?
- What prevents you from putting on the armor of God as a believer in Christ?
- What does ‘active duty’ as Kingdom citizens (the restored body of Christ) look like?
The gospel brings dignity, worth, and purpose to everyone, starting with our closest relationships: our family and church community. To imitate God and walk in the example of Christ is to mutually serve and sacrifice for one another out of love.
For a more in-depth discussion on the issues surrounding Ephesians 5:21-33, listen to our podcast episode on Authority, Headship, and Gender Roles.
Questions for Discussion:
- Read Ephesians 5:21-6:9 through the lens of “mutual submission” that seeks to love and dignify others as valued children of God. What stands out to you in the passage?
- By understanding this passage as a means of living out the gospel in your family, church, and as a witness of God’s grace to the world, what are the implications for you personally that you need to change in order to follow the ways of Jesus?
- What can we learn by Paul’s approach to applying the gospel to his cultural context? How can we do the same? Provide a real-life example.
Imagine if the church saw its primary job to model, pass on, and point to Jesus Christ “in everything” it does. What might the church look like, do, and reproduce?
Our ultimate loyalties, core beliefs, and fundamental values are shaped by those who we respect, follow, and imitate in this life. So if the very heart of our “oneness” in God, the hope of our restored humanity, and the promise of new life and salvation is contingent on following Jesus, shouldn’t we as believers reflect our One example? The call of the Christian is this: When we follow the ways of Jesus, we reproduce Jesus.
Questions for Reflection:
- Prayerfully evaluate your life based on Ephesians 4:17-5:20. What is needed to ensure that you are modeling your life after Jesus?
- How should a vision of modeling, passing on, and reproducing the ways of Jesus transform Christian community and the church?
The church today continues to struggle with the concept and practice of true unity and oneness in Christ. Contextual distinctions aside, with our churches divided socially, racially, and theologically, how will the world know the true witness of Christ – the union of all things in Him for the glory of His name and the salvation of His people? As we learn in this message, the measure of our spiritual unity determines the true health and maturity of the church.
Questions for Reflection:
- If you were to make a list of what determined a “healthy & mature” church, what would have been on that list?
- How does “spiritual unity” change your understanding and role of the church?
- Based on the list in Ephesians 4:11, what do you think your spiritual gift contribution might be in the body of Christ?
“We want the real thing … and we should settle for nothing less.”
In this bonus episode, Pastor Matt shares one of the key takeaways from his trip to San Francisco, California, learning from Francis Chan and his leaders at ‘We Are Church‘.
“The Kingdom becomes a movement when disciples multiply.”
In this episode, learn what it’s going to take to re-ignite a Kingdom-movement in North America and how Restoration Church seeks to join Christ in His mission for the world. WATCH this week’s message from Pastor Matt on “Disciple-Multiplying” from our church-defining series, “Re:Defined”.
- Do I see myself as having a role in the fulfillment of the Kingdom of God? What might that role be?
- Schedule some time in silence and solitude (20-30 minutes is ideal). Invite the Holy Spirit to speak to you on the topic of disciple-multiplying. Then listen. At the conclusion of your time with the Lord, what might you need to confess, repent of, change, or begin doing to be obedient to God’s will?
“The Kingdom expands when disciples are sent.”
In this episode, learn how Restoration Church seeks to be a training center for disciples that share in the mission of Christ as messengers of the gospel. In other words, we are “messengers on mission”.
- Do you see yourself having the same mission on earth as Christ was given, to share the message of the gospel?
- What role have you played in the direct or indirect expansion of the Kingdom of God?
- Have you experienced a season of apathy (indifference) to seeing the Kingdom of God expand?
- How might you participate further in your calling as a ‘messenger on mission’?
- How can you be more aware of God’s on-going work in the world?
- Where is the Holy Spirit sending you as a ‘messenger on mission’?
At Restoration Church we are inviting people to have an encounter with the living God by responding to the call to follow Jesus Christ and experience real spiritual transformation. We are everyday disciples of Jesus that are always learning, always growing, and always going.
- Have I responded to the call to follow Jesus Christ?
- Have I experienced a real spiritual transformation?
- Have I been baptized?
- Am I apart of an authentic discipleship community?
- Am I sharing the gift of a new life in Jesus with others?
- Pray: “Lord, where do I need to grow, be challenged, or begin obeying all that you have commanded me?”
Related: “Where We Belong // John 3:1-8”