Sermon 2020-05-24

Grace for the Differences

1 Corinthians 8
Rev. Tim Meendering
May  24, 2020

Order of Service

  • Welcome and Call to Worship
  • Song – All Creatures
  • Song – Grace Alone
  • Sermon – Grace for the Differences (scroll down for sermon notes)
  • Song – The Wonderful Cross
  • Closing Blessing

Sermon Notes

Questions for family/small group discussions:
  • Where do you see the most potential for division and the “social distancing” of relationships in the church family at this time of the pandemic? Why is there such emotion and struggle around reopening —generally, and for worship?
  • Where do you see your own impatience rise up with those who have different beliefs and actions? Why are division and strained relationships so dangerous?
 
How are we to relate to each other through our differences and diversity? For all of our differences, we are called to a posture of gospel grace. We see three principles to help us understand what this means:
 
1. Everyone is on a different winding journey.
  • Can you see how you sometimes insist that other people believe, think, and act like you? Do you see the arrogance in that? What do you see in 1 Corinthians 11:1 about the responsibility of looking for others to be like you?
  • Why would God design the church community so that it always involves those who are at different and changing levels of maturity and knowledge?
  • Would you lean toward being a rule-follower for the sake of your conscience or one who “knows better” and doesn’t worry so much about the rules?
 
2. Relationship over right.
  • What do Romans 15:1, 7 and 14:1 say about God’s priorities when there are differences in beliefs and practices? What is your history or inclination when you engage with those who are different or wrong in their beliefs about reality and God?
  • What are some ways that you could “bear with the failings of the weak” or bear their burden (Romans 15:1)? Do you naturally work to really understand, sympathize, and weigh the pluses and minuses of others’ beliefs?
  • What does 1 Corinthians 8:13 and 9:19-23 say about what Paul was willing to do for those who were “weak” or very different? What could this look like for you this week with a co-worker, neighbor, or family member?
  • Do you catch yourself gleeful over the failures of others? Where do you most tend to feel superior over others?
 
3. Down is the way up.
  • Who are the highest concerns in 1 Corinthians 8:1 and 9:19-23 and what are we to do for them? What makes it possible for us to make real progress for changing, stooping, and submitting for the sake of others?
  • How do you think you most demonstrate self-dependence and self-salvation? What does the gospel say about what is the basis for your acceptance by God?
  • Do you see how Jesus pursued, changed, sacrificed, submitted, welcomed, bore your weaknesses, and accepted you long before you could believe rightly? How does this change how you are to approach others who think wrongly or differently than you? Who could you pursue, welcome, and accept this week?
 
Resources for further study, application, and loving Jesus: