The Holy Spirit is trustworthy. It is vital that the filters through which we follow the Spirit are trustworthy too, especially the conscience, our understanding of the Bible, and one’s spiritual community.
Last week we considered feelings of guilt, shame, and condemnation. At times these feelings are appropriate and at other times they are inappropriate. Sometimes the only way to determine the morality of the situation and to live healthfully with that reality is in Christian spiritual community. Today we investigate the importance of being committed to a spiritual community.
The conscience and the Bible can become almost like a mirage without Christian spiritual community. Sometimes it shouldn’t be clear to me until it is clear to us.
Let’s illustrate the role the Christian Spiritual Community has in shaping the conscience and the understanding of the Bible by looking at one example of a person experiencing shame: Mary Beth’s story.
Christian Spiritual Community
- God is a Christian Spiritual Community. Genesis 1:26
- Christian Spiritual Community is supported by God’s creation of Eve. Genesis 2:18
- The Lord’s Prayer is a Christian Spiritual Community prayer. Matthew 6:9-13
- Prophecy is to be tested by the Christian Spiritual Community. 1 Corinthians 14:29, 1 John 4:1
- Correction is a process of the Christian Spiritual Community. 2 Corinthians 13:1
- There is a special power of prayer and God’s presence in Christian Spiritual Community. Matthew 18:19, 20
- The Jerusalem Council recorded in Acts 15:1-21 demonstrates that theology is a function of a Christian Spiritual Community.
- Understanding the nature of Christianity, many of Christianity’s creeds are stated as a Christian Spiritual Community. Nicene Creed – We believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.
The Biblical record is clear. The fullness of Christianity is only experienced in Christian Spiritual Community.
Adam’s story is the story of us all. Genesis 3:8-10
- I am afraid
- You will see me for what I really am
- So I hide
MCA Church LIFE Group Homework
Listen – My Story
- Where is the favorite place you have lived? Why?
- Do you have a story of helping someone overcome something extremely negative in his or her life?
- How easy or difficult is it for you to openly share your real self in your Life Group?
Learn – Digging Deeper
- What does Psalm 19:7-11 say about the trustworthiness of the Bible?
- Please read the eight evidences for Christian Spiritual Community. Do any of the eight raise a question in your mind or confuse you? Does one or more grab your interest?
- Please read the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13.
- How many times does the prayer include an indication that this is a community? (we, our, us) What might we learn from Jesus’ emphasis upon praying this way?
- I know my trespasses, but what are “our trespasses?”
- Might a community emphasis on “our trespasses” relate in some way to James 5:16?
- Like Adam, we hide from that which can give us life and nothing from which to hide. Why? What advice do you personally take from Psalm 139:1-6 regarding openness before God and your Christian Spiritual Community?
- Read Galatians 5:19-21. Much of the ‘fruit of the sinful nature” damages Christian Spiritual Community. List those that are lethal to Christian Spiritual Community
Life – Taking it Home
- What is God saying to you through this lesson?
- Are you willing to live in the center of the graph given by Pastor Kent in which your conscience, understanding of the Bible, and your Christian Spiritual Community make a three stranded chord that can not be broken?
- What do you need to add, delete, or change this week?
Lift – Prayer
- How may your Life Group pray with you this week?
- Is there an area of your life in which you are hiding from God and your Christian Spiritual Community? May we pray for you?
- Please pray for MCA Church’s Burkina Faso ministries and the team there this week.