Even wonder what Legos have to do with the Gospel? It turns out that Legos totally help explain the Gospel, and they help us understand what the church is supposed to look like!
This week we’re learning about the difference between living in community instead of living for yourself.
Start this time of study with prayer, whether you’re studying alone or with a group. Ask God to step into this time and bring about wisdom and understanding. Later in the study you’ll have a time to offer specific prayer and praise, but turn first to God before turning to his Word.
Then begin your time with the following questions.
• When have you been burned by me-first living?
• What makes it hard to set aside me-first living and embrace real community or “we-first” living instead?
• When have you seen someone else’s gifts change your life in a way you couldn’t have managed on your own?
Read 1 Corinthians 12:12-21 (NLT)
The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit
Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body? If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything?
But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. How strange a body would be if it had only one part! Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.”
Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
• How many different gifts and roles are there within the church? What are some of the different roles needed for a healthy community to flourish?
• How many of those different gifts and roles will you have? Who will have the rest?
• What happens when we join together in community with people who have those different gifts and roles? What is that community called in 1 Corinthians? How is it described in Ephesians?
Take some time to reflect on how this week’s scriptures could affect your life. Focus especially on practical steps you can take to live out what you’ve learned.
• What are some of the gifts you think God has given you? What are some gifts you feel you are lacking?
• When have you been able to use your gifts to help someone in your community?
• When has someone been able to use their gifts to meet your needs?
• Think of some of your closer friends. What gifts can you see in them?
• What makes it hard to think of yourself as part of a masterpiece? What makes it hard to think the same of people you know well?
If you’re doing this study with others, take a moment to share prayer requests. If you’d like, you can write these down as a prayer and praise report. Close your discussion with prayer.
Looking for next steps, and want to go a little deeper? Take a little more time and dive into these additional passages. Journal your thoughts and answers. If you’re working through a particular passage, try writing down the scripture and then paraphrasing it in your own words.
Jesus constantly called people to reprioritize their lives: Put God first, then others, then self. It turns out that reprioritization is also God’s plan for us to build community. Instead of chasing people, when we love God and then love our neighbors, community begins to form as a natural byproduct. Best of all, in that community of faith we find people blessed with the very gifts that we need, and the very gifts we could have never produced for ourselves.
Romans 12:3-13 (NIV)
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
• Why is community important, according to verses 3-8? How do people work in community as a “body”?
• In 1 Corinthians 13:4-12, Paul lists the attributes and manifestations of love. Here, in Romans 12:9, Paul points out,“Love must be sincere.” What makes a particular expression of love “sincere”?
• Philippians 2:29 says, “So then, welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honor people like him”. Romans 3 tells us to “honor one another above yourselves.” How do we honor people? Why is that an important part of community?
Read Hebrew 10:23-25 (NLT)
Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. 24Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
• What are some of the habits of a healthy community that we should practice, according to this passage?
• What are some practical ways you can motivate others in your community to love God and love others?
• What are some ways you can practically encourage people in your community?