Welcome to the third week of our summer series The Generosity of God. In this series, we look at four of the ways God is generous. This weekend, East Paris Campus Pastor Bob King shows us how God is generous through his grace, mercy and peace. In this discussion, we will examine how undeserved generosity creates a trail back to God.
Building healthy and life-giving relationships.
What has been new or challenging in your life since last time the group met? Spend 20–30 minutes checking in with each other.
Summer is rapidly transitioning into fall bringing new responsibilities and schedules. Take a few moments to go around your circle. Invite each person to share any seasonal transitions they are experiencing, and then pray for them.
Share part of your story.
Share a funny story from your childhood when thought you got away with something.
Taking next steps toward Christ together.
Look back at 2 John 1-6. Have someone read through these verses. Identify the specific outcomes that grace, mercy and peace should produce in a person. Which one do you feel you practice consistently? Which one needs some attention in your life?
Grace is receiving what we don’t deserve. This past weekend, Pastor King reminded us that grace cannot be earned, bought or deserved. Describe a time in your life when you tried to earn God’s grace? How has this affected your relationship with God?
God demonstrated undeserved generosity by sending us Jesus—who forgives our many sins and restores our broken relationship with God. Through Jesus, God gave us what we don’t deserve so we ought to give others what they don’t deserve. In light of Jesus’ example, would you identify yourself as more likely to give grace to others or give them what they deserve?
What are some ways you see grace, in the form of undeserved generosity, modeled in our culture?
Identify a person in your life who needs undeserved generosity. What fears do you have in taking this step?
Pastor King used the notebook illustration to highlight how we can often view our sin as infrequent, insignificant and inconsequential. Give each person in your group an opportunity to define sin.
Have someone read 1 John 1:8-10. What kind of response should we expect from God if we acknowledge and confess our sins? If we deny?
Mercy is not receiving what we do deserve. Have someone read Romans 6:23. What does the passage say the penalty is for sin?
Take a moment and have someone read 1 John 2:1-2. What did Jesus do about the penalty for sin?
Think through your life and the many notebooks your sinful thoughts, words and behaviors could fill. John’s words remind us that Jesus’ sacrifice for us ought to motivate us to live a life of sacrifice for others. However, it is easy for us to withhold from others the same grace, mercy and forgiveness freely given to us. What prevents us from extending mercy to a person who has hurt us? How have you seen mercy withheld in our culture? What thoughts and emotions surface within you? In what ways could this change your perspective on giving grace and mercy?
What are some things we can do to make sacrificing for others normal in our life?
Peace is knowing in the end Jesus wins. Giving grace and mercy to people who have hurt us is not easy and does not always end well. Describe a time when you extended grace and mercy to a person who hurt you, but it ended badly.
Jesus’ disciple John faithfully followed and obeyed but finished his life living in poverty and exiled from the people he loved. What questions do you think might be on John’s heart during this season?
Have someone read John 16:33 then discuss this statement, “Peace stems from knowing that wrongs will be made right.” How should the words of Jesus and this statement practically affect our faith and lives?
The sermon reminded us that a prayer gives voice to a changed heart and helps tune our behavior toward obedience. Take a moment in your circle to provide space for confession. Write down or silently pray these words, ”God, I admit I am a sinner. Some sins I am aware of and others I am not. I confess them all to you and ask for your forgiveness. Help me to follow you and reflect your heart in my life.” If you prayed this prayer for the first time, tell your group and celebrate that you are a follower of Jesus!
INVEST IN OTHERS
Valuing people outside the group and outside the faith.
Discuss how you and your group can better engage the people in your life outside your small group.
Our social circles are filled with hurting people who are far from God. Have each person identify one person in their social circle in desperate need of peace and then pray for them by name. Ask God for the opportunity to have a spiritual conversation, invite them to your small group or meet them at a church service.
Grace is getting something we don’t deserve. Identify a neighbor, co-worker or family member to practice undeserved generosity. Choose a practical way you can serve them expecting nothing in return.
Download a printable PDF here.