We Are Better Together
Context: The following is a discipleship lesson focusing on a core value of being an authentic disciple of Jesus. These build on the foundation laid in our resources for Exploring Christianity and Mentoring a New Christian. You can see the Table of Contents for this lesson series here.
Big Idea: In the Gospel we have been brought into the family of Jesus. We are better together.
Part 1: Discovery
Read and reflect on these Scriptures:
Old Testament Reading: Psalm 133 Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!...For there the Lord has commanded the blessing, life forevermore.
New Testament Reading: Ephesians 2.11 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
Gospel Reading: John 17.20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. 24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”
Questions For Discussion:
1. What are these passages saying in your own words?
2. How do we see the beauty and majesty of Jesus in these passages?
3. What does this passage teach us about life?
Part 2: Nurture
Now that we have discovered truth about Jesus with our minds, we want to nurture these truths in our hearts.
Questions For Discussion:
1. Recent reports have identified loneliness as one of the most deadly conditions in our world. Why is the fact that the Gospel brings us together, and makes us better together meaningful?
2. Have you experienced loneliness and isolation in your life?
3. Have you had a meaningful experience being a part of a church community in the past?
4. What might it look like to experience more of the "We are better together" in your life? What fruit would this bear in your life and in our world?
Part 3: Apply
As we have seen from the Word that the Gospel heals, and now that we have nurtured this truth in our hearts so that we not only see it, but savor it, what are practices we can incorporate in our lives in order for this to be a growing part of our lives?
1. Remember that spiritual practices are not the answer for a disciple, but they lead an authentic disciple to The Answer Himself.
2. Embracing a life of spiritual practices doesn't keep us from the spontaneous leadership of the Spirit, they actually sensitize and make us aware in a greater way in our day to day lives and the situations we encounter.
3. Also, a common mistake disciples make in being intentional in embracing spiritual practices is taking on too much at once, getting discouraged and quitting. As you look at these practices be in prayer about what step the Holy Spirit is calling you to take and become consistent with.
Practice 1: Lifegroup - Committing to consistent Christian community where you can know and be known, encourage and be encouraged, serve and be served is a powerfully transformative practice.
Practice 2: Gifting Assessments- Jesus has given spiritual gifts to his disciples. Giftings assessments help us recognize those gifts in order to be of service to others. We recommend Strengths Finder, Enneagram or this online gifting assessment to help you learn your strengths for the purpose of building up others.
Practice 3: Read Passion and Purpose by Jimmy Siebert to get a view of the history of our church family and what it looks like when people take this idea of we are better together with intentionality.
1. Which of these practices have been a part of your discipleship to Jesus?
2. After taking some time to pray, how do you sense the Holy Spirit leading you to respond in regards to what we have talked about today?