DISCUSSION GUIDE WEEK 1

OPENING QUESTION

What things would you think, from your knowledge and experience, MARK someone who follows Christ?

PLAY VIDEO

GO TO YOUTUBE AND SEARCH FOR METRO CITY CHURCH. CLICK ON THE VIDEO TITLED MARKED LIFE GROUP WK1.

SEARCH ON YOUR APPLE TV OR ROKU UNDER THE METRO CITY CHURCH CHANNEL. CLICK ON THE SERIES TITLED "LIFE GROUPS: MARKED SERIES". PLAY WEEK 1.

REFLECTION

Leader opens this segment with simply asking what things came to mind as people watched the video. What did it make them think or feel about the idea of freedom and grace?

GRACE=CHARIS

(pronounced: khar'-ece )—defined in Greek as:

1. That which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm or loveliness.

2. The merciful kindness by which God exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to exercise Christian virtues

Leader now shares his/her own experience of freedom through God’s grace (conversion/salvation/new birth). Please be prepared to share 3-5 minutes of what your life was like before this experience, what were the circumstances surrounding this, and what has life like been after. Also, it’s ok to be honest about struggles and doubts at times in your life, even now as a Christ follower. NOW, open up for others in the group to share. Remember there will be some people who may not have experienced God’s grace yet. We want to welcome them into the group and simply let them know that we hope they find the information they are looking for to make a good decision about following Christ.

STUDY

Go to John 8:31-47 and read as a group, then consider the following questions for dialogue and reflection:

1. What did the first century Jews think would bring them freedom? What types of things do people in our culture today generally think brings freedom?

2. According to verses 31-32, what does the path to true freedom look like?

3. Verses 42-47 contain some pretty straight talk to those who think freedom comes apart from the grace of God through Jesus. Why do you think so many people, including ourselves, find it easy to believe that Jesus is the Son of God, but hard to accept everything He really says and teaches?

4. Neither the religious leaders in this scripture nor ourselves can do anything in our own power to merit God’s undeserved love, mercy and forgiveness. True freedom (salvation), comes only by God. (Read Ephesians 2:6-8). We need this Freedom...this Grace... personally. Before we close this session we want to ask, ‘have you personally experienced the Grace of God through a relationship with Jesus Christ?’

5. To close, maybe as a group you can take a few moments to read the ‘Personal Connect’ from Pastor Jeremy and then have a personal time of prayer and reflection before the leader closes with a word of prayer.

PERSONAL CONNECT FROM PASTOR J

I was a church kid. I knew about Christ as long as I could remember. I even submersed myself in the life of various church youth groups. As far as anyone could tell I was a ‘good Christian kid.’ But the truth is I was religious at best. I did not have a personally defining relationship with Christ. It wasn’t until I was 16 at some old fashioned church camp that I came to grips with my own need for freedom. Freedom from self righteousness. Freedom from hidden sin. Freedom from a judgmental spirit. I realized that I was the one in need of God’s forgiveness and grace. I was scared to death but I walked some long aisle with hundreds of eyes looking at me and went to ‘the altar’ where I admitted my sin before God and begged his mercy asking Him to be my Leader and Lord...Friend and Savior.

You do not have to walk some aisle or have a pastor come and pray with you for you to discover real Freedom through the Grace of God, but the process for you is the same as it was for me. It starts with the recognition of your need for God. That you are far from perfect...a sinner in the need of Grace. Seek His forgiveness. Then confess your trust and belief in Christ for that grace. Ask Christ to be your leader...to take up residence within you...turning over the rule of your life to Him. You can do this right now by praying to God during a moment of silence, you can ask somebody in your group to pray with you or you can talk with God anytime you are ready. That is the starting point toward a life marked by freedom.

Leaders: Be sensitive to God's leading. You may even want to say something to the group after you close in prayer like, ‘If anyone would like to talk further about making your relationship with God personal, I would love to do that.

Talking Time

Remember, this is material for the participants to complete at home on their “own time.” Encourage couples or friends to dialogue together on the contents

Examine the following verses about freedom and take some time to reflect on how God is a

God who desires to set us free. Take time to pause and think on how God has accom-

plished this or desires to accomplish this in your own life. Psalm 146, Revelation 1:4-6,

2 Corinthians 3:17, Romans 8:18-21.