LIFE GROUP / GROW GROUP NOTES
This term we’re working through the 12th chapter of Paul’s famous letter to Rome.
Through these 21 verses, Paul starts trekking down from the mountain peaks of the ‘mercies of God’ into the day-to-day lives of Christians.
In this series we will explore what genuine faith looks like, how justice can flow, where mercy triumphs over judgment and how real transformation happens in a community shaped by God
We will see that God wants us to live well, so that we can be truly alive in Him: to move from dead, dry religion, to living in the full vibrant colour God intended for our lives.
Here is how the verses will be split up in our 13-part sermon series:
After having a general catch up, there are two approaches you can take to Life Group discussions.
1. Discovery Bible Study – this approach can be used with any passage of Scripture that you choose to look at. The key aim of these is for people to come away with specific actions they would like to put into practice in coming weeks and for the group to catch up about these in future weeks. The main questions are always the same and the ‘roles’ should be shared across the group on the night.
This style of discussion requires no preparation and no prior knowledge of the passage.
SUGGESTION: On the night assign people different roles depending on their confidence levels.
2. Passage-based questions – these are questions that are designed for more in-depth discovery of the meaning of a text. These are best to help people grow together in their knowledge of God and awareness of how the truth affects their lives.
This style of discussion requires a bit more preparation and/or prior knowledge to help steer the conversation.
SUGGESTION: Encourage everyone to look at the list of questions and suggest which question they’d be interested to discuss.
General catch up questions
Since last time we met, what has God done that you are thankful for?
Over the last week what has caused you stress or pain?
Role 1 – Someone asks around the group, ‘How have you been able to put into practice what we’ve learned together recently?’
Role 2 – Someone read the passage
Role 3 – Someone else read it again in 1 or 2 other translations (try NIV, NLT, CSB, ESV, KJV).
Role 4 – Someone restate the passage, from memory, in their own words.
Role 5 – Someone else asks these basic questions:
Role 6 – Someone writes down what people would like to commit to do in the near future, for further discussion next week.
Mercy. Paul anchors the whole of Romans 12 in “God’s mercy”. Read Romans 3:21-26; Ephesians 2:4-8; Luke 1:50; and Deuteronomy 4:31-what is God’s mercy?
Mercy. What connection does Jesus’ crucifixion have to the mercy of God?
The World. Paul calls his readers not to “conform any longer to the pattern of this world*”. Read Romans 3:10-18 – how does Paul describe the pattern of this world? Why is it so easy or tempting to be twisted into those ways of behaving?
_* In context, “world” means the default outlook of all human beings that is indifferent and/or hostile to God’s rule; and is unduly influenced by Satan. _
Offering our lives. Paul urges Romans to “offer up their bodies” to God. How do we see Jesus do this in His life? What would you need to sacrifice in order to offer each part of your life more fully to God?
Renewing our minds. Paul urges Christians to “be transformed by the renewing of their minds”. How do you keep your mind renewed rather than letting them it be influenced by unGodly ideas and beliefs?
Self evaluation. How are we meant to think about ourselves, in light of God’s mercy?
Humility. Do you think humility is a virtue in society today? Describe the power of real humility in a person and a community.
Sober-thinking. Why are we tempted sometimes to think of ourselves too highly (or lowly)? How does the gospel of Jesus’ death and resurrection help us avoid having too high or low opinion of ourselves?
Gifts. Spend some time discussing the gifts God has given to everyone in the group. Start by asking each person what they think God has gifted them to do and then ask others to comment on what they believe are that person’s gifts.
*If you’d like to read a really helpful blog about one-body and gifts, click here.
Gifts and comfort-zones. If we’re mainly meant to do what we are ‘gifted at’, does that mean we don’t need to step outside of our ‘comfort zones’? Can you think of any examples from Scripture that show someone requiring supernatural boldness to do something that they are naturally good at?
Gifts and responsibilities. In Romans 12:3 Paul says ‘For by the grace/gift given me I say to every one of you’. This doesn’t sound like Paul is talking about the skills/talents that God had given him, but rather the responsibility. But he uses the word ‘gift’. How might this adjust our perception of ‘God-given gifts’?
The list of gifts. Paul tells the Romans to “use” or “exercise” their gifts. Try and come up with a definition for each named gift (listed below). Share any examples of how you have seen/benefited from any of these gifts at Westminster Chapel.
*New Testament prophecy is a message spoken publicly by a Christian containing information the speaker believes they have received from God that they did not otherwise know or learn through ordinary means. NT prophecies are subservient to the Bible and (unlike OT prophecies) are not infallible. If anyone wants more information, please speak to your Life Group Leader or one of the Elders.
Fake Love. What is insincere or hypocritical about the “loving” actions in the following passages: Mark 14:43-45; 1 John 3:14; 1 John 3:16-18; and 1 John 4:20. What examples of insincere or hypocritical love have you experienced or can you think of?
Hating evil. Why does Paul tell the Romans to “hate what is evil”? Is this incompatible with the first part of verse 9? Give some practical examples of things Christians are meant to hate.
Clinging to good. Why do you think Paul tells the Romans to “cling to good” rather than just “do good”? What are some practical ways you can apply this verse in your day-to-day life?
Discernment. How can you learn to tell the difference between good and evil, in situations that are not clearly ‘black or white’? Where else does the Bible talk about this and how does that help us answer the question above? (1 Tim 1:5, Heb 5:14).
We are Family! Paul emphasises that we should think of our church as family. What difference does that make compared to thinking of it as a society, a club or a religious institution?
Showing honour. What are some ways that we can show one another how valuable they are?
Zeal. Paul calls the Romans not to be lazy. What else did he say on this topic and why? (see Ephesians 2:10; Ephesians 4:28; Acts 20:34-35; Titus 3:14; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13)?
Works. How do you square the verses in question 1 with Paul’s other writings that salvation is by grace through faith not works (Ephesians 2:8-9)?
Spiritual fervour. Translators disagree about whether Paul is saying the Romans should serve in a fervent spirit (ie with individual enthusiasm) or by the Holy Spirit’s fervour (ie God inspired enthusiasm). Could it be both at the same time? How can we practically seek the Holy Spirit’s help and empowerment?
Serving the Lord. Paul calls the Romans to channel their efforts and enthusiasm into “serving the Lord”. Why do people in cities like Rome and London need this reminder? Looking back at the previous 10 verses and Colossians 3:17, what are some ways we can serve Jesus?