The Early Church and Lucian

The Early Church

What was hard and healthy about your biological family growing up?
Do you think Americans are good at doing family?

A critic of Christianity in about 180AD wrote the following:
"The Christians, you know, worship a man to this day—the distinguished personage who introduced their novel rites, and was crucified on that account. … You see, these misguided creatures start with the general conviction that they are immortal for all time, which explains their contempt of death and voluntary self-devotion which are so common among them; and then it was impressed on them by their original lawgiver that they are all brothers, from the moment that they are converted, and deny the gods of Greece, and worship the crucified sage, and live after his laws. All this they take quite on faith, with the result that they despise all worldly goods alike, regarding them merely as common property."
-Lucian, The Passing of Peregrinus

Middle eastern culture values family very highly and yet the first Christians valued their 'family-ship' even higher….

Discuss

  • What keeps us modern Christians from enjoying Christian family?
  • Right now, what do people who are not Christians say about the Church as a family? 
  • How can the church be lovingly counter-cultural?

 

Community Group Family Practices Brainstorm

Ideas about Family

If you were to describe my bio family in one sentence what would it be? (IE: The Flacks are loyal, loving, and relationally shallow.)
What are the ways you have felt let down by your family?
What are the most important ways your family has shaped you?
What does it mean to your family that you follow Christ?
Fill in the blank: Family is……

Discuss Further:

  • How can we be as a Community Group Family?
  • What sorts of words would you use to describe it? In one sentence, what is this Community Group?
  • What are things our CG can do together to shape who we are? 
    • What about taking communion?
    • Prayer?
    • Meals together?

 

One Another

THE ONE-ANOTHER'S OF THE BIBLE

God tells Christians brothers and sisters in Christ how to treat each other by the “One Anothers.” There are 59 of these: Google "The One Another's of the Bible" and print off or just look at together - read through them, mark one that speaks to you and what challenges you.

What do we want THIS family to be about? How do we want to treat each other? This could be a good spot to talk about “family norms” in your group. 

ADOPTION INTO THE FAMILY OF GOD

Read Ephesians 1:3-6 - What stands out to you in this section?

Adoption - Why must we understand our own adoption?
How has it been easy for you to sense or feel the family of God?
In what ways should the family of God be unique? What are some characteristics it/we should have?
What are some ditches we should try to avoid?

Potential Activity: Make a Family Statement (Our CG will) 

EX: Chase after Jesus in our own ways - we will own our junk - speak truth and point out error in LOVE.

CHILDREN OF GOD

1 John 3:1 Explore the idea: How great a love the Father has for us that we should be called children of God.

What character traits and attributes does a good father have?
What does it mean to you that you are called a child of God?
What is hard to believe about that statement for you?
How does your own experience of your dad play into this?
 

THE FELLOWSHIP OF BELIEVERS

-Read Acts 2:42-47

  • As the church was birthed, what strikes you about what the birth of the church looked like?
  • Four key ideas were named in vs. 42: What is the apostle’s teaching?
  • What is fellowship?
  • What is breaking of bread? Prayer?
  • Do we have expectations of God moving?
  • What does it mean for us to have everything in common? How can we practically live that out? 

LOVE ONE ANOTHER

Read John 13:34-35
Observing the passage:

  • What is the new commandment from Jesus? 
  • How are we to love one another?
  • What does Jesus’ love look like...describe it from what you know in the Bible?
  • What will happen if we love one another?
  • What are some practical reasons why we don’t treat each other like family?
  • What could it practically look like? 

The Scripture for Disciples

Read through each of these sections of Scripture. Discuss how each applies to parts of our journey together as disciples of Jesus.

  • Mark 1:16-20  Follow…..
  • Matthew 28: The call….
  • Matthew 6-8 working through sermon on the mount….how is this the cross life lived out - what is my life like lived out?
  • Matthew 16:24-28 The cost of discipleship 

Deep Discipleship Talks

THOUGHTS TO THINK THROUGH:

Here you'll find some incomplete ideas for discipleship time with your CG. These are great jumping off points.

  • Definition of Disciple: learning to live my life if he were to live my life if he were I.  - Dallas Willard
  • Gospel fluency: how do we speak gospel to the broken places of life…..bitterness, anger, etc. 
  • Could ask a friend to share gospel fluency in the broken places of life? Where are you not believing the Gospel?
  • Saved to sanctification….Being a disciple means more than simply being saved, it means exerting effort to become more like Jesus.
  • How do you listen to Jesus? How do you learn? 
  • Teaching the Lord’s prayer - examples of Jesus’ prayer

THE GREAT COMMISSION

Read Matthew 28:18-20
What do we see, what does it mean, what should we do?
What does it mean to you that you are sent? 
Do you ever forget or struggle with this?
Do you see yourself as a missionary? Why or why not?
This group is sent together - lets talk about what this means for us.
Extended time of pray considering who we may be sent to. 

ARE ALL CHRISTIANS MISSIONARIES?

Look at these two passages and blog below:
Joshua 1:1-9
Matthew 28:18-20
Blog by JD Greear

Questions to ponder after reading:
What do you think about the Spurgeon's statement, the blog, and the passages? 
What feels hard about it? What feels exciting? Was there a recent time where you were keenly aware of being a missionary? What was that like?

WE ARE MISSIONARIES

Charles Spurgeon said: “Every Christian is either a missionary or an impostor.” 
Jeff Vanderstlet said: “Everywhere you go, whatever you do, you are a missionary sent by Jesus to love like Jesus, overcome sin like Jesus, proclaim the gospel like Jesus, and see people’s lives changed by the power of the Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead. You are always on mission. Every part of your life, every activity, every event, is part of Jesus’ mission to make disciples.” 

What do you think about these statements? What feels hard about them? What feels exciting? Was there a recent time where you were keenly aware of being a missionary? What was that like?