Spring 2022 Bible Reading Plan - Building the Church
The way we live must align with what God has called us to. Let's look at how we live as members of Jesus' church.
I. Read Matthew 16:13-20
Matthew 16:13-20 - “Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” 20 Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.”
II. Questions for Reflection and Discussion
- How does knowing that Jesus himself built the church change the way we understand church?
- Furthermore, how does knowing that the gates of hell cannot stop His church change the way we live out being the church?
We understand that the church Jesus was building was a people for Himself. Sin created a chasm between us and a holy God. By God’s grace, that chasm has been closed! We’ve been justified by Christ’s death on the cross and are now part of His church because when God sees us, He sees Jesus’ righteousness. Our identity now becomes one who is a citizen of the Kingdom of God. The way we live must align with what God has called us to. Let’s take a look at how we live as members of Jesus’ church.
IV. Read Acts 2:42-47
Acts 2:42-47 - And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
V. Questions for Reflection and Discussion
1. In Acts 2:42 we see how the early Christians in Acts 2 built the church together. What did each of those elements mean and what do they look like in our lives today?
- Devoted themselves to the apostle’s teachings - The Gospel of Jesus!
- Fellowship - Spent time together
- Breaking of the bread- Food and Communion
- Prayer - We cannot know how to pray for one another unless we intentionally spend time together.
2. Cross of Grace has four core practices that we want the members of the church to live out together. Review each practice and discuss why each is important:
1. Gathering on Sundays
This focuses on our vertical relationship with God. We are all gathering to direct our praise and worship to God as one body.
2. Gathering in Small Groups (Community Groups)
Here we are focusing on being family with other members of the church. We are enjoying fellowship with one another through the studying of his word, sharing meals, praying together, worshiping the Lord, and hanging out!
3. Discipling One Another
A smaller group of 3-4 others doing the things you can’t do on Sundays, CG, or on your own. Here is where we find other people to really dig into one another’s lives in a way that encourages one another to be more like Jesus.
4. Living on Mission
Where you work and in your neighborhood, we are on mission to be a witness of the Gospel.
3. What are ways we can build the church individually?
- Be a light in a place of darkness
- Hospitality ministry — See someone sitting alone? Introduce yourself.
- Mercy ministry — Is there a need in your group? Can you help?
- Men's ministry – See another dude who needs help? Invite him over.
- Women’s ministry — See another woman who needs friends? Befriend her.
- Evangelism team – Do you know anyone who doesn’t know Jesus? Talk to them.
The past few weeks we have learned that we are to rise up and build the church with Jesus and each other. When we are saved from our sins through his atoning sacrifice on the cross, we are saved for a purpose, to be the vessel which God uses to bring people to Himself. The cool thing is that Jesus does not just save us and expect us to live life on our own. He wants us to live life with others! When we build His church it is for the glory of God and the good of His people.
- Pray your group can explore new ways to build the church individually and with others in the church.
- Take notes about prayer requests in your group. Each time your group meets you not only ask for new prayer requests but also follow up on previous prayer requests.
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