NASHVILLE (BP) — This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week’s Bible study is adapted from the Bible Studies For Life curriculum.
Bible Passage: Ephesians 4:1-7, 11-16
— When has being a part of a group helped you accomplish something big?
— Why is it essential to strive for unity within the church?
— Why is it so difficult to maintain unity in the church?
— What does “speaking the truth in love” look like?
Food for Thought:
The English poet John Donne wrote, “No man is an island, entire of itself.” An interconnectedness exists among us all. No one survives and thrives without assistance from others, not even in the church. However, when we examine the behaviors and attitudes of most Americans, it looks like a sea of islands.
Western culture in the 21st century surely stands out as the most radically individualistic culture in human history. It seems like every person makes every decision with one thing and one thing alone in mind: “What’s best for me (or for my family)?” Too often we give little consideration to how our lives and choices impact other people.
When we come to Christ we are joined with other believers in His church. Our individual lives and relationship with Christ are not just about “me;” they are about “we.” We must leave individualism at the door when joining Christ’s church. Why? Because God saves us not only for our own benefit, but also to bless and support others, especially fellow Christians. The church provides a visual manifestation of how we are interconnected as the body of Christ.
Many Americans think about church almost exclusively in terms of their spiritual needs and what services the church might provide to them. These expectations lead them to search for a church with the most palatable preaching, most enjoyable music and most relevant programs. They basically approach church like shopping for a car: surf the web, visit the dealerships, go on a test drive, and sign on the dotted line.
God certainly saves us in a very personal way. But while He saves us personally to Himself, He also joins us collectively to His church. In contrast to our culture’s individualism, the Bible teaches that believers share a great responsibility for one another. So rather than approaching church for my spiritual needs alone, the Gospel expands my value system to include how I might support also the growth of others.
Bible Studies for Life
Bible Studies for Life connects the Bible to life for adults, students and kids. Bible Studies for Life helps individuals and groups know God’s Word through trustworthy content, creates biblical community through engaging and conversational group studies, and helps people engage the culture missionally by unpacking what the Bible says about real-life issues. More information can be found at www.biblestudiesforlife.com.