Stott begins this chapter by stating that so far, our study has been individualistic. Christ’s death on the cross wasn’t just to save isolated people...but, to create a community of believers that would love one another and serve the world.
From the Day of Pentecost onward, conversion to Christ also means becoming a part of a community of believers. 1 Peter 2:4-10 shows us that personal allegiance and being part of the body of Christ can’t be separated. Take some time to consider all of the terms Peter uses to identify people who belong to Christ. Does the passage reflect on your personal experience?
How do we, as living stones, relate to Jesus, the Chief Cornerstone? New Testament believers don’t make the blood sacrifices found in the Old Testament. What are the sacrifices we offer to the Lord? (i.e. Romans 12:1-2) Verse 9 describes, in many ways, who we are in Christ. What is our responsibility, considering all we’ve been given?
Verse 10 describes Christians as people who have received mercy. What implications do you see for how believers should regard one another? What would be your response to someone who says, “I have a personal relationship with Jesus, but I don’t need to be a part of a community of believers.” Think about what being a part of a body of believers means to you.
SELF-UNDERSTANDING AND SELF-GIVING
Scripture: Luke 9:23-27; 12:22-34
John Stott says that the community of the cross, in addition to being a community of celebration, is also one of self-understanding. What is Jesus asking of His disciples, and us, in Luke 9:23-27? How does this contradict the thoughts of our society — “We’re #1”, “It’s all about me”, “Go for the gusto”.
What do you think Jesus means in Luke 9:23 by telling us to take up our cross daily? What is the paradox of Luke 9:24-25?
Luke 12:22-34 is a call both to self-worth and self-denial. We see both in this passage. Identify all the promises of God in this passage. Reflect on your understanding of yourself in light of the cross. Look at Galatians 2:20 and determine what this verse means to you.
- Pastor John