Catch up on how things have been since the last time your Impact Group met. Allow anyone new to introduce themselves. Then ask group members:
Ask for a volunteer to read Romans 15:1-7 to the group, praying a short prayer that – however much they’ve come to know Jesus, they’d know him better as a result of your time together.
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Suggested questions to help your discussion.
Romans 14-15 addresses two groups of Christians in Rome: the ‘strong’ and the ‘weak.’
Some of the Jewish Christians in Rome apparently believed that the Old Testament laws were still authoritative for Christians – that Christians should avoid certain meats and observe Jewish holy days. They thought that such practices were essential to avoid becoming spiritually unclean. This group were apparently the minority.
The majority of the church – mainly Gentiles – considered these laws a ridiculous hangover from Judaism. They were probably belittling the Jewish Christians when they referred to them as ‘weak.’ For their part, they prided themselves on being ‘strong.’
Paul makes it clear he agrees theologically with the ‘strong’ (see Romans 14:14; 15:1). Christians are not under the law (Romans 6:14). Paul himself did not always follow the practices of the Jewish law (see 1 Corinthians 9:19-23). However, his overriding concern is not with who is right and who is wrong. He is much more concerned about unity. For Paul, these issues are not worth dividing over – and certainly do not justify the lack of love the strong were apparently showing the weak.
To Paul, Christian freedom is a wonderful thing – but love for brothers and sisters is a greater thing still.
Friendships are great – but not if they cause us to avoid welcoming others, either intentionally or unintentionally. Discuss:
Confess together where you’ve failed to welcome other Christians in the past. Then pray that God would make you want to welcome others more than to stay comfortable, especially with an eye on autumn term.
Use these questions to consider how you might best welcome the range of Christians who’ll arrive at your university next term.
Here are some ideas to start thinking about now!
You may have people in your Impact Group who are new to reading the Bible.
Confirm the time that you’ll meet next week, and ask someone to close your time together in prayer.
Taking it further – links you might like to share with your Impact Group
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