Many of the things people resist about the church are things the church should have resisted. Jesus initiated the church to resist the Temple Model, which was focused on sacred places, sacred men, sacred texts and scared or superstitious followers. He initiated a new covenant that is less complicated but far more demanding. It prompts us to ask, “What does love require of me?”
Food for thought
1.Read ”Jeremiah 31:33–34 “This is the brand-new covenant that I will make with Israel when the time comes. I will put my law within them—write it on their hearts!—and be their God. And they will be my people. They will no longer go around setting up schools to teach each other about God. They’ll know me firsthand, the dull and the bright, the smart and the slow. I’ll wipe the slate clean for each of them. I’ll forget they ever sinned!” God’s Decree”. Why is it important that God’s law is within us rather than just written in books?
2.Talk about a time when someone made a sacrifice on your behalf. How did that sacrifice make a difference in your life?
3.Do you tend to define the word “church” as a “house of God” or an “assembly of people”? Talk about the people, places, and events that have shaped your definition of “church.”
4.Talk about a time when you’ve seen someone use the Bible as a bat against someone else. How did it affect the person on the receiving end? How did it affect you?
5.In what area of your life—the way you use authority, behave in your marriage, or view holiness—are you most tempted to drift into the Temple Model? What are some things love requires of you in that area of your life?
6.Read John 13:1–17. What do you think this example set by Jesus means for your life? What are some ways you need to wash more feet?
7.“Holy people have dirty hands. Dirty is the new holy.” On whose behalf do you need to get your hands dirty? What is one thing you can do this week to actively love that person or group of people? How can your small group support you or get involved with you?
How can you apply these thoughts?
Our devotion to God is illustrated, demonstrated, and authenticated by our love for others. Imagine if every Christian engaged people instead of just attended church services. Imagine if every Christian used his or her authority on behalf of others. Imagine if every Christian asked, “What does love require of me?” It would change the world.
Changing your mind
“Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” John 13:14–15