Oh no, we studied 3:27-31 last week…!

Hello friends,

A number of people have mentioned to me that they studied both last weeks passage (3:21-26) and this weeks passage (3:27-31) together. If that was you, I have a suggestion for what you could do this week. It comes from Stuart Starr (Church planter at Oran Park) and links in nicely with one of the main application points that have come out of our sermons in the last few weeks.

It is called 316441 and it is a systematic way of praying for people who are not yet Christians using a simple card. Stuart writes…

Please find attached the links to the PDFs for the front and back of the 316441 Cards.

A couple of quick things:

a) 316441 because we’re aiming to pray John 3:16 (that’s the 316) for four people for one year (441)

b) We ask people to put one name in each spot. A friend, A family member and a neighbour. If they don’t know one already they need to go and meet them as a first step. If they have bad relationships with their neighbours present this as a place to start the reconciliation process – just by praying..

c) The “Person I’m yet to meet yet” can’t be filled in yet. It’s about prayerful expectation and changing our outlook. The person you write down is someone that God brings into your life over the course of the year and should be written down when you have your eyes opened.

d) We ask at the start of our Growth Groups each week what’s happening with your 316441 people and what we can pray for to see everyone move just one step further.

Lastly, if you get them printed and use them in your services and then in your churches the only thing I’d ask is that you share stories as the people you pray for come to know Jesus!

Front cover
Back Cover

We have used this in our growth group and it took most of a night for us to share names and stories and where people are up to in Christ and to pray for people. We revisit the names and pray for them regularly.

The other thing I did was to get people to map their 4 people on a line between “determined atheist” and “keen Christian”. This helped them visualize the place their 4 people were and also think about what step could be taken to move them along.

I pray this works in your group as it has in ours. Remember the first task in evangelism is always prayer!

NF

Romans 3.27-31

If you have read ahead, you may be thinking, what do I do with this passage? But do not fear – the passage break up is not a mistake!

I do hope you had a great discussion in Growth Group last week about righteousness, glory, justification, redemption and atonement. Therein lies the reason why we split this last section of chapter 3 into 2. We wanted people to have the chance to really dwell upon and ponder the wonder of salvation!

So what do you do with the tail end of the chapter?

It seems to me that this section (3:27-31) is Paul’s conclusion to his rhetorical argument with the Jews. He picks up on his criticism of their boasting from 2:17 and makes sure they know that there is no merit in them claiming merit! Their pride must be put aside and they must come to Jesus like anyone else. There is only one God and he deals with all people in the same way and he will save all people in the same way – by faith.

David Seccombe helpfully writes:
From this passage we learn somethign enormously important about faith: it is the opposite of achievement. We cannot be proud of faith. Faith is our acknowledgement that we are empty and disqualified. Faith is putting out dirty hands to receive a wonderful gift. Only the utmost perversity could make of it a virtue and a matter of pride.

You may want to ponder with your group the story of the arrogant man who goes proudly to the temple and how he is an example of what Paul is critiquing. (Luke 18:9-14)

You will want to unpack the last sentence in verse 27 – which I think is just saying that the Law never saved (see 3:20) but should have driven Jews to faith for salvation. (This will also bridge into the big idea of chapter 4 – faith!!)

You will probably need to unpack the end of verse 31 which Romans will do later. Perhaps the easy way of doing that is by opening the question to the group of “Do we have to obey the Ten Commandments?” and getting them to think about what they should uphold and what they should not uphold in the Law explained in Exodus and Leviticus and why. The answer is very complex but my simple way of thinking about it is “what does Jesus fulfil and what does Jesus intensify?” Have a Read of Matthew 5:16-end to help your thinking. I’m also happy for you to ask me a question on this as you prepare….

Finally, I am planning on making sure my group really understands and believes 3:29-30. In this age of pluralism and religious tolerance, I fear that many Christian people don’t want to stand on John 14:6 and there only being one God who saves through his one Son Jesus. All other so called God’s are just human constructs made up to help people ignore the reality that they need to trust in Jesus. (You could google the story about the one way Jesus man who lives next to the Harbour bridge – it was in the smh this week.)

I’m hoping this will lead us to prayer for those who are lost.

So in terms of structure of the night, I will probably…
1. Review 1:18-3:20 picking up on 2:17
2. Review the sermon from Sunday on 3:21-26
3. Work through the rhetorical questions one at a time (v.27,29,31) picking up on the issues above.
4. Lead to a discussion of there being only one God.
5. Pray for the lost.

I’m praying for you as you lead your groups this week. Please pray for me!

“I’m never going to remember all this…!”

“I’m never going to remember all this…!”
This comment was made by one of the members of our Tuesday Night GG. He was feeling overwhelmed with Romans and felt like he was not going to get full value out of our sustained study of the book. Perhaps you or members of your group feel like this too. It is hard to remember what you had for lunch yesterday, let alone what we studied in church last week and the eight weeks before that!

Well, here is an idea you might want to implement in your group – ONE WORD SUMMARY.

How does it work?
Each time you finish a chapter, ask each member to come up with one word that summarises the message of that chapter. 
You don’t all have to have the same word – you just have to have a word that helps you remember what went on in that chapter.
(You don’t even have to have one word, you could have two or three but one word means you end up with only 16 words to remember the whole book.)
We did it last Tuesday and we came up with a collection of words for Chapter 1 & 2.

Chapter 1 – Gospel, Power
Chapter 2 – Unsafe, Fairness

My plan is to ask at the end of each chapter for new words but then also to review all the previous words to aid memory. In this way we will continually remember what has gone before. So I will ask, “What is your word for Chapter 1 and why? What is your word for Chapter 2 and why? etc etc”

If your group gives it a go, why not share the words you come up with here or on the church FB page.