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Friday, July 12, 2013

Loving Jesus But Hating the Church Outline and Discussion Questions

Loving Jesus But Hating the Church
Joshua 2
Reproducing Faith, Part 3

1.    Know that God uses people you don’t expect

Joshua 2:1–7 (ESV) And Joshua the son of Nun sent two men secretly from Shittim as spies, saying, “Go, view the land, especially Jericho.” And they went and came into the house of a prostitute whose name was Rahab and lodged there. And it was told to the king of Jericho, “Behold, men of Israel have come here tonight to search out the land.” Then the king of Jericho sent to Rahab, saying, “Bring out the men who have come to you, who entered your house, for they have come to search out all the land.” But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them. And she said, “True, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from. And when the gate was about to be closed at dark, the men went out. I do not know where the men went. Pursue them quickly, for you will overtake them.” But she had brought them up to the roof and hid them with the stalks of flax that she had laid in order on the roof. So the men pursued after them on the way to the Jordan as far as the fords. And the gate was shut as soon as the pursuers had gone out.

2.    See that grace is required for all to come to God

Joshua 2:8–14 (ESV) Before the men lay down, she came up to them on the roof and said to the men, “I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the fear of you has fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt away before you. 10 For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you devoted to destruction. 11 And as soon as we heard it, our hearts melted, and there was no spirit left in any man because of you, for the Lord your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath. 12 Now then, please swear to me by the Lord that, as I have dealt kindly with you, you also will deal kindly with my father’s house, and give me a sure sign 13 that you will save alive my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death.” 14 And the men said to her, “Our life for yours even to death! If you do not tell this business of ours, then when the Lord gives us the land we will deal kindly and faithfully with you.”

3.     Note that God is at work when and where you don’t expect

Joshua 2:15–24 (ESV) 15 Then she let them down by a rope through the window, for her house was built into the city wall, so that she lived in the wall. 16 And she said to them, “Go into the hills, or the pursuers will encounter you, and hide there three days until the pursuers have returned. Then afterward you may go your way.” 17 The men said to her, “We will be guiltless with respect to this oath of yours that you have made us swear. 18 Behold, when we come into the land, you shall tie this scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and you shall gather into your house your father and mother, your brothers, and all your father’s household. 19 Then if anyone goes out of the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on his own head, and we shall be guiltless. But if a hand is laid on anyone who is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head. 20 But if you tell this business of ours, then we shall be guiltless with respect to your oath that you have made us swear.” 21 And she said, “According to your words, so be it.” Then she sent them away, and they departed. And she tied the scarlet cord in the window.
22 They departed and went into the hills and remained there three days until the pursuers returned, and the pursuers searched all along the way and found nothing. 23 Then the two men returned. They came down from the hills and passed over and came to Joshua the son of Nun, and they told him all that had happened to them. 24 And they said to Joshua, “Truly the Lord has given all the land into our hands. And also, all the inhabitants of the land melt away because of us.”

Questions for Further Discussion
  • How can we address judgmentalism and prejudice in our hearts so that we authentically express openness and welcome to all kinds of people? 
  • How can we develop the kind of faith in God that trumps all other allegiances?
  • How can we determine where our ultimate allegiance lies?
  • How do we structure our church so that we we communicate a balance of both grace and truth? How can we attract people who are not like us? 
  • How would you describe what it means to fear God? How is a healthy fear of God developed? 

1 comment:

  1. It seems when we were children and sometimes maybe as adults that "we don't get it." We don't see God's reality, we only see a part of the earthly reality. And I wonder what it will take for a significant number of us to experience God's steadfast love as better than life or want to be satisfied only by His steadfast love. Maybe we do but I keep asking myself are we doing enough, are we making a difference, is there more that God wants us to do outside the church? I've been unkind and worse than you were with that kid when you were a child. Then one time I don't know why but I tried to be friendly to a guy in my homeroom in high school whose appearance and maybe some low self esteem kept him from fitting in (I wonder what ever happen to him). But during those years I truly was doing some stupid stuff. I can only hope God was causing me to be a friend to that un-liked guy, at least that one time. You've been talking about living our faith so as to make an impact on the next generation. I know many people that did that for me even though I didn't recognize it at the time. God has used so many people to work in my heart, to change my heart. But I wish they had tried to explain why they did what they did. Explaining there faith in God. I saw them at church, knew that they were Christians, but can't remember them actually putting their faith into words as we interacted, speaking scripture as the reason they did what they did outside the church (except for this one man I met when I was a about 16, but that is another story). Don't get me wrong I knew they acted according to their faith, but just didn't seem to help me put that together to the point that "I got it", that faith is lived. They taught me a lot, i just didn't connect the dots between the Christian faith and our daily lives outside the church. My prayer and hope is that I will live my faith in Christ out loud, that I would be "an instrument for His noble purposes", "until I declare your power to the next generation, Your might to all who are to come". Keep on helping us see how to do that very thing. Oh, one more thing why can't we just love who God puts in our lives not necessarily because they are different, but because the "love of Christ constrains us". Wouldn't it be good just to love others as Christ loves us? Aren't we all the same really, lost in need of a Saviour?