Saturday, February 8, 2014

Isn’t Religion the Cause of Much of the Violence in the World? Message Outline

Isn’t Religion the Cause of Much of the Violence in the World?
Know Why You (Can) Believe, Part 6
Romans 12:14-21

How can we demonstrate that the Christian faith provides the best hope for peace amongst diverse groups of people?

1.    Invest in hurting people

Romans 12:16–17 (ESV)  16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.

2.    Do all you can to relate well with all people

Romans 12:16–18 (ESV)  16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

3.    Do practical good to your enemies

Romans 12:14–15 (ESV) 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.

Romans 12:19–21 (ESV) 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Questions for Discussion and Further Reflection
1.     What does it mean to bless? What does it mean to curse people?
2.     What hardships do you believe qualify as persecution?
3.     How do we account for the violence done in the name of religion in general and the Christian faith in particular when Jesus clearly taught that his disciples should love their enemies?
4.     What role does empathy play in loving people who are different?
5.     How does pride contribute to strife and enmity?
6.     Why do you think Paul uses the phrase, “if possible” in verse 18?

7.     What do you think that it means to leave vengeance to the wrath of God?

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