- How have you intentionally supported your church family with your finances, presence, or service in the past? (Acts 2:44-47)
- We live in a culture that is all about the individual and very little about community. Why do you think that is? Why can’t you bring such a mentality into the church?
- In what areas are you investing well into the Body of Christ? In what areas are there room for improvement?
- Question for other group members to answer for you: In what ways has God gifted you?
- What is something you can do this week to develop your gifting and invest in your church family?
1 Corinthians 12 (verses 4-11 below)
4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5 and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; 6 and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.
3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. 4 For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, 5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.6 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7 if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; 8 the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.
4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 7 But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore it says,
“When he ascended on high he led a host of captives,
and he gave gifts to men.”
9 (In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? 10 He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) 11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
Commentary on 4:8-9 – Paul is not stating here that Christ descended to hell in order to rescue the righteous who died before him. Those who make this argument claim that hell was a temporary waiting place for the righteous. But this is not consistent with the OT (Gen 5:24, 2 Kings 2:11-12) or the NT (Luke 16:22-26, Matt 17:1-3), for we know of many who were already in the presence of the Lord. Rather, his quote of Psalm 68:18 in this passage is a declaration of the gospel. Jesus Christ descending into the lower regions speaks of him leaving heaven, taking on flesh, and coming down to Earth. The ESV translates this well, with lower regions and the earth in apposition to one another. Some think this refers to Christ going to the grave, which is acceptable. His ascension refers to his resurrection and being taken up 40 days later. Our victorious king conquered sin and death, and therefore he set humanity free by providing access back to God through faith. As a victorious king he distributed gifts to his followers. In this context, Paul is referring to spiritual gifts. This was seen first at Pentecost, when the promised Helper indwelled the Twelve. Thus spiritual gifts are a product of the Holy Spirit indwelling a believer upon their salvation by faith in the work of Christ. The descension and ascension are the bookends of his work. These could be referring to the burial and resurrection of Christ or they could be referring to the coming of Christ into the world and his ascension into heaven. Both are acceptable because they incorporate Christ conquering death, but the later seems to be more probable to me (Andrew Murphy). It fits better with the literal destinations mentioned by Paul, speaking of his departure and return to heaven. Dr. Constable favors the former option.
1 Peter 4:10-11
10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
6 Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches. 7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
For every beast of the forest is mine,
the cattle on a thousand hills.
24 The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.
2 Corinthians 9:6-7
6 The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
I Am a Church Member by Thom S. Rainer
Multiplying Missional Leaders by Mike Breen
Creature of the World by Matt Chandler & Eric Geiger
To Live is Christ by Matt Chandler
You want to walk away from your R3 group with an action step every time. These are ONLY examples of an action step. By no means are they required. Please feel free to (and seek to) come up with your own. The goal of R3 is to take realistic steps forward together. Please only choose one step and be prepared to report back to your group on how you did the next time you meet.
- For those struggling financially – consider taking the Financial Peace University class provided at The Heights.
- Identify one spiritual gift you have and flex that spiritual muscle by using it to bless someone in your church family in just one way before your group meets again.
- Set aside $20 at the start of the week. Spend it on or give it to another believer who could be encouraged by it before next meeting.