How Faith Sees Things
Have everyone unmute themselves for this activity. Each person will participate once, and after they have participated, they will mute themselves. This way everyone can see who is still left. One person will share a current problem that people face, as well as how the world sees that problem. Then another person will share how faith might view that issue. The first person will start with, “The world says…” The second person will respond with, “Faith says…” For example, the first person may say, “The world says COVID-19 has ruined everything. I don’t have a job anymore.” The second person may say, “Faith says now I have more time to invest in my family and I don’t have to juggle work and home life. I’m trusting God for my needs.” Continue this back and forth, with one person sharing a problem from the world’s view and another responding with how faith in the Lord might view that until everyone in the group has participated and is muted. These do not need to be actual problems that members of your group are experiencing – they can be hypothetical situations.
(Note: If you are using a platform that doesn’t allow muting, have everyone raise a hand and when they have shared something, they can put their hand down.)
Prior to your group meeting, let everyone know they will need a blank piece of white paper and a pen or pencil for this activity. They may also want to have crayons, markers, or colored pencils available, but that is not required.
During group, have each member draw a danger or warning sign for something they are currently facing that could snare them in their spiritual life. For example, someone who is easily drawn into office drama and gossip when chatting with coworkers may draw a Caution sign with the word “gossip” on it. Another example: a wife who is struggling to forgive her husband and is harboring hate in her heart may draw a Stop sign with the word “bitterness” on it. Consider screensharing the attached images of warning signs to help with creativity.
Give your group members 2-3 minutes to draw/decorate their sign. Then have everyone take turns holding up their sign so everyone else can see it and explaining what they drew and why.
(Note: If anyone doesn’t have video capabilities, have them either describe their sign to the group and/or take a picture of their sign and text it to the group so everyone can see it. Also, if screen sharing is not available, the leader can email the warning signs page ahead of group so everyone can see it.)
1. In this week’s message, Dave Bechtel defined faith as, “believing what God has revealed.” See Hebrews 11:1. Romans 14:23b defines sin as “whatever does not proceed from faith” [ESV]. A. How have you defined faith and sin? B. What are some obstacles to faith that Christians encounter, and how might these lead us to sin, that is, doing things apart from faith?
(Intent: A. Defining faith can be a bit like the proverbial story of the blind men and the elephant – we tend to define things by our own experience. Use Romans 14:23b and examine the experiences through which group members have defined faith. B. Some examples may include: getting caught up in life, following the crowd - even the Christian crowd, failure to keep our eyes firmly fixed upon Jesus who writes our faith story and who alone is the one who perfects us.)
2. Read Luke 17:1-3a. A. What are some examples of things people may do to make others stumble? B. What is something you might do, deliberately or not, that could make another stumble? Consider the severity of the consequences to you and the other in doing this.
(Intent: A. Answers may involve ways that we live that reflect the world and its values rather than Christ. B. Examples might include: grumble, condemn, or speculate about circumstances, people or other’s actions.)
3. Read Luke 17:3b-6. A. Share a time when you withheld forgiveness from someone, or someone withheld forgiveness from you. What do you think was driving the unwillingness or inability to forgive? B. How did the disciples respond to Jesus' command here? C. How does having faith in the Lord help us to forgive others?
(Intent: A. Forgiveness requires faith in God. Possible barriers to forgiveness include pride, payback, and condemnation. All of these are sin. B. The disciples recognized their own weakness and the inadequacy of their faith to accomplish what Jesus was commanding. C. Faith believes that God alone empowers our forgiveness and will eventually set things right. In v. 6 Jesus shows that true faith in the smallest degree is enough to accomplish great results.)
4. Read Luke 17:7-10. Why is it important to see ourselves not only as children of God, but as unworthy servants?
(Intent: Here are some ideas. First, because it's true; we know we are saved by grace, not works. Second, understanding our subservient position enhances our propensity to glorify Christ, Philip. 2:9-11. Humility, the opposite of pride, is a critical quality to being saved and sanctified. Third, following the commands of God out of duty is ground-level obedience. The higher standard is operating by faith motivated by love. Our basis for faith is God’s ability through Christ to perfectly work out in us what we cannot possibly accomplish on our own.)
5. Read Luke 17:11-19. A. Thinking of leprosy as a picture of sin, what is something from which the Lord has healed you, or something from which you need forgiveness and healing? This could be a grudge, a stumbling block, lack of faith, pride, ingratitude, an offense, or mistreatment. B. Like the single leper, thank the Lord for healing you have received.
Faith can only grow in the presence of God. Like a plant, it first sprouts when heat comes upon a small seed and it sees the light. It grows with nurturing and exposure to the elements. Great faith is the sovereign work of an almighty God; our part is to remain in the light and grow where we are planted.
Ask the Lord to reveal to you where He sees you in your faith journey today. Is it a mustard seed? Is there sin that binds you in unbelief? Is it a growing faith based on relationship with Christ and dependence upon Him? Wherever you find yourself on this road, ask the Lord, “Increase [my] faith!” He is able.