Loosening the Chains of the Spiritually Poor

Loosening the Chains of the Spiritually Poor

Click here to download the PDF version of this study

Warm up

Have a glance at the following picture. What part of the picture might represent where you are at the moment in your relationship with God? If there is nothing that works for you, draw yourself into the picture!

Spiritual Poverty

Phil in his sermon defined Spiritual poverty as not is not having what is needed to spiritually live – to have life in all its fullness! 

Read Revelation 3:14-20

Reflecting Questions:

  1. What seems to be the cause of the Church in Laodicea’s lukewarmness?
  2. How can we guard ourselves against self-sufficiency?  How can we grow in depending on God rather than on ourselves?
  3. How is God’s grace and mercy reflected in verses 19-20? 

God’s Justice is Mercy?

Watch Archbishop Kay Goldsworthy –  

Common Grace- Jesus + Justice Series: Mercy is God’s Justice

Reflecting Questions:

  1. Do you agree with Archbishop Goldsworthy that God’s justice is full of mercy, rather than judgement?   Kay reflected on her own experience of receiving God’s forgiveness and mercy … have you experienced this in your life?
  2. What can we learn about the very nature of God’s own love through Christ’s example of loving kindness and compassion?   Read 1 John 4:19-21.  What should our response be to the Lord of God?
  3. In the neighbourhoods around our homes and church there are people and families who are struggling, where circumstances have left them broken, hurting or destitute.   How could we show God’s loving kindness, mercy, and grace to them – particularly those we may perhaps overlook or feel are undeserving of kindness?

Deep Dive – Grace in the Old and New Testament

Watch “Bible Project – Grace” :

Climate change and Bangladesh … does it impact on poorer nations unequally?

Reflecting Questions:

  1. The video from the Bible project talked about the Hebrew word for “gracious” – “khanun” – and how is often translated as “grace”.   But this same word can also be translated with words like “delight,” “favour,” “charm,” or “beauty” and also refer to an act of generous favour such as the way God responds when undeserving people cry out for God for help.  Look up the following passages and discuss how the word “Grace” or “Gracious” is used in these passages
  2. In the New Testament, the Greek word “kharis” is often translated as “grace.” Read John 1:14-17.  How does Jesus fully embody God’s glorious grace?
  3. When extraordinary gifts of grace are given, they cannot be experienced unless they are received. Read Ephesians 2:8-9  as well as 1 Peter 5:4-7.   According to these passages, with what attitude do people receive God’s gift of kharis?

Prayer:   Seeing with Fresh Eyes

Watch Commission to Love:

The premise for justice is a fundamental care of the wellbeing of others. In the video Mike Frost explores the conversation between Jesus and Peter that takes place directly after the resurrection.

Jesus + Justice Series – Commissioned to Love

Reflecting Questions:

  • How do you respond to Mike’s idea that a love for Jesus can’t be separated from caring for your neighbour?
  • This Easter as we reflect on God’s unlimited love and Grace shown to us through Jesus, we are reminded that Jesus’ call us to love others without limits too.  Is there a person or situation that God is prompting you to share love with this Easter?

You may like to have a time of open prayer, or you can pray an adaption of a prayer by Dr Deidre Palmer – President of the Uniting Church in Australia:

Gracious and loving God,

You call us to love you with our whole being, and to love our neighbours as ourselves.  In this time of Lent, which seems dominated by issues of floods, war and politics, may your love hold us together.  May your love be the lens through which we see each other and your world.

Lord Jesus Christ, you are present with us.  We ask that you bring comfort and peace to all those who are suffering or struggling at this time.  May we embody your compassion – responding by showing love and grace to our neighbours, our families, our friends, and strangers with generosity.

Life-giving Spirit, you weave us together as the Body of Christ, strengthen our life together. This Easter we ask that you nurture us in faith and discipleship, that we may bear witness through our living, to your abundant grace and liberating hope for all people, and the whole creation.Through Christ our Life and Hope, we pray.