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Connection Group Week 2

04/15/2018, 9:24 AM

April 15 A Gospel Community - Galatians 2:11-21 NIV


1. What's the last big disagreement you had with a family member or friend?

In Galatians chapter 2, Paul writes about the occasion where he corrected Peter for his nationalistic and exclusive behavior which goes against the gospel of the cross. This message will seek to show how the life shaped by the cross is not only for the individual Christian but how it actually has societal implications for the community life of the believer.

2. HISTORICAL CONTEXT: Read Acts 15:1-3

“Certain people came down* from Judea (SOUTHERN CHURCH) to Antioch (NORTHERN CHURCH) and were teaching the believers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.” This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question.”

2a. What stands out to you about this or what seems new to you that you hadn’t noticed before?

2b. Circumcision and the other customs of Judaism were key elements of the covenant identity that God had made with his people as a distinct people group to be a Light to the World.

Why was it difficult for some to no longer see those customs as the main way that one comes into the family of God?

2c. Where do you see Jesus and the Apostles instituting a New Way to be a follower of God while still holding on to the Covenant promises God had made to the Israelites in history?

NOTES:

*The Scripture says “came down from Judea to Antioch” even though they traveled North. This is because parts of the terrain move from higher elevation to lower elevation but they were traveling North from Judea to Antioch.

*This event in Acts 15 is known as the Council of Jerusalem and while the exact timing isn’t known, it is significant because it describes the primary issue that is also affecting the churches in the book of Galatians. The main issue Paul is addressing is that some Christians believed in the full following of Jewish religious and nationalistic customs as a requirement for salvation in Christ and inclusion into the family of God. Paul does NOT believe in this theology and is seeking to correct it while navigating the cultural and religious complexities of this issue.

3. Read Galatians 2:11-16 NIV

Peter was from the Southern Jerusalem church of Judea. It was comprised of primarily Jewish believers in Jesus. He was visiting Paul, Barnabas and the Northern Antioch church which was comprised of mostly Gentile (non-Jewish) believers in Jesus. While he was visiting he was connecting with the Gentile Christians, but as soon as more of his friends from the Southern Jerusalem church came, he withdrew from the Gentiles and began to act in exclusionary ways towards them. This was because of a theology which taught that the Gentiles needed to convert fully to the customs Judaism in order to be legitimate followers of Christ.

Author Scott Mcknight shares that this problem was not just one of hypocrisy but one of a dangerous and false theology about Jesus. Evaluate this quote: “Peter was demonstrating a different gospel by his reversed behavior: a gospel that mixed conversion to Christ with conversion to nationalistic Judaism. That is why Paul needed to confront Peter.” - Scott McKnight, NIV Application Commentary on Galatians

3a. What would the implications be to the newly formed gospel community that Peter and others “were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel”?

3b. When are we (individually, collectively as the church) guilty of double standards? How could this story help us to be encouraged and reminded of the gospel?

4. Read Galatians 2:20-21 NIV

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!"

4a. This is a powerful passage loved by many in the church. How does knowing the historical context bring even more power to this statement of Paul’s as he was having a dispute with Peter over gospel behaviors?

4b. What are some ways that Christians today can learn from Paul’s concern that religious and nationalistic behaviors can actually impede the gospel message of Jesus?

4c. How can Christians seek to live a holy and obedient life for God while not confusing our behaviors as earning of God’s grace?

4b. If you are a self-made person who likes to see everyone pay their own way, how does this Gospel of underserved grace strike you?


Connection Group Week 1

04/8/2018, 12:00 AM

Shaped By The Cross - Spring 2018

Watch this week's sermon at: vimeo.com/263752653

The Apostle Paul’s goal to the churches in Galatia was to recover their freedom given by Jesus Christ. Eugene Peterson in his introduction to the book of Galatians in The Message says:“God is not an impersonal force to be used to make people behave in certain prescribed ways, but a personal Savior who sets us free to live a free life…God set us free from within.” and he says…“Freedom is a delicate and subtle gift, easily perverted and often squandered.”

1. As we begin our study in the Book of Galatians what is a freedom that you are grateful for in your life today?

2. Paul does not “beat around the bush” but digs right in. What would be your normal style if you were going to write/speak to the churches in Galatia? What are the pros and cons for different styles?

3. Give an example of news that you have you received that has dramatically affected your life?



Brief Introduction to Galatians by Pastor Marco

In this Spring message series at FCC we will spend some time looking into the New Testament book of Galatians and understanding what was being addressed in that early church context and then seeing how it can apply to our lives today as followers of Jesus in the 21st century.

The main lense through which we will be preaching and discussing in our groups is through Paul’s words in Galatians 2:20. “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

This verse and several similar ones that we find in Galatians and in the rest of the New Testament seem to indicate that Paul wanted to encourage the Church to live a life that was primarily influenced and molded by the sacrificial love of God demonstrated on the cross of Christ. This is why we have titled this series, “Shaped by the Cross”. Our hope is that we can examine the areas and ways that God wants our life grow to look more like Jesus and his cross-shaped love for the world.

Galatians is a book that addresses a specific issue that was happening in the early church. There were Christians who were coming to faith in Jesus from both Jewish and non-Jewish backgrounds and the multi-cultural expression of the church was growing. The first followers of Jesus in Jerusalem and Judea were Jewish and had grown up with many of the rich traditions of the Teaching and Law that God gave to Moses in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament). But as the gospel began to spread throughout the Roman Empire there was another great wave of people coming to faith in Christ in the decades that followed Jesus’ death and resurrection. These people were known as Gentiles (non-Jewish people groups) and they did not have any of the teaching and law of Moses as their starting point for religious life. During this time, several sharp debates began to grow with some who were traditionalists in the Mosaic law and they started telling new Gentile believers that if they didn’t follow ALL of the regulations in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament), they were not legitimate followers of Jesus. You can read about one of these major debates and the event known as the Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15. In this letter, Paul will address the churches in the southern Greek province of Galatia and remind them of the heart of the gospel and challenge them to stay focused on Christ’s grace and cross as their guide for faith and life.


"Shaped by the Cross" Week 1 : April 8-14, 2018

Scripture Reading for Week 1: Galatians 1:1-6

In the opening message of this series we were reminded that the center of the Christian faith is the love revealed by God in Jesus on the cross. We see this even in the opening of Paul’s letter to the Galatians. In this passage Paul gives a strong reminder to the Galatian churches that there is no other gospel other than that of Jesus crucified,buried and risen for us out of God’s grace.

1. Read Galatians 1:1-5 NIV together:

“Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by a man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— and all the brothers and sisters with me, To the churches in Galatia: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

2. What stands out to you in Paul’s greeting here? Is there anything that is new for you in reading this passage? Anything that you have noticed Paul do before in his other letters in the New Testament?

3. In Christian Theology, the study of the end of all things or the great hope of what God will do at the end of history is known as “eschatology” (from the Greek word “eschaton” meaning “last days” or “last things”). Many Christians usually speak of the gospel of Jesus to show how God will give us eternal life after death and at the end of all history when Christ returns. This is consistent with the Scriptures and readily found in the teachings of Jesus and in the New Testament. (see John 14, Romans 8, 2 Corinthians 15) But in this passage Paul seems to also be speaking of a gospel that is breaking forth now into this earthly life. Some theologians call this “Inaugurated Eschatology”. (The experience where the end of all things has already begun now even though it still has to play out fully over time)

Why do you think Paul mentions the gospel of Jesus rescuing us from the present evil age and not only for the future?

What implication does this have for our Christian life even before our death or before the return of Christ?


4. Read Galatians 1:6

“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—” Galatians 1:6 NIV

As we read in the introduction and as we will see throughout the book of Galatians, Paul will be continually challenging and reminding the church to beware of versions of the gospel that distort the work of God in Jesus on the cross. We know from other letters in Paul’s writing that he believes that Christians should be united even over differences of opinions and different expressions of their faith. (See Romans 14, 1 Corinthians 12, Philippians 2, etc…) But here in Galatians, Paul wastes no time in getting into his main concern with this Christian community and it is strong. (See Galatians 3:1)

Why do you think Paul shows no patience for the Galatians version of the gospel when he elsewhere seems to say that Christians are to endure with one another and understand each others differences?

What do you think must have been at stake for Paul and for the church here for him to be so strong with this warning?


5. In our opening Sunday message entitled “Beware of Counterfeits”, we discussed the temptation to believe in counterfeit versions of the gospel that we encounter and create in our everyday lives.

What are some possible temptations for you when it comes to believing a “different” gospel other than the one of Jesus crucified, buried and risen again for our freedom and our salvation?

6. We’ve titled this series “Shaped by the Cross” because we will be looking at the book of Galatians through the lense of what Jesus has done for us and seek to form our lives around that gospel message.

What are some ways that we can practically remind ourselves as a community to continue to be “shaped by the cross” this week? Think of work, play, relationships, worship, conflict, etc and how the cross-shaped love of God in Jesus can actually speak into some of those areas.

Coming Next Week:
Week 2: April 15 “A Gospel Community” - Galatians 2:11-21 NIV
In Galatians chapter 2, Paul writes about the occasion where he corrected Peter for his nationalistic and exclusive behavior which goes against the gospel of the cross. This message will seek to show how the life shaped by the cross is not only for the individual Christian but how it actually has societal implications for the community life of the believer.






PostureShift

04/28/2018, 9:00 AM

On Saturday, April 28, FCC will be hosting a 6-hour Posture Shift Seminar from 9am-3pm.

This seminar is designed to equip individuals to radically love and effectively care for LGBT+ people. You can learn more about posture shift here.

Donuts, coffee, and lunch will be provided for all registered attendees.

Content is appropriate for adults and students ages 16+. Childcare is not available.

Purchase ticket here: eventbrite.com/e/posture-shift-oakland-2018-tickets-44110603001


Teaching on the Holy Spirit

04/8/2018, 10:45 AM

Viji Cammauf will be teaching a 4-week series on the Holy Spirit in the Adult Center from 10:45am - 12 noon on Sundays April 8, 15, 22, 29.

She said: “I will be teaching on the person and personality of the Holy Spirit. It will be an in-depth study of the attributes, distinctively and the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of Christ and the Christian.”

Light snack provided. Attend one or all the classes. And all are welcome.


World Vision 6K for Water

05/19/2018, 9:00 AM

6K (3.72 mi) is the average distance people in the developing world have to walk for water.

The lack of clean water is the #1 preventable cause of death in the world.

About 1,000 children under the age of 5 die everyday from unsafe drinking water.

But we can change that, right here with FCC and the Oakland community! When you register for the Global 6K for Water, your registration fee provides lasting clean water to one child in developing world.

Click here to register or donate.