July 10: A Community of Followers (Ephesians 2:11-22)
Prepare for Sunday morning worship using the guide below.
This Sunday Josh Herring will begin a new series called Christians Creating Culture: An Examination of Gospel Identity, True Community, and Cultural Flourishing at 9:00am in the youth room. Ray Rutledge will be in the Adult 1 classroom continuing through The Gospel Project (currently going through the Old Testament).
 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.  But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.  For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility  by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace,  and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.  And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near.  For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.  So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,  built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone,  in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.  In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. (ESV)
In this series on discipleship we have considered first the call to follow Jesus and help others follow him (Mark 1:17), and then the cost of following Jesus (Mark 8:34). Anyone who would follow Jesus must abandon self interest in order to gain eternal life. This week we want to think about how discipleship happens in the context of a local church. What does a community of followers look like and how do we cultivate a culture of discipleship? The local church is the place where in real life, the followers of Jesus come together and do the things that followers do. We are a community of followers, built on the foundation of Jesus Christ, and we want to grow in understanding that reality.
Review and Apply
1. What does it means to be a disciple of Jesus (consider Mark 1:17)?
2. How does the death of Jesus provide a foundation for Christian community (Eph. 2:14-16)?
3. What are the three images Paul uses to describe the new community formed around Jesus (Eph. 2:19-22)? What are the implications of each of these images?
4. Describe possible ways that a person could contribute to a culture of following Jesus together. In what ways are you personally contributing to a culture of people who follow Jesus together?
5. Who has been the most spiritually influential person in your life? Why have they had such an influece on you and what can you do to serve others similarly?
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