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Bible Study: Christ Came for Them? - Advent 2 Epistle

Text: Romans 15:4-13 for the Second Sunday in Advent, Lectionary Series A
 Participants will:
  1. Trust more firmly that Christ came to save all people.
  2. Approach others as a person accepted by Christ.
Materials Needed
Colored 8.5 x 11 paper
Group Guidelines
  1.  Choose three groups of volunteers made up of three people each. Give each group one of the following situations and tell them they have five minutes to prepare a skit.
    1. A friend began dating a guy she knew you really liked. When she comes over to say "Hi!" you and another friend get into an argument with her, and then give her the brush off.
    2. A friend of yours living next door begins asking about your church. You know he can be a nice guy, but he dresses wildly and swears quite a bit. You're afraid if you tell him about church, he will want to come and will probably embarrass you.
    3. You and your friend are members of a close-knit youth group. Your group has been working really hard to build a good reputation in the congregation because you want to raise money for a big youth gathering. One of the group members is caught driving under the influence. Word spreads around the church and you hear people saying, "I knew we couldn't trust those youth." The DUI youth sees you and your friend at church and comes over to apologize, but you are too angry to listen.
  2. Divide the group into small groups of 5-6. Have someone volunteer to be the group leader.
Building Community
 Ask each group to discuss:
  1. Why is it difficult at times to accept other people?
  2. Why is it important to feel accepted?
  3. Share a time when you have had to deal with acceptance.
Looking at God's Word
 Write these verses and questions on newsprint or on a chalkboard where they can be easily seen. Allow time for each group to read and discuss each section.
  1. Read Philippians 2:2-3 and discuss the following questions.
    1. What actions do you think destroy acceptance? Give an example in your life.
    2. What is so difficult about doing what Paul asks in verse 3?
  2. Read Galatians 3:26-29.
    1. What limits does Christ place on acceptance?
    2. What about us?
  3. Read Romans 15:5-9a
    1. Who did Christ come to earth to accept? Why?
    2. How does this change the way we accept others?
Reinforcing What Has Been Learned
  1.  Tape blank pieces of colored paper on everyone's back with their name on top of the paper.
  2. Have group members walk around writing words of acceptance and affirmation on each person's paper.
  3. Give people an opportunity to read their sheet after everyone is finished.
 Gather the group into a circle. Tell them this prayer is much like the traditional popcorn prayer, but with a little twist. Group members can "pop" in a petition at any time, but after they are finished, the person on their right should pray for the same thing.
i.e. Marla-Lord, protect my mother as she faces surgery this week.
Stan-(standing to her right) Lord, I too, pray for Marla's mother. Keep her safe in surgery and heal her.
Originally published in Discovery Bible Studies 8, studies on the Epistle readings for lectionary series A, in 1995.
 Republished and revised in November 2013 for thESource

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