April 18, 2021
SAVED IN HOPE
Unit 1: Romans
Connect to My Experience
Technology has taught us that we really struggle with waiting. Or it may be that technology has just exacerbated our struggle with waiting.
·If you have enough years behind you, think back 15-20 years, or maybe longer. Have you become more impatient with waiting? If so, in what ways?
·Have you noticed your impatience with waiting for technology to do what you want? If so, how?
·In your experience, what makes waiting more bearable? What makes it worse?
Connect to the Word
Read Romans 8:18-22.
For some of us, Paul’s exploration into waiting begins in a strange place.
·Paul intimately links humanity and creation. Where did that relationship begin? Whose idea was it? What kind of relationship did God intend between humans and creation?
·How did that relationship go awry?
·What happened to that relationship as a result?
·What is it that creation now awaits?
·Why do you think God chose to have such a strong relationship between creation and humanity? Why are the two so interdependent?
·Why didn’t God just put some protective coating over creation, thus eliminating the possible of decay?
·What do you think is the cause(s) of creation’s groaning (v. 22)?
Read Romans 8:23-27.
·If suffering connects us to Christ, if in it we find solidarity with Jesus, why do we so often pray for a way out of suffering? Why are we so quick to pray exit prayers?
·What other kinds of prayer, besides exit prayers, can we offer in the midst of suffering? How might this change our perspective on whatever it is we are facing?
·What do you find yourself groaning about? What are those deep needs of your community, nation, and world that seem overwhelming?
Paul notes that there is a difference, though, between humanity and creation in our waiting.
·How does the gift of the Spirit here and now change how we wait?
·Have you witnessed the difference the Holy Spirit makes in the midst of a person’s suffering and waiting? If so, how?
·What comfort or consolation do you find knowing that God searches your heart and that the Spirit intercedes for you?
Read Romans 8:28-32.
God desires good for those who love Him and is constantly at work weaving present circumstances into His eternal plan.
·Are there stories in the Bible that capture the truth of Romans 8:28? What are they?
·How have you seen God weaving the parts of your life, especially the most difficult, into a grand narrative that has purpose? How have your present sufferings been used for good?
·How do you react to Paul’s assertion that in all things, God is working for the good of those who love Him?
·What does it mean that “God is for us”?
Connect to My Life and the World
Paul also reminds us that God desires all believers to grow in Christlikeness through the power of the Holy Spirit.
·Why should the church focus on both conversions and growth in Christlikeness?
·As you think about your current situation, how do you see God at work in you to bring about good and to bring you toward greater Christlikeness?
When you are in the middle of suffering, it can be almost impossible to get some perspective on your situation.
·What does Paul say here that can encourage you in tough times?
·How can people in this group be an encouragement to each other, especially in those times when it’s difficult to put into words what you’re experiencing?