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January 10, 2021 | Doug Sauder
Watch our most recent mid-week message here.
This weekend, we kicked off "Undivided,” a special three-week series happening alongside dozens of other churches in South Florida. In this first message, Pastor Doug Sauder shared how Jesus brings unity between us and what we can do to maintain unity in a world that seeks to divide us.
Dive deeper into this teaching on your own, with your family, or in your group! Check out expanded notes and summaries from the teaching, small group questions, and get informed on some of the great resources available to you.
Click below to watch this past weekend's message in its entirety.
Below you’ll find a recap of the key discussion points from Pastor Doug’s message and a few questions to reflect on and consider with your family, your circle of friends, or in your group.
Ice-Breaker: Share a time when you experienced unity with others. Maybe you were at a concert where everyone was singing along as one or at a sporting event where you got to cheer for your team with thousands of people. Maybe you were part of a choir singing in harmony or on a team that came together to win the big game, contest, debate, or science fair.
KEY VERSE: Galatians 3:28
MAIN THOUGHT: Unity Is Not Uniformity
DISCUSSION POINT: The body of Christ is the most diverse global grouping of people in the world. It consists of men and women of all skin colors, nationalities, ethnicities, economic statuses, and ages. It’s made up of imperfect people from every different kind of background encompassing millions of individual, unique stories that God has woven together to create a beautiful family.
In the body of Christ . . . natural enemies are made into dearly loved brothers and sisters.
In the bride of Christ . . . seemingly major differences that divide us become minor.
In the family of Christ . . . all people are equal, welcome, and valued as they walk in the unique roles and purposes they were created for.
Discussion Question 1: This weekend, Pastor Doug said, “It takes diversity to create unity.” Why do you think that’s true? How have you seen that play out in your own life or in the lives of others?
KEY VERSES: Philemon 1:7–22
MAIN THOUGHT: Unity Takes Work and Diplomacy
DISCUSSION POINT: For the most part, you won’t find many Christians who will disagree with the idea of unity. On an intellectual level, we all love it. But when the rubber meets the road and we get in the trenches with diverse people—those with differing philosophies, political ideologies, ethnicities, life experiences, interests, or even understanding of certain Christian beliefs and practices—the idea of unity becomes much harder to live out. So, what you often see happen is tribalism, even in the Church. We flock to those who look, speak, sound, and think like us; those who share our interests, preferences, and affiliations. That’s what the world is like; it cannot be what the Church is like! We’re called to unity, love, and brotherhood. We’re called to enter into spaces of unshared experiences, to listen, learn, and empathize, to build bridges that lead to deeper love, not barriers that distance and divide us.
Just as Paul exhorted Philemon to no longer see Onesimus as a slave, but as a valued brother (Philemon 1:15–16) and equal partner in this gospel revolution, we, too, are called to abolish the assumptions and prejudices that produce such things as slavery, racism, sexism, ageism, ableism, classism, and political division. We’re commanded to put off tribalism and remember that we—as the body of Christ and family of faith—are all one beautiful tribe!
Discussion Question 2: What does it look like to build bridges instead of barriers within the body of Christ?
Discussion Question 3: What steps can we take to create greater unity within the church?
MAIN THOUGHT: Unity Is Revolutionary
DISCUSSION POINT: When Jesus was on the cross, He simultaneously became the most powerful and most powerless person who ever lived. This is God’s template for the Church in culture . . . to work through power and powerless to achieve His purpose. The example and instruction given by Paul to Philemon about the relationship between powerful and powerless invites us to take a risk and build community and unity in a space it’s rarely seen. This public expression of God’s love and work can be a catalyst to change how the whole community sees these issues. This is our moment to enter into spaces of social distrust, to pursue the work of gospel unity through wisdom and diplomacy, to learn and grow togther in community—not allowing the distrust that’s out there to get in here.
Discussion Question 4: What spaces can you enter into right now to be a catalyst for change? How can your example in these spaces and in these relationships impact others in the Church? How can it impact those outside the Church?
MAIN THOUGHT: Unity Will Impact Eternity
DISCUSSION POINT: Unity is not optional—it’s essential! Our UNITY is what Jesus prayed for right before He went to the cross (John 17). Consider that in Acts, when the early Church operated from a place of unity, God used it to turn the world upside down. We want to see that again. But here’s the thing: A dismembered body cannot function the way it’s supposed to; a divided team cannot reach its full potential; a choir in disharmony will make ugly music.
Pause: This week, consider areas of disunity you see in the world, in the Church, and in yourself. Why does they exist? What is standing in the way of unity and love in these areas?
Ponder: What steps can you take in your personal life to spark greater unity in the Church in your community? What spaces do you need to step into? Who do you need to reach out to and listen to?
Practice: Pray this week for unity in your group, in your family, and in the Church. Pray on your own and try your best to pray with friends and family.
Parents, here are a few questions to go over with your kids around the dinner table or during dedicated family times.
Discussion Question 1: Do you think it’s important for people that are different to be friends with one another? Why is that better than everyone being the same?
Discussion Question 2: How can you be a good friend to someone at church this week (either in person or on Zoom)?
Discussion Question 3: When you’re at church or school, do your friends look the same as you? How can you make a friend this week that might be different than you?
Discussion Question 4: In your class at school, or in your neighborhood, what can you do to be kind to people outside your group of friends? Or how can you show kindness to someone you don’t know very well?
Come along with us and dozens of other churches in South Florida as we take a 21-day journey exploring the mission of the Christian community and how we can live on mission. Discover what biblical unity looks like and how we as a community of believers across denominations can be used by God to draw people to His Son. To subscribe, click here.
We not only hit our goal . . . we exceeded it thanks to your generosity! This year, we collected more $50,000 that will help us feed 1,485 families for Thanksgiving! Join us this Saturday as we distribute these Thanksgiving meal kits to families and flood our cities with the hope and love of Jesus Christ! To get all the details on how you can participate, click here.
In week two of our three-week series "Undivided," Pastor Doug Sauder will share about how Jesus unites us as a community for a purpose! Learn all about this great purpose and how you can live on mission right where God has placed you.
We look forward to spending another awesome weekend with you!
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