The Fruit of Faith: Service

Mark Kulikovsky – 30th August 2015

The message on Sunday focused on service as the fruit of faith; it was argued that genuine faith is always accompanied by action or good works, one form of which is serving God and the Christian community by being active in good works in the church.

1. The Necessity of Service – Read James 2:14-26. What does this tell us about the relationship between faith and works? What shows us that faith is more than words or belief? What do the examples of Abraham and Rahab teach us?

2. How would you answer the charge that Paul and James contradict each other? See Romans 3:28 and James 2:24. Consider also Ephesians 2:10 and 1 Thessalonians 1:3.

3. The Attitude for Service – Read Philippians 2:1-18. What do we learn about the kind of attitude needed to do good works? What motivated the Philippians’ sacrifice and service?

4. As an aside and for those who want to dig deeper: There has been a lot of debate about verse 12 and whether it refers to individual or corporate ‘salvation’ (the word for ‘your’ is plural). Gordon Fee summarises the key issue here well in his commentary on Philippians: “A great deal of unnecessary ink has been spilt over this passage, as to whether ‘salvation’ has to do with the individual believer or with the corporate life of the community. But that is a false dichotomy. The context makes it clear that this is not a soteriological text per se, dealing with ‘people getting saved’ or ‘saved people persevering’. Rather it is an ethical text, dealing with ‘how saved people live out their salvation’ in the context of the believing community and the world. What Paul is referring to, therefore, is the present ‘outworking’ of their eschatological salvation within the believing community in Philippi.” Discuss your understanding of this verse and Fee’s comments.

5. An Example of Service – Acts 6:1-7. How did the early church address a practical need for action and what principles can we glean from this example?

6. Equipped for Service – Read 1 Corinthians 12:4-11; Romans 12:4-8; Ephesians 4:11-16; 1 Peter 4:10-11. (If you have time read all of 1 Corinthians 12:1-14:40). Compile a list of the principles that are operative when it comes to spiritual gifts. In particular consider the source of the gifts, the purpose of the gifts, the distribution of the gifts, and the types of gifts.

7. What would you say to the person who thinks they don’t know enough or are not experienced enough to be involved in church? What about someone who says they are too busy? What about the person who says they don’t have the gift of service? Can a person be doing too much? Can you ever do too many good works?

8. In what ways are you currently serving the body at Church@ParaVista? What more should you be doing? Who could you encourage to get more involved and how can you encourage them?


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