Week 1: How to Pick the Right Battles
- Read Romans 14:1-6. Paul uses food and festivals as examples of matters of conscience for which there is no biblically “right or wrong” mandate. What are some examples of culturally relevant matters of conscience today?
- Why do you think Christians sometimes get heated over matters of conscience?
- Read Romans 14:7-12. When it comes to matters of conscience, what attitude should we adopt? Why?
- How is judging someone over an issue of conscience a form of legalism?
- Imagine you have two Christian friends who have broken fellowship over an issue of conscience. How could you use grace-centered truth to encourage reconciliation?
Week 2: How to Play to Win
- Read Romans 14:13-23. How would you paraphrase these verses in your own words? What is Paul’s main point?
- This passage is not referring to things that are clearly sinful. Rather, Paul is continuing to use the example of food to discuss matters of conscience. Can you think of a time when your conscience wouldn’t allow you to do something even though it wasn’t necessarily sinful? Or a time when your convictions allowed you to do something that another Christian may not have felt free to do?
- Paul urges believers to “make every effort to do what leads to peace and mutual edification” (verse 19). How can we promote peace and mutual edification when dealing with non-essential issues over which Christians have varying degrees of conviction?
- What does it mean to “not put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister” (verse 13)? What does this look like practically?
- In verse 20, Paul writes, “Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food,” or we could say “for the sake of a non-essential issue.” What are some ways we could finish this sentence today: “Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of ____”? Are you guilty of promoting a non-essential issue over and above promoting peace? If so, what next step could you take to move toward alignment with God’s Word?
Week 3: How to Honor God
- Read Romans 15:1-7. One of our House Rules at Grace is Radical Hospitality: We go the extra mile to care for others because people’s stories matter. How do you see radical hospitality reflected in these verses?
- The fact that Paul must urge believers to bear with the failings of the weak, build each other up, and accept one another means these attitudes don’t come naturally. Why is it so challenging to live this way? Why is it so important?
- Think of one brother or sister in Christ who you struggle to accept. Perhaps he or she thinks differently, triggers you, or has offended you in the past. Without sharing names, what next steps can we take to move toward love and acceptance in difficult relationships?
- Would you describe yourself as someone who has “the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had”? Why or why not?
- Close by reflecting on how Christ has been gracious and forbearing toward you throughout your life. Think of specific times when He loved and accepted you despite your failings. Feel free to share as you’re led.
Week 4: How to Build a Strong Team
- In Romans 15:22-33, as Paul expresses his longing to see his Roman brothers and sisters, he paints the picture of a beautiful and biblical culture. At Grace, our House Rules aren’t just who we are; they’re who the Bible encourages us to be. Where do you see evidence of extraordinary servanthood, radical hospitality, big-hearted generosity, and genuine family throughout this passage?
- Which of these core values do you find most convicting and why?
- In verse 29, Paul writes, “I know that when I come to you, I will come in the full measure of the blessing of Christ.” This verse echoes our 2022 annual theme, The Fullness of God. We want to experience the fullness of God’s blessing in Christ, which includes growth, wholeness, joy, satisfaction, connection, and belonging. To what extent are you experiencing the fullness of God in your life? If it helps to quantify it, give yourself a rating from 1-10 as you discuss your answers.
- For those who have a strong sense of the fullness of God, how did you get there? What factors have contributed to the wholeness you’re experiencing right now?
- Listen to this list of attributes that flow from the character of God. As you listen, choose one attribute you would like us to specifically pray over your life: connection, relationship, abundance, honesty, virtue, growth, blessing, wholeness, trust, beauty, satisfaction, goodness.
Week 5: How to Define Your Worth
- Read Romans 16:1-16. Which of these people stand out to you and why?
- How many women does Paul acknowledge? At a time in history when women were devalued, Paul lived in community with a diversity of believers – young and old, male and female – even acknowledging that Rufus’s mother was a like a mother to him, too. Have you found this kind of genuine family within the body of Christ? If so, how has it impacted you?
- Paul was arguably the most influential apostle of all time, but he didn’t do it alone. He was surrounded by Christians who embodied extraordinary servanthood, going the extra mile to care for Paul. Reread Paul’s list in Romans 16:1-16. What were some of the ways these believers cared for Paul?
- Who do you know in Christian leadership? How could you serve Christ by serving them?
- Where do you see evidence in the text that these believers didn’t merely serve Paul, but also championed Christ’s mission themselves? How are you fulfilling Christ’s mission through your current realms of influence?
Week 6: How to Stay on Track
- Read Romans 16:17-20. How does Paul warn, exhort, and encourage the believers in Rome in these verses?
- Which statement resonates the most with you in these verses and why?
- Read Romans 16:25-27. Paul concludes his letter to the Romans by glorifying God for who He is and what He’s capable of doing. What do you think Paul means when he declares that God is able to “establish you in accordance with the gospel”? How might you paraphrase this concept in your own words?
- Reflecting over our entire study on the book of Romans, what would you say are the book’s major themes?
- How has God changed you as a result of this study? What were some of your biggest takeaways?
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