Date: December 31, 2023
The Righteousness of God’s Name
The Point: We can know righteousness when we know and walk with Jesus.
Get Into the Study
Lead group members to consider “The Point” and then share the following story:
After Tony Perkins became a Christian, he couldn’t remain silent when his fifth-grade teacher taught evolution. “That’s not what the Bible says,” Perkins objected. In fact, his objections to his teacher’s lectures on evolution got him sent to the principal’s office!
Perkins served a stint in the Marine Corps, then became a reserve officer with the local police department. When he saw the use of excessive force against pro-life protesters and spoke out about it, he was suspended. Always fighting for what was right, he became a political reporter in Louisiana and was elected to the Louisiana legislature.
Today Perkins is president of the Family Research Council (FRC). Perkins, who oddly enough cannot stand conflict, does not tolerate that which is wrong! He unrelentingly advocates for a righteous biblical worldview. FRC works tirelessly to educate, equip, and empower Christians to advocate and vote for the right values in elections.
Faced with being labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law, Perkins refuses to be intimidated even after a gunman shot the building manager at FRC headquarters in April 2012.
As the mainstream media increasingly marginalizes Christian biblical convictions of what is right, Perkins takes his message directly to the people through Washington Watch on DIRECTV. “We want to make sure that Christians don’t feel isolated, but they know they are right because they are in alignment with Scripture.”
Get Into the Study [Option from Adult Leader Guide]
In advance, play a video clip showing some odd team names. Then ask Question #1.
Study the Bible
After leading group members to discuss Question #2, share the following story about moral clarity:
Thinking about the world in terms of good and evil is not as simple as it sounds. Our moral values often extend beyond compassion and fairness to include group-focused concerns of loyalty and obedience. Some people are “moral acrobats” who convince themselves of the righteousness of their actions. In the case of the current Israel-Palestine conflict, the two sides are weaponizing morality to frame their attacks as a necessary means of eliminating evil from the land.
According to a recent article in Scientific American, most people who commit violence do so out of a sense of moral duty! When people are ideologically committed to moral values they consider sacred, they become willing to do anything necessary to preserve those values. Could moral conviction be a detriment, especially in cases of intergroup conflict?
Becket Adams, program director for the National Journalism Center, says much of the U.S. media is failing spectacularly when covering the Israel-Palestine conflict. Despite the universally shared principle that murder and terrorism are wrong, many journalists appear to be morally confused.
For anyone with a moral compass, there is nothing that could ever excuse or even explain deliberate, targeted atrocities of October 7. But many journalists suggest people keep an open mind and consider all points of view as there are grievances on both sides!
EXTRA was written by Carole Segars Waina, a Lifeway contributor for over 30 years. She became a Christian when she was 7 in a little country church under her daddy’s preaching. Carole and her husband love to travel from their Texas home to just about anywhere! They often take the whole family along, except for Oliver the cat.
- Where do you see people disagreeing on what is good or right?
- Where do people look to determine right from wrong?
- Who helped teach you the difference between right and wrong?
- What’s a word you’ve seen our culture infuse with a whole different meaning?
- What’s the oddest name you’ve seen for a rock band or athletic team?
- What does reigning wisely and administering justice look like?
- Where do you see God’s righteousness evident in the world today?
- What would it be like for a nation to be ruled by a truly righteous king?
- Where do you see “justice and righteousness” done well in today’s world?
- Where do you see the absence of “justice and righteousness” in our world?
- What’s the difference between doing good and being righteous?
- Why might we be tempted to seek righteousness on our own?
- What has helped you recognize your need for God’s righteousness?
- What does our culture teach about how to become “good” or “righteous”?
- Why is it necessary for us to understand that we can’t be righteous apart from God?
- How is faith lived out in our daily lives?
- How does Jesus guide us in righteousness and guard us against self-righteousness?
- How did Jesus’s life and death demonstrate God’s righteousness?
- How would you explain God’s righteousness to a non-believer?
For Those in Your Group
Send the following link to your group members as either a teaser before the group meets or as a follow-up thought:
Click here for a 20-minute podcast for both the group member and the leader.