Date: August 13, 2023
Set Apart in the Way We Live
The Point: We grow in Christlikeness as we walk in truth and love.
Get Into the Study
As you recap the content in “The Bible Meets Life,” share the following.
Acting in movies may be harmless. But when nonbelievers perceive that Christians’ spirituality is an act, the results can be disastrous. Sadly, “the hypocrisy of religious people” is the top reason nonbelievers doubt Christianity, according to a poll by the Barna Group released in May. Nearly half (42%) of U.S. teens and adults with no religious faith said hypocrisy causes them to doubt Christianity. A quarter (26%) of those with a faith other than Christianity said the same. The second most common reason for doubting Christianity was “science” among those with no faith (31%) and “human suffering” among those of other faiths (22%).
Even Christians see hypocrisy among their ranks as a problem. Twenty-two percent of Christians said hypocrisy of Christian people causes them to doubt their faith. That was the second most common reason for doubt among Christians, behind “human suffering” (26%).
Nonbelievers aren’t as opposed to Jesus as they are to His allegedly hypocritical followers. Forty percent of those with no religious faith said they have a positive opinion of Jesus. Yet just nine percent have a positive view of evangelicals and eighteen percent have a positive view of pastors.
“The work of Christians is to embody Jesus—full of truth and grace—and reflect His image in all they say and do,” Barna Group CEO David Kinnaman said. “The data shows they too often fall short.”
Apparently, American Christians have work to do in convincing the world their religion isn’t an act.
Get Into the Study [Option from Adult Leader Guide, p. 127]
Play this video showing a famous scene from a movie many will be familiar with. Then ask Question #1.
Study the Bible
Share the following after discussing Question 4.
As with true Christianity, authentic paper money has traits that set it apart from counterfeits. Benjamin Franklin understood the latter reality better than previously known, according to research published in July in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Amid a flood of counterfeiting in Colonial America, Franklin developed printing techniques for currency utilizing colored threads, watermarks, and imprints of natural objects such as leaves. He also used graphite-based ink for money rather than the standard printing ink made from burned organic matter. Counterfeiters—including the British Army during the Revolutionary War—sought to keep their costs low, so copying Franklin’s bills was challenging.
Until recently, however, Franklin’s printing techniques were lost to history because no one knows the whereabouts of the ledger where he recorded them. Researchers at the University of Notre Dame uncovered Franklin’s techniques by analyzing nearly 600 money notes from the Colonial period with sophisticated imaging instruments.
“The goal was to decode what type of material [Franklin] used,” lead researcher Khachatar Manukyan said. “And then we found some very interesting differences between this money and other printers.”
In Christianity and money printing, there is no substitute for the genuine article.
The week’s writer for Extra is David Roach. David is pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church in Saraland, Alabama. He and his wife Erin have three children.
Study the Bible [Option from Senior Adult Leader Guide]
- What are some films you think were really well-made?
- Who are some actors whose work you really admire?
- What actor’s performance in a movie stands out in your mind?
2 John 1-4.
- Why is the connection between love and truth so essential in the Christian faith?
- How do you determine whether someone is telling the truth?
- What should be the relationship between truth and love?
- How can we ensure their lifestyles are consistent with God’s truth?
- What serves as a source of truth for people in general?
- How can we help each other recognize and follow the truth?
- What does it mean to walk in truth?
2 John 5-6
- How does it help our Christian walk to have others walking beside us?
- How would you describe a lifestyle characterized by love and truth?
- Why are truth and love so interwoven?
- How do God’s commands guide us in loving others?
2 John 7-9
- How does our obedience demonstrate love?
- How can we know if a teaching is true or false?
- What practices can help us discern truth from false teaching?
- How are truth and love both essential to obedience to Christ?
- How will obedience to God set us apart from the world?
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:
This article complements the study. Share this link with your group members.
- Mature Living – Tame the Flame
Click here for a 20-minute podcast for both the group member and the leader.