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Table of Contents VBC Small Group Schedule ............................................................................................................................ 3 Acknowledgements ........................................................................................................................................ 3 What is an Inductive Bible Study Method? ................................................................................................... 4 Series Overview.............................................................................................................................................. 5 Saying Good‐Bye to Our Sorrow .................................................................................................................... 6 Small Group Preparation Questions .................................................................................................. 8 Strengthening our Service ........................................................................................................................... 11 Small Group Preparation Questions ................................................................................................ 13 Stop Your Second Guessing ......................................................................................................................... 16 Small Group Preparation Questions ................................................................................................ 17 Slaying our Shame ........................................................................................................................................ 19 Small Group Preparation Questions ................................................................................................ 21 Small Group Information
Group Core Values Group Commitments Prayer Lists Goals Snack Sign up Lists
VBC Small Group Schedule Study Week #1 Week #2 Week #3 Week #4 Week #5
When Week of April 24 Week of May 1 Week of May 8 Week of May 15 Week of May 22
Scripture John 20:1‐18 John 20:19‐23 John 20:24‐31 John 21:15‐25 Conclusion Party
Acknowledgements This study was a collaborative effort. Inductive Bible Study Method .... Precepts Austin Weekly Devotionals .................... Written by Travis Fleming, Teaching Pastor, VBC Grace Campus Weekly Study Questions ............. Written by Tim Badal, Lead Teaching Pastor, Village Bible Church
What is an Inductive Bible Study Method? The inductive Bible study method is based on a review of the context surrounding each passage of scripture. Investigation of each statement is crucial in understanding the meaning of the Bible. This process involves 4 key steps.
Prayer Before a person begins any Bible study, they should pray for the help of the Holy Spirit. This can be a forgotten aspect of studying God's Word because many people approach the Bible as though they were studying a textbook. Without prayer, inductive Bible study is just a method.
Observation Next we recommend that a person continually question: Who? What? When? Where? Why? How? Continue by marking words that are repeated or prominent in the text. Repetition by the writer often indicates the importance of a concepts or emphasis on what he wants the reader to learn. Lists are another important focus, which reveal main concepts and keys. Contrasts and comparisons, especially those with highly descriptive language, use strong visual imagery to help the reader remember what he learned. Identify the passage of time to ascertain the sequence of events and better interpret meaning. Note chapter themes regarding a person, principle, event, or focus. These can be determined through a review of the lists and key words already observed.
Interpretation Overall, the Bible should be used to interpret itself. In other words, the Bible will never contradict itself. If there are two passages that seem at odds with each other, it is most likely because there is a third passage that will tie the two together. One or two isolated or obscure verses are not a solid basis for doctrine. Context, including historical and cultural considerations, is a key concept in studying God's Word. The Bible should be interpreted literally. God's desire is that we know truth. Most passages can be taken at face value and will speak for themselves. However, take literary styles into consideration. Similes and metaphors are used liberally throughout some books of the Bible but rarely in others. Although the Bible itself should be the main resource in inductive Bible study, we recognize the value of outside resources. There are many other solid study materials that are available, both online and in book form. In addition, group study and listening to others' perspectives can be an invaluable tool and provide additional insight.
Application Once a person understands what God's Word says, she is obligated to apply that teaching to her life. The Bible will expose false belief systems or thought patterns that do not align with God and that can often result in poor behavior choices. Scripture outlines a process‐‐sometimes general, but often specific‐‐to take to change the behavior.
Series Overview Long lines of visitors from all over the world wait patiently day after day to visit Lenin’s Tomb and view his embalmed body. Although he died in 1924, the corpse of that Communist leader has seemingly suffered no decomposition. It looks deceptively lifelike. And its appearance is indeed deceptive. Skillful artists monitor the preserved corpse, artificially coloring its face and using wax to fill in any lines or the smallest spot of decay. People also regularly visit Jerusalem to see the place where Jesus died and was buried. But there’s a striking contrast—there is no body of the crucified Christ anywhere. Oh, there is one rock‐hewn tomb, where according to tradition the nail‐scarred, spear‐driven, thorn‐crowned corpse of Christ was laid. But resurrected by the power of God His Father, the Savior left His grave clothes behind when He emerged from the tomb, like a butterfly abandoning its cocoon. Jesus is alive and you can know His presence today. Because of His atoning death and the empty tomb, you can victory over the enemy of sin and death. In the last 2 chapters of John’s gospel we are shown the power of one empty grave. For Mary, we would see that empty meant saying good‐bye to our sorrow. For the disciples it would mean a strengthened service for their master. With Thomas it meant he could stop his second guessing. When it came to Peter he would finally be able to slay the shame of his life. How about you? What does an empty tomb mean for you? When we observe and recognize the risen Christ we will experience the fact that… It Changes Everything!!!
Grave, where is thy victory now? See the light upon His brow! Empty—see, the stony bed; Christ is risen from the dead! Chisholm
Empty! Lesson 1
Saying Good‐Bye to Our Sorrow “Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?’"—John 20:15a Sorrow. There was no other word to describe the pain in Mary Magdalene’s heart as she made her way to Jesus’ tomb. Her mind was weary, playing over the events of the last three days. He had been so much to her, offered her a new life, given her hope and a purpose, but now He was gone. She remembered when she first met Him. It felt like so long ago. She didn’t remember much, but she remembered His face. Apparently, He had cast out seven demons from her. It was as if she had come out from a haze. Life was muddled, difficult then, but now…it was different, and it was all because of Him. She was still numb—the scars of the last three days were still fresh in her mind. She wished that the image of His death would disappear, but it didn’t. She was tired, her mind ached, and her face revealed the pain and sorrow of grief spent over the loss of one dearly loved. Her face was puffy and her eyes wet as she made her way to the tomb. Light was just beginning to peek across the horizon and darkness was giving way to light. The light crunch of her feet and those of the ladies with her softly filled the morning air. It was a beautiful morning, but such beauty in the face of sorrow only gives greater weight to sorrow, as C.S. Lewis said: “You can’t see anything properly while your eyes are blurred with tears”—A Grief Observed, p. 45‐46. She didn’t think that she had any tears left to cry, but each time the picture of Him on the cross flashed across her mind, the tears flowed all over again. Sorrow and grief filled her heart, an unwelcome reminder that life is not as it should be. She was grateful not to be alone at this moment. They were bringing spices to the tomb, to anoint His body. It was a wholly unwelcome task that reminded them of the cruel reality that He was gone, but one that they undertook together. One finally spoke up—it was necessary to roll the stone away to get access to the body, but who would do it? In their mournful state they had forgotten to bring some men along. Dusty earth gave way to plants, as they set foot in the Garden that housed His tomb. It was just then that they saw it—the stone had been rolled away! Confusion filled their minds—what happened? Did someone steal His body? Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, when two angels in white appeared, saying, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She replied, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” She turned around and saw Jesus, although she didn’t know it was Him. He said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” She thought He was the gardener and said, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell Me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.”
It was then that Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She knew that voice! It was the voice that cast out the seven demons! It was the voice that had been there for her when all others had deserted her! It was the voice of Jesus! She cried out in Aramaic (probably her native tongue), “Rabboni!” which means “Teacher.” He said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, to My God and your God”—John 20:17. Mary then went and announced Jesus’ resurrection to the disciples, as well as everything He told her, saying, “I have seen the Lord”— John 20:18. One of the hallmarks of the Christian faith is joy. Joy is not dependent upon circumstances, but it is birthed in hope that transcends this world and connects us to the next. And the joy of the Lord, as Nehemiah wrote, is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10). But we know all too well that joy for most of us is based more on our moods and circumstances than not. We long to be joyous, but while we are still on earth, joy will be hard to hold onto until we are in the presence of the Lord at whose right hand are pleasures forevermore (Psalm 116:11) and all of our tears are wiped away (Revelation 21:4). We may sorrow temporarily now, but His resurrection has guaranteed the day when “death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away."—Revelation 21:4. Amen.
Small Group Preparation Questions John 20:1‐18 Open It 1. What is one dark moment of your life that ended happily?
2. Why do people visit the grave sites of close friends and family members?
3. About what sort of news would you get excited right now?
Explore It: Read John 20:1‐18 4. What did Mary Magdalene discover when she went to Jesus’ tomb? (20:1)
5. What did Mary Magdalene tell Peter? When? (20:2)
6. What did Mary and the disciples do after seeing that Jesus’ body was gone? (20:10‐11)
7. What did Mary see where Jesus’ body had been? (20:12)
8. What did the angels ask Mary? (20:13)
9. How did Mary answer the angels’ question? (20:13)
10. Who tried to comfort Mary? (20:14â€?15)
11. What question did Jesus ask Mary? (20:15)
12. How did Mary respond to Jesusâ€™ question? (20:15)
13. Why did Jesus tell Mary not to hold on to Him? (20:17)
14. What did Jesus tell Mary to tell His brothers? (20:17)
Get It 15. Why do you think Mary went to the tomb?
16. If you had been Mary what thoughts would have run through your mind when you discovered the empty tomb?
17. How would you respond if you met someone you had presumed to be dead?
18. How do you think Mary felt when she realized she was talking to Jesus?
19. When is it tempting to hold on to something good rather than share it with others?
20. If you had been one of the disciples who had heard Maryâ€™s exciting news, how do you think you would have reacted?
21. When has a positive happening in your life appeared at first to be a confusing, unfortunate, or tragic event?
Apply It 22. What truths of the gospel do you want to investigate more closely over the next few weeks? How can you?
23. When have you been exceptionally thrilled about your relationship with Christ?
24. Share 3 ways you can you demonstrate your devotion to Jesus?
25. Whom do you need to tell about the empty tomb of Christ? How?
Empty! Lesson 2
Strengthening our Service “On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent Me, even so I am sending you.’ And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.’" —John 20:19‐23 The words were still echoing in their minds, “He is not here. He has risen!” What could that mean? The women reported seeing Him alive, but it couldn’t be true. Peter and John reported that the tomb was empty and the grave clothes were there. Mary told them she had seen the Lord and that Jesus told her that He had not yet ascended to God the Father. Confusion reigned. How could a man rise from the dead? That was impossible! The events of the last three days still were swirling in their minds. Everything that they had worked for and hoped for was lost and buried in the tomb. Their Lord, Master, and Teacher was dead—or so they thought. The Jews had finally managed to get to Him, and because they were His closest associates they thought they were next. They needed to process and figure things out, so they met in the last place where they had been together with Jesus—the upper room with the doors locked tight, just in case the Jews came looking for them. The stench of death had been so thick in the air, but with the testimony of the women and the empty grave clothes, the stirring surge of life and hope began to bloom. It was then that out of nowhere, Jesus appeared. He said, “Peace be with you.” Were they hallucinating? Was He an apparition? Perhaps it was a vision? Their questions hung in the air. But Jesus, noticing their astonishment, showed them His hands and His side. Apparitions and visions didn’t have flesh—much less bear the scars of torture Jesus had just gone through. But He was alive! Here He was! Standing right in front of them—alive! Fear gave way to joy at the sight of the marks, and He said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent Me, even so I am sending you.” Not only was He alive, but hope was alive! Jesus’ mission was not yet complete! He was the coming one! He was God’s anointed! Slowly everything began to make sense—all of the things He had told them about His suffering and death came true. It had to happen and He had known it! And He still had a task for them! As God the Father had sent Him, now He was sending them! The task that Jesus had for the disciples was a divine one and required divine resources: “And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.” The disciples needed power to go and speak to the nations, a power that could only come from God. They needed His Holy Spirit to equip them, strengthen them, give
them wisdom, discernment and power. Jesus was victorious and His kingdom would be realized, but it would be up to the disciples, equipped and filled by the Holy Spirit, to proclaim it. We all need that power to serve. God has promised that all who come to Him in faith receive His Spirit (Ephesians 1:13; 2 Corinthians 1:21‐22). It is the Spirit who comforts (John 12:26; 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7), teaches (John 14:26; 1 Cor. 2:13), speaks (Acts 8:29; 13:2), makes decisions (Acts 15:28), grieves over sin (Ephesians 4:30), overrules human actions (Acts 16:6‐7), searches the deep things of God and knows the thoughts of God (1 Corinthians 2:10‐11), distributes spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:11), interprets and brings prayer before the throne of the Father (Romans 8:26‐27), assures believers of their adoption as God’s children (Romans 8:16), and who bears witness and glorifies Christ (John 15:26; 16:14). We know that as believers we have the Spirit of God, but we are also to be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18), which occurs when we live our lives in obedience to Him and take in the things of God (e.g.., reading the Word, praying, fellowshipping with the saints of God, worshipping, attending church, etc.). How about you? Does your service need strengthening? Ask God to fill you with His Spirit and use you for His glory. The task to reach the world with the love of Christ is impossible to do by ourselves—we need God’s resources to accomplish God’s task so that His name might receive glory and we might receive joy. Amen.
Small Group Preparation Questions John 20:19‐23 Open It 1. What hideaways did you have when you were growing up?
2. What friend or relative that you haven’t seen for a while would you be overjoyed to see again?
Explore It: Read John 20:19‐23 3. What day of the week was it when the disciples were together? (20:19)
4. Why did the disciples have the doors locked? (20:19)
5. Who surprised the disciples in their hideaway? (20:19)
6. What did Jesus say to the disciples? When? (20:19)
7. What did Jesus show His disciples? Why? (20:20)
8. How did the disciples respond to seeing Jesus? (20:20)
9. What greeting did Jesus repeat? (20:21)
10. What did Jesus tell His disciples about their future? (20:21)
11. Why did Jesus breathe on His disciples? (20:22)
12. What did Jesus tell the disciples to receive? (20:22)
13. What did Jesus tell His disciples about forgiving sins? (20:23)
Get It 14. When have you been afraid to follow Jesus openly?
15. If you had been in that room with the disciples, how might you have reacted when Jesus appeared?
16. When have you been overjoyed to see someone?
17. To whom has Jesus sent us?
18. To whom has Jesus sent you?
19. Why is it important for us to forgive others?
20. When is it most difficult for you to forgive?
21. What can we do to become forgiving of others?
Apply It 22. Whom do you need to forgive?
23. Whose forgiveness do you need to seek? How can you?
24. With whom do you want to share your joy in Christ?
Empty! Lesson 3
Stop Your Second Guessing “Then He said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see My hands. Reach out your hand and put it into My side. Stop doubting and believe.”—John 20:27 (NIV) Most know the story of Thomas. He was one of Jesus’ disciples, and possibly the most famous skeptic in all of history. One doesn’t have to be a scholar to know when a person is dead. Thomas was at the crucifixion. He saw what they did to Jesus. He saw Him bloodied and beaten—a far cry from the Jesus he knew. He saw the nails pounded into both His hands, He grimaced when the nail went through His feet. He saw Him stripped naked and heard Him cry out those seven times from the cross, with the last words, “Into Your hands I commit My Spirit.” He saw the head drop. He saw the life fade away. And He saw the staff pierce His side. Blood and water were the signs of death. It didn’t take a doctor to know Jesus was gone. It is no wonder that Thomas doubted Jesus’ resurrection. What brought insult to injury was how the other ten could believe that He was alive. On the day when Jesus appeared to the disciples in the upper room, Thomas was absent. They kept going on about His appearing and speaking to them, and they weren’t alone. The women maintained that they had seen Jesus too. They were asking him to believe in their testimony, but he couldn’t. There was just too much evidence to the contrary. The only way that he would believe is if he saw Jesus himself. If he could put his fingers in the nail holes, and in His side, he would believe. God is not afraid of our fears and doubts, provided that our fears and doubts are means of understanding and growing in faith. There are some who doubt, but not because they are generally seeking to understand, but rather they are seeking an opportunity to sin. Not Thomas. His doubt was sincere and his challenge was real. Days passed and the disciples and women maintained their testimony to Jesus’ resurrection, much to Thomas’ frustration. Nevertheless, he loved them and stayed with them. They were back in the upper room, with the doors locked again, when Jesus came and stood among them saying, “Peace be with you.” The thoughts swirled in Thomas’ mind—who is this? Jesus couldn’t be alive…could He?” And then Jesus said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” He graciously offered His hands and side to him for his inspection, and for Thomas, it was enough. Jesus was right in front of him and alive! He exclaimed, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus then said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen Me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed”—John 20:29. Jesus’ resurrection puts a stop to all of our second‐guessing. He rose from the dead so that we might have hope and life both in this life (John 10:10), and in the one to come (1 Corinthians 15:8). May our doubts melt like the snow in summer and may our hearts be established and strengthened like the majestic mountains. May our doubts flee away and may we become bold witnesses to the wondrous name of our great God. Amen. Page 16
Small Group Preparation Questions John 20:24‐31 Open It 1. What book (besides the Bible) have you enjoyed most?
2. When has doubts filled your life? How were you able to move past such thoughts and feelings?
Explore It: Read John 20:24‐31 3. What disciple was not with the others when Jesus appeared to them? (20:24)
4. What had the other disciples told Thomas? (20:24)
5. What did Thomas say he needed in order to believe that Jesus was raised from the dead?(20:25)
6. How did Jesus restore Thomas’s faith? (20:26)
7. What did Jesus say to Thomas? (20:27)
8. What did Thomas say in response to Jesus’ words? (20:28)
9. What did Jesus say about seeing and believing? (20:29)
10. What did John leave out of his Gospel? (20:30)
11. Why was the book of John written? (20:31)
12. What results from believing that Jesus is the Son of God? (20:31)
Get It 13. When have you had doubts about your faith in Christ?
14. How should we deal with our doubts about Christianity?
15. Why is it difficult to believe in Christ?
16. In what ways do we need to trust Christ?
17. On what evidence do you rely for your belief that Jesus rose from the dead?
18. What sort of evidence for the truth of Christianity has John given us?
Apply It 19. What doubts concerning your faith in Christ would you be willing to share with others in your group?
20. How can you use the Gospel of John to tell others about Jesus?
Empty! Lesson 4
Slaying our Shame “When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?’ He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.’ He said to him, ‘Feed My lambs.’ He said to him a second time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love Me?’ He said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.’ He said to him, ‘Tend My sheep.’ He said to him the third time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love Me?’ Peter was grieved because He
said to him the third time, ‘Do you love Me?’ and he said to Him, ‘Lord, You know everything; You know that I love You.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed My sheep.’”—John 21:15‐17 Guilt. Guilt is not fun. It imprisons the soul. It keeps the believer away from being effective for the Lord. Peter knew guilt. He had been one of Jesus staunchest followers, declaring that if everyone else were to desert Jesus, he would not. And even if death itself came knocking at Peter’s door, he would gladly lay down his life for Jesus. Peter made his declaration of loyalty to Jesus at the Last Supper, but it was only a few short hours later when Peter’s words would be tested. Betrayed by Judas and arrested, Jesus was taken to the house of Caiaphas, the Jewish high priest. Peter followed Jesus and made his way into the courtyard of Caiaphas’ home, to watch the events unfold from what he perceived to be a safe distance away. It was at the moment when he thought he was safe that the unexpected happened. A lowly servant girl confronted Peter. She accused him of being with Jesus. Afraid at what might happen to him if discovered to be one of Jesus’ associates, Peter lied and denied knowing Jesus. In an uncanny demonstration of how sin distances us from our Savior, Peter moved this time a bit further away. Peter sought to maintain his observer’s post from a safer distance. This time another servant girl approaches. Convinced that Peter had been with Jesus, she declares aloud to those standing around, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.” Unable to move any farther out of the courtyard without leaving completely, Peter uttered an oath, a statement sure to dissuade any further accusations, “I do not know the man!” Appeasing those standing by for a few moments, by keeping their doubts to themselves. However, his accent revealed his association! (Matthew 26:73) Confronted a third time, Peter gave the most emphatic declaration possible, “I do not know the man.” It was at that precise moment, no sooner had the words left his lips, a rooster crowed. Bewildered at the sound ringing in his ears, he lifted his head to see Jesus’ eyes staring back at him. Jesus’ words, still so fresh from just a few hours before, hung in his ears and echoed through the depths of his soul, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny Me three times”—Luke 22:61b. Denial. Desperation. Devastation. What was Peter to do? As the tears streaked down Peter’s face, one can only imagine the pain he felt. It was in this moment that he knew hope itself would soon be crucified, but would God soon be glorified?
The resurrection changed everything. Jesus rose again conquering sin and death. Hope was alive forevermore! Condemnation and devastation flee in the light of Christ’s resurrection. The resurrection enables Peter to have restoration. Three times of denial, requires three times of being restored, “Do you love Me?” Peter replies, “You know I love You Lord.” Jesus gives grace and a purpose, “Feed My lambs.” Again Jesus asks the question, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” The wound of Peter’s guilt is fresh and painful, but the salve of Jesus’ resurrection is being applied to the wound. He responds, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." Peter’s denials revealed him retreating, now Jesus questions show guilt fleeing. Jesus responds, “Tend My sheep.” Jesus asks a third and final time the question, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter, grieved at Jesus’ question, makes a new declaration, “Lord, You know everything; You know that I love You.” Three times a sinner and three times restored, this saint has been set free from his prison of pain, demolishing the gate of guilt with the key of grace. Peter has been set free, restored to right relationship, and freed from guilt by grace! How many in our world today, dear brother or sister, are prisoners of pain, cemented in their sin? How many are confined by guilt and need to be restored to a relationship to the risen Savior? Dear one, Jesus has given us the key of grace to unlock the gate of guilt. We need only ask and He will open. He will set us free. Those who come to Him in a spirit of repentance, He will by no means cast out. He will set us free (John 8:32). Amen.
Small Group Preparation Questions John 21:15‐25 Open It 1. When did you ever have to restore a broken relationship?
2. Discuss as a group an embarrassing moment you experienced? How were you able to get over the embarrassment?
Explore It: Read John 21:1‐25 3. What did Jesus ask Peter three times? (21:15‐17)
4. What did Jesus tell Peter to do? (21:15‐17)
5. How did Peter feel after Jesus had asked him the same question three times? (21:17)
6. What did Jesus predict about Peter’s future? (21:18‐19)
7. What command did Jesus give to Peter? (21:19)
8. What concern did Peter raise? (21:20‐21)
9. How did Jesus want Peter to serve Him? (21:22)
10. What rumor spread as the result of Jesus’ talk with Peter? (21:23)
11. What did John do with the testimony he had concerning Jesus? (21:24)
12. How many of Jesus’ deeds did John leave out of his Gospel? (21:25)
Get It 13. Why do our failures lead to such times of hopelessness? What was Jesus way to pull Peter out of his time of despair?
14. When have you experienced the forgiveness of Jesus over a particular failure?
15. In what ways can we serve others as Peter was called to do?
16. In what unique ways have you been gifted to serve God?
17. What might cause us to be more concerned about someone else’s relationship with Christ than our own?
Apply It 18. How can you focus your attention solely on your service to God this week?
19. What happens if we fail to live out God’s calling to serve as ministers in the body of Christ?
20. Why is our call as believers to serve one another such a huge part to our faith?