THE BIG IDEA:
Out of love for the one who has paid our debt and set us free, we choose to serve Jesus with our life.
Serving involves putting someone else’s needs and desires higher than our own. Our sin makes us naturally self-focused. Only love, gratitude and the power of the Holy Spirit make it possible for us to truly serve. When we forget how much Jesus has given us, we tend to focus on ourselves and not the life and purpose God has for us.
We recognize and remember that Christ is worthy of our service, both because of who he is and because of what he has done. We align ourselves with his will and serve him with gratitude. We no longer live for ourselves, but for Him who died for us (2 Cor. 5:15).
A cage is a terrible place to be. When a bird or person is released from the cage, they are excited to be out and grateful to the person who released them. When Christ freed us we became free from the prison of sin! We are now able to live our lives free and show Christ our gratitude by serving him with our lives.
- What I want the group to know and understand: The life of a follower of Christ is a life of submitting to his Lordship. He has earned our allegiance both because of who he is as God, and because of what he has done through his death on the cross to purchase our freedom.
- What I want the group to experience: Gratitude & Attitude–gratitude to Christ and an attitude of wanting to serve him as a result.
- How I want the group to respond: By making life choices in light of the fact that Jesus is Lord of our lives. By daily submitting to the lordship of Christ, by worshiping and obeying. By asking “What is His will?” when faced with circumstances and decisions.
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Have you ever known anyone who has received a transplant from an organ donor? What is that person’s attitude toward life and the person who donated the organ? Often they don’t know who that person was, but if they had a chance to meet or speak to that person, what do you think they would want to say or do? Why?
1. Read Luke 8:27-39. According to verses 28-29 what are some of the ways the man’s life is described before his encounter with Jesus?
He had demons. He was naked and homeless, living among the tombs. He needed to be restrained because he was out of his mind.
2. How is the man described in verse 35 after his encounter with Jesus?
Sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. Jesus has set him free and given him life again.
3. How does the man respond to Jesus after Jesus sets him free? (What does he ask for?) Why do you think he responds this way?
He begs Jesus to let him go with him. Gratitude and a desire to be with and serve the one who set him free is a natural response.
4. What specific assignment does Jesus give him and how does he respond?
Jesus sends him home to declare to others how much God has done for him. He does what Jesus asks. He willingly goes and proclaims throughout the whole city how much Jesus has done for him.
5. The other people in the story ask Jesus for something. What do they ask? Why do you think what they ask is so different from what the man asked?
They ask Jesus to go away. The Bible says twice that they are afraid. Both the man and the other people saw Jesus’ power, but they have very different responses. It seems the people are more concerned about their comfort and what it might cost them if Jesus draws near. The man experiences the Lord’s love in a personal way that the other people do not. 1 John 4:18 tells us “perfect love casts out fear”.
6. If you have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, what are some things from which you been set free?
Answers can vary. Students could talk about Biblical truths, like sin, death, hell, etc. Or they might want to share specific areas from their before testimony, like seeking life in relationships, addictions, self-harm, etc.
7. In your experience, how does someone who has experienced Christ’s power and love personally respond to Jesus differently than friends who have not experienced Jesus’s power and love or have only seen Jesus at a distance?
This can be compared to the way the man responds versus the way the other people in the story respond. People who have not experienced Christ’s love and life themselves don’t understand why you would want to serve him. Depending on how the conversation goes, you might want to remind the students that because of the cross, Jesus’ power and love is available to their friends, even though they have not experienced it yet.
There are many verses in the Bible that talk about how we respond to God based on our gratitude.
8. Read 2 Corinthians 5:14-15. What is the motivation in these verses? What is the response? What do you think it looks like to no longer live for ourselves but for Christ?
Because of his love – his love for us & our love for him, we live for him. Living for him requires surrender. It means doing things his way, not our way. Practically this means …. obedience.
9. How do you think no longer living for yourself but for Christ, impacts your decision-making process?
The questions are no longer “What do I want to do?” or “What is best for me?” or “What do I think is best?” The question is now, “What would Jesus want me to do in this situation?”
10. How do you determine what Jesus wants you to do?
The Word of God gives us specific commands to obey. In areas where there are not specific commands it tells us about attitudes and perspectives we should have as believers and gives us insights into God’s character which can also help shape our understanding of His will. God has also given us the Holy Spirit to lead us and to guide us. Refer to the lessons on the Holy Spirit to understand how to access His power.
11. In the story we read, the man had an idea of how he wanted to serve Christ. He wanted to go with him. Jesus gave him another assignment instead. Sometimes the assignments Jesus gives us are different than our preconceived notions of how we want to serve. How do you respond when that is the case?
Have the group discuss. It’s fair to acknowledge that it isn’t always easy, but in light of what Jesus has done for us in giving us life, is there anything too much for him to ask? Remembering how much he loves us and that we owe him everything, AND that he gives us the power to do whatever he asks through the power of his Holy Spirit is the key.
12. Is there anything in your life right now that you need to stop doing or start doing in order to live fully surrendered to Christ?
Allow the group to discuss.
FOR FURTHER STUDY
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