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Throughout the Everyday Theology sermon series, we will explore foundational principles of the Christian faith in chapters 5-8 of the book of Romans. Rather than giving us only knowledge about God and His plan for restoring our relationship with Him through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, we will learn from Paul what it means to have more of God Himself and the life Jesus died to give us — right now and for eternity.
Each week, your group will watch a brief video teaching from one of the Cornerstone pastors, complementing the corresponding sermon for the week. The study guide includes a warm-up question designed to help your group focus on the primary Scripture passage and its theological implications. The discussion section will jump into the meaning and impact of Paul’s major points. We’ll wrap things up with questions that explore how the passage applies to us today as followers of Jesus in a modern and chaotic world. For more info and ideas on leading your group, visit our sermon series resource page.
Please also encourage your group members to check out Daily Steps, Cornerstone's companion devotional guide for individual reflection, prayer, and meditation on related Scripture selections throughout the week!
This week we recommend that you begin your group time together in prayer and then watching the study guide video before you discuss the warm-up question.
Watch this week’s video teaching from Adrian Tsingaris, pastor of Cornerstone’s Walnut Creek campus.
In the video you just watched, Pastor Adrian told a story about Chief Sitting Bull who explained that his internal battle between living for the flesh and living for the spirit was like two dogs who fight each other all the time. One dog was mean and selfish and the other was good, loving, and generous.
In her sermon, Pastor Becky Fitch said that the struggle was like choosing between using a GPS to get somewhere on your own or following a friend in the car ahead of you no matter what direction they turned.
Here are some other analogies that have been used to describe what this spiritual struggle is like:
An internal tug of war between two strong opponents
A battle between a fire-breathing dragon and a valiant knight
A bridle bit in a horse’s mouth being pulled in two different directions
An angel on one shoulder and a demon on the other
A little monster in your mind that you try to keep locked up or hidden away
As you contemplate these analogies, read Romans 7:15-20 together using in the New Living Translation of the Bible. Just like Sitting Bull and all followers of Jesus, the apostle Paul struggled mightily to follow the spirit of life versus his sinful nature.
Take a few moments to share which analogy you relate to the most and why. You might even come up with your own unique comparison!
Read Romans 8:5-8 in four different translations of the Bible — ESV, TPT, NLT, and The Message. (Leader Tip: Click the link to see all four versions in parallel.)
In the video, Pastor Adrian defined what the words flesh and spirit mean, both in the original Greek and in the context of how Paul uses the words in this chapter.
In your own words, what does Paul mean when he uses the word “flesh?”
Read Galatians 5:19-21. What kinds of thoughts and actions are associated with living for the flesh?
Read Matthew 5:27-28. Based on this passage, are sinful thoughts any worse or better than sinful actions?
In your own words, what does Paul mean when he uses the word “spirit?"
What kinds of thoughts and actions are associated with living for the spirit?
Read Galatians 5:22-23. Based on this verse, what happens when we live for the spirit?
Read Romans 8:9-14. In this passage, Paul is describing the spiritual process we need to go through to become more like Jesus over time. Bible scholars call this process sanctification, which Pastor Adrian defined in the video as, “How we leave our old destructive thoughts and actions and become more like Jesus in our thoughts and actions. We are either moving in the direction of death or we are moving in the direction of life.” He goes on to explain that the method by which this happens is choosing daily to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit versus the leading of our sinful nature, personal agendas, or desires of the flesh.
Ask your group members to each take out a sheet of paper and draw two vertical lines down the page to make two columns. Or, if you have access to a whiteboard, poster board, or chalkboard, you can do this collectively. At the top of the left column, write “Spirit”. At the top of the right, write “Flesh.”
Using Romans 8:5-14, look for the contrasts between living by the flesh and living by the spirit. Write down the words associated with each, paying particular attention to any actions and results that Paul talks about.
Once you have made the lists, spend time discussing any patterns or key points you notice when comparing the two ways of life. If you have time, share some ways in which you sense God leading you to live according to the Spirit.
In her sermon, Pastor Becky explained that living by the spirit is not following a checklist, but rather a moment-by-moment surrender of allowing the Holy Spirit to lead you. She said, “The whole concept of living according to the Spirit hinges on your understanding of your own inability and trust in the Holy Spirit’s ability.”
How do these passages confirm what Pastor Becky said about understanding or recognizing your own inability compared to God’s?
In looking at these verses, what are the benefits of being humble in your walk with God?
How does following a checklist rely on your own abilities instead of trusting in God’s?
What are some ways you want to learn to follow God moment by moment and let go of your own need to have a checklist or a roadmap ahead of time?
Closeout your time together by praying for each other based on the answers you shared for the previous question.
TAKE YOUR NEXT STEP
Everyone has a next step with Jesus...What's yours?
Spend Time Alone with God
Daily Steps is a weekly devotional message designed as a companion to this sermon study guide. You will be guided as you spend time with God through personal reflection, Scripture readings, and prayer prompts.
DAILY STEPS - EVERYDAY THEOLOGY - ROMANS 8:5-13
Get Your Worship On!
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