Throughout this sermon series, leaders and their group members are encouraged to visit this special webpage which offers additional resources updated on an ongoing basis. This page will be helpful for you or anyone in your group who wants to explore the topic of Biblical justice and reconciliation in greater depth.
About the Listen, Love, Learn series: We are using a video study called Oneness Embraced by Dr. Tony Evans as the primary teaching source for this study guide. (You can read more details about it below in the Watch section of this guide.)
Prior to beginning today’s study or asking the opening questions, it is important to start your time together in fellowship. Whether you are continuing to meet online or are transitioning to gathering in person, spending at least 15 minutes together catching up socially is vital for your relationships and sense of connectedness.
- Can you recall a time when God placed you in a specific situation as an instrument of His plans to prevent someone from being harmed or to be a stop-gap against the progression of evil?
- Have you ever been included in a situation where a church or group of believers were clearly used by God to either bring about major change or prevent something wrong from happening in a community, for a family, or even on a much larger scale? What happened?
- What was it about that group’s behavior, words, and actions that made it clear to you that their approach and impact were empowered by God?
For this sermon study guide series, we are utilizing a video study called Oneness Embraced by Dr. Tony Evans to supplement the sermon content each week.
Dr. Evans shares kingdom-minded approaches for biblical justice and social restoration in this 6-session video Bible study.
SESSION 6*: The Key to Kingdom Oneness and Holding Back Evil through the Church
In Session 6, Dr. Evans explains that the role of the body of Christ is to hold back the proliferation of evil on earth. When Christians come together to focus on Kingdom-centered goals, the damage evil desires to do is restricted by the power and presence of God’s people. Our unified pursuit of God’s plan is essential for the salvation of humankind.
As a group (online or in-person), watch this 13-minute video together.
*NOTE: Because our sermon series is shorter than this 6-week study, we are concluding this study guide with session 6. However, your group members may want to watch videos 4 (Debunking Racial Myths) and 5 (Freedom and Justice For All) prior to watching the last session together.
It is vital that you don’t skip this step since the discussion questions below are based on the concepts presented by Dr. Evans. If you do not have a RightNow Media login, get a free subscription through Cornerstone by filling out this form.
After watching the video, spend time sharing your reactions to the concepts that Dr. Evans presented. Feel free to encourage group members to also discuss the sermon message and the Beyond Sunday video for this week.
If your group feels led to spend the remainder of your time together praying instead of discussion, we have created this prayer guide.
In the video, Dr. Evans says that just as levees are built to prevent devastating floods, the church, or the global body of Christ, is God’s levee against the tide of evil on earth. Without the presence of the Holy Spirit working in the lives of His people across the world, evil would overwhelm everything. The church’s presence limits what evil can accomplish. Dr. Evans said, “When the church fails, the damage that sin, evil, and unrighteousness can do is devastating to individuals, to families, and to whole societies.” The church is God’s provision to earth to salvage our culture and to reverse our direction as a society.
- What is your reaction to Dr. Evans' statement that the church, or the global body of Christ, is God’s solution to salvage our culture?
- Do you think that a reversal in our direction as a society is possible? In what ways? To what extent do you think it’s possible?
Read Matthew 16:13-20 in both the ESV and TPT translations of the Bible (click the link to see both side-by-side).
- Go around the room and ask each person to say the first word or phrase that pops into his or her mind when they hear the word “church” or when they think about what the church is or what it does.
- This passage in Matthew contains the first-ever use of the word “church” (Ekklisía in Greek) in the Bible. According to the video, how have modern Christians often misunderstood what the definition of church is according to the Bible?
- As you compare the two different versions of the passages, go through each verse, calling out or jotting down the differences between the two of them.
- In what way does reading these two different translations of the passage help you gain further insight into what Jesus explained to Peter about the church?
Read 1 Peter 2:4-6. Dr. Evans said, “The church is the coming together of individual stones unified to make something bigger.” He goes on to use the analogy of an American embassy in a foreign country. An embassy acts as a little bit of America far from home — when you walk through its gates the laws of the United States are in effect versus the laws of the foreign country where it is located. The church has the same role on earth. We provide a little bit of heaven on earth. Within the church, the laws and values of heaven rule, not the culture or the evil that surrounds it.
- What are some ways that the modern church has become more like the culture around it rather than a reflection of its true home?
- Dr. Evans asks the question, how can we have all these churches — many of them with amazing facilities, incredible programs, and memberships exceeding 10,000 people — and still have such high levels of injustice, discord, and widespread bias among Christians? He answered the question by saying that we have missed the purpose of the church. He said, “We’ve made the purpose of the church, the church.” What does he mean by that? Do you agree with him? Why or why not?
- Go back and read Matthew 16:19 again. What does Jesus say that He is giving to His followers? How does this help us to understand the true purpose of the church?
- Throughout the Bible, gates are often used as a metaphor for governance, wisdom, power, or decision-making. Dr. Evans said, “For every hellish gate there is a heavenly door to be opened by the church to post up the levees and hold back the enemy.” When we continue to be segregated as the body of Christ, whether by race or class, we do not have access to the keys that Jesus has given us. Therefore, if Christians are not using Kingdom keys, what kind of keys have we typically been using? Why don’t they work?
- What kind of key has the authority of God behind it? How does it reflect the real purpose of the church more than our culture today? How do you think our culture would react if the church began using that kind of key more often?
As we wrap up this four-week sermon and study guide series, spend time as a group reflecting on its impact. Here are some ideas to kick off the conversation.
- Has your awareness or perspective shifted in any way?
- Are you reading any books on the subject or seeking out new sources of knowledge on topics related to reconciliation and impartiality?
- Did you hear anything in the sermons or the video study surprise you? Challenge you? Encourage you?
- Did the series inspire you to take action in some way? If so, how? Share how the group can support you in that decision.
As we close out the discussion today, finish by spending time in prayer as a group over the changes or action steps individual group members, your community, and the Cornerstone body can take to encourage unity, reconciliation, impartiality, and the advancement of God’s Kingdom. Ask God to humble our hearts and prepare us to see — and receive — the keys of authority that Jesus wants us to utilize to hold back evil.
TAKE YOUR NEXT STEP
Grow closer to Jesus each day and explore what it means to love others as He did.
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 - LISTEN LEARN LOVE - WEEK 4
Take Another Step on this Topic
Visit this special sermon series webpage with additional resources, including a practical list of 10 things we can each do right now to love others. These resources will help you explore the topic of biblical justice and racial unity in greater depth.
Watch CF Beyond Sunday this Monday!
After each sermon, our pastors and various church leaders sit down for about 20 minutes to have a lively discussion about the weekend's topic. It will be posted on YouTube and the church website on Monday night, June 29!