Guests: and

Key Passages:

Mark 10:45 — Son of Man came to serve, not to be served.
John 13:15-17 — Footwashing is an example for us.
Matt. 7:12 — Treat others as you want them to treat you.
Acts 10 — Peter to Cornelius: no partiality for Jews.
Rom. 2:5-11 — God shows no partiality to Jew over Greek.
James 2:1-9 — The rich are not to be favored over the poor.

Examples of Jesus’ accepting non-Jews:

Mark 7:24-30 — Syro-Phoenician woman and her daughter
Luke 10:25-33 — Good Samaritan
John 4:7-15 — Samaritan woman at the well

Examples of Jesus’ rejecting Jews:

Matt. 21:33-43 — Rejected vineyard workers
Luke 13:34-35 — Jesus’ tears over wayward Jerusalem
Acts 17:26 — Paul (Athens): All humans have common ancestor.
Rom. 10:12 — Jew and Gentile have the same Lord.
Phil. 4:13 — Paul could do anything through Christ.

Discussion Questions:

1. If the church is to be an open community, in what ways will that openness be revealed to those not part of the church? Will the church be more loving, more gentle, more accepting to those without than those within? Or will the church be more quick to attack immoral behavior and faulty teachings of those outside the church than those within? Or should our attitudes be consistent?
2. Should the church tilt its outreach mission to the disadvantaged or to the “better” classes of people?
3. To what extent is our failure to reach out determined by our own sinful prejudices (racism, social or economic class)? How could Paul’s motto (“I can do all things through him who strengthens me,” Phil. 4:13) become effective in removing sinful prejudice?
4. The church has often understood as its mission the responsibility to call others to come out of their communities. Should that still be the case, or should we concentrate on summoning those who have no church home at all?
5. How can a church be open while maintaining clear boundaries? In other words, is it possible to be exclusive and open at the same time?

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