MODULE 9 RESOURCES
Assignment: Watch Tim Keller’s sermon, “Generous Justice,” located below. Then access Part 1 of the Generous Justice journaling guide below as well. Come ready to discuss your responses at your next meeting.
DISCUSS the “Generous Justice” sermon and journaling responses using the journal guide from meeting 1.
ASSIGNMENT: Complete Part 2 of the Generous Justice Journaling Guide located below. Come ready to discuss your answers at your next meeting.
By Megan Koch, revised by Jake Thurston
“When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.” —Romans 12:13
“Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters. Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it! Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies.” —Hebrews 13:1-3
“That is why the Good News was preached to those who are now dead—so although they were destined to die like all people, they now live forever with God in the Spirit. The end of the world is coming soon. Therefore, be earnest and disciplined in your prayers. Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay.” — 1 Peter 4:6-9
The Gospel is the good news that God’s kingdom has come through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, who now rules over all. Because of Christ’s work, we are now forgiven for our rebellion against God, justified as righteous, granted eternal life, and can grow in holiness. And if that weren’t enough, we are welcomed into the family of God, the fellowship of believers known as the Church. We’re in.
Evangelism happens every time we invite someone into life with Jesus. Because we now experience the fullness of grace and love that comes from being a part of his family, then we get to make room for everybody else to join in, too. We are so flooded with Christ’s goodness, grace, power, majesty, joy, and love, that we want to invite everyone we possibly can to be a part of his Church. When they come to Jesus, they don’t just get a new “religious status” on Facebook or start changing their habits. They’re adopted into the family. God’s family, to be exact. They’re no longer an outsider. They’re in.
Generous Justice Response: Part 1
WATCH Tim Keller’s message, “Generous Justice,” located above. You may want to take notes as you listen.
JOURNAL responses to the prompts below, and come ready to discuss these at your next meeting.
1. What were your first thoughts as you listened to this message? What stood out to you?
2. Keller explains, “All other religions say, ‘Live as you ought and God will accept and bless you.’ But the gospel says, ‘Receive his acceptance and blessing as a gift through what Jesus Christ did on the cross and then and only then will you live as you ought. Not live as you ought and get the blessing. Get the blessing through Jesus Christ as a free gift, and then live as you ought.’”
This illustrates two approaches to “doing the right thing:” (1). Do the right thing to receive God’s blessing, or (2) Receive God’s blessing so you can do the right thing. What are the motivations behind each approach?
3. What makes the motivations of Jesus’ disciples unique to all other religions?
4. Justification is a really important term for our Christian faith. Justification, in short, means Christ took our sins so we could stand as righteous before God. We’re justified before God not because of what we have done, but because of what God has done. Justice for sinners isn’t earned; it’s
given. But we aren’t only forgiven.
READ 2 Cor. 5:21.
The NIV (New International Version) says, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” When we put our faith in Jesus, there is an incredible exchange: our sins are no longer counted against us, and instead, we are righteous just like Jesus. God removes a burden we could never lift alone, and gives us a gift we could never earn.
Pause for a moment, and think through your reactions toward this truth about justification. How does it make you feel? How is it confusing? How does it stir up your spirit? Even more so, how does it affect the way you go about your life and interactions with others?
5. Keller said, “When you know you’re saved by grace, you cannot be condescending [hold in contempt or judgement] to perpetrators of injustice because you know that you were the perpetrator of the ultimate injustice, which was rebelling against God—and yet God saved you.”
Think back to Module 8 and what we’ve learned about hospitality. There was a time when you were left “out,” but Jesus welcomed you in, cleaned you up, and made you a member of the family. By faith, grace gave you a gift you didn’t deserve. Jesus didn’t give you what was fair, he did what was right.
What’s the difference? Is justice about making things equal and fair, or making things right?
What might that have to do with this conversation about doing justice for others?
6. READ Micah 6:8.
Step through this passage backwards. God’s people should walk humbly with him, love mercy, and do what is right. This is what God requires of us, because it is good.
First, when we walk humbly with God, we walk confident that God has ultimate power and authority over everything, and he uses that power to take care of us. We don’t have to be prideful, overextended, or worried. God’s power won’t run out, and he wants to extend it to us.
Second, we are to love mercy; in other words, as we are with God, we love what he loves, and even become like him. God is full of compassion, and loves to forgive wrongs. If we are walking with God, we do the same. That leads to the third point: do what is right.
This is an illustration of a full-bodied life of faith. If we do not embody all three of these things, something is wrong. But consider the language here: we love mercy and do what is right.
7. What motivates the acts of justice we do? Are you motivated by results, or your Redeemer?
In light of that, are you willing to commit to doing justice, even when you can’t guarantee the outcome, or see the full picture like God does? If things don’t appear to resolve as they “should,” what was the point?
Generous Justice Response: Part 2
By Megan Koch
REVIEW Tim Keller’s message, “Generous Justice,” located in meeting 1, as well as any notes you took as you listened.
JOURNAL responses to the prompts below, and come ready to discuss these at your next meeting.
1. Who are the poor? Poverty is about much more than financial resources. Nicholas Wolterstorff often talks about the “Quartet of the Vulnerable:”
1. The widow
2. The orphan
3. The alien or immigrant
4. The [financially] poor.
These are people who are most easily taken advantage of or harmed, and the issues they face often compound on one another, creating generations of oppression that are very difficult to escape.
Do you identify with one of these four groups yourself, or have you in the past?
The world favors the voices of those with power and influence. How does this affect the vulnerable? How do you see this play out in the world, your country, your city, and your church?
2. Unjust living is not only about doing wrong things, but about not doing right things. When God puts good things in our hands (resources, gifts, abilities, forgiveness, etc.) and we withhold them from people who need it, we are not loving mercy. When we have good things and keep them for ourselves, we aren’t doing justice. We aren’t living in full partnership with God.
Pause and ask God to speak to you about this right now. What is he revealing to you?
3. Have you ever attempted to help someone, and suddenly felt confronted with how little you wanted to do with them? When you engage with difficult situations, do you become easily frustrated, angry, overwhelmed, or impatient? What do our reactions in these situations reveal about us?
4. A life of loving mercy and doing justice doesn’t just mend the broken world. It mends you.
When we encounter the broken, we’re able to see what is broken in us. Injustice can be like a mirror, reflecting back to us what is not right in our own hearts. Because if we are willing to call something “not good” in the world, God wants to help us see if that same issue is also “not good” in our own life. If we see someone lied to, taken advantage of, or hungry when their government could feed them, we need to be ready to face how we might do these same wrong things. This is, perhaps, why so few people truly partner with justice over the course of their lifetime. It is easier to avoid seeing these messes (if we are privileged enough to do so) and simply turn away, or send a check instead.
How can compassionate engagement with the brokenness of the world heal what is broken in your own heart?
5. Have you ever resisted God’s work in you through living justly? For example, has God ever offered you the opportunity to become more patient, more forgiving, or more selfless as you serve others? Have you always embraced these gifts? If not, what held you back?
If you want to engage with unjust practices in the world, are you willing to allow God to show you how you might be living an unjust life? Why or why not?
6. Keller said that “Justice is the sign of justification.” When we are justified by God, then we will extend justice to the brokenness of the world. When the world sees the church extending justice, then they will in turn want to be justified by God. The cycle is complete!
Put simply, if we as Christians are saved by God, then we should be on the frontlines of bringing justice to this earth. So begin thinking about your own life: What could “living justly” start to look like in your life?
ASSIGNMENT: Now that you’ve discussed the principle of living justly, it’s time to think about your specific role in extending justice to the world around you. Complete the “What is Your Justice Calling?” exercise located below. Come ready to discuss your responses at your next meeting.
ASSIGNMENT: Make a clear step of engagement that pulls you further in to the area of injustice you determined with your discipler. Remember to update your discipler about this at your next meeting as you begin the Making Disciples module, if you have not completed it already.
What is Your Justice Calling?
By Phil Wiseman (Adapted Version)
In this exercise, you will reflectively walk through a series of questions designed to help you find the place where your passion and calling for justice intersect. Maybe by the end, you’ll know exactly what you’re called to do. Then again, maybe you’ll still be unsure. Either way, let this start you down a road toward asking the question, “how can I be a tangible part of the solution for an injustice in the world?”
Grab your journal, and write your answers to the questions below.
1. Read the following verses: Amos 5:24, Isaiah 58:3-6, Micah 6:8, and James 1:27. Write down a prayer, asking God to give you His heart for justice.
2. Micah Kephart, founder of the organization, Poetice International, identifies 5 “giants of injustice:”
a. Spiritual emptiness
c. Lack of education
These giants are the source of essentially every form of injustice, in one way or another. Which one stirs you the most? Why?
3. Does any one issue of injustice make you particularly sad, frustrated, or motivated? In other words, what specific injustice under one of the 5 Giants stirs you the most? (For example: Racial reconciliation falls under oppression, or drug addiction falls under disease, or loneliness falls under spiritual emptiness?)
4. Do you have a job, skill, relationship, experience, or an interest that might make you a natural part of the solution for any of these giants? List anything a part of your life that you think could be a direct way of contributing to a solution.
5. Is there a clear way for you to address that issue that’s directly accessible? Some examples could include volunteering at a homeless shelter to address poverty, getting involved at a local Boys and Girls Club to address the lack of education, or giving a monthly donation to a non-profit organization committed to ending poverty in your city.
6. Based on what you’ve written above, has a problem emerged that you believe you’re called to help solve? Be clear and specific. You won’t be able to end world poverty, but you can contribute towards ending poverty through a specific action on your part that matches up with your passions, gifts, and experiences. Complete the following sentence if you can. If you’re unsure of how to finish the sentence, then bring it up with your discipler at your next meeting!
I am called to address the injustice of list specific injustice by list specific action step .