Session five draws on the fifth chapter of the book Making Sense of God’s Love: Atonement and Redemption. So far, we have looked at Atonement and Redemption as it is worked out in the life of the person, but to be a Christian is to belong to what we call the Body of Christ, the Church. In this session we’ll be thinking about what it means to be a Church that lives out this redemptive love, what its true purpose is in the world and what its own redemptive work consists of.
Take a few minutes to think about yourselves as a group. Have you come to know each other better because of these sessions? Have you discovered more common ground in things that relate to the topics we have been discussing? Or have the discussions revealed cracks and even led to disputes? Have these been resolved? In today’s session we’ll be thinking about the life of the Church which this group is, in a sense, mirroring, so feel free to relate the topics directly to yourselves, your own churches or any situation known to you.
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” 14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter,[a] and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades[b] will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be[c] bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be[d] loosed in heaven.”
26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.