Small Group Tools
Contemporary Comments 2005
The Church: God's Workmanship
[Title] The Church: God’s Workmanship
[Texts] Ephesians 2:1-10; Romans 3: 23-31; Titus 3: 4-7
[Use] October 29, 2005
During the business week are you a saint (follower of Christ) or a sinner (follower of the desire of your own flesh and senses)? As you attend church, do you see it as a place for saints only or for sinners?
In the Ephesus church to which Paul addressed the letter we are reading this quarter, it was common practice for people to follow the ways of the world, following the ruler of the power of the air, doing what one felt like doing when one felt like doing it. [Ephesians 2:2 NRSV]
Living in sin...following the power of the air...doing what one feels like doing. Hummm. Has there been a change in the church you attend today? What might Paul write to your church--to you--if he were alive today?
This past week the Parents Television Council rated the 10 worst prime-time shows for family viewing. Television’s two most viewed shows, CBS’s "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" and ABC’s "Desperate Housewives" were cited as “bad family viewing.”  The group could only come up with 9 shows they recommended for viewing in prime-time as a family.
The Council’s President, Brent Bozell, warned parents not to be deceived by what the networks market as family-friendly. In the article Bozell lists the three worst shows as well as the damaging influences of cartoons. 
According to Melissa Caldwell, The Parents Television Council’s research director, the group based their listing on the amount of foul language and sexual and violent content targeting shows that appear when children are likely to be awake. Just imagine how long the “worst” list of shows for family viewing might be if the group rated shows airing when children are asleep!
Our society seems obsessed with sex. Never before has pornography been such a problem among members and leaders of churches. And it’s not just an addiction for me. The fashion industry, chat rooms, conversations, movies, billboards, computer pop-ups, _______(you fill in the blank). It’s pervasive.
Pastors Craig Gross and Mike Foster are providing ways for churches and their members to address the problem head-on. Their ministry includes a website www.XXXchurch.com . Already over 100 churches have featured a discussion about pornography during their church services by using the “PornSunday” kit that Gross and Foster make available to churches. 
PornSabbath was last week’s topic for youth Sabbath Schools using the CornerStone Connections curriculum produced by the General Conference.  During a power point presentation and discussion about Christianity and pornography, you could hear a pin drop at many youth SabbathSchool classes in Adventist churches.
The Apostle Paul gives us hope. So does XXXchurch.com and the Cornerstone curriculum. Healing from the most secret of sins, the pattern of living that defies God’s will for our life, can take place. It is possible to switch our allegiance from Satan to God by surrendering 24/7 any addiction or problem killing us and keeping us “dead in sin.” By faith in the mercy and grace of Jesus Christ the devil can be overcome. Sinners can be set free.
It may not easy but we CAN be freed from the “mire of sin” if we seek shelter in Jesus! (Ephesians 2:5; Romans 23-31) Trust Christ to help you find someone safe you can be accountable to this week.
(1) Associated Press, New York: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20051019/ap_on_en_tv/tv_family_viewing
(3) More information about Pastors’ Gross and Foster’s XXXchurch’s PornSunday can be obtained at http://www.pornsunday.com/why.html
(4) At http://cornerstoneconnections.adventist.org/ you can choose 2005 Quarter 5, Lesson 4, Oct. 22 to view the Bible Study lesson on Pornography and Christianity.
(5) Read Romans 23-31