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Colossians 3:1-17; Matthew 5:13-16; John 13:34-35

  • What differences do you think Christianity has made in your life? Share any stories you have when people have noticed how different you are.

Read Matthew 5:13-16, John 13:34-35 & John 17:13-19

  • How does Jesus want his followers to live? (see footnote [1] for a brief explanation of salt and light)

  • Why do you think Jesus is concerned with his followers standing out and being seen? What does he hope this will achieve?

  • How do you feel about the call to stand out, to be 'sent into the world but not of it'?

Read Colossians 3:1-17

As you read, notice all the ways in which Christians ought to be different to the world around us.

  • What internal (head and heart) differences did you notice?

  • What external (behaviour and lifestyle) differences did you notice?

  • How do the internal and external differences connect?

  • Do any of these things surprise you or challenge you in particular? Why?

  • Imagine a non-Christian friend, family member or neighbour. Are any of the differences listed in Colossians 3 likely to surprise them (or even create conflict with them?) and therefore create an opportunity to share about Jesus?

  • Do you have any stories where this has happened to you before? What happened?

Spend some time reflecting on your life. How comfortable are you with being different for Jesus, and those differences being noticed by others? How willing are you to disrupt the status-quo of our culture, even if that creates friction or makes you seem weird?

[1] R.T. France explains what Jesus means by 'salt' and 'light':

Salt serves mainly to give flavour, and to prevent corruption. Disciples, if they are true to their calling, make the earth a purer and a more palatable place. But they can do so only as long as they preserve their distinctive character: unsalty salt has no more value. Strictly, pure salt cannot lose its salinity; but the impure ‘salt’ dug from the shores of the Dead Sea could gradually become unsalty as the actual sodium chloride dissolved....

Light, like salt, affects its environment by being distinctive. The disciple who is visibly different from other men will have an effect on them. But the aim of his good works is not to parade his own virtue, but to direct attention to the God who inspired them. By so doing the disciple will give light to all... The city set on a hill, rather awkwardly introduced among the sayings about light, reinforces the importance of being conspicuously different... A secret disciple is no more use in the world than one who has lost his distinctiveness.

R.T. France, Tyndale Commentary Volume 1: Matthew, p.118-119.


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