Boundaries with Friends Discussion Guide

Sermon Summary 🎬

My sermon focused on living in the freedom Christ gives us, mainly through the lens of friendship and boundaries. I introduced the book of Proverbs as our guide for this series, acknowledging that while it's often overlooked due to its poetic nature, it contains profound wisdom on living wisely.

I used Jesus' relationships as a model to illustrate different types of friendships: the crowd, the tribe, the circle, and the A-team. The crowd represents the large number of acquaintances we have, the tribe consists of closer friends who celebrate life's moments with us, the circle includes those we lean on during tough times, and the A-team comprises those few individuals who know us intimately and help us grow spiritually.

Bible Reading 📖

Observation Questions 💬

  1. In Proverbs 13:20, what are the contrasting outcomes for those who walk with the wise compared to those who are companions of fools?
  2. Reflecting on Proverbs 13:13-14, what are the benefits of heeding wise instruction, and how is it described in terms of its value to life?
  3. Considering Mark 3:7-10, what does the size and behavior of the crowd following Jesus indicate about their relationship to him?
  4. From John 12:1-2, what does the setting of the dinner in Bethany reveal about the nature of Jesus' relationships with Lazarus, Martha, and others present?

Interpretation Questions 💬

  1. How might the principle found in Proverbs 13:20 apply to the types of friendships one should pursue, and what might be the consequences of neglecting this wisdom?
  2. What does it mean to have a friendship that is "a fountain of life," and how can one discern if a relationship has this quality?
  3. How can the dynamic between Jesus and the crowd in Mark 3 inform our understanding of the different levels of intimacy and influence in our own relationships?
  4. Reflecting on the dinner at Bethany in John 12, what characteristics define the deeper, more intimate relationships Jesus had, and how do these compare to the broader relationships with the crowd?

Application Questions 💬

  1. Identify a relationship in your life that encourages wisdom and growth. What specific steps can you take this week to strengthen that relationship?
  2. Think of a recent piece of advice or correction you received. How did you respond to it, and what can you do to be more receptive to wisdom from others moving forward?
  3. Consider your own "crowd" of acquaintances. What is one way you can intentionally foster deeper connections with a few individuals from this group?
  4. Choose one friend or family member who has been a source of spiritual encouragement. How can you express your gratitude to them this week, and how might you reciprocate that support?
  5. Reflect on your current friendships. Is there someone whose influence may not be aligned with your spiritual goals? What is a loving and constructive way to address this, and what boundaries might you need to establish?

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