Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Cost of Discipleship, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Chapter 30

1. On page 249, “The body of the exalted Lord is also a visible body in the shape of the Church.  How is this body made visible? In the first place, through the preaching of the word.”

- What effect has preaching had on your life, both in the present and in the past?  Give examples, please.

2. On page 250, “Furthermore, when this Word comes, the Holy Spirit comes, showing to Christian, both individually and corporately, the gifts of the incarnate Christ to man.  He produces faith in his hearers, that they may discern in the preaching the entry of Jesus Christ.  He opens their eyes to see Christ coming into their midst in the power of his Body to tell us that he has received us and will receive us again to-day.”

-  How is the Holy Trinity at work here?  
- What is the specific role of each part of the Trinity?

3. On page 251, “But preaching is not the only means whereby the Church takes visible form.  That is also done by the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, both of which flow from the true humanity of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The Body of Christ becomes visible to the world in the congregation gathered round the Word and Sacrament.”

- How would you describe the role and value of each sacrament?

4. On page 254, “It is instructive to note that the fellowship is mentioned between Word & Sacrament.  This no accident, for fellowship always springs from the Word and finds its goal and completion in the Lord’s Supper.  The whole common life of the Christian fellowship oscillates between Word & Sacrament; it begins and ends in worship.  It looks forward in expectation to the final banquet in the kingdom of God.”

- How do you experience the truth of this fellowship in worship?
- How is this different from other fellowship events?

5. On page 258, “The member of the Body of Christ has been delivered from the world and called out of it.  He must give the world a visible proof of his calling, not only by sharing in the Church’s worship and discipline, but also through the new fellowship of brotherly living.”

- How might you describe the “visible proof of your calling?”
- How is that identity in Christ manifested in fellowship?

6. On page 264, “Let the Christian remain in the world…to engage in frontal assault on it, and let him live the life of his secular calling in order to show himself as a stranger in this world all the more.  But that is only possible if we are visible members of the Church.  The antithesis between the world and the Church must be borne out in the world.  That was the purpose of the incarnation.  That is why Christ died among his enemies.  That is the reason and the only reason why the slave must remain a slave and the Christian remain subject to the powers that be.”

- Where is this dual citizenship most realized in your life?

7. On page 267, “Such is the life of the Church in the world.  Christians live like other men; they get married, they mourn and rejoice, they buy their requirements and use the world for the purpose of day-to-day existence.  But they have everything through Christ alone, in him and for his sake.  Thus, they are not bound by it.  They have everything as though they had it not.  They do not set their heart on their possessions, but are inwardly free.  That is why they are able to make use of the world without withdrawing from it altogether.”

- How does this freedom inform & affect your daily choices?

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