Weekly questions and information
1 Peter 3:15
All Christians know non-Christians. Whether with co-workers, spouses, parents, or acquaintances, a critical question faces us daily: How do I give a defense for my faith? Bill explains that every Christian has a reason for the hope that is in them, and points to three things to consider when sharing with an unbeliever:
Mandate—Sanctify the Lord in your heart
We should set aside our hearts as the place where Christ is fully honored as the Lord
Moment—Give a reason for the hope that we have
Hopefulness and joy are starkly different from the normal human response to suffering. So much so that people will be eager to understand it. What will we say when they ask?
Medium—Share with humility and respect
Christians are not called on to condemn those who are curious about our hopefulness. Nor are we to be vindictive, vengeful, or insulting to those who disagree. Rather, we should explain our faith without harshness or dismissiveness.
What we learned
In this verse, Peter reveals how believers can share their faith in a non threatening way.
Read the passage again. What stood out to you most about Bill’s message of evangelism?
What does it mean to set aside (sanctify) Christ in your heart? How important is that to sharing the gospel? (Note: When we set apart Christ as Lord, it will change us. And those who observe us will notice the difference)
Why would someone ask a Christian about their lifestyle? If someone asked you why you had hope in life, how would you answer them?
How can you live your life this week in a way that causes people to ask why you are filled with hope?
Finally, Peter says matters how we make that case for Christ. We must present it with gentleness and respect.What can you do to better prepare yourself for when someone asks you about your hope?
Romans 7& 8:5-11
What we learned
Though believers wrestle with their sin nature, they need not be dominated by it. Our fallen human nature is inherently rebellious against God. We inherited this nature from Adam and, unfortunately, it was not eradicated when we became Christians. But we are no longer forced to follow its dictates. As Romans 8, points out, we now have the Spirit within us who is strong enough to keep the flesh from getting the upper hand.
Romans 7 should touch us deeply. Who hasn’t wrestled with sinful and destructive impulses? The truths taught here are the depressing and hopeless realities of our lives. But Paul doesn’t dwell on the weakness of our flesh to discourage us. No! He exposes the weakness of our flesh as the root problem that prevents believers from living the kind of lives God requires and which Christians, desire in their innermost being. Those willing to honestly identify with the agony of Romans 7 will be ready for the ecstasy of God’s gracious provision for living righteously in Romans 8. Romans 7 takes the Christian to an all time low. But Romans 8 takes them to a refreshing high.
Because we have died with Christ, we can walk according the Spirit of God within us and not our sinful nature.
1) What stands out from Sunday’s message? (Questions, Observations)? Does anyone have any questions about Bobby’s lesson
2) Discuss the struggle between living a spiritual life and the constant temptation of sinful desires.
3) In chapter 7 Paul is very honest with the struggle with the sin nature. Why is it liberating to be able to be honest about your wretchedness, and certain about your forgiveness?
4) What does it mean to walk “according to” the Spirit. How do the following verses help us to understand how to relate to or “walk in accordance with” the Spirit? Eph 4:30; 1 Thes 5:19; 1 Cor 3:16
5) Read Romans 8:5-6 and Colossians 3:12. What are the ways a believer can set his mind on things above? Which of these strategies works best for you? Can you think of others?
6) What are some “misdeeds of the body” that have been plaguing your life? How can you begin to put those to death?
7) How can we tell if our mind is governed by the flesh or governed by the Spirit?
8) Read Romans 8:1. What do you do if you “blow it”or fail to walk in the Spirit?
Simon the Pharisee and the forgiven woman illustrate two different reactions to Jesus. Simon sees Jesus as a merely another teacher not even worthy of common courtesy. The woman on the other hand has a radical reaction to Jesus. She reacts with great sacrifice (pouring out the expensive perfume), and undignified affection (wiping his feet with her hair). The woman’s reaction flows out of her profound recognition of Jesus forgiveness of her great debt. Simon’s reaction comes from the fact that he does not believe he needs much forgiveness (i.e. he believes his debt is small). One of the greatest inhibitors to being transformed by God is the lack of recognition of your own sinfulness.
What we Learned
All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God
Jesus loves to forgive sin and forgiven sinners love Jesus
1) What struck you the most from this sermon?
2) Which was Simon the most blind to: his own heart, the heart of the woman, or the heart of Jesus?
3) Which are you most blind to: your own heart? The heart of others? The heart of Jesus?
4) Read verses 40-43. What is the point of the story? What is the significance of the creditor’s canceling the debts?
5) Where is your heart in relation to Jesus? Is it more like Simon or more like the sinful woman?
6) Are their people in your immediate sphere of influence with whom you need to change your attitude when you consider this story and your place in it?
Isaiah 9:11 and Luke 2:1-14
What we Learned
Jesus is the reason for the joy of the season
Focus of Discussion
We want to put our minds on the purpose and meaning of Christmas. And experience the true joy of the season.
1) Read Luke 2:1-3. Luke is clearly stating the birth of Christ to be an historic fact. Why do you think it’s important to establish that Jesus’ birth is not just an inspirational myth?
2) Think about the day Jesus was born. Consider the environment in which he was born. He was born in stable (a cave actually) placed in a manger, born of an insignificant mother, and the announcement of His arrival made to shepherds. Why do you think the circumstances surrounding Christ’s birth are so significant?
3) How would you define authentic joy? How is it different than happiness?
4) What are specific reasons God is a source of joy for you? How do you express this joy to God and to others?
5) Read Luke 2:10-11. What do these verses says about JOY?
6) Can a person experience JOY even when they are struggling or sorrowful? Why or why
7) How will Christmas look different to you this year knowing that God sent His Son Jesus for you?
8) What do you hope God does in you or your family this Christmas?
Allow group members to share insights and ask questions they may have. Then, take time to pray together before the group leaves.
What We Learned
Marriage was designed to make us holy more than to make us happy.
The discussion will focus on the the biblical view of, and God’s design for, marriage and how marriage reveals more about ourself than our spouse, and how we can help our spouse to fall more in love with Jesus.
1) Why did you choose to get married (or why do you want to get married)? Is this a biblical reason?
2) What is your reaction to the idea that God designed marriage to make us holy even more than to make us happy?
3) Bill’s said that in marriage we learn more about ourselves and about God. What has been your personal experience in this regard?
4) What has your marriage revealed to you about your selfish behaviors, and other character flaws? Why do you think marriage brings so many character issues to the surface? What most surprised you about your own sin during the first year or two of your marriage?
5) God loves us in spite of our flaws. How does marriage teach us to love our spouse in spite of their imperfections?
6) You and your spouse are different in many ways. Which differences have you grown to appreciate? Which ones still annoy you? Are these differences something you can learn from with better understanding? How so?
7) What can you do to help your spouse fall more in love with Jesus?
8) What aspect of God’s character would you most like your marriage to reveal to the world? How can you accomplish this?
1 Peter 3:1-7
What we learned
Counter to the current culture, servanthood is a valued quality in the Kingdom of God. Jesus modeled this quality of the kingdom: “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45.) When we give Jesus Christ His rightful place as Lord of our lives, His lordship will be expressed in the way we serve each other in our marriages.
Focus of Discussion
Read Philippians 2:5-8 The model of Jesus is the pattern for the relationship between a husband and wife. There is no inequality of ability or dignity, and yet there are distinct roles. While Peter’s aim in this passage is to help a believing wife “win” her unbelieving husband by her conduct, there are principles here for all marriages that can cause a marriage to thrive rather than just survive. We will talk about how the kingdom principle of servanthood is lived out in our marriages.
1) What stood out to you or challenged you from this weekends message?
2) Peter’s admonition to both husbands and wives begins with the phrase “in the same way.” What do you think he means? In other words, “in the same way” as what? (HINT: Check the extended context preceding these verses for clues.)
3) Submission means to willingly sacrifice or relinquish your rights for the benefit of another. What is your understanding of the word “submission” How does that apply to a marriage?
4) How would you describe what real beauty really is? How can husbands and wives hep each other cultivate inner beauty? (Note: This question should be answered by both men and women).
5) Ruth Graham said “My job is to love and respect my husband. It’s God’s job to make him good”. Can you comment on that?
6) What do you think the phrase, “treat them with respect as the weaker partner” means practically for husbands? (Note: Have the wives comment on this too).
7) What does it mean for husbands to live with their wives in an understanding way? How does the description of wives in verse 7 help inform husbands to live in an understanding way with their wives? (Note: have wives comment on this too)
8) Jesus is the example of how husbands are to love and honor their wives. How can you model that in your marriage?
9) Bill said men should be;
Present in your marriage
Be a student of your wife and
Show honor to your wife.
How do we do that? (Note: Wives can help the men on how to do that).
Take a few moments and have husband take the lead and ask his wife need or concern he can pray with her about. After a few minutes instruct the husband to take that need or concern to the Lord in prayer.