LifeGroup Info

Weekly questions and information

March 17

Text

1 Peter 4:12-19

What we learned

Suffering is at the heart of Christianity. Therefore, believers should not see trials and suffering as an interruption. Instead, suffering and trials have a purpose. They reveal what is in us, and can be tools in the hand of God transform us into Christlikeness.

Focus

This week’s discussion revolves around four words found in the passage:

            Expect suffering

            Rejoice in suffering

            Examine yourself in suffering

            Entrust your soul to God in suffering

Discussion Questions

1) What stood out to you about Bill’s sermon on suffering?

2) What do the words “fiery trial” tell us about the type of persecution that the early church had to endure?

3) Peter reminds the church to expect suffering for the cause of Christ. How is this attitude different from the attitude that most American Christians have towards suffering and trials because of their faith in Christ?

4) In 4:13 Christians are instructed to rejoice as they suffer for their faith in Christ.  From a  human perspective, this command seems impossible.  Based on this passage (and the rest of your understanding of Scripture) why would a Christian have reason to rejoice when suffering because of their faith in Christ?

5) What  does it mean for Christians to entrust their souls to God in the midst of persecution? What are some ways we can demonstrate that we have entrusted our souls to God?

6) What about our God allows us to have confidence that we can trust Him in the midst of our difficulty? 

7) As people suffer for their faith in Christ, Peter sees them being tested and refined.  As a fire is used to melt down metals to remove their impurities, so it seems that the fiery trials of our lives are intended by God to refine us of our impurities.  In what way does suffering help refine the Christian? Bill mentioned 9 things. See if you can recall any of them.

March 10

Text 1Peter 4:7-11

Summary

Peter writes to a church that is experiencing persecution. And rather than write to them about how to endure pain and hardship, he instructs them not to focus on themselves but to serve others.

What we learned

In many ways the kingdom of God is completely turned around from what we expect it should be. In God’s kingdom the way “up” is down—or to be great be a servant. In 1 Peter 4:7-11 Peter is calling believers to live very different lives than the world around them. He calls them toLove, Hospitality, to Use gifts God has given each one of us, Service, Stewardship and to Glorify God.

Focus

This week the focus of discussion is Service, Stewardship and Glorifying God.

Discussion Questions

Service

Did anything from the weekend sermon stand out to you as interesting or impacting?  Do you need clarification on any of the points?

Read Mark 10:45. What is the biblical definition of “Serving”? What is the benefit or”power” of serving others?

Bill said “We are never higher than when we are serving.” Why do we find it so difficult to serve?

Stewardship

A steward manages other people’s property, or assets.  Bill said that everything we own is God’s and we are just stewards of the gifts, and blessings bestowed upon us. What is the benefit of understanding that “stuff” is just loaned to us?

Comment on this statement: “What ever we own owns you”.

Read 1 Corinthians 4:2. What does Paul means when he says a steward is to be faithful?

Glorification

What is the definition of Glory?

The Westminster Shorter Catechism says “the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever”

How can we develop the practice of giving God glory in everything?

Conclusion

Before going to prayer, ask yourself there four questions:

            Does God really want me to serve?

            Are the things I own, my talents, my time and energy really his?

            Do I really live for his gloryz?

            What kind of Church would TRF be if I actually practiced these things?

            Pray

March 3

Text

1 Peter 4:8-11

Summary

In the midst of two sections where Peter talks to a suffering church, he pauses in verses 8-11 to talk about how the body of Christ is to function in times of suffering and trials

What we learned?

Peter is calling Christians to live very different lives than the world around them. 6 key words describe how believers should relate to each other— especially in times of trial and suffering:

            Love

            Hospitality

            Gifts

            Serving

            Stewardship

            Glory

Discussion Questions

This week the discussion will focus on the the first three words that describe how the church should operate in times of suffering and difficulty. Next week, the discussion will be around the last three.

Love

1)  In verse 8, Peter commands his readers to love one another. How important is this command?

2)  Bill said that love is not a feeling but an action. Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Unpack each of the descriptions of love and describe what each might look like in action?

Hospitality

3)  When you think of hospitality, what comes to your mind? Is hospitality the same as entertaining guests? What is the focus of hospitality?

Gifts

4)  Each individual has been given a unique and special gift to be used in the body of Christ. Do you believe that every Christian has been gifted by God in order to serve others? If so, do you know what your specific gift is? Describe it.

5)  Why do you think Peter mentions love, hospitality, and our spiritual gift as important characteristics in a time of suffering or trial?

6)  Bill asked three questions: “Does God really want me to stretch out and love those around me? Does he really want me to open my heart and my home to others? And, do I really have a spiritual gift to be used in the body of Christ? What kind of church would TRF be if we actually did these three things?

Close

Take time to pray and ask God to give you opportunity to grow in these three areas:

  1. Loving each other earnestly
  2. Showing hospitality
  3. Discovering and using your spiritual gifts

February 24

Text 1 Peter 4:7

Summary
In the midst of two sections in 1 Peter 4; 4:1-7 and 1 Peter 4:12-19 where Peter talks to a suffering church, he pauses to talk about the return of Christ. Why? Because living in light of that reality changes how we live in the present. The imminent return of Christ causes us to live with a sense of urgency and eternal perspective: Self-controlled, Sober-minded, and prayerful

What we learned
Living in light of the imminent return of Christ changes how we live in the present

Discussion Questions
1) What did you learn from this week’s message?

2) Read 1 Thessalonians 5:6 and 1 Peter 5:8. What does it mean to be sober minded?

3) According to these verses how should understanding our eternal destiny, and the times in which we live, shape our lives in the here and now?

4) If you were mindful every day that “the end of all things is near,” how would this change your thoughts, choices, priorities, your marriage?

5) Peter says that we must be of sound judgment and sober spirit “for the purpose of prayer.” Interestingly, Peter slept in the garden with Jesus when he should have been alert, sober, and in prayer (Matt 26:40–45). Consequently, he fell into temptation and sin. Peter’s own failure in this area no doubt drove him to exhort his readers to not make the same mistake he did. Why is being alert and prayerful in the midst of suffering and hostility so important?

6) 1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to “pray without ceasing” How do we do that?

7) How important is listening to God when we pray?

8) Using the model of A.C.T.S, spend the last 15 minutes leading your group in prayer


Adoration—Give God praise and honor for who he is as Lord over all.
Confession—Honestly deal with the sin in your prayer life.
Thanksgiving—Verbalize what you’re grateful for in your life
Supplication—Pray for the needs of others and yourself

February 17

Text 1 Peter 4:1-6

Summary

The theme of these verses is suffering for righteousness’ sake. Suffering is part of life. As sure as we live we will face emotional, physical or spiritual pain. Just as Christ was willing to suffer for us in the flesh, we should have the same attitude.

What we Learned

That suffering is a good teacher. It teaches us things we can learn no other way. So we should embrace suffering because it forces us to evaluate ourselves, reveals who we really are, and makes us more like Christ.

Discussion Questions

Begin by reading 1 Peter 3:18 to 1 Peter 4:6

1) What stood out to you from this weekend message on suffering? 

2) Respond to this statement by C.S. Lewis: “We can ignore…pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” … Pain is unmasked, unmistakable evil; every man knows that something is wrong when he is being hurt.”

4) What does Peter mean in verse 1 when he says, “he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin” (cf. Ecclesiastes 7:20; Romans 6:5-7; 1 John 1:8-9; 3:9)?

5) In 4:1 Peter says “Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking…”What is the attitude that Christians must arm themselves? Why is this important?

7) Bill said, “The most effective ministry comes as a result of our hurts” Do you agree with that statement? Can you share an example from your own personal life?

7) Share some ways God has used suffering to help you grow in holiness.

8) In Peter’s day, the immediate application of this passage would be to endure persecution, ridicule, and possibly job security to identify with Jesus Christ. What do you think the immediate application of this passage is in our day?

February 10

Text

Luke 2:1-12

Summary

Judas betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. His fall into sin was not sudden; he didn’t wake up and say “I think I’ll betray Jesus today” His fall from grace was a gently slide one step at a time.

What we learned

1)  Sin never delivers on it’s promises

2)  There is a difference between a lapse of faith and a conscious decision to reject Jesus.

3) In order to betray Jesus, Judas had to climb over every obstacle Jesus put in his path

4) Never underestimate the power of sin

5) It’s  not enough to be a Follower of Christ. You must make a commitment

6) In Judas we see the importance of confessing our sins

7) God is in the business of turning tables

Objectives of LifeGroup Discussion

– To look at the life of Judas Iscariot and learn as much as we can about his life

– To learn some lessons from his betrayal and hypocrisy

Discussion Questions

What stood out to you in this weekend’s sermon on Judas?

When you think of Judas, what is the image that first comes to mind?

What parts of Judas Iscariot’s story make what he did so bad?

What types of things do you think we can learn from his life?

Respond to this statement: “Before we condemn Judas as a traitor, we might want to take a closer look at our selves because we’ve sold him out for far less than that.”

How does Judas remind us about ourselves?

Was Judas doomed to failure? Why or why not? What do we learn about personal responsibility from this?