Crave Pure Spiritual Milk – Group Study Questions

Hope-Eternal---MM

Read: 1 Peter 2:1-3

Discuss:

  • Go around the room and talk about a craving you have had, or still have
  • Discuss together whether it’s healthy or wise to have similar feelings for Christ?
  • What might account for the reality that we do not often feel an intense desire for Christ?
    • Are we people of lesser faith than Peter’s readers?
  • “Knowing Jesus and growing up in him becomes the criteria by which everything we do is evaluated.”
    • How would living by this rubric change
      • How you conduct yourself in your workplace
      • How you do relationship with your loved ones
      • How you read your Bible
      • How you approach corporate worship
  • How has this passage and this message challenged you? What changes is God calling you to make?
  • Prayer for one another and uphold each other in the things you are setting out to do

When God Keeps us Guessing – Group Study Questions

Introduction

Peter wrote his letter in a time of great challenge and uncertainty. People were suffering for following Jesus. It was hard. Some had been exiled to strange lands, leaving family members and livelihood behind. Others had lost their lives. Our finely honed sense of justice would have us demanding answers. Peter affirms the uncertainty, and pushes in a different direction: like the prophets of old, we need to be patient. Sometimes, maybe often, our questions remain unanswered…

Read: 1 Peter 1:10-12

Discuss

  • Share with the group about something you’ve always wanted to understand, but at this stage you’ve been prevented from doing so. How does that lack of understanding make you feel?
  • The Holy Spirit revealed to the prophets that some of the things they wrote about would only be understood in future generations (after the Messiah had come).
    • How might knowing this have helped Peter’s readers?
    • How does it help us?
  • How does this passage impact on our understanding of how the Scriptures were written – our view of inspiration?
    • How does it confirm or challenge your views?
  • What implications to these words have for our unanswered questions?
    • How might you use this passage and others to comfort someone struggling with unanswered questions or tough life realities?
  • Share with the group how you have seen a humble faith and a trust in God’s sovereign care expressed in the life of another
  • What would your church or small group need to do to be a better context for people to express the questions they may have?

Sermon audio can be downloaded from iTunes as  Gateway Community Church podcast

DEEP – Distant – Group Study Questions

Warming up:

Have you ever had a sense that God was far away? What were the circumstances?

Read Psalm 63

Henry Nouwen writes: “I wonder if the Word of God can really be received in the center of our hearts if our constant chatter and noise and electronic interactions keep blocking the way of the heart.” 
  • What other things might be interfering with sense of close fellowship with God?
King David occupies a special place as a great leader of God’s people in the Old Testament. How might his experience of being distant from God be reflected in the modern days followers of God?
“Even if it feels God is far away, even when you feel you are far away form God, he is still with you.”
  • To what extent does this reflect the Bible’s teaching? What comfort or challenge does this present to you or your discussion group?
How can your church or Christian community bring the grace of God’s presence to greater expression
  • in your meetings
  • how you deal with one another
  • how you do mission in your world

Close

Spend time in prayer, asking God to bless your specific attempts to bring his presence to expression.

Sex – The Relationship Challenge – Group Questions

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing a healthy view of relationships today?

What evidence have you observed that our culture is obsessed with sex?

For the men in your group: how do you respond to the research that says frequent exposure to pornography actually makes changes to the way the brain functions?

For the women in your group: how do you feel about the frequent sexualisation of women in advertising?

Sex was part of God’s perfect creation (Gen 2:22-25). What do you think is expressed in the words “they felt no shame”? What would sexual relationships look like if they knew no shame today?

Read Ephesians 5:1-20

What do you think Paul means when he says ‘there must not even be a hint of sexual immorality’ named among God’s people?

Is this saying that people in the church have a right to pass judgement on your behaviour? In what ways is your behaviour and attitudes subject to the leadership of your church, of other Christians? Find bible passages to support your answer.

Christian author Tim Stafford argues that previous sexual partners come like ‘ghosts’ into one’s current relationship. What do you think about this? Is there any biblical justification for this understanding?

Read 1 Thess 4:3-4, and discuss what ‘holy and honourable’ Christian sexuality might look like? You may wish to consult 1 Cor 6:18-20

Given the discussion you have had, what changes might be needed in your view of relationships? What might the church need to do to help us express the ‘new creation’ of restored Christian sexuality?

Mission (Foundations #6) – Group Questions

Discussion Questions relevant to Foundations #6 – Mission

Starters: What is the first thing you think about when you hear the word “mission”?

Read: Isaiah 42:6, Matthew 28:16-20

What do you think about the assertion that all efforts of every Church should serve the mission of God?

“It is not the people of God who have a mission in the world, but the God of mission who has a people in the world” [Martin Robinson]

Read Exodus 19:3-6 and 1 Peter 2:9-12, and discuss “God has always been focussed on his mission.”

The mission God has given to the church has two components: announce the good news, and anticipate the new good. Which component receives more attention in your church? Should this be corrected? If so, what would need to happen?

What aspects of life in your local community would benefit most from Christians announcing God’s good news and anticipating God’s new good more effectively?

What concrete steps can your group take to bring these things to expression?

Repentance (Foundations #5) – How God brings change in his world – Group Questions

Opening:

What do you think the people of your local culture understand by the word “repent’?

What do you think the people of your local church community understand by the word “repent’?

What conclusion do you draw from any differences there might be?

Read: Colossians 3:1-17

If you were to choose one verse from this passage to illustrate repentance, which one would it be, and why?

James I Packer defines repentance as “changing one’s mind so that one’s views, values, goals, and ways are changed and one’s whole life is lived differently”. How does this definition challenge the popular notion of repentance in your church community?

Discuss together: who are the best models of healthy repentance you have observed? What is it about their example that impresses you?

How would you help and encourage someone who was struggling with God’s call to change?

What sort of personal daily disciplines would help us develop healthy expressions of repentance? Discuss together which of these behaviour you would like to try in the coming week.

Redemption (Foundations #4) – Group Questions

Read 2 Corinthians 5:11-21

Discuss

What makes the church in the western world so resistant to the message of weakness and sacrifice so clearly displayed in Jesus’ ministry?

What reasons would we have to say that the manner of Jesus’ sacrificial ministry should be reflected in the church’s ministry and mission today? What challenges does this present to your church or your Christian community?

The redemption God has worked through Jesus impacts on three key areas of existence: People and their relationship with God; People and their relationship with others; People and their relationship with their environment/creation. How does this challenge how you see your world? What specific changes does it demand in your life?

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17, NIV) – in your opinion, which Christians or Christian movements have been the best expressions of this truth?

2 Cor 5:21 says your sin, guilt and rebellion have been laid on Jesus, and his righteousness has become yours. What does this mean to you personally?

Christians have been very influential in the development of western culture. Which areas would most benefit from Christian leadership and challenge in your part of the world?

What particular attitudes or behaviours is God calling you to change as a result of these truths?

Spend some time praying for one another, or praying for your Christian friends, asking that God’s new creation in Jesus might come to beautiful expression in their lives.