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Small Group Questions

Sermons of Jesus Part 5 - Matthew 24-25

SMALL GROUP QUESTIONS (Matthew 25:46)

1. After Sunday’s sermon, what would you say are major differences between pop culture’s understanding of Heaven and Hell and the Biblical teaching about Heaven and Hell?

2. If you were asked to explain to someone why the doctrine of Hell NEEDS to exits, what would you say?

3. Read, Matthew 8:11-12, how would you describe Hell to someone without quoting Scripture.

4. Jesus says in Luke 23:43 that the thief on the cross next to him will die and be in “Paradise” with Jesus, not the New Heaven and New Earth, as Revelation describes. How does the idea of going to “Paradise” instead of “Heaven” affect the way you view death?

5. Read Isaiah 65:17-24, what are some of the characteristics of life in the New Heaven and New Earth you can discern from these verses?

6. Why is it important to have a full understanding of Heaven when it comes to living in this world? How can we do a better job of living our present lives for our eternal lives?

SMALL GROUP QUESTIONS (Matthew 25:31-45)

  1.  Were you ever told about the judgment seat of Christ? If so how was it described to you?
  2. In Matthew 25:34-36 Jesus leaves out “sinless” as a description of those who are qualified to be in Heaven. How does this emphasize the grace of Christ? Does this mean we have a license to sin? Why or why not.
  3. In Matthew 25:34-36 Jesus emphasizes to those coming to heaven they are known to be believers because they love. Of the hurting classes mentioned in these verses, which ones are you most passionate about loving? Which one would you like to love more?
  4. Based on what we know from ALL of Scripture and what Jesus taught, does Matthew 25:34-45 teach we must do good works to get into Heaven? If not then how do we reconcile this passage with being saved by grace?

Small Group Questions (Matthew 24:15-31)

  1. Have you ever been part of a natural disaster event or response to a natural disaster event? If so, describe the event, and describe how the victims reacted to the event. Why does it sound like people will respond differently to the catastrophic end times events described in the Bible?
  2. What current events are you aware of that help bolster what you have heard described in Matthew 24:15-31 and Daniel 9:24-27? For example, events in Israel leading to a 3rd Temple, or unification of nations, a disdain for Christian values, etc...
  3. Where does I John 2:18-29 warn Anti-Christs may come from? According to the same passage how can we avoid the "spirit" of the anti-Christ in ourselves? 

 

Small Group Questions Matthew 24:14

  1. In Matthew 24:14, Jesus says the whole world will hear the Gospel before “the end comes”before this in verses 9-13 Jesus says the church will be persecuted and divided. Is it hard to believe that the church could share the gospel with the world despite being divided?
  2. What are some creative ways you could envision the church sharing the Gospel with the world in the next 10-50 years? New Technologies? New Methods? New Kinds of Missionaries?
  3. Acts 1:6-8 says Christians will receive power to share the gospel with the world. Why is that the Christian narrative about the Holy Spirit’s power is not centered on our ability to share the gospel? How can we focus this power of the Spirit in our own lives? What would happen if more believers longing for the power of the Holy Spirit in their own lives sought it to communicate the Gospel more effectively?
  4. What does II Peter 3:9 tells us about the justice and heart of God towards humanity?
  5. There are almost 4000 people groups who have never heard about Jesus. Check out www.joshuaproject.netto see exactly who they are. Do you have a heart for one of them? Why or why not? What can you do if you care? What can you do if you don’t care?
  6. BONUS: Read https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/what-happens-to-those-who-never-hear-gospel/and talk about, “what happens to those who never hear about the gospel?” Discuss what you believe and how you would explain this position to a nonbeliever.

Small Group Questions Matthew 24:9-13

1. What are some extraordinary things/events that are not found in the Bible yet require faith to believe?

2. Jesus says in Matthew 24:9 that there will be a day when every nation hates Christianity! Has this ever happened before in the history of the world? If Christianity is a religion founded primarily on the principle of love, why would the whole world hate Christians? How could we be seeing the beginning of this hatred today?

3. In Matthew 25:9-12 Jesus shows us the tribulation for the church starts on the outside and then works its way into the church. What are some concrete things Christians can do now to ensure the pressures of the outside world don’t corrupt the church while at the same time loving world?

4. In the sermon, Pastor Andrew explained the doctrine of a “pre-wrath” (usually referred to as a pre-trib rapture) rapture from I Thessalonians 4:13-5:11. What have been your thoughts on the rapture and how did, if at all, did this explanation affect your views on the rapture? Can you think of any examples in Scripture where God removes his people before wrath comes? (The Flood? Egypt? Jericho? Sodom and Gomorrah?)

5. If the rapture is true what does this teach us about the Love and Wrath of God?

Small Group Questions (Matthew 24:6-8)

  1. What is the greatest war movie ever made and why?
  2. Jesus says in Matthew 24:6-7 we will hear of wars and rumors of wars, all leading to the final war at Armageddon. What does the fact that this prophecy has, so far, been fulfilled tell us about the reality of war in the future?
  3. What does the Armageddon prophecy tell us about the ultimate state of the human race without God?
  4. How could earthquake and famines lead to another World War?
  5. Besides water (or oil) what another resource could you potentially see the human race going to war over?
  6. If a loaf of bread cost a day’s wage, and war was beginning to encroach in America’s borders. What should be the response of Christians? What would happen to churches? How do you hope you would respond?

SMALL GROUP QUESTIONS (Matthew 24:1-5)

  1. What would Christianity be like without an end time theology?
  2. The Temple was an amazing structure, one of the wonders of the world, in Israel at the time of Jesus. Can you think of any contemporary “Temples” in our country or world?
  3. Jesus says people will come as fake messiah’s or prophet’s to lead people astray (Matthew 24:4-5). Why do you think people believe these false prophets?
  4. What would you say to someone who was following a false prophet?
  5. What are some “practical” things we can do today to ensure we never fall prey to a false prophet?

 

Sermons of Jesus Part 4 - Matthew 18

SMALL GROUP QUESTIONS - MATTHEW 18:21-36

  1. What is the greatest act of forgiveness you’ve ever experienced or witnessed (besides the Gospel)?
  2. In Matthew 18:23-24, we find that the first servant owes an insurmountable debt to the king. Yet, he promises to repay. This is debt is a subtle correlation to the debt we owe God when comes to our sin. How do we try to repay God for our sin? Why is grace sometimes hard to receive?
  3. In Matthew 18:25-27 the king of the first servant assumes the profit loss and sets the servant free from his debt.How would you explain to someone who had never heard the gospel, how Jesus assumed the debt of our sin?
  4. In Matthew 18:28-32 we watch as the first servant who is now rich becomes greedy to the point of mistreating others. Jesus warns that those who are rich in grace should be able to freely extend grace.Why is it important that we forgive others? Based on the sermon (or maybe other sources) how have you learned to forgive those who have hurt you?

 

SMALL GROUP QUESTIONS - Matthew 18:10-20

SMALL GROUP QUESTIONS

  1. Matthew 18:10, Jesus points out the importance of a young person’s faith. What should this tell us about how we are to prioritize the faith of the young? How can we make young faith a priority? How can the church “despise” the faith of the young?
  2. Based on Matthew 18:12-14, How have you experienced God pursuing you when you were not following His will?
  3. Matthew 18:15-17 gives a detailed plan for restoring “lost sheep.” Why do we choose NOT to restore the “lost sheep” in our churches? Of the 4 steps (one on one, two on one, church on one, casting out) which seems the hardest and/or easiest and why?
  4. Take some time and pray for those in your home group you have not seen in a while and discuss how you might reach out to them.

SMALL GROUP QUESTIONS - Matthew 18:1-9

  1. If you could create the laws for our nation which ones would you add and which ones would you take away?
  2. Jesus says in Matthew 18:2-4 to get deal with the sin of the disciples they need to become like children, who had no rights in their culture (or ours). How can what we perceive is rightfully ours can lead us to sin?
  3. Our culture places a high value on individual rights. How would you suggest someone practice the mindset of “rightlessness” in our culture?
  4. In Matthew 18:5-7 Jesus warns about leading weaker Christians to sin. How can we avoid causing other, especially weaker, Christians sin?
  5. In Matthew 18:8-9 Jesus uses a common analogy for being drastic in how we deal with our sin. What are something we can do to deal with sin that may be our world would find crazy/drastic?

Sermons of Jesus Part 3 - Matthew 13

SMALL GROUP QUESTIONS - Matthew 13:24-30 & 36-43

1. Have you ever left the church for a season? Without sharing too many details explain why you left and what brought you back?

2. What are some concrete ways you’ve seen Satan destroy churches?

3. What would our town or nation or world be like if there were no viable churches?

4. What are some ways we can reach out to people who have been hurt by the weeds of a church?

5. Go around the room and name 1 person each you know who’s been hurt by the church. Pray for them as a group. Commit to contacting them this week and hold each other accountable.

The parable of the Sower - Matthew 13:1-9 & 18-23

1. How does the world try to find happiness in life?

2. Is it true that following God gives us our greatest potential for joy? How is this counter-intuitive?

3. In the Parable of the Sower, which soil condition threatens your heart most often? Why?

4. Describe what a "fruitful life" looks like? 

Why Parables? - Matthew 13:10-17

  1. What is one of your favorite stories from literature or film?
  2. Matthew 13:12 says that Jesus gives more to those who already have. Does that strike you as contradictory to the message and ministry of Jesus who came for the sick and healed the lame? Why or why not?
  3. As we heard in the sermon the prophetic history of Isaiah repeats itself during and immediately following the ministry of Jesus. Can you think of other ways prophetic history repeats itself? Will we see other old prophecies repeated in the future?
  4. What mysteries of God do you long for? Why is humility so difficult for us, even when we know the rewards that await humble hearts?

Sermons fo Jesus Part 2 - Matthew 10:1-4

Haters (Matthew 10:16-23)

1. How do you see Christianity being persecuted in America, Colorado and/or Steamboat?

2. In Matthew 10:16 Jesus tells his followers to be “wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” How can wisdom and purity protect you in persecution? How did Jesus model for us “wise as a serpent”?

3. Matthew 10:20 assures us that God will give us the words we need when we are questioned about our faith. This also means He is with us in persecution. How does knowing God is with you in persecution make you feel? Do you believe those who are persecuted have a unique experience with God? If so explain.

4. In Matthew 10:23 we again see Jesus tell his disciples if they are being persecuted they can leave the town and move on to the next mission. How do you know when to say, “enough is enough” and move on to the next person or mission?

The Disciples Part 4 (Judas)

12 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. 15 As it is said Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”  – Hebrews 3:12-15

1. Who is the most epic villain in a movie or book you’ve read recently?

2. How is the villain like Judas?

3. Judas likely followed Jesus for all the wrong reasons. Describe if you can, what your motives were for following Jesus when you did. Did they change? What are they now? How do your motives for following Jesus affect HOW you follow Jesus?

4. Judas never truly listened to Jesus. How can we make sure we actively listening to Jesus?

5. Judas eventually grew a hard heart. How can we protect our hearts from this kind of hardness?

The Disciples Part 3

  1. Now that you've heard about all 11 faithful disciples, which disciple do you identify with and why?
  2. Were there any surprises on the list of faithful disciples?
  3. What can the list of the "faithful" disciples teach us about God's grace?
  4. Do you ever question if God can use you or not? How can this list of disciples encourage you next time you question the plans God may have for you?

The Disciples Part 1

  1. The best biography you have ever read or seen? What made it great?
  2. After hearing the sermon, do you identify with any of the three apostles discussed? How?
  3. If you were Jesus what kind of people would you choose to disciple and entrust with the mission of the church? How did Jesus do it differently than maybe you would have?
  4. How are Peter, Andrew and James alike? How are they different? What can this teach us about the church in general?

Sermons of Jesus - Matthew 7:12-27

  1. What is longest road trip you have ever taken? Have you ever been off course on a long trip (hiking, riding, driving)? How did you know you were off course? How did you fix the course?
  2. Have you ever wondered if you are on the right path or not? Explain.
  3. Jesus says in Matthew 7:13-14 that there is a narrow gate and way for those who want to follow Him. How is the Christians road narrower than the nonChristians road? Can you give some examples?
  4. Matthew 7:24-27 Jesus gives a final parable about two men, one who builds his house (life) on sand another on rock. What is attractive about building your life on sand? What is not attractive about building your house on the rock?
  5. Jesus’ warning in verses 24 & 26 have to do with practicing what Jesus teaches us, why is it is implement what Jesus versus just learning what Jesus taught?
  6. Both men experience the same storm, yet the one who built his house on rock survived. How has your faith and work in Jesus helped you in a time of trial?
  7. The crescendo of the Sermon on the Mount is the Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12). How have you learned to apply this principle with your life?

AFTER THE GOSPEL IN LIFE SERIES

After your group has completed the Gospel in Life Series, please spend one-night offering this Spiritual Gift inventory and then discuss: 

1. What are your top 3 spiritual gifts?

2. Did the results surprise you? Why or why not?

3. Why do you think God gave each of us spiritual gifts?

4. How would using your spiritual gift help the overall enjoyment of your life in Christ?

5. What has kept you (if anything) from using your spiritual gift?

6. How can you begin using your spiritual gift in the church or community as soon as possible?

Small Group Questions (Psalms 133 & 134)

For more information on this topic read Unleashing Your Potential by Frank Tillapaugh

 Psalm 133 

Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes! It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion! For there the Lord has commanded the blessing, life forevermore.

Psalm 134

Come, bless the Lord, all you servants of the Lord, who stand by night in the house of the Lord! Lift up your hands to the holy place and bless the Lord! May the Lord bless you from Zion, he who made heaven and earth!

  1. Have you ever been part of something (sports team, school project, work space) that was incredibly unified? How did it feel? What did you accomplish? What would be different had you not been unified?
  2. From Psalm 133 we see God is pleased with unity. What then keeps His followers from being unified? How can we practice unity with others we may struggle with?
  3. Read I Peter 2:9. Do you see yourself as a minister/priest? Why or why not?
  4. As a “priest” what burdens you in our city/society? What would it take to change it? How can your home group support and pray for you? What is your next step to alleviate the burden?
  5. What would happen in the Yampa Valley if every adult and teenager decided to become “ministers” in our culture? What is keeping you from taking that step this week?

Small Group Questions (Psalm 132)

1 Remember, O Lord, in David’s favor, all the hardships he endured, how he swore to the Lord and vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob, “I will not enter my house or get into my bed, I will not give sleep to my eyes or slumber to my eyelids, until I find a place for the Lord, a dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob.” Behold, we heard of it in Ephrathah; we found it in the fields of Jaar. “Let us go to his dwelling place; let us worship at his footstool!” Arise, O Lord, and go to your resting place, you and the ark of your might. Let your priests be clothed with righteousness, and let your saints shout for joy. 10 For the sake of your servant David, do not turn away the face of your anointed one. 11 The Lord swore to David a sure oath from which he will not turn back:

“One of the sons of your body I will set on your throne. 12 If your sons keep my covenant and my testimonies that I shall teach them, their sons also forever shall sit on your throne.”

13 For the Lord has chosen Zion; he has desired it for his dwelling place: 14 “This is my resting place forever; here I will dwell, for I have desired it. 15 I will abundantly bless her provisions; I will satisfy her poor with bread. 16 Her priests I will clothe with salvation, and her saints will shout for joy. 17 There I will make a horn to sprout for David; I have prepared a lamp for my anointed. 18 His enemies I will clothe with shame, but on him his crown will shine." - Psalm 132

  1. Who was your favorite Christian artist in the 90’s, 2000’s and today? Why?
  2. Take time to collectively define “worship.”
  3. Verses 1-9 point out the sacrifices David made to restore worship in Israel. II Corinthians 6:16 teaches us that Christians are now the Temple of God. What kind of sacrifices do we have to make to worship with God’s people? Has there ever been a time in your life you didn’t want to make the sacrifice to worship but you did anyway and were glad? Describe.
  4. Psalm 132:10-14 points out the covenant nature of God in relation to our worship. Who needs to be perfect before worship can happen (answer: God)? Why does our culture tell us we need to be “perfect” before we go to church? How can we as a small group and Anchor Way attenders help change this mindset at Anchor Way?
  5. Verses 15-18 reveal the blessings of a nation that worships God. Do you believe what we worship affects everything we do? How have you seen the worship of God or of something else affect someone positively or negatively?

Small Group Questions (Psalm 130)

Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord! O Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my pleas for mercy! If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared. I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning. O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption. And he will redeem Israel from all his iniquities. – Psalm 130

  1. Have you ever felt far from God? Describe. How did it resolve?
  2. When it comes to sin. Why do you think Christian culture, specifically, is so bent no longer calling sins, sin? What are some examples of this in our culture? What is the danger of this mindset? How can we strive against it peacefully?
  3. Verse 4 and elsewhere in Scripture reminds us that God is a God of grace. Do you believe that? Why or why not? Why do others have different views of God?
  4. Do you have a regular time you spend in God’s Word? How often do you read God’s Word? What are some tips you’d give someone who wants to start regularly reading their Bible?
  5. How has God, by grace, changed you? (verses 7-8)

SMALL GROUP QUESTIONS (Psalm 129)

“Greatly have they afflicted me from my youth”— let Israel now say— “Greatly have they afflicted me from my youth, yet they have not prevailed against me. The plowers plowed upon my back; they made long their furrows.” The Lord is righteous; he has cut the cords of the wicked. May all who hate Zion be put to shame and turned backward! Let them be like the grass on the housetops, which withers before it grows up, with which the reaper does not fill his hand nor the binder of sheaves his arms, nor do those who pass by say, “The blessing of the Lord be upon you! We bless you in the name of the Lord!”

  1. What was the hardest thing you ever went through as a child? How did it shape who you are today?
  2. Israel has been a nation constantly at war (Verses 1-3). Why do you think that is? What does Israel’s perseverance tell you about God?
  3. Because of God’s righteous nature, the Psalmists says (verse 4) He will deal with our enemies. Why is it hard to trust God to deal with our enemies? How does culture tell us to do with our enemies?
  4. Verse 8 tells us it’s okay to not greet our enemies. What are some reasonable boundaries to have with our enemies while at the same time following the teachings of Jesus to love and pray for our enemies?
  5. Psalms like this remind us that enemies and suffering are part of the human experience. Why then do so many doubt God’s existence when they go through suffering? How can you encourage the faith of others, without being trite, when they are suffering?

Small Group Questions 128

Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in his ways! You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you.Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots  around your table.Behold, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the LordThe Lord bless you from Zion! May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life! May you see your children's children! Peace be upon Israel!

 

1. What kind of extreme weather do you fear the most? Why? Have you ever experienced it? Describe. 

2. How would you explain what it means to "fear the Lord"?

3. Based on what we know about the teachings of Jesus, what does it mean to "walk in the ways" of the Lord? (Hint: Love...) In light of the fact that we are created by God and His ways are the ways He has designed for us to live most harmoniously with Him and His creation. Is the "blessing" of walking in His ways supernatural or simply a natural effect of His created order? 

4. Describe the ideal Christian business? Would you say your business lives up to these ideals? Why or why not?

5. If you are not the boss of your business how can you still do your business in a way that honors God?

6. When should a man start leading his family (before kids or after kids) What often inhibits men from being leaders in our families? What are some other distractions that can keep men from being the spiritual leaders they need to be?

7. If every person in our country ran their businesses with integrity and made it a point to lead their families spiritually, what would our entire country be like?

Small Group Questions Psalm 127

Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.

1. (verse 1) Have you ever tried to do something without the Lord's help? When did you realize it? 

2. How do we "invite" the Lord's help into different arenas of our life? How do we "invite" his help in parenting?

3. (verse 3) Why do you think our culture is having fewer children? What do you believe will be the net effect of fewer Christians/Americans having children?

4. (verse 4) According to Scripture the purpose of parenting is to prepare our children for "battle". What would you say the world says the purpose of parenting is? How can we stay focused on helping children grow in Christ?

5. Did your parents "disciple" you? If so, how did they do it? How would you do it differently? What would you do that they did? 

6. (verse 5) How can we help create a culture in our homes that encourages our children to come back to visit and continue to be part of our lives?

Small group questions Psalm 126

Psalm 126

1. When you watch a movie what kind of ending to your prefer? Happy? Bitter sweet? Cliff hanger? Or something else?
2. Describe a time in your life God did something and it felt like a dream? (Verse 2)
3. How can we authentically praise God for the good things He's done in our lives so other may see His good works as well? (Verse 2)
4. Describe a time in your life you believed God restored you? (Verse 4)
5. What helps you remember the faithfulness of God during the difficult times? (Verses 5-6)

SMALL GROUP QUESTIONS (Psalm 125)

Psalm 125

Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion,which cannot be moved, but abides forever. 2 As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people, from this time forth and forevermore. 3 For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest on the land allotted to the righteous, lest the righteous stretch out their hands to do wrong. 4 Do good, O Lord, to those who are good, and to those who are upright in their hearts! 5 But those who turn aside to their crooked ways the Lord will lead away with evildoers! Peace be upon Israel!

1. Have you ever had to trust someone for something big? Did they follow through or fail? How did it feel? What did it teach you about that person?

2. (Verse 1) How would describe someone who is like a mountain? 

3. Verse 3 gives us a reason for trusting in the Lord, his protection. What does God's protection tell us about His love? How can we know God is protecting us even when our circumstances don't seem to reflect divine protection?

4. This psalm is in the plural and is focused on the community of faith. Why is that important to realize? Does God care about the community that worships Him? How should we feel about the community that worships God?

5. Versed 4-5 are a reference to the discipline of God. The ruler of Israel would change if the community acted unrighteously. Verse 5 encourages us to consider our hearts. How can we protect our hearts from being led into evil or sin? How is this hard? How can we know if the bad things we are experiencing are the result of sin?

SMALL GROUP QUESTIONS

124 A Song of Ascents. Of David.

If it had not been the Lord who was on our side— let Israel now say—

if it had not been the Lord who was on our side when people rose up against us,

then they would have swallowed us up alive, when their anger was kindled against us;

then the flood would have swept us away, the torrent would have gone over us;

then over us would have gone the raging waters.

Blessed be the Lord, who has not given us as prey to their teeth!

We have escaped like a bird from the snare of the fowlers; the snare is broken, and we have escaped!

Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

  1. Have you or have you known anyone who has served their country in the military? How/when did they serve? Why did they serve?
  2. Based on what you know of Scripture. Can America claim the same promises of Israel? Why or why not? How should this affect our views of patriotism?
  3. David was strong but knew he needed the Lord (verses 1-3) Other kings will come after him who will be strong but will thing they don’t need the Lord. How can we know if we are getting “too strong” and we are not living with God’s help anymore?
  4. Verses 4-7 remind us that God is sometimes the God of “close calls.” Has God ever saved you from something at the last minute? Describe. How if at all did the experience renew your faith?  
  5. Verse 8 says we can trust God because of His “name” which means “reputation” in Scripture. Other than personal experience, what are some other ways we can be reminded of God’s faithfulness? How often should we interact with those sources?

SMALL GROUP QUESTIONS:

To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens!  Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God, till he has mercy upon us. Have mercy upon us, O Lord, have mercy upon us, for we have had more than enough of contempt. Our soul has had more than enough of the scorn of those who are at ease, of the contempt of the proud.

- Psalm 123

  1. What is your favorite underdog movie? Describe.
  2. This Psalm reflects the heart of a bullied person. When we feel like we are being bullied or taken advantage of, how does human nature typically respond?
  3. Why is it important we turn to God when we are being bullied?
  4. The prayer is for “mercy”. If God answers the prayer for “mercy” what are the possible outcomes of this situation? How should this inform the way we pray for our enemies? Pray for ourselves in these situations?
  5. How easy is it for us to slip from position of the “offended” to the “offender” described in this psalm? (What I mean is, often we read Scripture and immediately see our selves as the 1st However, it is possible we are not the 1st person but the person causing pain or grief to the 1st person. It is important that we have a 360 degree view of Biblical narrative and poetry) How can we be sensitive to becoming a “bully” to others?

PSALM 122

Take a moment to read Psalm 122 – either personally or out loud

I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord!” Our feet have been standing within your gates, O Jerusalem, Jerusalem—built as a city that is bound firmly together,to which the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lordas was decreed for Israel, to give thanks to the name of the LordThere thrones for judgment were set, the thrones of the house of David. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! “May they be secure who love you! Peace be within your walls and security within your towers!” For my brothers and companions' sake I will say, “Peace be within you!” For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your good.

What did you find most challenging, helpful, or troubling in the sermon on Psalm 122?

The Gates of Jerusalem – The Gates of a city wall in the ancient world were the hub of culture and news. To arrive between them was to be ‘safe’ from the outside world and nestled into the heart of your own familiar culture and worldview.

What are the places in our own cultural life that function as the ‘gates of Jerusalem’? Your home? Starbucks, etc.

The Tribes – Here we are given an allusion to the 12 tribes of Israel. Israel isn’t present in its fullness unless the 12 tribes are all gathered together...This is a picture of the whole family present, for the worship of God. 

Does the New Testament give any directions for what worship should look like socially? 

The Thrones of David – This is a symbol of God’s justice and fair rule. With Godly justice comes peace and prosperity. 

How do you struggle to rest in the rule of God in your life and the world?

Gospel Connections:

The prayer in vs. 6-9 is both encouraging and challenging. It recognizes that this is a conversation for the family and that there will be those that pray ‘against’ the peace of God’s home.
Jesus, himself, struggles with this very reality as he prepares for his Triumphal entry (Luke 19: 28-47)

Why is God’s house so important to Jesus?

How should we think about God’s ‘house’ in our world now through the teachings of the New Testament? 

What excites you about church?

PSALM 121 - I Lift My Eyes to the hills 

1 I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand.The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.

  1. If you had to make a yearly "pilgrimage" somewhere, where would you want it to be? Why?
  2. What are some “good things” we can sometimes value over God?
  3. How do you know if we are valuing something over God?
  4. What should we do if we discover we are valuing something well over God?
  5. What are some simple observations we can make every day to know God is the creator of Heaven (sky) and Earth (land) (verse 2)
  6. When we have the opportunity to worship the creator why are we tempted to worship the creation?
  7. How can we be sure we following God with our feet? (verse 3)
  8. In verse 4, the Psalmist reminds us that he is protected because he is part of Israel and God has a convent with Israel. How would you explain the two covenants (old and new) to a non believer
  9. In verse 7 we are told that God protects us from all Evil. How was this verse explained in the sermon?
  10. How can we know for sure if are protected from evil forever? (the Gospel of Jesus)

PSALM 120 - Deliver Me, O Lord (A Song of Ascents)

In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me.Deliver me, O Lord, from lying lips, from a deceitful tongue.What shall be given to you, and what more shall be done to you, you deceitful tongue? A warrior's sharp arrows, with glowing coals of the broom tree! Woe to me, that I sojourn in Meshech, that I dwell among the tents of Kedar! Too long have I had my dwelling among those who hate peace. I am for peace, but when I speak, they are for war!

  1. What is your favorite road trip album, songofartist?
  2. How can words trap someone? Do you feel like you are trapped by someone’s words? If words are this powerful, how should we speak to one another?
  3. Based on this Psalm and what you know about the teachings of Jesus. How should we pray for our enemies? How should we pray during a time of distress?
  4. What can keep us from being honest with God about our feelings? How could being honest with God in prayer help our relationship with our Heavenly Father?
  5. How did God answer his prayer, if God didn’t make the enemies go away?
  6. How can we learn to be content with God “answering” our prayers in unique ways?
  7. Have you ever been so worked up you forget who you are in Christ? Why is it important in our pursuit of God that we don’t let someone else’s words hold us captive like that?
  8. Who does the Bible say you are in Christ?