Small Group Questions
Small group questions 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)
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.
1 If it had not been the Lord who was on our side— let Israel now say—
2 if it had not been the Lord who was on our side when people rose up against us,
3 then they would have swallowed us up alive, when their anger was kindled against us;
4 then the flood would have swept us away, the torrent would have gone over us;
5 then over us would have gone the raging waters.
6 Blessed be the Lord, who has not given us as prey to their teeth!
7 We have escaped like a bird from the snare of the fowlers; the snare is broken, and we have escaped!
8 Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
- Have you or have you known anyone who has served their country in the military? How/when did they serve? Why did they serve?
- 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?
- 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?
- 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?
- 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:
1 To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens! 2 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. 3 Have mercy upon us, O Lord, have mercy upon us, for we have had more than enough of contempt. 4 Our soul has had more than enough of the scorn of those who are at ease, of the contempt of the proud.
- Psalm 123
- What is your favorite underdog movie? Describe.
- 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?
- Why is it important we turn to God when we are being bullied?
- 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?
- 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?
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!” 2 Our feet have been standing within your gates, O Jerusalem, 3 Jerusalem—built as a city that is bound firmly together,4 to which the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, as was decreed for Israel, to give thanks to the name of the Lord. 5 There thrones for judgment were set, the thrones of the house of David. 6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! “May they be secure who love you! 7 Peace be within your walls and security within your towers!” 8 For my brothers and companions' sake I will say, “Peace be within you!” 9 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?
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?2 My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.3 He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.4 Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.5 The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand.6 The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.7 The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.
8 The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.
- If you had to make a yearly "pilgrimage" somewhere, where would you want it to be? Why?
- What are some “good things” we can sometimes value over God?
- How do you know if we are valuing something over God?
- What should we do if we discover we are valuing something good over God?
- What are some simple observations we can make everyday to know God is the creator of Heaven (sky) and Earth (land) (verse 2)
- When we have the opportunity to worship the creator why are we tempted to worship the creation?
- How can we be sure we following God with our feet? (verse 3)
- 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
- In verse 7 we are told that God protects us from all Evil. How was this verse explained in the sermon?
- 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.2 Deliver me, O Lord, from lying lips, from a deceitful tongue.3 What shall be given to you, and what more shall be done to you, you deceitful tongue? 4 A warrior's sharp arrows, with glowing coals of the broom tree! 5 Woe to me, that I sojourn in Meshech, that I dwell among the tents of Kedar! 6 Too long have I had my dwelling among those who hate peace. 7 I am for peace, but when I speak, they are for war!
- What is your favorite road trip album, song of artist?
- 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?
- 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?
- 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?
- How did God answer his prayer, if God didn’t make the enemies go away?
- How can we learn to be content with God “answering” our prayers in unique ways?
- 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?
- Who does the Bible say you are in Christ?
SMALL GROUP QUESTIONS I Corinthians 7:25-40
25 Now concerning the betrothed, I have no command from the Lord, but I give my judgment as one who by the Lord's mercy is trustworthy. 26 I think that in view of the present distress it is good for a person to remain as he is. 27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife. 28 But if you do marry, you have not sinned, and if a betrothed woman marries, she has not sinned. Yet those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that. 29 This is what I mean, brothers: the appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, 30 and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no goods, 31 and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away.
32 I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. 33 But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, 34 and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. 35 I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.
36 If anyone thinks that he is not behaving properly toward his betrothed, if his passions are strong, and it has to be, let him do as he wishes: let them marry—it is no sin. 37 But whoever is firmly established in his heart, being under no necessity but having his desire under control, and has determined this in his heart, to keep her as his betrothed, he will do well. 38 So then he who marries his betrothed does well, and he who refrains from marriage will do even better.
39 A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord. 40 Yet in my judgment she is happier if she remains as she is. And I think that I too have the Spirit of God.
- Since they usually involve singles finding love; list your top 3 Romantic Comedies of all time!?
- Practically speaking, why is it easier to be single when experiencing Christian persecution? (ref. verse 26)
- How do you see (verses 29 & 31) the End Times coming to a head in our present day?
- If you are married, after reading verses 32-35 how do you wish you would have lived your “single years” differently? What would you have done more? What would you have avoided?
- After reading these passages what advice would you give a Christian single about finding a spouse?
- If you are single, what advice would you give the church about how to reach and utilize singles for ministry?
- As we wrap up Part 1 of I Corinthians. What part of this series so far as made the biggest impact on your faith? Why?
Small Group Questions (I Corinthians 7:17-24)
17 Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches. 18 Was anyone at the time of his call already circumcised? Let him not seek to remove the marks of circumcision. Was anyone at the time of his call uncircumcised? Let him not seek circumcision. 19 For neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but keeping the commandments of God. 20 Each one should remain in the condition in which he was called. 21 Were you a bondservant when called? Do not be concerned about it. (But if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity.) 22 For he who was called in the Lord as a bondservant is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is a bondservant of Christ. 23 You were bought with a price; do not become bondservants of men. 24 So, brothers, in whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God.
- When it comes to the life you were born with, what are the best “cards in your deck”?
- How does secular philosophy explain the life we are born with (astrology, etc…)? Why is it important we see Jesus as the “author of life”? (verse 17)
- Since the inception of culture, men (and women) have been seeking status. What are the dangers of building a life on status? (verses 18-20)
- Verse 19 reminds us how to live with the status we have been assigned by God. What are some practical things we can do everyday to make sure we are not letting our lives become about status?
- Verses 21-22 describes people who are likely either poor (21) or wealthy (22). What are the benefits and difficulties associated with poverty and wealth? How can making your life about Jesus protect you from the dangers of thinking your life is defined by your income?
Small Group Questions (I Corinthians 7:10-16)
10 To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband 11 (but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband should not divorce his wife. 12 To the rest I say (I, not the Lord) that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. 13 If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. 15 But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called you to peace. 16 For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?
- If you had to live without a limb which one do you think you could live without? How would this dramatically change your way of life?
- What is your favorite “children’s movie”? Does the main character have a single parent or both parents presents? Why do you think Hollywood (Pixar & Disney) rarely include families with both parents?
- What are the perceived effects of divorce on a culture?
- Do you believe verses 10-11 summarized everything Jesus said about the subject of divorce? What would you add (if anything)? (Ref: Matthew 5:31-32, Matthew 19:1-12)
- Read the full account of Jesus response to the Pharisees regarding divorce: Matthew 19:1-12
- Are there similarities to this narrative with the Pharisees and I Corinthians 7:10-16?
- Does Jesus stay true to His words in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:31-32)?
- What does this passage teach us about God’s mercy regarding divorce? (19:8)
- In 19:10 we see the disciple’s response. What would make marriage so hard its not worth getting married: Removing the Easy Divorce Clause or Removing Divorce As an Option at all?
- Verses 12-13 give basic advice for a marriage that is between a Christian and a nonChristian. Beyond simply living together what advice would you give a couple that was married, yet separate on this issue?
- Verse 14 describes the sanctifying effects of marriage. How has your spouse helped you grow in your relationship with Jesus?
- Verses 15-16 give a valid reason for a New Testament divorce. I John 1:9 teaches there is grace for every one, even those who are divorced. Do these verses reflect accurately the way the church in general treats people who have been divorced? How can Anchor Way be a safe place for divorcees while at the same time holding a high view of marriage, and encourage couples to fight for their marriage?
Small Group Questions (I Corinthians 7:1-9)
Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” 2 But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. 3 The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. 5 Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 6 Now as a concession, not a command, I say this. 7 I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another. 8 To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single, as I am. 9 But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
- What was the best marriage advice you ever received?
- In verse 7:1 we see that the Corinthians have a distorted view of sexuality. What are some modern distorted views of sexuality and where to they come from? How can we guard our minds from adopting culture’s perversion of sexuality?
- Many married couples operate on a 50/50 principle (you do this for me, I’ll do this for you). However, 7:3-4 shows a 100/100 principle for marriage (I am yours, you are mine). Which “principle” (50/50 or 100/100) is harder and why? Which principle is more likely to center your marriage on the gospel?
- I Corinthians 7:5 mentions prayer as a reason to “not” be sexually intimate. What kind of “prayer” would this be? Are there other short “seasons” of a couple’s life together where absence would be encouraged?
- Based on I Corinthians 7:2-3 & 9 could you say it is a sin to have a sexless marriage? Why or why not?
SMALL GROUP QUESTIONS (I Corinthians 6:9-20)
9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
12 “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. 13 “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”—and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14 And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. 15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! 16 Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” 17 But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. 18 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
- What would you tell someone are the benefits of Christianity?
- What would you tell someone who considering one of the sins listed in I Corinthians 6:10-11? What would be argument to keep them from those sins?
- I Corinthians 6:11a says, "And such were some of you." What does this tell us about the church in Corinth? Would you say the same is true for the American church? Are successful at reaching people committed to sinful lifestyles? Why or why not? What would need to change in order for the church to be effective at resembling 6:11a?
- It what instances would could you apply I Corinthians 6:12? What are some things that might be considered as lawful but no beneficial?
- I Corinthians 6:13 & 19-20 tell us how we are to view our bodies. What does culture tell us about our bodies? What does Scripture teach us about our bodies? What does it REALLY mean for your body to be a Temple? Do you think you are doing a good job of treating your body as a Temple?
- I Corinthians 6:14-17 offers us a doctrine for sex. After the sermon can you explain this doctrine in your own words? How does contemporary culture resemble God's standards for sex? How does contemporary culture fail to realize the protection of God's standards for sex?
- How many social problem would be solved if the United States alone decided to apply God's standards for sex?
- What are you strategies for "fleeing" sexual immorality? How can women and men help one another flee sexual immorality?
SMALL GROUP QUESTIONS (I Corinthians 6:1-8)
When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? 2 Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? 3 Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life! 4 So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church? 5 I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers, 6 but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers? 7 To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? 8 But you yourselves wrong and defraud—even your own brothers!
- Growing up what was your greatest “treasure?”
- How do you see Christians today functioning like 1st Century Corinthians by taking their offenses with one another publically?
- What do verses 2-3 teach us about; end times, the judgment, and our place in Heaven?
- How would you go about finding another Christian to help you settle a dispute with a fellow Christian (v. 5)? When do you think it would be necessary to get outside help to settle a dispute? When would you believe it is necessary to get nonChristian help to settle a dispute? Why?
- Verse 7-8 reveals the idol of greed and selfishness in the heart of the Corinthians and in ours. What may keep us from accepting and applying verses 7-8 to our own lives?
I Corinthians 5:1-13
It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father's wife. 2 And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.
3 For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. 4 When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5 you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.
6 Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7 Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8 Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13 God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”
- What is the craziest “thrill seeking” thing you’ve ever done (or would like to do)?
- I Corinthians 5:1 talks about a “sin” that isn’t even tolerated by the laws/culture of 1st century Rome. Can you think of a sin someone might commit today that would be accepted by a church but not by western culture?
- What does verse 5:2 tell us about the Corinthian’s view of unrepentant sin? Why is it a big deal if the church relaxes its views on unrepentant sin? What are some ways you see churches relaxing the standards of holiness today?
- Pastor Andrew talked about verse 5:5 being prescriptive and descriptive. Can you explain these two distinctions? Do you remember how this verse was descriptive and how it is prescriptive?
- How could turning someone over to Satan “destroy” their desire for sin? (v. 5)
- Verses 9-11 talk about the type of people we are to associate with. Why is it we are better off associating with nonbelievers than we are associating with Christians who live in unrepentant sin?
- Have you ever had to confront someone about their sin problem? How did you do it? What would you do differently if you had to do it again?
SMALL GROUP QUESTIONS (I Corinthians 4)
4 This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful. 3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. 4 For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. 5 Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.
6 I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another. 7 For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?
8 Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! Without us you have become kings! And would that you did reign, so that we might share the rule with you! 9 For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. 10 We are fools for Christ's sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. 11 To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless, 12 and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; 13 when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things.
14 I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. 15 For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. 16 I urge you, then, be imitators of me. 17 That is why I sent you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach them everywhere in every church. 18 Some are arrogant, as though I were not coming to you. 19 But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I will find out not the talk of these arrogant people but their power. 20 For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power. 21 What do you wish? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love in a spirit of gentleness?
- Have you ever had to tell someone something hard? How did it go? What did you learn from that experience about telling people hard things?
- Do you agree with I Corinthians 4:1-2’s definition of pastoral leadership and success? How would you describe a “faithful” pastor?
- In I Corinthians 4:1-7 Paul gives us 3 strategies for dealing with critics.
- How do you know when someone is a “harmful” critic?
- How can you tell if you’re being a “harmful” critic?
- What is the danger of harmful criticism in the church?
- Of the three strategies mentioned in the sermon about dealing with critics; (1) Please God first, (2) Consider the source, (3) Remember grace, which one was most applicable to you and why?
- In I Corinthians 4:8-13, Paul highlights the arrogance of the Corinthians and the humility necessary for Gospel faithfulness. In our Steamboat culture, what kind of humility do we need to embrace to be faithful with the Gospel?
- I Corinthians 4:15 is one of Paul’s (inspired by the Holy Spirit) most intimate and powerful verses. What do you think he means by it? Do you think “fatherlessness” contributed to the spiritual state of the Corinthian church? How can today’s church avoid the same scenario?
- I Corinthians 4:16 is a bold invitation. If you were to invite someone to “imitate you” what changes would you need to make to ensure they were led to a deeper commitment to Christ.
Small Group Questions (I Corinthians 2)
1And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. 2For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, 4and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
6Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. 7But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. 8None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
9But, as it is written,
"What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him"—
10these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11For who knows a person's thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 13And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.
14The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 15The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. 16"For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?" But we have the mind of Chris
- Describe a time when God has used a sermon to change your life.
- I Corinthians 2:2-4 Paul shows us the value of preaching humbly. It allows for God to work through him. How can we apply this principle of humility to other areas of our life?
- I Corinthians 1:10, I Corinthians 2:6 & I Corinthians 2:16. How can these verses be used to describe the unity of the church? Based on these verses what is one way the church needs to be unified? How can you tell when a church is (or is not) unified in the thought (1:10), doctrine (2:6) and Spirit (2:16)?
- The “rulers of this age” are the wicked men (and women) who think they are on the right side of history but turns out they are on the wrong side with God. As in the times of Christ they can inflict tremendous pain on people and societies. How have you seen God use these kind of people to redeem their strategies? How should we deal with these types of people in our own life?
- Based on I Corinthians 2:10-16 Christians have been given the mind of God through the Holy Spirit. How can we be sure we are thinking about things Spiritually and not “naturally”? Why is it important that we do so?
SMALL GROUP QUESTIONS (I Corinthians 1:18-31)
18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written,
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”
20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
26 For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
- Everyone take a moment to share what it was about the gospel that drew you to follow Jesus as Savior.
- Based on I Corinthians 1:18 what is it about the Gospel that is foolish? Is it any more foolish than other religions? Why or why not?
- Does the “folly of the gospel” make it easier or harder to follow Jesus? In addition, does it make it easier or harder to tell people about all Jesus has done for them?
- I Corinthians 1:22 says of those seeking in the 1st Century, For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom. What would Paul (or you) say about the people today seeking God? (For example: “Hipsters seek uniqueness.” “Old men seek significance.”) Explain your “seeker” description. And how does the Gospel offer them everything they seek?
- In what ways are you tempted to make the Gospel hard? How can we trust that it is easy?
SMALL GROUP QUESTIONS (I Corinthians 3:5-23)
SMALL GROUP QUESTIONS:
5 What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. 7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. 8 He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. 9 For we are God's fellow workers. You are God's field, God's building. 10 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. 11 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— 13 each one's work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14 If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire. 16 Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? 17 If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and you are that temple.
18 Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” 20 and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” 21 So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, 23 and you are Christ's, and Christ is God's.
- If you could wave a wand and change one thing about the American church tomorrow, what would you change and why?
- What keeps leaders from seeing themselves as servants (verse 5)? Why is it important that they keep a servant mindset?
- If God brings the growth of a church how important is cultural relevance in a worship service (v. 6-7)?
- What are your thoughts on the final Judgment described in verses 13-14? Is it a reality to you? Why or why not?
- Verse 17 talks about “destroying God’s temple” if the people are the “temple” what sin must we avoid to keep from destroying “God’s temple.”
- Verses 10-12 talk about building on ones gospel foundation. How would you practically say one builds with gold, silver and precious stones? How can this group hold one another accountable in these activities?
SMALL GROUP QUESTIONS (I Corinthians 1:10-17 & 3:1-4)
I Corinthians 1:10-17 & 3:1-4
10 I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. 11 For it has been reported to me by Chloe's people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers. 12 What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.” 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so that no one may say that you were baptized in my name. 16 (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. 2 I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, 3 for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? 4 For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not being merely human?
- Who has been your favorite president in American history? Why?
- Have you ever seen a church in a “civil war”? What was the reason? What was the outcome? How is the church now?
- Have you ever been a part of something that was uniquely united? What was it? What did you all accomplish? How did it feel?
- Talk about the 10 core doctrines that affect the gospel.
- TRINITY: (God eternally exists in three persons, impossible of division, but capable of distinction as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit)
- SCRIPTURE: (Inerrancy of Scripture)
- SIN (Humanity is born with a sin problem)
- WAGES OF SIN ARE DEATH (physical and eternal)
- HELL AND HEAVEN ARE LITERAL PLACES
- SALVATION BY GRACE ALONE THROUGH FAITH IN CHRIST ALONE
- CHURCH EQUIPPED TO COMPLETE THE MISSION OF THE GOSPEL
- JESUS WILL COME AGAIN TO JUDGE THE LIVING & THE DEAD
Do any of these rub you the wrong way? If so why?
- Why is important that we unite around doctrines essential to the Gospel? Can you think of a social organization that requires you to hold certain beliefs? Should the church be any different?
- How should a church deal with its differences?
- In I Corinthians 3:1-4 Paul tells Corinth they are not “spiritual.” Before today how would you define a “spiritual person?” Based on this passage and Hebrews 5:12 what really makes a person “spiritual?”
- How and when do you spend time reading and applying Scripture? What advice would you give others when it comes to reading Scripture?
SMALL GROUP QUESTIONS (I Corinthians 1:1-9)
1 Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and our brother Sosthenes, 2 To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours: 3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 4 I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, 5 that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge— 6 even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you— 7 so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8 who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. – I Corinthians 1:1-9
- What is the biggest city you have ever lived in? How is different from Steamboat? Which do you prefer?
- How is church life different in the city vs. the small town? After hearing about 1st century Corinth, what do you think the church was like in 1st century Corinth?
- In I Corinthians 1:2 Paul clarifies that the church is “God’s”. Why is it important that we recognize the church as God’s? How should this distinction affect our view of the church’s future and our role in it?
- In I Corinthians 1:2b Paul tells the Corinthians they are connected to ALL the saints who believe in Jesus. Do you feel connected with “Christians” in other parts of the world? If yes. Describe how or when you feel this connection.
- In I Corinthian 1:5 Paul says they are enriched in knowledge and speech. If you had to choose which characteristic would you rather God bless with his grace: speech or knowledge? Why? How can you put yourself in a position to experience this grace at work in your life?
- In I Corinthians 1:8-9 we see that our salvation is secure because of grace, this is a doctrine called, “security of the believer.” Was this new information for you? How is this truth reassuring to you? What does this doctrine teach us about God’s love for us?