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Small Group Lesson

In Small Groups, we seek to grow as Christians, in the context of Christian community, by focusing on two categories: obeying God’s Word and doing God’s Mission.

Looking back over the last two weeks answer the following questions in about 5 minutes per person. (If you have a big story that might take some time to share, please wait until the end of the lesson.)
Q: How has God been working in various ways in your life?
Q: In particular, which Bible verse has encouraged and supported you the most?

GOD’S WORD

Since last month we have been in a new series called "The Letter to the Romans." Chapters 1 to 3:20 of the Romans have learned that "Everyone has sinned against God, there is no room for excuses, and everyone is judged equally by the law."

Q: Do you currently feel that there is a sin between you and God? Please share with the group if applicable.

Next, Paul wrote that the righteousness of God was shown apart from the law. Let's read Romans 3: 21-24.
[21] But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— [22] the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: [23] for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, [24] and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,

Anyone who has faith in Jesus will be saved by the grace of God. Through faith in Jesus, our sin is removed before God's eyes, and we are seen as righteous.

Q: In everyday life, do you have a sense that you are saved through faith and not your works, i.e., rules which must be followed or achievements to be met?

Q: Recently, do you feel that your faith has led you to seek to display the attitudes and actions that God desires rather than your own thoughts and feeling?

In Romans 4, Paul continues writing like this. Let's read Romans 4:3-5.
[3] For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” [4] Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. [5] And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness,

What do you think when you read, “And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness”? Before sharing your answer, read another passage of scripture, James 2:14-17.
[14] What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? [15] If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, [16] and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? [17] So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

In Romans Paul wrote, “And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness” and yet in the same Bible James writes, “So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”

At first glance, it seems that the different authors, Paul and James, contradict each other. However, Christians believe that the Bible is written by one author, the Holy Spirit, as 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God.” Therefore there cannot be any real contradiction between these passages.

Q: When you read these two Bible verses, did you feel that they are in contradiction? Why do you think so? Why not? How can they be harmonized? Discuss!

GOD’S MISSION


BE PREPARED


1 Peter 3:15 "...but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect..."

2 Timothy 4:2 "...preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching."

You randomly meet your neighbor in front of your apartment… You make a new acquaintance at the shopping mall… Your co-worker asks you what you did last Sunday… Your family member hints that they might be interested in Christianity… Your friend shares she is feeling hopeless and asks you how you have hope and peace...

We never know what opportunities and open doors for sharing our faith God will give us—or when! This is why the Bible instructs us to be prepared and ready at all times. Here are some practical ways to be prepared to share, explain, and defend your faith to others:  
  • Always carry several church invites with you.
  • Bookmark a helpful sermon video or blog that might help explain a commonly asked questions that you can share with anyone who asks.
  • Have a Bible or Bible app with you at all times.
  • Keep your testimony story fresh in your mind, ready to naturally share with anyone.
  • Memorize how to share the gospel briefly.
  • Be a learner. Read a variety of Christian books so you know what to recommend and or are able to share ideas directly yourself.
  • Keep a journal (paper or digital) of helpful Bible passages, sermon notes, and other ideas.
  • Frequently reflect on what it was like before you became a Christian. Speak from such a perspective when communicating with non-Christians.
  • Proverbs 27:17 "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another." Consistently participate in a small group.
Take a few minutes to brainstorm other ways to be prepared to share about the hope we have in Jesus Christ.


Encourage One Another:

What opportunities has God provided to lead others closer toward knowing Christ? 

How have you seen God working in the lives of those you want to lead to Christ? 

Pray for One Another:
Share at least one name of someone you want to win to Christ. If you know, share your next action step in leading them closer to knowing Christ (for example: invite them to church, take them out to dinner and share your testimony, study First Steps together, give them a Bible or Christian resources, etc.). 

Commit to praying for one another every day: (1) For boldness and wisdom, (2) for opportunities, (3) for other’s open hearts.

Other Prayer Requests:

How can we pray for you? 

Pray together about God’s Mission and other requests and thanksgivings.