A Model Church

1 Thessalonians 1:4-10

                                                                              

Take-Home Truth: Identity in Christ empowers believers to become model members who make up model churches.

Christ-Connection: Believers become model members by the work of the Spirit as they pursue intimacy with God.

Hook: (Ice-breaker question. Get the group talking!) 

  1. Share about a time you experienced a case of mistaken identity. 

Engage: (Observe the passage and engage with the text)

  1. Read 1 Thessalonians 1:4-10 and briefly name some of the attributes of this church.

 Reflect: (Reflect upon the key take-aways from the sermon)

  1. Keith said If you are not empowered by Christ, culture will assign your identity. Where do you see this in culture and where are you prone to this personally?

  1. How does identity influence your ability to:

-face opposition (v.6)

-influence the community (v.7)

-expand God’s kingdom (v.8)

-wait on the Lord’s return (v.10)

Respond: (Apply the truths of God’s Word to your heart, affections, and actions)

  1. Keith said waiting expectantly (v.10) describes a people who are busy about the Lord’s work until the Lord returns. What work has the Lord called you to? How are you living God’s call for you in your daily life?

  1. What practical steps do you need to take this week to grow as a “model member”?

“War in Heaven”

Revelation 12:7 – 12

Take-Home Truth:  Satan’s accusations have no power over the believer.

Christ-Connection: Christ defeated Satan and the power of our sin.

Hook: (Ice-breaker question. Get the group talking!)

  1. Is there an example from your past where you failed at something that prevented you from moving forward in the present?Engage: (Observe the passage and engage with the text)
  2. Does Satan still have access to God’s courtroom to make accusations about us in front of Him?
  3. Is Satan still making accusations against us today? What effect does it have on our daily walk and work in His kingdom?

Reflect: (Reflect upon the key take-aways from the sermon)

  1. What are the three weapons described in verse 11 that produce victory in the life of a believer?
  2. Richard said “Ultimately, we serve the Lord based on what we know, not how we feel.” Give an example in your own life where you acted based on how you felt rather than what you know?

Respond: (Apply the truths of God’s Word to your heart, affections, and actions)

  1. In America we tend to not be driven by fear of losing our lives but are fearful in other areas that prevent us from living a victorious life as a believer. What are these other things?
  2. Look at the following verses; 2 Corinthians 10:5, Philippians 4:8, Romans 8:1-8, 12:1-2, Colossians 3:1, 2 Thessalonians 3:3. How will these verses help us with fighting the accusations that Satan brings against us?

 

“The Woman and the Dragon”

 Revelation 12:1-6

 

Take-Home Truth: Satan’s attack is great against us, but God’s care will sustain us. 

Christ-Connection: In the face of Satan’s rage, Christ is our greatest provision to

persevere in the wilderness.

Hook: (Ice-breaker question. Get the group talking!)

  1. Describe a time in your life when you were in a wilderness area, away from people and civilization. 

Engage: (Observe the passage and engage with the text)

 

  1. As a group read Revelation 12:1-6 aloud. Make observations. Discuss and unpack

these verses together in light of global and personal suffering.

  1. Identify the following key players in the text:

 

  • The woman’s son (v. 5) –
  • The dragon (v. 4) –
  • The woman (vv. 1, 2, 5) –

Reflect: (Reflect upon the key take-aways from the sermon)

 

  1. Richard shared 4 reasons why there is so much suffering in the world. The fourth (the rage of Satan) was focused upon. As a group, talk about how Satan’s rage is experienced in the world today and how you have experienced his rage personally.

 Respond: (Apply the truths of God’s Word to your heart, affections, and actions)

 

  1. Describe your current experience in the “wilderness”. Share your feelings and the lessons you are learning.

Share with the group 1 to 3 ways God is nourishing (providing for) you in your wilderness experience.

The Ark of the Covenant

Revelation 11:19

                                                                              

Take-Home Truth: Sinful man cannot approach a holy God without a blood sacrifice.

Christ-Connection: We can approach Jesus, the true Ark of the Covenant, because of his sacrifice on the cross.

Hook: (Ice-breaker question. Get the group talking!)

 

  1. Was there anything in your childhood home that was off limits to touch/watch/do? What type of consequence could you expect?

Engage: (Observe the passage and engage with the text)

 

  1. Read Exodus 25:10-22, Numbers 10:33-34 and discuss what was required to access God’s presence.

  1. Read Revelation 11:19 and discuss what will be required to access God’s presence.

 Reflect: (Reflect upon the key take-aways from the sermon)

 

  1. “God provides a way for sinners to come near Him and receive mercy.” Read Leviticus 16: 11, 14-15 and discuss how sin was atoned for. How is sin atoned for now?

  1. “God walks with His weak people and enables them to do great things by His power.” There were three items in the Ark (Hebrews 9:4). How do these items illustrate God’s faithfulness?

 

Respond: (Apply the truths of God’s Word to your heart, affections, and actions)

 

  1. How will the reality that the believer has full access to God impact the way you walk in this world?

He Shall Reign Forever and Ever

Rev. 11:13-19

                                                                              

Take-Home Truth: God’s kingdom is the only kingdom that will last.

Christ-Connection: Jesus will judge his enemies and reward his servants.

Hook: (Ice-breaker question. Get the group talking!)

  1. Tell about a time you were motivated by the promise of a reward. 

Engage: (Observe the passage and engage with the text) 

  1. Read Revelation 11:13-19. How do you see John contrast the kingdom of the world and the kingdom of God?

 

 Reflect: (Reflect upon the key take-aways from the sermon)

  1. Read Rev. 11:17 then read Rev. 1:4, 8, and 4:8. What is the difference drawn here? How does that help us to understand this passage?

  1. The promise of justice in verses 17-18 was used as a song of worship by early Christians. What is the difference in our demand for justice in times of want and in times of plenty?

 

Respond: (Apply the truths of God’s Word to your heart, affections, and actions)

  1. Richard said a servant expects God’s reward and gave 2 reasons we doubt.

Reason 1: We do not believe God is good.

Reason 2: We are already rewarding ourselves on earth.

Which of these two reasons more accurately describes your temptation to doubt?

  1. A servant of Christ is an earthly representative of the kingdom of Heaven. How are you reflecting Christ in your circles of influence?

Vulnerable & Invincible

Revelation 11

 

Hook: (Ice-breaker question. Get the group talking!)

 

  1. Share about a time in your life when you found calm and peace in the middle of a difficult situation. 

                                                                            

Take-Home Truth

The church WILL endure the storms of time.  Even though it may suffer loss and appear to be defeated, it will ultimately emerge triumphant.

Christ-Connection

We see that from outside the church, there is growing spiritual opposition to the church. Yet Christ is at work, not to condemn the world, but that through Him, the world might be saved. (Jn 3:17).  

Engage: (Observe the passage and engage with the text)

 

  1. As a group, read Revelation 11. Discuss the symbolism that is described here- i.e., the temple, the measuring of the temple, 42 months, the great city, the beast, others.  Richard stated that symbols point to realities “more important than the symbol”.  What are the realities to which these symbols point?  (Refer to Rev 21:22)

  1. Richard likened the church to a boat sailing in stormy seas. What are some of the storms the church has endured over the last 2,000 years of church history? What hope can we draw from seeing how God’s Bride has persevered? How should the true church respond to the fact that more intense suffering is in its future (v 2- they will trample on the holy city for 42 months)?

 

 Reflect: (Reflect upon the key take-aways from the sermon)

 

  1. In vs 3-5, the two prophets are introduced in the midst of the onslaught against the temple (God’s church) and they are given the power to devour their enemies.  How do the prophets devour their enemies?  What application do you find in these verses? (Zech 4:6)

  1. In Rev 11:7, the beast that comes from the Abyss attacks those prophets who speak against it.  Richard indicated that the beast may represent a collection of forces against the church.  What might these forces be?  How do we recognize them?

 

Respond: (Apply the truths of God’s Word to your heart, affections, and actions)

 

  1. In vs 7-10, the church receives a huge blow, then a breath of life.  How does this passage change or inform your view on your position in Christ (or the position of the church)?  (See Ez 37: 7-10)

  1. Reflecting upon Ezekiel 37:7-10, how do dry bones come to life again? What application does this concept have for the church (and for you)? How is this hopeful in the midst of a dark and stormy world? 

Note: Close with reviewing the Christ Connection & Take Home Truth

“A Soft Heart and a Hard Head”

Revelation 10

Hook: (Ice-breaker question. Get the group talking!)

1. Share a time when you experienced an intense thunderstorm. Describe what you heard, saw, and how you felt.

Take-Home TruthJesus, while comforting and helpful, challenges His followers to speak hard truths to a rebellious world even when it hurts.

Christ-ConnectionA BIG Jesus walks with us during life’s journey when he calls to imitate His suffering.

Engage: (Observe the passage and engage with the text)

2. As a group read Revelation 10 aloud. Make general observations. Discuss and unpack these verses together.

3. What did Richard share why it matters that the angel is identified as Jesus?

4. John heard and understood what the seven thunders meant, but he wasn’t allowed to share this information. In light of Deuteronomy 29:29 why would be this important?

5. In verse 9 John was told to eat the scroll. Discuss why he was asked to do this and the results (vv. 10-11).

Reflect: (Reflect upon the key take-aways from the sermon)

6. Talk about how has God’s Word been both sweet and sour in your interactions with others?

7. Richard said, “You can never be faithful to God if your goal if life is for everyone to like you.” What is one of the most difficult feelings you have experienced to overcome in light of this.

Respond: (Apply the truths of God’s Word to your heart, affections, and actions)

8. Sharing both the sweet and sour of God’s Word is not an easy task and is impossible to do on our own. How does Ezekiel 3:7-9 encourage you to be faithful with a soft heart and a hard head?

The Beauty and Necessity of Repentance

Revelation 9:20-21 (See question 2 for additional scriptures to discuss)

                                                                            

Take-Home Truth: True repentance is a change of mind that leads to a change of direction because you have a change of heart.

Christ-Connection: Our repentance is based not only on our understanding that sin is bad, but also a genuine belief that Christ is far greater (coin example: repent/believe).

Hook: (Ice-breaker question. Get the group talking!)

  1. Share a time in your life when your mind/opinion was drastically changed. 

Engage: (Observe the passage and engage with the text)

  1. As a group, read Revelation 9:20-21, Ezekiel 18:30, Mark 1:14-15, Luke 13:1-5, and Acts 26:17-20. How would you define repentance based on these passages? 

  1. Discuss how these passages demonstrate the change of mind, heart, and behavior. 

 

 Reflect: (Reflect upon the key take-aways from the sermon)

 

 Note: The goal of this reflection is to build your own story of repentance so that you are able to share with others how your life was transformed by the Gospel.

  1. Richard said, “Wrong thinking about God leads to wrong acting against God.” How were you wrong in your thinking of God and how did that define the way you lived?

  1. What changed your mind (metanoia)? Do you remember a specific message, scripture, event or person that stirred your heart towards repentance? What was it about Jesus and his Gospel that drew you to him?

  1. In light of Acts 26:20, how does your life since conversion reflect that you have changed?

 

Respond: (Apply the truths of God’s Word to your heart, affections, and actions)

  1. When you put all of this (Questions 4, 5, and 6) together, you end up with your own personal story (testimony). Would someone be willing to share the 5-minute version of his/her story with the group as an example? 

  1. Prayerfully consider one person you can share your testimony with this week. Will you commit to share your story?

“Shepherd Leadership – Tending the Flock of God” 

1 Peter 5:1-5

Take-Home Truth:  We should all live a life worthy of imitation

Christ-Connection: Jesus Christ is the ultimate elder, the ultimate shepherd, and the ultimate overseer

Hook: (Ice-breaker question. Get the group talking!) 

  1. Discuss a time when you were part of a team that worked well together toward a common goal.  

Engage: (Observe the passage and engage with the text)

  1. As a group, read aloud 1 Peter 5:1-5.  Why does Peter begin a discussion on eldership immediately after a passage on suffering and persecution? 

  1. In your own words, based on the text, briefly describe the responsibilities and qualifications of a biblical elder. 

Reflect: (Reflect upon the key take-aways from the sermon) 

 

  1. Peter’s focus changed from individual persecution to the collective persecution and suffering of the church. How does this apply to what is happening in the church today? (1 Peter 4:17)

  1. Dan said it is important that we live a life worthy of imitation. What are elements in your life where you are living as an imitator of Christ? What are the areas where you need to ask God to work change in your life to make it worth imitating?

Respond: (Apply the truths of God’s Word to your heart, affections, and actions) 

  1. Once again read 1 Pt 5:5. Why is submitting to the elders and being humble in spirit so important in times of increasing persecution?

  1. The qualifications for elders certainly apply to the church as a whole and how we lead in our own lives. As you reflect on these, what do you need to change in your own life to become a better imitator of Jesus Christ the Good Shepherd? 

The Sixth Trumpet and the Decline of Reason

Rev. 9:13-21

                                                                              

Take-Home Truth: God’s truths will always be victorious over the demonically inspired deceptions of this age.

Christ-Connection: Jesus is the means by which believers will be able to withstand this demonic onslaught. 

Hook: (Ice-breaker question. Get the group talking!)

  1. When in your life has heeding a warning caused you to avoid negative outcomes?

Engage: (Observe the passage and engage with the text)

  1. Read Revelation 9:13-21. Richard contends this passage refers to the loss of reason. Where do you see this appear in the text? Why does this happen?

  1. What symbolism do we see in the text? How do these symbols help reveal the purpose of the passage?

 

 Reflect: (Reflect upon the key take-aways from the sermon)

  1. Where have you observed the loss of reason (or the adoption of untruths) on display in the culture?

  1. Where are you tempted to believe things that are not rooted in God’s truth?

 

Respond: (Apply the truths of God’s Word to your heart, affections, and actions)

 

  1. Understanding the default response of Culture is rejection of God, in what ways will you contend for His truth?

  1. How will you guard yourself against the loss of reason?