Paper Airplane Questions
Jesus’ letters to the churches in Revelation provide a lot of information about each church: good thoughts about them, tough situations they face, and encouragement to succeed in their faith life. What would you be curious to know about your group friends?
• Everyone writes their name and two questions to ask someone else on a piece of paper. Then they fold their paper into an airplane.
• On que, everyone throws their airplane around the room, picks up other’s airplanes, and keeps throwing them.
• The Leader says stop after one minute.
• Everyone must have one paper airplane.
• Random choice for first responder. After reading both questions, they choose which one to answer to the group.
• Then the responder introduces the owner of the airplane they have to the group, and that person is the next to respond.
This city was a trade center that included forced membership in guilds or trade unions. Each guild had a patron deity and all meetings or feasts included honoring these gods by following rituals that included eating food sacrificed to idols and engaging in sexual sin.
This was also the home of Lydia, the first convert to Christianity in the area (Acts 16:14-15).
Read this week’s text, Revelation 2:18-29
1. Thyatira had a temple to a sun-god who was represented as having flaming rays and feet of burnished brass. Jesus opens His letter by describing some aspect of Himself. Why do you think He chose the words used in Revelation 2:18?
• (Intent: This was a word picture that would immediately bring to mind the principle deity of the city, the sun-god Apollo-Tyrimnos. This appears to be a direct challenge to this supposed god’s authority. See aspects of this description in Rev. 1:14-15, Rev. 19:11-12, Hebrews 12:25-29, and particularly Dan. 10:6.)
2. Read Revelation 2:19. Once again, Jesus begins His letter by commending the church for things they are doing well. How well do you follow this pattern before criticizing someone?
• (Intent: We should always speak the truth in love – Eph. 4:15.)
3. Read Revelation 2:20. When is toleration appropriate and when does it interfere with the Christian faith?
• (Intent: We should allow people to express their personal views, but we should not condone beliefs or practices that lead people away from God’s truth and standard of living as revealed in Scripture. This may require us to challenge unbiblical views, especially if expressed in the context of church where some may perceive those erroneous views as being endorsed by the church if they go unchallenged. See Rom. 1:18 and Rom. 14:5-6.)
4. Last week we addressed false cultural teachings that invade some churches today from the outside. In Thyatira, Jezebel appears to influence the church from inside, claiming to be a prophetess. What are some clear false doctrinal teachings that have been promoted by those claiming to be Christians? How have the false teachings affected the church? How do we as individual believers and as a church combat this?
• (Intent: An example false doctrine taught by some who claim to be Christian is the prosperity gospel. Leaders should try to limit the discussion to clear unbiblical errors rather than issues that have a history of honest debate among mature widely-respected Christians.)
5. Read Revelation 2:21-23. What are the consequences for Jezebel and those who follow her teachings and choose not to repent? How should we address fellow believers today who are sliding toward false teachings?
• (Intent: There are consequences that accompany rebellion. While God is patient and longsuffering, eventually He will act, possibly in this life, certainly in the next. Heb. 9:27 – there is a judgment.)
6. In Revelation 2:26-27, the Lord promises that those who do His will to the end will have authority over the nations. What does this mean? See Daniel 7:18, 22, 27; 1 Corinthians 6:2-3; and Rev. 20:6.
• (Intent: These passages indicate that Christians will possess the Kingdom and judge the world.)
Have group members break off into pairs and/or gender groups. Each person describes things they are tolerating in their Christian walk that are contrary to God’s will. Have the other partner pray for the member’s specific issue that is interfering with their walk with the Lord.
In Revelation 2:19 Jesus commends the church in Thyatira for five things that they are doing more than at first. What are they? Pick one and discuss how you can do more of it.
• (Intent: The five are deeds, love, faith, service, and perseverance. Discuss what our part is (obedience), what God’s part is (empowerment through faith in His ability to accomplish in us what we cannot do on our own). Phil 1:6 “He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”)