Leaders say, “You’ve all been arrested for being a follower of Jesus Christ. What evidence in the police report will prove to the jury that you are indeed His?” Give each member an opportunity to state one thing from the police report that might lead to a conviction.
1 Peter 2:9 says that we are a Chosen People…God’s special possession! Do you have a special possession or treasure? What is it? Why is it so valuable to you? Have each member share something that they treasure and why. This could be a tangible object, a person, or even a memory.
(Intent: REVIEW: In the past few weeks, we have been reminded of our sacrificial love relationships with:
• God: That we have our foundation in Christ, so we ought to live out our lives in service to Him.
• The Church: We are one body. Each of us is part of the one universal Church and our local Bethel body. All of us have a unique purpose but are connected with and dependent upon the other believers who make up the Church.
• The World: Our walking by faith as foreigners changes and preserves the world and community around us.
Therefore, if we genuinely believe that Jesus is who He says He is – that He is Lord and in charge of our lives – we will obey and follow Him into the world. This week we discuss what it means to be so connected with our identity in Christ that we live our lives out of the overflow of Him in us. This review should reconnect the group to the thread of the past few weeks’ messages.)
1. Read I Peter 2:9-10. Verse 10 says we were once not a people and had not received mercy. Describe your life before receiving Christ as your Savior and Lord. Where was your identity?
(Intent: Encourage each group member to draw a contrast between their old and new self. What were they? What has changed? For those who became Christians at an early age, ask them to share how the Lord has matured them.)
2. A. We have many identities, e.g., our family, nationality, race, and career. How do these contrast with our identity as Christians? B. In our culture, people zero in on questions to get to know someone. “What do you do?” “Where are you from?” or “Tell me about your family” are all common questions. How much do you identify with these aspects of your visible life compared to your identity as a Christ-follower?
(Intent: A. Our identity in Christ is primary, eternal, and supersedes all of our other roles. For example, if I am an engineer, I am a Christian first and then an engineer. B. Help each group member assess if the overriding influence and passion of their lives is Christ and following Him fully, or something else.)
3. A. What do you picture when you hear each of the following words: chosen, royal, priesthood, holy, and nation? B. What does it mean to you to be “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession”?
(Intent: A. Help the group to imagine the grandeur of their calling. B. These words all involve the idea of being set apart as unique and having a purpose or calling. When recognized as the Lord’s personal calling to each Christian, this is moving.)
4. A. Why do you think Peter chose this stark contrast between Darkness and Light? B. How did God “call you out of darkness into His marvelous light”?
(Intent: A. It is sometimes difficult to recall how great a gift our salvation is. This contrast reminds us of the radical change that came upon us when we received Jesus as Lord. B. This could involve some amount of personal testimony, which is very important, but the leader should consider limiting the scope and time allotted.)
5. A. We are God’s special possession. Refer to I Peter 2:9b. What is His purpose for each of us individually and as a Church? B. How do you live this out? C. How can you better live this out?
(Intent: A. To proclaim all aspects of the excellence of God. B. We imitate Christ out of our love for Him. C. The leader should encourage members to identify concrete actions that they can take this week.)
6. Read 1 Peter 2:11-12. Each of us inhabits this planet for a brief period. We can choose to live for Christ or be diverted by the world. A. What are some activities, habits, relationships, or pastimes that “wage war against our soul[s]?” B. What specific actions can you take to win the battle?
(Intent: A. The group likely will see that some of the things they are engaged in are not helpful toward living for Christ. B. God empowers us, but we must resist the devil and draw near to God through our repentant actions, James. 4:7.)
7. Describe a time when a non-Christian changed their view of you (and perhaps of God) because of something good you did that revealed Christ to them?
Are there any “gray” areas where you are in some way “hanging out in the shadows,” not entirely moving out of the darkness? If so, what actions can you take this week to move your witness totally into the light? If you are living out your life in the light, help a brother or sister in the Lord this week to put their faith into action.
Also, if you challenged your small group with last week's application, don't forget to follow up this week and see how things went.
"We live in an Information Age and are bombarded with countless personalities and voices every day. Jesus says that those who know the truth will listen/obey HIS voice. Pay attention to which voice(s) you tune into most this next week. Who got the most air time? What would it look like to increase Jesus? Share next week any adjustments you made."
Take some time each day this week to reflect on what the Lord has done to change you, clothing you in His majesty. Offer up praises to Him for His good work in you and His faithfulness in your life.