Small Group Questions (APR 21, 2019)

posted by Bethel Community | Apr 19, 2019

ACTIVITIES

Bake Resurrection Rolls – As a group, make Resurrection Rolls. One simple recipe can be found here. Resurrection Rolls are a sweet roll that contain a marshmallow wrapped inside. The marshmallow symbolizes the Jesus' tomb. When the rolls are baked, the marshmallow melts, symbolizing Jesus’ resurrection and victory over the grave. The result is a sweet treat reminding us of the sweetness of the grace we have received from the cross.
 
Chalk Graffiti – Provide your group with sidewalk chalk. Everyone goes outside and spends some time decorating the sidewalk with Bible verses related to Easter, pictures, and inspirational messages (like “He is risen”). Be prepared to share the good news with anyone who happens to pass by or asks what your group is doing.
 
ICE BREAKER

Which character in the dramatic monologues do you most identify with and why?
(Intent: Summaries of the monologues are: 1) Pregnant, lonely, hopeless teenage girl; (Woman caught in adultery) John 8:2-11. 2) Regretful, ashamed, self-alienated young man; (Prodigal son) Luke 15:11-32. 3) Overworked, bitter, desperate family man; (Martha & Mary) Luke 10:38-42.)   

DISCUSSION

Our Resurrection Sunday sermon focused on the “Prodigal Son.” To allow more context for the monologues, the sermon, and the greater message surrounding Easter, this week’s discussion will primarily be focused on Ephesians 2:1-10.

1. Why is the resurrection of Christ such a big deal? (See Matthew 28:1-10 and 1 Corinthians 15:1-8.)
(Intent: Ideas may include it validates Jesus' claims about Himself, demonstrates that He has power over death, shows that we like Christ will be resurrected from the dead, gives us assurance that Jesus really is with us since He's alive, and gives us an idea of what our resurrected bodies will be like.)

2. Read Ephesians 2:1-10. What are some ways you were spiritually dead before receiving Christ? After answering, read Romans 1:18-20 and Romans 3:10-18.
(Intent: Leader, follow-up the answers with the Romans passages above. Ask the group how these passages compare with what they have shared. Recounting some sins or "dead thinking" helps personalize the concept of everyone being not only a sinner, but disobedient and enslaved, following Satan (whether aware of it or not), and deserving of God's wrath.) 

3. Read Ephesians 2:4-5. Recall a time when undeserved love was exhibited towards you, or you observed it being demonstrated towards someone who didn't deserve it. How does this compare to God's love for us while we were "dead in our trespasses" and hostile toward Him?
(Intent: Remind your group that God’s love is unconditional, undeserved, and intentional. The outflow of this type of love is to desire the best for someone and to be willing to sacrifice for them. This kind of love, whether exhibited by God or by man empowered by God, is not superficial, or necessarily warm and fuzzy. Help the group appreciate an example of a person exhibiting this kind of love, and then grasp how God’s love is even greater toward people.)

4. Read Luke 15:11-32, “The Parable of the Prodigal Son.” A) What is the significance of verses 17-21? B) How did the father respond? 
(Intent: A person must recognize his sinful condition and act on it, (repentance is demonstrated through an act of the will) in order to be a candidate for salvation. The father eagerly forgave his son, lavishly rewarding him just as God rewards us when we come to Him confessing our sinfulness and our need for a Savior.) 

5. Read Ephesians 2:4-6 and Romans 6:1-7and 11-13. How does God make the Christian "alive," or more literally, awaken him from the dead? How is this done "together with Christ"? 
(Intent: The indwelling Holy Spirit transforms us to change our motives and desires to match those of God. See 2 Cor. 5:14-19 -- new creation, John 10:10 — abundant life, and Rom. 8:5-11 -- life through the Spirit. We are made alive only because Jesus was made alive. He is the first fruit of the resurrection; we follow. See 1 Cor. 15:20-23.)

6. Read Ephesians 2:6-7. What does it mean that God "raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus"? Why do you think this is written in the past tense? 
(Intent: Our place in heaven was secured at the pinnacle of all human history, through Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection. Our seating with Him was done at that point. The New Testament is replete with references showing that “It is finished” (see Romans 3-6). Our part in receiving this finished work is accomplished by believing – good works are an outflow of faith. To be “raised…up with Him and seated…with Him” is both a present ensured state and a future reality.)

7. What is the result of our being made alive in Christ, according to v. 7?
(Intent: To glorify God by the unveiling of His grace (unmerited favor), His kindness, and to live with Him forever.)

PRAYER

Many non-Christians attended Easter services around the world. Pray the Holy Spirit will open their minds and hearts to the gospel.
APPLICATION

1. Think of the wonder of being made alive together with Christ. Considering that Easter is a time when many non-Christians note the resurrection, with whom could you share this Good News?

2. Read Ephesians 2:10. Pray and ask the Lord to open your eyes to see the “good works” that he has already created for you to accomplish. Commit this week to act on what He may reveal to you.

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