Discuss with your group anything that you found challenging or encouraging in this week’s sermon message and text. What should your response be?
Ice breaker/Discussion: Anger
Have each member of the group share a favorite pet peeve they have or anything that irritates or annoys them. Keep this short to limit the negativity.
Lead the discussion by asking these questions:
1. Does your pet peeve ever lead you to anger?
2. Can you be angry and sin not? How? In what situations?
3. How do you not “let the sun go down on your wrath”?
4. In what ways has God helped you to control your anger?
Activity: Put Off, Put On
In this activity, we will exchange something we are commanded to “Put Off” for something we should “Put On” in its place.
Here is a list of things to “Put Off.” Discuss what we need to “Put On” to get rid of these sins. What do we need to actively be doing to combat falling back into the old way of life? Leaders can assign specific items to participants or use this list to begin a group discussion. An example of what to “Put On” for each item is given.
1. Hard Hearts - Surrender
2. Insensitivity - Compassion
3. Ignorance - Study the Word
4. Greed - Generosity
5. Falsehood - Speaking Truth
6. Anger - Self-Control
7. Stealing - Working Hard
8. Unwholesome talk - Purity
9. Bitterness - Forgiveness
10. Slander - Edifying
1. Read Ephesians 4:17-19. Before receiving Christ, how was your thinking futile and your understanding darkened? Thank the Lord for delivering you!
2. Take a look at vv. 20-24. In these verses, Paul contrasts how we ought to live with an unsaved person’s way of life described in vv. 17-19. A. What are we to do with the old life? What is the effect of not following this admonition? B. What actions must we take to carry out Paul’s command in vv. 23-24?
(Intent: A. We are to put off, lay aside, put away, or throw off our old ways, as various Bible versions render v. 22. This means that we actively get rid of them. If we don’t do this, we live a contradictory double-minded life with no peace and clear direction. B. Some ideas: We are to walk in the absolute truth that is Jesus, vv. 20-21. Through knowledge of Scripture and obedience to the Lord, we are to be renewed in our spirit and transformed in our minds so that we can discern God’s will and righteous ways, Rom. 12:2. We put on the “new man” and are of one mind following Christ as holy reflections of God.)
3. In vv. 25-28, Paul addresses lying, anger, and stealing. In which of these have you experienced victory in Christ?
4. Read v. 29. What’s an example of “unwholesome” NIV or “corrupt” ESV talk? How can we instead benefit our listeners?
(Intent: Paul describes the opposite of unwholesome talk as that which builds up and is appropriate for the occasion, resulting in grace to the hearer. Therefore, unwholesome words are those that tear down and provoke others to sin. We can give grace to our listeners by speaking the truth in love and being sensitive to the Spirit’s leading and timing.)
5. Read vv. 30-31. A. How can we grieve the Holy Spirit? B. How is this especially true in the context of the Church body?
(Intent: A. We grieve the Holy Spirit when we sin—v. 31 gives us some examples—both in ourselves and toward each other. B. It grieves the Spirit when Christians are not loving one another since our love is a sign to the world that we are Christ’s disciples – Jn. 13:35. When we sin against one another, we are acting contrary to the Holy Spirit’s work in us.)
6. In v 32, Paul describes how we should treat one another. Share a time when someone in the church treated you with kindness. What did it mean to you?
(Intent: It is easy for us to be critical of one another, but God manifests His love in the church. Remembering those times when the Lord has expressed His love toward us through others builds our faith and serves as a good example for how we should love one another.)
7. A. Why is it important to forgive others? B. Why do you think we sometimes find it so difficult to do? C. Is there someone you need to forgive?
(Intent: A. As Christians, all of our sin for all of time is paid for and forgiven by the blood of Christ. If God forgave us, who are we to not forgive others? See the parable of the unforgiving servant, Mt. 18:21-35. B. To the degree that we have not fully understood the sacrifice of Christ, we will be unable to forgive. If we live our lives unplugged from the Lord but plugged into the world, our pride and drive to personally ensure justice won’t allow it.)
In reflecting on this week’s message and the course of the discussion, what old ways do you need to set aside? What are some redeemed things that you need to put on? What actions must be taken to accomplish this?
Gather the group as a unit and pray for the Spirit’s strength to lay aside the world’s ways and to put on Christ, fully and unreservedly.