LIFE group discussion guide: love is a battlefield – becoming strong in the Lord

 

NOTE: Following is the discussion guide we’ll use tomorrow (Aug. 24) in our LIFE groups at MoSt Church. This guide will enable your follow-up of my sermon that morning. To find previous group discussion guides, look under the category title “LIFE group guides” and you’ll find an archive of previous issues.

Reason

Stated in a single sentence, this is the purpose of this morning’s sermon.

To explore the meaning of, preparation for, and engagement in spiritual warfare.

Revelation

These Scriptures form some of the foundation of this sermon.

… let’s get rid of the actions that belong to the darkness and put on the weapons of light. Let’s behave appropriately as people who live in the day. (Romans 13.12b-13a CEB)

• … be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. (Ephesians 6.10-18 NIV)

• … since we belong to the day, let us be sober, and put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has destined us not for wrath but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing. (1 Thessalonians 5.8-11 NRSV)

Relation

Use one of the following icebreaker questions to prime the pump, to help the conversation begin. Choose one to discuss.

1. Tell us of a feat of strength you accomplished in your childhood days that meant much to you.

2. Fill in the blank with a single word: “To win the battle with Christ a Christian must ________.”

Research

These exercises/questions are meant to help us grapple with the Scripture(s) related to this sermon.

1. Consider the three Scripture texts above. What do all three of them have in common?

2. Make a list of all the “action items” in the texts above (e.g. – “get rid of,” “put on,” etc. ).

3. No emotions are directly referenced in these texts. However, what feelings are likely implied?

Reflection

These questions assist our sharing what we sense God’s Spirit is doing with us in our encounter with God’s word.

1. Name the common false expectations noted in the sermon. Which do you do battle with most?

2. “We all experience seasons when the Lord doesn’t feel near.” Your thoughts on this?

3. What all did Paul mean when he said: “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood?”

4. Which piece of armor do you find yourself struggling to consistently utilize well? Why?

Response

These ideas/suggestions are for your use beyond the group meeting; to aid in living out today’s message in the coming days.

1. Carve out some quiet time and make a very candid, comprehensive, and private written list of the “actions that belong to the darkness” in your life that you need to get rid of. Pray over it.

2. Develop a basic “battle plan” as to how you will “put on the weapons of light” every day.