NOTE: Following is the discussion guide we’ll use tomorrow (Sept. 7) 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.
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.
These Scriptures form some of the foundation of this sermon.
• The Lord your God will delight in you if you obey his voice and keep the commands and decrees written in this Book of Instruction, and if you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and soul. This command I am giving you today is not too difficult for you, and it is not beyond your reach. It is not kept in heaven, so distant that you must ask, “Who will go up to heaven and bring it down so we can hear it and obey?” It is not kept beyond the sea, so far away that you must ask, “Who will cross the sea to bring it to us so we can hear it and obey?” No, the message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart so that you can obey it. (Deuteronomy 30.10-14 NLT)
• The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. … The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb. By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward. (Psalm 19.7-11 NIV)
• … God’s word is living, active, and sharper than any two-edged sword. It penetrates to the point that it separates the soul from the spirit and the joints from the marrow. It’s able to judge the heart’s thoughts and intentions. No creature is hidden from it, but rather everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of the one to whom we have to give an answer. (Hebrews 4.12-13 CEB)
• Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the parent loves the child. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For the love of God is this, that we obey his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome, for whatever is born of God conquers the world. And this is the victory that conquers the world, our faith. Who is it that conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (1 John 5.1-5 NRSV)
Use one of the following icebreaker questions to prime the pump, to help the conversation begin. Choose one to discuss.
1. You need to focus on some reading/studying. Which do you prefer: silence or background music?
2. Share with us a word from, and an action of, a loved one that is especially dear and meaningful to you.
These exercises/questions are meant to help us grapple with the Scripture(s) related to this sermon.
1. Compare Deuteronomy 30.10-14 with 1 John 5.1-5. What matters do these two texts have in common?
2. List the words used in Psalm 19.7-11 to describe the qualities of God’s word. Do the same for the benefits.
3. Answering only from Hebrews 4.12-13, what exactly do we believe God’s word to us is able to do to us?
These questions assist our sharing what we sense God’s Spirit is doing with us in our encounter with God’s word.
1. I find myself being most mindful of the word of God whenever I __________.
2. A Scripture I find myself recalling frequently or turning to often these days is ________. Why?
3. What excuse(s) and rationalization(s) do you sometimes find yourself offering up to not read Scripture?
4. “Opening up to and receiving God’s word isn’t an end in itself, but just a means to the end.” How so?
5. How truly hungry would you say you are for receiving and doing God’s word at this point in your life?
These ideas/suggestions are for your use beyond the group meeting; to aid in living out today’s message in the coming days.
1. Reserve a specific, daily time you will spend reading God’s word and asking him to help you live it out.
2. Develop a mental habit of connecting a brief portion of Scripture with all of your actions, big and small.