NOTE: Following is the discussion guide we’ll use tomorrow (Aug. 31) 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.
• … Spirit pushed Jesus out into the wild. For forty wilderness days and nights he was tested by Satan. Wild animals were his companions, and angels took care of him. (Mark 1.12-13 The Message)
• Jesus … full of the Holy Spirit, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness. There he was tempted for forty days by the devil. He ate nothing during those days and afterward Jesus was starving. The devil said to him, “Since you are God’s Son, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.” Jesus replied, “It’s written, People won’t live only by bread.” [Deut. 8.3]
Next the devil led him to a high place and showed him in a single instant all the kingdoms of the world. The devil said, “I will give you this whole domain and the glory of all these kingdoms. It’s been entrusted to me and I can give it to anyone I want. Therefore, if you will worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered, “It’s written, You will worship the Lord your God and serve only him.”[Deut. 6.13]
The devil brought him into Jerusalem and stood him at the highest point of the temple. He said to him, “Since you are God’s Son, throw yourself down from here; for it’s written: He will command his angels concerning you, to protect you and they will take you up in their hands so that you won’t hit your foot on a stone.” [Psalm 91.11-12] Jesus answered, “It’s been said, Don’t test the Lord your God.” [Deut. 6.16] After finishing every temptation, the devil departed from him until the next opportunity. (Luke 4.1-13 CEB)
• Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. (Hebrews 2.18 NIV)
• … one is tempted by one’s own desire, being lured and enticed by it; then, when that desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and that sin, when it is fully grown, gives birth to death. Do not be deceived, my beloved. (James 1.14-16 NRSV)
Use one of the following icebreaker questions to prime the pump, to help the conversation begin. Choose one to discuss.
1. Which “tempts” you more: chocolate or vanilla?
2. Name a book, movie, or song that speaks of temptation?
These exercises/questions are meant to help us grapple with the Scripture(s) related to this sermon.
1. There are three accounts of Jesus’ temptation (Matt. 4.1-11; Mk. 1.1-12; Lk. 4.1-13). Differences?
2. Read Hebrews 4.14-16. How does this passage relate to the texts above?
These questions assist our sharing what we sense God’s Spirit is doing with us in our encounter with God’s word.
1. Is there a difference between being “tested” and being “tempted,” a trial and a temptation?
2. What exactly is “temptation” and what makes it so hard to resist?
3. Scripture says Jesus never sinned. But, what if he had sinned; could he still save us? Explain.
4. One confides in you as to their need to resist a big temptation. How do you respond/advise?
These ideas/suggestions are for your use beyond the group meeting; to aid in living out today’s message in the coming days.
1. Think of temptations you have, by God’s grace, fended off. Note what enabled the victory.
2. Set up a daily smartphone reminder to prompt you to pray about a specific temptation.