BEFORE YOU GATHER
- Familiarize yourself with this Group Discussion Guide.
- If you missed it, CLICK HERE to watch the weekend sermon.
- Read 1 Peter 1:1-12.
- CLICK HERE to see the overall structure of the biblical letter of 1 Peter.
- Sit in prayerful silence with God for a while, and ask the Holy Spirit if there is anything that he wants you to share during your group’s time together.
ABOUT THE LETTER TO THE EXILES
1 Peter gives persecuted Christians a powerful reminder that they have hope in the midst of their suffering. From the time of Abraham, God's people were a misunderstood minority and should expect to face hostility because they live under King Jesus' rule.
However, they are chosen by God, and their persecution is actually a gift because it offers them a chance to show others the surprising generosity and love of Jesus, which is fueled by hope in His return and victory over evil. Peter is hopeful that their imitation of Jesus and demonstration of His upside-down kingdom, which includes baptism and service, will give power to their words as they bear witness to God's mercy and show people the beautiful truth about Jesus.
1 PETER RESOURCES FOR FURTHER GROWTH & DISCIPLESHIP
- (Book) Disappearing Church: From Cultural Relevance to Gospel Resilience, by Mark Sayers
- (Web Article) On Creative Minorities, by Chief Rabbi Johnathan Sacks
- (Commentary) 1 Peter (The NIV Application Commentary), by Scot McKnight
- (Commentary) 1 & 2 Peter and Jude, by N.T. Wright
Opening Prayer: (1-5 minutes)
In light of what God is saying through this week’s message, here’s some suggestions of how your group can invite God into your time together.
Pray that we would quickly connect to this text that was written in ancient times to ancient people. Pray that the Holy Spirit would guide us into deeper knowledge, insight, courage and hope in our Living God. Pray that we would encourage one another as we share how God refines us and builds our faith in trials, whether they be past or present.
Quick Connection: (5 minutes)
Have everyone take 30 seconds each to share a phrase or a moment from this weekend’s message that is still resonating with them. You also have the option to say “Pass.”
Large Group Discussion: (30 minutes)
This weekend’s message came from 1 Peter 1:1-12. If everyone has a Bible, let's go there together.
- Share a time when you faced a trial, but ultimately the outcome was far greater than the trial itself.
- In moments of doubt and uncertainty, do you tend to lean back on security and safety? What does that look like for you?
- Peter repeats the words rejoice and grief. Following Jesus comes with both extreme joy and deep (but temporary) pain. Have you found this to be true in your walk with Jesus?
- Faith flourishes in difficult and uncomfortable circumstances, and Jesus is with us through whatever trial we are facing. Do you find this to be true in your life? How does this help reshape some difficult circumstances you are in currently or have experienced in the past?
- Here are some possible next steps God may be calling you to as we begin our journey through 1 Peter:
- I need to move toward a trial or situation I have been trying to avoid.
- I need to invite Jesus into the trial I’m in right now.
- I need to come to terms with the reality that, in this trial, Jesus isn’t wasting my pain.
- This is preparation for a future time of trial.
CLOSING PRAYER (5-15 minutes):
In light of what God is saying through this week’s message, here’s some suggestions of what your group could talk about with God in prayer.
As you close in prayer, be mindful and sensitive to what people have shared regarding trials and struggles. Pray that as a group, each person would feel safe and encouraged in this body of fellow believers. Remind one another that Jesus, our Living Hope, is with us in whatever trial we are facing, refining us and building our faith in Him.