BEFORE YOU GATHER
- Familiarize yourself with this Group Discussion Guide.
- If you missed it, CLICK HERE to watch the weekend sermon.
- Read I Peter 1:13-16
- 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.
This week, as you begin your discussion, pray for God’s Spirit to give you wisdom and discernment into:
- What distractions may be in your life.
- Unstable places where you may have “anchored” your life.
- How you can spend time with Jesus in a way that meaningful and genuine to your relationship with Him.
- The parts of your life that God wants to make holy and use in building His kingdom.
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 1:13-16. If everyone has a Bible, let's go there together.
- In his letter to the early Christians, Peter calls them to a life of holiness. Was your definition and understanding of holiness changed or expanded this week? How so?
- Peter calls us to be “alert” and “sober” as we pursue a life of holiness. What stands in the way of God's character being formed in you? (Distractions? Ungodly ambitions? Unhealthy relationships?)
- Who are the people that help you stay close to Jesus? Can you identify your personal ambitions or goals that reflect God's character?
- This week, we were reminded of Moses' leadership with the Israelites as he reminded them that: this wilderness is not our home. Are there places in your life where you have made your home in the wilderness, and not the promised land? If you can't think of anything, consider some areas of your life where you have experienced disappointment. They may reveal areas of your life where you have not made your home in Jesus.
- Peter uses anchor imagery to describe where we secure ourselves to God as our help and salvation. Do you have a story or experience where you anchored your hope in Jesus, and He sustained you?
- We find our anchor in Christ when we remember what Scripture says about Him, and when we recall past experiences where He was our firm foundation. Are there situations coming up this week where you can allow Jesus to be your anchor in the storm?
- Which areas of your life do you consider yourself an “expert”, and therefore, you are sure to have trouble yielding to Jesus' direction?
- We become holy like God as we spend time with Him, allowing our lives to be shaped into His character. Here are some ideas for being with Jesus in an authentic way. Choose your next step:
- Waking up 15 minutes earlier and reading my Bible.
- Putting a reminder on my phone to spend time with God in prayer.
- Going for an evening walk and worshipping God as the sun sets.
- Listening to Christian-themed music while I drive.
- Memorizing a verse or passage of Scripture.
- Re-listening to the sermon.
- Pastor Steve listed several people from his church who deeply ministered to him in “ordinary” ways. What are “ordinary” things that you do especially well? Can you commit those things to God and ask Him to use them this week for His Kingdom?
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.
Together, pray that this week would be about turning from distractions, pulling up old anchors and dropping new ones into Jesus, and spending time with Him so that we are genuinely changed because we have been with our holy Father.