BEFORE YOU GATHER
- Familiarize yourself with this Group Discussion Guide.
- If you missed it, CLICK HERE to watch the weekend sermon.
- Read 1 Peter 1:22-2:3
- 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
RESOURCES THAT ARE RELEVANT TO THIS WEEKEND’S MESSAGE
- (Book) Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life, by Charles Swindoll (Devotional about how you can grow spiritually in your particular stage of life.)
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.
Growing spiritually, or “taking our next step with Jesus”, is important for wherever we are in our spiritual journey. Let’s pray that the time we have together serves to grow each of us in our understanding of how to mature as followers of Christ. Let’s pray that God would use Peter’s example to enlighten us and help each person to understand where they are in their own walk, and how to take their next step.
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 1:22-2:3. If everyone has a Bible, let's go there together.
- Referring to verse 22, Billy reminded us that Christian maturity is a developmental process that involves specific and deliberate energy, attention, and effort. It is not automatic, we have to engage if we want to grow. When in your life have you learned that this is true?
- Peter uses developmental language to remind us that when it comes to Christian maturity, we all start off as beginners and new initiates. How will our journey of spiritual maturity require a posture of humility?
- Billy identified 4 areas to grow spiritually:
What is an area of your life where you are still a spiritual baby?
In which one of those four areas do you sense that God is calling you to grow in spiritual maturity? How so?
How would you like the group to remind you and help you in this area of spiritual development?
- When you think of the people in your life that you are called to love earnestly – in a way that would require you to be stretched – who are those people, and how will you need the Holy Spirit and the group’s help as you begin to love them earnestly?
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.
Consider how God has spoken to you through the message and in the group discussion. Share one of your main takeaways from this time together.
Pray that the Holy Spirit would continue to reveal to each of us the areas where we need to grow spiritually.
Pray that God lays on our hearts any specific areas of struggle, negative attitudes or behaviors that may be hindering our growth, the next steps of faith that we should take, and how to stretch our own “spiritual muscles” to reach out to others in earnest love.