BEFORE YOU GATHER
- Familiarize yourself with this Group Study Guide.
- If you missed it, CLICK HERE to watch the weekend sermon.
- Read 1 Peter 2:4-10.
- 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 God would:
- Free us from distractions.
- Send the presence and power of the Holy Spirit into this place where we are gathered in His name.
- Open our hearts to the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
- Open our hearts to each other.
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 2:4-10. If everyone has a Bible, let's go there together.
- In Old Testament times, there were intermediaries between God and humankind, such as prophets and priests. The result of Jesus coming to us is that we can now come to Him. Reflect on the ways we can approach Him now and how this contrasts with Old Testament times. How incredible is it that we can approach Him?
- In Ephesians 2:20-22 it says “…we are built on the foundations of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself is the Cornerstone.” Over the generations in the history of the church, many people have built upon that foundation a legacy of songs, creeds, doctrines, etc. How has this legacy affected you? Who in your family tree has been the foundation for your faith? Who are you leaving a legacy for, and how are you doing that?
- In Matthew 18:20 it says, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Why is it important that we continue to physically gather together? How does it change things to know that Jesus is present with us when we gather?
- In biblical times in the Middle East, they used “standing stones” as monuments to commemorate a significant event. What do standing stones look like for us today? Can you think of examples that are: places, tangible things, photographs, memories, something else?
- In the Old Testament, we see examples of when “standing stones” were constructed. Later, when you encountered a standing stone, you would stop and ponder what God did there, retelling the story. Considering that we are God’s standing stones, how can we reshape our Christian gatherings so we spend more time telling the stories of what God has done in our lives? How can we better represent Jesus to all the people around us, using more of who we are to tell the story?
- What are your “standing stone” stories of what God has done in your life? How has Jesus become precious to you?
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.
Pray that God would:
- Give us an appreciation for the ability to approach Him and that we would do so often.
- Give us an appreciation for Church history and the significance of our place in it.
- Help us to discern those times and places in our lives that are our “standing stones.”
- Give us courage, joy, and excitement to tell those stories of what God has done in our lives.