BEFORE YOU GATHER
- Familiarize yourself with this Group Study Guide.
- If you missed it, CLICK HERE to watch the weekend sermon.
- Read 1 Peter 5:6-11.
- 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 for a spirit of honesty and humility as you open up and discuss sources of anxiety in your life. Pray that your time together will be a powerful reminder of how God can use community to strengthen each other's faith. Pray that this would be a time for everyone in the group to give and receive encouragement.
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 5:6-11. If everyone has a Bible, let's go there together.
- Do you consider yourself to be an anxious person? What are the main sources of worry from this past month, or in the coming month? From this weekend's message, are there any key concerns in your life that God was talking to you about? (examples: work, struggling relationships, parenting, finances, loneliness, declining health, concern for the future)
- Remember that it’s ok to not to be ok. At the same time, God wants to help you through your situation so that you don’t remain that way. Have different people in your group read the following Scriptures out loud: Matthew 11:28, Psalm 55:22, and Isaiah 64:4. What do these verses say about what God wants us to do with our worry?
- Read Philippians 4:5-7. One way to cast our anxieties on God is through prayer. When you pray, have you ever felt guilty about distracting thoughts that surface as you try to talk to God? What if those distracting thoughts weren't actually distractions, but they were the very things that you needed to talk about with God?
- When we cast our anxieties on God, we give Him the opportunity to speak into those concerns and be our Comforter. This kind of wisdom and comfort and help often comes through trusted brothers and sisters in Christ. When has that been true in your life? How can you be a source of encouragement for someone who is burdened with worry? What can you do to be more approachable and trustworthy so that God can use you to lift someone up?
- Read Proverbs 12:25. In order for a church to be authentic, people must be willing to be honest about their struggles. One of Satan’s ploys is to get us isolated - to remain silent about our struggles. How can we contribute towards a safe space in this community group so that others feel comfortable opening up about their concerns and fears?
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.
Thank God for being our Comforter, our Rock, our Hiding Place, and the One who loves us with a perfect love that casts out all fear.
Thank God that we have a church full of community groups where we can be honest with each other about our anxieties, and receive encouragement and healing.
Lastly, reflect on all the ways that God has personally spoken to you through the 1 Peter message series, and thank Him for His much-needed and transforming words of power, wisdom and love.