Sermon Based Small Groups

Influence in a Divided Culture

By February 26, 2022 No Comments

Sermon Based Group Homework

For the message on February 27, 2022
Passage: Acts 14:1-7


In part 3 of our Resilient series based in the book of Acts, Mike showed us how to be an influence for Jesus in a divided culture.

Looking back at your notes from Sunday’s message, was there anything you heard for the first time, caught your attention, or challenged you?


Who was the biggest influence on you coming to faith in Christ? What was it about them that was especially influential?


1. In the message we saw Paul facing both opposition and physical persecution as he faithfully carried out the ministry God called him to. As we think about the possibility of Christians facing more opposition in the future, it’s helpful to take a look at how Jesus responded to those who were indifferent or outright hostile to Him. What do you notice about Jesus’ attitude toward people and His response to them in the following passages?

Matthew 9:35-38 (NLT2)
35  Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. 36  When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37  He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. 38  So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.”

Matthew 20:29-34 (NLT2)
29  As Jesus and the disciples left the town of Jericho, a large crowd followed behind. 30  Two blind men were sitting beside the road. When they heard that Jesus was coming that way, they began shouting, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” 31  “Be quiet!” the crowd yelled at them. But they only shouted louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” 32  When Jesus heard them, he stopped and called, “What do you want me to do for you?” 33  “Lord,” they said, “we want to see!” 34  Jesus felt sorry for them and touched their eyes. Instantly they could see! Then they followed him.

Matthew 23:37-39 (NLT2)
37  “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me. 38  And now, look, your house is abandoned and desolate. 39  For I tell you this, you will never see me again until you say, ‘Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the LORD!’

Luke 9:51-56 (NLT2)
51  As the time drew near for him to ascend to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. 52  He sent messengers ahead to a Samaritan village to prepare for his arrival. 53  But the people of the village did not welcome Jesus because he was on his way to Jerusalem. 54  When James and John saw this, they said to Jesus, “Lord, should we call down fire from heaven to burn them up?” 55  But Jesus turned and rebuked them. 56  So they went on to another village.

Luke 19:41-44 (NLT2)
41  But as they came closer to Jerusalem and Jesus saw the city ahead, he began to weep. 42  “How I wish today that you of all people would understand the way to peace. But now it is too late, and peace is hidden from your eyes. 43  Before long your enemies will build ramparts against your walls and encircle you and close in on you from every side. 44  They will crush you into the ground, and your children with you. Your enemies will not leave a single stone in place, because you did not accept your opportunity for salvation.”

John 11:32-36 (NLT2)
32  When Mary arrived and saw Jesus, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33  When Jesus saw her weeping and saw the other people wailing with her, a deep anger welled up within him, and he was deeply troubled. 34  “Where have you put him?” he asked them. They told him, “Lord, come and see.” 35  Then Jesus wept. 36  The people who were standing nearby said, “See how much he loved him!”


2. In spite of great opposition, Paul and Barnabas saw people come to faith in Christ. In the message, Mike outlined four actions that we should imitate in our own calling as we strive to influence people in a divided culture. First, Mike encouraged us to jump into culture and get to know the people around us. Relationships built around trust are huge when it comes to influencing others. As Mike has said often, we must earn the right to be heard.  What can we learn from the following passage from the Message paraphrase of Paul’s approach to influencing people for Christ?

1 Corinthians 9:19-23 (MSG)
19  Even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people: 20  religious, nonreligious, 21  meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, 22  the defeated, the demoralized—whoever. I didn’t take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ—but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. I’ve become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life. 23  I did all this because of the Message. I didn’t just want to talk about it; I wanted to be in on it!

Does Paul’s approach challenge you to change your approach to influencing people around you? What might need to change?

3. In the message, Mike challenged us to speak up and tell others about the difference Jesus has made in our lives. What keeps us from talking more about Jesus to others? What do you think are some indications that a person is ready to accept what we have to say about Jesus? This may be easy for an extrovert but not so easy for introverts. Brainstorm some ways that even introverts can share Jesus with others.

4. Not only should we speak up more often about Jesus, but we should also give proof that Jesus is real by the way we live and love.  When people learn that you are a Christian, what do you think they begin to look for in your life? In what ways should a Christ-follower be different and stand out from non-believers in our culture?

5. When we encounter opposition or attack for our faith, Mike encouraged us to follow the example of Paul and Barnabas by continuing to live sent and help others find their way home to Jesus. How does the following passage encourage you to keep on sharing Jesus even though not everyone will respond in faith immediatley?

1 Corinthians 3:6 (ESV)
I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.



1. What is your biggest takeaway from this sermon and study?

2. Do you have any prayer requests for your group?


Prayer Requests:

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