Sermon Based Group Homework
For the message on January 28, 2018
Passage: 2 Corinthians 4:7-12
GETTING TO KNOW YOU
1. Growing up, were you more likely the bully or the one being bullied?
2. Have ever experienced any amount of persecution because of your faith in Jesus? What happened and how did you handle it?
3. Looking back at your notes from this week’s message, was there anything you heard for the first time or that caught your attention, challenged, or confused you?
LET’S GO DEEPER
1. This Sunday we heard that seeking to live godly in Christ will eventually bring us some kind of persecution. How we respond to persecution is vitally important if we want to continue shining our light for Jesus to a lost world in darkness. Paul and Jesus tell us to respond in ways that are contrary to our natural emotions and instincts. One of the ways we should respond is to pray for the one persecuting us. How does the Bible connect prayer and persecution in each of the following verses?
Matthew 5:43-48 (ESV)
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Luke 23:32-39 (ESV)
32 Two others, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. 33 And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. 34 And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments. 35 And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!” 36 The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine 37 and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” 38 There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.” 39 One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!”
- Why is Jesus’ teaching and response to persecution important for us to know as His followers?
- Why shouldn’t we pray for our persecutors to receive the wrath of God for their behavior towards us? What insight can we glean from Paul in Ephesians 4:32?
2. One of the first natural instincts when attacked is to return the favor, so to speak and hurt the person in return the way they hurt us. How does the Bible guide us when it comes to revenge and evening the score? What principles can you take from each of the verses below?
1 Peter 2:21-23 (ESV)
21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. 22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.
Proverbs 25:21-22 (ESV)
21 If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink, 22 for you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you.
- Coals of fire in the Old Testament was a metaphor that represented the judgment of God that will come to the ungodly. What do we take from this? Our Christlike response to their evil actions will aid in their sensing the guilt of their actions. Whether or not they come to repentance or not is between them and the Lord. Our role is to act like Jesus did when He was persecuted. Why is holding onto bitterness and revenge harmful to us as believers?
3. In the passage below, how did Paul and Silas live out the principles you have discussed together so far from today’s study?
Acts 16:16-34 (ESV)
16 As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by fortune-telling. 17 She followed Paul and us, crying out, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.” 18 And this she kept doing for many days. Paul, having become greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour. 19 But when her owners saw that their hope of gain was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers. 20 And when they had brought them to the magistrates, they said, “These men are Jews, and they are disturbing our city. 21 They advocate customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to accept or practice.” 22 The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates tore the garments off them and gave orders to beat them with rods. 23 And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely. 24 Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. 25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, 26 and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened. 27 When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” 29 And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. 30 Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. 34 Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God.
TAKE IT HOME
1. Looking back at this week’s teaching and study, is there one thing you’d especially like to remember this week?
2. Do you have any prayer requests for your group?