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COMMUNITY GROUP LEADER GUIDE
For the week of April 17, 2022
This guide is designed to give helpful hints in preparing & leading your group in discussion.
This past weekend we celebrated Easter. When you were growing up, did you have any Easter traditions? Has your viewpoint of Easter changed over time? If so, how?
Discussion Note: Fun question to see how everybody experienced Easter and how it has changed based on importance of faith, life circumstances and/or family dynamics. Depending on your type of group, you could change the “over time” (i.e. when you had children at home, before you became an empty nester, when you lived at home with parents— insert your season of life here).
This past Sunday we were reminded us that Jesus wants to have all of our life, not just a part of our life. What are some words or short phrases that would describe a person who has given Jesus all of his or her life?
Additional Question: How do the words and phrases you wrote down match up with your life right now? You might want to make this a question they think about but don’t respond to.
Looking back at your notes from this week’s teaching, was there anything you heard for the first time or that caught your attention, challenged or confused you?
As a follower of Jesus, it can be difficult to understand what a risen life looks like practically. Thankfully, the Apostle Paul gives us a tangible picture of living life through the Spirit. As you read Romans 8:1-11, take note of any differences between living in the Spirit and living in our sinful nature.
Romans 8:1-11 New International Version (NIV)
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. 9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.
Note: .Romans 7:7-25 is all about the law and our inability to follow it. Romans 8 talks about freedom from the law and calls us to follow the Spirit and not our flesh. It may be helpful to share part of Romans 7 or share the context prior to discussing Romans 8. Also keep in mind Romans 8:1-2, which sets the stage for the entire passage: “…there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the spirit who gives life has set you free…” This is a helpful reminder because as humans we will struggle with choosing our desires vs. the Spirit’s. Commentary: enduringword.com/bible-commentary/romans-8/
Based on what you read, was there anything challenging or confusing for you? If so, explain.
What could be some possible reasons Paul started this passage talking about the controlling of our minds?
As you look back on your life with Christ, is there something that has helped you keep your mind focused on Jesus?
Discussion Note: This question can be used to share practical examples of how to keep focused on the Spirit. One option would be to make a list as a group. Sometimes hearing how others best connect to the Spirit could help give someone else in the group ideas for them to try. (Some examples may include: Bible reading, prayer, church attendance, worship music, life group, shared experience or conversation with spouse/friend/relative, fasting, journaling, etc.)
Our faith ultimately rests on an understanding of who Jesus is and what he has done for us. The following passages all contain statements that Jesus made about himself. For each one, identify what he says about himself and ways his description could help build our faith in him.
Additional Passage: Matthew 11:28-30
John 6:35 – 35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
Jesus is the bread of life – he is the one who sustains us. He is the one who satisfies our deepest longings .We can trust him because he promises to meet our needs.
Additional Questions: In what ways have you seen Jesus meet your deepest needs? In what ways has he provided for you?
John 8:12 – 12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Jesus said he was the light of the world. The world is in darkness but Jesus brings goodness and righteousness to then world. Through Jesus we can see things as they really are. This builds my faith because I can trust that the way Jesus describes life and sin is accurate.
John 10:14-15 – 14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.
Jesus said he was the Good Shepherd. Jesus will care and protect us like a shepherd with his sheep.
Additional Question: Can you think of a time in your life where you especially felt like Jesus was shepherding you?
John 11:25-26 – 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
Jesus said he was the resurrection and the life. While everyone will experience physical death, we will not experience spiritual death because of Jesus. His resurrection is our guarantee of eternal life.
Additional Question: What is your emotional response to the thought of your death?
John 14:6 – 6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Jesus said he is the only way to God. He is also the truth and the life. If I have a relationship with him I am secure and loved by the Father.
- What could help you consistently remember the things Jesus says about himself?
- Looking at your own life, how have you seen Jesus show up as these things for you over the years?
In our society it seems like Easter is shrinking in its significance each year while the focus on Christmas keeps growing. In addition to that, our Easter traditions (although fun and rewarding if you find Easter eggs with chocolate or money in them) don’t usually point to the significance of the sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf. The clearest picture of the suffering savior in the Old Testament is found in Isaiah 53. How does this passage change or add to your view of the significance of Easter?
How does 1 John 4:9-15 further explain Easter and what our part is in being on “special assignment?”
TAKING IT HOME
1. Which point from this weekend’s message or Community Group study is most important for you to remember?
2. Can you think of one area you want to grow in when it comes to living in the Spirit? Ask your group to pray for you in that area this week.
Note: This could be a great challenge question, or it could be part of your prayer time. When someone shares an area they want prayer for, this is a great opportunity to follow up as a leader within the next week to see how it has been going and to let them know you have been praying.