When you are filled with the Spirit, you move like a Master.
In what kinds of activities are you especially talented? Chess? Solitaire? Crossword puzzles? Dancing? Poetry?
This week, Pastor continued in our series about spiritual warfare, End Game, by talking about this truth: God’s end game for your life is victory. This means victory in all things, not just eternity. He desires us to experience victory in each and every step of our life. Pastor used the game of chess as an analogy of life. Chess starts with predictable moves every player makes. Similarly, Satan has predictable moves he uses to attack us, and one of his favorites is to cause us to be self-absorbed: he always pushes self-interest. He makes us think that perhaps our way is better than God’s. The truth is God’s best interests are always your best interests. The enemy works through diversion and distraction, which leads to disappointment and destruction 100% of the time. The devil wants to rob God of you and rob you of God. It is important to remember that we must make our moves with the end game in mind, keeping God on the throne and Lord over our lives. God’s love calls us out, away from our sin, with real compassion. How do you answer this call?
Read Matthew 16:21-23.
1. After Peter’s Spirit-inspired confession (see Matthew 16:16), he immediately makes a move based on his desires and takes Jesus aside to rebuke Him! What did Jesus say was going to happen to Him?
2. What part did Peter focus on, and what part did he apparently ignore? Why do you think he rejected Christ’s impending suffering? How did Jesus respond?
3. When are you tempted like Peter to reject or ignore the cross of Jesus?
Read Isaiah 47:8-10.
4. In this passage, Isaiah predicts the fall of Babylon 150 years before it happened. In His sovereignty, God used Babylon to punish the rebellious nation of Judah, but Babylon’s arrogance led to its own destruction. How do these verses describe Babylon?
5. How are people today tempted to boast about their own talents and possessions? How can we instead use our lives to honor God?
Read Revelation 18:4-5.
6. This passage also refers to the fall of Babylon, but here, Babylon is a metaphor for the evil world power and all it represents. What is the voice from heaven calling out? What do you think “God has remembered” mean?
7. What does this passage say about God’s mercy and justice, and how does this encourage you?
A Spirit-filled group has God as the center of focus where He is highly exalted. Discuss ways your small group is Spirit-filled. How do you worship, pray, fellowship, and evangelize together? Pray and ask God to show where He may be leading you as a group. This could include future areas of study, developing deeper relationships and an environment of encouragement and acceptance, revelation of members’ spiritual gifts to be used to honor Him, new members, areas of service/mission, etc.
Pray for God to fill each group member with His Spirit! Pray that God will enable, equip, and empower Promisors with His Spirit so that every move we make will honor and glorify Him! Pray for the upcoming series, Storytellers, where we will learn about sharing our faith and expanding God’s kingdom!
We encourage groups to try the Discovery Bible Method as an alternative to these discussion questions. You will find details for this Bible study method here. For this week, please study Matthew 16:13-28.
Supplemental Resource – The Bible Project, a non-profit popular on YouTube, breaks down each book of the Bible to help Christ followers understand how each book fits into the grand narrative of the Bible which ultimately points to Jesus. This link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nvVVcYD-0w is about Revelation.
1. He was going to Jerusalem, and there He would suffer at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, He would be killed and then be raised to life on the 3rd day.
2. Peter only focused on the suffering and death; perhaps he realized that whatever would happen to Jesus would happen to him. Jesus rebuked him! He told Peter his words were influenced by Satan, that he was a stumbling block to the work the Father commanded and that Peter’s outlook was from the world.
3. Answers may vary. We want things our way and not the Lord’s. We must pray daily to fully submit to His plan for our lives, to deny ourselves and identify with Him. This way is the path to discovering our true self: who God created us to be.
4. Babylon was caught up in pursuits of the world- power and pleasure. They thought they were the only power on the earth and that nothing could threaten them.
5. People today boast about their success, money, and abilities as if they came from them and not from God, the giver of every good gift. Because of their blessings, they think they are invulnerable, secure, and in control. This attitude does not honor God at all, and He will judge such arrogance. When we surrender our talents, time, and possessions to Him, we can live a life that glorifies Him. It goes back to denying ourselves and asking to be filled by the Spirit so that all of our moves are under His influence and for His Kingdom.
6. The voice is calling out God’s people to not share in the sins of Babylon so they would be free from the suffering and punishment God would unleash. “God remembers” when He is about to act in Scripture. It is not that He forgets anything; rather, He calls something to mind and then acts on it.
7. We are living in a period of His extended mercy, but one day He will stand in judgment of sin. His justice is perfect; there is nothing to fear. He is in control, and His timing is perfect. A believer can confidently surrender all to Him.