The Church is constantly coming together and serving each other.
What is your favorite part of Faith Promise?
This week, we continued to look at the importance of assembling together as a church. Many are opting to skip attending church because values are shifting. Too many of us allow other people to tell us who Jesus is and what Jesus does and who the Church is and what the Church does. The truth is Jesus builds the Church out of people. We must constantly come together and serve each other. What gathering of people makes a bigger and better impact than this? What meeting means more to your personal and spiritual growth than this? What gathering is more life giving than this? What group knows you and loves you more than this?
Primary Scriptures: Matthew 16:13-19
- Read Matthew 16:13-16. Jesus pulled His disciples aside and asked them who people thought He was. They answered Him with the common view of what people thought in the day. Who did they think Jesus was? Do you know all the people referred to in verse 14? If not, use a concordance and find out who they were.
- Next, Jesus asked the disciples who they thought He was. How did Peter answer? Why do you think Peter answered this way? Was it because he had studied the scriptures and saw the miraculous evidence, or was it also a personal decision?
- Who do you say Jesus is, and how has this affected your life?
- Read Matthew 16:17. According to Jesus’ response, who was behind Peter’s confession? Read these verses and discuss their meaning in light of Peter’s confession: John 1:13, 1 Corinthians 2:8-14, 1 Corinthians 12:3.
- Read Matthew 16:18-19 with Ephesians 2:20. Like Peter, everyone who proclaims Christ’s deity is included in the universal Church of Jesus Christ. How well do you know Jesus? How well are you proclaiming His name? What holds you back from talking about Him to others you meet when you are not within the four walls of Faith Promise?
- What does the “gates of Hades” refer to here? Read John 11:25-26 for more help to explain Jesus’ response.
Discovery Bible Method:
For deeper study, as an alternative to the questions above, read Matthew 16:13-19 and use the Discovery Bible Method to explore how Christ followers are to confess Him as their Lord and Savior and the privilege we have to share the Gospel. We have a story to tell to the nations!
Suggestion: Consider breaking the group into dyads or triads for this section.
Getting to know you: Jesus asked His disciples who they thought He was in Matthew 16:15; who do you say Jesus is, and why does it matter? Do you proclaim who He is when you are away from church and your group? How can you encourage each other to share the truth about Jesus Christ to this hurting and dying world?
Getting to know them: In groups of 2 or 3, discuss ways you can encourage each other this week to share the gospel. Some possibilities include determining what you should say when you want to tell others about Him. It is as easy as sharing who God is, how sin separates us from Him, the truth about Jesus and His saving work on the cross, and the response each one must give to these truths.
Getting to know Him: Choose a verse to memorize this week for encouragement. Consider Peter’s confession of who Jesus is in Matthew 16:16. Meditate on this truth that we all must live by. Every person who has ever lived and will ever live on this earth will have to answer this question of who Jesus is. Our response determines our destiny, and this should motivate us to share the truth with all we meet. We have the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and we must share them!
Engage the World Around Us
Engaging at Faith Promise: Pastor challenged us to see our attendance at church as critical to being a part of what God is building. We are having a SERVE day on July 13th; how will your group prayerfully prepare to be involved in this church-wide day of service? See https://faithpromise.org/events/serve-day-2019 for more information.
Engaging in Community/Engaging the World: Pastor shared this week the story of the struggling Italian town of Geza and how God placed the burden on a local man, Pastor Iozza to find a way to save the town that he loved so much. He prayed fervently and heard God said to him – “If you want this town to grow, you need to help the people grow.” The message that community growth is proportionate to the growth of individuals is powerful! In response, Pastor Iozza connected with our partner EQUIP, and as a result, three conferences have been held and the transformation is becoming a reality. Over 300 Salt & Light facilitators have been trained, and plans are underway to train more. How can your small group make a difference in our community by helping individuals grow spiritually so they can reach their full potential in God?
Expand God’s Kingdom
We are warned in 2 Timothy 4:2-5 that there will come a time when people no longer want to hear the truth and they will surround themselves with people who tell them what they want to hear. There are people out there today who will tell the people that all roads lead to heaven. We as Christ followers are called to share THE truth, and the only way to know the truth is to know God’s Word. How will you as a group rededicate yourselves to prioritizing the study of His Word and the sharing of His Word? Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God! Do you believe this? Will you proclaim it?
- John the Baptist (raised from the dead), Elijah, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets (see Dt. 18:18).
- Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the Living God. Both! The Pharisees and teachers of the law also knew the Scriptures, but their hearts were hard.
- Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God! It changes everything! (Answers will vary)
- God supernaturally revealed the truth to Peter, who responded in faith. Because of Jesus, we can become children of God. God’s Holy Spirit in us reveals His truth that Jesus is Lord.
- Answers will vary.
- Death- Death cannot stop Jesus. Our last breath on earth ushers us into His presence for eternity. When the gospel is known, the person is loosed from their sins (forgiven), but if the gospel is rejected, the sinner remains bound for judgment. Our response to Jesus determines our destiny.
ALL groups at Faith Promise should follow Jesus Christ and lead others to do the same. Below are the marks of a growing follower and disciple of Jesus.
– A follower of Jesus desires to encounter God through the deeper study and application of God’s Word.
– A follower of Jesus embraces people and values relationships on a deeper level so everyone can grow together.
– A follower of Jesus engages and serves the world around them and in their community, through local partners or God-directed opportunities.
– A follower of Jesus expands God’s Kingdom through development and multiplication of disciple-makers, possibly to lead more groups at Faith Promise.