Open House Week 5 – Discussion Questions

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MAIN POINT:

All spiritual bondage starts with lies. When we recognize our need for grace and follow God’s truth, we are set free and we stay free.

ICEBREAKER:

Share a time in your life when you were involved in a surprise party for another person. What was the atmosphere like? What emotions were you feeling?

INTRODUCTION:

Many people are held captive by a past sin that either they committed or someone else committed against them. They believe that their sin is too great or they are too damaged for God to love them. This is a lie! One parable shared in the book of Luke by Jesus is the prodigal son. We see that he is ensnared by the lies in his life. Even though the story is focused mostly on the prodigal, we also see that his older brother is held down by very different lies.

ENCOUNTERING GOD THROUGH BIBLE STUDY:

Read Luke 15:11-17
1) What differences do you see regarding the two brothers?
2) What kind of lies did the younger son listen to?
3) At what point do you think the prodigal finally had a revelation of being in need of grace?
4) Why was the father so excited to see his son despite his wasting of the inheritance?

Read Luke 15: 25-29
5) What was the older brother’s reaction? Why do you think he reacted this way?
6) What lies did the older son believe?
7) What kind of lies have kept you from celebrating for someone else’s success or happiness?

LEADER NOTES

3) In the pigpen the younger son realized his need for his father’s love and decided to return to him. Notice the father’s reaction in verse 20.
4) The son wanted to repent of his sins. He stopped believing the lies of the world. That recognition and willingness to repent was all it took for the father to come running to him.
6) The older son claimed that his father had never given him a goat (v29), and yet when the father divided the inheritance the older son had received 2/3 of the estate (v12).
The father in this story is symbolically God, and we are the children. Like the father in the parable, God wants nothing more than to shower us with his love and gifts. Once we stop listening to the lies of Lucifer, we open ourselves up to receiving the gracious gifts God wishes to share with us.

In James 5:16, we are told to confess our sins to each other. Encourage your small group to develop accountability partners, someone they can confess and share with. If time permits, start this now by breaking the group into twos. Encourage them to pray for each other in privacy.

Open House Week 4 – Discussion Questions

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MAIN POINT:

Believers do not have to live their lives in continued bondage.

ICEBREAKER:

Was there ever a time in your life when you felt in bondage to someone, like being an indentured servant?

INTRODUCTION:

Many Christians are in bondage and have been for a long time; they just don’t realize it. It is the will of Jesus to set us free. So, how do we recognize whether or not we are in bondage? Look for three marks. The first is continued iniquity. John 8:31. Jesus spoke to some Jews who had believed in Him, but they were not listening to the message of His words. They said they didn’t need deliverance. The second mark of bondage is continued illness. Sometimes we call onto ourselves a spirit of infirmity. For example, if there is an illness that has run in the family for generations, we often say we will probably come down with it. Keep in mind that every sickness is not of Satan, and lack of healing does not imply a lack of faith. The third mark of bondage is continued influence. Mark 7:24-30 The Gentile woman was from Tyre, a seat of paganism which combined Judaism and the occult. Today we must be aware of other sources besides God’s truth which might be influencing us. Be aware of what you and your family listen to, watch and read. The Gentile woman was both humble and desperate as she approached Jesus to heal her daughter. We must have humility to recognize our need for deliverance from the bondage of sin.

ENCOUNTERING GOD THROUGH BIBLE STUDY:

Read John 8:31-36
1. To whom was Jesus speaking in verse 31?
2. In verse 34 what is Jesus saying about sin?
3. Being a slave to sin is being in bondage. V. 36 How can a believer be delivered from bondage? If you feel comfortable, can you share a time when Jesus delivered you from bondage?

Read Mark 7:24-30
4. v. 26 What did the Syrophenecian woman ask Jesus to do?
5. v. 27 Who is Jesus talking about when He says “the children”?
6. v. 28 Why does the woman call herself a “dog”?
7. v. 29 Why does Jesus decide to heal her daughter?
8. Have you ever been desperate like this woman and asked God for something? Is there something that the group can pray about with you?

Read Jeremiah 7:8-11
9. Read verses 8-10. What tone of voice do you think God is using in these verses?
10. v. 8-10 Why do the listeners think they are safe?
11. Have you ever felt or acted like your past behavior so justifies you that it does not matter what you do today?

Read Romans 6:16
12. This verse gives the believer a choice. Why would a Christian choose to be a slave to sin?

LEADER NOTES

2. Sin becomes like a taskmaster or overseer. It begins to control us, making us its slave.
3. Let Jesus set you free, deliver the sinner from bondage.
5. He is talking about Jews, descendants of Abraham.
6. “Dog” refers to Gentile or to a lost person. See also Revelation 22:14-15.
7. Because she humbled herself and referred to Him as “Lord” (v 28), she had faith in His power to heal, and she had tenacity in asking.
9. Incredulous/sarcastic.
10. They have been trusting in worthless lies; they think because they are Jewish, they can get away with sin.
12. The sin may be familiar, comfortable or pleasurable. The believer may not see the damage that the sin is causing or how the sin is separating them from God.

Open House Week 3 – Discussion Questions

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MAIN POINT:

Our pride leaves us exposed, opens the door and grants permission for the Enemy to attack and hold us captive.

ICEBREAKER:

Have you ever planned something so well that you thought nothing could go wrong, that you have thought of everything, but despite dotting every “i” and crossing every “t”, the outcome was disastrous?

INTRODUCTION:

Pride is defined as “a feeling of deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements”. St. Augustine referred to it as “the love of one’s own excellence”. Our culture encourages us to behave in a prideful manner. We are praised for our achievements, self-reliance and wisdom. If we are honest with ourselves, we have all at one time been tempted to feel a sense of pride in our achievements, whether athletic, academic, career-related or even spiritual. We worked hard and success came. It feels good, especially when others take notice. But as Christ followers, we must be mindful that “God opposes the proud, but shows favor to the humble” (James 4:6). Pride is dangerous and the most common way that Christians open the door to being held captive by our Enemy, the devil.

Pride is:
· Trusting in your own strength.
· Trusting in your own righteousness.
· Trusting in your own wisdom.

Sometimes we pridefully think we have the power to plan a fail-safe future and sometimes God allows failure. He is in control and will use the enemy to fulfill His purpose.

ENCOUNTERING GOD THROUGH BIBLE STUDY:

Read Luke 22:31-32

1) What was it that failed Peter, and for what did Jesus pray?

2) How would Peter strengthen his brothers later?

3) Why did God allow Peter to be “sifted” by Satan? Can you share a time when God has allowed you to be “sifted” because you relied on your own strength? How does our culture encourage us to trust in our own strength?

Read Job 1:6-12

4) Why did God allow Satan to come against Job?

5) How are we susceptible to believing we are righteous, and what can we do to avoid this trap?

Read I Kings 22:7–8, 15–19

6) Why did King Ahab ignore wise advice? Can you share a time you were tempted like King Ahab to ignore wise advice that you didn’t want to hear?

7) God is in control and will use the enemy to fulfill His purpose as He did with Peter, Job and Ahab. Why is it difficult to remember that God is in control when we are in the middle of a battle?

LEADER NOTES

1) Peter’s reliance on his own strength failed him. (See Mark 14:27–31, Matthew 16:21–23 for specific examples.) Jesus prayed that Peter’s faith would not fail.
2) When Peter realizes his pride and reliance on his own strength, he would humble himself, rely on God’s strength and encourage/strengthen his brothers in this way. (Have someone read I Corinthians 10:12)
3) God allowed Peter to be “sifted” by Satan so pride would not destroy Peter.
4) God granted Satan permission to come against Job because Job was righteous in his own eyes. (Consider reading Job 32:1–2; 33:8–9, 36:3, and Job 38.)
5) Like Job, mature believers are vulnerable to this trap when we begin to measure our righteousness by what we do, and not by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.
6) King Ahab didn’t want to obey God, so he only listened to prophets who told him what he wanted to hear. Even when a truthful prophet tried to warn him, Ahab refused to listen. Ultimately, he was destroyed. (See 2 Kings 21:1–6; I Kings 22:20–23; James 3:14–15; 2 Timothy 4:3)
7) This last question summarizes the take home message for the lesson. We open the door to Satan’s attack when we fall into pride. Pride is trusting in our own strength, our own righteousness, and our own wisdom. When we are prideful, God grants Satan permission to put us into bondage so that we repent and return to God. He does this because He loves us and doesn’t want us to be destroyed by pride.