Man vs. Woman Week 3 – Discussion Questions

manVwoman

MAIN POINT:

God pursued us, his creation, by sending his son Jesus to die for us. He continues to pursue us today by seeking a relationship with us.

ICEBREAKER:

What does it mean to pursue something? Is anyone willing to share a time when they pursued or sought after something (either something positive or something detrimental)?

INTRODUCTION:

Pursue: continue or proceed along, engage in (activity or course of action), continue to investigate, explore, or discuss.

We pursue things every day. We pursue our relationships, jobs, wants, needs, dreams, the list goes on. And many things in life pursue us. Our friends and family pursue our attention, our jobs and hobbies pursue our time. Have you ever pursued something worth-while, like an education or a healthy relationship? What about something not worth-while, like an addiction? Ultimately, nothing compares to the way that Jesus Christ, the bridegroom of the bible, pursued his bride, the Church.

ENCOUNTERING GOD THROUGH BIBLE STUDY:

Read Ephesians 5:22-24

1. These verses include several subjects being discussed; wives, the Lord, husbands, Christ, and the church. Which of these are being compared to each other and why do you think that is?

Read Ephesians 5:25-27
2. What are these verses instructing the husband to do?

3. In what way has Christ given himself up for the Church?

4. In your opinion, what must a husband do for his wife in order to treat her as Christ treated the Church?

Read Ephesians 5:28-30
5. Again, what are these verses saying about how the husband should treat his wife?

Read Ephesians 5:31-33
6. Remember the comparisons being made in verses 22-24 and discuss the significance of those comparisons in respect to verse 31.

7. What are some ways that a wife can respect her husband? What are ways that we as the church can show our respect for Christ?

LEADER NOTES

If your group is made up of singles, you may choose to direct the focus more on Christ and the church and our individual responses to Christ. If your group is made up of married couples you may want to focus more on the relationship between husbands and wives. You know your group best!

Man vs. Woman Week 2 – Discussion Questions

manVwoman

MAIN POINT:

God has a plan for your life, He has since the very beginning. Our responsibility as Christians is to take a stand in the role God has called us to, especially when we interact with the opposite sex.

ICEBREAKER:

When you were a child what was your idea of a man’s role in society or in a marriage? What about a woman’s role?

INTRODUCTION:

Modern American society is slowly moving culture away from Christ. As Christ followers, we don’t take our cue about how to treat one another from this culture. The Word of God directs us to how we are to act. Men, do you honor and respect your women, protecting them and leading them in a godly way? Women, are you there to support and encourage your men in a Christ-loving manner?

Our current culture is vastly anti-Christian. It always has been. To put things more simply, Pastor says we are “sitting in a culture energized and impacted by the enemy.” Because of this, the time to get it right has never been more pressing. At FaithPromise, the younger generation rising underneath our influence and example has to contend with outside pressure from our culture. From the classroom to mainstream media, the outside world has placed more and more pressure on our youth to meet a certain standard.

But as Christians, we are not called to meet the world’s standards…we are called to meet God’s. As Pastor said, God gives the last word; His Word is THE Word. As adults, we have to rise to the challenge of setting a proper example for younger generations to follow. How do we do this? It all starts at home. Recognize that right now, gender roles are under attack. We need to be asking ourselves, what does a godly woman look like? What does a godly man look like? From here, we can step up to the roles God has called us to, setting a better example for those watching.

ENCOUNTERING GOD THROUGH BIBLE STUDY:

1. Every man needs a cheerleader. Genesis 2:18 says that God created woman to be a helper for man. What does this mean to the women in the group? Men, do you agree?

2. God created man for action. Men are wired to “fix it.” Men, what are your thoughts on this? How has the desire to “fix it” helped or hindered your relationship?

3. Are we okay with each other’s differences? (Be honest!) What are some ways we can value and complement each other rather than tearing each other down? Read 1 Thessalonians 5:11.

4. God fashioned woman from the rib of the man (Gen. 2:21). Why is it important to note that woman was formed from the side of man?

5. Genesis 2:20 shows Adam as a leader, a protector. The man is supposed to lead the woman/his family. (Spiritually) How does this show what God asks of man today? Are you living up to this standard? If you are not married, can you give an example of a man who has been a spiritual leader in your life?

6. Read Rom. 12:2 – Christ followers are marked by love. We are not to conform to the ways of this world; we are to be transformed. With this in mind, how can we live a life marked by love (for one another)?

7. Read 1 Peter 3:7. How are you to treat one another? Are you doing a good job of this today? Where can you improve?

8. What sin does is divide us. Sin drives a wedge between you and your spouse, you and your friends. Before sin there was total transparency (see Gen 2:25). How are we supposed to communicate through our differences, to work through our sin together? (Acts 3:19)

LEADER NOTES

This study lends itself to small groups with both men and women present. We understand that Faith Promise has many ladies-only groups or men-only groups. We also understand that not everyone is married or will be married. Please modify this study as you wish to fit the needs of your group.

3. Be careful not to let this descend into belittling of one sex or the other. What are some things that the opposite sex does right or things they can teach us?
4. See Genesis 2:23-24, these verses speak to how men and women are to be united.
8. See Genesis 2:25-Naked and not ashamed. Note that Faith Promise offers counseling services. If there are couples in your group struggling, encourage them to seek godly advice. You may check the Care Ministry page for more information (http://faithpromise.org/care).

Man vs. Woman Week 1 – Discussion Questions

manVwoman

MAIN POINT:

Don’t follow today’s culture; instead, be willing to take a stand for and be set apart for
God and be willing to seek God’s plan for your life.

ICEBREAKER:

In your experience, either yourself or something you have witnessed, do women appreciate or reject gentlemanly gestures, like opening doors and letting her go first? Men, do you habitually open doors for ladies? How do the ladies react?

INTRODUCTION:

When we were children and later as teens, we wanted so badly to be included, to just be just like everyone else. Nothing else was so important. The world came crashing down if we had to do anything different, even the tiniest thing. But when we reached full maturity, usually around 23 or 24, we began to understand it was OK to be, to think, to live differently. Standing up for an ideal became the right thing to do even if it meant standing alone. In today’s world cultural pressures are put on everyone, including adults, to conform. It seems that society wants all of us to continue our adolescent attitudes to be just like everyone around us.

Since Old Testament times God has been looking for strong men who are not afraid to be set apart, to be counted as Christ-followers. When a man chooses to stand for God, he is not alone. The Holy Spirit is continually alongside him. He can ask his Christian friends to pray with him and for him. His Bible study small group is on call for encouragement. God does not intend for us to be alone in our Christian walk; He gives us the Holy Spirit and Christian brothers and sisters to help us withstand the cultural pressures.

ENCOUNTERING GOD THROUGH BIBLE STUDY:

1. How many men were willing to stand in the gap to defend the city in Ezekiel 22:30? Can you count any men today who stand for God?

2. In Judges 13:3-5, what kind of life did the angel tell the woman she must live? Why was this expected of her?

3. Who set Samson apart for the Lord?

4. In Judges 13:8 what does Manoah ask the angel?

5. What was Samson’s potential? Read Judges 14:1-2. What is Samson’s attitude? So, who sabotaged Samson?

6. According to Numbers 6:2 who can be a Nazirite? Did this seem usual in the Old Testament?

7. What were the 3 requirements to which a Nazirite must adhere?

8. Would a Nazirite fit in today’s culture?

9. Who decided which person would be a Nazirite?

10. What does Romans 12:2 say about how to deal with the challenge of today’s culture?

11. How does someone renew his mind?

LEADER NOTES

1. Not even one. Hopefully, group members know some men who are strong Christians.

2. That of a Nazirite: no alcohol, no razor, no touching anything dead. Her son was to be set apart from the womb.

3. God chose him.

4. What they should do as parents of a Nazirite. They asked advice on how to rear him.

5. He had the potential to lead Israel to freedom from their Philistine oppressors. His attitude toward his parents (and God) was one of disrespect. Samson sabotaged Samson. Why did he do it? He was self-centered and he probably did not even think about consequences. Do you think he set out to sabotage himself? Probably not.

6. Any man or woman.

7. No alcohol, no razor, no touching any dead.

8. Probably not. Many drink alcohol; most are expected to drink. Discuss ways Christians should live using I Corinthians 10:32; Romans 14:13, 21; II Corinthians 6:3. How can a Christian be a stumbling block? By doing/living how he wants to instead of following Paul’s instruction. Selfish Christians do not consider their impact on non-Christians.

9. The person himself/ herself. Whoever decided to take the vow. Today that would be nuns, priest, monks, etc.

10. Do not conform (pressed down into a mold) but be transformed (altered, converted, transmuted, changed) by the renewing if your mind. Don’t let culture around you drag you down to its level of immaturity.

11. Through prayer, transformative Bible study, praise and worship, doing life with other believers who are trying to do the same.

Open House Week 5 – Discussion Questions

open-house-720

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

open-house-720

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

open-house-720

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.