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INTERACTING WITH THE SERMON
SYNOPSIS OF THE SERMON
In this week’s Easter sermon, Pastor Rich spoke about 3 witnesses to the resurrection of Jesus. The first, was the witness we see in scripture by those who knew Jesus and the revelation of fulfilled OT prophesy. The next witness was the profound reaction to those who actually witnessed the resurrection and their un-denying commitment to the Gospel message despite radical persecution. Finally, we see the witness of our own hearts and experiences.
In 5 minutes or less, briefly give a synopsis of this week’s sermon. What insight, principle, or observation from this weekend’s message did you find to be most helpful, eye-opening, or troubling? Explain.
GETTING THE CONVERSATION STARTED
These questions can be used as ice-breakers in the beginning OR interwoven between the questions below to draw the group into the discussion.
1.Did anyone have a friend, family-member, or co-worker come with them to Easter service this past weekend? Please share.
2.Are there any current stories, either from the news or from other sources, where people are suffering trials or persecutions because of their faith? (Optional) Perhaps pray together as a group that God’s powerful protection would be a refuge for those who are suffering. Please pray however you feel led as a group.
3.Has anyone received an odd, or unusual, inheritance from a relative before? While possibly a very sensitive issue, can anyone share briefly?
Read 1 Peter 1:1-5:
1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God’s elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, 2 who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance. 3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.
•Context – who wrote this letter? How different is this Peter from the one who denied Jesus 3 times the night He was crucified? When you consider how confident and secure Peter is in his faith now – does that challenge you in anyway? Please share.
•Context – from the entire passage, describe what you know about the social setting of the original hearers of this letter (v.1, v.6)? What modern-day audience would be similar to those original hearers? What does that tell you about the inclusiveness of the Kingdom of God? How can our practice of the gospel expand to include those on the margins, those who are suffering, or those who are socially excluded? Please share.
•(v. 1-2) This passage, and this letter, says more to Christians today than an imperative to include those on the “fringe” (which other scriptures certainly do). Overall, Peter speaks to our true identity in any social situation, whether rich or poor, suburban or urban, foreign born or native, abundance or scarcity – what is Peter’s first assumption about the hearers’ of this letter? What is our primary group? Is it hard to see yourself outside of your current social situation (i.e. student, worker, etc)? Please explain.
•(v. 1) In what sense are all Christians “strangers in the world” (lit. sojourners). What comfort, or consolation, does that offer? Please share.
•(v. 2) What is our response to the Spirit’s work? Why does new relationship (God being our Father) demand, or motivate, us toward obedience? Please share. What is this “sprinkling by his blood” (read Ex 24:7-8, Mark 14:24)? The seal of the new covenant is confirmed by our life in Jesus.
•(vv 3-5) Express foundational themes for Christian Life. What specific act does Peter praise God for? According to v. 3 why do we have “new birth”? These words “great mercy” are the Hebrew equivalent of the term “hesed” (loving-kindness – Ex 20:6, 34:6-7). The root of our “new birth” is God’s covenantal love toward us. What does that speak to you about God’s character?
•(v.3b) Peter’s focus is not actually on the “new birth”, but rather what more significant reality? How would you describe a “living hope”? How does the resurrection connect to our “living hope”? What does it mean for you to live the reality of a “living hope”? What helps, and what detracts from it?
•(v. 4) What is the content of this hope? What does an inheritance generally imply? What are the qualities of this inheritance? Try to put it into your own words? How might a guaranteed, permanent, never depleting inheritance affect the way you live life? How can we make this a reality, not just some religious abstraction?
•(v. 4b-5) Regardless of what’s happening in this life, on earth – what is our Father doing? While our future salvation is kept safe in Heaven, what are God’s actions on this earth? How do we enter into, and remain, in His protection? No matter the assault on us (spiritual or physical) God’s power is our shield until the end of time. What other verses speak to this truth? Can anyone share a story of God’s Power shielding them through one of life’s assaults? Please share briefly.
Below you’ll see some options for ministry time with your group. We always encourage you to reserve time in your group to pray for one another and wait on the Holy Spirit.
In this weekend’s message, Rich talks about our experience of the resurrection. Peter describes for us today a major theme of living hope accessed through God’s loving-kindness for us, specifically in the resurrection. If anyone is feeling distant, or disconnected, from this living hope – pray for one another to receive a loving and life-giving encounter with the Holy Spirit.
•As you examine your life, have you really embraced Jesus Christ as Lord? Are there areas of your life that still need to be surrendered to Christ in order that you may wholly access his power and life?
•Is there any situation or circumstance in your life right now where you need shielding by God’s power? Please share and receive prayer from another member of your group.
•Has your “living hope” eroded in any way? Do you feel like you are living a “dead faith” – seek God’s healing and restorative touch through the Holy Spirit.