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INTERACTING WITH THE SERMON
SYNOPSIS OF THE SERMON
In this weeks sermon Pastor Rich continued the Resident Alien series from 1 Peter, speaking on what it looks like to have hope in a depressing world. Hope is the way that we as humans flourish and grow. If you embrace the life and resurrection of Jesus then you are given a new purpose and a new hope that is living, certain and full. Hope in the resurrection of Jesus allows you to grow and thrive even in the face of great difficulty. Our hope is then anchored in the past – what has already been done. For Peter, the resurrection changed everything, but the main thing it changed was it gave reason to hope in the face of trials, it gave reason to rejoice in the face of suffering. But our hope is not only for our present sufferings, but also for our inheritance to come. An inheritance that will last, that will be pure and that will never fade. According to Peter hope is the foundation for all of life and the only perfect hope is in the life and resurrection of Jesus.
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.
•Was there anything Rich said in his sermon that stood out to you? Briefly share.
•Recall some times in the past when you struggled to hope in God’s provision for your life? Why did this happen? What trials in particular cause you to struggle? Briefly share
•Rich shared in his sermon that when he is struggling with his faith he will think back to the past when God has come through for him, or when he has felt God’s presence or when he’s seen God radically change someone’s life. Do you have moments like this from your past that you draw from? Try and recall some of these experiences that encourage you when you are struggling and share them with the group.
Paul makes it clear in Romans 5 that our suffering, when we live rooted in God’s grace, has power beyond the pain we might experience. Even beyond some mystical greater purpose, suffering can actually draw us closer to Jesus and result in a more rock solid hope in our Lord. Suffering in the economy of the Kingdom of God is not an end in and of itself, when the result is nearness to God and his purposes. One commentator writes “To him who lives his life only in the present age and in this world, the sufferings which come to him can only be something negative. But for the Christian, suffering is precisely the point where the power of hope most clearly proves itself. … Suffering receives a new meaning. … If there were no suffering, hope would never have an opportunity to attain to its full strength.
Romans 5:1-5:(***consider deleting the scripture text to reduce printing pages)
1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. (TNIV)
1 Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. 2 Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. 3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. (NLT)
Context: The text this week looks at the results of our justification from past, present, and future perspectives. As John R. W. Stott puts it – “The fruits of justification relate to the past, present and future. ‘We have peace with God’ (as a result of our past forgiveness). ‘We are standing in grace’ (our present privilege). ‘We rejoice in the hope of glory’ (our future inheritance).”
•Because our life with Christ is rooted in real human history, there is a story of Grace behind every believer’s life. Trace the story in vv 1-2. Describe each significant part. Ask one or two people to share their Story of Grace briefly.
•V.1 “peace with god”, v.2 “Grace in which we now stand”. What is our current position, our standing before God? Emotions can deceive us – what is true about us regardless of our emotions, or our circumstances? What current, or recent circumstances cause you to lose your peace? Have you ever regained peace by meditating on these truths?
•Share a story of someone who encouraged you, or how you encouraged someone else by affirming Truth above his or her present emotions or circumstances.
•The end of V. 2 in (NLT) says, “we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory” – how does that change the way you might interpret this verse? How might worship be similar to boasting, or “confidently and joyfully look[ing] forward…”? What worship songs share this content and paradigm (i.e. “Trading my Sorrows”)?
•V. 3 What the difference been boasting about our sufferings and glorying in our sufferings (NLT Rom 5:3 – We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials..?)
•Do you see perseverance and character linked? Why or why not? What kind of character does perseverance produce? How might character be linked to hope? What kind of hope gets produced in this particular process?
•Have you lived out the formula Paul puts forth in verses 3-4? Read 1 Peter 1:6-7. Does that truth coupled with this Romans passage compel you to more readily embrace suffering? Why or why not?
•What spiritual disciplines and prayer practices can you adopt in order to successfully glory in your future sufferings? In your attempts to achieve this goal, ask God for grace and enthusiasm to endure.
•V. 5 How could our Hope put us to shame? How does God sustain us? What if we feel somewhat shameful or unsure about our hope – what might that indicate?
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.
•As a group, take some time to meditate in silence about God and His provision in each of your lives.
•If someone is struggling in your group, or experiencing pain that challenges their hope in Christ – invite God’s love to pour out (v. 5)…spend some time ministering to that person/couple with Holy Spirit.
•Spend time praying with those in your group that are facing a trying situation in their lives and are praying for God to intervene.
•Consider what season of life God has you in – where might you be in the cycle of suffering, learning to persevere, building character, or rejoicing in hope…ask God for grace to move forward.