What is Love? (1 John 4:17-19)

1 John 4:17-19
Discussion Questions:
  • Read 1 John 4:17-19 together.
  • We talked during the sermon about the paralyzing aspect of fear. Discuss a time when you felt God asking something of you but you were paralyzed by fear. 
  • What is your typical reaction to fear?
  • What are some ministry opportunities that you see in our community? How can the church help meet those needs?
  • As we have studied 1 John together, what do you see as the relationship between faith and works?
  • How do you know that you are saved?
  • Take a few minutes to discuss prayer requests together. Pray for one another before you dismiss.


A Life of Permissiveness (Nehemiah 13)

Nehemiah 13
Discussion Questions:
  • The Israelites compromised in 4 key areas discuss these areas below.
  • Read Nehemiah 13:4-9 together. How did Israel compromise in their relationships?
  • Read Nehemiah 13:10-14 together. How did Israel compromise in their finances?
  • Read Nehemiah 13:15-22 together. How did Israel compromise in their time?
  • Read Nehemiah 13:23-29 together. How did Israel compromise in their family?
  • How do we tend to compromise in each of these four areas today?
  • Read James 1:13-16. Sin is a slippery slope. One sin leads to another, leads to another, etc. Discuss the dangers of compromising together.
  • What is the difference, if any, in compromising versus tolerance of different thoughts?
  • Take a few moments to share prayer requests and to pray for one another.


True Repentance (Nehemiah 9)

Nehemiah 9
Discussion Questions:
  • Read Nehemiah 9:1-3. It was stated in the sermon that the people went through rituals that reflected the status of their hearts. For example, the dusting their heads and wearing of rags indicated their sinfulness and filthiness before God. How do you feel about that outward example of their inward condition?
  • What would it be like to go to church today and dress the condition of our hearts?
  • What would your outward appearance reveal about your inward condition?
  • The children of Israel responded to the completion of the wall with the reading of God’s Word and praise. How do you typically respond whenever God completes a season in your life?
  • How do we typically respond whenever we first encounter an obstacle? Do we respond the same way as we do whenever the wall is completed?
  • True repentance always brings about a change in our lives. Do you agree or disagree? What are some elements of Scripture that support your stance?
  • The element of a wise person is that they change and adapt to wrongs in their lives. A foolish person continues to do the same thing without ever changing. What aspects of a wise person do you have? What aspects of a foolish person have?
  • How is God working in your life right now? What things is He working with you on improving?
  • Share prayer requests with each other and spend some time praying for one another.


Love Each Other Fervently (Nehemiah 5:1-13)

Nehemiah 5:1-13
Discussion Questions:
  • Read Nehemiah 5:1-13 together. The work on the wall stopped as they began discussing the needs and issues among them. What are some other ways this situation could have played out?
  • What is it that you feel allowed them to reconcile their differences versus it becoming something that divided them?
  • Read Matthew 18:15 together. What is it that prevents you from doing this to someone else? How do you receive it when other people do this with you?
  • Read John 13:33-35 together. This passage says that others know we belong to Jesus because of the love that they see we have for one another. When we don’t love one another, what does that say?
  • We discussed during the sermon the many needs in our community. What needs do you see that we should be addressing as a church? What are things you think we need to stay away from?
  • Are there needs of individuals you know that the church can be instrumental in helping with?
  • The spiritual needs of individuals is our primary reason for helping with the physical needs. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Why or why not?
  • What would you give as Scriptural evidence for your answer to the last question?
  • Share prayer requests with one another and spend some time in prayer for each other.


Never Quit (Nehemiah 4:1-6)

Nehemiah 4:1-6
Discussion Questions:
  • Read Nehemiah 4:1-6 together. We talked about encouragement and discouragement in the sermon. Do you feel like you are more encouraging or discouraging? How can you make a point to be more encouraging?
  • The people surrounding Nehemiah and the Israelites began to attack them regularly. When faced with that discouragement, how would you have reacted if you were Nehemiah?
  • How did Nehemiah react to the discouragement?
  • Read 1 Timothy 4:6-16. In what ways do you see Paul being encouraging to Timothy?
  • Read 1 Timothy 4:15 again. “Take pains with these things. Be absorbed in them.” What do you think Paul was saying to Timothy here? What is the application with us today? How do we take great pains and be absorbed in the exhortations is verse 12?
  • Share prayer requests with each other and spend some time in prayer.


What Type of Servant Are You? (Nehemiah 2:1-10)

Nehemiah 2:1-10
Discussion Questions:
  • Read Nehemiah 2:1-10 together. We talked about encouragement and discouragement in the sermon. What characteristics do you see in this story that represent encouragement or discouragement?
  • Do you feel that you are more encouraging or discouraging? Why do you feel like you are that way?
  • Nehemiah was willing to be used by God and to right a wrong he saw. How difficult do you feel like Nehemiah’s job was?
  • The King was not a Jew or a follower of God but was used by God. What is interesting about this fact?
  • The Jewish leaders were willing to support Nehemiah in his bid to rebuild the wall. Why did the Jewish leaders not lead the people to rebuild the wall earlier?
  • What did the Jewish leaders do to help alleviate the issues that plagued Jerusalem?
  • Read Deuteronomy 13:1-4 and John 14:15. The moral to us is to know who we are following. What questions do you ask your leaders in order to know who you are following?
  • The naysayers mocked and teased Nehemiah and the Jewish people. What was the response to the naysayers?
  • Do you find it difficult in dealing with negative people? How do you respond to them?
  • Share prayer requests with each other and spend some time in prayer for one another.


Crying Out to God (Nehemiah 1:1-11)

Nehemiah 1:1-11 
Discussion Questions:
  • Read Nehemiah 1:1-11. Discuss briefly the history of Israel and the state it is now in. (See Ezra for a more detailed explanation. Nehemiah is going to oversee the third return to Jerusalem. They have been exiled in Babylonian captivity for over 70 years.)
  • Why do you think that Nehemiah was so moved and overwhelmed by the need of his people?
  • What was the big deal about the wall in Jerusalem? (A city with downed walls is a city unprotected, defeated, desolated.)
  • Read Matthew 9:35-38 together. Here we see Jesus overcome with compassion for the people around him. Why does it say he saw them as “sheep without a shepherd?”
  • What was required for God to heal the nation of Israel? (Hint: There are some basic actions required of all people and then specific actions required of a few.)
  • The first chapter ends with a very curious sentence. Read it again together. What is the purpose of this sentence?


Spiritual Disciplines (1 Timothy 4:1-16; Colossians 1:25-29)

1 Timothy 4:1-16
Colossians 1:25-29
 
Discussion Questions:
  • Read 1 Timothy 4:1-16 together. Were you aware of the responsibility of spiritual disciplines?
  • What personal disciplines do you practice? What disciplines are the most difficult for you to keep?
  • Prayer, meditation, and bible study are three of the more popular spiritual disciplines for us to practice. Which of these three do you struggle with the most?
  • In the sermon, we stated that spiritual disciplines are not passive but active. How do you feel disciplines are active?
  • Spiritual disciplines are not only personal but interpersonal. Which is more difficult to you? Do you struggle more with personal disciplines or with interpersonal disciplines?
  • Too often we view disciplines as the goal rather than the tool for the journey. What changes by viewing disciplines as the means and not the end?

 



Stewardship (Luke 12:42-48)

Luke 12:42-48
 
Discussion Questions:
  • When you hear the word “stewardship,” what comes to mind?
  • What is your definition of stewardship?
  • The sermon defined Biblical stewardship as recognizing that God’s resources are to be deployed through God’s people to accomplish God’s mission. Spend some time reflecting on how this definition either concurs or conflicts with your understanding of stewardship. What truths is it communicating?
  • What does the Bible say is the source of spiritual gifts (see 1 Corinthians 12:4-7 and Ephesians 4:8).
    • What can we assume about these gifts since they come from the Spirit?
  • A list of spiritual gifts are found in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10; Romans 12:6-8; Ephesians 4:11-12; and 1 Peter 4:10-11. Read the above passages individually and then together. Write down a couple of gifts that you feel like God has blessed you with?
    • Which gifts do you have questions about or have difficulty understanding?
    • What are some ministries in which you can begin exercising these gifts?
  • In Mark 5:1-20, Jesus met a man who was demon possessed and living in tombs. Jesus healed the man and gave him new life. Read verse 19 together. What did Jesus tell this man to do?
    • How does Jesus’ refusal to let the man go with him indicate to us Jesus’ desire for our lives?
    • What impact do you think the change in this man’s life had on his family and friends (see verses 2-5, 15, and 20)?
  • Jesus’ life was short. It lasted just thirty-three years and his ministry consisted of only three years. How can we better live our life understanding that time is short?
  • Many people only think about stewardship in terms of giving. As we have discussed stewardship is much more than giving. However, stewardship does also extend to our finances. What does Philippians 4:11-13 and Hebrews 13:5-6 teach us is the source of a Christian’s contentment?
  • Read Proverbs 22:7 together. How does this apply and impact your life? What are some things you need to do differently in order to be able to honor God with your finances better?


Preparation for Worship (Ecclesiastes 5:1-7)

Ecclesiastes 5:1-7
 
Discussion Questions:
  • What do you think constitutes living a wise life? What do you think constitutes living a foolish life?
  • Read together Ecclesiastes 5:1-7.
  • Do you feel like you sometimes approach God or approach church like going to a movie?
  • As people, we often struggle with listening. We tend to listen to respond rather than listen to understand. How can you improve your listening skills (both listening to God and in other relationships)? Have others often told you that you do not listen?
  • As you listen to God, the Holy Spirit will begin to inform you in the next steps that you are to take. How well do you listen to those next steps? What can you do to help each other commit to responding when God speaks?
  • Do you feel like yo approach God hastily at times? What elements come into play that cause you to hastily approach God?
  • Read together the parable of Christ from the sermon. (Luke 18:1-14)
  • We would probably never say something like this openly. Do we sometimes have this heart in the way we act?
  • What are the dangers we encounter whenever we believe that we are righteous? What happens when we believe we are better than those around us? What kind of reaction do those people have to Christians?
  • How many times have you made a flippant promise to God? How can those in this room help you to be accountable to the promises you make to God?
  • After studying the Scripture, what does the Bible say constitutes a wise life? What does the Bible say constitutes a foolish life?
    • How do these answers compare or contrast with how you answered the first question?