LIFE GROUP LEADER GUIDE
For the week of January 28, 2024
This guide is designed to give helpful hints in preparing & leading your group in discussion.
Need help with anything? We’re here to help! Don’t hesitate to contact your Life Group pastor if you need some extra help leading the discussion, or addressing a specific topic or personal issue that has surfaced in your group.
BEGIN TO MAKE PLANS FOR YOUR SOCIAL and/or SERVICE PROJECT
White Water Vacation Adventure for Leaders & Hosts (and friends in their Life Group)! June 22-26Back by popular demand! Join us for an adventure of a lifetime whitewater rafting down the Klamath River! Led by Life Group Pastor Dave Enns and his wife Koreena, along with Kameron & Emily Drawhorn on staff at the San Marcos / Escondido campus. And this year we’ve added the opportunity to invite anyone in your Life Group. Enjoy nature, community, and a time to be refreshed and encouraged spiritually! More details coming soon!
What point or idea have you remembered most since hearing this weekend’s message?
1. This weekend, we talked about telling the difference between the real deal Christian and a counterfeit so we don’t get led astray. What’s the most embarrassing lie, scam, joke, or prank you’ve ever fallen for or believed?
Perhaps not everyone will be able to think of an answer, but this could be fun icebreaker to start off discussion.
2. Larry gave definitions for the “last hour/days” and “antichrist.” Do you agree or disagree with these definitions? When you heard them, were they different than what you had previously heard, or did they fit your understanding of those terms?
This is a good question to hear from everyone. Was anyone surprised or confused? Did anyone go look up the four times in the Bible the word “antichrist” is used? You could search for those verses and read them together in group.
Larry said those who are anti-Christ always:
(1) deny that Christ is God (2) and that He is the only source of forgiveness and eternal life, and (3) they always have a new moral code (sometimes adding extra rules or removing God’s rules).
- Is there anywhere you have seen this in our modern-day culture or in your interactions with “Christians”?
- Which do you think is most common?
- Which do you think is most dangerous?
1. Larry pointed out two dangers to avoid—blind trust, where we overly depend on Bible teachers to tell us what’s true, and arrogance, where we think we alone have the proper understanding of something. Which one of these do you more commonly fall into the trap of?
Additional Question: Which one do you think most people you interact with more commonly fall into the trap of?
Acts 17:11-12 shows us an honorable and balanced approach to verifying teaching. Read the verses. What do you think it would look like for us at North Coast Church to do this after hearing the weekend teaching?
Acts 17:11-12 New International Version (NIV)
11 Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. 12 As a result, many of them believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.
Additional Question: What could it look like for our Life Group to do this together?
(Answers could include: studying the book we’re going through in the sermon series on our own, reading the passage from the weekend teaching again together, researching any questions we have, trying to quote the Scripture and not a pastor when we’re talking about what Scripture says or why we know something is true.)
Notice, the Berean Jews are not examining the Scriptures out of skepticism but out of eagerness. When you hear something about God or the Bible you’re not sure about, how do you typically respond? What posture do you have, and what steps, if any, do you take?
Do you respond with skepticism (I doubt that’s true), benefit of the doubt (maybe that is true), hopefulness (that sounds too good to be true, but I hope it is)? Are you eager to find out the answer, or do you not worry too much about finding out an answer? Sometimes we might go “I don’t know if that’s true,” but we don’t really spend time searching the answer because it’s not that important to us.
- Are there any specific examples of things about God/Scripture you have heard before that you weren’t sure we true? Did you seek out the answer or verification?
- Sometimes we can hear a worship song that confuses us or we’re not sure if the ideas/lyrics are biblically/theologically accurate. Do you ever go look up the lyrics and confirm them with Scripture?
2. This weekend, we looked at eleven clarifying questions to tell the difference between the real deal and a counterfeit Christian. These questions are meant to give us assurance, not to bring us guilt for not measuring up. Before we take a closer look at those, read 2 Corinthians 13:5-10.
2 Corinthians 13:5-10 New International Version (NIV)
5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test? 6 And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test. 7 Now we pray to God that you will not do anything wrong—not so that people will see that we have stood the test but so that you will do what is right even though we may seem to have failed. 8 For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. 9 We are glad whenever we are weak but you are strong; and our prayer is that you may be fully restored. 10 This is why I write these things when I am absent, that when I come I may not have to be harsh in my use of authority—the authority the Lord gave me for building you up, not for tearing you down.
Paul also meant for these words to be an encouragement, not a guilt trip. Read 2 Corinthians 13:5-10 again in The Message version of the Bible (messagebible.com).
2 Corinthians 13:5-10 The Message
5-9 Test yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith. Don’t drift along taking everything for granted. Give yourselves regular checkups. You need firsthand evidence, not mere hearsay, that Jesus Christ is in you. Test it out. If you fail the test, do something about it. I hope the test won’t show that we have failed. But if it comes to that, we’d rather the test showed our failure than yours. We’re rooting for the truth to win out in you. We couldn’t possibly do otherwise.
We don’t just put up with our limitations; we celebrate them, and then go on to celebrate every strength, every triumph of the truth in you. We pray hard that it will all come together in your lives.
10 I’m writing this to you now so that when I come I won’t have to say another word on the subject. The authority the Master gave me is for putting people together, not taking them apart. I want to get on with it, and not have to spend time on reprimands.
You can compare and contrast the two versions of the same verses. Was there one version that helped you understand something better? Were there any words or phrases you that jumped out at you in one version that didn’t jump out at you in the other?
Some of the questions below will use language from The Message version (“regular checkups,” “celebrate,” “do something about it”).
Additional Question: As you read these verses, do you feel like the tone is intimidating, critical, uplifting, grace-filled, a pep talk, a lecture, etc.? How do you receive these words?
When you are asked to evaluate yourself, would you say your natural tendency is to be encouraged and give yourself a pat on the back for what you’re doing well or to be hard on yourself for what you could do better?
You could hear from everyone on this question.
What do “regular checkups” or examining your faith look like in your life? How often would you say you do that, and what do you do?
If people are having a hard time thinking of what they do, you can start with what you do in Life Group—you take the teaching from the weekend/Scripture and ask how to apply it to your lives on a weekly basis—that’s a form of a regular checkup. Does anyone do annual lookbacks– this time last year, versus now? Does anyone have friends or another person speak into what they’ve noticed in your faith/growth?
One of the tools we can use to examine our faith is the list of eleven questions Larry provided out of 1 John. If you were to give yourself a “checkup” right now with those questions, how do you think you’re doing? Are you encouraged? Is there something you want to celebrate? Is there something you want to do something about?
- How did you feel when you first saw the eleven questions in the take home test? Intimidated or encouraged?
- Is there one of these questions you want to ask yourself more often?
Another purpose of this list of questions is to be able to discern if others who claim to have a new or deeper spiritual insight are “real deal” Christians. When you think about others, how easy do you think it is to tell if people have these eleven things or not? Are there some that are easier for you to notice or discern than others? Explain.
John writes to the believers to warn them about those who are trying to deceive them so that they (we) would not be led astray. He does not tell them to go correct those antichrists or to argue with them or try to prove them wrong. He simply encourages believers to cling to Christ, who is in us, and to not be led astray. When you think of others through the lens of this list, do so with this in mind—this is not about judging why others are wrong and where they need to be corrected. This is about determining who is trustworthy for us vs. who we shouldn’t listen to or let lead us astray.
- Is there one thing you want to focus on or remember from this week’s teaching?