This Week’s Message: #20: The Kind of Faith That God Rewards
by Larry Osborne
May 26-27, 2018
This guide is designed to give helpful hints in preparing & leading your group in discussion
This is our final week of the Spring Quarter. Along with an abbreviated study, you’ll take some time to reflect on your group experience and then take Communion together. You will also fill out Feedback Forms about your group experience and your plans for the fall. Growth Groups will take a summer break and resume the week of September 16. Thanks for being a part of your Growth Group and have a great summer!
Things to Remember:
- Communion supplies
- Completing online Feedback Forms
Goals for the Evening:
- To share in Communion—set aside at least 15 minutes
- To bring closure to the Growth Group year
- To have people discuss any plans for an optional summer social
- To discuss the homework, if you have time
- To discuss next year’s plans for your group
- To fill out the feedback forms, if you have not already done so
WRAP UP ONLINE FEEDBACK FORMS
If you did not do Feedback Forms last week, please make sure to have your group complete them this week. If for some reason you and/or the members of your group did not receive the emails with the link to your Feedback Form, you can find the link to your form on the Leader Resources page.
DISCUSS PLANS FOR THE FALL
Find out from your group if they know their plans for being part of the group in the fall. They can indicate their plans on the Feedback Forms. Also, let us know of any roster updates or changes that you know of, to your meeting day, time or location for the Fall quarter when you submit your attendance.
CONNECT AND PRAY
- As the quarter draws to a close, continue to make sure you leave plenty of time to pray, connect and process what’s going on with people in the group, plans for the summer and fall, etc
- Take some time to pray for new leaders and hosts to launch new Growth Groups in the Fall.
ATTENTION – End of the Year Roster Updates Needed:
- As you post your final attendance, please review your night, time, location, group focus, and roster, and then submit any anticipated revisions for the Fall Quarter. Thank you for your prompt reply as this will greatly help us anticipate the needs for new Fall Growth Groups.
- Online attendance can be easily accessed at: members.northcoastchurch.com
We’ve designed the homework this week to help your group look back at this year and talk about what you’ve learned. The questions will transition you in to a time of reflection, prayer and communion. Check out the Leader Guide and the Leader Audio for more details and instructions.
A number of groups have a social during the summer. Do not feel guilty if you are not planning to do this, but feel free to plan something, especially if your group is continuing in the fall.
FALL DATES FOR YOUR CALENDAR
- Fall Sign-ups — Sept. 1 – Sept. 16
- Essentials Training for Leaders & Hosts — Sept. 7
- Fall Kickoff Event for Leaders & Hosts — Sept. 14
- Fall Quarter — Sept. 16 – Dec. 1
⇛ FALL QUARTER PLANS
Find out from your group if they plan on being part of the group in the Fall. They can indicate their plans on the Feedback Forms.
⇛ NEW FALL GROWTH GROUP LEADERS
Let your group know you will be praying that we can raise up new leaders and hosts for new Growth Groups in the Fall.
⇛ SUMMER CONNECTION IDEAS
- Over the summer, you may want to consider planning a social with your group at the beach, having a game night, going out to dinner, attending one of our summer events/classes or meeting for guys-only/girls-only breakfast once or twice.
- You may also consider sending out prayer requests via email, text or mail; this is a great way to keep people connected.
- Note the last homework question, which is meant to help us think about our spiritual focus as well as how to pray for each other this summer.
Looking back at your notes from this week’s teaching, was there anything you heard for the first time or that caught your attention, challenged or confused you?
1. Summer is just around the corner! Do you have any special plans, activities or prayer requests for the next few months?
Good question to have everyone answer. Any special plans or activities that are discussed can easily be used as guides for prayer, both at your Growth Group meeting and over the summer.
2. This weekend Larry gave us “Six modern-day definitions of faith that have nothing to do with what the Bible calls faith.” Of the six, which do you think is most common? Which do you fall into most easily?
As we look back on the Hebrews series and some of the topics covered, take a moment with your group to read and reflect on some teaching points from this series. What are one or two things you remember about each topic?
It’s not about how much we know, it’s about how much we obey.
Hebrews 5:13-14 – 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
Train ourselves to know right from wrong and to follow what God says.
Additional Verse: 1 Peter 2:2 – 2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation. . .
John 13:17 – 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
John 14:15 – 15 “If you love me, keep my commands.
Matthew 21:28-32 – 28 “What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’
29 “‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.
30 “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go.
31 “Which of the two did what his father wanted?”
“The first,” they answered.
Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32 For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.
It’s not about what we say, but what we do.
Our faith is not necessarily rewarded here on earth.
John 16:33 – 33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
In this world we will face trouble.
Hebrews 11:39-40 – 39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
They were recognized as having great faith but none of them received what was promised.
Genesis 4:1-8 – Adam made love to his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, “With the help of the Lord I have brought forth a man.” 2 Later she gave birth to his brother Abel.
Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. 3 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord.4 And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering,5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.
6 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”
8 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.
Abel is recognized for his faith but was still killed by his brother Cain.
Since Jesus is “greater than,” we can boldly draw near to God.
1 John 2:1-2 – My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
Jesus advocates for us. He’s taken care of our sin and because of that we can draw near to him.
1 Timothy 2:5 – 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus,
Jesus is our mediator.
Additional Verse: John 14:6 – 6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Salvation has always been by faith and not works.
Galatians 3:6 – 6 So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”
Belief is the key word.
John 3:16 – 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Galatians 2:16 – 16 know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.
We are justified (made right) through our faith.
Faith without works is still worthless.
James 2:26 – 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.
Faith without evidence of that faith is dead.
Ephesians 2:8-9 – 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
Salvation is not by works, so that no one could brag.
1 John 2:3-6 – 3 We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands.4 Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. 5 But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: 6 Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.
We know him if we keep his commands. If we obey, our love for God is made complete.
- What do you think are some of the challenges to living out each point?
- Which of the above teaching points is most important for you to remember?
Additional Questions: What has been your favorite sermon in the Hebrews series and why? What’s one of your favorite growth group discussions? How would you describe the [Jesus is] Greater Than series to a friend or co-worker?
1. Looking back at this past quarter and year, how has your Growth Group experience helped your walk with Jesus? Can you think of any Growth Group prayers God has answered?
Good question to have everyone answer. Take your time on this one so people can reflect on what they’ve learned and experienced this year in your group.
Additional Question Option: Meeting week to week in our Growth Groups helps us stay encouraged and focused on God’s priorities. As you take a break from your weekly group meetings for the summer, what are one or two things from our Hebrews series that you want to keep in mind this summer?
Note: This question may flow best if asked after people share how the group has helped them over this past year. Then refocus on taking Communion together and thanking God for what he has done both in the group and for us personally; that we might have a life of meaning, purpose and impact. You can use people’s responses to this as a prayer list to give to your group for the summer. Everyone may not have a response.
2. Jesus knows we forget things, even when it comes to what he’s done for us. That’s why Jesus told the disciples at the Last Supper to repeatedly come together and take Communion. Taking Communion is about remembering all that Christ accomplished through his death on the cross and resurrection. It is through this sacrifice that Jesus’ grace and mercy are made available to us.
This week, your Growth Group will conclude by taking Communion together as the disciples did. To prepare for this, read the following verses and reflect on Jesus’ commitment and work in your life as you follow him.
COMMUNION: (Listen to the Leader Audio for more detail)
1. Explain that we want to end the Growth Group year by remembering and celebrating Christ’s death and resurrection.
2. Read the verses below. You can ask for people’s responses to them, or just comment on them yourself. Use the 1 Corinthians passage to take you into Communion.
1 Peter 2:22-25 – 22 “He committed no sin,
and no deceit was found in his mouth.”
23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” 25 For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
Romans 5:7-11 – 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
1 Corinthians 11:23-26 – 23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
3. Pass the bread, give a prayer of thanks to God for it, and eat together. Pass the cup, thank God for it, and drink together.
Worship Option: Below are some possible worship songs you can use on a laptop, iPad or TV for a time of worship and reflection. (Click each link for the lyric video).
- Death Was Arrested – North Point InsideOut
- Build My Life – Bethel
- Amazing Grace – Chris Tomlin
- Psalm 46 – Shane and Shane
- It Is Well – Bethel Music
- So Will I – Hillsong UNITED
- O Come to the Altar – Elevation
4. Move into prayer time, thanking Jesus for his commitment to love us and how he is working in our lives, as people have shared in your group.
- Have everyone fill out a Feedback Form if you did not this last week. Notice electronic forms have been sent to everyone in the group to make this process easier.
- Discuss any plans for getting together over the summer (optional).
- Pray for new Leaders and Hosts.
- Dessert Time