Small Group Questions

Miraculous Movements – What Jesus started 

Introduction:

Miraculous movements of God are happening all over the world. Join us this Sunday for a message that gives insight into how each of us can be a part of what God is doing right where we are.

Something To Talk About: 

What Jesus started was a movement that began small, with intimate conversations designed to build disciples into apostles who would go out in the world and seed it with God’s kingdom vision. That movement grew rapidly and spread wide as people recognized the truth in it and gave their lives to the power of it. 

  1. Jesus saw the end: Even from a merely human perspective, Jesus could have foreseen His likely fate. He faced constant opposition from the Pharisees and scribes. He must have known that they wished to get rid of Him. Jesus knows that His own death will come. “‘Now Jesus was going up to Jerusalem. On the way, he took the Twelve aside and said to them, “We’re going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the Teachers of the Law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked, and flogged, and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!”’(Matthew 20:17-19 NIV) We know the rest of the story. This was a crucial point in His ministry and history. He could have stopped on His journey and slipped away safely, but He set His face on Jerusalem knowing exactly what would happen when He got there.  
  2. Jesus connected with people: Jesus was rarely in religious settings. Instead, Jesus talked with people about spiritual issues where they were most familiar. He did not need a special environment or control over the circumstances to discuss things of eternal significance. He knew how to connect with people. Jesus usually met people on their own turf. He asked questions. He connected with people’s thoughts and feelings. He was not afraid to be the companion of sinners. Jesus knew how to take initiative. He was interested in establishing common ground with others. What can we learn from Jesus’ example? Witnessing involves connecting your faith with people’s experience in a way that they can understand it, in their own time and manner. It means cooperating with whatever God’s Spirit may be doing with them and leaving the results to Him.
  3. Jesus shared the gospel:  Sharing the Gospel in our modern day culture can be challenging. We can gain some insight by looking at scripture on How Jesus shared the gospel. Throughout the gospels we see Jesus preaching the gospel of the kingdom, teaching people the ways of the Lord and performing miracles. Jesus adjusted the way He shared the gospel depending on who He was speaking with. When you read about Jesus in the gospels, He does not give the speech to everyone He meets. He pays attention to them, and embodies the parts of the gospel they most need. For example, when Jesus met the rich young ruler, He knew that the man most needed to be freed from his suffocating need for financial security. When Jesus met the woman at the well, He knew that she was longing for freedom from the stigmas that had been placed on her. In each of those cases, these individuals’ felt needs were where Jesus started the conversation about the good news He offered.  
  4. Jesus trained disciples: From the beginning, Jesus told the disciples that He would make them into something different: “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” (Matthew 4:19)Jesus was intimately involved in the lives of His disciples as they followed Him. His training method was spending time with His disciples. Jesus was a mentor to the twelve – a personal trainer, tutor and teacher.  He lived and traveled with the twelve; His life was intertwined with theirs, and theirs with His.  Discipleship happens as men and women spend time with their spiritual mentor. In a similar way, we should be in the lives of the people we are seeking to develop. We should schedule time with people who we want to disciple outside of normal church functions. We should schedule times to play, pray, and share a meal together with the people we are discipling. This means that discipleship will require something of us. Discipleship costs us something even for those of us who are called to disciple others. We must sacrifice our time, energy, and emotion in others if we are to fulfill the task of making disciples. 
  5. Jesus gathered communities: One of the most striking things about Jesus’s earthly ministry is the repeated theme of His pulling people together. This is the case as He calls His disciples. It is also the case when He appears as an honored guest in various homes, or when He preaches, or even when He feeds those who have gathered to be with Him and hear His message. In this sense, one of the characteristics of Christ is that He creates community. Christian community is a big deal. It’s important for our happiness and growth. And it’s not an optional part of the Christian life. The Bible gives us verses like: “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24-25) When we are in close relationships with other believers, we have people to pray for us, support us, encourage us, exhort us and serve alongside us.  

Discussion Questions:

  1. How do you react to the title, “what Jesus started?” 
  2. How did Jesus connect with people? Is that method still valid today? Why or why not?  
  3. Can you think back on a time in your life when you began to more deeply understand the importance of relationships and connecting with people? Did anything change? 
  4. What are some examples you can think of where Jesus loved people in a radical way that was contrary to popular culture? What was the impact of Jesus’ love for that person and those who witnessed it?
  5. What can we learn from how Jesus shared the gospel? We, like Jesus, need to be intentional about trying to connect with those who likely won’t set foot in our churches. Besides initially sharing the gospel, what else is involved in sharing the gospel?
  6. What’s the difference between merely presenting the gospel and aiming to persuade people to repent and believe? 
  7. Practically speaking, what are some ways you can be intentional in terms of growing as a disciple?
  8. Who are some people you know that live lives worthy of imitating? What about their lives sticks out to you?
  9. What is the value of community such as small groups? What barriers are keeping you from doing a small group? 
  10. What did you think or find interesting about today’s message? Did anything that was said in the message particularly speak to you or surprise you? What is your biggest take away from the message?
  11. What will you do? How will you or your group put into practice what you’ve learned this week?

Take one thing home with you:

Jesus started the church. He started His church while He lived on earth, planning for it to multiply to the ends of the earth. When you stop to think about it, it was a radical model of simplicity and mission: worship and prayer, community and care, and reaching out as a way of life. By the power of the Holy Spirit, we as His church are to continue to do and to teach what our Lord Jesus began.