Small Group Questions

What If  

Introduction:

When Jesus walked on earth, He performed many works: teaching through parables, healing the sick, performing various miracles, and walking on water. However, none of these compare to the greatest work Jesus’ Father called Him to do. By dying for us on the cross, Jesus freed us from our sins. This liberated all of mankind from the law of sin and death and gave us hope. 1 John 3:3 says, “All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.” Real hope is in Jesus Christ. There is no hope without Him. Those who truly love Him and seek Him have hope that endures forever. When we examine ourselves and see that we are seeking, studying, following, and praying, then we have put all our expectations in Jesus Christ.

Something To Talk About:

If Jesus had never been born, we would have no universal hope: We are living in a day in which people are pessimistic about the future. There have always been pessimists, but now there is a general feeling of hopelessness regarding the future. With the advent of tactical nuclear weapons, fear has engulfed our planet. Against this background of fear and pessimism, Jesus Christ offers real hope.

In a changing world, there exists an unchanging God whose world lasts forever. “The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever.” (Isaiah 40:8), and He Himself never changes, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)

Christmas is a time that should fill our hearts with hope in God, no matter what we are going through or have gone through. It’s a time that reminds us of the coming of our Savior Jesus Christ, who came to rescue us at just the right time. His earthly life, from birth to death to resurrection, gives us hope. Hope is for now, it is for today, and it is for tomorrow too.  Jesus clearly tells Christians that He will never leave us, never forsake us, and will never, ever cast us away (John 6:37).  This promise is for tomorrow morning, next week, and next year.  This hope is the believer’s hope that covers their entire life.  It is without end and will stay with us until Jesus comes for us.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What gives you hope today? What are some things that are a drag on our hope?
  2. What is the difference between hope and faith in your mind?
  3. Why is it hopeful to think of the Christmas story?
  4. Why is the birth of Jesus a universal human hope?
  5. Read 1 Peter 1:6-9: How does the hope of salvation let us live in joy? 
  6. What does a hope in Jesus Christ’s life look like?
  7. How does hope change the way we live our lives?

Take One Thing Home with You:

Hope is not something that happened in the past or is happening now.  There is also a future hope. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

God has plans for you.  You can bank on that.  His plans are not intended to harm you but to prosper you.  Now this does not mean that He plans to make you rich but He does plan for you to have a secure future.  God says that He has plans for us and He knows them even if we do not.  Your stockbroker or financial adviser might have plans for you too, but they do not know the future, they may try to plan for a secure future but they do not have the ability to bring it about.  God knows your future and is planning it better than anyone else can, even ourselves.

So let’s look away from the circumstances that confront us, look to Christ, look to the promises, and hold fast to them. Hope comes from the promises of God rooted in the work of Christ.