A study on the sermon: Hunted down Chapter 2 of Zephaniah
- Discuss the first three verses of the chapter, specifically look at and talk through the following phrases – how might they apply to us today?:
- verse 1 “Gather together—yes, gather together…”
- verse 2 “the fierce fury of the Lord falls and the terrible day of the Lord’s anger”
- verse 3 “Seek the Lord”,
- Verse 3 all who are humble, and follow his commands.
- Verse 3 “Seek to do what is right and to live humbly. Perhaps even yet the Lord will protect you
- Take the rest of the chapter and look at the individual ‘judgement oracles’, consider:
- the different directions mentioned,
- the sins mentioned
- the warnings given
- which of the prophecies were fulfilled and which are yet to come
- does any of this passage equate with what’s going on in the Middle East today?
This study is based on the sermon: Need an attitude adjustment?
Reading: Matthew 5:6-8
- How do you feel when the Lord reminds you through His Word, or a sermon about a need to change your attitude?
- Verse 6:
- what does it mean to hunger and thirst?
- what might cause us to lose our appetite for God, and the things of God?
- how can that be remedied?
- Verse 7:
- what is mercy?
- what is the condition on us being shown mercy?
- what if we don’t feel merciful?
- Verse 8:
- what does a pure heart look like?
- how can you have a pure heart?
- what does it mean to see God; is that a promise for now or for the future?
- Homework: ask the Lord to show you any areas in your life where there needs to be an ‘attitude adjustment’, and follow that up with a commitment to let Him do that work with you and for you.
Study based on sermon: Jewish Feasts Part 5 – Tabernacles (Sukkot)
Reading: Leviticus 23:33-44
- Take a quick tour through the first 6 feasts and relate what they looked back to and also what their prophetic fulfilment is or was.
- This feast is known as The Feast or The Great Feast – why do you think that is?
- In the Sermon we looked at again at the number seven in relation to this feast, the feasts in general and God’s plan. Discuss as a group how much of this you can remember and how it all fits together.
- Jesus (John 7 specifically v.37-39) taught at this feast. How do Jesus words look to the fulfilment of the feast of tabernacles and how does it fit with Zechariah 14:4-9.
- What should we, as a church today, take and apply to our lives from our study on the feasts.
- If as a group you have unresolved questions on this study please don’t be afraid to ask Pastor.
Study based on Gordon’s sermon: Jewish Feasts Part 4 – Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur)
Reading: Leviticus 23:26-32
- Leviticus 16 contains instructions for the priest on the Day of Atonement. Why do you think Aaron needed to make atonement for himself before making atonement for the people? (see vv 11–14). How is this step different from when Christ performed His Atonement? (Hebrews 9: 6-15)
- Why did Aaron need two goats? (see vv. 6–10). How do both goats (the one used for the offering and the one used as the scapegoat) represent Christ and His Atonement? (see vv. 20–22).
- Using Hebrews 10 vv1-18 compare the work of the High Priest with that of Christ in achieving atonement.
- Discuss the effects of Christ’s finished work of Atonement, past (sins forgiven), present (no condemnation) and future (We shall be like Him).
This term’s prayer pointers:
- Give regular thanks for answered prayer;
- Pray that The Lord will build His Church at New Connexions: spiritually, physically and numerically;
- Seek the Lord for direction as to outreach in the year ahead.
Note to leaders: As with all studies, please don’t feel you must cover all questions, fine if you can, but rather take a few of the questions and do them justice that rush through 🙂
If you missed the sermon, you can pick it up here: The King from eternity
- Verse 1 seems at complete odds with the rest of the chapter, what is Micah pointing to (cf. 2 Kings 25?);
- Bethlehem was a tiny hamlet, what else do we know about Bethlehem from the bible? Also, why would God chose Bethlehem and not Jerusalem?
- At the end of verse 2, consider what it means: ‘whose origins are in the distant past’. How should this impact a) our understanding of who Jesus is, b) our view of creation, c) our reading of the Old Testament?
- Discuss verses 3-9, what are these verses pointing to?
- Verses 10 to 14 at first glance look like more judgement, but are they? – if not what are they about – if so how does it fit with the rest of the passage?
- Who is the last verse addressing and at which time?
A study on Micah Chapter 2
Here is the sermon if you missed it: God wouldn’t do that… Would He?
- To gather a bit of context, before taking a look through Micah 2, read through Leviticus 25: 8-34 and Exodus 20:1-17. As a group chat through those passages and clear up any queries group members might have;
- Read the first 11 verses if Micah and in the light of the Leviticus and Exodus passages, discuss:
- verses 1-2 who was Micah addressing – how could it apply to Ely in 2016?
- verses 3-5 God lays out what will happen, how come all the people are affected, even the few who have been faithful? What do group members feel about God’s response?
- verses 6-11 What was going on here? Why were the people responding that way? (cf. 2 Timothy 4:3);
- Read the last verses (12 – 13) These verses seem to be at odds with the other verses, but the do fit in both technically and theologically, can the group work out how? (don’t give too much time on this :)). Read through John chapter 10and consider what this prophecy is pointing to, both in the near future (to Micah’s time), and further on.
So often in our Christian lives we spend inordinate amounts of time talking about prayer, wanting to seek the Lord and do His will; which I believe are great sentiments, but as we approach the end of the year I’m drawn back to some words we used at the start of our year in our covenant service, words which were borrowed from a great puritan called Richard Alleine:
I am no longer my own but yours. Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will; put me to doing, put me to suffering; let me be employed for you or laid aside for you, exalted for you or brought low for you; let me be full, let me be empty, let me have all things, let me have nothing; I freely and wholeheartedly give all things to you. Glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, you are mine and I am yours. So be it. This my covenant with you my God, made here on earth, let it be confirmed in heaven. Amen
Why not take that prayer again, study it, meditate on it, discuss it and consider: as individuals, and as Christ’s Church, have we yet made this prayer our own? How can we encourage one another, and what is the Lord asking of us as individuals walking in covenant with Him? If studying in a group: spend a good time in prayer seeking the Lord for each other and the wider Church. When studying alone: also, of course, pray through the issues that arise in your heart.
If you missed the sermon on this you can pick it up here: Puns aren’t always funny…
- Read through the chapter – what are your first impressions of the book?
- What do we know about Micah, the time he was ministering, which other prophets were about at the same time etc.
- How did God give His messages to Micah, and what did Micah do with those messages? What can we learn from this about being open to God and obedient to him?
- On Sunday, after a brief overview of the chapter, we looked at three specific questions – what were they? Take some time to discuss each of them as a group, considering why the question is important, how Micah helps us answer the questions, and how we as individuals and as a church might need to take these things more seriously in our lives (there is probably a whole study just in this question…).
A study on James 5:13-20
Here is the sermon if you missed it: Closing In Prayer
Here are some headings with a few start off questions for discussion. You won’t usefully get through them all in time, but do try to cover each heading and leave enough time for prayer together at the end:
1. Struggling and suffering
What is the typical response to struggling and suffering? If we are suffering, what should we pray for? Will God always take away the trial from us? What is the use of praying if God isn’t going to take away the trial? What does a prayerful attitude show about our heart?
2. On top of the world
What is the typical response of someone who isn’t a Christian to good news? Why should a Christian respond differently? What does this show about our heart?
3. Not well
What is the typical response of someone who isn’t a Christian when they seriously unwell? Who do they rely on? What does turning to mature believers for prayer show about our hearts? Why specifically call the elders? What is the anointing all about? Does verse 15 guarantee that the sick person will be healed? What is a condition? Does this mean if you pray for the sick and they aren’t healed it is because you don’t have enough faith?
Why confess our sins to one another? Isn’t God the one forgives? Isn’t it enough to confess directly to God? In the sermon a set of principles were laid out – what were they? Does this passage support the idea of a Catholic priest hearing ‘confessions’?
5. Prayer – why bother
We often have the idea that God has His plan and prayer doesn’t do anything. Then how do we understand verse 16? Does God do anything? Do our prayers change things? What is the danger to our prayer life if we believe our prayers don’t actually accomplish anything. What does it mean that Elijah had a “nature like ours”? What can we learn from the example of Elijah?
6. Putting someone right
Who is verse 19 talking about? A believer or unbeliever? What is our responsibility towards people in church? How can we “bring a sinner back from wandering”? Explain the phrase ” bring about the forgiveness of many sins.”
A study on James 5: 1-12, based on the sermon: Are You Ready To Meet Your Maker?
- Take a few minutes as a group to recap on the issues James has been addressing in his letter up to the end of chapter 4, are any of those issues more or less relevant today? Discuss.
- Read verses 1-6. Why are the rich people being told to weep and groan; is it their money, if not what?
- How much do we have to have before we’re rich? Read 1 Chronicles 29: 10-20 for context.
- If these verses are predominantly aimed at rich people who aren’t Christians, where is the lesson/application for us today?
- Read verses 7-12. As you read through notice and discuss each one of the commands or instructions James gives, how do they apply to us today in 21st century Ely?
- How do these two halves of the reading (1-6 &7-12) fit together to give a clear message about justice?
- take some time as a group to pray for each other and the whole church as we seek to apply this passage to our lives – Also please focus some prayer time on ‘the brick’ (God building His Church).