SMALL GROUP CURRICULUM (Download PDF)
Spend the week studying Romans 8:35-39. Consult the commentary provided and any additional study tools to enhance your preparation.
Determine which discussion points and questions will work best with your group.
Pray for our pastors and this week’s message, the upcoming group time, your group members, and their receptivity to God’s Word.
Focus on the Main Point. We all face trials, but God will never let go of us and will never stop loving us.
As your group time begins, use this section to introduce the topic of discussion.
What is the most significant trial you have ever been through? What did you learn from it?
When you go through trials, who do you look to for comfort? Why them?
Trials are part and parcel of living in a fallen world; they are inescapable. Many things change about our lives when we come to Christ. We have a relationship with God, we are guided by the Holy Spirit, and we are connected to the church. However, for Paul and others, becoming a Christian actually made their physical circumstances worse. So why then did Paul endure all that he did? Because Paul knew that God’s love was unending. Though we walk through trials, God is with us and His unending love will carry us through.
Select 3-5 questions to discuss as a group.
HAVE A VOLUNTEER READ ROMANS 8:35-37.
What type of situations did Paul list in these verses? Which, if any, have you experienced? How did they affect your faith?
How should we respond when our faith does not shelter us from hardship in life? Should we take these events to mean God does not care about us? Why or why not?
In verse 37, Paul called all Christians “conquerors.” What does it mean to be a conqueror? What have you been given victory over?
Christians should not expect to be exempt from trials and difficulties in life, but when we walk through seasons of hardship we are not alone. Nothing can drive a wedge between God’s love and God’s people. These two go hand in hand. Through Christ, you are a conqueror. This does not mean that you will never have to walk though trials, but it does mean that God loves you so much He will never leave you during your trials. Paul walked through numerous trials and hardships, including all that he mentioned in these verses, but Paul also knew that God loved him with an unstoppable and unending love.
HAVE A VOLUNTEER READ ROMANS 8:38-39.
When have you fallen out of relationship with someone who was important to you in your life? Is something like this even possible with God? Why or why not?
What does it mean for love to be unconditional? What difference does God’s unconditional love make in your life?
Read John 3:16. How is Jesus Christ the ultimate evidence of God’s love for you?
Much about our lives is conditional, including our loves. But God is not like us. His love for us is unconditional and cannot be broken. We live in a world with relational strain and distress, but one relationship that will never fail us is the one we have with God. Nothing in our lives will ever separate us from the love God has for us. His love is unconditional and is seen most clearly in the cross of Jesus Christ. There God gave His only Son up for us so that we may know Him and enjoy His love forever. No matter where we find ourselves in life, we will never be outside of God’s love for us.
Select 1 question from this section to answer.
When you go through trials are you ever tempted to believe God has forgotten you or somehow isn’t paying attention? How do the promises in these verses change your perspective?
How can hardships in life actually work to build up our faith?
Select 1 question from this section to ask your group.
What makes the promise that God will never leave you appealing to people who have not met Christ yet? How is that different than every other relationship they have?
Many people doubt God because they have gone through significant hardship. How could you use these verses to counsel friends in difficult situations?
Thank God for the love He has for us and for how that love is always with us and will never leave us. Pray for those who are walking through times of difficulty right now and ask that they would feel God’s love in real and tangible ways. Praise God for sending Jesus, who is the ultimate evidence that God is for us.
Midway through this week, send a follow-up email to your group with some or all of the following:
How has God given you comfort and victory over hardship in your life?
Memorize Romans 8:35.
8:35-36. Who can separate us from the love of Christ? In this final section, Paul asks his final question in the first verse of the section and answers it in the last: What can separate the believer from God’s love (v. 35)? Nothing can separate the believer from God’s love (v. 39). Paul quotes from Psalm 44:22 to demonstrate that there will always be opposition to God’s people and the work of God in the world. The world is cursed; it is an antagonistic environment; it is under the control of the evil one (1 John 5:19). There will be many natural and supernatural attempts made to convince the believer that he or she has been separated from the love of God.
8:37. Paul reflected upon the words of the psalmist (in Ps. 44:22), which he found so appropriate to his situation. The troubles to be faced by the Christian are nothing new but have always been the experience of God’s people. At every moment of the day we face death. We are considered no better than sheep that are marked for slaughter. Nevertheless in all these difficult situations we are winning an overwhelming victory through the one who has proven his love for us. It is the love of Christ that supports and enables the believer to face adversity and to conquer it.
8:38-39. The final two verses of chapter 8 call for reflection rather than for interpretation. They supply the climax of Paul’s inspired and eloquent words of praise to the love of God. The apostle voiced his confidence that there is nothing that could separate us from the love of God that comes to us in Christ Jesus our Lord. His list of ten terms moves from physical danger through the hierarchy of superhuman powers, those that now exist or ever will, powers from on high or from below, and culminates in the inclusive phrase any other created thing. There is absolutely nothing that can ever drive a wedge between the children of God and their Heavenly Father. It is true that life contains its full share of hardships (v. 18). But God is at work in all the circumstances of life to conform those whom He has chosen into the likeness of His dear Son. The process is God’s. We are His workmanship (Eph 2:10). The process of sanctification is intended to bring us into conformity with the nature of our Creator. Although it may at times involve some serious pruning (John 15:2; cf. Heb 12:5-11), we may be sure that love is at work on our behalf. We are forever united with the one who is perfect love.