SMALL GROUP CURRICULUM (Download PDF)
Spend the week studying 1 Thessalonians 5:23, Romans 8:12-15, and Galatians 4:6-7. 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. Life with Christ means we live our lives from the inside-out instead of from the outside-in.
What are the passions and concerns that drive your life and the decisions you make?
How have these passions and concerns changed over time as you have matured both as a person and as a Christ-follower?
When we find life with Christ, the Holy Spirit drastically changes the way we pursue our life and interests. All people are a 3-part whole, comprised of body, soul, and spirit. By nature, all people pursue a life governed from the outside-in. But the gospel redeems this structure and changes us into people who pursue life from the inside-out, where the Spirit is the governor of our heart and action instead of our flesh. This change can only occur once we find life with Christ.
HAVE A VOLUNTEER READ 1 THESSALONIANS 5:23.
What 3 divisions make up the parts of our whole being? How did we define each of these this past Sunday? What function does each part play?
How does knowing the Spirit of God reorient the relationship between the body, soul, and spirit? What means does God use to change our nature from a outside-in life to an inside-out life?
For what purpose does God sanctify us, according to this verse? How does that change your motivation to live an inside-out life?
We are a 3-part whole comprised of body, soul, and spirit. The body consists of our biological make up—our nerves, our senses, and our brain. The soul is our personality—the way we think and reason as well as our beliefs, feeling, and emotions. Our spirit is dictates our soul which dictates the body. The spirit governs our sense of meaning and purpose and where we find love. The Spirit of God radically changes the relationships between these parts. Christians live life from the inside-out rather than the outside-in.
HAVE A VOLUNTEER READ ROMANS 8:12-15.
What does it mean to be a debtor to the flesh? How does our human nature cause us to pursue an outside-in orientation to life?
When we reject an outside-in life and live by the Spirit, what does that allow us to do according to verse 15?
We have died to our outside-in life (Col. 3:1-4). Born as debtors to the flesh, we had no choice but to pursue our own sinful desires and fulfill our sinful nature. Living from the outside-in is as natural to us as walking, but Jesus Christ has changed our nature. His Spirit has overcome our sinful nature and granted us life in Him. When this happened, we laid aside our pursuit of the flesh and began to follow the guidance of the Spirit.
HAVE A VOLUNTEER READ GALATIANS 4:6-7.
Are we able to look to God as Father without the Spirit of God? How should we think about the term “Abba” in this verse? What would be a modern day equivalent?
What progression do you notice in verse 7? How does this help us understand our progress from being an unbeliever—to salvation in Christ—to identity in Christ—to life with Christ?
You find life in Christ by living through the Spirit. What are a few practical ways you rely on the Spirit daily?
The Spirit of God has given us a new heart (Ez. 36:26) by which we now cry “Abba! Father!” This can only happen when the Spirit takes root in our heart and causes us to live from the inside-out. The body is no longer our governor. We can reject sin, deny ourselves, and live for Christ. We are no longer slaves to sin, but heirs with Christ!
On Sunday, we talked about the division between body, soul, and spirit. How do each of these pieces help shape and guide your life?
Do you see God as the kind and loving “Abba” Paul described in Romans 8 and Galatians 5? If so, how has this changed and strengthened your relationship with God? If not, what keeps you from seeing God this way?
How could you use the outside-in vs. inside-out model to explain Christianity to a lost person? How might you use this in your next spiritual conversation?
How can you increasingly make room in your life for the ministry of the Holy Spirit this week? What attitudes, actions, and practices foster His work in your life?
Praise God for calling you a son and heir to His kingdom. Pray God would allow you to live a radically Spirit- led life characterized by an inside-out lifestyle. Ask for the Spirit’s help to fight against your own outside-in nature. Confess your need for ongoing help from the Spirit of God, and thank the Father for the life He has given you in His Son.
Midway through this week, send a follow-up email to your group with some or all of the following:
Where is your life characterized by outside-in living? How can you rely on the Spirit to reign in that area of your life?
Memorize 1 Thessalonians 5:23.
1 THESSALONIANS 5:23.
5:23. After all these commands and instructions, Paul offered the hope and possibility of living this extraordinary life. Though personal effort and responsibility are required, we are offered the very hand of God. He pulls us up to a higher and more glorious way of living.
We are not left on our own. The God of peace sets us apart for his use. Only those who live in peace with God—who have entered through the way of Christ’s reconciliation—can be sanctified. To be sanctified is to be “set apart” or “consecrated” for holy use.
God works to make us holy, through and through, in every part of our lives. Paul emphasized this as he prayed that their whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He prayed that our entire being—our personal, spiritual inner life, the true person; our body, the vehicle for our earthly journey—would be totally under the holy claims of Christ.
8:12-13. Freedom brings an obligation. If a person lives to the fallen nature, death is his destiny. The Christian is activated by the Holy Spirit to stop doing the sinful deeds of the body. He can mortify the flesh and its activities, and he lives.
8:14. The leading of God’ s Spirit is His providential sanctification (Ps 23:3). It is common to all sons, it is constant, and it will bring the believer to glory (Rm 8:17). The leading of the Spirit is not mystical direction or ecstasy. It is the Spirit’s empowerment for mortification of fleshly desires (v. 13).
8:15-16. The Holy Spirit is not an agent of bondage but is instead the means of our adoption into God’s family. By the Spirit we have a consciousness that God is our Father. It is the mark of a Christian to cry out to his Father in prayer. The Spirit also gives us assurance of our status and therefore of our salvation.
4:5-6. One big difference between unbelievers and the underage heir of verses 1-2 is that, apart from a relationship with Christ, all people are actually spiritual slaves to sin, which is made clear by the law. Thus, it was necessary for Jesus to die; to redeem (Gk exagoraz; “set free by purchase”) sinners out of the slave market. A second great difference is that Christians receive adoption as sons instead of being a son of the bloodline. Jesus Christ is the only Son naturally related to God the Father. All other sons (including females, since “sonship” was a legal status) are by adoption. Abba means “Father” in Aramaic, but it has a personal tone, such as “Daddy” or “Papa.”
4:7. Paul’s appeal to those in the churches in Galatia was that the person who tries to be justified before God by works is a slave to the Mosaic law. But he who is justified by faith in Christ is no longer a slave, but a son, with full rights as an heir to God’s infinite treasures.