Small Group Curriculum

Believe

04.12.20 | Sermon Series: When All Is Said

 

PREPARATION

STUDY | Spend the week studying John 14:1-4. Consult the commentary provided and any additional study tools to enhance your preparation.

DETERMINE | Which discussion points and study questions will work best for your group.

PRAY | To be like Jesus, I must first seek to serve, not to be served. 

LANDING POINT | What I believe about God matters more than anything else. 

Remember the 4 Rules for Small Group Discussion

  1. Confidentiality. What’s said in the group stays in the group.
  2. No cross-talk. Be considerate of others as they share. Refrain from side conversations and texting during group time.
  3. No fixing. We are not in the group to fix each other. Jesus does that part.
  4. Sharing. Be sensitive to the amount of time you share. Don’t talk too much or too little. Every person brings something valuable to the group. 

INTRODUCTION

As your group time begins, use this section to introduce the topic of discussion.

Comfort in troubling times

Don’t let your hearts be troubled. These are the words Jesus speaks to His disciples, who are visibly troubled by what He’s telling them. But Jesus also comforts His disciples with a simple instruction: Believe.

The way out of worry, distress and panic is belief in the character and work of God. Like the disciples, we also face troubling times. There’s uncertainty about the future, and there will certainly be difficulties in the coming weeks, months or even years. But these troubling times don’t have to be a crisis of faith. They can be a crisis for faith.

What you believe about God matters more than anything else. If you want comfort in troubling times, fix your focus on God. He is sovereign, in control and He will bring good and blessing in even the worse situations. This is the belief we must stand on in these troubling times.

Q: What is troubling about your life right now?
Q: How have you experienced God’s comfort recently?


LEARN

Select 2-3 questions to discuss as a group.

the way to the father

Jesus has just given His disciples a grim report of what’s ahead. He is leaving. The disciples will be scattered. Some will betray and deny Him. Difficulty and persecution are just around the corner. We have the luxury of knowing what happens next in the story, but the disciples didn’t, so, they’re naturally troubled and afraid.

Jesus is honest with His disciples. There will be tough times ahead, He tells them. But Jesus also comforts them, saying, “You believe in God, so believe in me. I’m going away to prepare a place for you in God’s house. I will come back for you, and I will be with you.”

Then Thomas asks Jesus a question: “We don’t know where you’re going? How can we know the way?” To this Jesus replies, “Thomas, I am the way, the truth and the life. No one can have a relationship with God the Father unless it’s through me.”

Read: John 14:1–14. Describe the term “believe” in your own words.

Q: What does Jesus’ statement in 14:6 tell you about your ultimate destination? Why is that important?

greater works than these

Then Philip says to Jesus, “Just show us the Father and that’ll be good enough.” Jesus responds, “Philip, don’t you see? If you’ve seen me then you’ve seen the Father. We are one in the same. God works in and through me. Anything I say or do comes from the Father.”

Then Jesus makes a promise: “Listen, if you believe in me and the works I do, then I’ll do even greater things through you. If you ask me to do something that will glorify the Father, I will do it.”

Q: What can be known about God is seen in Jesus. So why do people still choose to reject Jesus?

Q: Recall a time when you experienced God working through you.

 


LIVE

Select 2-3 questions from this section to answer.

Belief in a person who's present

The disciples couldn’t see God, but they could see Jesus. He was God in human flesh. He lived among the disciples, taught them and did miraculous things—the same Jesus who lived, then died on a cross and was raised from the dead three days later. He lives today and is present with His Spirit.

You can have comfort by believing that Jesus is with you every moment. Jesus is more than a historical figure. He’s the Son of God who is alive, and He is present with you even in difficult circumstances.

Q: Why is it comforting to know that Jesus is present with you? What does that say about Him?

Q: What’s one thing you can do this week to be aware of God’s presence?

belief in a place that's promised

Jesus promised His disciples that He was preparing a place for them in God’s house. There’s a room in God’s house for anyone who believes in Him. When you put your faith in Jesus—believing who He is and what He has done— your place in God’s family is secure.

Belief gives you comfort because you know your place in God’s family is assured. No person or thing can take that away from you. What Jesus has promised will remain true, regardless of what you face in life.

Q: What would it look like for you to see the future with hope?

 

BELIEF IN POWER THROUGH PRAYER

Jesus told His disciples that they would receive power to do things even greater than what He did. How is that? How could those things be greater? What the disciples accomplished in their lives was greater because it was God working His power through them. It was God working through the acts and prayers of His people.

God continues to empower His people to do greater things today. Belief allows you to live the empowered life through prayer. Prayer connects you to God’s power source. When you plug into the power source, you can do things that would be impossible to do on your own.

Q: How does prayer give you comfort? How does it empower you?

 


LEAD

Select 1 question from this section to ask your group.

rising up

We face troubling times, but we can choose to see them differently. We can see them as opportunities to exercise faith in Him. We can rise up and say, “We believe. We believe that God is good. We believe that He is in control. And we believe that He is working even when we don’t see it.” Many around us are scared and troubled by the circumstances they are facing. We can give them hope. We can show them the Father, who gives us His presence, a place in God’s family and power to do great things for Him. The comfort we have received from Him, we can give to others by pointing to Him.

Q: What needs to change in order for you to see your circumstances differently?

Q: How can your group support one another to rise up in belief?


PRAY

Thank God for giving His presence in all circumstances, promising a place in His family and for the power to do great things for His glory. Pray for a heart that believes. Pray for courage and endurance to believe in all circumstances.


FOLLOW UP

Midway through this week, send a follow-up email to your group with some or all of the following:

• Read Lamentations 3:21-24 and reflect on how this passage can give you comfort. 

• Ask the group to share any stories or lessons learned where they see God at work in their lives.


COMMENTARY

In My Father’s House “As Jesus’ further explanation makes clear, the Father’s house is heaven (and, eventually, the new heavens and earth); yet the mutual indwelling of believers in Christ and of the Father and Son in believers offers an anticipation of our final destination.”

The Way, Truth and Life “Jesus is the ‘Way’ because He is the ‘Truth’ and the ‘Life.’ As the Father is Truth and Life, Jesus is the embodiment of God so people can come to the Father (cf. John 1:4, 14, 18; 11:25). By His words, ‘No one comes to the Father except through Me,’ Jesus stressed that salvation, contrary to what many people think, is not obtainable through many ways. Only one Way exists (cf. Acts 4:12; 1 Tim. 2:5). Jesus is the only access to the Father because He is the only One from the Father (cf. John 1:1–2, 51; 3:13).”

Greater Things Than These “Jesus’ earthly ministry was limited in time and space. He served the Father for three and one-half years and never outside the boundaries of Palestine. The disciples, on the other hand, as Acts clearly attests, carried out ministry that was greater geographically, in terms of numbers of people reached and long-lasting effect.”

In Jesus’ Name “Praying in Jesus’ name means praying in a way consistent with his character and his will (a person’s name in the ancient world represented what the person was like); it also means coming to God in the authority of Jesus. Probably both senses are intended here. Adding ‘in Jesus’ name’ at the end of every prayer is neither required nor wrong. Effective prayer must ask for and desire what Jesus delights in.”


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ENDNOTES:

1. R. C. Sproul, ed., The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (2015 Edition) (Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust, 2015), 1885.
2. Edwin A. Blum, “John,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 322.
3. Kenneth O. Gangel, John, vol. 4, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000), 266–267.
4. Crossway Bibles, The ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008), 2053.