SMALL GROUP CURRICULUM (Download PDF)
Spend the week studying Genesis 1:1-31, 2:15-25, 3:1-24, and Romans 10:9-15. 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. Salvation through Christ is the first step to becoming a disciple, but it is also the step we focus on and return to continually because nothing else can save us.
What is a disciple? What are some characteristics that define a disciple?
Why does discipleship matter and why should we pursue it?
The most basic definition of a disciple is a learner. A disciple of Jesus is one who learns from Christ, lives in Christ, and leads others to Christ. A disciple is made when a person realizes his or her sin and brokenness before a holy God, repents of that sin, believes in Jesus Christ, and is given a new life through the Spirit of God. True discipleship involves every part of us and begins the moment we repent and believe the gospel. Discipleship is more than knowledge because what we know and believe about Jesus should always change the way we live. Salvation in Christ is not only the starting point of our faith, but also the checkpoint we continually return to again and again.
HAVE A FEW VOLUNTEERS READ GENESIS 1 AND GENESIS 2:15-25.
What was God’s original design for the world? How is each step of God’s creative process described in these verses?
What does it mean to have dominion over the earth? What value is there in the work we do?
How is man distinct from the rest of God’s creative work? What do these verses communicate about the inherent worth of human beings?
What was God’s intention is making men and women? Why did He make them different from each other? What was their relationship like in the garden?
God made the world and everything in it out of nothing, and He said it was very good. God’s original purpose for the world was to express His glory and to live in perfect communion with people made in His image. Man and woman are distinct from all other created things because they are personal beings who can think, feel, and relate to God and others in relationship. In the garden, man lived in unhindered fellowship with God and with other people.
HAVE A VOLUNTEER READ GENESIS 3.
What is sin? How would you define it? What are the results of sin? How does our view of sin affect our discipleship?
What does it mean to be broken? How has brokenness from sin extended itself into every aspect of the world? Give a few examples.
How did the brokenness of sin affect the relationship Adam and Eve had with God, with each other, and with the rest of God’s creation?
What hope does Genesis 3:15 look forward to? What did this promise communicate about God’s plan to fix man’s brokenness?
Sin is any failure to conform to what God desires. The first question in the Bible occurs in Genesis 3:1 when Satan asked Eve, “Did God really say...?” The danger in that question is the danger in all our hearts to think we know better than God and to trust our own judgment above His. Sin has broken our relationships with God, and that brokenness expresses itself in every area of our life. Things that God originally meant for good—our work, our relationships with God and other people, and our sense of purpose and joy—are now frustrated and often painful. Yet tucked into the end of the chapter, God promised to heal our brokenness.
HAVE A VOLUNTEER READ ROMANS 10:9-15.
What is the gospel, and how could you explain it using these verses of Scripture?
How can we restore our relationship with God and become disciples of Jesus? What does it mean to confess and believe in verses 9 and 10?
Why does knowing and believing the gospel require us to lead other people to find their hope in the gospel?
What does it mean to be justified before God? How has the gospel changed our relationship with God? With other people?
Why is the message of salvation not only the first step in becoming a Christian, but also the one that guides every other step in our lives? How have you experienced this?
The gospel is the good news that Jesus Christ came to earth, lived a perfect life, died in our place, and made a way for sinful people to be reconciled to a holy God. Any man or women who confesses these precious truths and believes them in their heart is restored to a right relationship with God. The veil is removed and we can see clearly the light of the glory of Christ and recover and pursue God’s design for our life and for the world. Though we still live in a fallen and sinful world, we live with the hope that one day Christ will return and make all things new.
What is the Jesus-centered Life? What changes when a person finds their salvation, identity, life, and authority in Jesus Christ? What is one way each of these affect your daily life?
Why must we continue to focus on our salvation in Christ through the gospel? How does the gospel allow us to recover and pursue God’s design every day?
How could you use the figure we looked at on Sunday to share the gospel with someone? Practice as a small group. What Scriptures could you use to point to God’s design, man’s brokenness, and the restoration found in the gospel of Jesus Christ?
How has having a new identity in Christ changed you individually? How has it changed us corporately? How is community different in light of identity in Christ?
Thank God for His goodness to you. Confess your sin and brokenness before Him, and admit your need for His salvation. Praise Him for restoring you to a right relationship with Him through Jesus Christ. Ask the Father to help pursue God’s design and purpose for your life in Christ. Pray that you would never get over the wonder of your salvation.
Midway through this week, send a follow-up email to your group with some or all of the following:
Where do you see yourself in the drawing of the Christ-centered life? What is one key area of your life where you need to relinquish authority to Jesus?
Pray and find one person you can share the hope of your salvation with this week.
Memorize Romans 10:9.
The two accounts of creation (1:1–2:3 and 2:4–25) are designed respectively to demonstrate the all-wise and all-powerful sovereignty of God (first account) and His special creation of humanity to rule for Him over all other created things (second account). Though the creation stories are fundamentally theological and not scientific, nothing in them is contradicted by modern scientific understanding. Genesis insists that all the forms of life were created “after their kind” (1:11–12, 21, 24–25); that is, they did not evolve across species lines. Most importantly, the man and the woman were created as “the image of God” (1:26). In other words, humanity was created to represent God on the earth and to rule over all things in His name (1:26–28). God’s desire was to bless humanity and to enjoy relationship with them.
The privilege of dominion also carried responsibility and limitation. Being placed in the garden to “work it and watch over it” represented human responsibility (2:15). The tree in the midst of the garden from which humans should not eat represented those areas of dominion reserved to Yahweh alone. The man and woman, however, disobeyed God and ate of the tree. They “died” with respect to their covenant privileges (2:17) and suffered the indictment and judgment of their Sovereign. This entailed suffering and sorrow and eventual physical death. God had created man and woman to enjoy fellowship with Himself and with each other. Their disobedience alienated them from God and each other.
The pattern of sin and its consequences set in the garden is replayed throughout Genesis in the accounts of Cain, the generation of the flood, and the men of Sodom. The fall means that we humans are predisposed to sin. Though God punishes sin, sin does not thwart God’s ultimate, gracious purpose for His human creation. Embedded in the curse was the gleam of a promise that the offspring of the woman would someday lead the human race to triumph.
10:9-10. Jesus is Lord is a confession of faith. “Lord” is the translation of the Greek word kurios. This is the regular way of translating the Hebrew name for God (Yahweh) in the Greek OT. Jesus is not only the Messiah, but He is also Yahweh. Not only do we believe that the man Jesus was raised...from the dead, but we also believe that He shares the same nature with God. This is the start of the understanding of Christ’s two natures, as articulated at the Council of Chalcedon ( A.D. 451). Jesus is fully human and fully God. Christians by definition believe and confess this truth.
10:11-13. Paul cited biblical support for the universal offer of salvation. Salvation is for both Jew and Greek (i.e., Gentiles) since the same Lord (Gk kurios,v. 12) is rich in mercy to all. The promise is for all who call on the name of the Lord ( kurios,v. 13). As the prophet Joel said, “Everyone who calls on the name of Yahweh will be saved” (Joel 2:32). Jesus is Lord, or Yahweh.
10:14-15. What must occur for someone to call on the name of the Lord? Someone must first be sent to proclaim the gospel message, and then listeners must pay attention and believe. In the absence of any one of these factors, no one can call on the name of the Lord.