Life Groups // Fall 2021 // Week 10
Posted November 12, 2021 — Lincoln Berean
Sheep, Wolves & Last Words // Acts 20:17-38
Welcome to the final week of the Fall Life Group Session. After this week, we will take a break for the holidays. Signup for the Winter Session of Life Groups will launch on January 1, 2022. If you are continuing in your current Life Group, you DO NOT need to sign up again! The Winter Session officially starts the weekend of January 15/16, 2022.
If you didn’t have a chance to fill out the Life Group Survey last week, please take a few moments to fill it out this week. It will only take 5 minutes of your time. Here is a link to the survey: https://forms.office.com/r/N52hMg4mZ0 Or use this QR Code:
This week we find Paul traveling back to Jerusalem. But before he goes, he requests one last face-to-face meeting with the leaders of the Ephesian church—a church he has spent a considerable amount of time working with. In Paul’s words, we see his passion for his mission, his concern for the well-being of the church in Ephesus, and his genuine love for them.
To get the most out of your group time, we invite you to look over the questions below and write your thoughts down before you meet with your group.
Warm Up (Suggested time: 20 min)
Here are some suggestions to get your conversation started:
1) What is one thing life in this pandemic has taught you about yourself?
2) Besides turkey, what one dish has to be part of your Thanksgiving meal?
Transition into group discussion.
1) Open group discussion with prayer. Here are a few potential prayer items:
a. For the Spirit of God to lead you in truth
b. For the fruit of the Spirit to be cultivated in your lives
c. For grace to hear and apply what the Spirit says to you
2) Invite someone to read the passage in the group.
Study Questions (Suggested time: 40 min)
1) What was your primary reaction to this week’s sermon? Were you encouraged, challenged, puzzled, convicted, or something else? Explain why.
2) Think back through our study of Acts up to this point. What have you learned about God? How have you seen him at work in and through the Church in Acts?
Do you see God at work similarly in and through the Church today? Explain.
3) The advancement of the Kingdom of God in Acts was met with the world’s resistance and opposition at every turn. The Church had to be courageous to fulfill God’s mission. What is one way you sense Jesus has been leading you to take a step of courage to follow him through our study in Acts?
If you could name one thing that typically holds you back from following what Jesus is directing you to do what would that be?
4) Read out loud verse 24. Is this verse something only a person we think of as a “super Christian” would say, or is this something every Christian ought to be able to say?
If you believe this should be the testimony of every Christian, what do you think it would take for you to be able to say those words?
5) Verses 28-30 contain Paul’s warning to the church leaders about false teachers and teaching. (Consult 1 Timothy 1:3-7; Titus 1:5-9; 1 John 4:1-6 to help you answer the following questions.) How do we know when false teachers or teaching has infiltrated the Church? What are the indicators?
If we detect false teaching, how do you think the Church is to respond? How is the Church supposed to counter that false teaching?
6) In verses 32-37, Paul says that his mission has not been about his own gain, financially or materially, but to serve others. He summarizes his view with words of Jesus not found in the Gospels, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” What about you? Do you value your own gain and comforts above serving others? What sorts of problems arise for the spread of the gospel of the kingdom when we value and live for our own benefit rather than that of others?
Prayer (Suggested time: 20 min)
Prayer opens us up to the leading of the Holy Spirit which makes it an important part of the Christian life. We realize that everyone has their own comfort level with group prayer, and we want this to be a time of safety and care. You may verbalize your prayer or pray silently to yourself; that way everyone is a participant in sharing this time before God together.
Some things to consider during prayer time:
- What did the message or group discussion cause you to notice about your relationship with Jesus?
- How can you express gratitude for what God’s teaching you?
- What questions are stirring that only God can answer?
- Are there troubling things in your life that need to be confessed to God?
- Is there an unmet need that only God can fulfill?
Personal Spiritual Exercises
Each week we’re suggesting a couple of spiritual exercises. These are not required, but they may help us to actually live our faith and grow as followers of Jesus. Feel free to practice one or both of them. If a certain exercise is very helpful for you, maybe you can figure out a way to incorporate it into your daily life. Next week in your Life Group, take a few moments to share how either of these exercises may have changed your outlook on your daily life.
(1) As we approach the holiday seasons, prayerfully consider how you can spend less money on yourself and your family in order to free up resources to help the less fortunate.
(2) Re-read Acts 1-20. Highlight, or write down, all the places where you see Christians dare to be the Church and God responding to their courage.