This week's Small Group Guide is composed of questions from this week's GPS Guide. The questions relate to the Scripture for that particular day. You can download the full week's GPS as a printable document for the context of each question below (in the printable version, the recommended small group questions are marked with a special bullet point).
Our words are one key way we embody hope as we interact with others. British scholar John Stott wrote that the Greek behind “foul words” was “sapros, a word used of rotten trees and rotten fruit. [cf. Matthew 7:17-18, 12:33]. When applied to rotten talk, whether this is dishonest, unkind or vulgar, we may be sure that in some way it hurts the hearers.”* Review the most typical parts of your conversation over the last week. (Ask God to guide your thinking.) Which parts have best expressed your hope? How can your speech more often embody hope?
Scholar N. T. Wright wrote, “The effects of the gospel don’t happen automatically. Christians… can’t simply sit back and do nothing. They must ‘keep firmly on’; they must now take responsibility for their own growth to maturity in faith.… Christians must develop their life of faith, hope and love (see verses 4–5) on this foundation and not somewhere else.”** During the rest of 2019, in what ways will you seek learnings and actions that further mature your life of faith, hope and love?
When Paul wrote that “We were saved in hope,” his choice of words was in no way glib. “Paul is not expressing a… superficial optimism that everything tends to everybody’s good in the end. No, if the ‘good’ which is God’s objective is our completed salvation, then its beneficiaries are his people who are described as those who love him.”*** How do you ground your hope, not in vague optimism, but in the faithfulness of the Savior you’ve learned to love?
In Paul’s day, “realists” said the Christian message he preached had no chance to even alter the course of the invincible Roman Empire, much less outlast it. We can see how “realistic” that was. Do you inherently lean more to the view that hope is mostly delusional, useless and hurtful, or to Paul’s view that hope (based on God’s saving action) is a crucial result of strong character? What role, if any, has hope played in keeping you going at tough times?
* John Stott, The Message of Ephesians. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1979, p. 188.
** N. T. Wright, Paul for Everyone: The Prison Letters. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004, p. 156.
*** John Stott, The Message of Romans. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1994, p. 248.
13720 Roe Ave.
Leawood, KS 66224
24000 W. Valley Pkwy
Olathe, KS 66061
1601 Grand Blvd.
Kansas City, MO 64108
601 NE Jefferson St.
Blue Springs, MO 64014
8412 W. 95th St.
Overland Park, KS 66212
Can’t find something? Let us help.