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.)
In Saul’s upbringing, nearly everyone he valued, from the high priest down, rejected Jesus and saw Christians as a threat to God’s truth. It’s no wonder he worked passionately to destroy a faith he saw as dangerously wrong. In what ways did Saul have to adjust his dreams and expectations to reorder his life after meeting Jesus? Did your background and training make it easy or hard for you to believe in Jesus? What changes, if any, has your faith called you to make?
Paul called this life’s troubles “temporary minor problems.” He wasn’t in denial. He wasn’t trying to convince anyone that it’s great to be confused, harassed or knocked down. But he was clear that the greatest payoffs of serving Christ come in eternity, not now (“an eternal stockpile of glory”). And he was fine with that, convinced eternity was worth it. Are you?
Paul did not blame God for his ailment—he called it “a messenger from Satan,” not from God. He said he “pleaded with the Lord three times for it to leave me alone.” How good a case can you imagine Paul, who often traveled on foot, making for God to give him full health? Did having his physical struggle continue mean God didn’t care about him? Or was he right in seeing it as a further message about God’s grace at work in his life?
When Paul wrote that “We were saved in hope,” he wasn’t in any way being 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 base your hope, not in vague, general optimism, but in the faithfulness of the Savior who loves you and who you’ve learned to love?
* John Stott, The Message of Romans. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1994, p. 248.
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