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.)
We can’t see the wind blow, but leaves move and flags flutter when it does. (Our neighbors in Iowa recently saw severe damage from the wind.) Jesus said the Holy Spirit’s power has changed and will change human life in countless ways. (See John Ortberg’s book Who Is This Man? for a detailed study of many of those ways.) Has the Spirit ever soothed your spirit, enlightened your mind or stilled your fear even if you couldn’t pinpoint exactly how that happened?
Paul also wrote that God sent “his own Son to deal with sin” (verse 3). Moralistic religion often deepens guilt by saying it’s your job to “deal with sin.” How can trusting the Spirit to shape your life by the truth that Jesus has dealt with your sin and rid you of condemnation empower you to live in God’s positive principles (love, service and community)? How can you stay focused on your Spirit-given freedom from condemnation, rather than obsessing about the bad you don’t want to do?
“Wait,” someone says. “I’ve gone to the funerals of people who lived according to the Spirit.” Scholar William Barclay addressed that issue: “Sin came into this world and with sin came death, the consequence of sin. Inevitably, therefore, all men die; but…. Paul’s basic thought is that the Christian is indissolubly one with Christ. Christ died and rose again; and the man who is one with Christ is one with death’s conqueror and shares in that victory.”* How does that Spirit-given oneness strengthen your confidence that “the worst thing is never the last thing”?
Verse 24 reminded Christians living in the hostile city of Rome that “We were saved in hope. If we see what we hope for, that isn’t hope. Who hopes for what they already see?” What hopes has the pandemic caused you to put on hold, or maybe to have to give up altogether? How can the Spirit’s presence help you anchor your hope in God’s goodness, and live with patience and trust even at times of pain or disappointment?
* William Barclay, Daily Study Bible Series: The Letter to the Romans (Revised Edition). Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1975, p. 105.
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