(Message 5) Do we care that people we interact with everyday are dying and going Hell? Maybe we do care, but we’ve been pressured not to speak about Jesus. What do we do? Join us today as we see how Paul handled his passion to see souls saved and the persecution he suffered for it. #GCRooted
I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death,
Jesus said, “In this world, you will have trouble; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
2 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.
24 I am glad when I suffer for you in my body, for I am participating in the sufferings of Christ that continue for his body, the church. 25 God has given me the responsibility of serving his church by proclaiming his entire message to you.
I want you to know how much I have agonized for you and for the church at Laodicea, and for many other believers who have never met me personally.
2 I want them to be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love. I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ himself. 3 In him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4 I am telling you this so no one will deceive you with well-crafted arguments.
For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes–the Jew first and also the Gentiles.
Start talking. Find a conversation starter for your group.
When you hear the word “persecution,” what are the first thoughts that come to mind?
Start thinking. Ask a question to get your group thinking.
Persecution for your faith can come in many different ways: bullying, mockery, loss of friendships, arrests, death, etc. Have you ever experienced any persecution for your faith? How did it make you feel? Feel free to share about it with the group if you feel comfortable.
Read Philippians 3:10. It’s comfortable to desire to know God and experience His mighty power…but to “suffer with him, and share in his death”? Why is it important to identify with God in the good times and tough times? Are there areas in your life that need to die?
Pastor Clay shared statistics regarding 340 million Christians who were persecuted and discriminated against in 2021. How does this make you feel being a Christian in America?
Read John 16:33 and James 1:2-3. Share how these verses speak to you personally on how we are supposed to handle hardships in life. Have you ever used either or both of these scriptures when going through a hard time? If not, these are a great tool to have during times of trouble.
Start sharing. Choose a question to create openness.
Read Colossians 1:24-25 and 2:1. Pastor Clay mentioned two types of Suffering: External Punishment and Internal Pain. Can you remember a time when you agonized over the fact that someone you know didn’t know Christ? How do you think you arrived at that point (emotionally, mentally, spiritually)? What did you do about it? Why?
Paul was a man with passion. What are your greatest passions?
Paul was intentional about helping people become stronger in their relationship with Jesus. Do you have someone that influences you and your growth as a Christian? Are you currently influencing someone else in their walk with Christ?
Paul wrote about his ministry with authority and boldness in spite of his difficult circumstances. Read Romans 1:16. Looking at your life right now, identify roadblocks that may be keeping you from speaking with authority and boldness about your faith and its Savior. Brainstorm strategies for overcoming the roadblocks with your small group.
Start doing. Commit to a step and live it out this week.
Clay shared that 2.6 million people die each year. That is 7,123 each day 297 each hour, and 5 each minute. Allow these stats to sink in. Commit to praying for opportunities to share your faith in Jesus this week.
Start praying. Be bold and pray with power.
Jesus, thank you that we have hope, even in times of trouble, because of Your love and mercy for us. Help us not to keep all of this to ourselves, but to share it with the people who intersect our lives who are far from you. – Amen