Three times a month we meet in our small groups to practice the teachings of Jesus together. We believe that with the encouragement and consistency of other believers, and with the help of God's Spirit, we can go after Jesus' teachings and really live them out as His followers. It is a life- long process, and it can not happen without grace, but we believe that God's desire is for each of us to become more like Jesus as we follow Him.
"And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit."
-2 Corinthians 3:18
A Special Note:
This month, and all year long, we will be learning together what it truly means for us to Abide in Christ. We will explore the blessings of abiding in Christ and continue to discuss the things we can do to ensure our lasting connection to the True Vine.
Week 1: Abide
Ice Breaker Question: Q. What are some activities that are better done alone? Q. What are some things that you just cannot do alone?
Intro: Christianity is one of those things we cannot do alone. If you’re visiting with us for the first time tonight… you might not be aware that in our church, (SSCoC), our theme for this year is Abide. That means that throughout the year, we’re going to be focusing on deepening our spiritual connection to Christ by paying special attention to Jesus’ call and command to Abide in Him.
Read: John 15:1-11
Q: What is the role of the “Vinedresser” or “Gardner”? (A: The one who oversees the health and growth of the vine, who prunes it to keep it healthy and productive.) Q: What circumstances will cause us to remain or be pruned? (A: Whether or not we bear spiritual fruit.) Q: Is “pruning” the same thing as “to completely cut off and throw away”? What’s the difference? Q: According to v.3, what cleans the branches, making them poised to bear fruit? (A: Christ’s Word.) Q. Are you identifying more with a fruitful branch or one that may need to be pruned? Q. How can Christ’s Word “prune” or clean you, to make you ready to become fruitful?
[Read v.4 again]
Q: What is the basic point here? (A: Spiritual fruitfulness is impossible to achieve on one’s own apart from Christ.)
Practice: Before leaving, set up or reestablish a spiritual partnership (discipling). Make a commitment this week to talk with your partner in person or by phone this week, to share vulnerably, listen attentively and pray for one another faithfully.
Week 2: Abide in My Word
Ice Breaker Question: Describe one of the closest relationships you have currently or have had in the past. Q. How do we develop depth in relationships? (We spend time together, ask questions about background, shared experiences, etc.)
Intro: The more we know about a person the better prepared we are to decide what level of relationship we might have with them. When it comes to a relationship with Jesus, the more we know about Him can help us to decide what we believe about him and whether or not we want to abide in him.
Read: John. 1:1-2 & John 15:4-8
Q. Can I have a close relationship with Christ without being intently involved in studying the Word of God? Q. How does the account in John 1:1-2 relate to John 15:4-8? Q. By what does Jesus measure “abiding”? What is it specifically equated to? (A: “…If my words abide in you”. This is the basis for the teaching in James 1:23-25:) Q. What might be some possible goals of effective bible study? (A: To Know God. To Know and understand His will. To see myself as He sees me. To correct my wrong attitudes and ways. To know truth. To know how to help others. To become thoroughly equipped for his service.) Q. Do you equate “life” in Jesus to “obedience” to His Word? Q. How could this change your behavior going forward?
Read Psalm 119.
Q. If I we want the same results that David experienced, what will our attitudes about Gods word beed to be?
Practice: Make or continue a plan of daily bible study this week. Things to consider: Using a bible app, Reading a book as a supplement. Ask for help. Study with a partner. Have an accountability partner.
Week 3: Chosen to Bear Fruit
Ice Breaker Question: Q. Have you ever been selected or chosen for something for something specifically? (eg. an assignment on your job or a role on a team etc.) Q. Why were you chosen for that role or responsibility or assignment?
Read: John 15:16
Intro: On the day after the night in which Jesus spoke these words to the eleven and to you, he laid himself down on the cross and bought you with his blood. You are now his fruit and his fruit-bearer.
Q. What is the fruit we are called to bear? Galatians 5:22 gives us a starting place.
Read: Galatians 5:22
Q. How does bearing fruit in this way lead to bearing the fruit of making other disciples? Matthew 28:18-20 gives us another example of bearing fruit for Christ.
Read: Matthew 28:18-20
Discussion: Q. What makes Jesus’ last words different from most? Q. What is a disciple? Q. Why would Jesus want us to make disciples and teach them to obey his commands?
Practice: With the prayer partners you set up in week 1, make a commitment this week to encourage one another to bear fruit this week by praying together, sharing a scripture of encouragement and inviting someone new to church, or bible talk.
Week 4: Reach It
Reach out in your community this week. Make plans as a group to serve.