The Point: We have a sure hope when we trust in Jesus.
Get Into the Study
Use the following story as an alternate introduction and Question 1.
MIT’s Technology Review recently did a roundup of the ten biggest technology breakthroughs of 2018. The article reads like science fiction—technological advancements that most people never dreamed possible are developing at an incredible rate. People are inventing more usable artificial intelligence, self-driving cars, completely clean power from natural gas—even plans for a future neighborhood planned completely around “smart” technology.
Even 10 years ago, most of us could never have imagined these things becoming a regular part of our reality. As technology continues to advance, we will continue to be surprised by what develops.
However, there was a man named Simeon in the New Testament who, unlike the rest, was completely unsurprised by the most important development to ever take place on this Earth: the Son of God coming down. The Holy Spirit revealed to him that he would not die before seeing the coming Messiah—and that was a promise that was kept.
Alternate Question 1: Can you imagine how Simeon felt, knowing he would meet the long-awaited Messiah?
Ashley Emmert is a freelance writer and full-time mama from Chicago, where she lives with her husband and her new baby boy. You can find her on Twitter at @ashgemmert, or failing to update her blog at ashleygraceemmert.blogspot.com.
Get Into the Study – Optional Activity
After discussing Question #1, play a video of the hymn “My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less.” Ask group members how they define hope. Say: “Hope does not mean we cross our fingers and wish something good would happen. It is a confidence or faith that something good will happen in the future.” Play a short excerpt from the video, then ask: What does it mean to stand on Christ as our solid rock?
Here’s a link to the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rkMapZB8qMk (Optional activity from KJV Adult Leader Guide, p. 62.)
The U.S. government released the Fourth National Climate Assessment in November, as prepared under the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP). In describing potential impacts of climate change to southern California beaches, the report notes that “sea level rise and storm surge could completely erode two-thirds of southern California beaches by 2100.”
With these changes, many homes in coastal communities could be lost, leaving beachfront towns and homeowners faced with difficult decisions as they think about the plans they have made and the future they had hoped for. We all have things we hope will happen, changes we desire to see, or wishes for things to stay the same. As Christians, we have a different kind of hope—the sure hope we have in Christ.
The words of Peter in 1 Peter 3:15 charge us to be “ready at any time to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.”
Invite your group to take a couple of minutes to write a few sentences explaining the reason for the sure hope that we have.
Ask for volunteers to share with the group.
Close by praying Romans 15:13 for your group: “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Nikki Wilbanks is a graduate of Pepperdine University, where she studied literature. She lives with her husband and two children in Murfreesboro, TN.
- What are you most looking forward to in the new year?
- How have your hopes and dreams changed as you’ve gotten older?
- What are some words you associate with Christmas and New Year’s?
- How was the Holy Spirit active in Simeon’s life?
- How does Jesus influence the way you see and approach the future?
- Who is someone you would describe as having the Holy Spirit on him or her?
- What did Simeon understand about the infant he was holding?
- How did the coming of Jesus reveal God for who He is and what He’s all about?
- How has Jesus been a light for revelation for you personally?
- How do you think Mary and Joseph felt as they listened to Simeon talk about Jesus?
- Why do you think Mary and Joseph were amazed by the words of Simeon?
- What are some examples of how the truth of Christ exposes the hearts of people in our culture?
Send the following link to your group members as either a teaser before the group meets or as a follow-up thought:
Here’s a brief video giving you an overview of this session: The Full Picture of Christmas, Session 5.
This article complements the study. Share this link with your group members.