Date: December 25, 2016
Session 4: Gods’ Living Word Saves
The Point: Jesus is the ultimate Word from God who brings salvation.
Get Into the Study
Use the following information to introduce Question #1.
Begin by sharing this news item:
Country music stars Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, who also happen to be husband and wife, recently surprised some people in Baker County, Florida. McGraw and Hill paid off $5,000 worth of layaway purchases at the Walmart store there. The people who had items on layaway at the store received cards that held their paid layaway receipt and were signed “Merry Christmas, Tim McGraw & Faith Hill Family.” Word of their Christmas generosity soon spread on social media and as TV station Action New Jax carried the story.
Say: The good news of the paid-off layaway purchases in Florida spread quickly. We all enjoy hearing good news stories.
Then read Question #1 (When have you had big news that you couldn’t wait to share?) (PSG, p. 50) and invite volunteers to respond to the question.
Information for this post was gleaned from here:
— Donna McKinney wrote this Leader Extra. Donna is retired from a career with the federal government of the United States. She is a veteran Bible study group leader living in North Carolina.
Study the Bible
Use the following discussion during your discussion of Luke 1:34-35.
Humanity searches for “salvation” in everything: money, beauty, careers, etc., desperately hoping something can pull them from the hardship and pain introduced by sin. This search is acutely highlighted during the Christmas season. Heralded as the most wonderful time of the year, Christmas time has potential for many to dredge up the mounting despair instead of relieve it. A quick internet search of “holiday depression” confirms this theory with a mount of commentary from noted publications on the subject. As rightly observed in the Emotional Survival Guide for the Holidays on the Web MD website, “It’s not necessarily the holiday that’s the problem; it’s our rigid expectations of it.” Many hope the glittering distractions and abundance of parties can protect them from reality and somehow save them from it. Once the New Year rolls around, a terrible dark cloud settles as a reminder that the season didn’t save.
Here are some tips from the Web MD Emotional Survival Guide for the Holidays:
- “Get outside and exercise.”
- “Send yourself a holiday card.”
- “Altruism and volunteerism make you feel better about yourself, but they also get you out of your rut, home, and isolation.”
Ask the following discussion questions to get your group thinking and talking. Have more than 10 group members? Place them into subgroups of three or four members each for this activity.
- What are your observations about these tips?
- What are some unrealistic expectations about the Christmas season you’ve observed in your life or the life of those you know?
- Why have many given up on Jesus as the “reason for the season”?
- How is it particularly dangerous to search for salvation around Jesus but never in Jesus?
- What can you do differently in your conduct during the Christmas season to communicate to friends, family, coworkers and neighbors that your hope, joy, peace and salvation is not in the season but its Savior?
For the full article, go here: http://www.webmd.com/depression/features/emotional-survival-guide-for-holidays#2
Emily Jennings is wife to Brian, mother to three wonderful boys, a writer, amateur runner and loves to cook. Her family lives and ministers in Woodstock, GA.
- How does a person’s character and reputation affect the way that other people receive their teaching about God and His Word?
- What is the most fascinating biography you’ve ever read?
- Would you rather read about or meet a famous person? Explain.
- What might a biography of your life be titled?
- If you weren’t limited by time, money or distance, what Christmas gift would you most like to give away and to whom?
- When has someone saved you from making a big mistake?
- Why do we sometimes show hesitation about asking God to love us in the midst of, and deliver us from, hardships?
- How can we discern what to pray, so that we are in line with the promises of God’s Word?
- In what ways is having Jesus valuable to us, even if we are not delivered out of our trouble or trials?
- How does God’s Word deliver from trouble?
- How would you sum up the Bible’s overall message?
- How can we experience God’s faithful love and salvation?
- What’s the relationship between God’s Word and God’s salvation?
- When has someone shown “steadfast love” toward you?
- What promise from God’s Word are you holding close right now?
- How does Psalm 119:41 speak to the character of God towards people?
- How has God’s Word delivered you from trouble?
- How has God’s Word given you wisdom in making good decisions?
- In what ways can Christ sympathize with our human problems?
- Why does it matter that Jesus was fully human? Why does this matter to you personally?
- How does finding favor with God bring both blessing and responsibility?
- What difference does it make to believe that Jesus is completely human?
- What do these verses teach us about Jesus?
- In what ways is Christ distinctive from a nice guy, incredible teacher, or miracle man?
- Why does it matter that Jesus was fully divine? Why does this matter to you personally?
- Why did Jesus’ birth have to be a virgin birth?
- Why is it important to believe that Jesus is completely God?
- How does the divine nature of Jesus relate to the meaning of Psalm 119:41?
- What does it mean to call Jesus the “Son of God”?
- In your own experience, how does Gods salvation, delivered through Jesus, make a difference in your every day life?
- Why is the Bible a necessary part of salvation [or of living as a disciple of Christ]?
Share the following with your group members as either a devotional before the group study or as a follow-up devotional:
Here’s a brief five-minute teaching video about this session: Spoken, Session 4