Good News of Great Joy: Leader Guide #4
As the leader, you may be tempted to skip some of the steps suggested in the study. May we encourage you not to do this? Take the time to allow group members to reflect and discuss. There is “iron sharpening iron” in such discussions. Truths can sink it; values can be shaped; Christlikeness can be formed.
3 Insider Insights:
This week’s Connect Group experience is about the RESCUE we have in the Savior who has been born of us. The objective is to help everyone in your group not only KNOW, but FEEL, and be willing to DO (i.e., perhaps actually share with someone else their story of rescue in Christ).
It will be to your advantage…
To think ahead so as to bring the NEED for our rescue in Jesus to life. What rescue(s) have you experienced in your own life? What rescues have you heard of (example: the trapped soccer team in the cave in South America) that could illustrate the fact that human beings often find themselves trapped and need of outside intervention? Have these at the ready because you’ve thought ahead.
This might be fun…
Here’s an older hymn that has been sung in the American church for decades: Love Lifted Me. Listen to and read the lyrics to this hymn together (or sing it!). What’s the word-picture here? You could encourage group members to share about their experience of being lifted by the Savior’s love.
Love Lifted Me
I was sinking deep in sin/ Far from the peaceful shore/ Very deeply stained within/ Sinking to rise no more/ But the Master of the sea/ Heard my despairing cry/ From the waters lifted me/ Now safe am I
[Refrain] Love lifted me, love lifted me/ When nothing else could help/ Love lifted me/ Love lifted me, love lifted me/ When nothing else could help/Love lifted me
Souls in danger, look above,/ Jesus completely saves;/ He will lift you by His love/ Out of the angry waves./ He’s the Master of the sea,/ billows His will obey;/ He your Savior wants to be-/be saved today.
[Refrain] Love lifted me, love lifted me/When nothing else could help/Love lifted me/Love lifted me, love lifted me/When nothing else could help/Love lifted me
BE SURE TO PRAY for Christ Community Church’s important ministry outreaches at this time of year —
Special Services at Christmas – pray that many will come to trust in Christ as Savior this season!
Christmas Eve Services at 2 pm, 4 pm, 6 pm
RESCUE: A Savior Born unto Us
This week’s teaching focused on the saving rescue we have in the Lord Jesus Christ.
As you begin this study together, ask the Spirit of God to bring about a greater personal awareness of how Christ Jesus has been a Savior in your life…and how He might be so for someone else you know.
Have you ever been rescued? Share your experience with your group…
Taken to the hospital in an ambulance
Underwent emergency surgery
Plucked from a too-deep lake or end of a swimming pool
Helped in a time of financial crisis
Found after a time of being lost
Trapped in a cave or maze
What is similar about the “before” of all the rescues you’ve shared? What kind of condition are you in? Why could you (personally) “rescue” yourself?
What is a “rescue”? How would you define or describe it? What actually happens? And…
Describe “post-rescue” feelings? What does a “rescue” teach you about yourself…and about the one who stepped in?
IN THE WORD
This week’s teaching brought the rescue of our spiritual salvation into view. My “salvation” – one brought about by the Savior – begins with a REPENTANT HEART (clearing away the “obstacles” that are in the way of receiving what Jesus can do). Then, it moves to RECOGNIZING IN FAITH (or trust) that only Jesus can deliver me from my sin, and give me His cleansing forgiveness and righteousness. Let’s look at these two steps.
STEP #1 REPENTANCE
The Biblical word repentance means “to change one’s thinking or perspective.” We often have ways of thinking or perspectives that are “in the way” of acknowledging I need Christ. John the Baptist declared “Clear the way! Make a straight path for the Lord’s coming!”
IDENTIFY some of the ways of thinking—the obstacles—that often keep people (perhaps even us) from admitting a unique need for Christ.
Who must be at work to bring about a step of repentance? (John 16:8-11)
STEP #2 TRUSTING IN FAITH
the Biblical word “faith” means “to believe, to trust, to completely rely or depend upon.” “Believe” should actually be translated “believe into” – when someone believes in Christ, they are actually leaning into a new relationship with Him. Sometimes people go through religious ritual and ceremony, but have not taken that personal step—made the choice–to trust completely in the Savior.
What do the following passages teach about what happens when a step of faith is chosen?
Which of these verses particularly struck you? Have you personally “believed in(to) Christ yet? Is there someone you know who needs these verses?
MY LIFE – OUR MISSION
Surprisingly, surveys of churches (even Bible teaching churches) have discovered that there are many who come to church but have not actually taken the “faith step” of trusting in, or believing into, Christ. Again, have you? Are you completely trusting, not in what you can do to earn or merit the Lord’s “rescue,” but in what Jesus Christ did for you…in dying for your sin and being raised from the dead?
Our mission is connecting people to life-defining relationships in Christ. When we are rescued by the Savior from the penalty of our sins, and the power of sinning, we are (as Jesus said) “free indeed” (cf. John 8:36).
If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed!
Identify someone who needs to hear clearly how Jesus can uniquely rescue them. Pray that what may be an “obstacle” in their believing be taken out of the way. Pray that they will see their need—clearly—for the Savior. The way YOU did!