LIFE GROUP DISCUSSION HANDOUT & BIBLE STUDY
I. Deeper Study for Christian Formation
What, in your opinion, is biblical hope, and how does it differ from the world’s idea of hope?
II. Bible Exploration
Read this statement
In our culture when we talk about hope it’s kind of wishful thinking. I hope you have a great vacation, I hope our team is able to win the game. But the biblical concept of hope goes far beyond wishful thinking to absolute confidence. When the Bible says Jesus returns as our blessed hope, that doesn’t mean that we hope he comes, or I just wish he would come. No we are certain he will come.
Let’s explore what that means.
Read Romans 8:28.
You know that’s not happy talk. That’s not a Christian cliché. That’s not just a little phrase for a coffee mug. That is deep, deep spiritual truth. It’s a spiritual truth that hope is built on. How has your view of Romans 8:28 changed over the years, or has it? How exactly does this verse bring hope?
Read Titus 2:11–13.
What does Paul say is our instructor, teaching us to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures? Have you ever considered this as a “teacher”? (Paul says the grace of God that brings salvation is what acts as our teacher or trainer/educator.)
What are we instructed to do instead do? (Live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness and devotion to God.)
What, according to this passage, should we hope for? (That wonderful day when Jesus will be fully revealed.)
Read 1 Peter 3:15.
What does Paul say is a given for a believer in Jesus Christ? (Hope)
What does this hope do in terms of our example to the world? (People can clearly see the hope, so we must be ready to share why we have it.)
Read Hebrews 11:6.
What is the only necessary trait we must have to please God? Why do you think God rewards those who fully trust Him?
Read Romans 8:31–39.
According to this, what can separate us from God’s love? How does knowing this truth affect your confidence? How does it inform your gratitude?
Read Philippians 4:8–9.
How does this verse address this important command? What, in this world, is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy?
How different is that list from the social media you participate in? Why does it seem easier to dwell on negative, scary news?
Read Psalm 73.
Asaph, the author of the psalm, begins by demonstrating faith in God’s provision and blessing, but then despairs as the wicked increase.
In the end, what does he ultimately choose? How do verses 25–28 encourage you today? How does knowing that God is ultimately all we need bring deep comfort?
Read Paul’s amazing prayer in Ephesians 1:15–23.
What do these verses reveal about hope? Which verse is the most encouraging to you today?
How does the story end for those who put their faith in Jesus?
Read 1 Thessalonians 5:16–18.
Concentrate on verse 16. Ask: What does it mean to you today to rejoice always?
Write down one particularly trial you’re facing where you’re finding it hard to rejoice.
III. Deeper Christian Formation Walk
Deeper walk I challenge you to practice at least one of the suggested activities in Deeper Walk section.
Personal Action: Re-visit the media fast from week one. Choose a different avenue of fasting. (If
you fasted TV, consider fasting social media). Be sure to tell a friend or a group member/
mentor/ elder/ deacon/pastor what you’ll be fasting.
Mentoring: Ask one person who is older than you and one who is younger this question: What
keeps you hopeful in this crazy world? Note if their responses are different. Bring their responses
to share with the group the next time you meet.
Conversation: We often learn about the faithfulness of God and the hope He provides when we
hear someone’s story. Ask someone you know (or if you’re bold, a stranger) about a time in their
lives when they learned that God is bigger than any trial we face.
Memorization: Write down Philippians 4:8–9 on a post-it note and fix it to your television as a
reminder. Every time you turn on the TV, work on memorizing the verse.
Pray: Ask God to help you concentrate on His goodness rather than the bleak aspects of this
world. Ask Him to empower you to become a person of gratitude instead of someone who gives