Three Weeks: Discussing Jesus' Temptations

Week One: The Temptation I

Read Matthew 3:13-17

What do you think it felt like for Jesus that day? How does it feel when the Father so richly rains down His approval of Jesus? Amazing, accepted, loved, like everything is right with the world

Now read Matthew 4:1-4 remembering that when Matthew wrote it there were no chapter breaks

When Satan says “If you are the son of God…” he is challenging whatever was present when Jesus was standing in the river only three verses back.

What has changed for Jesus that is would be harder to believe that His Father still feels the same way about Him? Hot. Feels far from God maybe?, hungry, “did I take a wrong turn?”

If Jesus chooses to listen to Satan and make his own bread, what is He saying about His Father? That He will not provide, That maybe He doesn’t love me enough to provide for me, I just have to do this myself

Question for the group: What is it like for us today to question whether our Father loves us enough to provide for us what we really need? At work? In our marriages? At school? With our children? Where else?

Conclusion: If the Enemy can get us to believe that we are not really God’s loved children, then who will be in charge of our well-being? 

We will be! We will feel as though we must fend for ourselves of no one will. Every sin we have ever committed has had this attitude at it’s heart.

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Week Two: The Temptation II

Once again, start by reading Matthew 3:13-17

Review: What do you think it felt like for Jesus that day? How does it feel when the Father so richly rains down His approval of Jesus? Amazing, etc…

Now read Matthew 4:5-7

What is the Temple in the Jewish world? If Jesus were to jump off who would notice? 

Everyone, because it is the very center of Jewish worship and cultural life.

Psalm 91 (the one Satan is quoting) is a Messianic psalm, so Satan is asking Jesus to prove once and for all that He is Messiah. Obviously, tempting Jesus to jump off a building is a weak temptation. But what would have happened that day if Jesus would have jumped from the Temple? Everyone would have hailed Him as Messiah!!! At least ,this is what Satan wants Him to think and feel…

What events would not have happened?  No rejection, no accusations, no false trial, to betrayal, no crucifixion, no salvation

(So Jesus would have proved that He is Messiah but saved no one.)

Now look again closely. Satan began this temptation by questioning whether He is really God’s child. Remember again that Matthew is contrasting this with Jesus standing in the river.

Hasn’t God already declared that Jesus is His son? So what has changed since then that would make it tempting to prove it again? In the river, it must have felt so close and so good. But now the Enemy is questioning it. If Jesus just puts the Father to the test, he can make the Father prove to EVERYONE who He is.

Question for the group: What is it like for us today to question whether our Father loves us when we are going through the pains of life? At work? In our marriages? At school? With our children? Where else? 

Why is it challenging to believe that He can use the hard things to change the world?

This question is a great opportunity to visit Jesus’ command to join Him by taking up our cross and following Him. 

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Week Three: The Temptation III

This time, start by reading Genesis 3:1-5

Review: Especially in verse 4, what is the serpent offering to Eve? To be just like God!!!

What does she have to believe about God’s love for her in order to accept the serpent’s temptation? She would have to believe that God is withholding good from her, and that she would have to take matters into her own hands!

Now read Matthew 4:8-10

What is the Enemy offering to Jesus? To quit tempting the world. To halt his lordship over mankind’s rebellion.

If Jesus had given into the temptation, what would have followed? There are many opinions. But this one thing is clear, if Jesus had bowed down then we would have no God left to worship.

Then why is this temptation alluring to someone in Jesus’ place? Because His whole life is dedicated to defeating Satan. And here Satan is offering a truce if Jesus will just debase Himself. 

(If the last temptation would have proved He was Messiah but would have saved no one, this one offers Him the chance to have the devil quit, but the people would have no God left to love them..)

Question for the group: What is it like for us to give into the temptation to things we know are wrong? What makes it so difficult to ride out temptation all the way through without giving in? 

What do we say about God’s love for us when we choose sin instead?

Being a disciple of Jesus means learning to trust his Fatherhood when our fears and appetites overwhelm us. When, on a heart level, we lose our belief in His love and provision for us we begin to operate out of fear which introduces destruction and pain onto our lives. But when, on a heart level, we choose to trust His love and provision for us, we begin to be free of fear and are able to live life alive to God the way we were designed to do.

The Early Church and Lucian

The Early Church

What was hard and healthy about your biological family growing up?
Do you think Americans are good at doing family?

A critic of Christianity in about 180AD wrote the following:
"The Christians, you know, worship a man to this day—the distinguished personage who introduced their novel rites, and was crucified on that account. … You see, these misguided creatures start with the general conviction that they are immortal for all time, which explains their contempt of death and voluntary self-devotion which are so common among them; and then it was impressed on them by their original lawgiver that they are all brothers, from the moment that they are converted, and deny the gods of Greece, and worship the crucified sage, and live after his laws. All this they take quite on faith, with the result that they despise all worldly goods alike, regarding them merely as common property."
-Lucian, The Passing of Peregrinus

Middle eastern culture values family very highly and yet the first Christians valued their 'family-ship' even higher….

Discuss

  • What keeps us modern Christians from enjoying Christian family?
  • Right now, what do people who are not Christians say about the Church as a family? 
  • How can the church be lovingly counter-cultural?

 

Community Group Family Practices Brainstorm

Ideas about Family

If you were to describe my bio family in one sentence what would it be? (IE: The Flacks are loyal, loving, and relationally shallow.)
What are the ways you have felt let down by your family?
What are the most important ways your family has shaped you?
What does it mean to your family that you follow Christ?
Fill in the blank: Family is……

Discuss Further:

  • How can we be as a Community Group Family?
  • What sorts of words would you use to describe it? In one sentence, what is this Community Group?
  • What are things our CG can do together to shape who we are? 
    • What about taking communion?
    • Prayer?
    • Meals together?

 

One family Rhythm Idea

POTENTIAL GATHERING IDEA:

Sundays afternoons 4:30-6pm (allows time to get young ones home, ready for the week, etc)
4:30-4:45 Hang out and then Huddle: children and parents all gather and share house rules for the evening and share what you brought to the table. Everyone hears all the same things together. 
4:45-5:15 Everyone helps kiddos get food and eat
5:15-5:45 Adults eat. Then stay at the table and have a discussion (we find when we move, we kill the proximity of the table) 
5:45-6:00 Ask for prayer requests and pray for one another, and any housekeeping.

Monday dinners 6-7:30
6-6:15 Hang out and then Huddle: children and parents all gather and share house rules for the evening and share what you brought to the table. Everyone hears all the same things together. 
6:15-6:40 Everyone helps kiddos eat
6:40-7:15 Adults eat. Then stay at the table and have a discussion (we find when we move, we kill the proximity of the table)
7:15-7:30 Ask for prayer requests and pray for one another, and any housekeeping.

 

Every 4-6 weeks have a longer adult only night to be together, long time in the word, discussing, praying, planning, dreaming

One Another

THE ONE-ANOTHER'S OF THE BIBLE

God tells Christians brothers and sisters in Christ how to treat each other by the “One Anothers.” There are 59 of these: Google "The One Another's of the Bible" and print off or just look at together - read through them, mark one that speaks to you and what challenges you.

What do we want THIS family to be about? How do we want to treat each other? This could be a good spot to talk about “family norms” in your group. 

ADOPTION INTO THE FAMILY OF GOD

Read Ephesians 1:3-6 - What stands out to you in this section?

Adoption - Why must we understand our own adoption?
How has it been easy for you to sense or feel the family of God?
In what ways should the family of God be unique? What are some characteristics it/we should have?
What are some ditches we should try to avoid?

Potential Activity: Make a Family Statement (Our CG will) 

EX: Chase after Jesus in our own ways - we will own our junk - speak truth and point out error in LOVE.

CHILDREN OF GOD

1 John 3:1 Explore the idea: How great a love the Father has for us that we should be called children of God.

What character traits and attributes does a good father have?
What does it mean to you that you are called a child of God?
What is hard to believe about that statement for you?
How does your own experience of your dad play into this?
 

THE FELLOWSHIP OF BELIEVERS

-Read Acts 2:42-47

  • As the church was birthed, what strikes you about what the birth of the church looked like?
  • Four key ideas were named in vs. 42: What is the apostle’s teaching?
  • What is fellowship?
  • What is breaking of bread? Prayer?
  • Do we have expectations of God moving?
  • What does it mean for us to have everything in common? How can we practically live that out? 

LOVE ONE ANOTHER

Read John 13:34-35
Observing the passage:

  • What is the new commandment from Jesus? 
  • How are we to love one another?
  • What does Jesus’ love look like...describe it from what you know in the Bible?
  • What will happen if we love one another?
  • What are some practical reasons why we don’t treat each other like family?
  • What could it practically look like? 

The Scripture for Disciples

Read through each of these sections of Scripture. Discuss how each applies to parts of our journey together as disciples of Jesus.

  • Mark 1:16-20  Follow…..
  • Matthew 28: The call….
  • Matthew 6-8 working through sermon on the mount….how is this the cross life lived out - what is my life like lived out?
  • Matthew 16:24-28 The cost of discipleship 

Deep Discipleship Talks

THOUGHTS TO THINK THROUGH:

Here you'll find some incomplete ideas for discipleship time with your CG. These are great jumping off points.

  • Definition of Disciple: learning to live my life if he were to live my life if he were I.  - Dallas Willard
  • Gospel fluency: how do we speak gospel to the broken places of life…..bitterness, anger, etc. 
  • Could ask a friend to share gospel fluency in the broken places of life? Where are you not believing the Gospel?
  • Saved to sanctification….Being a disciple means more than simply being saved, it means exerting effort to become more like Jesus.
  • How do you listen to Jesus? How do you learn? 
  • Teaching the Lord’s prayer - examples of Jesus’ prayer

THE GREAT COMMISSION

Read Matthew 28:18-20
What do we see, what does it mean, what should we do?
What does it mean to you that you are sent? 
Do you ever forget or struggle with this?
Do you see yourself as a missionary? Why or why not?
This group is sent together - lets talk about what this means for us.
Extended time of pray considering who we may be sent to. 

ARE ALL CHRISTIANS MISSIONARIES?

Look at these two passages and blog below:
Joshua 1:1-9
Matthew 28:18-20
Blog by JD Greear

Questions to ponder after reading:
What do you think about the Spurgeon's statement, the blog, and the passages? 
What feels hard about it? What feels exciting? Was there a recent time where you were keenly aware of being a missionary? What was that like?