Adult & Teen Discussion Guide
1. Primary Statement
Of all the controversial topics facing American Christians today, perhaps none is more fiercely debated than homosexuality.
Cultural norms and values have been in a state of rapid change over the past few decades, but God’s view on it remains unchanged.
Homosexual behavior is contrary to God’s teaching.
2. Bible Verse
Leviticus 18:22 [ESV] “Do not practice homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman. It is a detestable sin.”
1 Timothy 1:10-11 [NLT] “The law is for people who are sexually immoral, or who practice homosexuality, or are slave traders, liars, promise breakers, or who do anything else that contradicts the wholesome teaching that comes from the glorious Good News entrusted to me by our blessed God.”
Q. God’s statements on homosexuality were separated by over a thousand years. Do you think they are tied to a cultural period, or are they meant to instruct all cultures and times?
Q. The Bible condemns many other practices beyond homosexuality. Why do you think the topic of homosexuality generates more controversy than other sexual sins?
Homosexual behavior is contrary to God’s design.
Matthew 19:4-5 [NLT] “Haven’t you read the Scriptures?” Jesus replied. “They record that from the beginning ‘God made them male and female.’ And he said, ‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’”
Q. The traditional definition of a family has been changing in America for a long time. Do you think that change has affected the rise in acceptance of homosexual lifestyles? If so, how?
Q. Is someone who is living a homosexual lifestyle contradicting God’s family design more than someone who is addicted to pornography or engaged in an extramarital affair? Have you / the church typically acted like these sins were on the same level, or different levels?
4. Prayer Focus
Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for His wonderful design for human sexuality. Ask Him to help you live within His teaching and design, and to be loving yet truthful to those who are contradicting it.
Family with Small Children Discussion Guide
Don’t store up treasure on earth. Store up treasure in Heaven!
As a family, make a list, chart, or just plan how individually or as a group you can work to make Jesus more important than your stuff or just number #1 in your life.
2. Bible Verse
Matthew 6:21 “Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”
This week we began a new series, “Say What?” The kids learned an important lesson about the things they value and find important. Nothing in life is more important than Jesus!
Start the lesson by Reading Matthew 19:16-30.
16 A man came to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to have eternal life?”
17 Jesus answered, “Why do you ask me about what is good? Only God is good. But if you want to have eternal life, obey the law’s commands.”
18 The man asked, “Which ones?”
Jesus answered, “‘You must not murder anyone, you must not commit adultery, you must not steal, you must not tell lies about others, 19 you must respect your father and mother,’[a] and ‘love your neighbor[b] the same as you love yourself.’[c]”
20 The young man said, “I have obeyed all these commands. What else do I need?”
21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, then go and sell all that you own. Give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven. Then come and follow me!”
22 But when the young man heard Jesus tell him to give away his money, he was sad. He didn’t want to do this, because he was very rich. So he left.
23 Then Jesus said to his followers, “The truth is, it will be very hard for a rich person to enter God’s kingdom. 24 Yes, I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter God’s kingdom.”
25 The followers were amazed to hear this. They asked, “Then who can be saved?”
26 Jesus looked at them and said, “This is something that people cannot do. But God can do anything.”
27 Peter said to him, “We left everything we had and followed you. So what will we have?”
28 Jesus said to them, “When the time of the new world comes, the Son of Man will sit on his great and glorious throne. And I can promise that you who followed me will sit on twelve thrones, and you will judge the twelve tribes of Israel.29 Everyone who has left houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, children, or farms to follow me will get much more than they left. And they will have eternal life.30 Many people who are first now will be last in the future. And many who are last now will be first in the future.
Q. What did Jesus tell the man in the story he must do with his possessions?
Q. How did this make the man feel?
Q. What did Jesus tell his disciples about someone who is rich?
It’s easy to want “stuff” but Jesus was teaching His disciples that the more things we have the harder it can be to give up everything and follow Him.
Jesus never wants us to make money or things more important than Him!
Q. What is your favorite toy or game to play with?
Q. What if Jesus asked you to give that up or give it away to the poor, could you do it?
Q. Would it be hard for you?Jesus may not ask you to give away your favorite toy, or all your money, but He doesn’t want anything to be more important than Him. Jesus should be number one in our lives. He is the most important, and if we obey Him, we will be blessed!
4. Prayer Focus
Pray for your children this week to make Jesus the most important part of their lives.
I want to address an issue that I seem to consistently run into. In a very general way the issue is this: What position should the church take in reference to people living a lifestyle that the scriptures clearly indicate is sin? The questions can often be phrased differently, but the core issue is the same. Some of the ways this question has come up recently include these:
- Should a couple who are living together and are unmarried be allowed to serve in church leadership or in a visible place of ministry?
- Would you allow a homosexual to attend your church? Could they sing on the worship team?
- Can a person with an addiction serve in the children’s ministry?
Whenever these issues come up, those asking the question or supporting one side of the issue or the other always divide the issue along a line that places the love of God on one side and the legalism of religion on the other.
I often see entire churches orient themselves and even advertise themselves based upon which side of this line they fall on. Having decided to be either a “loving” church or a “righteous” church they collect people of a like mindset. One side says things like…
“We want people to be comfortable around us and we want them to feel our love and then by that they will eventually be drawn away from their sin and draw close to God.”
All the while the other side of that line is saying something like…
“We have a responsibility to represent a life sacrificed to the Lord and a freedom from sin so that people can see how to live for God.”
Honestly, I’m called to do both at the same time. Scripture admonishes the body of Christ to beware of either of these absolute positions.
Notice if you will 2 Timothy 4:3-4 where we read…
“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” (2 Timothy 4:3–4, ESV)
But also notice John 13:35…
“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35, ESV)
We in the church are commanded by God to do both of these at the same time. We are to love and to embrace sound doctrine. We are to love people while both teaching and setting an example of what a godly life looks like. How are we saved? Solely by grace! But the same grace that pays the price for our sins lifts us out of them. The same grace that removes the penalty for our sinful nature, gives us the ability to overcome it.
Ultimately as a pastor I am called to do the same thing Jesus was called to do. It was first written by the prophet Isaiah and then read by Jesus when he said…
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18–19, ESV)
We are to proclaim not only God’s favor but also that people can be free from the things that have kept them captive. They can regain their ability to see right from wrong. They can be more than they are not only in heaven but here as well!
Pastors are shepherds and as such we are to lead people in the right direction. That direction is away from sin and the things that might bind them. By lowering expectations grounded in the Word and expressed in an atmosphere of love we damage the potential of people and potentially create a misunderstanding in the lives of immature or new believers about the life that Christ calls us to; a life of sacrifice. Through the Holy Spirit lives can be radically transformed from lives bound and ravaged by sin’s use of the fleshly nature into lives free, whole, happy, and complete. One of the first steps in that transformation is a realization of what sin is and an acceptance of it’s destructive nature coupled by a community living in freedom from sin demonstrating the possibility of freedom. Said more simply, people have to know that something better is possible. People have to believe that God can make their lives better.
While it’s simplistic, here’s a video clip that illustrates what happens when people are challenged to be more than they think they can be.
People can accomplish incredible things, but they seldom do until they are challenged to do so. That challenge begins in the Word but the Word is often first realized through watching other’s lives then in reading it.
Let’s not be afraid to challenge people to press towards God and away from the world. Only in the challenge do we realize who we really are!