Week 4 // “Examination” // Matthew 24:23-31
- Are you excited about the thought of Jesus returning? How do you feel about the signs you have seen?
- Pastor Bob explained, “Jerusalem has been the most conflicted piece of real estate in the history of the world. Know what’s funny? Traditionally, Jerusalem has been called the ‘city of peace.’ Instead, Jerusalem has been the center of great conflict.” Why do you think this is true?
- “Satan has planted seeds of doubt…and those seeds have sprouted into all areas of life. His weapons of choice…politics and media… Deception is a subtle mixture of truth and error.” How have you experienced this? What has the effect been on many people’s view of scripture?
- Counterfeit money is easily identifiable when the examiner has studied and become so familiar with the authentic that the fake is easily apparent to him. How can we be so prepared that the same can be said of us regarding false prophets?
- What are the two tests we can use to identify false prophets?
- “We who belong to Jesus Christ have already experienced crucifixion. For everything connected to our self-life was put to death on the cross and crucified with the Messiah. If the Spirit is the Source of our life, we must also allow the Spirit to direct every aspect of our lives.” Have you experienced this crucifixion? Explain.
- In the video, Pastor Bob talked about all the people who left the bright lights of the city to gaze into the night sky in hopes of seeing the Bethlehem Star or the International Space Station. Have you ever looked into the sky to see those particular sights or something else? Describe what you saw and how it affected you. Now imagine if you gazed into the sky and saw the King of Kings returning. How would you respond to that sight?
- Read Matthew 24:31. Can you imagine the joy? When Jesus comes back…what do you want Him to find you doing?
Week 3 // “Abomination” // Matthew 24:15-22
- What stood out to you in Sunday’s message? What stood out to you in the LifeGroup video?
- As culture tries to tear down our faith and destroy our beliefs, how can we strengthen ourselves?
- On a day-to-day basis, how do you practically keep your eyes on Jesus instead of being distracted by the world’s “signs”?
- How can we prepare to resist the temptations and lies that the world offers?
- What emotions and thoughts come to mind when you hear “Jesus is coming back”?
- How should we prepare to endure until the day Jesus makes His triumphant return?
- Read Romans 5:1-5. God tells to boast not only in the hope of the Glory of God, but also in our sufferings. What does it look like to have glory in your sufferings?
- What are ways that we can practically display peace and stability to a world that seems to be in chaos with the “signs” of the times?
- In reading Matthew 24:15-16, Daniel 9:27, Daniel 11:31, & Daniel 12:11 we learn about the Abomination Which Causes Desolation? How can we prepare for such desolation, not only in our lives, but in our community?
Week 2 // “Persecution” // Matthew 24:9-14
- What concerns do you have about the state of the world contrasted to your hope in Christ? What opportunities is God providing? What is God impressing on your heart for you to do?
- On the video, Pastor Bob said, “Persecution is the act of harassing, oppressing, or killing people because of their difference from society. Christians are persecuted because their belief in Jesus Christ as Savior does not conform to the godlessness of a sinful world.” Give examples of persecution you are aware of in this current time.
- Read Matthew 24:9 and Matthew 10:16-17. “If you wear the jersey of Jesus, you are an enemy of the world. If you profess Jesus as Savior and Lord, the world will hate you…simply because you belong to Jesus!” How have you experienced this hatred in your lifetime? What are some choices those who cave under the world’s pressure make and how have you chosen to respond?
- Matthew 24:13 in the amplified Bible says, “But the one who endures and bears up [under suffering] to the end will be saved.” The word translated endure is hypomenõ. It means “to remain, stay under, stay behind, bear, hold one’s ground. It is remaining steady in the face of adversity rather than fleeing it, persevering in faith despite trials. This is an energetic word, denoting active resistance to defeat with a calm and courageous demeanor—rather than passive resignation or mere patience.” The same word is used in Hebrews 12:2. Read it. How did Jesus endure and how can we?
- Where are the fastest growing churches in the world located and where are the churches who are growing the least located? How does persecution affect those numbers and why do you think that is?
- 2 Timothy 3:1-4 in The Passion Translation describes those whose love will grow cold in the end times. “But you need to be aware that in the final days the culture of society will become extremely fierce. People will be self-centered lovers of themselves and obsessed with money. They will boast of great things as they strut around in their arrogant pride and mock all that is right. They will ignore their own families. They will be ungrateful and ungodly. They will become addicted to hateful and malicious slander. Slaves to their desires, they will be ferocious, belligerent haters of what is good and right. With brutal treachery, they will act without restraint, bigoted and wrapped in clouds of their conceit. They will find their delight in the pleasures of this world more than the pleasures of the loving God.” Have you witnessed this? How are we to respond to it?
- Read Matthew 16:24. Pastor Bob concluded his sermon by saying, “It’s cross now, crown then. Labor now, delivery then. So be patient and endure.” Then he gave us Hebrews 12:2, Jude 1:24 and a few final words of advice. Do you remember what they were?
Week 1 // “Deception” // Matthew 24:1-8
- Pastor Bob concluded with a couple of questions for us to answer, “As we face the wars, earthquakes, famines, and plagues that Jesus told us to expect, who needs to see the light? Who has questions and doesn’t know how to make sense of these signs? How can you share your faith in a meaningful and effective way to point towards Jesus’ return, and what preparations do you need to make to prepare your heart for the joyous return of our King?*
- Pastor Bob described the disciple’s nearsightedness, “Their eyes were drawn up to the temple’s magnificent architecture. They were so caught up by what they saw with their natural eyes that they failed to look to the eternal significance of what lay before them.” How have we also failed to see beyond the things around us to the eternal aspects and deeper meanings of what is in front of us?
- How would you explain “the lesson of the Temple”? What is the eternal significance of the temple?
- Read Mark 14:58 and Matthew 23:38-39; 24:1-2. What is “the house” and what is significant about what Jesus is telling them?
- Jesus warned us that Satan’s native language is deceit. In what ways has Satan attempted to deceive us in this current time? What are the two things Pastor Bob told us to do to keep from being deceived?
- What is the Sign of Jonah and why is it so important to us?
- What is the purpose of the signs and how should we respond to them?
*Do you have friends or acquaintances who have questions about faith? You want to have a meaningful conversation with them, but it never seems to happen. We invite you to attend our support group, Alpha. Alpha provides the perfect setting for this to happen. Simply invite a friend to join you over a home-cooked meal and watch a video that will stimulate meaningful discussions with you and others at your table. Alpha meets weekly on Thursdays at 6:30 pm in Room 216 starting October 7. Register online or by calling the church. There is no cost, but registration is required so that we can prepare an adequate number of meals. The course lasts 10 weeks. Here is a video preview: https://youtu.be/fViYK_Xb3Wg.