Central Community Church

Discussion Guide

Week 1 // “So Much More” // John 4:3

  1. Read John 20:31. What does John testify about in this verse? What does John want us to know about Jesus through all that he wrote about Him in the Book of John?
  2. Read John 2:1-11. Why was it so important not to run out of wine at a wedding? What was significant about wine to the people and what did running out of wine communicate at a wedding?
  3. How did Jesus respond to Mary’s request that He do something about the lack of wine, and then what did He do? Has God ever asked you to do something, and you had a similar response?
  4. What was significant about the jars that Jesus used to produce the wine-miracle in? How does Jesus redefine purity and what does that mean to you personally?
  5. Read John 3:1-21. What were the Pharisees known for and what was unique about Nicodemus’s meeting with Jesus? How did Nicodemus receive Jesus’ words?  How revolutionary would they have been to him?
  6. Share about the time you first heard the truth that Jesus spoke to Nicodemus. Were these words life changing to you? Did you experience a new birth?
  7. Pastor Bob said, “Jesus only did what His Father instructed Him to do. It was all about timing, all leading up to that perfect time when He would go to the cross. It’s not about my time. It’s about your timing, Lord.  So, speak to me and teach me to be about Your time and not mine.”  How have you experienced God’s perfect timing?  Have you stepped out in faith in obedience to God and seen God show up?  Has God orchestrated a meeting with someone by intersecting your paths to cross at just the right moment? Has God answered a long-awaited prayer and you then understood what the delay was about?  Share.
  8. “Now He had to go through Samaria.” (John 4:4 NIV) Why?  What was significant about this God-assignment?

Week 6 // “The Sword of the Spirit” // Ephesians 6:10-18

  1. What are the first 3 elements of the Armor of God that we are told to “put on” and what are the last 3 elements that we are told to “take up”? Describe each briefly.
  2. “The sword used by Roman soldiers was a short sword known as a gladius; and in the hands of a skilled man, it was a fearsome weapon. In fact, it became known as the sword that conquered the world. It was sharpened on both sides, making it lethal against an unarmored foe. The point was also sharpened, enabling it to pierce armor. Usually around 20 to 30 inches long, the gladius was not the medieval-style long sword usually associated with the armor of God. This Roman sword was light (around 2 pounds), short and designed to be wielded easily with one hand while the other hand grasped the shield. Its size meant it could be drawn in close quarters, and its sharpened edges made it a threat to any enemy who got too close.” (https://lifehopeandtruth.com/change/christian-conversion/armor-of-god/sword-of-the-spirit/) How does this description help you picture how the Word of God as the sword of the Spirit is effective in spiritual battle?
  3. “Relativism is the belief that there’s no absolute truth, only the truths that a particular individual or culture happen to believe. If you believe in relativism, then you think different people can have different views about what’s moral and immoral.” (https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/relativism) In this era where relativism is rampant in our culture, and the enemy’s strategy from the beginning is to question, “Did God really say?”, how important is it for you to stay alert with the sword of the Spirit in hand? How has the sword of the Spirit defeated the enemy for you in this type of spiritual battle? Give an example.
  4. “The all-powerful sword of the living God is able to cut through every defense our enemy can raise—down to the very division of bone and marrow. When wielded by a servant of God, nothing can withstand its ability to cut straight to the core of a matter and uncover the truth. As soldiers in God’s army, it is our responsibility and duty to use His Word to discern the truth and then follow it.” (http://www.freebiblestudyguides.org/bible-teachings/armor-of-god-sword-of-spirit-word.htm) Give an example of a time when the Sword of the Spirit proved valuable to you to win a spiritual battle.
  5. Pastor Bob explained, “There are three Greek words that the Bible uses to describe this “Word of God.” Graphe’ means “written.” It is the written word as in the Bible. The second use for the Word of God is logos meaning message. Jesus is the logos – the message of the Word. The third meaning for the Word of God is Rhema – which means “spoken” and it is the declared Word of God. This is the word used in Ephesians 6:17b. The sword the Spirit uses is the Ramah of God!” How did Jesus use the sword of the Spirit when he fought the enemy in the desert? (Matthew 4)
  6. In the Passion Translation, James 4:7 says, “So then, surrender to God. Stand up to the devil and resist him and he will flee in agony” and Psalm 119:11 says, “I consider your Word to be my greatest treasure, and I treasure it in my heart to keep me from committing sin’s treason against you.” Pastor Bob concluded his message by saying, “The way we defeat the devil is by Speaking the Word of God! Not by saying, “I think…” but by saying, “It is written…” How have you experienced this? What will you do to keep your Sword sharp and ready for battle?

Now that You’re Armored // Part 2

  1. The second marching order is what makes or breaks the defeat of the evil one, as the church grows not only larger but deeper, loving God with heart, soul and mind, and… thy neighbor as thyself.
  2. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. Matthew 28:19-20 When did we transfer this assignment to professional church leaders? Do you have a story of discipling someone?
  3. Discussion: “Non-discipleship is the elephant in the church; it is not the many moral failures, financial abuses, or the amazing general similarity today between Christians and non-Christians. These are only the effects of the underlying problem.” Which is?
  4. We love BIG and we love FAST. But many things in life cannot be had with BIG or with FAST. Can you add to the list you heard stated two Sundays ago when Dr Bob spoke?
  5. 1 Thessalonians 2:8 “We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the Gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.” Why are both of these important elements? – to share the Gospel and ‘our lives’ as well.
  6. Disciples are not made by or through great programs, great events or great church outreach. Transformation of who you are in Christ happens when you allow a few people to know you well. It is only in the context of personal relationships where questions can be asked, stories shared, sin confessed, pain or grief heard and felt, accountability offered and encouragement given within a person’s life crises. Have you witnessed the difference in these two environments? A group of 10 compared to 2 or 3.
  7. “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. John 13:34
  8. Finish by discussing the missing piece in most churches, where your heart may be with the great Commission and why you think Jesus promised to be with you through this to the very end. Would you pray for an opportunity to disciple someone?

Now that You’re Armored // Part 1

  1. What must I do to be saved? With this age-old question from a faith seeker, share the list of answers you have heard or imagine people have leaned on through the years.
  2. Consider Hebrews 9:12, Hebrews 10:19, Ephesians 2:13, 1 John 1:7 as we rejoice in the Gospel of grace. Based on these truths, what would you say to a seeker of God who asks the big question?
  3. “Pray much and make sacrifices for sinners, for many souls go to hell because there is no one to make sacrifices for them.” What do you think of this? What would you say to this writer?
  4. “By grace….through faith….unto good works” You all spoke this with Pastor Bob last Sunday. What does it mean? Can you attach this to a specific verse? Hint-Ephesus
  5. We tend to lean further toward a life focus of striving to live more ‘holy’ lives, in other words….to figure out how we can sin… LESS. What’s wrong with this?
  6. Sadly, the world defines the church more by what it opposes than by what it endorses and exists for. How did we get here? What are some solutions to this?
  7. Two key marching orders from Jesus: Read Matthew 22:36-39; Matthew 28:18-20
  8. If you love your neighbor as yourself, you will care enough about your neighbor that you will do whatever you possibly can to give them the most important thing there is.
    What is that most important thing?

Week 5 // “The Helmet of Salvation” // Ephesians 6:10-18

  1. Pastor Bob said, “I can control your actions by controlling what you think!” He explained how in sports this is called “trash-talking.” He went on to say, “If he can plant seeds of doubt or fear, or distraction, a player can control how his opponent will perform…thus influencing the outcome.” How have you experienced this?
  2. What is Satan really attacking; what is his strategy and how does God want us to respond?
  3. The Life Application Bible says this about the helmet of salvation, “Satan wants to make us doubt God, Jesus, and our salvation. The helmet protects our mind from doubting God’s saving work for us.” Read Ephesians 2:8-10. Explain God’s saving work.
  4. Read Colossians 2:6-12. How do these words give you the strength to stand firm in the battle?
  5. Pastor Bob said, “The offensive coordinator who sits upstairs tells the quarter back what he should be doing in light of what’s going on around him. In the midst of the attack of the defense, the offensive coordinator tells the quarterback…this is what you need to do to win…because he sees all things. Just like the offensive coordinator, God wants to be the only thing that speaks into your mind…want to know how he does it? The helmet must be anointed, anointed with oil! Spirit!” How have you experienced this? Share.
  6. Have you come under spiritual attack this past week? How did the Armor of God protect you? Share how the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of peace, the shield of faith, sword of spirit, and/or the helmet of salvation made a difference for you to help you stand your ground. What have you learned about God, about yourself and about the enemy through these attacks?

The Relational Jesus // Pastor Aaron Varner

  1. Icebreaker: have you ever had a stalker?
  2. Pastor Aaron mentioned a couple of possible ways to determine if we may be “stalking Jesus” (memorizing stuff about Him, but not in relationship with Him).
    • I’m living in isolation
    • I only hang out with people who look/sound/act/believe like me
    • I have an answer for all of faith’s questions
    • I place a higher priority on the written Word (Bible) than the Living Word (Jesus). (I focus more effort on my ‘quiet time’ in the morning than the rest of my day with Jesus)
    • I point to references more than relationship. If someone asks why I believe in Jesus/God, I start my answer with “The Bible says”.
  3. Which do you most struggle with?
  4. What would you add to that list?
  5. Jesus wants relationship….what do you need to do to move from studying Him to following Him?
  6. Share your testimony. Why have you chosen to believe in Jesus?

Week 4 // “The Shield of Faith” // Ephesians 6:10-18

  1. Describe the first three elements of armor we are to wear and describe their significance. Share any personal examples of how you have experienced their benefits.
  2. How did the soldier keep his shield from getting brittle? What does anoint mean? How do you give your faith a fresh anointing each morning?
  3. What is the point of Satan’s arrows? How did a soldier respond to the fiery arrows? What does water in Scripture represent? What are we to soak in the Word of God daily?
  4. “God’s promise is that we will extinguish ALL the flaming arrows the devil shoots our way!” Can you share an example when you have experienced this?
  5. Genesis 15:1 AMP says, “Afterwards, the word of Yahweh came to Abram in a vision and said, ‘Abram, don’t yield to fear, for I am your Faithful Shield and your Abundant Reward.’ When have you experienced God being your protector?
  6. Psalm 91:1-4 TPT says, “When you abide under the shadow of Shaddai, you are hidden in the strength of God Most High. He’s the hope that holds me and the stronghold to shelter me, the only God for me, and my great confidence. He will rescue you from every hidden trap of the enemy, and he will protect you from false accusation and any deadly curse. His massive arms are wrapped around you, protecting you. You can run under his covering of majesty and hide. His arms of faithfulness are a shield keeping you from harm.” How does this passage reassure you? What kinds of fiery arrows have you faced or are you currently facing?
  7. “In Ancient Roman warfare, the testudo or tortoise formation was a formation used commonly by the Roman Legions during battles, particularly sieges. The front line of soldiers held their Shields out in front of them and all the others held their Shields above them basically creating a shell-like armor thus shielding them against missiles from the front or above.” (https://www.thefewgoodmen.com/thefgmforum/threads/tortoise-formation.11922/) How have you seen the Body of Christ work together to shield themselves from the fiery arrows of the enemy? Have you experienced this shelter personally? Share your experience.
  8. Have you implemented any new patterns in your daily routine regarding the armor of God we have studied so far? Is God moving you to make any changes in how you think or react/respond to any spiritual warfare you have been encountering? Share.

Week 3 // “The Shoes of Peace” // Ephesians 6:10-18

  1. Picture the shoes worn by a Roman soldier: “They typically wore a half boot with the toes uncovered and spikes coming out of the soles.” (The Armor of God: Standing Firm in Spiritual Warfare by Gregory Brown). What are the benefits for a soldier to have the right shoes and what might be the result if he wore inappropriate, ill-fitting shoes or had none at all? What are the benefits of the leather strips and why were spikes essential for a soldier’s footwear?
  2. Read the following verses and describe the type of peace described here:
    Romans 5:1
    John 14:27
  3. Read John 16:33. What are we told to do with the troubles and sorrows we will experience in this unbelieving world?
  4. Read Philippians 4:6-7. How do you get this peace? How do you pray? When do you pray? How often?
  5. Read Philippians 4:8-9. What occupies your mind? What do you do with all the negative and even evil thoughts that bombard you each day?
  6. Read Colossians 3:15. Does God’s peace rule in your heart or does fear fight a battle for lordship at times? What kinds of things do you fear? What is your remedy for fear?
  7. “In hand-to-hand combat, if one side is only playing defense, he will eventually be defeated. He must also attack. Our battle as believers is not just defensive; it is in fact primarily offensive. We are called to advance the gospel everywhere in the name of Jesus. If you are not doing so, you won’t stand firm. Our feet must always be ready with the gospel.” (The Armor of God: Standing Firm in Spiritual Warfare by Gregory Brown). “But in your hearts set Christ apart [as holy—acknowledging Him, giving Him first place in your lives] as Lord. Always be ready to give a [logical] defense to anyone who asks you to account for the hope and confident assurance [elicited by faith] that is within you, yet [do it] with gentleness and respect.” (1 John 3:15 AMP) Can you give an example of how the footwear of peace was beneficial and “beautiful” to you as you brought Good News to another? (Isaiah 52:7; Romans 10:15)
  8. Pastor Bob said, “You are what you eat! AND…you do what you eat! Food gives you energy…Spiritual food is the same way! It is that which our spirit lives on, and that which your heart partakes of. So, what you partake of in the spiritual realm…is what you will become in the spiritual realm. If you eat the food of bitterness, lust, gossip, and worry…you will become impure, unclean, and anxious! But if you eat spiritual food that is holy and is of God…then you will have the power to accomplish the works of Gpd. You must make the Messiah the food you live om every day…and if you partake of the Messiah, then His nature will become your nature. He is in you and He is calm!” What are you eating and what is the result? What changes to your spiritual diet would you like to make this week?

Week 2 // “The Breastplate of Righteousness” // Ephesians 6:10-18

  1. Why is it important to put on the whole armor of God in the order it was given? What was the first element to put on and why is it so important that it goes on first?
  2. What is Satan’s primary strategy and how do we have victory over it? Share examples of how he uses this technique against us and how we fight it.
  3. When Jesus died on the cross, what two important things happened?
  4. Read Philippians 3:9 and Ephesians 6:14. What is the second piece of armor we are told to put on and why is it so important?
  5. Pastor Bob said, “If we are righteous in Christ up there…He should be righteous in us down here.” Acts 3:1-4. What is significant about the phrase “Look at us” that means in Greek, “Look into us”?
  6. Read 1 John 3:10. What does this scripture tell us about the righteousness we have in Christ?
  7. “The longer a soldier walked in his breastplate, the more glorious it became. It rubbed a shine into the plate. The result was…it blinded people. A legion of soldiers standing side by side blinded the enemy!” How does this happen when we wear the breastplate of righteousness? What is the result?
  8. “The Roman soldier’s breastplate was used to protect the vital organs such as the heart and intestines. In the Hebrew mindset, the heart represented the mind and will. The bowels, or intestines, represented emotions and feelings (Colossians 3:12) Therefore, the breastplate probably represents guarding our mind and emotions.” (The Armor of God by Gregory Brown). What does this mean to you and practically speaking, how do you do this? Give examples.

Week 1 // “The Belt of Truth” // Ephesians 6:10-18

  1. Pastor Bob said, “Don’t get all up in arms by what is happening around you…just stand firm! This is a call to arms…for all of us…in the midst of the chaos in this world, God’s call to us is this, ‘STAND FIRM!’” What are your thoughts and feelings regarding this call to action?
  2. Read Ephesians 6:10-14. What are the “Heavenly Realms” (verse 12) and why are they so important? Why is prayer so critical?
  3. Who is the enemy? How have you encountered the enemy personally in recent days? What does “when the day of evil comes” in verse 13, mean? How have you experienced this and how were you able to stand?
  4. “A Roman soldier wore a tunic under his armor, and a large leather belt ‘was used to gather his garments together as well as to hold his sword.’ The belt was the first part of the armor put on, and it held everything else together. It was crucial.” (The Armor of God: Standing Firm in Spiritual Warfare by Gregory Brown). What was the purpose of the belt for soldiers in the Roman army? How does the belt of truth in verse 14 have a similar purpose?
  5. How does Satan attack God’s Word? Give Biblical and current cultural examples. How does the post-modern concept of relativism feed Satan’s strategy?
  6. “It is common for people to call themselves Christians and yet not believe that the Bible is true and without error, even though Scripture refers to itself as true, perfect, inspired, and enduring.” (The Armor of God: Standing Firm in Spiritual Warfare by Gregory Brown). Why is Bible study so crucial for us to stand firm? How do you stay grounded in God’s Word every day?
  7. How effective is the Belt of Truth if you only know God’s truth but don’t live it out? What effective patterns have you developed to not only know truth mentally but to embrace it emotionally and spiritually and experientially?
  8. What benefits come from hiding God’s Truth in your heart? Do you have a plan to memorize scripture? Share.
  9. What will it look like for you to intentionally and mindfully dress in the Armor of God this week putting on the Belt of Truth?

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Join us Sundays at 9:00 & 11:00am in-person and online

©2022 Central Community Church//Privacy Policy