Small Group Guide:
Open with prayer.
Go around and give everyone a chance to share about how the past week has been. What’s one highlight? What’s one lowlight?
If your small group has talked about it before, feel free to use this time to hold people accountable to what they’ve asked to be held accountable for previously, and go through the “missional” part of this discussion guide.
Throughout this sermon series we are looking parts of God’s Word that involve the church. We’re talking about why we need the church, what the church is, what the purpose of church is, and common ways that the church gets off track. Today, we’re looking at a message that Jesus has for the church in Ephesus. He commends them for staying true doctrinally but implores them to return to their first love. By taking a look at this part of God’s Word, we learn how to avoid this same mistake.
“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands. 2 “‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. 3 I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. 4 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. 6 Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’
We need to realize that we can be theologically sound, and yet far from Christ
Matt. 7:21-23, James 1:22
Common Love Affairs:
- Theology and behavioral management
2 Cor. 11:13-15, Matt. 7:15-20, 1 Tim. 6:20-21, Titus 3:9
- Worship regimens and rote routines
Col. 2:8, Rom. 12:1-2, Matt. 6:5
Rom. 13:1-7, 1 Tim. 2:1-2, Matt. 22:17-21
- Buildings and programs
1 Pet. 2:5, Acts 20:28, Eph. 4:11-12
- Have you ever studied or hear this passage preached on before? What stood out to you?
- Do some reflecting. What was your relationship with God like when you were first saved?
- The Church in Ephesus was theologically sound, but their hearts weren’t towards God any longer (even though they started out with their hearts towards Him). Has there been a season in your life where you felt the same way, like your heart wasn’t towards God any longer? What was going on during that season of your life?
- Rate your heart during this season of your life. How is your heart towards God? What can you do to strengthen your relationship with God?
- How can you help other people to not make this same mistake that this church in Ephesus made? How can you encourage people to keep their hearts towards God?
- What is your biggest take away from this message? What did God teach you? Do you feel led to put anything into action? If so, what, and what practical step(s) do you need to take to be obedient to what God has led you to do? Who can keep you accountable to accomplishing this?
Pray for each other in your small group to be faithful take the step(s) that you shared above. Pray for each other and the interactions that they have with those who don’t know Jesus. Pray that God would soften the people’s hearts to what He has for them. Pray that God would give everyone opportunities to share the Gospel.
Share spiritual/missional conversations you’ve had where you live, work, and play:
Who did you have a conversation with that took a spiritual/missional turn this week?
What questions did you ask to discover where God is at work in their life, even if they are not aware?
How were you able to share your story of life change or how you have experienced Jesus?
How can you be intentional this week with people where you live, work, and play to have spiritual/missional conversations if the opportunity arises?
Who in your life do you think could be discipleable or open to spiritual/missional conversations?
Discuss the next step for your small group. When will we gather again and what purpose will it fulfill?