When Jesus finished his time on earth two thousand years ago, he said he’d return! He said we’d know he was coming back because there would be wars, catastrophes, and confusing religious teaching. We have all that! Are we living in the “end times?” In this five-week series, we’ll look at the New Testament book of 1 Thessalonians, which was written to people who had a lot of questions about the return of Jesus and the end of the world. We’ll discover God’s advice for living in a world that appears to be on the brink of self-destruction.
Group Discussion Guide
“Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God.” 1 John 4:9
Have you ever done something with what you thought were good intentions but later realized your intentions were not as noble? This can be as simple as being kind, so others think you’re a good person, offering to buy someone food only to view them as being in debt to you, or telling someone what they want to hear to make them happy.
As we begin to talk about what it looks like in the “end times,” we must remember that God is calling us to live well. He is just as interested in our motivation as our results. Our main calling as Christians is to live as a testament to who Christ is and invite others to join us.
Big Idea for this week
The best way to face the future is to let God influence our motivation
- Which do you think is more important about the end times: What will happen or how to respond to what happens? Why?
- What motivations do you think are important when it comes to living a life of faithfulness to Christ?
- Share an experience where you, or someone you know, had poor motives in an interaction. Why was that meaningful to you?
Go around your group and have someone read each of the following verses. Don’t comment specifically after each one, but rather use the questions below to guide your responses as you consider all the verses:
- 1 Thessalonians 2:1-6
- Philippians 3:7-9
- What do these verses say about our motivations as we live out our faith?
- How do these verses change how we view our lives and goals as we tell people about Jesus?
Now we’re going to read a little bit longer of a section. The Apostle Paul, in these next verses, is writing to the church of Colossae, encouraging them in their practice of how to live together. Notice how he calls the Colossians to act and relate to one another as you read these verses.
- Colossians 3:12-17
- What benefit is there to being gentle, humble, compassionate, etc., when living together?
- How can we “let the peace of Christ rule” in our hearts, as it says in verse 15 when thinking about the end times?
Based on the verses we just read, there are a few things that we can do in response. Take a moment to discuss these application questions as a group:
- How can you put these verses into practice in your daily life?
- What is one unhealthy motivation or idol in your life you can identify and give to God? For those comfortable, would you mind sharing this?
- What are some ways you can imitate God’s gentleness and love in your relationships this week? If there is a specific relationship someone has shared, how can the group help them continue to be an example of God’s love for that person?
Our lives cannot simply be full of Christian Do-s and Don’ts; God wants our hearts and intentions to be pure and full of love in the way we live. We have read examples of how we are being called to live as Christians in the end times. We can do the same if we rely on the truths of God!
- How can we, as a group, keep each other accountable to live like Christ this week? What is one practice we can do together to make this happen?
- Ask for prayer requests and conclude your time with prayer.
Daily Bible Reading
Use the S.O.A.K. method to reflect on the verses below.
Scripture: Read the verses several times out loud.
Observation: As you read the scripture, what do you observe?
Application: What is God wanting you to believe, do or feel based on what you have read?
Kneel: This is a chance to pray about what you have read and learned.
- Day 1: Colossians 4:2
- Day 2: Jude 1:20-22
- Day 3: 1 Peter 3:15-16
- Day 4: Hebrews 13:15-16
- Day 5: Ephesians 4:1-3
- Day 6: Philippians 4:4