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Small Group Lesson

In Small Groups, we seek to grow as Christians, in the context of Christian community, by focusing on two categories: obeying God’s Word and doing God’s Mission.

God's Word

God made a covenant with Israel in the time of Moses. God promised to be their God and bless them. Israel promised to follow God’s law (Leviticus 26:1-46). Sadly, Israel sinned against God. As God said he would do if Israel broke the covenant, God sent Israel into exile. In Daniel 1 we read about Daniel and others being carried off into exile. Daniel 9 takes place nearly 70 years later. Read Daniel 9:1-2.

The prophet Jeremiah said the exile would be 70 years and this period of time is almost up. Daniel is over 80-years-old at this time. Daniel prays to God to ask for mercy. He asks that God would allow them to return to Jerusalem. However, when he prays, he also confesses the sins of Israel. These are sins that took place before he was even born. But he confesses them corporately. Read 9:3-10.

Daniel continued to confess sin and also recall God’s goodness. He recalls God’s covenant with Israel and God’s work to save Israel. Read 9:11-15.

Q: What are the past sins of your people that you should confess to God? Your nation, company, school, family, or group?

Q: What are the present sins of your people that you should confess before God?

Q: What can we do to correct those present, corporate sins?

Next, Daniel prays to God and asks for mercy not based on their goodness but based on God’s great mercy. Pray 9:16-19 as a group.


God's Mission
If those who have already died could communicate with us what would they say? Jesus told a sobering story in Luke 16:19-28:

“There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man's table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried, and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father's house—for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’...”

The Bible teaches that because all people are guilt of sin, those who die without receiving forgive in Jesus will perish in hell (2 Thessalonians 1:5-10). Though this topic is difficult to think about, nevertheless it is reality. The rich man in the story begged that someone might be sent to warn his relatives lest they also perish in hell.

Sometimes we are shy to speak about Jesus because we worry about causing offense or being rejected. But when someone dies, the reality of God, heaven, and hell will be plain to them and at that time they will think, "I'm glad someone warned me," or "Why did no one warn me?" Let the voice of those who have died compel us to risk offense and rejection for the sake of love.
 

Encourage One Another:

What opportunities has God provided to lead others closer toward knowing Christ? 

How have you seen God working in the lives of those you want to lead to Christ? 

Pray for One Another:
Share at least one name of someone you want to win to Christ. If you know, share your next action step in leading them closer to knowing Christ (for example: invite them to church, take them out to dinner and share your testimony, study First Steps together, give them a Bible or Christian resources, etc.). 

Commit to praying for one another every day: (1) For boldness and wisdom, (2) for opportunities, (3) for other’s open hearts.

Other Prayer Requests:

How can we pray for you? 

Pray together about God’s Mission and other requests and thanksgivings.