This Means War — Week 9

/This Means War — Week 9
This Means War — Week 92018-06-19T14:44:22+00:00

Gather

Gather/Get Together

Review

Review Your Time Since You Were Last Together

Open

Open God’s Word

Understand

Understand & Apply One Thing

Pray

Pray For Each Other

THIS MEANS WAR SERIES OVERVIEW

Week Nine Group Guide

Throughout human history, there have been wars. Lasting days, months, even decades. But inside each of us a far more personal battle is raging. It’s one we’ll be fighting for the rest of our lives. And its impact will be eternal. This Means War is a multi-part series that will expose you to the real rules of engagement. And will equip you to fight and win the battle for your soul.

GROUP DISCUSSION GUIDE OVERVIEW

“A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all the strategies of the devil. 12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”  Ephesians 6:10-12

Whether we know it or not, we have all been born into a battlefield. An invisible, cosmic war is going on all around us. No matter who we are, we are participants in this eternal warfare and we often get caught in the crossfire. Spiritual battles are the same as physical battles in that we must be prepared, or they’ll take us by surprise and leave us at a decided disadvantage.

Leader Notes

• Did you ever leave home minus a significant piece of clothing? Briefly share any humorous misadventures you recall.
• Recognize the daily importance of putting on each piece of God’s armor.
• Thank God for making his armor freely available to all who will take it up in Christ’s name. Take a few moments in your group to express your gratitude for this gift.
PRAY for insight as you begin to prepare for leading your group. Ask for God’s wisdom, that the Holy Spirit will be the teacher and that you will be God’s instrument to lead the group to greater understanding and a willingness to commit to becoming more like God. Prayer should be your primary source of personal preparation for leading your group.

PLAN where you want to take your group in the next 60-90 days. Is your group strong in some areas and weak in others? How can you challenge the members to live more balanced Christian lives? Consider God’s five purposes for the church: Fellowship, Discipleship, Ministry, Mission and Worship, and make a plan to encourage your group members to growth and commitment in their weak areas.

PONDER YOUR PROGRESS after each session and at the end of a series. Reflect on what went well and what didn’t. Re-evaluation is key to your growth as a leader. Consider whether your plan is being effective in moving the group to greater understanding and commitment. How are you doing with leading the discussion: is it stimulating, challenging, and meaningful? Are you able to keep the group on track? Do you need to make some changes?

• This Sermon Discussion Guide is only a tool to aid you in meeting the needs of your group. For most groups there are too many questions to answer in one session together. After considering the needs of your group you may choose one of the following options:
• One section of questions;
• One or two questions from each section

• Feel free to adapt the format to meet the needs of your group. If your group is mature and wants to dig deeper, add Scripture and ask suitable questions. Remember that this is only a guide.

• The questions relating to the five purposes are helpful to develop balance and spiritual maturity in our lives. You can bring your group to an awareness of their needs in these areas by using these questions as a regular part of each discussion.

• Personal application is key to everyone’s growth and should be included in every discussion. When asked how he or she intends to apply a certain principle a group member may say, “I need to spend more time in the Bible and in prayer.” It is important for you to help group members make applications that are more specific and commit to a specific plan of action by asking, for example, “How are you going to begin?” An example is to get up 30 minutes earlier each morning, spending 15 minutes reading the Bible and 10 minutes in prayer. Encourage each group member to be accountable to the group for personal progress at the next meeting.

• As the leader your goal is to help bring the group into a stimulating discussion that helps the members recognize their need for personal life change. Ultimately you want them to be willing to commit to change with accountability to the group. Accountability helps us to persevere in our commitments and achieve the blessings of success.

TO WIN THE INVISIBLE WAR, I MUST:

Like a warrior on the battlefield, we must be “suited and booted” up for combat, prepared for fight or flight.
Be careful you’re not fighting the wrong battles. Paul tells us we are not fighting people, but powers of darkness. We must remain vigilant where Satan is concerned, so we are not caught off guard.
If you leave out any piece, you are vulnerable!

As you work through this lesson, whether or not you have time for all the questions, please take time to look at each piece of the armor, outlined below.
Make sure to review the Personal Application and Commitment at the end so you’ll know how to put your armor on each day.

Open your group with a prayer. This is only a guide – select the points you want to discuss.

THE 6 PIECES OF SPIRITUAL ARMOR

“Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. 15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:13-17

What is the first piece of armor we are to put on, according to Ephesians 6:14a?
* A weightlifter uses a belt to keep his or her back straight and stable. How does putting on the belt of truth keep you thinking straight?
* Why is it important for believers to have integrity?
* What do we call a person who knows the truth but doesn’t do it? What do we call a person who knows the truth and does it?

Read Matthew 7:24-27. During a bad storm or hurricane, what happens to a house built on sand? What happens to the house built on a solid foundation?
* What can you do to make sure your life is built on a good foundation?

Ministry – When we serve others, we are “doing” the truth. We are being the hands and feet of Christ. How are you serving in ministry? If ministry is not part of your current life plan, what will you do to incorporate regular service to others? Is there a way you can serve as a group? Discuss some options.

Some translations use the term “breastplate” in Ephesians 6:14b. What part of the body does the breastplate of righteousness protect?
• What is purity? Can we keep our motives clean by self effort alone? Why or why not?
• How do we apply what Jesus did on the cross to our inner struggle with impure thoughts and deeds?

What is important to have, according to Psalm 24:3-4?
• Satan will put impure pictures in our minds through what we watch, read, see, hear, touch, and think. What can we do to counter—or attack—this tendency to think impurely?

Fellowship – Being in fellowship with other believers, as you are now, is a great way to keep our motives pure. How can you help protect each other from evil influences? Discuss ideas and spend time praying for each other.

The kinds of shoes we wear when engaging in any physical activity matter. Back in Bible times, for example, the Roman soldiers had cleats on the bottom to prevent them from slipping or falling during battle. What do you imagine the shoes referred to in Ephesians 6:15 might look like?
• There are three aspects of peace: peace with God, peace with ourselves, and peace with everyone else. How would not being at peace in even one of these areas make us vulnerable to Satan?
• How can we accomplish Romans 12:18? What part are we responsible for?
• Why is it important to both live out and speak the gospel of peace?
Ephesians 6:16 tells us to carry the shield of faith. A shield protected the soldier from arrows, often dipped in oil and set on fire. Why would God call faith a shield?
• What kinds of burning arrows can the Evil One send to pierce our faith?
• How do we prevent these from piercing our armor?
• Based on Hebrews 11:6, why is faith important?

Worship/Mission – Trusting God to keep his promises and thanking him for doing so is part of worship. Share with each other a promise God has kept in your life. How can you use these kept promises to spread the gospel of peace? Each of you select one specific promise to share with others.

Ephesians 6:17a tells us to put on what piece of the armor? What do you think is this item’s special purpose?
Colossians 3:2 instructs us to focus our minds on what?
• With the advent of the Internet, we are able to fill our minds with anything. How should we filter this for ourselves and our families?
• Discuss the idea that we can control our thoughts and in so doing alter our heart.
According to Ephesians 6:17, what is the sword of the Spirit?
• Why do you think the Bible is so effective in the invisible spiritual war?
• How do you get the Word of God into your heart and life? List some practical things that work for you.
• If a person wants to start reading the Bible, where would you tell them to begin?

Discipleship – God’s Word is often thought of as his love letter to believers. Have you ever met anyone with a knowledge of Scripture, but who lacked the added benefit of the Holy Spirit’s understanding? Like Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:26-40), we all need help understanding God’s Word. Discuss ideas for how your group can participate in helping others become biblically literate, such as using the 40 Days in the Word materials.

Take a moment to review any assignments/challenges made during the personal application and commitment section of your previous meeting.  Seeing God at work in the lives of those who commit to Him is essential for growth.

PERSONAL APPLICATION AND COMMITMENT:

“Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.” Ephesians 6:18

Now that we know all the pieces of the armor God has given us, how do we put it on? We do it through prayer. For too many of us, prayer has become routine, like singing the National Anthem before a baseball game. But prayer is how we fight the battle! And just as in getting dressed for your day, the best time to pray for the battle ahead—the best time to put on your spiritual armor—is before you even set foot out the door.

Share with one another your desire to pray every morning, your current prayer habits, or a new commitment to pray for God’s armor daily. How will you go about putting on the whole armor of God? Consider this sample prayer:

Father, thank you for a fresh opportunity to engage in battle for your kingdom’s sake. Before I take another step, please clothe me in your whole armor: Your belt of truth that is the integrity to know and do the truth; the breastplate of righteousness that represents the purity of clean motives. Help me put on the shoes of good news, that by living and speaking your truth I can know your serenity. Let me take up the shield of faith that is the certainty of trusting in your promises. Place on my head the helmet of salvation, to protect my mind from foolish thoughts or choices. Finally, help me wield wisely the sword of the spirit by putting your Word into my mind every day. Thank you for wanting me to be victorious and for giving me this mighty armor of protection in the invisible war. Help me to remember to put on each piece every single day of the life you’ve given me. In Jesus’ name—amen!

Click for Podcast
Click for Outline

This Is A Custom Widget

This Sliding Bar can be switched on or off in theme options, and can take any widget you throw at it or even fill it with your custom HTML Code. Its perfect for grabbing the attention of your viewers. Choose between 1, 2, 3 or 4 columns, set the background color, widget divider color, activate transparency, a top border or fully disable it on desktop and mobile.

This Is A Custom Widget

This Sliding Bar can be switched on or off in theme options, and can take any widget you throw at it or even fill it with your custom HTML Code. Its perfect for grabbing the attention of your viewers. Choose between 1, 2, 3 or 4 columns, set the background color, widget divider color, activate transparency, a top border or fully disable it on desktop and mobile.

This Is A Custom Widget

This Sliding Bar can be switched on or off in theme options, and can take any widget you throw at it or even fill it with your custom HTML Code. Its perfect for grabbing the attention of your viewers. Choose between 1, 2, 3 or 4 columns, set the background color, widget divider color, activate transparency, a top border or fully disable it on desktop and mobile.

This Is A Custom Widget

This Sliding Bar can be switched on or off in theme options, and can take any widget you throw at it or even fill it with your custom HTML Code. Its perfect for grabbing the attention of your viewers. Choose between 1, 2, 3 or 4 columns, set the background color, widget divider color, activate transparency, a top border or fully disable it on desktop and mobile.