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Small Group Questions for Sermon Series Gospeler Week 4

Session 4: Two Choices, Two Lifestyles


Every session has a point—what each participant should walk away from the discussion knowing, feeling, and doing.


Main Idea: As we learn people’s stories, we can help them understand where they stand with Jesus.


Head Change: To know it is essential to learn about people as we introduce them to Jesus.


Heart Change: To feel compassion and curiosity as we learn about others and what might be keeping them from Jesus.


Life Change: To engage someone in a gospel conversation by asking about their story. 


What is one of your favorite family stories passed down from a grandparent or parent?


Events from our family history can be entertaining, heartwarming, or even scandalous. And as we learn about our past, it puts our lives into context and helps us better relate to our relatives. In our session today, Willie will explore the power of learning a person’s story in evangelism. Understanding their life experiences will help us put the gospel into context for them and help them better relate to Christ.


Before viewing the session, here are a few important things to look for in Willie Robertson‘s teaching. As you watch, pay attention to how he answers the following questions.


What is the purpose of the line Willie draws in his diagram?


How can people cross from below to above the line?


Watch Session 4: Two Choices, Two Lifestyles (14 minutes).


Willie began by pointing out that people learn through different methods, and sometimes drawing a picture can be more effective than reading or talking. What is your preferred method of learning? In what ways do pictures, charts, and drawings help you make sense of biblical topics?


Willie emphasized the importance of talking to people about their life experiences, using a whiteboard, napkin, or any writing surface to help share the gospel. He started by drawing a long line to represent our lives intersecting with Jesus. As a person answers questions, Willie encouraged us to add a word or symbol above or below the line representing each important event they reveal. What do you find helpful about Willie’s method? How is it different from other ways you’ve tried to share the gospel?


Engaging in the whiteboard method may help a person think about their life trajectory for the first time. They may not have considered Jesus’s significance before or don’t know where they stand with him. Therefore, we need to realize that this conversation may require more vulnerability or depth than they’re accustomed to. How could empathizing with their vulnerability affect the way you approach the conversation? What could you do to create a safe and open environment to talk about their life?


Willie said people need to know how the lies they’ve believed about God, the gospel, or themselves have created problems in their lives. For example, it is not unusual for people to believe we are saved through good behavior rather than God’s grace. Or maybe they believe they will “get their life together” later but need to have fun now. Both of these examples lead people away from the gospel. Through conversation, we can help others see where their life has moved above or below the “Jesus line.” What lies or unbiblical teaching did you believe before hearing the truth of the gospel? How did believing wrongly about Jesus affect your relationships, choices, and life direction? How willing are you to ask sensitive, open-ended questions of people you may not know well? Which of your casual acquaintances can you engage in a spiritual conversation that explores their past?  


Asking questions about the events of a person’s past is not an occasion for us to judge them. Rather, we want to help people see their life’s trajectory, where their behavioral patterns look more or less like Christ. Without the bad news about where they stand, it can be hard to see the gospel as good news. Think of your life before Christ. Using your story as an example, how would you trace your life before Jesus? In what ways was the gospel good news for you?


Willie pointed us to Galatians 5:19–23, which offers us two lists of behaviors: one sinful and the other godly. These verses clearly point people to where they stand—above or below the line. When someone is able to evaluate their own life, they can conclude for themselves that they are far from God, maybe for the first time. How can you encourage someone in this process to be truthful with themselves? In what ways can sharing these verses take the pressure off you as you share the gospel?


It is normal to feel a lot of pressure to perform, say the right things, or know the answer to every question when we share the gospel. But the pressure is off, Willie said. God is the one who saves people, not us. So, when we share the gospel, we aren’t saving anyone, but we are creating opportunities for people to understand their need for Jesus. He will do the work in their hearts. In what ways does knowing you aren’t responsible for changing people’s hearts toward God affect your willingness to initiate gospel conversations?


As we talk with people about their past and guide them to consider their relationship with God, we as gospelers ought to be prepared to help them understand the gospel. What, in your own words, is the gospel? How would you briefly share it with someone in 1–2 minutes?


The whiteboard method is a tool that helps people see where their life’s choices and events have taken them in relation to God. But we cannot make them choose Christ. They can brush your conversation aside or continue asking questions about God. Either way, you’ve planted a seed that God can grow. What is your hope for sharing the gospel with a person? What will your response be if they decide to follow Jesus? What will your response be if they reject your presentation of the gospel? How might you continue to pray and hope for their salvation?


Willie’s whiteboard method draws our attention to the ways our lives do or do not reflect God’s ways. But how do we know what is and isn’t of God? Turn to Galatians 5:16–25 and read about the “works of the flesh” and the “fruit of the Spirit.”


To ”walk by the Spirit“ means our decisions are informed by God’s wisdom and reflect his character. It should be clear to others that we are Christians—or that there is something different about us—based on our actions and attitude. What do you think is the common stereotype of Christians today? In what ways would you want that reputation to change? What could you do to help people see your faith through your actions and attitudes?


When we trust in Christ and claim him as our savior, he empowers us to live holy lives, to choose right over wrong, and to know God more deeply. What behaviors changed right after you chose to follow Jesus? Which have taken more time and effort, slowly changing over time?


Verses 19–21 list several ungodly activities that Paul describes as “obvious,” including sexual immorality, idolatry, and sorcery. These public sins were typical of the pagan world he lived in, but today we don’t tend to encounter many sorcerers. Our culture has its own overt, sinful behaviors, the kind we would write “below the line” if using the whiteboard. What do you think makes a sin “obvious”? What “obvious” sinful behavior does the church identify today?


Other works of the flesh are more subtle but still obvious, according to Paul. While we may not be out partying or being promiscuous, we can be selfish, angry, envious, or hateful. Without Christ, we can be consumed by these self-centered attitudes. To what extent have you considered how your inner thoughts reveal the direction of your life? What practices can you begin to help become more aware of your inner, less obvious, life?


The fruit of the Spirit, listed in verses 22–23, are virtues developed in us by the power of God. Like a farmer plants, prunes, waters, and tends his fields, producing good food, the Spirit works in us to make us more like Jesus. But godliness doesn’t come naturally—it needs to be grown in us as our sin is pruned away. In what ways have you realigned your direction from old sinful patterns to a new “fruitful” lifestyle? In what ways have you seen a fellow believer grow in the way they demonstrate the Spirit’s influence?


It's important to remember, especially as we get to know people’s stories, that living according to the Spirit is not a pre-requisite for becoming a Christian. Godly behavior is a result of Christ’s forgiveness and the Spirit’s empowerment. The longer we walk with God, the more we will act like Jesus. What grace can you offer believers who struggle with particular weaknesses? How might you avoid a “try harder” message and focus more on the grace God offers to us while we are sinners?


Knowing the fruit of the Spirit can help us ask more insightful questions when we dialogue with someone about their life’s path. Whether we’re using the whiteboard method or just talking with them, God’s Word is a standard to help them measure their lives according to his desires. How would you encourage someone who realized they’d been moving away from God and wanted to turn around?


The church is full of imperfect people, but when we make it a habit to walk—point our decisions and habits—toward Christ, we become beautiful ambassadors of his love and goodness. If we all, together, are living like Christ, our community will be attractive to those who do not know Jesus. How would you describe your church community? How might your small group welcome visitors who are still exploring their relationship with Christ?


In verse 25, Paul argues that if we live by the Spirit—having trusted Christ—we should “keep in step” with the Spirit. When we consciously choose to obey God, it’s as if we are walking in the same direction as the Spirit. When we choose our way over his way, we’re out of sync. What can you do to match your steps more closely to your Savior’s?


Effective gospelers ask good questions. As we seek to tell others about their savior, remember that each person has a story worth hearing. Drawing people out to talk about their spiritual journeys can help them see God’s character and how far or close they are to him. With gentleness and grace, invite them above the line to Jesus.


Read: Read Chapter 4, “Storyteller,” from Willie Robertson’s book, Gospeler.


Memorize: Memorize Galatians 5:22–23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The law is not against such things.”


Practice: Try out the whiteboard method with a trusted friend whose story you are already familiar with. Let them give feedback on your approach, questions, and demeanor while sharing the gospel with them.

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