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Small Group Questions for Sermon Series Gospeler Week 5

Session 5: First Importance


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


Main Idea: A gospeler shares the gospel message and acknowledges that God is the one who changes hearts.


Head Change: To know the essential concepts of the gospel—that Jesus died for our sins and was raised to life in victory.


Heart Change: To feel empowered to share the gospel message clearly.


Life Change: To ensure that we include the core elements of Jesus’s gospel when we are having spiritual conversations.



What is your favorite meal?


Whether it is sweet or savory, we all get excited about our favorite meal. But what if something wasn’t right with the food? What if it was missing an essential ingredient? 


In our session today, Willie will explain that a spiritual conversation is like our favorite meal: it is only complete when it includes the key ingredients.


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 are the fundamental elements of the gospel of Jesus Christ?


What did Jesus do to help us live out his gospel?


Watch Session 5: First Importance (8 minutes).


Willie opened the session standing in his kitchen remembering many of the meals he had hosted there with people he loves. In what ways does sharing a meal with someone help create an atmosphere of acceptance and safety? When have you experienced deepening relationships because you spent time together at the table?


In earlier sessions, Willie encouraged us to get to know people and ask where God fits into their lives. But discussing behavior is not sharing the gospel. We must actually speak the good news. And, just like having the right tools prepares a chef to cook a delicious meal, knowing the gospel prepares us to be a gospeler. How comfortable are you telling someone what Jesus did for them? In your own words, what is the gospel?


It's tempting to think that everyone in our churches knows the gospel. But often we can be Bible-literate without knowing the foundational facts of salvation. So what is essential to know? Willie quoted from the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:1–8. How would you state the main points of the gospel message? How does Paul’s summary of the gospel fit with how you understand it?


Willie referenced the culinary “holy trinity” of his Louisiana recipes, the essential combination of onion, celery, and bell pepper. Without those ingredients, his meals just don’t taste right. Spiritual conversations without basic gospel information are missing the most important elements of our faith—Jesus’s death and resurrection. In what ways can we miss the mark when we don’t add these elements to our gospel conversations?


Jesus’s death, burial, and resurrection are the pillars of our faith. But, as Willie remarked, we can focus on teaching people religious practices—pray more, go to church, etc.—instead of the gospel. And while our spiritual practices are important, the gospel is of first importance. Would you say that the gospel is of first importance in your conversations? Why is it important to put the gospel before our spiritual practices?


Willie described how, after Jesus rose from the dead, he ascended to heaven and sent his Spirit to empower and enlighten his disciples. The Spirit in us produces godly character and good works so that we can live like Jesus, loving others and sharing his good news with them. When you share the gospel, to what degree do you include the Spirit’s work in the lives of believers? How might people be impacted to hear that, through the Spirit, our lives will be different?


When we host a meal, we can do our best to prepare and serve a delicious spread. But we can’t guarantee how our guests will respond. Our job is to be hospitable, not make them eat and enjoy what we serve. In the same way, when we share the good news of Jesus, we cannot determine how people will respond. What kinds of reactions have you received after sharing the gospel? How do you feel if the person rejects the message of Jesus? How might knowing that God is responsible for people’s hearts inspire you to share more freely?


Willie said his children did not appreciate his cooking for a long time. But as the years went by and they continued eating his home-cooked meals, they began to understand the value of what he was serving them. We can think of the gospel like Willie’s cooking—don’t give up if you are rejected once. Keep inviting people back and let God work on their hearts in his own time. How long did it take you to decide to believe the gospel after you first heard about Jesus? What might change if you saw your first gospel conversation as just the beginning of an evangelism journey?


Like children refusing vegetables, we don’t always realize that we need something good for us. Willie encouraged us to keep serving up Jesus and to continue sharing the hope we have because of Jesus’s death and resurrection. Who in your life needs God to change their hearts? What can you do to bring Jesus into their lives?


Willie mentioned the gospel message in 1 Corinthians 15. This concise summary of the gospel shows us why it is so important to include all the ingredients of the gospel and the danger when we fail to do so. Read 1 Corinthians 15:1–8.


In verse 1, Paul reminds his audience that he was the one who brought them the gospel and was a trustworthy source to remind them of exactly what the gospel message included. Somewhere along the way, the Corinthians had forgotten or distorted the gospel. Like them, it is easy for us to forget or confuse the gospel. In what ways can we change the gospel or swap it out for other “good” messages in our churches?


Paul then described the gospel as a message the Corinthians had taken a stand on and by which they were being saved (verses 1–2). The gospel was critical to the identity and unity of the church, yet he wondered if they were holding on to it. In a way, they seemed to have “moved on” from the gospel. But the message of Jesus is not just the entry point to Christianity—it is the foundation of our entire faith. How often do you remind yourself of what God did for you through Jesus? What are some dangers of “moving on” from the gospel?


Paul breaks down the gospel message into four parts. First, “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures” (verse 3). This is one of the most commonly known elements of the gospel. We all deserve the penalty for our sins against God, but Jesus stepped in and died in our place. When did you realize you were a sinner in need of saving? How have you been empowered to do good for others when previously you would have put yourself first?


Second, after Jesus died, he was buried (verse 4). This may sound obvious to us, but Paul offered it as proof that the gospel is true. He was saying, in effect, that our faith is based on historical reality supported by physical evidence. The gospel is not a myth—it is a historical reality. What confidence does it give you that our faith is historically verifiable? How might this truth encourage people you share the gospel with?


Third, “[Jesus] was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (verse 4). It’s astonishing to claim that a man rose from the dead. By rising again, he defeated sin and death, proving that he is God and establishing his kingdom through his followers. The resurrection of Christ was the central event in God’s plan to redeem the world. Why do you believe in the resurrection? What hope do you derive from it?


Finally, as proof of Jesus’s bodily resurrection, “he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve . . .” (verse 5ff). This was no spiritual, ethereal, ghostly sort of “new life” but Jesus’s physical human body. His earliest followers were fully convinced that he was alive because they saw, heard, spoke to, and touched him. It’s as if Paul was saying “Go ask Cephas and the disciples. Some of those who saw the resurrected Jesus are still among you.” Given the miraculous nature of the resurrection, how important was it that people interacted with him physically? To what extent does the testimony of eyewitnesses help convince you that a story is true?


Because Jesus’s body was raised, we can know that ours will be as well. Rather than a purely spiritual presence in heaven, our hope is in our physical, embodied, eternal future with Christ. When you think of heaven, do you imagine it to be a spiritual or a physical place? What difference does it make to your view to know that we will physically be with Jesus (Revelation 21)?


Later in 1 Corinthians 15, Paul says, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins” (15:17). If Jesus had died but not risen, death was not defeated, and sin still enslaves us. Our victory over death and sin is only possible through a risen, living savior. The gospel is good news only when all the ingredients of the gospel are present. In what ways can understanding the critical elements of the good news help you explain it with more confidence?


When we explain our faith to others, we must start with the essential facts. Jesus Christ sacrificed himself for us, died on the cross, and was raised to life again. Through faith in him, we are forgiven of all our sin, are empowered to love and serve him today, and can expect to be raised to spend eternity with him.


The gospel message is simple. As you share it, focus on these core elements, because it is good news for everyone!


Read: Read chapters 5–6 from Willie Robertson’s book, Gospeler.


Write: Write out the gospel in your own words, then share it with a friend. Dialogue together about effective ways to communicate the core elements of the gospel message.


Memorize: Memorize 1 Corinthians 15:3–5, “For I passed on to you as most important what I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve.”

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