*NOTE TO DISCUSSION LEADER: Use these questions as you feel led. If a question doesn’t resonate with you, or you want to go in a different direction, go for it! Take the discussion where you feel God wants it to go. Our only request is that for each section, you discuss the final questions, “What does God want us to hear?” “What does God want us to do?” and then challenge each other, “What does God want ME to do?”
Looking back at your notes from this week’s message, was there anything you heard for the first time, stuck with you, challenged or confused you?
What is the one important thing you will take away from this weekend’s message or our community group discussion? Is there any challenge, difficulty or praise that you would like to share with the group for prayer?
Pastor Matt talked about the true gift of Christmas—namely that we are so lost, so unable to save ourselves, that nothing less than the death of the Son of God, himself could save us.
Describe a time in your life when “the lights went on” and you finally understood something that had eluded you for a long time.
WHAT DOES GOD WANT US TO HEAR?
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.
You have multiplied the nation; you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you
as with joy at the harvest,
as they are glad when they divide the spoil.
For the yoke of his burden,
and the staff for his shoulder,
the rod of his oppressor,
you have broken as on the day of Midian.
For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood
will be burned as fuel for the fire.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. (Isaiah 9:1-7)
What does it mean to “walk in the darkness”? Do most people who are in this state even know it’s happening? Why or why not?
What are the names of Jesus given in Isaiah 9:6? Explain what you think is meant by each one (specifically, Everlasting Father—why is Jesus described using father-imagery)?
In what sense has the Kingdom of God, and thus the reach, influence, and rule of Jesus, been ever-expanding since his birth?
What does God want us to hear? Based on the passage and above questions, what “takeaways” do you think God has revealed to you?
WHAT DOES GOD WANT US TO DO?
What can Jesus do for human beings that they will never be able to do for themselves?
In what ways are people tempted to try to do these things anyway? In what ways have you been tempted to do these things?
What does God want us to do? Flowing out of reading and interpretation, what action does this passage or the Spirit’s leading, call you to?
WHAT DOES GOD WANT ME TO DO?
What is it that you need from Jesus that you absolutely cannot do for yourself? Make that request of God your primary focus this Christmas season.
What does God want ME to do? What is the personal application and action step God is calling you, personally, toward?
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