Week 4: Who Do You Say?
Fellowship – Snacks or a Meal. (10 minutes with snacks; longer, obviously, if there is a meal)
Gathering Time (5-10 minutes). In pairs or groups of three, have each participant answer the question, “When was the last time you felt pressured to conform to someone’s or some other group’s desire?”
Group Dialogue (Approximately 30 minutes)
- What might it mean to “present our bodies as a living sacrifice” (notice the word ‘body,’ not the word ‘mind’? [Not just our intentions or thoughts, but the actions of our body should be a gift to glorify God.]
- What does it look like to be “conformed to this world”? What does it look like to “be transformed by the renewing of your mind”? What are some practices that can help us to live “transformed” and not “conformed”? [Spiritual practices such as corporate worship, corporate and personal prayer, corporate and private study of Scripture, fasting, journaling, etc.]
- What might it look like for a church community to truly embody verses 3-6? A community that takes seriously the call to humility (v. 3), honor and bless each other in their unique gifts (v. 4 and 6), and be members of one another (v. 5)?
- What do you already know about the area of Caesarea Philippi? (Use Study Bibles or other resources such as the internet to find out more, if needed.) This area was full of temples to various gods. It is the perfect backdrop for Jesus to ask his disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” What do we learn about Jesus from this passage?
- What do you think Jesus means by declaring to Peter, “on this rock I will build my church (v. 18)? [From verse 17, we can discern that it is the revelation of who Jesus is, “the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.” That is the foundation of the church.] How is this transformative to Peter? To all disciples? [We become part of the church family who are inviting others to live under this revelation of who Jesus is.]
- How is declaring Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of the Living God, not just something Christians do with their lips, but with their lives?
Prayer (10 minutes). Share prayer requests and respond appropriately.
Sending Forth (2 minutes). Ask for a volunteer to lead the group in prayer or read the following prayer in unison:
Living God, we give you thanks that we are not alone. You are ever-present, and we live this life surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 12:1). Give us the faith to commit our time and talents to serving you within the church and to those who are looking to belong in the family of God. Energize us to live with all that we are and to live the faith we confess with our mouths. Amen.