Date: April 3, 2022
A Life of Persecution
The Point: Living like Jesus means being treated as He was.
Get Into the Study
Use the following to introduce today’s session.
Tom Brady has unretired less than two months after announcing his retirement from the NFL. When the 44-year-old quarterback announced his retirement in February, news reports pointed to quotes from Brady about the challenges of the NFL, both in terms of health and family. During his initial retirement announcement, Brady, who is married with three kids, referenced the importance of spending time with family. “I said this a few years ago, it’s what relationships are all about. It’s not always what I want,” Brady said. “It’s what we want as a family. And I’m gonna spend a lot of time with them and figure out in the future what’s next.” Brady also commented on the physical risks and how this impacted his wife. Brady said, “It pains her to see me get hit out there.”
An NFL career comes with challenges, but there are also benefits, and Brady appears to have decided the benefits are worth the challenges. Brady posted on twitter, “These past two months I’ve realized my place is still on the field and not in the stands. That time will come. But it’s not now. I love my teammates, and I love my supportive family. They make it all possible. I’m coming back for my 23rd season in Tampa.” Brady has chosen to remain with the NFL, for now.
We have been studying what life is like when we choose to remain with Christ. Living life connected to Christ has unfathomable benefits, both now and for eternity. But there are also challenges. This week we will study the warnings and encouragement Christ gives His followers about the challenge of persecution.
Nikki Wilbanks grew up in Tennessee before heading to California to study literature at Pepperdine University. After graduation, she enjoyed a decade-long career as a commercial real estate appraiser and investor. Having returned to Tennessee with her husband, she is now thrilled to be a stay-at-home mom and writer.
Get Into the Study Option (from Adult Leader Guide, p. 57)
To introduce the icebreaker question, play a video clip illustrating someone needing to prepare for a challenge. Then ask Question #1.
Live It Out Option (from Adult Leader Guide, p. 64)
To conclude the study, visit imb.org to learn about persecuted Christians around the world. Invite group members to pull up an infographic about persecution. Sometimes we forget that persecution is still very much a regular part of being a Christian. Highlight some areas of the infographic on persecution to make matters of prayer. Spend a few minutes lifting these matters before the Lord.
- Why are the most rewarding achievements in life usually the most difficult?
- What’s the most grueling (or stressful) event you’ve had to prepare for?
- When you hear the phrase “no pain, no gain,” how do you respond?
- How does living “not of this world” affect our witness?
- How can we be in the world but not of the world?
- How can we tell if we are being hated for being like Jesus, or simply for being a jerk?
- When have you seen someone living for Christ cost them a relationship?
- What are some typical excuses people offer for their rejection of Jesus?
- Why do people sometimes reject obvious truth?
- What truths can we call to mind when we experience hatred for the sake of Jesus?
- How does knowing something will be difficult help you prepare for it?
- How do Jesus’ words place us in the victory circle, even though He has not yet returned to earth to claim His kingdom?
For Those in Your Group
Send the following link to your group members as either a teaser before the group meets or as a follow-up thought:
Click here for a 20-minute podcast for both the group member and the leader.