The BIG IDEA:
Bringing up the good news of Jesus Christ is the third “sound barrier” to break when seeking to have an impact for Christ in a person’s life.
It feels safer to talk about spiritual things in general than it does to talk specifically with someone about what it means to have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
Trust God for the power to bring up the gospel with people, knowing that it’s his power for salvation to all who believe (Romans 1:16).
Power source/plug (representing the gospel as the power of God for salvation)
- What I want the group to know and understand: That it’s worth taking the step of faith to bring up the gospel in conversation because it’s the power of God for salvation to all who believe.
- What I want the group to experience: Excitement about the opportunity to talk about the gospel with people; conviction that it’s a key step of faith to take.
- How I want the group to respond: By taking steps of faith in the power of the Spirit to talk about the gospel with people.
The SIGNIFICANCE OF THE TOPIC:
The gospel is the power of God for salvation for all who believe (Romans 1:16). But we can often be content merely to talk about God in a generic sense or simply to invite people to church or a Christian meeting. It’s important to realize the awesome opportunity we have to be God’s instruments in helping people experience his power for salvation as we take steps of faith to talk about the gospel.
The idea box is a place where you can find some creative ideas for leading this study. You might find videos, activities, or great illustrations that really bring the main point home. The ideas come from small group leader like you, so if you have an idea that isn’t in there, click below to share it with the community!
One day at lunch Jon asked Ivan about his religious background. It was a lot easier than he thought! Ivan told Jon his mother took him to church once in a while as he was growing up. But that was about it. Yet Ivan seemed interested in spiritual things and asked Jon questions about what he believes. Jon thinks it would be a good idea to talk to Ivan about what it means to have a relationship with Jesus. But he wonders how to do that. What would you tell him?
Leader, as you listen to responses from your group, emphasize the importance of explaining what the gospel is (the good news about Jesus Christ and how to have a relationship with him). Help your group to see that the gospel is the power for rescuing people from sin and death (see Romans 1:16).
Also help your group see that this study continues in the same Bible passage as the last two, focusing on breaking an additional “sound barrier” to influencing people for Christ: sharing the gospel.
1. Read John 4:13-14. What good news does Jesus give the woman? Why do you think Jesus brought up this good news to the woman instead of just having a “nice” conversation with her?
Jesus tells the woman that trusting in him brings unending satisfaction and eternal life. To make his point, he uses a metaphor of coming to him to drink the “water” he gives. He says that the water he gives would satisfy her in ways that physical water never would. This good news was so important that Jesus was willing to overcome a variety of barriers to tell her about it.
2. Jesus is saying that the woman is looking for something to satisfy her (physical water) that never will. What are things that people today look to to satisfy them?
Allow the group to discuss. Responses might include relationships, sex, money, food, the approval of others, exercise, and having your body look a certain way.
3. Read verses 16-18. How does the woman respond to this good news, and what happens next? What does this show about what kind of “water” she’s hoping to satisfy her?
Jesus tells the woman to get her husband. She says she doesn’t have a husband. Jesus agrees with her answer and tells her she’s actually had five husbands and is now living with a man who is not her husband. This shows that she’s been looking to the “water” of relationships with men to satisfy her.
4. What do you think Jesus is trying to accomplish by asking the woman to get her husband?
Allow the group to discuss. Through this question Jesus exposes the woman’s sinfulness. He helps her see that she’s been seeking satisfaction in relationships with men but hasn’t found it.
5. Read verses 19-20. In what way is the woman’s response a smokescreen? What are some modern-day smokescreens people bring up?
Allow the group to discuss. She acknowledges that he’s a prophet. But she seems to be starting an argument as a smokescreen, seeking to move attention away from the things that Jesus is exposing in her heart. Some examples of modern-day smokescreens can include the hypocrisy of Christians, science, and evolution.
6. Read verses 21-26. How does Jesus refocus the conversation on himself in these verses? How can we do the same in our conversations?
Allow the group to discuss. The woman focuses on the place of worship. But Jesus shifts her attention to the object of worship (God) and the means of worship (God’s Spirit). He does this in a way that points her to himself as the One who makes it all possible by being the Messiah (the One who rescues us from our sin). We can refocus conversations on Jesus by relating the topic of conversation to Jesus and asking people what they think about who he is and why they think that.
7. Read Romans 1:16 and Acts 1:8. What does Romans 1:16 say about why it’s so important to bring up the gospel as soon as possible, and what does Acts 1:8 say about where the power comes to do that?
It’s important to bring up the gospel as soon as possible because it has the power to save people from paying the penalty for their own sins and being enslaved to those sins. God’s Spirit empowers us to do this.
8. What is the gospel, and why is it important to bring it up with someone as soon as possible?
It’s the good news that God loves us in spite of our going our own way and that he’s provided Jesus as the only way of forgiveness and eternal life for those who turn to him and entrust their lives to him. It’s important to bring up the gospel as soon as possible because it has the power to save people from paying the penalty for their own sins and being enslaved to those sins.
9. Who in your life would benefit from you bringing up the gospel with them?
Allow the group to discuss. Lead your group to think about people they’ve already mentioned in the first two studies in this series. Help them think about possible friends, family members, classmates, teammates, and co-workers.
10. What are some questions you could ask to move from a general discussion about spiritual matters to a specific discussion about the gospel?
Allow the group to discuss. If no one brings it up, suggest questions like, “Would it be OK for me to tell you what I’ve learned about how to have a relationship with God?” or “Would you mind if I show you an outline that explains what the Bible says about having a relationship with God?”
Show them a copy of “Connecting with God” or “Would You Like to Know God Personally” or via the God Tools app. One benefit of tools like these is that they focus attention on the basics of the gospel. They also follow the example of Jesus’ interaction with the woman: showing the promise of a relationship with him, exposing our sin, pointing to himself as our Rescuer, and calling for a response to him.
11. When do you think God wants you to discuss the gospel with the person you identified in Question 9?
Allow the group to discuss. People in your group may respond generally (i.e.: as soon as possible) or specifically (i.e.: Friday after the football game) to this question. Either way, encourage them to take this step of faith as soon as possible since the gospel is the power of God for salvation to all who believe.
Our review cards are an excellent way to review your past lessons with your students before each study. Not every lesson has one yet but if we have them, you can find them on the PRINT page. Check them out and use them each week to help your students grab hold of the truths in these studies.
What ideas do you have that could improve this study? Are there creative things you do to bring this topic home to your students? Please share with the community clicking the FEEDBACK button or leaving a comment below.