Small Group Leader Prep Page Starting Point Week 5

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Here’s a question we all ask at some point: “What can wash away my sin?” The answer: “Nothing but the blood of Jesus.“ 

We believe we are able to do better from this point on. We can say we’re sorry and we can ask for forgiveness, but what we have done still stands It’s like a weighty cloud that suffocates us.  If that’s the position you currently find yourself in, you are not the first. A king once wrote…

Psalms 130:3 (NLT) LORD, if you kept a record of our sins, who, O Lord, could ever survive?

Shame is a powerful force in our lives and it must be addressed. As you consider your starting point or your restart, you will likely have to look back to move forward

Forgiveness Is The Issue.  

Forgiveness.  Why can’t you forgive yourself? Why are you holding your past mistakes against yourself?  Why do you carry a sense of DEBT? It’s like you owe a debt to yourself that you cannot pay, and nothing seems to make up for it. There’s never an, “Ahhh, I’m done with that at last,” moment.

To Move Forward, Your Debt has to be Forgiven. This means you have to embrace something we are trying desperately to avoid…our sin. Of course, doing that will make you feel even worse, but perhaps it’s the only way forward. Every faith tradition offers a solution. But only one person ever offered himself as the solution.  

  • Growing up, did Christianity seem to be about what God wanted from you or what God had done for you? Explain.
  • What are some potential consequences of living with guilt and shame? How have you seen guilt and shame affect your life or the lives of others?

John The Baptizer 

John the disciple is given credit for writing the manuscript called John and three other letters in the New Testament. He took care of Jesus’ mother after Jesus died.  John the disciple tells us that somewhere around AD 30, another man named John began doing the strangest thing. He baptized people. The books of Matthew, Mark, Luke in the Bible, the historian Josephus, and the Qur’an all mention John the Baptist.  

Mark 1:5 (NLT) All of Judea, including all the people of Jerusalem, went out to see and hear John. And when they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River.

The New Testament says that everybody was going out to hear what John had to say. This was more than a day’s journey on foot. But, the Jewish religious leaders were curious, so they went. John’s message was so messianic. So they wondered, is John claiming to be the Messiah?  

John 1:26-27 (NLT) John told them, “I baptize with water, but right here in the crowd is someone you do not recognize. 27 Though his ministry follows mine, I’m not even worthy to be his slave and untie the straps of his sandal.”

The next day, John is doing his thing, and as he looks up. He sees Jesus coming down the bank of the river in his direction and he says the strangest thing— something that 1,500 years of Jewish tradition created a context for. 

For 15  centuries, Jews had been sacrificing sheep to cover their sin—to keep God’s punishment at bay. But everybody knew the blood of an animal could not make up for the sins of a person.

John 1:29 (NLT) The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

  • Consider John 1:29. What does it mean that Jesus will “take away” the sin of the world? What hope does that give you for your past? Why?

Jesus Is The Answer

Jesus, the Lamb of God.  Jesus gave them their biggest clue at the very last minute. On the night he would be arrested, Jesus gathered with the 12 disciples for the Passover meal. He said something so sacrilegious they should have all walked out or maybe even stoned him.   

Luke 22:19 (NLT) He took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 

From now on, when you celebrate Passover (the one your ancestors have celebrated for 1479 years), don’t do it in remembrance of the blood of a  lamb over a door or for the sake of God rescuing Israel from slavery in Egypt.  Do it in remembrance of me.  

Hours later, He was arrested, beaten, and lied about. Then, the hands that had healed the sick and raised the dead were stretched out and nailed to a Roman cross. 

The gospel writers (some of whom were eyewitnesses) include a seemingly unimportant detail in their accounts. Most victims of crucifixion suffocated under the weight of their bodies. However, Jesus bled to death. 

Twenty years later, Paul, the theologian, would put the events of that day into practical terms for us to understand.

Colossians 2:13-14 (NLT) You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. 14 He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross

  • Discuss the scripture above. What has God done about what you’ve done?

Forgive Yourself?

You Have Already Been Forgiven.  You are holding yourself hostage to a debt that has already been paid. Your job is to receive what has been done on your behalf.  

Every other faith system will give you something to do.  Paul said, “It’s been done. Now receive it!”  What you could not do, God did for you.  

If you asked Paul (the Christian killer), Peter (the man who denied Jesus), John (who ran for his life), the woman caught in adultery, or Zacchaeus (the thief) the question… 

“What  can wash away your sin?” 

They would say: 

“Nothing . . . nothing but the blood of  Jesus.” 

If you would like to speak with someone about this just send a text to 307-224-4404.

  • “You are holding yourself hostage to a debt that has already been paid.” If that’s true, how would it change your view of faith? How might it change the way you live?
  • Discuss Jesus as the solution for your guilt, shame, and sin. What are your thoughts on God providing a Savior so you can experience a relationship with him?

Used Under License from North Point Ministries