Small Group Lesson
Read Genesis 3:15.
“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
This was the first prophecy about the coming Messiah—the one who would crush the serpent, Satan. As time went on, God gave more and more prophecies about the Messiah, what he would do, and from which family he would come. Genesis 3 said the Messiah would be the “seed of the woman,” meaning, “human.” In Genesis 12:1-3 we find out the Messiah would come through Abraham’s family.
Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
Abraham had two sons, Ishmael and Isaac. From which son would the Messiah come? Genesis 21:12b...
“Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.”
Isaac then had two sons. Through which would the Messiah come? The younger, Jacob, or the older, Esau? Genesis 25:23 tells us Jacob would be the one through whom God’s promise would continue.
And the Lord said to her, “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the older shall serve the younger.”
Jacob had twelve sons, Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, Benjamin. Who would have the Messiah, the ruler, come from their descendants? Genesis 49:10:
The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.
The Messiah would be from the tribe of Judah. We also learn that he would come from Jesse and David’s family line. In 2 Samuel 7:12-16 God said to David,
“When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men, 15 but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you. 16 And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.’ ”
The prophet Isaiah gave one of the most specific prophecies about the Messiah in Isaiah 7:14.
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
The Messiah would be identified by the virgin birth. The Messiah would also be Immanuel, “God with us.” Jesus would be God in flesh but the seed of a woman. Jesus was not 50% God and 50% man. He came as 100% God and 100% man in order to save us. His name, “Jesus” means “Yahweh saves.”
For centuries before Christ, God gave his people prophecies about the Messiah. As the centuries passed, the prophesies became more and more specific even stating that the Messiah would suffer for sins and rise from the dead (Isaiah 52:13-53:12). However, we who live after the first coming of Jesus, get to look back with clarity on the life and work of Jesus, the Messiah (Ephesians 3:7-13; 1 Peter 1:10-12).
If you have time, read the Christmas story in Matthew as a small group. Matthew 1:18-25:
Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.
God's Mission: Practical Ideas Around Christmas TimeHere are some practical ideas for how you can take advantage of the Christmas season by guiding people toward church, Christians and Christianity.
Talk About Christmas
Strike up conversations about Christmas with friends, family and co-workers. Ask the people in your daily life if they know why Christmas first started and why Christians all around the world still celebrate it today. Share with people about the first Christmas, letting them know that Christmas is a time when we celebrate God giving Jesus, his Son, to the world. John 3:16 is a great verse to share: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."
Invite People to Christmas Events at Church
Many non-Christians are willing and even interested in coming to church at Christmas time, because it feels festive. Even people you have invited to church in the past who have said no, might come to a Christmas event. Christmas Eve service is extra popular among non-Christians, so use flyers and social media to spread the word about our Candlelight Service. Pray that God will give you opportunities to invite people to church and pray that they would come and be open to the gospel. Who will you invite?
Think About Others (First Time Visitors, New People & Non-Christians)
Talk to Them
It is easy to become so comfortable at church that we can forget one of the main reasons we are there—to serve others. We can also forget what it felt like to be a non-Christian or a new person at church. Let’s encourage one another to think about non-Christians, visitors and new people and intentionally try to serve them. A few ways to do that is to actively look for faces you don’t recognize, go up and introduce yourself and have a conversation with them. Many church experts say that for a new person to feel welcomed and want to return again, they need to have three meaningful connections. That could be meeting the greeters, saying hello to a pastor and having a conversation with you during cafe time. Of course, connecting with friends after church is important, but try to only talk to new people and people you don’t know for the first 15 minutes following service. If all the Christians at our church did this, every new person and visitor would feel welcomed. Share a good experience you had meeting a new person.
Make Room for Them
God is growing our church! The average attendance at church in November was over 130 people per week. Praise God! And even though we have 200 chairs on the 3rd floor, people who come late can have a hard time finding a place to sit. And usually the people who come late are first time visitors and non-Christians. We want them to easily find a place to sit. Everyone can help with this by sitting close to the front and in the center of the row. End seats are the most popular, so let’s leave those for latecomers and visitors.
Invite Them to First Steps
Many church members have been bringing non-Christians friends to service, where they can meet Christians and hear the gospel. This is great and can naturally lead to inviting that friend to go through First Steps after service. In most situations, a friend would rather go to lunch with you than sit in First Steps alone, so why not go through First Steps with your friend? You can say something like, “I’m going to the First Steps Class Pastor Jay talked about. Would you like to come with me?” Offering to do it together will make your friend much more likely to say yes. And there is no greater gift you can share with your friend than how they can be reconciled to their Creator.
Disciples Making Disciples
The book of Acts tells of the supernatural and explosive growth of the early church. Despite persecution and many hardships, despite the lack of modern travel and technology the gospel message rapidly spread throughout Asia, Africa, and Europe. How did the gospel spread so quickly and broadly? Certainly it was the work of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit worked through the bold verbal proclamation of the gospel message by ordinary disciples everywhere they went. Certainly it included strategic and intentional efforts to take the gospel and start new churches in place where it had yet to be proclaimed.
Paul gives us an insight to another important factor in the rapid multiplication: 2 Timothy 2:2 "...and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also."
When you lead someone to Christ begin to disciple them using the Next Steps. Teach them how to share Christ with their friends and family. You don’t have to be an expert in evangelism because one of the best way to train them will be to share your own experiences, trials, and victories. Holding one another accountable, setting bi-weekly goals, and praying together will help lead them to soon begin making and training disciples who will make and train disciples. May more and more people experience the great love of our God and Savior Jesus Christ!
Encourage One Another:
What opportunities has God provided to lead others closer toward knowing Christ?
How have you seen God working in the lives of those you want to lead to Christ?
Pray for One Another:
Share at least one name of someone you want to win to Christ. If you know, share your next action step in leading them closer to knowing Christ (for example: invite them to church, take them out to dinner and share your testimony, study First Steps together, give them a Bible or Christian resources, etc.).
Commit to praying for one another every day: (1) For boldness and wisdom, (2) for opportunities, (3) for other’s open hearts.
Other Prayer Requests:
How can we pray for you?
Pray together about God’s Mission and other requests and thanksgivings.