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ESSENTIALS OF

GROWING IN CHRIST
LEADER GUIDE
This training was created by Harvest Bible Chapel.

Copyright © 2018 Harvest Bible Chapel. All rights reserved.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references taken from The Holy Bible, English
Standard Version (ESV), copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing
ministry of Good News Publishers. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Introduction

Session 1: The Gospel

Session 2: Identity in Christ

Session 3: The Bible

Session 4: Prayer

Session 5: The Church

Session 6: Worship Christ

Session 7: Walk with Christ

Session 8: Work for Christ


WELCOME
.....................................................................................................
If you’ve ever been camping, you know there are a few tools you’ll need for a
successful trip. You’ll need water, food, shelter—and if you’re a hiker, some sturdy
boots. As you gain experience, you might add more tools to your pack. Maybe you’ll
bring along a camp stove or a water filtration unit. But no matter what you add over
time—those first few essentials never change.

Think of this class like your first camping trip. We’ve packed the essentials for you.
We’ll start with the Gospel and your new identity in Christ. We’ll focus in on what we
believe about the Bible, prayer, and the church. Finally, we’ll uncover what it means to
be a disciple as we worship Christ, walk with Christ, and work for Christ.

You’re opening this book or taking this class because you have a desire for more in
your faith. More understanding. More victory. More faith. You have the desire to grow.
Over the years that we’ve been teaching these topics, we’ve seen God use these
truths from His Word to overcome strongholds, repair marriages, and transform lives.
We are praying that for you.

Growing in Christ takes a lifetime—and there’s no better time to start.

TEACHER:
Please visit www.harvestsmallgroups.com/essentials for resources
to help you teach this class. You’ll find teaching summaries for each
chapter and a powerpoint presentation you can download and use. These
resources are free to use. We hope you’ll find them beneficial.

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Because, if you confess with your
mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe
in your heart that God raised Him
from the dead, you will be saved.
For with the heart one believes and
is justified, and with the mouth one
confesses and is saved.

ROMANS 10:9-10

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SESSION 1

THE GOSPEL

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INTRODUCTION
What do you know about God? Perhaps you know very little about Him or even have
doubts about His existence. Maybe you have never thought much about God, or you
have thought about Him but keep making excuses to ignore Him. Whatever your view
of God, it doesn’t change the fact that He wants you to know Him!

You might be thinking, “If God created me to be in a relationship with Him, why don’t
I have one?” Well, we all know what relationships are like. They’re messy and easily
broken. Usually, relationships are damaged when one individual makes things more
about themselves than about the other person. In a similar way, we have all done the
same thing to God. Despite the fact He created and loves us, each of us has chosen
to make life more about ourselves. As a result, we have not given Him His rightful
place in our lives. We are born wanting to live a life that’s more pleasing to us than it
is to God. This selfish tendency is called sin. The Bible is clear: “All have sinned and
fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

The bad news is your sin separates you from God. Although He still desires to have
a relationship with you, it isn’t possible. Your sinful nature is a barrier between you
and God’s holy character and nature. When sin is present and you desire to please
yourself more than God, you’re making a decision to shut Him out of your life. You
end up with a massive debt of personal sin, and there is nothing you can do to pay
for it. In fact, God says, “The wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23) You are helpless.
Unless you’re rescued, your debt will be judged and punished by eternal separation
from God.

Thankfully, there is good news. Instead of leaving you with a debt you could not pay,
God transferred your debt to His perfect Son Jesus Christ. Incredibly, God then took
the perfect life of Christ and credited His perfection to all who would follow Him. As a
result, Jesus received the punishment for your sin! All we need to do to receive this
amazing gift is to simply ask for it and believe that God is willing to forgive us if we put
our faith in Him.

In this session, we’ll learn details of God’s plan straight from the Bible through the
Five Gospel Words.

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THE FIVE GOSPEL WORDS
1. GOD
“In the beginning, God …” Genesis 1:1

Who is God?

eternal
• God is ___________________ (Psalm 90:2)

holy
• God is ___________________ (Isaiah 6:3)
creator
• God is ___________________ (Genesis 1:12, Psalm 8:3-4)

How does God act?

• God ___________________
loves (Psalm 145:8)

rules
• God ___________________ (Acts 17:28)

• God ___________________
judges (Psalm 9:7-8)

NOTES:

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2. SIN
“But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God,
and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.” Isaiah 59:2

SIN = ___________________
missing the mark

What is sin?

• ___________________
Denying God exists (Romans 1:18-21)

• ___________________
Determining who God is (Romans 1:22-25)

• ___________________
Disobeying what God says (Romans 1:28-32)

What are the consequences of sin?

• Immediate ___________________
damage (Genesis 3:1-7)

• Everyone is ___________________
guilty (Romans 3:23)

• Separation from ___________________


God (Isaiah 59:2)

• Death for ___________________


eternity (Romans 6:23, 2 Thessalonians 1:9)

NOTES:

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3. SUBSTITUTION
“For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might
become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

SUBSTITUTION = ___________________
Jesus in my place

Jesus came to save.

• Jesus is ___________________
sinless (1 Peter 1:19)

• Jesus ___________________
died for the sins of man (1 Corinthians 15:3)

rose victorious
• Jesus ___________________ over sin (1 Corinthians 15:54-57)

Jesus can save me.

• Jesus is my only ___________________


hope (John 14:6)

• Jesus is my provided ___________________


substitute (1 John 2:2)

• Jesus is my path to ___________________


justification (Romans 3:24)

NOTES:

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4. BELIEVE
“Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that
God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9

Believing doesn’t necessarily mean you have all the evidence and data
you need. Nor does it mean you have everything figured out and have
no further questions. It does mean more than agreeing and saying, “I
understand.” True belief is when you personally acknowledge you are
a sinner and that Jesus paid for your sin, asking for and receiving His
forgiveness, and trusting He has rescued you from the debt you could
never pay. In response to Jesus taking on your debt, true belief means
choosing to live for Him rather than yourself. The same power that
raised Him from the dead will give you the power to do it.

Accept

• God ___________________
hates my sin (Romans 1:18)

• God will ___________________


judge my sin (Revelation 20:11-15)

Believe

• I embrace that Christ ___________________


died for my sin (Romans 5:8)
substitute
• I choose Christ as my ___________________ (John 3:17)

Confess

• I proclaim my sins are ___________________


forgiven in Christ (1 John 1:9)

follow
• I declare I will ___________________ Christ (Matthew 16:24-25)

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5. LIFE
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold,
the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

There is something even better about this kind of life: It is eternal.


That means the true life we receive through Jesus Christ is never
ending. Yes, our life in this world will end, but Jesus gives us life
even after death. That life is far better because there will be no
more suffering, no more sin, no more struggles. Eternal life is lived
alongside Jesus forever and ever.

dead
• You were ___________________ in sin (Ephesians 2:1)

• You ___________________
have life in Christ (Ephesians 2:4-5)

will receive
• You ___________________ eternal life (1 John 5:11-13)

NOTES:

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GROUP DISCUSSION
Break into small groups with others around you. Spend the remainder of your time in this
session discussing the following questions. Be sure to use Scripture as appropriate.

1. What stuck out to you most about each of the following:

• God -

• Sin -

• Substitution -

• Believe -

• Life -

2. Why does our sin condemn us and separate us from God?

3. When did you confess Christ as your Savior?

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4. What does it mean for you to have life in Christ?

5. What area of your life needs to be more fully submitted to Jesus Christ?

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STUDY AT HOME
Take a few minutes during the week to review. Further your understanding by answering
the following questions:

1. List out the Five Gospel Words (from memory if possible):

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

2. Which of the Five Words do you most fully understand? Which of the five
Words do you feel the least able to explain to someone else? Come up with a
few questions to ask your leader next week:

3. Write these Five Words in the front cover of your Bible. Use your notes to
write a corresponding verse next to each word.

4. Spend some time reflecting on each word and the verse that goes along with
it. These are great verses to read often and/or memorize.

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Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is
a new creation. The old has passed
away; behold, the new has come.

2 CORINTHIANS 5:17

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SESSION 2

IDENTITY IN CHRIST

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INTRODUCTION
When we think about our identity, we think of those qualities that describe us as a
person. What are our likes and dislikes? What are we good at? What are we known
for? When we receive salvation in Jesus Christ, we give up our old identity in favor of
a new identity in Christ. So what does it mean to find our identity in Jesus Christ?

The first step to understanding our new identity is to realize we have a new position
before God. Without Jesus Christ, our sin separates us from God. The Bible says we
were dead in our sins and destined for eternal punishment, but God intervened and
sacrificed His Son so that we could be made alive again in Him. With our new position
before God, we can now have a personal relationship with Him, and His Holy Spirit
can now dwell within us because the blood of Jesus has cleansed us!

The next step is to understand that because of our new position before God, we are
free to practice our faith by worshipping God and loving others. The world says our
identity should be all about us. It says we should be striving to get ahead, to make
sure our needs are taken care of, and to provide for ourselves. But God says, “I will
provide all your needs.” God’s provision allows us to focus on serving Him with our
entire being.

The last step is finding our new purpose in Christ. The Bible says that those of us who
have accepted Jesus into our lives will find true Life. When we understand our new
identity in Jesus, we can begin to understand what real living and real purpose look
like. We no longer need to live for ourselves because God is providing all our needs,
and so we find that our new purpose is all about loving God and loving others!

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IDENTITY IN CHRIST
POSITION - ALIVE THROUGH CHRIST
• I am ___________________
new in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17, 21)

old self
• My ___________________ is crucified with Christ (Galatians 2:20)

live
• I choose to ___________________ through Christ (Romans 6:11-13)

ATONEMENT
I WAS BUT GOD NOW I AM
DEAD SACRIFICED ALIVE
CONDEMNED SUBSTITUTED LOVED
SEPARATED RECONCILED ADOPTED
ENSLAVED REDEEMED FREE

PRACTICE - LIVING OUR NEW IDENTITY


• ___________________
Connecting with Jesus (John 15:1-3)

Submitting
• ___________________ to Jesus (John 15:4-6)

• ___________________
Becoming like Jesus (John 15:7-8)

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PURPOSE - FINDING TRUE LIFE IN CHRIST
ministry
• I have a ___________________ (2 Corinthians 5:18)

• I have a ___________________
message (2 Corinthians 5:19)

• I am Christ’s ___________________
representative (2 Corinthians 5:20)

OLD FOCUS NEW FOCUS

POSITION Self-Centered Christ-Centered

PRACTICE Self-Reliant Christ-Dependent

Self-Serving Christ-Exalting
PURPOSE My motivation is my My motivation is
achievement His glory

NOTES:

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GROUP DISCUSSION
Break into small groups with others around you. Spend the remainder of your time
in this session discussing the following questions. Be sure to use Scripture as
appropriate.

1. How can you tell if you’re living out of your old identity instead of who you
are in Christ?

2. Share your own personal testimony (I was / but God / now I’m) with the
group.

3. What does it mean to be crucified with Christ?

4. What “fruit” in your life demonstrates your new position and purpose in
Christ?

5. How are you delivering God’s message of reconciliation to others?

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STUDY AT HOME
Take a few minutes during the week to review. Further your understanding by answering
the following questions:

1. Read 2 Corinthians 5:17 each day this week.

2. The first step in living our new life in Christ is to understand how our new
life differs from our old life. Consider these categories as you work on these
questions this week: financial, relational, mental, verbal, and emotional.

• In what ways are you continuing to live like you did before becoming a new
creation in Christ?

• In what way is your mind being transformed through Christ?

• What is God calling you to let go of that is holding you back from living for Him?

3. Read Philippians 2:3-4. How should your new identity in Christ change the
way you view others? What changes do you need to make in your life in the
way you treat others?

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All Scripture is breathed out by
God and profitable for teaching,
for reproof, for correction, and for
training in righteousness, that the
man of God may be complete,
equipped for every good work.

2 TIMOTHY 3:16-17

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SESSION 3

THE BIBLE

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INTRODUCTION
There is nothing common about the Bible. It is God’s divine revelation of Himself:
unparalleled and unmatched in every way. Simply put, the Word of God contains the
very words of God.

The Bible is a library of 66 books (39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New
Testament) that form one book and one story, showing divine unity and continuity.
The Bible was written in three languages (Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic) over a period
of 1,500 years by 40 authors from all different backgrounds and life experiences with
one central message: the good news of Jesus Christ.

Like a telescope that becomes more focused, Scripture progressively makes God’s
plan through Jesus Christ more and more clear. The Old Testament points to the
coming of Christ, the Gospels to the appearance of Christ, Acts to the preaching of
Christ, the Epistles to the body of Christ, and Revelation to the return of Christ.

The Bible is not like any other book; the Word of God is living and active. “For the
word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the
division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and
intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12) God’s Word is powerful. It convicts, corrects,
and comforts. It provides help, hope, and healing. It communicates who God is, and
calls us to follow Him.

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WHAT WE BELIEVE
ABOUT THE BIBLE
1. GOD’S WORD IS AUTHORITATIVE
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for
correction, and for training in righteousness.” 2 Timothy 3:16

• It is ___________________
inspired (2 Peter 1:21)

It is God-breathed revelation.

• It is ___________________
inerrant (Psalm 119:160)

It is accurate, truthful, trustworthy, and incapable of error in


its original manuscripts.

reliable
• It is ___________________

It is supremely verifiable above any literature in human history.

WHEN WRITTEN EARLIEST COPY TIME SPAN MANUSCRIPTS

CAESAR 100–44 BC AD 900 1000 YEARS 10

PLATO 427–347 BC AD 900 1200 YEARS 7

ARISTOTLE 384–322 BC AD 1100 1400 YEARS 49

HOMER 900 BC 400 BC 500 YEARS 643

BIBLE AD 40–100 AD 125 25 YEARS 25,000

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2. GOD’S WORD IS SUFFICIENT
“That the man of God may be complete, equipped for every
good work.” 2 Timothy 3:17b

• Sufficient for ___________________


revealing God (John 1:1-3)

• Sufficient for ___________________


life and ___________________
godliness
(2 Peter 1:3-4)

“The Bible is one hundred percent accurate in all that it asserts


and constitutes all truth essential for human happiness.”
James MacDonald

NOTES:

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HOW WE RESPOND
TO THE BIBLE
ABIDE
1. ______________ IN GOD’S WORD CONSISTENTLY (MATTHEW 4:4)
• God wants to meet with you in His Word and satisfy the longings
of your heart.

DISCIPLINE DESIRE DELIGHT

APPLY
2. ______________ GOD’S WORD (JAMES 1:22-25)
• Genuine application is not about good intentions, but rather putting
God’s Word into practice.

“One step forward in obedience is worth years of study about it.”


Oswald Chambers

SHARE
3. _______________ GOD’S WORD WITH OTHERS (EPHESIANS 4:15)
• Sharing God’s Word with others: honors God, blesses people, and
grows God’s truth in your life.

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HOW TO
STUDY THE BIBLE
GETTING STARTED
As you get started, think through these essentials:

TIME – When will I study? PLAN – What will I study?

PLACE – Where will I study? TOOLS – What do I need in order to study well?
Bible, journal, pen, pencils, and highlighters
Optional: commentaries and online Bible tools

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OBSERVATION
Reading the Bible regularly is good. Careful study of the Word is better. It may be difficult at
first, but take the time to struggle through it and you’ll develop a skill. You’ll start by patiently
making observations and writing them down.

“Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.” Psalm 119:18

READ THE TEXT: Begin by reading the whole chapter to get an idea of the content,
context, and flow. Then go back and study a paragraph at a time, including each verse
and word in the paragraph.

MAKE OBSERVATIONS: Look for context (who, what, where, and when), keywords
(significant, repeated, emphasized), transition words (because, therefore, so then,
but), and commands (clear action statements).

MARK UP THE PASSAGE: Write in your Bible. Circle, underline, and highlight.
Write in the margins.
AVOID using additional Bible study tools initially; do not cut corners in this
step of self-discovery.

WHAT DOES THE WORD SAY?

INTERPRETATION

When you make observations, the truth of God’s Word becomes clearer to you. Now, take
the next step of confirming the intended meaning.

REFER to an ESV Study Bible for additional study notes, insights, historical
background, and more.
RESEARCH THE CONTEXT: What did this mean to the original audience?
• Who… is the author? is the audience? is being discussed? is accomplishing the
action?
• When… did the events take place? will it happen?
• Where… is the author? the action taking place?
• What… is the main theme? is the meaning of key words? is the significance of a
phrase?
• Why… did God choose each word? did God give a specific command? did God
connect these ideas?
CONSIDER THE GENRE: historical, poetic, prophetic, parable, epistle. How would
this affect the meaning?
CHECK cross-references to see how the passage or a word relates to other verses.
SUMMARIZE these truths in your own words.

WHAT DOES THE WORD MEAN?


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APPLICATION

“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” James 1:22

ASK God to SPEAK to you through these verses. Are there:


• Sins to confess?
• Promises to claim?
• Examples to follow?
• Actions to obey?
• Knowledge to grow in?

EMBRACE what God’s Word says is true about your identity.


WRITE OUT at least one specific application in your journal or on an
index card.
PRACTICE the specific application in your life and relationships.

HOW WILL I RESPOND TO THE WORD?

MEDITATION
Meditation is not clearing your mind. Meditation is filling your mind with
God’s truth.
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly ...” Colossians 3:16a
REVIEW the passage over and over for increased comprehension and
longer retention.

RENEW your mind with God’s Word.

MEMORIZE key verses and recite them aloud from memory.

PRAY through the passage by personalizing the text back to the Lord.

HOW WILL THE WORD DWELL IN ME?

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GROUP DISCUSSION
Break into small groups with others around you. Spend the remainder of your time
in this session discussing the following questions. Be sure to use Scripture as
appropriate.

1. How would you defend the reliability of God’s word to someone who was
questioning it?

2. What is the practical difference between someone who believes the Bible
is authoritative and someone who does not?

3. What significant impact have you seen God’s Word make in your life or
someone else’s life?

4. What does it mean to abide in God’s Word?

5. What can you do this week to abide more fully in God’s Word?

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STUDY AT HOME
Take a few minutes during the week to review. Further your understanding by
answering the following questions:

“Knowledge that is self-discovered is stored in the deepest part of


the mind and remains the longest in the memory. There is no jewel
more precious than that which you have mined yourself.”
Howard Hendricks

1. Memorize 2 Timothy 3:16-17. How does the Word of God benefit you?

2. Connect the statements to the correct verses. Keep this list handy
for the future.

I am who it says I am. John 14:3

I can do what it says I can do. 2 Corinthians 5:17

I am going where it says I will go. Philippians 4:13

God’s Word is milk for my soul. John 8:32

God’s Word is seed for my faith. Psalm 119:105

God’s Word is light for my path. Hebrews 4:12

God’s Word is power for my victory. 1 Peter 2:2

God’s Word is freedom for my life. Luke 8:11

When I read God’s Word, it brings me joy. Ephesians 6:10, 17

When I study God’s Word, it keeps me from shame. John 15:7

When I memorize God’s Word, it purifies my heart. 2 Timothy 2:15

When I quote God’s Word, it defeats my enemies. Joshua 1:8

When I meditate on God’s Word, it brings me success. Jeremiah 15:16

When I abide in God’s Word, it gives me confidence. Psalm 119:11

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3. Study a passage of Scripture using what you’ve learned this week.
Refer back to “How to Study the Bible” to help you.

Verses to study: ___________________________________________

Observation:

Interpretation:

Application:

Meditation / Prayer:

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And this is the confidence that we
have toward Him, that if we ask
anything according to His will He
hears us.

1 JOHN 5:14

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SESSION 4

PRAYER

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INTRODUCTION
The gospels record that one day the disciples simply sat and watched Jesus pray.
Something was stirred within them, because: ”When He ceased, one of them said unto
Him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray.’“ (Luke 11:1)

Jesus prayed before His ministry began, before meals, before a big decision, and before
an important day. He prayed during acts of service, times of relational pressure, in sorrow,
and in the midst of temptation. Jesus prayed after a stressful day, after a spiritual victory,
after a provision of God, and after completing a job that God had given Him to do. Can we
afford to do anything less?

God’s Word calls us to be faithful and faith-filled participants in prayer. “Praying at all times
in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance,
making supplication for all the saints.” (Ephesians 6:18)

It is very important that the body of Christ embrace the great provision of prayer that we
have been given. Prayer is powerful because it engages our Father to act on behalf of His
children. Prayer enables us to declare our dependence upon Him. Prayer is our lifeline in
the midst of the circumstances of life.

Prayer is simple in form and strong in function and needs to be practiced to initiate its
divine provision. There is no time to waste to grow in prayer. The amazing opportunity to
connect with our Creator awaits us!

In this session, we’ll aim to answer three questions about prayer: Why do we pray? Who
should we pray to? How should we pray?

“Sometimes prayer changes things.


And sometimes prayer changes me.”
James MacDonald

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PRAYER
WHY SHOULD WE PRAY?
Jesus
• Because ___________________ did it (Matthew 11:25-26)

• God is all about ___________________


relationship (James 4:8, Revelation 3:20)

• It is both a ___________________
practice and ___________________
producer of faith
(Luke 18:1-8)

WHO SHOULD WE PRAY TO?


No
• Should we pray to angels? ___________________ (Revelation 22:8-9)
No
• Should we pray to Mary? ___________________ (1 Timothy 2:5)

Father
• We pray to the ___________________ (John 6:38, John 15:16)

• We pray in the name of ___________________


Jesus (John 14:13-14, John 16:23)

• We pray with the help of the ___________________


Holy Spirit (Romans 8:26-27,
Luke 12:11-12)

“Prayers do not inform God. Prayers exercise faith in God.”


James MacDonald

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HOW SHOULD WE PRAY?
• Pray ___________________
confidently (1 John 5:14)

honestly
• Pray ___________________ (Psalm 17:1)

persistently
• Pray ___________________ (Luke 18:1-8)

impress
• Don’t pray to ___________________ (Matthew 6:5)

empty words
• Don’t pray ___________________ (Matthew 6:7)

• C.A.T.S.

Repenting of your personal sin before God


“Lord, today I allowed my anger to control me, and
CONFESSION that was wrong. Please forgive me and teach me to
love others the way you love them.”

Worshipping God for who He is


“Father, you alone are God. Your steadfast love
endures forever. You are the Creator and one day ADORATION
all nations will bow to you.”

Thanking God for His care and answers to prayer


“God, thank you for healing my daughter’s sickness.
THANKSGIVING Thank you for providing the money we needed, even
when we didn’t ask for it.”

Presenting your requests to God


“Father, I know I should be pursuing a deeper
relationship with you, but I’m not sure how to
SUPPLICATION
do it. Please help me.”

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GROUP DISCUSSION
Break into small groups with others around you. Spend the remainder of your time
in this session discussing the following questions. Be sure to use Scripture as
appropriate.

1. In John 14:13, Jesus says He will give us whatever we ask for in His name.
What did He mean by this? Can we really just get whatever we want? (Also
consider 1 John 5:14.)

2. Based on what we learned about how we should pray, where do you


struggle most in your own personal prayer life?

3. How should the picture of a father and child affect our approach to God
in prayer?

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STUDY AT HOME
Take a few minutes during the week to review. Further your understanding by
answering the following questions:

1. Before next week’s class, memorize 1 John 5:14.

2. Read each statement and verse and then fill in the appropriate word
from the box below.

What God does through prayer:

• Strengthens us with ___________________ by His Spirit (Ephesians 3:16)

• ___________________ the schemes of the devil (James 4:7)

• ___________________ us what we don’t know (Jeremiah 33:3)

• Sends ___________________ into the mission field (Matthew 9:38)

• Grants peace that passes all ___________________ (Philippians 4:7)

• Enables us to ask God to ___________________ the sick (James 5:13-15)

• Does what only ___________________ can do (Mark 11:23-24)

Teaches Power
God Understanding Heal
Defeats Laborers

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3. Read Psalm 86:1-3 a few times and then write out your own personal prayer
to the Lord.

4. Have you ever been frustrated that God didn’t seem to be answering your
prayers? Read 1 John 5:14 again and then list some reasons why you think
God didn’t answer (or answered “no” to) those particular prayers.

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I do not ask for these only, but also
for those who will believe in Me
through their word, that they may all
be one, just as You, Father, are in Me,
and I in You, that they also may be
in Us, so that the world may believe
that You have sent Me.

JOHN 17:20-21

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SESSION 5

THE CHURCH

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INTRODUCTION
The church is God’s ordained design for His children to come together and seek Him and
support each other. The church is people, not a place. When someone chooses to receive
God’s grace through Jesus Christ, they immediately enter into the church. There is no
waiting period; one does not need to prove himself or pay his dues to join, but simply be
“all in” with Christ.

God has given every member of the church gifts and abilities to carry out the works of
ministry and build up His church. The church is the only place where God has promised
to meet His people in His glory. What the church has through Christ is what each disciple
of Jesus Christ needs and what the world longs for, whether they recognize it or not! The
church is to fully display God’s grace and declare God’s truth.

The church gathers together in various local bodies of Christ. This is where the power of
uncommon community is a witness to the world of what is found in Jesus Christ alone.
The church consists of many different members who function in unity as one body. It is
structured based upon the instructions of God’s Word. There are roles and responsibilities
for everyone in the church. It is, however, not based upon the achievement of individual
parts, but on complete dependence on the supernatural work of God within community.
The church is God’s instrument that He enables to carry out His work. Let’s explore what
God has planned for and provided for His children.

“And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build
My church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
Matthew 16:18

50
THE CHURCH
WHAT IS THE LOCAL CHURCH?
building
• The church is not a ___________________, body
but the ___________________
of Christ. (Romans 12:5)

Jesus Christ
• The head of the church is ___________________. (Colossians 1:18)

facilitates
• The church ___________________ God’s glory. (Ephesians 3:20, 21)

spectators
• The church is not filled with religious ___________________, but participants
community
in uncommon ___________________. (Ephesians 4:11-13)

• Jesus Christ prayed for ___________________


unity in the church. (John 17:20-26)

mission
• The ___________________ of the church is not to be comfortable,

but to make ___________________.


disciples (Matthew 28:19-20).

OUR CHURCH RECOGNIZES TWO BIBLICAL ORDINANCES:


Baptism
1. ___________________ of the believer (Matthew 28:19-20)

Communion
2. ___________________ (1 Corinthians 11:23-28)

51
CHURCH MEMBERSHIP
Membership is our way of helping you fulfill God’s command to be committed to a local
church. Membership says, I am committed to supporting: our convictions, our community,
and our mission.

While we want everyone who calls our church home to aspire to these standards, our
desire is that those aspirations would ultimately lead to a commitment to membership.

Our Convictions

• ____________________
Sound doctrine (1 Timothy 4:6-10)

• Regular ______________________
attendance

- Strengthens truth foundation (1 Timothy 3:14-15)

- Invites God manifestation (Psalm 27:4, Exodus 33:15)

- Refocuses time prioritization (Exodus 20:8-11)

Our Community

united
• We are _____________________ in Christ. (John 17:20-26)

live out
• We __________________ one anothers
the Biblical __________________. (1 John 4:7-8)

resolve conflict
• We ______________________ quickly and completely. (Matthew 18:15-20,
Romans 12:17-18)

• We ______________________
grow in our walk with Christ through

______________________.
small groups (Acts 2:42-47)

For further study on the Biblical one anothers, consider


Uncommon Community. More details can be found in the
back of this study guide.

52
Our Mission by being a good steward of:

• My _____________
time through intentional living. (Ephesians 5:15-16)

talent
• My _____________ through regular service to the Lord. (Romans 12:3-13)

treasure
• My _____________ through generous giving of tithes and offerings.
(2 Corinthians 9:6-7, Luke 11:42)

CHURCH DISTINCTIVES
The mission of our church is:

Teacher: Use the space below to describe or diagram the unique characteristics or values of
our church.

Teacher: Use the space below to describe or diagram the leadership structure of our church.

53
GROUP DISCUSSION
Break into small groups with others around you. Spend the remainder of your time
in this session discussing the following questions. Be sure to use Scripture as
appropriate.

1. Describe Jesus Christ’s role in the church. What is the pastor’s role?
What is your role?

2. How would you describe your level of participation in the church?

3. What impact should Jesus’ prayer for unity have on how we treat one
another in the church? What other scriptures can you think of that deal
with that subject?

54
STUDY AT HOME
Take a few minutes during the week to review. Further your understanding by
answering the following questions:

1. Read Matthew 28:19-20. What is my responsibility in the Great Commission?


(See also 2 Corinthians 5:18-19.)

2. Read these six passages on the church. Fill in the appropriate word from
the box below.

• The church is one ___________________. (Ephesians 4:4)

• The church is ___________________. (1 Peter 2:9)

• The church is ___________________. (1 Corinthians 1:2)

• The church is ___________________. (Ephesians 2:22)

• The church is ___________________. (Philippians 1:1)

• The church is ___________________. (Ephesians 5:25)

HOLY STRUCTURED LOVED


SPIRIT-FILLED LOCAL BODY

3. If you haven’t, strongly consider taking a step toward church membership.


Talk with your pastor or table leader about your next step.

55
God is spirit, and those who worship
Him must worship in spirit and truth.

JOHN 4:24

56
SESSION 6

WORSHIP CHRIST

57
INTRODUCTION
All humans are seeking to worship. The pursuit to fulfill oneself with more things, deeper
thoughts, greater accomplishments, and stronger experiences is everywhere! But the
simple truth is that every one of us desperately needs God before anything else! Why?
Saint Augustine said it well: “God, you have made us yourself, and our hearts are
restless till they find their rest in you.”

How do you find your rest in God? The cry of your heart must be to the Lord. “Ascribe to
the Lord the glory due His name; worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness.” (Psalm
29:2) When you declare from your soul the worthiness of your Savior, it brings Him the
glory He deserves. Your individual and corporate worship of Him is what brings your
heart and mind to the alignment of what is true, and satisfies your longings.

Worship directed to an unworthy person or object is called idolatry: placing anyone or


anything on the throne that is God’s alone. The first of God’s ten commandments forbids
idolatry with the words, “You shall have no other gods before Me.” (Exodus 20:3) One of
the greatest sins, then, is directing that adoration elsewhere, not only because it insults
God, but also because it insulates our hearts from the delight in which we were created
to revel.

When Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew
6:21), He was emphasizing the centrality of worship in every person He created. The
highest and most powerful human experience is to express our love to the most worthy
object of that affection. In the elevation of Christ’s worthiness, our greatest joy is
discovered.

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to


present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to
God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this
world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by
testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and
acceptable and perfect.”
Romans 12:1-2

58
WORSHIP CHRIST
WORSHIP = ASCRIBING VALUE/WORTH

WHY SHOULD I WORSHIP?


Because of the “mercies of God.” God has given us so much that we didn’t deserve:
grace, love, mercy, forgiveness—the list could go on. When we dwell on the attributes
of God and fully appreciate everything He has done for us, it should naturally produce
an affection and adoration for God in our lives.

I should worship God because:

deserves
• God ___________________ it (Revelation 4:11)

demands
• God ___________________ it (Exodus 20:3-5)

desires
• God ___________________ it (John 4:23)

“When I look at my life and recognize I have allowed anything to


accumulate on the table of my heart and mind that occupies my time
and attention in a worshipful way—that’s a problem! Sweeping all of
those things off so only God remains is my ultimate reality. I am for
Him, breathing for Him, living for Him, and spending my life for Him.
God in the center of my attention is the essence of worship.”
James MacDonald

59
HOW SHOULD I WORSHIP?
By presenting our “bodies as a living sacrifice” to God. The word “bodies” here means
more than just our flesh. “Worship is mind, emotions, and will engaged in whole-person
ascription of worth.” (James MacDonald) True worship happens when we center our
entire being on God. Our actions, such as singing or serving, are outward expressions
of our worship, but our true worship of God starts from within at the heart level.

True worship of God:

renewal
• Starts with ___________________ (Romans 12:2)

conviction
• Leads to ___________________ (Hebrews 4:12-13)

affection
• Results in ___________________ (1 John 4:19)

WHO (OR WHAT) DO I WORSHIP?


God very clearly states that we are to worship Him and Him alone (Exodus 20:3). Jesus
Christ and the Holy Spirit are also worthy of our worship as members of the triune God.
Unfortunately, it is easy for us as humans to elevate other things and people to a level
of worship in our lives. We may not keep a golden statue on our mantel, but we are still
prone to setting up idols in our hearts.

What do I worship above God?


• 3RZHU"
• 3OHDVXUH"
• /RYH"
• )DPLO\"
• &DUHHU"
• 0\VHOI"

“When you worship, you are saying, ‘This one is worth more.’
At the same time you are implying, ‘I am worth less.’ Worship is the
magnification of God and the minimization of self. One of the most
succinct expressions of a worshipper’s heart in all the New Testament
came from John the Baptist: ‘He must increase, but I must decrease.’ ”
James MacDonald

60
GROUP DISCUSSION
Break into small groups with others around you. Spend the remainder of your time
in this session discussing the following questions. Be sure to use Scripture as
appropriate.

1. What are some specific things people tend to worship more than God?

2. It is common to think that worship is all about music and singing.


What are some other ways we can express worship to God?

3. Why do you think repentance is such an important part of true worship?

61
STUDY AT HOME
Take a few minutes during the week to review. Further your understanding by
answering the following questions:

1. Before you come to class next week, memorize Romans 12:1.

2. Read Matthew 6:19-21. Treasures can be material, relational, vocational,


physical, emotional, or spiritual. What are three things you treasure other
than God? Do any of these things ever get more of your attention than God?

3. Read Ephesians 3:14-21. List out some things you are grateful for that God
has given you. When you are finished, pray through the list, thanking God
personally for each one. Use this opportunity to allow your affection for God
to grow and to express true worship of God from your heart.

4. Visit verticalchurchband.com to check out some great, God-honoring live


worship music.

62
Now this I say and testify in the
Lord, that you must no longer walk
as the Gentiles do, in the futility of
their minds … that is not the way
you learned Christ—assuming that
you have heard about Him and were
taught in Him, as the truth is in Jesus,
to put off your old self, which belongs
to your former manner of life and is
corrupt through deceitful desires, and
to be renewed in the spirit of your
minds, and to put on the new self,
created after the likeness of God in
true righteousness and holiness.

EPHESIANS 4:17, 22-24


SESSION 7

WALK WITH CHRIST

65
INTRODUCTION
Walking with Christ is a picture of the Christian faith all throughout the New Testament.
It is a daily, forward-moving, step-by-step relationship with Jesus Christ. This walk
began when you embraced Him by faith for the forgiveness of your sins, and this is not
the end of your story, but the beginning of a journey.

God has given us the tools we need to fuel this ever-progressing walk with Christ; they
are commonly called “spiritual disciplines.” You will find that maintaining discipline in
pursuing Christ leads to a desire for Him, which then leads to a deep sense of delight in
Him. Through quality practice of the spiritual disciplines, God will empower you to live a
life pleasing to Him with the help of the Holy Spirit.

Our walk with Christ grows deeper when we choose to regularly seek Him above all
else. This starts with obedience to God’s Word. Through personal Bible study and
intentional prayer, we learn what the will of God is for our lives. By embracing the
community of the church, we learn to serve and care for others as they care for us and
challenge us to grow deeper in our relationship with the Lord. Practicing these spiritual
disciplines brings transformation that allows us to live as imitators of God.

Whether through gain or loss, health or sickness, sadness or rejoicing, you can abound
in thanksgiving, for He is your ever-present help and hope from within any circumstance
you face. Walk with Him, because He will never let go of you! “I give them eternal life,
and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of My hand.” (John 10:27)

66
WALK WITH CHRIST
WHEN I WALK WITH GOD, I:
Study
• ___________________ God’s Word (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

• Pray ___________________
expectantly (1 John 5:14-15)

• ___________________
Serve others selflessly (Philippians 2:3-4)

• Embrace ___________________
community (Hebrews 10:24-25)

MY WALK WITH GOD SHOULD ALWAYS BE PROGRESSIVE:

In grace, God chose those who would be saved


ELECTION solely based on His sovereign, good pleasure.

God declares sinners righteous based on


JUSTIFICATION Christ’s righteousness.

We cooperate fully with God’s desire to


SANCTIFICATION transform us.

God finally removes sin from the life of


GLORIFICATION the believer.

Sanctification is the process of being made more holy—of increasingly bringing more
glory to God by the way we live. This process of sanctification is a partnership with God.
When we pursue a deeper relationship with God, He responds by drawing near to us
(James 4:8). He reveals more of His truth in our lives to enable us to overcome sin and
to transform us into the people He wants us to be. If we are being constantly sanctified,
there will be marked progress in our spiritual maturity.

67
AM I CONSISTENTLY GROWING IN SPIRITUAL MATURITY?
• Am I increasingly ___________________
directed by God’s word?
(Psalm 19:7-11)

loving
• Am I more ___________________? (John 15:12)

disciplines
• Are spiritual ___________________ growing in my life?
(1 Timothy 4:7-8, James 1:22-25)

forgive
• Am I quicker to ___________________? (Mark 11:25)

participating
• Am I ___________________ in the church? (Hebrews 10:24-25)

• Am I ___________________
grieving my own sin? (Psalm 51:17)

“Faulty, man-centered methods for change will always fall short,


and true life change can only happen in partnership with God.”
James MacDonald

WE AREN’T JUST A CHURCH WITH SMALL GROUPS;


WE ARE A CHURCH OF SMALL GROUPS.

Small groups are the heartbeat of our church ...


The place where you’ll experience uncommon community;
The place vital to growing in your relationship with Jesus.

BECAUSE IN THE END, WE AREN’T MEANT TO DO LIFE ALONE.

68
GROUP DISCUSSION
Break into small groups with others around you. Spend the remainder of your time in this
session discussing the following questions. Be sure to use Scripture as appropriate.

1. How would you describe sanctification? Since coming to Christ,


have you grown a lot or a little?

2. In which area of spiritual maturity have you grown most in the last
few months?

3. Why do you think service and community are important in our personal
relationship with God?

4. Are you connected to a small group? Why or why not?

69
STUDY AT HOME
Take a few minutes during the week to review. Further your understanding by
answering the following questions:

1. Before you come to next week’s class, memorize Colossians 2:6-7.

2. A great way to start growing in spiritual maturity is to regularly spend time


reading God’s Word. By allowing God to speak to us through His Word, other
areas of our walk with Him will grow as a result (such as prayer, forgiveness,
service, etc.). From the passages below, pick one to read each day for the
next five days. Read each passage a few times and pray that God would allow
you to understand it and that He would reveal the truths He wants you to get
from each passage.

• John 15:1-17

• James 1

• Psalm 37

• Galatians 5:16-26

• 1 Peter 1:13-25

3. After you have read through the above scriptures this week, write down
some things you have learned or some truths God has revealed to you as a
result of you spending consistent time in His Word. How is God calling you to
repent, change, or grow?

70
And He gave the apostles, the
prophets, the evangelists, the
shepherds and teachers, to equip
the saints for the work of ministry,
for building up the body of Christ,
until we all attain to the unity of the
faith and of the knowledge of the
Son of God, to mature manhood, to
the measure of the stature of the
fullness of Christ ...

EPHESIANS 4:11-13

72
SESSION 8

WORK FOR CHRIST

73
INTRODUCTION
Your Christian life is to be an amazing paradox! You are to lose your life so you can gain
it. That means a disciple of Jesus Christ has given up their rights and demands, and now
lives for Him above all else. When you strive to love others through what Christ has done
for you, you will grow in your relationship with Him. In fact, you are specifically created
and gifted by God to participate as a faithful instrument of His to “engage in Kingdom
responsibility.”

As a worker needs tools to get their job done well, God has given you tools for building His
kingdom through the body of Christ. If you steward your God-given gifts and resources for
others, you will fulfill your true calling. The paradox will come to fruition as you sacrifice
yourself and gain what nothing in this world can compare to in Christ!

This runs against the ways of the world and your natural selfishness. This is a
supernatural way of living by serving and giving to others out of your love for God.
Seeking to worship and walk with Christ will help you to grow in working for Him. “Do you
understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for
so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash
one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do just as I have
done to you.” (John 13:12-15)

“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another,


as good stewards of God’s varied grace.”
1 Peter 4:10

74
WORK FOR CHRIST
Working for Christ is an expression of our worship and walk.

AS A BELIEVER:
I am gifted to serve. (1 Peter 4:10-11)

• My gift is ___________________
given empowered
and ___________________ by God.
(1 Corinthians 12:4-11)

• My gift has a ___________________.


purpose (Ephesians 4:11-13)

• My gift can be ___________________


developed or ___________________.
neglected
(1 Peter 4:10)

I am not a consumer. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

• My ___________________
life is not my own. (Acts 20:24)

desires
• My ___________________ don’t rule my life. (Romans 6:12)

time
• My ___________________ isn’t for serving myself. (2 Corinthians 5:15)

75
I am a neighbor. (Romans 13:9)

• Living ___________________
sacrifice (Romans 12:1)

• Loving ___________________
servant (Philippians 2:4)

steward
• Learning ___________________ (1 Peter 4:10)

example of
Working for Christ is both an ___________________ accelerator for
and an ___________________
my walk with Christ.

PERSONAL
MINISTRY
LINE

SERVING = CONTINUAL GROWTH


WORSHIP/WALK ONLY = LEVELING OFF OR DECLINE

76
GROUP DISCUSSION
Break into small groups with others around you. Spend the remainder of your
time in this session discussing the following questions. Be sure to use Scripture
as appropriate.

1. How effective would our church be if every attendee were fully engaged
in working for Christ?

2. What do you think holds most people back from serving more regularly?

3. What benefit have you personally experienced from serving the Lord in
the ways we discussed today?

4. In what ways are you currently serving in the church?

5. How are you maximizing your gifts in service to the Lord?

77
STUDY AT HOME
Take a few minutes during the week to review. Further your understanding by
answering the following questions:

1. Reread Ephesians 4:11-13. Why do you think God gives spiritual gifts to
believers?

2. What is your spiritual gift? Visit harvestbiblechapel.org/discovermygift


to take a short quiz.

3. How can you develop your gifts to be more effective in making disciples
and bringing glory to God? Make a specific plan.

78
NOTES:

79
NOTES:

80
OTHER RESOURCES
FROM HARVEST BIBLE CHAPEL

UNCOMMON LEADERSHIP 101


A comprehensive training anchored in the Word of God, this curriculum
is for leaders in any discipling environment who want to be balanced,
effective, and excellent in ministering grace and truth. Great for training
Small Group leaders.

UNCOMMON LEADERSHIP 201


This dynamic training will take you to the core doctrines for building
disciples. Learn how your leadership flows from the authority of God’s
Word, the power of your identity in Christ, and the process of change in
uncommon community.

UNCOMMON LEADERSHIP 301


Uncommon Leadership 101 laid the foundation for discipleship and care
within the small group setting. Uncommon Leadership 201 established the
foundational doctrines for ministry. Uncommon Leadership 301 builds on
these trainings by instituting the leadership oversight role of the Coach.

UNCOMMON COMMUNITY
Geared toward small groups, the one another mandates of Scripture are
taught in a way that brings clarity on how to live out authentic fellowship.

STEWARDSHIP
It doesn’t matter where you come from, when it comes to the topic of
stewardship, many people in the church today are cynical. Before you make
a decision about this Small Group study, you need to know this isn’t about
stewarding your finances. It’s about stewarding your life.

MARRIAGE
This seven-week Small Group study + DVD brings biblical and practical
direction for building your marriage on the rock, Jesus Christ. When
you apply His principles and access His power to put them in action,
your marriage can lead you to fresh love-and a lifetime of glorifying God
through your relationship.