Sunday 11/26 - Saturday 12/2
Pure Desire: Strategies for Temptation
by: Pastor Michael Eckelkamp
If your group has more than 7 people, you're encouraged to split into men's and women's groups for "Warm Ups". Also, it often works better to go around the circle three times instead of each person having to answer all three questions at once.
Warm-Ups (15 min)
Warm-Ups (15 min)
- Share your high moment and low moment of the week.
- What is a favorite Advent or Christmas song?
- What do you love or dread about the Holidays?
- What is God teaching you in your life right now?
Large Group Prayer (10 min)
Take turns praying (1) Thanksgivings, (2) for each other's needs, and (3) for our community. Click herefor creative ideas on how to pray as a group.
- Pray for families who are hurting.
- Pray for St. John’s as we call our St. John’s campus pastor.
- Prayer for those who are suffering from addiction.
- Pray for our community of faith and how we can best care for our city.
Study Questions (35 min)
About the Sermon
God created sex. He created love. He created life. He created YOU and He has a beautiful plan for your life. Regardless of your faith (or lack of faith), I’d encourage to explore God’s plan for sex, because the world’s plan for sex is creating a culture of heartbreak, objectifying women, broken marriages, pain, and regret. God’s plan is MUCH better. Here are a few perhaps surprising teachings about sex in the Bible:
- Sex isn’t just a physical act; it’s a sacred, spiritual act as well.
- When we reduce sex only to an act of physical pleasure, we’re “using” our partner instead of truly loving him/her. We’re also creating a bond with this person that goes far beyond the physical. This is why there is so much pain, confusion, and heartbreak involved in broken relationships with sexual partners that don’t exist with other kinds of relationships. This is also one of the many reasons why casual sex and/or prostitution is ALWAYS a bad idea.
- “Don’t you realize that your bodies are actually parts of Christ? Should a man take his body, which is part of Christ, and join it to a prostitute? Never! And don’t you realize that if a man joins himself to a prostitute, he becomes one body with her? For the Scriptures say, “The two are united into one.” But the person who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him.” 1 Corinthians 6:15-17
- How did your parents give you the “sex talk”?
- Lifelong monogamy within marriage is the best plan for sex.
- God wants your sex life to be AMAZING, but it needs to be amazing with the person you married. If you start looking outside the marriage then everybody gets hurt. Think of sex like fire and marriage like a fireplace. When fire remains in the fireplace it gives off light and warmth to the entire house, but when you take fire out of the fireplace and spread it around other places, everyone gets burned!
- “Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you. Rejoice in the wife of your youth. She is a loving deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts satisfy you always. May you always be captivated by her love.” Proverbs 5:18-19
- How can we be a church that welcomes people regardless of their past or current sexual sins?
A Deeper Look
- The sex (fantasy) in your mind matters as much as the sex in your bedroom.
- Jesus raised the bar high when it came to God’s standards for a “faithful marriage.” He taught that monogamy isn’t just physical; it needs to be mental as well. If our thought-life is X-rated, then it’s going to have a negative impact on experiencing true intimacy in marriage. We need to be “mentally monogamous” to experience all God intends for sex and marriage.
- “But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:28
- What are some roadblocks to “Mental Monogamy”?
- Sexual sin is in a category of its own because of the devastation it causes.
- Many have been taught that all “sin” (breaking God’s laws) are in the same category, and while all sin hurts God and people, sexual sin is in a category by itself because of the powerful, negative consequences it creates for everyone involved. The Bible says so much about sexual sin specifically to PROTECT us from the consequences. Never trade temporary pleasure for permanent regret!
- “Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body.” 1 Corinthians 6:18
- What is the danger of “Just this once” thinking?
- You can find healing from past sexual regrets (and/or past sexual abuse).
- Most of us have some kind of sexual “baggage” from our past. It may come in the form of choices we regret or brokenness over abuse we experienced. In either case, God wants to bring you healing and peace. God loves you more than you can imagine. Allow His love and grace to fill the cracks in your broken heart.
- “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” 2 Corinthians 5:17
- How does punishing yourself or others for past sexual sins impact your faith?
Discipleship Trios (25 min)
The goal is to have intentional time to share your journey with others. Break into same-gender groups of three and move to separate spaces. If numbers necessitate flexibility, form groups of 2 instead.
- Review the listener commitments if you haven't done so in a while.
- The goal is not to pressure others into sharing more than they want to, or to give unsolicited advice, but to ask others how God is stretching them, be challenged by God's Word together, ask what others are planning to do about their growth areas, and ask how you can support them!
Share Your Journey: What have you heard from God through your Life Journal / Bible readings this week? What's an area of your life in which you know you need to repent and/or grow?
- If you need additional accountability questions, try pulling from this list or the accountability questions in this doc in order to spark reflection and discussion.
- When you hear a confession, you're encouraged to speak God's forgiveness!
- If you feel one of your group members is blind to something, (1) think about whether or not you're the right person to bring it up, (2) ask permission to share something, (3) phrase it as a question.
Discipleship Trio Prayer Time
- Share: Tell us what connections you're building and spiritual conversations you're having with non-believing friends.
- Pray for people who need God's grace in their lives. Pray for yourself to be a person who can share His grace.
- Pray for non-believers in your lives by name: ___________________.
- Pray for each other.
Optional Worship Song (+5 min)
- If you'd like, you can sing a worship song as a group. Don't have a musician? Sing along to a lyric video: SJDenver.org/Songs
- Advent/Christmas songs can be found at SJDenver.org/ChristmasSongs
Serve Our City
- Has your group planned an opportunity to serve our city for this semester? Click Here for a list of Service Ideas!
- Was there a glitch in today's material? Want to request a song? Do you have a suggestion? Click Here!