Dr. E. Dale Locke and Eric Stewart

Sermon Series: Hand Off

Message 1: The Hand Off

  1. Begin to learn 1 Peter 3:15 from memory. Repeat the verse several times together as a group:  “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…”
  2. Read the COH Mission Statement:  “We exist to interest disinterested people in Jesus Christ and grow together into fully devoted followers of Him.”  What do you notice about our mission statement?  What do the two halves in this mission statement each represent?
  3. Back when COH had not yet been born, Pastor Dale did a lot of community research, Bible study, and prayer that led him to write up 8 values that he sensed God wanted to have at the core of our church.  These have remained our core values for over 20 years as our church has grown.  Community of Hope’s first Core Value is: “Lost people matter to God, so they matter to us.”  What does this mean?  Why is it important for a local church fellowship to keep this value at its core?
  4. Read I Peter 3:8-16:  “Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. 9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 10 For, ‘Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. 11 They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it. 12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.’ 13 Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. ‘Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.’ 15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord.  Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.”
  5. What questions or comments come to your mind as you read this passage?
  6. In an Olympic relay race, the moment when the baton is handed off is the most critical moment of the entire race.  Paul uses the imagery of a relay race to help us understand the importance of a careful hand-off of the Christian faith from one person to another.  What errors or pitfalls can happen in an attempted faith hand-off?
  7. Peter said in verse 15 that Christ is Lord.  What does it mean that Christ is Lord?  When a person accepts Christ as their “Lord,” what does that imply?
  8. Peter also urged us to Revere Christ as Lord.  What does the word “revere” mean?  How do we “revere” Christ in our daily lives?
  9. Read Matthew 16:15-16 where Jesus asked his disciples:  “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”  Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”  We believe that the question Jesus asked here is the most important question anyone will ever answer.  What are some of the opinions people have today about Jesus?
  10. If you look at the verses surrounding this passage, you’ll notice that Jesus went on to say that His Church would be built on everyone who would make this confession for themselves – that Jesus is their Lord and God.  Why is this step so important?
  11. Peter urges Christ-followers to always be prepared to give an answer to anyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope you have.  If someone were to ask you why you have hope, what would you say? 
  12. Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of Penicillin, had a reputation for being a messy and undisciplined scientist.  While he was away on vacation, some mold grew in a petri dish in his lab, and when he returned, he noticed that this mold was eating up other bacteria.  As he began to realize the potential significance of this, he had a choice: do I share this awkward story or do I keep it to myself?  Because he was willing to share this, we now have access to antibiotics.  How has the discovery of antibiotics changed our world today?
  13. The New Testament calls the story of Jesus Christ “good news”.  Good news is meant to be shared.  Why are Christ-followers sometimes hesitant to share this good news with others? 
  14. When a believer shares their story, Peter says to do it with Gentleness and Respect.  Is that the way most non-Christians would describe how Christians generally share their faith?  If not, what might an unbeliever say their experience with Christians sharing their faith has been like?
  15. Define “gentleness and respect”.  Why is it sometimes difficult to be gentle and respectful as we share our faith?
  16. Whose name did you write on your tag, who handed off their Christian hope to you?  What was that person like?  Why did they make an impact on you?
  17. Whose name did you write on your tag, who is someone in your circle who needs the hope Christ offers?  Take time as a group to pray for these people that God would work in their hearts and draw them to Himself.  Ask God to help each of you be gentle, respectful and winsome as you watch for opportunities to share your hope with those people.

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