First Things First – Part 2 (Participants Guide)

Ice Breaker

For any of you that did the 40-day Daniel Fast last year, what is your reaction to it?  Was it overly positive? Did you have difficulties? For those that did not do the fast, share your experience if you’ve ever done a different type of fast.

Sunday Review

This week Pastor Tim talked about how to get back your spiritual edge. Was there anything in this message that resonated with you? In what ways have you lost your spiritual edge?

Management experts say that if you want to set goals that stick, you need to visualize how you will look and feel after you accomplish it. What would it look like to get your spiritual edge back? How would it feel to have a spiritual edge?

APPLY THE BIBLE

Read Matthew 4:1 – 11 (Jesus’ 40 Day Fast in the Wilderness)

Background and Context

In Matthew 3:17, Jesus was affirmed by His heavenly Father. He went to be baptized by his cousin John the Baptist. During his baptism, God spoke audibly before John, Jesus and the crowd that was there and they witnessed how God affirmed Jesus. He was the Beloved Son of God. Matthew, who is writing to persuade other Jews that Jesus is God, uses this to allude to Isaiah 42: 1-4 which is a prophecy of the coming of Jesus.

[Q] After Jesus is baptized what does He do next? Is this beginning, during or after His ministry here on earth?

 

[Q] Ephesians 2: 10 says that we have been created to do good works. Our impact in the world and for eternity is significant. How can fasting prepare you to do the good works God has destined you for?

 

[Q] At this point, we see that Satan begins to tempt Jesus. Why do you think he chose this point to tempt Him?

 

The way Satan tempts Jesus is intentional. He is tempting Jesus to doubt His identity as the Son of God. Satan begins by saying, “If you are the son of God.…” Satan’s strategy has NOT changed. Satan will tempt you to forget who you are. You are a CHILD OF THE LIVING GOD. You are forgiven, holy, blameless and unconditionally loved. If Satan can get you to doubt that, then we lose our spiritual edge and your confidence IN Christ and impact FOR Christ are blunted.

The final temptation, where Satan tempts Jesus with the kingdom’s of the world is significant in the sense that Jesus was tempted to compromise His loyalty to God. We live in a world that is still under the influence of Satan. And we are constantly bombarded with the temptation to compromise our faith in Christ. We are tempted to choose the world’s perspective over Jesus. When we compromise our loyalty to Jesus, we lose our spiritual edge. It’s like we’re trying to sharpen our ax with acid.

[Q] What are some ways you are tempted to compromise your faith in Christ? How do you think fasting can bring back your edge?

 

[Q] When we are fasting for a breakthrough, the enemy will come after you at your weakest point. What are some temptations that you think Satan will use to knock you off track?

 

[Q] How did Jesus deal with the difficulties and temptations that came with fasting? How does that instruct you on what to do?

 

BEAR BURDENS

Close your group time by praying out loud together a Psalm. Pray out Psalm 67 together in one voice.  

May God be gracious to us and bless us

   and make his face shine on us—

2 so that your ways may be known on earth,

   your salvation among all nations.

3 May the peoples praise you, God;

   may all the peoples praise you.

4 May the nations be glad and sing for joy,

   for you rule the peoples with equity

   and guide the nations of the earth.

5 May the peoples praise you, God;

   may all the peoples praise you.

6 The land yields its harvest;

   God, our God, blesses us.

7 May God bless us still,

   so that all the ends of the earth will fear him.

CHANCE TO SERVE

There are many opportunities to serve at Liquid. One great ministry that you can serve with your group or by yourself is the Relief Bus. The relief bus serves our homeless brothers and sisters from Newark to New York. They are a long time partner with Liquid. Another passage about fasting is Isaiah 58 which pairs fasting with food to serving the poor and oppressed. As a group, you can take fasting to the next level through this act.  

DIGGING DEEPER

Not only do we see fasting in the life of Jesus, but also in the life of His followers. The book of Acts details the rise of the Church from a ragtag group of misfits to an international, intergenerational movement. A practice that the early church seemed to always keep close was prayer and fasting.

Read Acts 13: 1-4. What were two regular practices the early church linked together? What was the result?

Read Acts 14:23. How did Paul and Barnabas appoint leaders?

How do you currently make decisions now? How do you think adding fasting could give you a spiritual edge at work, at home or at school?