Community Group Questions 10/19/14

Weekly Training Tip:

This week's tip is about how to ask follow up questions to improve your discussion.

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[vimeo 109387464 width="640" height="360"]

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What Is Heaven Like? Part 4: The Mechanics of Heaven

Main Text: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

Topics:

  • One of the most confusing things about heaven is how it all works. If God is making new heavens and a new earth, then what happens when we die? Are we immediately with God? Are we in heaven or some kind of intermediate place?
  • Some people think that we go into what is called “soul sleep.” We are basically unconscious until Jesus returns. There is much biblical evidence that refutes this idea. Jesus told the thief that he would be with Him in heaven, that day. The book of Hebrews says that there is a “cloud of witnesses” in heaven. Believers that are watching us now. Revelation talks about believers around the throne of God waiting for Jesus’ return.
  • Some traditions teach an idea of Purgatory. That once a believer dies they spend time paying for their sins through suffering until they go to heaven. Not only is there no scriptural evidence of this, but this undermines the Gospel. Jesus paid for our sins once and for all.
  • In 1 Thessalonians Paul wants the church to know how it all works. He wants us to be encouraged and comforted by these truths.
  • Those who have died are with Christ. When Christ returns they accompany Him. At that point those who are still alive join Jesus and their is the redemption and recreation of all that is.
  • One day God will recreate the heavens and the earth. But right now, Christians who have died are in the presence of God in a very real way.

Key Questions:

  • HIGH/LOW: What was the high point of your week and the low point?
  • ICEBREAKER: What are some of the most prominent fictional depictions of heaven or the rapture? Do you think they are helpful or not?
  • READ: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
  • What does it look like to grieve without hope versus grieving with hope?
  • In verse 14, Paul anchors our hope in Heaven to the resurrection of Jesus. What are some biblical stories about Jesus after the resurrection that you remember? How does that give us insight into what we will be like when we are in resurrected bodies?
  • Read Philippians 1:23 and Luke 23:42-43
  • How do these verses address the question: “do we immediately go to heaven when we die, or are we in a state of soul-sleep?”
  • Why then do you think Paul uses the wording “sleep” do talk about believers who have already died?
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 describe the day the Lord returns. How do you imagine that moment in your mind?
  • Paul says that these truths about Heaven are for our encouragement. How do they encourage you right now?
  • Have there been moments in your life when you particularly needed to be encouraged by the truths about Heaven?
  • He tells us to encourage each other with these truths. What are good ways and bad ways to encourage someone with Heaven?

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