Small Group Notes 11.29.2015 (making sacrifices)

GoYo Small Group Outline: 11-29-2015

 

Should Christians make Sacrifices?

Genesis 37:2-11

 

Opening Question

  • Do you think God has a plan and a purpose for each of our lives?
  • What are some things you think are required of us if we want to follow God’s plan for our lives?
    • Obedience to God? A relationship with God? Self-sacrifice?

 

Genesis 37:2-11 (HCSB)

 

At 17 years of age, Joseph tended sheep with his brothers. The young man was working with the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father’s wives, and he brought a bad report about them to their father.

Now Israel loved Joseph more than his other sons because Joseph was a son born to him in his old age, and he made a robe of many colors for him. When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not bring themselves to speak peaceably to him.

Then Joseph had a dream. When he told it to his brothers, they hated him even more. He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had: There we were, binding sheaves of grain in the field. Suddenly my sheaf stood up, and your sheaves gathered around it and bowed down to my sheaf.”

“Are you really going to reign over us?” his brothers asked him. “Are you really going to rule us?” So they hated him even more because of his dream and what he had said.

Then he had another dream and told it to his brothers. “Look,” he said, “I had another dream, and this time the sun, moon, and 11 stars were bowing down to me.”

He told his father and brothers, but his father rebuked him. “What kind of dream is this that you have had?” he said. “Are your mother and brothers and I going to come and bow down to the ground before you?” His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind.

 

Who was Joseph?

  • One of Israel’s children.
    • Was the favorite and his brothers despised him for it.
  • Judging from the text we just read, what do you think God’s plan was for Joseph?
    • God’s plan was that Joseph would have a position of authority, specifically over his own family.
    • This position of authority would bring his family to Egypt, where they would prosper and grow into a nation.
      • Later, the Israelites would leave Egypt with great wealth and enter back into the Promised Land where the Messiah would be born.

 

Think back to Joseph’s life (or look at the chapters following this one in Scripture). What else do we know about Joseph’s life before he became a person of authority?

  • Joseph was sold into slaver by his brothers.
    • In fact, he was sold to the Ishmaelites (Gen. 37:27).
  • The Ishmailites sold him to the Egyptian Potifer (Gen. 37:36).
    • Potifer’s wife lied about Joseph and Potifer threw him in prison (Gen. 39:20).
    • In Genesis 40, Joseph interpreted two dreams because God gave him the ability to do so.
      • One of these dreams was the dream of Pharaoh’s cup-bearer.
    • In Chapter 41, two years later, Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dream and helped save all of Egypt from famine.
      • It was then that he gained a position of authority over all of Egypt.
    • In chapters 42-45, we see Joseph’s family come to Egypt to escape the famine. Because of his authority, he is able to give them the best land to live in where they will always be provided for.

 

What is something you notice about God in this story?

  • God knows what He is doing.
    • Notice how all of the events in Joseph’s life led directly to God’s purpose being fulfilled.
    • We can trust that God is in control and that He will accomplish His purposes.
    • We are more secure when we trust in His plan than when we try and accomplish our own plans or purposes because God is in control and He does know what He is doing.

 

What sort of sacrifice did Joseph have to make to accomplish God’s plan?

  • He had to give up years of his life to be a slave.
  • Joseph’s sacrifice was involuntary.
    • God may allow things to happen in our lives that we don’t choose in order to accomplish His purpose in our lives.
    • We trust that God allows things to happen and can use them both for our good, the good of others, and the good of His kingdom.
    • God used Joseph’s circumstances to mature him into someone who could lead a nation.
    • God may use our circumstances to make us more mature for the role that He has for us.
  • Many sacrifices we make, though, will be voluntary.
    • Sometimes we have to give up things in order to follow God’s plan.
      • Some things we may have to give up include: sports, money, jobs, lifestyles, types of entertainment, luxuries, hobbies, stuff, time, freedoms, our own preferences, etc…

 

“I assure you,” Jesus said, “there is no one who has left house, brothers or sisters, mother or father, children, or fields because of Me and the gospel, who will not receive 100 times more, now at this time — houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutions — and eternal life in the age to come. But many who are first will be last, and the last first” (Mark 10:29-31 HCSB).

 

  • Whatever we give up on this earth for the sake of Christ and the Gospel, God promises to reward us with more in the age to come.
  • We do not make sacrifices to gain a reward. We do so because we love God, but we can know that every sacrifice is worth it.
  • When God asks us to give something up or when something is taken from us, we can continue to serve God joyfully and know that He has a plan for us.
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