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Bible Study: The Good News of Christmas - Advent 4 Epistle

Text: Romans 1:1-7 for the Fourth Sunday in Advent, Lectionary Series A
 Participants will:
  1. Better understand why this season is a season of Good News.
  2. Describe how they first came to know this Good News.
  3. Identify the benefits of the Good News in their daily lives.
  4. Joyfully look for opportunities to share this Good News with those who have not heard it.
Materials Needed
Group Guidelines
 This study is intended for small groups of 5-6 participants. The person who still does not have their Christmas shopping done is the leader. If you don't have such a person in your group, the person who has had their Christmas shopping done the longest is the leader. The leader keeps the discussion moving and focused. Encourage all members to participate but make sure that everyone knows that they are free to pass if they don't want to share.
Building Community
 Arrange the group in a circle so that everyone can see each other. Let each person in your circle
complete the following:
  1. One piece of bad news I heard this past week is. . .
  2. One piece of good news I heard this past week is. . .
  3. One piece of good news I would LIKE to hear this coming week is. . .
Looking at God's Word
 Have a volunteer read Romans 1:1-7 while the others in your group listen for the pieces of Good News. Invite the members of your group to respond to the following questions.
  1. How long has this Good News been around? (verse 2)
  2. In 20 words or less, how would you summarize the Good News described in verses 3-4 to a person who has never heard it before?
  3. According to verses 3-4, what is so unique about this Child born at Christmas?
  4. Why is that Good News for us? (Take a look at Galatians 4:4-5 and 2 Corinthians 5:21)
  5. What good things does this Good News bring to us? (verses 5a, 7)
  6. What are we to do with this Good News? (verse 5b)
Reinforcing What Has Been Learned
  1.  Have you ever been in a situation where you felt like you did not belong? What did you do? Why?
  2. Because Jesus was born for us, because He lived, died and rose again to take away our sins, we will always belong to Him. He comes to us in Word and Sacrament to reassure us again and again that we DO belong to Him, even when we feel like we do not belong. Does this cause you to look at the Good News of Christmas in a different way? How?
  3. How does the fact that we are God's saints affect what we do and say in our daily lives?
  4. Now that God has called us to be His beloved saints, what are some ways we can share these good tidings of great joy with others? Why would we want to?
  5. How does the Good News of verse 6 empower us to live as God's Good News people?
  6. As a large group, share together the small group discussions.
 Close by praying:
Dear God, thank you for Christmas.
Thank you for sending Jesus to save me from my sins.
Thank you for loving me that much.
Thank you for calling me to be your saint.
Thank you for accepting me and forgiving me no matter who I am, and no matter what I have done.
Help me to rejoice in the Good News that Jesus lived, died and rose again for me.
Give me the courage to share this Good News with others.
In the powerful Name of Jesus, I pray.
Originally published in Discovery Bible Studies 8, studies on the Epistle readings for lectionary series A, in 1995.
Republished and revised in November 2013 for thESource.

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