A Beautiful Design: Week 10 Next Steps

MAIN TEXT: Ephesians 5:15-21

SUMMARY: Men and women have been created in the image of God. By their very nature, they share a fundamental identity as equal participants in imaging God, equal responsibility to spread the glory of God and equal recipients of grace. Men and women have been created in distinct ways and entrusted with complementary purposes that come together in a beautiful way for the going forth of the gospel. The church is the place where men, women, singles and married couples come together for the gospel. It is the believer’s union with Christ that binds us together and it is this union that defines our life. It is in this union that we come together for the gospel.

NEXT STEPS

  1. Consider scheduling a time where your group can hang out or serve with a group of the opposite gender. Ideas: Make dinner and eat together, go out and play a game of ultimate Frisbee together, or see a movie.
  2. Consider reading additional resources, like What’s the Difference? by John Piper, as your group continues to consider issues related to gender.

A Beautiful Design: Week 9 Next Steps

MAIN TEXT: Hebrews 12:1-2

SUMMARY: God created women to be active participants and leaders by making disciples and serving as helpmates in creation. Sin places hurdles in the way of women as they seek to run toward these goals. The gospel calls us to fight sin and to lay aside those things that weigh us down, as we seek to be faithful to live out God’s created purpose. Men and women must look to Jesus, the Founder and Perfecter of our faith. When we are united to Christ by faith, His perfection is given to us as a gift. Our sinfulness is exchanged for His righteousness. Although woman repeatedly struggles with sin, the cleansing power of the gospel erases all past, present and future failures. Woman and her purposes are redeemed through the person and work of Jesus Christ.

NEXT STEPS

  1. Ask a close friend to help you identify one “weight” that distracts you from looking to Christ for your identity. Consider ways that you can lay aside these distractions.
  2. Set aside time to pray specifically for a woman in your life and then contact her in order to encourage and exhort her toward continual growth.
  3. Identify a person to whom you can begin to minister. Consider the risks and make plans to connect with them in some way for the express purpose of sharing the gospel.

A Beautiful Design: Week 8 Next Steps

MAIN TEXT: Genesis 3:1-24 (with a focus on Gen. 3:16)

SUMMARY: When we look at the world around us, it doesn’t seem to match up with the biblical ideal that we find in Genesis 1-2. Sin has crept into every crevice of creation and is most clearly seen in the rebellion and confusion present in humanity. God creates woman with a specific role and purpose, but when sin enters the world, everything becomes fractured. Both men and women share equal responsibility in their rebellion against God. Now, because of the Fall, woman wrestles with particular sins and struggles. The intimacy she shared with God and man has now been marred by sin. Instead of partnering together as God intended, the woman and the man now live in opposition to one another. Created with a unique strength to serve as helper alongside man, the woman’s task has been made difficult by sin and she now seeks control.

NEXT STEPS

  1. Girls: Make time to meet with another girl in your group to discuss the steps you are going to take to battle your desire for control over a particular relationship or circumstance.
  2. Guys: Make time to meet with another guy in your group to discuss ways that you can encourage the women in your life to trust their need for control to the Lord in tangible ways.
  3. Are there specific people whom you may have injured through a sinful desire for control? If so, pursue reconciliation with these people by asking for forgiveness.
  4. Commit to memorizing the following verse this week:

Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” –Genesis 3:13

A Beautiful Design: Week 7 Next Steps

MAIN TEXT: Genesis 2:18-25

SUMMARY: When God creates woman, He gives her a unique identity and purpose in life. God designs a specific role for woman to fulfill and, by living out that role, to increase human flourishing. She is called “helper.” Far from being a demeaning role, the Bible uses this term to communicate the unique strength and ability that God has entrusted to women. Women work together with their male complements to cultivate and exercise dominion over the earth and to spread God’s image throughout the world. Without vibrant female engagement and leadership in the home and church, the ministry and power of both will be lacking.

NEXT STEPS

  1. Send a note of encouragement to a woman in your life who has pointed you to the gospel through her example.
  2. Spend time praying that your church and home would both be places where “it is not good for the man to be alone” is lived out in practical and beautiful ways.
  3. Commit to fasting from media that distorts the biblical view of women. Examples may include: songs on the radio, magazines, TV shows, movies or anything that demeans women.
  4. Commit to memorizing the following verse this week:

Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Genesis 2:23

A Beautiful Design: Week 6 Next Steps

MAIN TEXT: Genesis 2:18-25

SUMMARY: In Genesis 2, God creates man and then declares that it is not good for man to be alone. Out of man, God creates woman to complete the picture of Creation. Man and woman are intended to live and flourish together. While Genesis 2 demonstrates how man and woman are to live and flourish together in marriage, the partnership between men and women is not limited to marriage. Without the fellowship and labor of men and women together, the home and the church will operate in a way that goes against God’s beautiful design for the world. Human beings aren’t meant to live in isolation; we were created for community. The commissioning of men and women involves tasks that require both genders.

NEXT STEPS

  • Read and reflect on Genesis 2:18-25 and prepare your heart for the next sermon, “Woman’s Purpose.”
  • How can the guys and girls in your life better reflect God’s design by working together? Brainstorm ways to work together with a group of the opposite gender.
  • As we prepare to consider women’s purpose next Sunday, do some research on one of these women: Phillis Wheatley, Katharina von Bora or Corrie Ten Boom.
  • Commit to memorizing the following verse this week:

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him. Genesis 2:18

A Beautiful Design: Week 5 Next Steps

MAIN TEXT: 1 Corinthians 15:20-22

SUMMARY: The beauty of the gospel is that it is for all of humanity. The gospel invades the dark spaces of our lives and drives the darkness away. While the grace of God in salvation is the same for men and women, because of the unique ways that sin bends the hearts of men, the gospel has distinct applications and results in the lives of men. The gospel is the antidote to the way that sin has led men to embrace selfish passivity or selfish aggression. Although man repeatedly wrestles with sin, the cleansing power of the gospel erases all past, present and future failures. Man and his purposes are redeemed through the person and work of Jesus Christ.

NEXT STEPS

  • For guys: Make a list of how your life has changed since you were redeemed. Then, list out areas where you still see a need for growth in godliness.
  • For girls: Make a list of how your view of men has changed since you were redeemed. Then, list out areas where your view still needs to change.
  • Read and consider our sermon text for next week: Genesis 2:18-25.
  • Spend time in your group encouraging one another. Share how you see growth in godliness taking place in each other’s lives. Be specific and talk about how individual growth creates communal growth.
  • Commit to memorizing one of the following verses this week: Ezekiel 36:26; 1 Corinthians 15:22

A Beautiful Design: Week 4 Next Steps

MAIN TEXT: Genesis 3 (with special attention to Genesis 3:1-13, 17-19)

SUMMARY: When we look at the world around us, it doesn’t seem to match up with the biblical ideal that we find in Genesis 1-2. We see a world broken by sin. This week we considered how sin has affected the heart of men. What God entrusted to men, “to work it and to keep it,” is twisted by man’s inability to be a faithful steward without drifting toward the abuse of authority in selfish aggression or the rejection of authority in selfish passivity. Similar to how Adam’s silence in the Garden during Eve’s conversation with the serpent “let sin enter,” men who embrace passivity and reject what God has called them to do will let sin enter their lives.

NEXT STEPS

  • For Guys: Make time to meet with another guy in your group to discuss the steps you are going to take to battle selfish passivity or aggression.
  • For Girls: Make time to meet with another girl in your group to discuss how you can encourage the men in your life to battle selfish passivity and aggression. Also, discuss areas in which you may need healing as a result of the aggression or passivity of men.
  • Read 1 Corinthians 15:20-22 to prepare your heart for the next sermon.
  • Commit to memorizing one of the following verses this week: Genesis 4:7; Romans 5:12

A Beautiful Design: Week 3 Next Steps

MAIN TEXT: Genesis 2 (with special attention to Genesis 2:5-15)

SUMMARY: When God creates man, He gives him a unique identity and purpose in life. God designs  a specific role for man to fulfill and, by living out that role, to increase human flourishing. One of the unique ways that men fulfill their responsibility to the spiritual authority entrusted to them is through male headship in church and home. This headship should be characterized by the commands in Genesis 2:5-15 to work and keep what has been entrusted to man’s care. As men lead, love, serve and protect, they fulfill God’s commands to work and keep what the Lord has given to their care.

NEXT STEPS

  • For Girls: Pray that the key men in your life would have wisdom to walk according to their design. Confess to Him and to other women the ways in which your view of men has been corrupted by the Fall.
  • For Guys: Ask the Lord to give you a renewed desire to live out the purpose that God has entrusted to you.
  • Read Genesis 3 to prepare for next week’s study, “Man’s Hurdles.”
  • Commit to memorizing one of the following verses this week:

The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. Genesis 2:15

Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love. 1 Corinthians 16:13-14

A Beautiful Design: Week 2 Next Steps

MAIN TEXT: Genesis 1:26-28, 2:18-25

SUMMARY: In Genesis 1-2, we see how God creates man and woman and why He creates them. We are created to bear His image and to be in relationship with Him. This is our identity. Being image bearers unites both genders, all races and all ages and provides a cohesive foundation for all of humanity. Man and woman are united together in equal dignity as the only species made in the image of God. They are equally entitled to the privileges of being image bearers and equally responsible for reflecting the God who has created them. When we come to comprehend this view, it leads to a greater understanding of the equal dignity and purpose of men and women, and our hearts should grieve where this dignity is ignored or rejected.

NEXT STEPS

  • Be intentional about loving people in your workplace, school or home who are typically hard for you to love. Make a list of them and pray for them.
  • Confess areas of your life where you have marred or ignored the image of God in others. This may include times when you have bought into culture’s expectation of image or beauty, engaged in pornography or shown hostility toward a person or group of people.
  • Commit to memorizing one of the following verses this week:

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Psalm 8:3-4

  • Thank God for creating us in His image. Celebrate the glorious truth that men and women share a common identity and purpose before the Lord.
  • Seeing the truth of the image of God should enable us to process the tragic news of this world with a distinct sadness and grief. Pray that God would crush the sinful ways that the world—and we—seek to desecrate the image of God. Specifically, ask that the Lord would bring an end to the widespread acceptance and practice of abortion, sexual exploitation and slavery.
  • Ask the Lord to break through the lies we have believed about who we are and refocus our eyes on the “image of God.”

A Beautiful Design: Week 1 Next Steps

MAIN TEXT: Genesis 1-2 (with specific attention to Genesis 1:26-2:3)

SUMMARY: God is the Creator of all things. His design for the universe is perfect and timeless. Because God designed the universe in good order, we can be sure that orienting our ever changing lives around God’s unchanging design will result in our good and His glory. When we look to an ever changing world to discover who we are and what our purpose is, we receive a multitude of ideas and opinions. When we look to God’s Word, we find a steady answer to these questions. God’s design points toward a divine purpose for humanity: to reflect our Creator.

NEXT STEPS

  • Ask a classmate, co-worker, or neighbor this week, “When you look back at your life, what has changed the most in the world around you?” Listen closely for an opportunity to point to God’s beautiful design.
  • Write down one area where you consistently look to the world for direction. Talk with another person in your Antioch Group about what would change if you began to look toward God’s good design in that area.
  • Commit to memorizing one of the following verses this week:

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1

He is before all things and in him all things hold together. Colossians 1:17

  • Ask the Lord to strengthen your Antioch Group as you seek to live out God’s unchanging design in this ever changing world.
  • Thank God for His creation. Consider His goodness in creating a world for our joy and His glory.
  • Ask God to show mercy to those areas of our lives and the world around us that bear the scars of how sin has fractured God’s good world.