This page gives links to the four sermons recently preached at St.David’s church on the topic of male and female with discussion questions to answer on your own, or as a home group. Ben would be happy to take further questions on email@example.com
For each talk you will see some general questions, which would probably stand alone, and tend to work on how to apply the teaching of the talks. They are followed by specific questions if it would help your group to think in more detail about the content of the talk and reinforce it where it may not have been fully understood.
Sexuality - Talk 1
1. How can we speak about sex and marriage in a way which actually reflects the Bible’s teaching?
2. What can we ask Christians do about the whole issue of abortion? What are the challenges that we may face?
3. How should we relate to a couple who are living together and start coming to church?
More Specific Questions
1. What seems to be our society’s attitude towards sex at the moment?
2. What do people tend to think is the Bible’s attitude towards sex?
3. The talk suggested that the sexual revolution did more than just get rid of a few taboos, it gave us a whole new way of thinking about ourselves, and even a new gospel – how to be saved / set free.
a. Can you explain what this means?
b. Do you think that is what is going on?
c. If so, how does that affect the way we need to approach this issue of sexuality?
4. Why is the creative power of sex such an extraordinary thing?
5. The talk touched on the issue of abortion. (NB there may be women in your group who have had an abortion. This doesn’t mean you should avoid the questions – we need to discuss the issues, not least to care for these women – but be prepared for the fact that it may be emotional, and some may say things out of a sense of guilt and shame which aren’t right. If so then gentleness will be extremely important, but it will also be important not to distort the Bible to make it less challenging.)
a. Can you explain why Christians tend to believe that the Bible is against abortion? (See Psalm 139:13-16)?
b. What is hard about this teaching?
c. Many nowadays want to say that it is a woman’s right to have an abortion. Why do you think they say that?
d. Statistics suggest that 1 in 3 women will have an abortion during their lifetime. There will be women who belong to St David’s who have had an abortion. It will be tempting to ignore this whole issue, but what would it mean for us to be a church which is truly loving in this area?
6. The talk looked at the fact that sex means that a husband and wife ‘become one flesh’ (Gen 2:24). Why is sex so tightly linked to marriage? What goes wrong when it isn’t linked to marriage? What would you say to a Christian couple who decide to move in together before they get married?
7. The talk said that the Bible if for people who know they are sexually messed up. Can you explain why that is the case?
8. How is marriage, and sexual union a picture of the gospel (Eph 5:31-33)? Why is this such good news? Why is being single then not a tragedy?
9. How can we speak about sex and sexuality in a way which reflects God’s goodness? What impressions do we want to avoid giving to our friends?
Sexual Purity - Talk 2
1. What do you think are the challenges for us today as Christians in terms of living sexually pure lives?
2. What might you do if someone said to you ‘aren’t Christians all homophobic?’
3. What advice might you give a Christian friend who’s been told that at work they are going to support Gay Pride and everyone is asked to come wearing a rainbow lapel?
4. What might make it hard to invite a gay friend to church? What could help with that?
5. What would you do if someone in your family came out to you? Would it make a difference if they were a Christian/ non-Christian / child / adult?
More Specific Questions
1. The talk suggested that only sexually pure people can go to heaven, from 1 Cor 6:9. Why is that the case?
a. Does that only apply to sexual sins? (cf 1 Cor 6:10)
b. Why do you think that the New Testament has so much to say about sexual sins in particular?
c. Why are we so easily ‘deceived’ into thinking that sin isn’t a big deal?
d. Does this mean that any sexual sin disqualifies you from being a Christian?
e. The talk suggested that sexual purity is a gift rather than a moral achievement (cf 1 Cor 6:11). Can you explain that, and why it makes such a difference?
2. Read 1 Peter 4:1-4. What will be the costs of trying to live for the will of God?
a. How have you experienced these costs?
b. Why do we need to expect it to be costly? What goes wrong if we expect it to be easy?
3. How can our church help us to strive after sexual purity?
a. What are the particular pressures that make it hard to pursue sexual purity? (You may want to do this question in single sex groups, if you ask it).
4. Can you explain why homosexual sex cannot be an expression of sexual purity, thinking about sex as a gift created by God?
5. The talk highlighted a few things people say to try to get round the Bible’s teaching on homosexuality, listed below. Are there any which you think you would find hard to answer? What might be the first thing you could say? Does it matter who you are speaking to (Christian/ non-Christian / gay person)?
6. The talk suggested that the LGBT movement has needed to portray people with a ‘traditional’ understanding of sexuality as bigoted ‘haters’. DO you think that’s right? If so, why does that make it hard for us in this whole issue of sexuality?
7. Why is it important that we are more concerned with the sexual sins (especially heterosexual sins) of Christians than with the homosexual sins of our culture?
8. What can help us be loving to those who experience same sex attraction? What might be the barriers to them feeling able to join us?
9. IF someone said to you ‘aren’t Christians homophobic’ – what different things might you want to say? It would be good to discuss a whole range of different kinds of answer, and even to practice so you feel more comfortable answering the question in future.
10. If someone said ‘I could never be a Christian – you’re asking me to deny the fact that I am gay, which is just impossible for me.’ What could you say?
11. Are there other issues associated with sexual purity / homosexuality specifically which you would like us as a church to address? (please feed them back to the staff team).
Gender - Talk 3
1. Why is it so important to know that our gender is given to us by the Creator God who knows and loves us? What difference can it make?
2. What would you do if a friend told you they were transgender?
3. What would you do if you discovered that the Church of England primary school was having a transgender week with input from the Mermaids organisation?
4. What might you do if someone who was clearly cross-dressing arrived at church on Sunday?
More Specific Questions
1. Can you explain what transgender means as a label? Why do you think it is such a big issue in our culture at the moment?
2. The talk suggested that ‘gender is central to God’s good creation’. Can you explain that? How should that affect the way we think about our gender?
3. David in Psalm 139 is thrilled by the fact he is known by God, who created him. Why is it so precious to be known in this way?
a. What goes wrong when you feel like no-one knows you?
b. When in your life has it helped you to know that you are truly known?
c. What might help us recapture a joy in being known by our creator?
4. How has the Fall affected our physical bodies? How might that show up in issues of sexuality?
5. Why is this a different issue from transgender? Why do you think that transgender activists might be keen to incorporate ‘intersex’ into their group?
6. How does the Fall affect our minds (Eph 4:17-18; Rom 1:21)?
a. What is the problem with trying to change your body to deal with a problem in their mind?
7. Transitioning gender is spoken of as something that will ‘save’ a person from their inner turmoil. The talk suggested that it isn’t able to truly do that. Can you explain why? What actually is needed to bring us healing?
a. Would your answer change if you met someone who had transitioned and seemed to be completely content?
b. Would your answer change if you met someone who was a Christian and felt strongly that they needed to transition to experience inner peace?
8. People who are transgender typically say ‘I feel like I’m a man in a woman’s body’. What do you think that means? Do you think that it is possible for someone to know what it feels like to be ‘a man’ or ‘a woman’? What could you say to someone who said this to you?
9. The talk suggested that strong gender stereotypes play into the transgender phenomenon, as does the pornography epidemic. Why might that be the case?
10. What role do you think we might have in trying to resist the advance of transgender ideology? What are the issues with trying to resist it?
11. Why might some Christians unconsciously start to view transgender people as an enemy? How can we make sure we never do that? What might it look like to love a transgender person who started coming to our church?
12. What might you say to a friend who said ‘I don’t get why Christians are so transphobic. Why can’t they just accept people the way they are?’ What different things might you want to say? Maybe try answering the questions in a role-play so you are more comfortable dealing with the question as and when it comes up.
Gender Roles - Talk 4
1. What parts of the talk did you find hardest to accept?
2. How do you see the talk’s description of the ‘War of the Sexes’ being worked out in our world?
3. How do you think we can show the genuine complementarity of the sexes? What are the challenges?
4. It is very likely that as a church we will have different views, especially about whether we should have a female vicar. What are the risks we should be aware of to our church in that case? What can we do to stay united?
More Specific Questions
1. Do you think that men and women are genuinely equal in our society at the moment? Where might there be inequalities still?
2. Can you explain from the Bible why Christians are absolutely committed to the equality of men and women? Why was Eve equal with Adam?
3. How was Eve different from Adam? Why are these differences a good thing and not a problem?
4. The talk suggested that the Bible has little to say about the typical gender stereotypes. Is that a surprise to you? How can the stereotypes be unhelpful?
5. The talk suggests that there is an ‘order’ in Creation with Adam having responsibility for leadership. Can you explain what that means? Does it make you uncomfortable? Why might we struggle with this idea?
6. How does Adam fail to lead? What are the signs that he is still responsible?
7. Can you explain how Eve is tempted to overthrow the order of creation? Why is that a problem?
8. How is the war of the sexes described in the Bible? How does that challenge us as both men and women?
9. How are men and women absolutely equal in the gospel?
10. How do the principles of the talk apply in marriage?
11. The talk suggested that submission is not the same as obedience. Why is that distinction important? What does submission actually mean?
12. Why do you think that Ephesians 5 focusses more on the husband loving his wife rather than him leading her?
13. The talk suggested that complementarity should be worked out in the life of a church.
a. What might it look like if a church is still living in Gen 3:16 with the war of the sexes in full swing?
b. What are the key ways in which we might live out the complementarity of the sexes?
14. What does it mean to say that ‘gender is a second order issue’ when it comes to church leadership?
15. The talk suggested that we have an issue when we think of church leadership in terms of a career rather than in terms of a family. Can you explain what that means and why it is so important?
16. It is very likely that we as a church will have lots of different views when it comes to the role of women in pastoral oversight of a church. What are the risks for us as a church? How can we remain united in this?