- Begin with prayer (BT Shepherd to lead).
- Express your appreciation for their
initiative in coming back to church. Remember, it takes courage!
- Encourage them to be open about their life.
1. What Led to Them Falling Away?
Discuss what led up to them falling away. Go back three months prior to their leaving the church. Draw a timeline if they are comfortable with you doing this. As you hear the situations, think of the corresponding sins and character weaknesses from the following passages:
19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;
20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions
21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Ephesians 4:20 - 5:5
20 You, however, did not come to know Christ that way.
21 Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus.
22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;
23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds;
24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body.
26 "In your anger do not sin" : Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,
27 and do not give the devil a foothold.
28 He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.
29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.
32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
5:1 Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children
2 and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people.
4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.
5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person--such a man is an idolater--has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins.
(scriptures which you should review in advance). This is not the time to confront their sin! Rather it is a time for you to gain an understanding of their specific situation and their character. Ask questions such as:
of the Spirit
- Who were you closest to before you left?
- What were your quiet times like?
- Is there anyone that you are unresolved
- When did you first start thinking about
- Did you discuss this with anyone? Were
you open about your doubts?
- Ask questions that enable them to talk and be completely open. Draw them out.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
- Draw a tree on the top half of a sheet of
paper, draw branches on the tree and draw nine circles (fruit) in
different parts of the tree. Fill in the circles with the nine
fruits of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,
goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Remember,
this is an illustration, not an artwork.).
- On the bottom half of the same sheet of paper, write down the specific sins from Gal. 5:19-21, Eph. 4:20-5:5 that they mentioned pulled them away from God.
3. Remain in Christ
1 "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.
2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.
3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.
4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5 "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
6 If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.
7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.
8 This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
9 "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.
10 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love.
11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.
12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
14 You are my friends if you do what I command.
15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.
16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit--fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.
17 This is my command: Love each other.
- "Remain in me" - to be faithful disciples, we must remain in Jesus
Christ. Discuss what this means from this passage. For example:
Bible study, prayer, avoidance of sin, sharing the Gospel with
- "Remain in my love" - to overcome sin and stay grateful, we must go back to
the cross often and grow in our understanding of grace.
- "Love each other" - to remain in the vine we must stay united with our
brothers and sisters. Satan's goal is to divide us. He sends
thoughts and attitudes our direction to separate us from other
disciples and destroy our unity.
- Explain that God was involved in their leaving (Jn.15:1-2, 5-6). That is, regardless of what their situation was, they did not leave God. In fact, God cut them off because of their sin (refer to the specific sins on the bottom of the page).
- Explain to them that leaving the church was just a result of them no longer being attached to the vine. Many who have left God mentioned that prior to leaving they lost their faith in God. They mentioned that they had stopped having solid quiet times and praying.
Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.
- the only way faith comes is by hearing God's Word.
4. God Still Wants Them to be Saved!
1 Timothy 2:3-4
3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior,
4 who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
God is reaching out to them once again! He has not given up on them! He still has a dream for their life!
Practical Response to this Lesson
1. Begin the Quiet Time Series
2. Pray daily using the A-C-T-S method (adoration, confession, thanksgiving, supplication). Instruct them how to do this and if possible pray with them.