Losing the Leaf: Keep It Zipped Up

Keep It Zipped Up

SYNOPSIS: As we discuss the issue of purity, I don’t think most of us would be surprised to find out the Bible says we should not engage in sexual immorality. Yet many people sacrifice life, reputation, respect and happiness even though they know the consequences. There must be some form of deception that gets to us. This is a discussion on how two perfectly normal guys traded away something valuable for something temporary… And one found their way back.

Icebreaker: Two truths and a lie

Everyone is to think of two truths about themselves and one lie to share with the group. Then the group is to try to discern what the lie is. For example,
• From 5th grade to 9th grade the football team I was on never lost a game (True)
• I have a twin brother (true).
• I am 35 years old (false).
Make them good and have fun guessing!

Group Discussion Questions:
1. Discuss a time when you were obsessed with having something, or achieving something. How did it feel when you got what you wanted? Did you eventually want more or were you satisfied?
2. What are some of the drives/appetites people have? (Progress, fame, success, food, etc.)
3. How can God use them for good?
4. How can our appetites draw us away from God?

Appetites are God designed and God given; for example we all need to eat. Even our sexual desire is God given. Some of us also have other appetites such as the desire to help people, or make our communities a better place to live or to grow our church. God uses our appetites when we select our spouses; and choose our careers or ministries.

LEADER’S NOTE: Play DVD Week 3 Video — Pete Briscoe from “I am Second”

Group Discussion Questions:
1. What is it that Pete recognized about himself that was really behind his drive to be the best?
2. What can our obsessions reveal about what is really going on deep inside of us?
3. What was the solution to Pete’s Drive?

Pete recognized it is the love of God that is truly fulfilling. Love is a powerful weapon. Love is a much better solution to living the way we want than the fear of punishment. When we truly love someone, we want the best for them, and we don’t want to hurt them. When temptation comes, if we are living for someone (Jesus) that we love, it reduces the power of temptation. But if we are living to please ourselves, our sin nature can drive us to do things we will regret. Sin drives us to want more and want it now.

Read Genesis 25:19-34.
19 Now these are the records of the generations of Isaac, Abraham’s son: Abraham became the father of Isaac; 20 and Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel the Aramean of Paddan-aram, the sister of Laban the Aramean, to be his wife. 21 Isaac prayed to the LORD on behalf of his wife, because she was barren; and the LORD answered him and Rebekah his wife conceived. 22 But the children struggled together within her; and she said, “If it is so, why then am I this way?” So she went to inquire of the LORD. 23 The LORD said to her,

“Two nations are in your womb;
And two peoples will be separated from your body;
And one people shall be stronger than the other;
And the older shall serve the younger.”

24 When her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb. 25 Now the first came forth red, all over like a hairy garment; and they named him Esau. 26 Afterward his brother came forth with his hand holding on to Esau’s heel, so his name was called Jacob; and Isaac was sixty years old when she gave birth to them. 27 When the boys grew up, Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the field, but Jacob was a peaceful man, living in tents. 28 Now Isaac loved Esau, because he had a taste for game, but Rebekah loved Jacob. 29 When Jacob had cooked stew, Esau came in from the field and he was famished; 30 and Esau said to Jacob, “Please let me have a swallow of that red stuff there, for I am famished.” Therefore his name was called Edom. 31 But Jacob said, “First sell me your birthright.” 32 Esau said, “Behold, I am about to die; so of what use then is the birthright to me?” 33 And Jacob said, “First swear to me”; so he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob. 34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew; and he ate and drank, and rose and went on his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.

Group Discussion Questions:
1. What is happening in this story?
2. Why did Jacob want Esau’s birthright?

In the Middle East at that time the birthright was a very valuable thing. It had three components to it:
• Financial; the oldest son would receive twice, and sometimes three times, as much inheritance as any of the other children.
• Authority; the oldest son would assume the place as the head of the family when his father passed away and would be the judge in conflicts.
• It was associated with God’s blessing.

3. Why in the world do you think Esau would trade his birthright, his future, for something as temporary as a bowl of stew?

Actually we are all susceptible to this decision. There have been studies that show something happens to our brains when appetites get blown out of proportion:
• Impact Bias- which takes a simple appetite and magnifies it out of proportion
• Focalism- which means our brains focuses our minds on one thing and blurs everything else.
• Therefore appetites know only two words – more and now!

In this case Esau’s hunger was getting so big it made his birthright seem blurry and useless in the future. It was all he cared about in that moment, after all what good would his birthright be if he died?

4. What is the appetite that is used against Esau?

Sin has distorted appetites. When sin controls our appetites it uses deception to convince us something will be better than it is. Our minds work against us to get us to believe things will taste better, feel better, and be completely fulfilling. But appetites are never fully and finally satisfied.

5. What Did Esau really lose when he traded away his birthright?

Later in the Bible, God will introduce Himself to a man named Moses. Moses will deliver God’s people from slavery. God will introduce Himself to Moses as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The New Testament introduces us to someone even greater than Moses; the Son of God- Jesus the Messiah. Matthew starts his Gospel by recording the genealogy of Jesus starting with: “…David, the son of Abraham. Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac was the father of Jacob…” In fact this phrase is used many times throughout the Bible as a way to identify God and His people. I wonder if Esau knew it could have been “the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Esau”.

6. In Genesis 3:1-6 what is the appetite the serpent used against Eve?
7. What did Adam and Eve trade away to the Serpent? Did they get what they wanted?

The truth is this happens to all of us. I’m sure you can think of a time when you were “obsessed” with something; when everything else seemed to blur. Most of the time it doesn’t cost us our future, but it always costs us something.

8. For what would you trade your future?
9. What is your plan of escape when the enemy comes to you with an “apple” or a “bowl of stew”?

The only foolproof method of escape is Jesus Himself. He is our Savior, for eternity and for the present.

Take prayer requests and close your meeting time by praying for each other.

LEADER’S NOTE: Feel free to ask another member of the group to lead the prayer time. Consider alternatives to simply creating a list of prayer requests. For example, the group could write concerns on paper and pass to another group member to pray over throughout the week or start the prayer/conversation and ask people, in one or two sentences, to share what is currently on their minds.

Additional Resources