This week we talked about sin! And how, we, as followers of Jesus, respond with the differences between Performance (Legalism), License (Liberalism), and Grace (Gospel). If you’ve ever wondered how this paradigm actually plays out, read about the prodigal son and look at how each son responded to the father’s love—one son chooses to play by the rules and one son chooses no rules at all. The end result: the father’s response was about love and relationship - he didn’t focus on their sin.
If we are supposed to grow together, and view each other through God’s lens, our role isn’t to remind each other of the rules or lack there of, but to remind us about the relationship we’re building with each other and with God. And that means each of our journeys are going to look a little different.
I’m often reminded of a video that was played in a service at Mission once, “It’s not about the nail.”
I think this video is useful in so many ways! We all have sin that we’re dealing with. But, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” Perhaps instead, God is pointing us to empathy. And a small note: before pointing out someone’s sin, question if grace is in the equation. God taught us grace first so we can be completely filled up by - and with it - when we talk to each other. Our faith in Jesus changes everything.
Here’s the question we want to keep coming back to:
HOW IS GOD CHANGING YOU THROUGH THIS EXPERIENCE?
God wants to have meaningful spiritual conversation with us. He wants you to bring him your questions and to grow…TOGETHER! And the best way to do that is to understand God’s grace for ourselves and to give grace to others because of the grace we were given first.
DEAD TO SIN
In Romans 6:11, it says that we are dead to sin and alive in Christ!
But what does this actually mean? Read the quotes below from Pastors and Authors, and discuss how these ideas could change how you view God, yourself, or others.
The explanation Paul gives for dead people not sinning can be summed up in three steps.
When Christ died, believers in some crucial sense died in him and with him.
When Christ rose, believers in some crucial sense were made alive in him.
Therefore, believers are commanded to become in practice what we are in Christ: dead to sin and alive to God.
God is not “dealing with” our sin. He is establishing our righteousness….We no longer have to identify ourselves in our sin nature; it died. However, we do have a sin habit that will need to be continually reformed into righteousness throughout the course of our lives. - Graham Cooke
Here is strength in the covenant of grace for us. Sin shall not have dominion. God's promises to us are more powerful and effectual for mortifying sin, than our promises to God. Sin may struggle in a real believer, and create him a great deal of trouble, but it shall not have dominion; it may vex him, but it shall not rule over him. - Matthew Henry
Compare Romans 6 to Galatians 3:1-3
The Old Testament law was fulfilled (completed, kept, carried out, satisfied) in Jesus’, and the penalty for our sin was paid for in full by his death on the cross.
Now that the law is fulfilled, how do you filter your decisions based on relationship with Jesus rather than laws?
WORLD CULTURE VS. GOD CULTURE
Yes, versus. As much as we want them to, they do not go together. God’s way is consistently in opposition with the way that we, as humans, choose to live and treat each other. John 12:31 even says that our enemy, the Devil, the opposer, is the ruler of this world. So without God, our reasons and philosophies for doing everything changes!
How do you give yourself completely to God when everything around you calls you away from him? What helps keep you focused on wanting righteousness (living like the “alive” person that God has made you) before anything else?
Have you ever felt like you were supposed to influence the culture around you? How? (Remember to be kind, compassionate, and patient! This can be a scary question - wade through it with grace, and listen well!)
THE SHAME GAME
Last week we talked about abuse and restoration, but this week, we’re addressing that awful feeling that enters in between: shame. That moment when your sins are exposed and no one is there to rescue you. But this is a lie!
But shame has one upside - it tells us how bad things really are. It can wake us up and allows us to say, hey, I screwed up. I sinned. But God has already rescued us by dying for our sins and our shame. It’s done. We’re alive in Christ.
Is there anyone in your life that has made you feel so secure in love that you knew you could shine light on your sins and feel even more loved after? What were the actions that made you feel this way? Below are some examples.
Consistent verbal affirmation
They showed up
I wronged that person and yet it brought us closer
They told me there’s nothing I can do to be less lovable
It’s easy to react well when it has nothing to do with you, but it’s much harder when people cut in line at the coffee shop, cut you off on the road, hurt your feelings or your friend’s feelings, when someone’s late and wasted your time, takes credit for your ideas, etc.
How can you show empathy to others in these everyday situations? Especially when those around you play by a different set of rules?
PRACTICE AND GROW TOWARDS LOVE
When we purposefully get close to God on a daily basis, it shows! People can see it through our actions and our love. Hebrews 10:24 says, “let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” But if we don’t allow God to change us by allowing God’s words to get into every corner of our lives, it actually stunts our growth.
Did you do any of the practices? What did you do and how did it impact your life this week?
Did you memorize (or attempt to memorize) any of the scripture verses this week? What did you memorize and how did it impact your life this week?
Make a plan together: how can someone else help you prioritize at least ONE of these practices over the next few days?