In his sermon, Pastor Jeremy began with the acknowledgement that each of us (including him) are in need of the following truth...
We enjoy communion with God not because of our perfection but because of Jesus.
Do you believe this? What does this truth mean to you? What would your life, emotional health, relationships look like if the statement were put in the world’s terms, that they fail to enjoy communion with God (or whatever a person worships, because of their imperfection?
Holiness is what we’re called to, but it is absolutely unattainable on our own, because we don’t start as holy. In fact, we wouldn’t even know what true holiness is if we didn’t have God’s revelation of himself to us. If it seems like this topic comes up a lot in our conversations together, it’s because it is a main theme in scripture. The Lord providing for the sanctification of His people so they can be in relationship with Him.
Now, on the virtue of integrity, or the lack thereof, read the account of Peter’s promise to Jesus in Matthew 26:30-35, and subsequent denial of him in Matthew 26:69-75
What does it mean to live a life of integrity? What is the opposite of this?
Often the promises we break are relatively small. To say we’ll do something and then ‘forget’ or to make a commitment knowing full well we can’t follow through. Pastor Jeremy noted though that we should be a people of commitment. When we knowingly break a commitment we’ve made, what does that actually say about what we’re placing our hope in? Like we discussed last week, our actions say so much about who we believe we are, what God has done, and who He is. (Follow the chart from last week.)
So how was Peter restored? Maybe a better way to explore this is to ask what Jesus did to restore Peter (and us)? Because anytime we fail to trust the work of Jesus for our salvation in big and small ways, we break faith with Him just as Peter did.
Look at these passages and promises. Discuss the effect of each promise on your faith and life...
So it is clear, we have been saved from separation from God because of our sin nature, but we have also be saved FOR something spectacular… Mission!
Jesus said in John 14:15 and then effectively commanded and commissioned us all in Matt. 28:18-20.
So the demonstration of our integrity as Christians then is directly related to keeping our commitment to being missionaries each and every day! How can we live this out this very week in practical (proclaiming and serving) ways? Friends, neighbours, co-workers, our children? How can we hold each other accountable in this?
As our series on sin, the struggle, and the solution continues, Pastor Brennan spoke of the sin of greed.
As you begin to dive into your discussion this week, launch off with reading through the account of Jesus conversation with the rich young ruler from Matt. 19:16-30
Together, discuss this rich young ruler. Who do you think he was and what motivated him?
Why did he ask Jesus about “what good deed” he must do? And why did Jesus respond the way he did, by saying only God is good and that there is no such thing as a good deed the way the man implies? (Hint: Isaiah 64:6) Most importantly, what was the object of this young ruler’s greed?
This next question is written to test your conviction and condemnation of the rich young ruler (love of stuff above Jesus, and love of moral perfection over relationship with Jesus). This should not be a question we answer quickly. And certainly, freedom is found in confession and not denial.
In his sermon Pastor Brennan discussed the 2 sides to greed. First, accumulating. Second, hording.
What are you greedy with, and why?
This was the diagram Pastor Brennan talked about in the service. Our sin-broken hearts tell us that we are only worth what we do. Walk through this together and explore what your actions tell you about who you believe God is. Remember, sin tells us that we’re the centre, the origin point, and that we do in order to become. Then that requires God to act because of who we are. This then dictates who God in fact is.
The Bible however tells us a different story.
Scripture forces us to first consider who God is, and because of who he is, he does. It is what God has done that establishes who we are (before we were ever even created according to Eph. 1:3-4.
Now walk through this together.
The last thing to do now is compare what it is you say you believe about God to what you said about your area of greed (although you can apply this to any and all areas of life). While we say that God is sovereign, what do our actions reveal about our true beliefs?
One of the most difficult parts of the for established Christians is confessing our greed of time and comfort which is challenged by Jesus’ call to evangelize and make disciples. If God is holy and sovereign, and he sent Jesus to atone for us, and our identity is established as his children and disciples, then we are sent by the Holy Spirit to go and be missionaries for him!
Encourage each other in this!
In this, the first week of our series, “Sin, the Struggle, and the Solution”, spend some time talking about what your first reaction to the series title was. I was told that when the sign for this was going up outside the church last Tuesday, two boys from the highschool who were walking by read it and yelled that they are gay.
When you first heard this, what did you think and feel? (Were there some specific circumstances brought to mind, or a feeling of dread, or worry about being made to feel guilty?)
Pastor Jeremy said that our problem with sin is actually our denial of it. How do you understand this? Do you agree with the statement?
Read Jeremiah 2:1-13 together.
The main motivation behind sin is a denial of the awe of God. Where do you see this in the passage from Jeremiah? What two things did it lead the people of Israel to do? (v13) Why was this so bad that God would name these things individually?
How does Paul talk about this very same thing in Romans 1:18-23
What is the solution to all this? How can we reverse things such as broken denying the source of living water, making broken cisterns, and worshipping what is created?
How did Jesus accomplish this reversal? In other words, how is Jesus the hope we need?
How will you explain all this to your unbelieving neighbour who is struggling with the effects of sin in his or her life? How will you point them a path to hope and wholeness? Preach this to each other.
“Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called "today," that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”
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