Community Group Questions 10/14/12

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Announcements:
Please share whichever of the following announcements apply to your group
  • Choir Auditions
    • This Christmas Eve we will be having a choir
    • If you have experience singing in a choir, please contact sarah - her info is in the bulletin - or write “choir” on your connection card
  • WPWM
    • We are very excited that our Women’s Ministry has started back up
    • They are doing a 6 week study Wednesdays at 10am
    • Childcare is available for a small fee
    • The are studying - read slide
  • Burkina Faso Trip CHange
    • Due to some unforeseen obstacles out BF trip has been moved to January
    • It will be 1/13-1/21
    • There are still a few spots left
    • Write “Burkina Faso” on your connection card for more info

Sermon Title: Finding Your Sea Legs, Part 3: Pirate Religion

Main Text:  Titus 2, Romans 8:1, 38-29

Topics:

  • One of the challenges that we will inevitably face as a Christian is how does holiness work? Because it seems like we get conflicting stories:
    • We are saved by grace, and nothing you can do can separate you from God’s love, but You better not sin.
    • Nothing can separate you from the love of God, but if you sin He is disappointed in you.
  • This brings up some tough questions:
    • If I’m going to heaven no matter what, why should I struggle so hard to do the right thing.
    • How do I fight against sin, and not fall into legalistic rules?
    • As a Christian, why do I still feel things like: guilt, shame, and like I disappoint God.
  • Every Christian will have to face this challenge: what do we do with holiness? Sometimes we feel like we are walking a tightrope, and are in danger of falling off one side or the other.
    • On one side we can fall into reducing our spirituality to rules and religious duty (legalism). We think that is what it takes to be a “good Christian.” We are motivated by guilt and shame and pride. And we are setting ourselves up for failure.
    • On the other side we are are in danger to misunderstanding grace. We feel like now that we have Jesus, we can do whatever we want, because He will forgive us. But we are just continuing the practices that lead to destruction. And we see passages in scripture that seem to indicate that genuine believers would live differently.
  • Believers tend to lean towards one of these or the other. And often we lean different directions in different seasons of our lives. Some grow up under lots of strict rules, we react to that by having a very loose lifestyle post conversion. Some have gone through a rebellious period of their lives, so having seen the destruction sin can have, they are drawn to strict, black and white rules.
  • Every believer will have to work through this.
  • The book of Titus is a letter from Paul training Pastor Titus. In chapter 2, Paul tells Titus how and what to preach and teach to these congregations. He starts with a very significant phrase that touches on the main concept of the entire book. He says: “Teach what accords with sound doctrine.”
  • Then He gives him a whole list of godly conduct. So Paul is telling him, that as you teach them how to live, make sure it is grounded in sound doctrine. At the end of the chapter he specifies what he means.
  • The conduct of a Christian are things like:
    • All of these things can apply to all of us...
    • Older Men:
      • be sober-minded
      • dignified
      • self-controlled
      • sound in faith, love, and steadfastness
    • Older Women:
      • reverent in behavior
      • not slanderers
      • slaves to much wine
      • teach what is good to younger women
    • Young Women:
      • love their husbands and children
      • to be self-controlled
      • pure
      • working at home
        • [*COMMUNITY GROUP LEADER NOTE: we cannot import modern day controversies into this text. This passage is not addressing whether or not women should be career women or homemakers. In this context, the woman would have been in the home. So the older women are to train the younger women how to do that well. The Bible praises industrious women in passages like Proverbs 31. So an appropriate  application of this passage is not: women must be homemakers. The passage is saying, older women help younger women know how to tend to their families. This passage tells older women to train younger women that they should love their husbands and children. Both husbands and wives must put their marriage and kids above their careers, and each family needs to figure out what that looks like.]
      • kind
      • submissive to their own husbands
        • [*COMMUNITY GROUP LEADER NOTE: this does not mean husbands dominate their wives, and wives should put up with it. This means that wives should let their husbands lead. Wives should help them lead, and support their leadership. A wife’s input, insight, wisdom and accountability are all important aspects of this.]
    • Young Men:
      • self-controlled
      • a model of good works
      • in teaching show integrity, dignity, with sound speech
    • Bondservants:
      • submissive
      • well-pleasing
      • not argumentative
      • not pilfering
      • showing good faith

 

  1. This list of things is not easy. When we see these things, it is easy to get exhausted or discouraged seeing what we are supposed to live like. But remember what Paul said before he gave this list to Titus? Teach these things, in a way that accords with sound doctrine. What does that mean? How do we as Christians handle holiness with sound doctrine?
  2. In the next verse, Paul tells Timothy what trains us for godliness. It is grace.
  3. Grace is the concept that no matter what we do, we cannot be separated by God’s love. Grace is that even though we do not deserve it, all of our sin and the punishment it deserves is totally absorbed on the cross. There is no wrath or punishment left for us. We are totally forgiven, and in a state of forgiveness.
  4. How does grace lead to godliness? Doesn’t grace lead to more license to sin?
    • If nothing can separate me from God, then why don’t I do whatever I want and just ask for forgiveness?
  5. The next verses unpack it further. It specifies that we have been redeemed and purified. We are now His possession.
    • If we have been redeemed and purified, that means that God has saved us from something bad.  Redeeming means like a ransom.  So he has saved us from a pit or a dungeon. If we needed to be purified that means the impurity was bad like a toxin that was poisoning us.
    • We are now his possession, that means our loyalty has changed.
  6. Before we know Christ we see sin as something we want to do, we love to do, we should be able to do. The concept of religion seems like it is stuffy and takes all the fun away. But Christ shows us that all of that sin is something worthy of being saved from.
  7. Our loyalty changes and we realized sin is not something that we want. Sin is something that had captured us, and was poisoning us. We realize, as tempting as it is, it will destroy us. The bloody cross and the empty tomb reveals this.
    • We see the bloody cross, and we see a vivid picture of the end result of our sin. It will destroy us.
    • We see the empty tomb - the release from death, and we see the result of obedience. God’s ways lead to life!
  8. It is grace teaches us this. If we have to earn salvation, then good conduct is a chore. But if we are saved by love, it changes everything. If freedom from the captive of sin, was worthy of a rescue mission, then that get’s our attention. Sin is not our friend. If sin is so bad, that it was worth the rescue mission, in which the hero would certainly die a horrible gruesome death, that really tells us how bad our sin is.
  9. Our view of sin changes. Now we hunger and thirst for righteousness. We don’t want our sin, we war against it. We renounce it. We fight to eradicate it, not out of duty but out of a desire to be free from those cruel chains.
  10. As Christians we have to find a gospel-centered view of holiness. And as Paul points out in verse 14, then we will be a people “who are zealous for good works.”
  11. Application:
    • Christian, ask yourself which side do you usually fall into: dry suffocating duty and rules and legalism; or destructive loose living and licence.
    • When you are fighting sin, go back to your “sound doctrine” the gospel. Remember the bloody cross and the empty tomb. Thinking of the bloody cross, remind yourself that this sin is not your friend it will bring destruction. Thinking of the empty tomb, remind yourself of the freedom and life, your obedience will bring.
    • Check your heart. What is currently motivating your godliness: pride? guilt? shame? fear? Or do you have a zeal for good works, and a gratitude that God’s plan is such a benefit to us?

Key Questions:

  1. How would you define God’s grace in your own words?
    1. [Though we do not deserve it, Jesus took all of our sin on Himself. That leaves us totally washed clean and forgiven.]
    2. [Even though we mess up, if we have Jesus, God does not hold it against us, because Jesus paid for it.]
    3. [We are in a constant state of forgiveness. In a constant state of “do-over-ness.”]
    4. [We do not have to do penance, or crawl our way back to God. We are instantly forgiven because of the cross of Jesus.]
    5. [There is no sin that is too big that the cross does not cover it.]
  2. Why are many tempted to think the grace leads to moral laxity?
  3. How does grace train us for godliness?
  4. Paul says we are redeemed, or ransomed from all lawlessness. Why do you think he uses this ransom metaphor?
  5. What are some sins that we are tempted to believe our lives would be better if we could do them?
  6. How do those sins actually bring destruction?
  7. What are some acts of obedience that we find stifling and stuffy?
  8. How do they actually bring freedom and passion into life?
  9. If someone asked you: “if my salvation is by Jesus alone, can’t I just sin and ask for forgiveness later?” what would you tell them?
  10. In light of this passage if someone were to say to you, “I could never be a Christian because I couldn’t follow all those stuffy rules,” what would you say?
  11. What is it about God’s grace that impacts you the most?

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