Where we were, where we are, and why the difference
I. We were DEAD in SIN. (v.1-3)
A. A FOLLOWING that leads to DEATH. (v.1-2)
B. Our ACTIONS shaped our very NATURE. (v.3)
Mark Twain is often quoted as saying “Rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated” in response to a journalist’s follow up on someone’s statement that he had died. The opposite is the starting point for our spiritual life. Rumours of our life have been greatly exaggerated.
1. Kid’s Question: Who loves you no matter what? What is that like?
2. What does it mean that apart from the grace of God we are dead in sin? Not theologically, but practically in your day to day life – what does it mean?
II. We are now ALIVE in CHRIST. (v.4-7)
A. All because of LOVE and MERCY. (v.4-5)
B. PROLEPTIC speech and even MORE. (v.5-6)
C. DISPLAYED for the GLORY of God. (v.7)
The reality of our state without Christ helps us to better understand our situation with the love and mercy of Christ. It’s a radically different as death is to life. Even more that we currently experience is true, if we can hold on to that by faith.
3. When is a time when you have experienced the love and mercy of Christ? What was that like for you?
4. How would you explain verses 5-6 in your own words? How are we living here and seated with Christ in the heavenly realms at the same time?
III. GRACE has made all the DIFFERENCE. (v.8-10)
A. It is all GIFT, even our FAITH. (v.8)
B. Good works are the RESULT, not the CAUSE. (v.9-10)
C. Grace is the PATHWAY for the JOURNEY. (v.8-10)
The difference between death and life for us is this thing called “Grace”. It’s one of the most used and yet least internalized theological ideas of Christianity. It’s not something we earn but something that we are given…freely given. And it’s a gift that changes everything.
5. How does our transition from death to life by grace impact the way we view others? Or does it?
2. How can you tell if the work you do for God flows out of grace or is an attempt to get grace? Are there specific things that can help you discern this?
IV. Getting this truth from IDEA to REALITY. (Jer. 15:16)
A. The WEAKNESS of WILLPOWER. (v.1,3; Rom. 7:15-25)
B. AWARENESS of the CYCLE we are on. (Prov. 14:8; Lam. 3:40)
C. Honest ADMISSION of where we WERE. (v.1; Ps. 32:5)
D. Humble ACCEPTANCE of where we ARE. (v.4-5; 2 Cor. 5:17,21)
So how do we move grace and what flows out it deeper into our lives…more as a reality we live by than a concept that we talk about. Part of it is a radical look at who we really are and how we really live. What follows that is humbly letting God do what God does.
7. How much have you depended on willpower for your spiritual life? How does that work for you? How can you move toward resting in Grace?
8. Which of the “cycles” resonated the most with your current experience in following Jesus? What might God be saying to you through that?