Read: Romans 8:13
What does Paul mean when he says live according the flesh / sinful nature and live according to the Spirit?
Do we really think that our sin leads to death?
Putting to death the misdeeds of the body sounds pretty radical – why is it so important to remember that it is by the Spirit that we are to put our sin to death?
How does this give us confidence as Christians?
Are there any areas in your life in which you are living according to the flesh – are you willing to put your sin to death?
Pray: praise God that we can live because of the gift of the Spirit. Pray that we would be willing to put our sinful selves to death and that we would let the Spirit work in our lives, changing us day by day.
Chapter 8 of Romans begins with the amazing truth that because of our unity with Jesus, there is now no condemnation for Christians and that we have crossed over from the realm of the flesh (i.e. sin) and death, into the realm of the Spirit and life. Paul says there is no middle ground – all Christians have the Spirit and belong to Christ and have been declared acceptable to God.
Read: Romans 8:12
What does Paul mean when he says we have an obligation?
Why is this obligation not to the flesh / sinful nature?
What would it look like this week for you to live according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh?
Pray: that we would recognise that as Christians, who have been given the Spirit, we have an obligation to live as though we have the Spirit and that we would be willing to submit to his work in our lives.
In the book of Romans, Paul is describing what it means to be people justified by faith, but he also links that with our adoption into God’s family. We’ll be looking at Romans 8:12-17 tomorrow at church.
Read: Romans 8:12-17
Have a read through the whole section, Romans 8:1-17. Do you think the title ‘Life through the Spirit’ is a good one?
What is Paul’s main idea in verses 12-17, and what are the key words he uses to get it across?
How do you think this passage is meant to leave people feeling and why?
Pray: for Jon Haines as he prepares to preach, and that the reality of being co-heirs with Christ would change peoples’ thinking and lifestlyes over the week to come and beyond.
The apostle John, writing to reassure unsettled believers (1 John 5:12), is reminding them that they have been called children of God. That in itself is evidence of the lavish love which the Father has shown them. Although being part of God’s family means being rejected by the world, it also means taking on a new and real identity.
Read: 1 John 3:1-2
Write down the five words which you think best describe the person you are. How many are relational (e.g. ‘Daughter’)?
Write down the five phrases which best describe your hopes for the future. How many are spiritual (e.g. ‘Closer to God’)?
In verse 2, Paul says that his dear friends are (now, today) children of God. Why do you think our identity, in the New Testament, is so often described in relational terms?
In the rest of verse 2, Paul talks about what his friends will be like (in the future). What terms does he use there? Why do you think hope, in the New Testament, is so often rooted in spiritual realities?
What is the link between who we are now, what we shall be like, and who we will truly see?
Pray: asking God that today we will know who we are, in anticipation of the day when we will fully know when Jesus is like. Praise God that what is most real about your present and future is both relational and spiritual, in Jesus Christ.
Hope you’ve survived the rigours of Christmas Day – here’s something else to digest besides yesterday’s lunch. You and I are children of God. That was always God’s incredible plan (Ephesians 1:3-6), that we should inherit his riches (Galatians 4:4-6), despite rejecting his Son (John 1:10-13). What is more, we’re going to see over the next couple of days, it is a sign of his lavish love…
Read and re-read: 1 John 3:1-2
Are there people this Christmas who you would say love you? What makes you think that?
The apostle John wants us to “see what great love” God the Father has for us. How does he want us to see that? Why is being called God’s child such clear evidence that he must love us?
In verse 1, how does John emphasise our new identity?
According to John 1:10, the world did not recognise Jesus. How, according to 1 John 3:1, have we become like Jesus? How will that hurt? How will that encourage us?
We’ve been looking at our new identity in Christ for three weeks. How much of it is starting to sink in? How has it begun to change your thinking?
Pray: repenting for the times when, in the decisions you’ve made, you’ve shown that you don’t fully trust his love for you. Pray that you would accept your new identity as evidence of the love he has lavished on you.
Today, families all around the world will be gathering together to celebrate Christmas. As followers of Christ it’s amazing to think that we are part of God’s family, as dearly loved children.
Read: 1 John 3:1-2
As followers of Jesus what is our relationship like with God?
What do these verses show us about God?
What are the amazing privileges of being God’s children?
Pray: For Jeremy as he leads the service today, and for all of us: that we would praise God for bringing us into his family through Jesus.
Only one day to go to Christmas! It’s time for the last minute present dash and the final preparations for the big day tomorrow. However in the middle of all the busyness of Christmas it’s so important to stop, take a step back and fix our eyes once again on the Lord Jesus, whose birth we are celebrating. Yesterday we looked at God’s amazing purpose for our lives, to adopt us as his children and transform us into the likeness of Christ. Today we are going to look at the amazing way that God planned all this to happen.
Read: Ephesians 1:3-6
When did God decide to save us?
Was Jesus’ death on the cross a change in God’s plan?
This Christmas, how can we be confident that God is carrying out His great plan of salvation?
Pray: Thanking God for His glorious grace and praising Him for His unconditional love. Asking God that he would help us see this incomparable love for us, that even though He knew we would reject Him God made a plan to save us through the sacrifice of His perfect son.
As we focus on Jesus this Christmas we can have great confidence that God is for us. ‘He who did not spare his own son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?’ – Romans 8:32
Have a very Happy Christmas.