Today, we’re continuing to look at what motivates us to fight sin and give our lives to God.
Read: Philippians 2:1-8 and 2 Corinthians 5:14-15
For any love relationship to work (Romantic, friendship, family) we need to give up things for others. We can’t just behave any way we like. And in any love relationship it can’t be just one way. Both sides have to come towards each other.
How has God come towards us in love?
How should we respond to God’s love?
Why would it be wrong for us to behave as we like?
What compels us to live obedient lives to God?
Pray: That you would fully realise the extent that Jesus humbled himself for you (‘even death on a cross!’). And pray that the love of Christ would compel you to give up everything for him.
So, as Christian’s, we’ve been saved by Grace through faith in Jesus. And we continue the Christian life by Grace through faith in Jesus. We can’t earn God’s love by keeping rules.
Does that mean I can do whatever I like?
Read: Romans 6:20-23
Paul draws a contrast between two ways of life – what are they?
What is each way like? To what does each one lead?
How does this contrast motivate us to obey God?
Pray: Thanking God that you have been saved by Grace and not your own performance. Ask God to help you fight sin and, in response to his goodness, offer the whole of your life to His service.
Tomorrow we will continue to look at what motivates us to fight sin and give our lives to God.
In the book of Romans Paul tells us that we are either slaves to sin or slaves to righteousness. None of us are really free.
Does that mean the Christian life is all about keeping rules?
Read: Galatians 1:3-5 and Galatians 5:1-6
How does someone become a Christian?
Can we earn God’s love through keeping his rules?
Why should we not rely on keeping rules to earn God’s love?
Pray: Praising God for Jesus, who gave himself for your sins, rescuing you from this present evil age. Pray that you would know God’s grace and depend upon Christ’s righteousness and not your own.
This week we are thinking about the question: ‘Does Christianity restrict my freedom?’
We live in a society where the freedom to choose our own path is of utmost importance. Christianity is seen as incompatible because it imposes a set of beliefs. We want to be free from all restraints.
But is there anyone who is really free?
Read: Romans 6:16
Who are the two masters in this illustration?
Is anybody really free?
If we persist in sinning what does that say about us?
Pray: Asking God to help you turn from your sin. Pray that God would help you serve Him today.
God is just, and he will judge – those that turn away from him will find that absence of relationship cemented into place for eternity. But his desire is that people will turn to him, and although he will coerce no-one, he still calls everyone to be saved.
Read Ezekiel 18:30-32, and think about the following questions
Verse 30 one again reminds us that God is judge. But how can we be certain that he is not cold-hearted or uncompassionate in his justice?
What action does he repeatedly call out to people to take? What will be the incredible result?
Why, then, is it significant that one of the first recorded words of Jesus’ public ministry on earth was ‘Repent!’ (Mark 1:15)?
How does Jesus continue to show compassion to the lost throughout his ministry, calling ‘bad’ people to be sent to heaven?
How can you take part in his ministry? Who, out of your circle of friends, are you praying will repent and live?
Pray: for opportunities to show both the honesty and compassion of Jesus. Ask that graciously, the Lord would save people you know from hell, through your gracious and compassionate witness.
In answering the question ‘How can God send good people to hell’, we’ve seen that Jesus warns about the reality of hell, God must act justly against wrongdoing, and that none of us are good by God standards. What, then, does the Bible mean by ‘hell’?
Read 2 Thessalonians 1:9 and think about the following questions
How do people tend to picture hell? How has mentioning hell become a part of popular culture (e.g. halloween, cartoons, or phrases like ‘one hell of a party’)?
The Bible’s picture of hell is very, very different from the one our culture paints. How does verse 9 describe it? What makes it such a harrowing and genuinely frightening prospect?
The phrase ‘everlasting destruction’ seems like a contradiction in terms. What idea do you think it is trying to get across?
Compare verses 8 and 9. How is it fitting that people who haven’t taken the opportunity to get to know God should be shut out from his presence?
Sometimes people say – “I won’t mind being in hell; all my mates will be there.” How would you answer that?
Other people say – “Surely I’ll repent as soon as I realise that hell is real.” How does Revelation 9:20 answer that?
Pray: that we would recognise both the absolute horror, and the rightness of God’s judgement. Pray that today, you would see the world as the Bible pictures it rather than as our culture pictures it. Ask God to reassure you that for anyone prepared to come to Jesus, judgement is taken away once and forever.
We have seen from the gospel that hell is a real place, and discovered from 2 Thessalonians that God must act with justice. But what kinds of things must he punish?
Read 2 Thessalonians 1:8 and think about the following questions
If someone said to you “What does God want me to do for him?” how would you answer?
From verse 8, what is it that God requires of people? Why is the idea of ‘knowing God’ so central to pleasing him (see, for instance, Gal 4:8-9, or 1 Thess 4:5), and the fulfillment of what we were made for? Why is it right for a holy God to demand perfection?
The Bible is really clear that no-one knows God perfectly or obeys him as they should (see, for instance, Romans 3:10-18). In what sense, then, do we all deserve to stand under God’s judgement?
John Allen of the Salvation Army once said this: “I deserve to be damned, I deserve to be in Hell; but God interfered.” In what way is that a helpful way to see your own Christian life?
Pray: Repenting of your sin, and praising God that, as Romans 3:26 says, he is not only the one who is just, but also the one who justifies. Give thanks that, if you are a Christian, you deserved to be in Hell, but God interfered.