The Gospel Project Vol. X

Notes Journal

Volume X (Winter 2014-15)

Session 11 – “Converted (Part 2)”

I’m mostly staying with the point titles as written, but using John 3:16-17 for the first one and finishing with Hebrews passages.

Opening Discussion: “How would you describe a “person of faith”?”

  1. True faith is recognizing the truth of the gospel (John 3:16-17)
  2. Faith can be placed in various things for different reasons
  3. Biblical faith is specifically in the gospel
  4. Biblical faith believes what the Bible says about past, present & future

Discussion: “What’s involved in fully “recognizing” the scope of the gospel?”

  1. True faith is receiving Christ as Savior and Lord (John 1:10-13)
  2. Receiving means embracing Jesus for who He says He is
  3. Receiving means transferring from one kingdom to another
  4. Receiving means we start a path of becoming like Him

Discussion: “What actions speak of only assenting to the truth of Jesus without really receiving Him as Savior and Lord?”

III. True faith is looking forward in Christ (Hebrews 11:1-3, 12:1-2)

  1. Faith is the “realization” of something not seen
  2. Coming off of chapter 11, ‘therefore’ means “the” sin is unbelief
  3. ‘Looking unto Jesus’ is an undistracted, forward-looking “realization”

Discussion: “How does confidence in our relationship with Christ specifically affect our daily life and conversations?”

For the week: Consider Colossians 1:27 and what “Christ in you, the hope of glory” means in daily activities and decision-making.

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Session 10 – “Converted (Part 1)”

I’ve continued with the story of Peter throughout this lesson. I prefer to continue looking at his story for continuity and will open with this question:

Opening Discussion: “Can there be remorse without repentance? Why?”

  1. True repentance is sorrow in light of God’s goodness and power (recognition) (Luke 5:1-11)
  2. Since Peter knew the proper method of fishing the Sea of Galilee was at night in shallow water, he reluctantly fulfilled Jesus’ request (v.5)
  3. Peter knew his attitude was wrong inside (v.8-9)
  4. Jesus addressed his inner realization (Do not be afraid v.10)

Discussion: “What are some things we discover when we see ourselves in light of God’s goodness?”

  1. True repentance is renouncing sin and embracing the Savior (turning) (Luke 22:31-34, 54-62)
  2. Peter was focused on himself (v.33)
  3. Peter came face to face with his own shortcomings (v. 61)
  4. Peter wept over his sin and was changed inside

Discussion:Why is the “embracing” part so important?”

III. True repentance results in purposeful obedience (doing) (John 21:4-7, 15-19)

  1. Full circle with the “fishing”, Peter was anxious to “start over” (v.7)
  2. Jesus charges him to “Feed My lambs”
  3. Peter serves faithfully for the rest of his life

Discussion: “How is a repentant heart connected to obedience and service?”

For the week: Look for ways to practice “purposeful obedience”.

____________________

Session 9 – “Called”

I’ve broken the verses at different places than the book and adjusted the point titles to match. The introduction is good, but I’m starting with a personal story to set-up the opening question.

Opening Discussion: “How would you summarize the important things of life to a young person crossing into adulthood?”

  1. We’re called to be confident in the Gospel (2 Timothy 1:8-11)
  2. The Gospel is specifically how we were saved
  3. The Gospel is specifically the power over death
  4. The Gospel was/is/will-always-be the plan

Discussion: “In what ways have you felt intimidated to share the Gospel?”

  1. We’re called to be confident in the One who is the Gospel (2 Timothy 1:12)
  2. We specifically believe in Jesus (faith in Him, not just faith in faith)
  3. He is able (if we trust Him for eternity, we can trust Him for tomorrow)
  4. It’s a daily commitment to His care concerning everything

Discussion: “How is faith in Jesus different from just “faith in faith”?”

III. We’re called to be confident in the pattern of sound teaching (2 Timothy 1:13-14)

  1. A clear focus on the Word (according to the scripture…)
  2. Presented in faith and love (there may not be immediate results)
  3. Follow the Holy Spirit’s lead (He’s the One doing the work).

Discussion: “What are some reasons/ways we avoid direct reference to the Word?”

For the week: Consider some ways that you can specifically share the Word; spoken, written, or posted to social media.

____________________

Session 8 – “Chosen”

Even though the subject of this lesson has the potential for sharp disagreement, my approach will be as always, to focus on the text itself (in context of the other nearby verses). I’ve changed the point titles to match my presentation. The key words to me are Paul’s goal-oriented phrases “that we should be holy”, “to adoption”, and “to the glory of the praise of His grace”. In other words, he was addressing believers who were “in the process” and clarifying the goals of the big picture.

Opening Discussion: “If absolute perfection was the prerequisite for maintaining a driver’s license, how many of us would be able to drive?” “What are some of the reasons why?”

  1. Perfection in Him was planned from the start (Ephesians 1:3-4)
  2. God is to be praised for the gift of salvation
  3. We are blessed with every spiritual blessing
  4. The purpose is to be holy and blameless in Him

Discussion: “If holiness is the goal, then where specifically should our daily focus(es) be?”

  1. Adoption through Christ was predetermined (Ephesians 1:5)
  2. It was part of “planting the tree in the Garden”
  3. It was part of calling out the nation of Israel
  4. It was His plan to ultimately deal with sin (full payment)

Discussion: “How does it make you feel to know that the cost of your sin was scheduled for placement on Christ?”

III. His grace is to be credited for redemption (Ephesians 1:6)

  1. We’re accepted by His act of grace
  2. His grace is specifically through the Beloved
  3. We should remember the principle of grace

Discussion: “If salvation is through grace, then how should we view works? And how should we view boasting?”

For the week: Consider God’s graciousness toward you and how you can show graciousness to others (unmerited favor).

____________________

Session 7 “Wrath”

Sorry, but I didn’t prepare notes for this one

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Session 6 – “Lust”

I plan to read a portion of the intro on page 70 for the opener. I’ve changed the point titles for all three and also the scripture passages for point III.

Opening Discussion: “Inside the church, are we winning or losing the battle against lust? How? Why?”

  1. Lust is the “lingering” or “second look” (Matthew 5:27-28)
  2. Lust isn’t desire; it’s immoral desire
  3. Lust is self-centered
  4. Lust reduces people to objects

Discussion: “How does the recognition of beauty and lust get confused?”

  1. Lust is a trap (Romans 7:18-23)
  2. It promises something it can’t deliver
  3. It takes more and more to continue the temporary gratification
  4. It alters the mindset of the victim

Discussion: “What is some of the bad advice floating around concerning lust?”

III. We overcome lust by:

  1. Embracing the Lord’s grace (Romans 7:24-8:2)
  • There is freedom in Christ
  • There is strength in Christ
  1. Fleeing the temptations (1 Corinthians 6:18-20)
  • Acknowledge the disadvantage
  • We are not our own with self-serving “rights”

Discussion: “What are some practical measures of prevention and accountability?”

For the week: Be mindful of the “lingering” and “second look” (and not just opposite sex, other things lusted for too).

____________________

Session 5 – “Gluttony”

I love potato chips. Sweets can be tempting sometimes, but potato chips almost every time. Even though I’m not hungry, it can be a struggle.

Opening Discussion: “Why is “enough” and “satisfied” sometimes a struggle regarding food and other consumables?”

  1. Gluttony is lack of self-control (Phil. 3:17-21)
  2. Gluttony isn’t eating food that’s “bad” for you in moderation
  3. Gluttony isn’t enjoying the gift of food
  4. Gluttony is expecting food (and other consumables) to provide beyond their design

Discussion: “How would you distinguish between enjoying food (and other consumables) from gluttony?”

  1. Gluttony does not satisfy (Proverbs 23:20-21)
  2. No matter how good something is, the appetite returns
  3. Only the Giver of the food, etc. can satisfy
  4. Unhealthy use can distract from healthy activities

Discussion: “In what ways can gluttony compromise us?”

III. Gluttony must yield to the Lord’s authority (1 Cor. 6:12-14)

  1. The proper function of food and consumables
  2. The proper celebration of the gift of food, etc.
  3. The proper view toward the Giver

Discussion: “How would you describe “eating to the glory of God”?”

For the week: Look for ways to celebrate the gift of food and the Giver of the gift

____________________

Session 4 – “Sloth”

I’m starting off with the Census marker data on p.47 (marriage, college degree, career, leaving home, etc. by age 30)

1960 – 77% of women, 65% of men

2000 – 46% of women, 31% of men

Opening Discussion: “What do you think is the main reason for the delay?”

  1. Apathy is at the core of sloth (Eccl. 9:10)
  2. Sloth isn’t stillness, Sabbath, retirement, etc.
  3. Sloth doesn’t really care (says, “Whatever”)
  4. Sloth has no interest in bringing God glory

Discussion: “How can apathy slowly take over a person’s attitude?”

  1. Sloth lacks worship (1 Cor. 10:31)
  2. A failure to be amazed by God
  3. A failure to acknowledge His graciousness
  4. A failure to give service to God

Discussion: “What would everyday tasks look like when done as acts of worship?”

III. The Holy Spirit empowers us to overcome sloth (Phil. 3:12-16)

  1. He encourages effort from grace, not to earn grace
  2. He helps us look forward to what’s ahead
  3. He reveals areas of weakness

Discussion: “In what other ways may we need the Holy Spirit’s help?”

For the week: Focus on living and working in a way that honors God through daily efforts.

____________________

Session 3 – “Greed”

I like this lesson just as it is and think a good place to start is with a brief discussion of contentment/discontentment:

Opening Discussion: “How would you describe contentment? In what ways can it be good and in what ways can it be bad?”

  1. Greed is the love of money or possessions (Hebrews 13:5)
  2. Stuff is mostly amoral (not inherently good or bad)
  3. The love part is what’s important
  4. Jesus’ words speak of where the trust is

Discussion: “How can greed be a slippery slope?”

  1. Greed traps us in sin (Ecclesiastes 5:10, 1 Timothy 6:10)
  2. “Enough” can prove to be elusive
  3. The mark for “getting there” keeps moving
  4. The hope of being happier and more generous “then” is false

Discussion:Why is defining “enough” so difficult? What can help with clarifying it?”

III. Greed is conquered by becoming rich toward God (Matthew 6:19-21, Ephesians 5:1-14)

  1. Holding stuff loosely
  2. Eternal versus temporal
  3. What Jesus considers important

Discussion: “What does laying up treasure in heaven look like? And for what purpose should it be?”

For the week: Consider how generosity is the antidote to greed and where there may be some opportunity for “treasure building”

Session 2 – “Envy”

I’m going with this lesson as written, but presenting point 2 first to set-up a symptom-cause-solution approach, while also moving the Corinthians passage over to point 3. I’ll start with a personal story regarding the subject, then this question to open:

Opening Discussion: “What are some ways we get to looking at those around us and making comparisons?”

  1. Envy is an expression of self-worship (symptom) (Proverbs 23:17)
  2. Envy attempts self-justification
  3. Envy attempts self-sovereignty
  4. Envy attempts self-assertion

Discussion: “John Chrysostom (circa 347-407) said, “As a moth gnaws a garment, so doth envy consume a person.” Do you agree, disagree, if so why?”

  1. Envy is resentful desire (cause) (Genesis 4:2-8)
  2. Cain resented Abel’s acceptance
  3. Cain began to view Abel as a rival not a brother
  4. Cain projected his discontent onto Abel

Discussion: “How does the concept of “fairness” factor into envy?”

III. Battle envy with the armor of the light of Christ (solution) (Rom. 13:8-14, Cor. 13:4)

  1. Genuine fear of the Lord moves us to humility, thanks, & worship (Proverbs 23:17b)
  2. Genuine humility, thanks & worship moves us to love
  3. Genuine love moves us to thinking of others instead of ourselves

Discussion: “What practical steps can we take to remind ourselves to be thankful?

For the week: Put into practice one of the action steps from point 3 discussion time.

____________________

Session 1 – “Pride”

I’m using the full six verses of the Genesis passage for point I and separating the Matthew and Corinthians passages into points II & III. I’m also setting it up with a short devotional I’ve emailed out to the group to be thinking on before class. (The devotion can be found here)

Opening Discussion: “We’re becoming a “selfie” culture. What’s the difference between taking photos, and taking photos with you in all of them?”

  1. Pride says I have the right to decide (Genesis 3:1-6)
  2. The right to decide what’s good
  3. The right to decide what‘s delightful
  4. The right to decide what’s wise

Discussion: “Sins can ultimately be traced back to pride. For example, how can the sin of lying be traced back to pride?”

  1. Jesus defeated pride with scripture (Mathew 4:1-11)

He pointed out that only God can establish:

  1. What’s good (bread at that moment wasn’t God’s plan)
  2. What’s delightful (secular glitter and privilege wasn’t God’s plan)
  3. What’s wise (dramatic demonstration at that moment wasn’t God’s plan)

Discussion: “What’s the contrast between using scripture and using logic to respond to such temptations?”

III. Transformed people are to find satisfaction in Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18)

Christ defines:

  1. What’s good (what He considered good)
  2. What’s delightful (what He took delight in)
  3. What’s wise (what He considered wisdom)

Discussion: “How do we practically look at Jesus’ life as a model for good, delightful and wise?

For the week: Make an effort to pray for other people’s success and recognition.

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