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    Life Group Discussion Notes for 11.03.12

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    The Bible tells us that when we’re faced with an opportunity to sin, grace doesn’t lower the bar and make it easy to give in; grace puts the bar in our hands and helps us to stand our ground and say no.

    Titus 2: 11-14
    (NIV) For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, (ESV) waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

    What does grace teach us?

    1) We are dead to sin

    When grace appeared and salvation was offered through Jesus, everything changed.
    In Romans chapter 6, we are told that as Christians our old self was crucified with Christ; we are dead to sin and dead to the Law that used to tell us what to do. We need to agree with God and let the truth of the Bible have authority over our thoughts and feelings.  The Law no longer says no to you; now you say no to sin.

    2) We are valuable

    When you feel marginal you are vulnerable; prone to do things that will harm you. When we know that “he gave himself for us… to purify for himself a people for his own possession”, we feel valuable and much more able to say no. When we understand the infinite price that God paid for us, we will understand the infinite value he places on us.

    The Cross is the turning point. It was the moment of wrath that birthed love; the scene of utter rejection that allows for the deepest connection; the place of complete devastation that initiated the restoration of all things. This is the crux of the matter. The word ‘crux’ is Latin for ‘cross’, and if you put it into a dictionary today you’ll find this definition:
    Crux: a vital, basic, decisive, or pivotal point
    It’s also the root of the word ‘crucial’. By definition then, the Cross is ‘crucial’ for all of us, it’s the turning point from a life of damaging sin, to a life of good works. It’s what turns us away from an eternity of suffering without God and welcomes us into an eternity of enjoying God.

    3) He has a glorious plan for us

    This passage finishes on the phrase that God wants us to be ‘zealous for good works’. God has a plan for us, He sees us as valuable and useful.

    For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2: 10)

    4) This is a passing age

    Don’t unpack here. Don’t change your watch. Keep your eyes on the second great ‘appearing’ of Jesus that is to come.

    Conclusion

    Grace teaches us that we are dead to sin and that God values us enough to want to use us to bless others. When this truth is at the tip of our minds, we will be able to gladly say no when faced with an opportunity to sin.

    Questions:

    (feel free to discuss by posting comments below)
    1) Are you good at saying no? (Rarely? Grudgingly? Gladly?)
    2) Do you know that you are accepted, adopted and useful to God?
    3) What has motivated you in the past to say no to opportunities to sin?
    4) What temptations do you face regularly? What do you think God’s good alternative is?
    5) Read Eph 2:10 again: What do you think “good works” are?

    Pray for one another to know more of the riches of grace that help us to say no.

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