Warning Signs | Don't Sin Willingly, Day 4
Without Jesus, we were spiritually dead. With Jesus, we are dead to sin and alive in Him.
Verse of the Day
waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. Hebrews 10:13
What was the most frightening thrill ride you’ve ever ridden? Share about the experience.
Were you more frightened before, during, or after you rode? Would you ride again? Why or why not?
How do you think a thrill ride compares to living for Christ?
Thrill rides intentionally take us to the place where danger and safety meet. They make us feel like we are taking great risks, when in reality we are quite safe.
Either we live for Christ or we are dead in sin, there is no middle ground or safety net. The danger in choosing not to live for Christ is real.
Hebrews 10:26 Dear friends, if we deliberately continue sinning after we have received knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice that will cover these sins. (NLT)
Read Ephesians 2:1-10
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:1-10
How do verses 1-3 help us understand what sin is? How do they show us that sin is not just a bad choice, but a condition in which we live?
Why is it important that we understand humanity, apart from Christ, to be dead and not just bad?
How does that understanding change the way we view the good news of the gospel?
11Not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. 12Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, so also death was passed on to all men, because all sinned. Romans 5:11-12 BSB
For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 1 Corinthians 15:21-22 BSB
Paul referred to his audience in past tense terms because this was how they once were. Why, even as Christians, is it helpful to remember our condition before Christ?
But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. Romans 5:8 NLT
How does doing so change the way we view others apart from Christ?
We should be able to view others with more mercy and compassion in light of the fact that we are all sinners saved by grace.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV
What is your “but God” moment? The moment when everything changed spiritually for you?
Why do you think God wants us to know that we are His “masterpieces”? Is it difficult for you to believe this about yourself? Why or why not?
Our identity is found in Jesus. Nothing and no one can determine your self-worth and self-identity, not even yourself. We have to look to the Word of God in order to properly define who we are and shape our future.
What does the Word of God say about your identity in Christ?
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 1 John 3:1-2
Read Ephesians 2:11-22
11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)— 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. Ephesians 2:11-22
Before Jesus came, what problems did the Gentiles face (vv. 11-12)? How do those images compare to your personal history?
How has Christ destroyed hostility and made peace possible for all people (v. 14)? According to verses 14-18, what are the positive results of this wall coming down? Which one is the most significant to you and why?
What are some hallmarks (official marks) of the church built by God according to these verses? How do you see these characteristics displayed at your church?
In what ways can you see God’s earthly church being fitted together and growing in the Lord?
Read Ephesians 3:1-13
3 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—
2 Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, 3 that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. 4 In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. 6 This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.
7 I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. 8 Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, 9 and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. 10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11 according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. 13 I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory. Ephesians 3:1-13
What one word would you use to define this mystery Paul shares?
Why would receiving God’s revelation from His Word change our attitude about service? How do we receive this revelation?
God’s Word shows us that we need unity in the body of believers, no matter what they look like or where they come from. We are all made in the image of God, breathed into by His power, to do and be whatever He wills. We should be able to see our fellow brothers and sisters as co-heirs (equal inheritors) in the Kingdom, and work with them as such. We are all part of one body, and in that we need to realize that no part is more important or less than another. We receive this revelation as a call to solidarity and equality with all those who have chosen to answer the Lord’s call to fellowship and follow Him.
How can we have the right attitude and ability to serve God?
God knows the end from the beginning, because He created all. He works everything out for our good. He is the author and finisher. We can rest assured that whatever He sends us to do is for the glory of God and the good of our lives. Knowing these things should make it easy to be joyful while doing the will of God as He has laid it out for each of us in our lives.
Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,’ Isaiah 46:9-10 NKJV
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Jeremiah 29:11 KJV
What is one way you can remind yourself of who you were before Christ without feeling a sense of judgment or condemnation?
What is one good work God has planned for you this week?
What will you do this week to relate to other believers in ways that express your unity in Christ?
What are some of the unique challenges we face as we practice biblical community? How can we respond to these challenges?
Thank God that in His mercy, He made you alive with Christ when you were dead in sin. Pray that you would have a greater appreciation of what Jesus has done and greater compassion and mercy for others.