A goal for today is to encourage each other to persevere in our shared living faith. Moreover, we as Christians need to examine ourselves and learn to become transparent to one another. We all struggle in many ways and even stumble under the pressure of sin. However, Christ died for our sin and now indwells every transformed believer. Christ “in me” empowers us to yield to the Spirit and forsake blatant sinful behaviors.
In fellowship with other genuine and maturing believers, God reveals to us areas in our lives that need grace to change. The closer we are drawn to God, “a consuming fire” the more we are aware of our sin. It is grace that allows us to draw close to our God through the Lord Jesus Christ.
“In Christ” I pray that you are experiencing the love of our awesome God, especially through relationships with other believers. Our God knows you in every way and still loves you and promises to never leave you. I am continuing to try and understand and experience this type of love God has for me, and may my life reflect a genuine and consistent sacrificial love for others.
As we open today let’s review a few questions prompted by Chapter 12. May God illuminate our minds and enable us to humble our hearts that we might hear and yield to the Spirit.
12: 1 “…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles…”
What do I need to change in my life today?
How are we running with perseverance?
What is the race marked out for us?
Are we fixing our eyes on Jesus through every circumstance or event?
Are we being disciplined? How should we understand our difficult life circumstances?
Remind ourselves why God disciplines us v. 10 Are we engaging in holiness training everyday?
v. 14 Are we really making every effort:
a. to live at peace with everyone?
b. to “be holy?” Why is this so critical?
Our God is a ? _____________________ _________________ v. 29
Help us Lord to understand and then live accordingly. Change me oh God, empower me to yield to your Spirit dwelling inside me moment by moment.
v. 1 The writer is highlighting the foundational truth for all those “in Christ.” Love for one another is manifest in genuine concern for brothers and sisters in the body of Christ.
Do you find that you are less “self” focused and care more about others, especially believers?
How does love for others look in our everyday lives?
Do you have a hard time putting the interest of others before your own?
Is it enough to say we love our brothers and sisters?
Our faith is “alive” and the love of Christ in us supernaturally prompts us to action.
If one is truly “in Christ” it is very uncomfortable to predominately live for oneself. If one does not feel the discomfort of living a self centered “me” “I” “me first” type of existence, whether or not they are “truly saved” is a legitimate question to ask oneself.
In this context the writer is talking about “brotherly love” the link among folks here is salvation. A supernatural care and concern for the well being of others “in Christ.”
v. 2 Hospitality in Christian homes was critical in the first century as the gospel message was spread. Accommodations at inns were expensive and the inns had bad reputations.
How can we demonstrate hospitality today? Again, this behavior is a manifestation of Christ dwelling in us. Practically, what does this look like?
v. 3 In this context, the writer is emphasizing the necessary outflow of compassion, especially for those imprisoned for identifying with Christ. “…as you yourselves were suffering.” This is a demonstration of genuine empathy from a transformed believer for other believers.
v. 4 In 12:16 the writer warned about “sexual immorality” now again in the context of marriage. The adulterer and the sexual immoral will be judged.
According to Jesus, are we all in danger of committing adultery, even if we don’t fornicate or have sexual relations with another person’s spouse? (Matt 5:27-30)
How is your thought life? Are there sexual sins hindering your spiritual growth? Is it my habit to cry out to God for forgiveness? Should I become more accountable with another brother in the areas of sexual sin? (e.g., lust of the eyes, fleshly thoughts or behaviors)
v. 5 Moreover, not only sexual sin, but the inspired writer is exhorting us to “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have…”
This quote in v. 5 is not exact, but is consistent with Joshua 1:5. “No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
We do not love money or anything of this world because we are completely reliant on God and trust him to meet all our needs. Moreover, As followers of Christ we are secure no matter what our circumstances because God in Christ is always with us. (John 17)
v. 6 “So we say with confidence…” In light of Psalm 118:6, we can have an attitude of courage and trust. This is a ringing declaration of confidence as the psalmist renounces fear.
A better translation: “What will man do to me?” Morris (1981) wrote, “Man will not succeed in anything he attempts to do against one who trusts in God” (p. 147).
v. 7 Who are the leaders? Those who preached, spoke the Word of God to the body. Then and now, I’d say God raises leaders who are Spirit filled Christians leading the body of Christ. We are called to imitate those who are Holy Spirit lead and living a humble and holy lifestyle.
Are we striving to be Spirit filled leaders within our sphere of influence? Are we willing to engage and imitate mature believers so that we too can become Christ like leaders? “In Christ” how then should we live?
Paul said in 1 Cor 4:16-17 “Therefore, I urge you to imitate me.” The context is Christian conduct in light of our position/transformation in Christ. Paul emphasizes “…my way of life in Christ Jesus…” Moreover, 1 Cor 11:1 “Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ.”
However, leaders do come and go like the wind. The Spirit leads where God wants us to go. And, sometimes men and women in Christ stumble or may not yield to the Spirit.
v. 8 The good news is that our Lord “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Our God is immutable, hence we can rely on our forever loving, empowering, gracious God to help us persevere in obedience.
Expositor’s Bible Commentary (1981) Frank Gaebelein (ed)
NIV Study Bible (1984).