The latest sermons from Grand Lake Church. Learn more at www.grandlakechurch.org.
The Cross Changes Everything
Scripture and Questions for Study and Reflection:
Read Galatians 5:26 and 6:1-5. In verse 5:26, Paul warns believers “not to become conceited, provoking and envying each other.” Think about Paul’swarnings. How might those warnings show up in our lives? Paul then encourages believers to gently restore someone caught up in sin. What does that look like to you?Read Galatians 6:7-10. Describe in your own words what you believe the law of sowing and reaping is? Paul warns us not to become weary in doing good. What is it that might cause us to become weary? What can we do to keep from becoming weary? What point do you think Paul is making about sowing and reaping?Read Galatians 6:12-13. What is Paul saying about the Judaizers? Why are they forcing the ways of circumcision? What is their ulterior motive?Paul said in verse 14, “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” (NIV) What do you think Paul meant by this? How is this relevant in your own life?What does Paul’s “boast” in verse 14 teach us about salvation?As you look at the present-day church life, what legalisms do you perceive that seem to be binding us up and keeping us from living a life of freedom through the faith of Christ?What is Kyle Idleman referring to when he says, “It is our responsibility to keep the main thing...the main thing?”As we have journeyed through the Book of Galatians, how has the Holy Spirit allowed you to see ways that you are boasting in your “flesh” as opposed to boasting about your relationship with Christ and acknowledging the Cross of Christ? What changes can you make to surrender your boasting to Christ?In what ways are others able to see “Christ in your life”?Prayer for the Week:
Dear Heavenly Father, I come to you this day in humble submission. Thank you, Holy Spirit for awakening me in a new and glorious way. When I am in you, Christ, I am free from living for this life and this world. I now live for you, Christ...and oh how much better it is to live in the Spirit of you, Christ. Help me to be as one with my brothers and sisters in Christ. Help me to walk alongside them, to help them in their time of need and to be gentle in my approach, just as you, Lord, are gentle with me. Give me strength, lest I grow weary and remind me often that the cross you died on changes everything. I love you and praise you, Lord. Amen.
Have They Fruit
Scripture and Questions for Study and Reflection:
Read Galatians 5.
Why do you think John Wesley asked the question of potential new pastors, “Have they fruit?” What kind of fruit was he looking for? What kind of fruit is in your life? Is there any fruit you don’t have, or would like more of?What are the three forms of grace in Wesleyan theology? What does each form represent? How does grace relate to freedom in Christ?In this week’s video Idleman says, “You have been set free to live differently.” What does he mean by that? How have we been set free, and from what? How are we to live differently as a result?Paul says in verse 6, “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” Why do you think he said that? Do you agree? What does that look like in everyday life?In verse 13 Paul says, “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to befree. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.” What does it mean to “indulge the flesh”? If we are not to do this, then in what way are we free?Read verse 15. In what way is that a necessary warning for our culture today, both in and out of the church?What does Paul mean in verse 17 when he describes the Spirit and the flesh as being in conflict with each other? In what ways do you experience this conflict in your own life? How can you resolve this conflict?Where does the transforming power of sanctification come from? What is your role in your own sanctification?What is the fruit of the Spirit described in verse 22? Why is “fruit” singular if there are nine attributes listed?Prayer for the Week:
Almighty God, thank you for the gift of the Holy Spirit to help us live in true freedom in Christ. Forgive us for the times we abuse this freedom, living more by the flesh than by the Spirit. We invite you to crucify our flesh every day so that we may walk in step with your Spirit. Help us to express our faith in love every day by loving our neighbor as ourselves. Help us to share the Gospel of love with everyone around us at every opportunity we get, so that you will be glorified and your Kingdom advanced right here on earth. We love you, Lord, and we surrender our lives to you anew this day. We pray all of this in the strong name of Jesus, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
The Family of God
Scripture and Questions for Study and Reflection:
Read Galatians 4.
1. Pastor Mick said the saints we celebrated this morning have received the Promise in all of its fullness, whereas the rest of us still “see through a glass dimly.” What did he mean by that? In what ways do you still “see through a glass dimly”?
2. What does the word “redeem” mean, particularly in the context of today’s text?
3. Read verses 4 & 5. Why was it important for Jesus to be “born of a woman, born under the law”? How does this lead to our redemption?
4. Read John 1:12. How does that verse relate to Galatians 4: 5? What is required to receive adoption as God’s sons and daughters?
5. Pastor Mick shared these lyrics from the Cain song “I’m So Blessed”: “'Cause on my best day, I'm a child of God. On my worst day, I'm a child of God. Oh, every day is a good day. And You're the reason why.” How do those words make you feel? Do you believe they represent the truth of the gospel? Why/ why not
6. Paul is frustrated by the Galatian’s willingness to so easily revert back to slavery and bondage of the law. Why do you think he’s so frustrated? Have you ever reverted back like the Galatians were doing? If so, why?
7. Read verse 24. What “two covenants” do the women represent?
8. In verse 30, Paul quotes Genesis 21: 10. Why does he quote that verse? What does he mean by it in the Galatian context? What does it mean for us today?
9. Pastor Mick described the Communion Table as our family dinner table. What did he mean by that? Is that understanding supported by the Galatians text?
10. What is the ancient Celtic understanding of a “Thin Place”? How might the Communion Table be such a “Thin Place”? What other places are “Thin Places” for you?
Prayer for the Week:
Almighty God, we thank you for sending your Son to fulfill the promise and free us from slavery to sin and death. We are eternally grateful for the price Jesus paid to redeem us; a price we could never pay for ourselves. We humbly and gratefully accept your invitation to be adopted as your sons and daughters. We rejoice in the inheritance you have given us. Remove from us the temptation to go back to our old ways, and instead help us to continue to walk in your freedom. Lord, we thank you; we love you; and, we surrender our lives to you anew this day. May all that we say and do, always and everywhere, bring you glory. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
The Law and the Promise
Scripture and Questions for Study and Reflection: Read Galatians 3.1. How is religious legalism different from the Gospel?2. Why do you think Paul brought up the example of Abraham in this chapter?3. How was Abraham made righteous before God? What does that mean for us?4. How long was it from the time of Abraham until the Law was given?5. What was the promise God made to Abraham? In what ways are we heirs to that promise? What does that mean for us?6. In what way was the Law a curse? How was that curse broken? Have you ever felt like you’re still under that curse? If so, how?7. In what way was the Law a guardian, as Paul describes? How does thinking of the Law that way change the way you understand it and apply it?8. Read verses 24 and 25. What do these verses mean to you? How do these verses align with your previous/current understandings of the Law?9. Do you struggle with accepting freedom in Christ? Do you struggle with offering such freedom to others? If so, why?10. What does it mean to be a child of God? How does one receive this status? How does (should) this impact our lives together in the Church?Prayer for the Week:Gracious and loving God, thank you for the Law and the role it plays in revealing to us your will for our lives. Thank you even more for setting us free from the curse of the Law and enabling us to live in freedom through Christ. Help us, Lord, to avoid our natural tendencies to revert back to religious legalism, and at the same time, protect us from our inclination to abuse the freedom Christ has given us. And convict our hearts of the truth that, although we all have our own unique struggles and shortfalls, our faith makes us one in Christ. Help us to break down all artificial barriers and simply live together for Christ. We pray all of this in the mighty name of Jesus, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever. Amen.
The Gospel of Freedom
Scripture and Questions for Study and Reflection: Read Galatians 2.1. What was the reason Paul confronted Peter in Antioch? What fear did Peter have and how was it leading people astray? (see verses 11-13)2. In this week’s video, Idleman refers to the “Gospel of Freedom.” What does he mean by that? In what ways do we find freedom in the Gospel?3. Idleman says the “Gospel of Freedom” demands Unity, Humility and Sanctification. Do you agree with him? Why/why not?4. Pastor Mick used local examples of “Unity without Uniformity” in living out the Gospel. What do you think about the concept of unity without uniformity? What do you think about the way we do it in Mercer County? Is this way true to the Gospel?5. St. Augustine is often credited with the saying, “In essentials unity; in non-essentials liberty; in all things charity.” What do you think about that saying? In what ways were the early creeds attempts to determine the “essentials”? Are there other essentials that the creeds don’t cover? If so, what are they?6. In what way did Paul demonstrate humility in chapter 2? How did Pastor Mick describe humility regarding collaborative ministries here in Mercer County? Why is humility important?7. What does sanctification mean? Why is this a requirement of the Gospel?8. Paul says, “For when I tried to keep the law, it condemned me. So I died to the law—I stopped trying to meet all its requirements—so that I might live for God.” (verse 19, NLT) What does it mean to die to the law and live for God? How does this lead to sanctification? Where does the power of sanctification come from?9. What does the phrase, “I can’t...He can...I think I’ll let Him” mean to you?Prayer for the Week:Gracious and loving God, thank you for the freedom we find in the Gospel. Humble us and unite us around your Gospel, that we might be sanctified, truly transformed, through the power of your Holy Spirit. We surrender our lives to you anew this day so that we might live our lives for you. Help us to be your good and faithful servants, your completely committed followers, true disciples of Jesus going out to make new disciples of Jesus for the transformation of the world. We pray all of this in the mighty name of Jesus, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever. Amen.
The Lure of Legalism
Scripture and Questions for Study and Reflection: Read Galatians 1.1. In today’s passage, Paul is speaking against a false gospel preached by missionaries sometimes referred to as “Judaizers.” Why do you think they were called “Judaizers”? Why does Idleman call the gospel they preach a “Jesus-Plus” gospel?2. Why do you think Paul is so “astonished” at the way the Galatians are receiving the Judaizer’s message? In what way is the Gospel Paul preached so much better?3. In this week’s study guide, Idleman says, “By returning to the moral aspects of the Law, the Galatians were committing treason against God and the freedom they had received through faith in Jesus Christ.” What does he mean by that? Do you agree? Why/why not?4. Read Romans 8:1-4. How does that relate to today’s passage?5. Idleman gives two reasons for the “Lure of Legalism” we all tend to experience now and then. Do you remember those two reasons? Do you agree with them? Which one resonates with you the most?6. Idleman tells a story of a man, with a prodigal daughter, who said, “We raised her in church but we didn’t raise her in Christ.” What did he mean by that? How does that story relate to today’s passage? Can you relate?7. What are “Embedded Theologies”? In what ways were the Judaizers influenced by embedded theologies? What embedded theologies do you have that might need to be rethought?8. Have you ever acted like a Judaizer? Have you ever tried to put a “Jesus- Plus” theological yoke on someone? If so, when? Why? Has anyone ever tried to do that to you?9. What has happened in Paul’s life that makes his testimony about the Gospel so much more believable and powerful?Prayer for the Week:Gracious and loving God, Your grace truly is sufficient. Forgive us for the times we try to earn Your forgiveness or try to make others earn it. Protect us from the lure of legalism. Remind us that Jesus truly is enough. His life, death and resurrection are enough. Through our relationship with Him we are new creations. Through our relationship with Him we are set free. Help us to truly live in that freedom, so that our testimonies might help others do the same. We pray all of this in the mighty name of Jesus, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever. Amen.