Sunday, June 4th
God is not surprised when we sin, and there’s nothing we can do to hide our failures from Him. Thankfully, Jesus offers grace and mercy to those who put their trust in Him! But He also tells us to “go and sin no more.” Knowing that we all fall short and will continue to make mistakes, what do Jesus’ words really mean for us?
Work through the following Scriptures and questions on your own, and get together with your running partner, Life Group, or friends and family to talk through what you are learning!
- As a child, what’s one secret you kept from a parent that he or she later found out about?
- We learned this week that “Christianity is not about ‘do,’ it’s about ‘done,’” meaning we don’t have to jump through a lot of religious hoops in order to earn salvation. How does this fact influence the way that you view the sins (wrongdoings) in your life (past and present)?
- Read Hebrews 12:1. Which is harder for you: throwing off the sin that entangles you, or running your race with perseverance? How have you invited God into that struggle with you
- As Christians we are free from condemnation, and yet we can still fail to maximize the life that God gave us when we allow other masters to dominate our lives. Where have you felt the weight of sin interfering most recently in your walk with God?
- Living a life of adventure with God starts with confessing our sins and seeking His help in becoming disentangled from the attitudes and behaviors that rob of us joy and separate us from Him. What does living a fulfilled Christian life mean to you?
- Have you ever felt like the woman in John 8, whose secret sins were exposed before others? If you’re comfortable doing so, share your past experience with others you trust. Is there a current secret sin with which you’re struggling? Pray and ask God for the courage to confess and seek accountability from your life group or running partner.
- Read Psalm 139:23-24. In this 4-step prayer of contemplation, King David invites God into the deepest recesses of his heart: search me, test me, evaluate me, and lead me. In the weeks ahead, consider praying this prayer every morning as you orient yourself for the day. Show God that you’re prepared to hold nothing back from Him, and see how He responds to your willing heart. Share your experiences and insights with those closest to you, and look for opportunities to encourage others who may be struggling.
Hebrews 12:1 — Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
Psalm 139:23-24 — Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
DIGGING DEEPER — The Effects of Sin in the Life of a Christian
Sin, or doing things that displease God, keeps us from the life we want. Sometimes we don’t realize the magnitude of the effects of sin, but there are several Scriptures that help illuminate just how damaging our actions can be. Read through the following effects and Scriptures, and ask God if there are areas of your life that grieve Him. Pray through what next steps you could take (e.g., confessing to God, seeking accountability, attending Restore classes) in order to free yourself of the sin that binds you.
- Sin makes reading the Bible seem pointless. (James 1:22-24) *It doesn’t change your life.
- Sin takes away your excitement about God’s involvement in your life. (Psalm 51:12)
- Sin robs you of peace. (Psalm 32:2-4)
- Sin wipes out your confidence in prayer. (1 John 3:19-22)
- Sin, sometimes, causes God not to answer your prayer. (Psalm 66:18)
- Sin makes us afraid that we’re going to be exposed. (1 John 2:28)
- Sin distracts you from what is most important in life. (Mark 10:17-24)
- Sin leads to more sin (James 1:12-16) until we feel like we’re out of control (Romans 7: 17, 23)
- Sin grieves God. (Ephesians 4:28-30)
- Sin interferes with us representing Christ. (Galatians 2:17)
- Sin, in some respects, determines your rewards in heaven. (1 Corinthians 3:10-15)
Remember, the standard isn’t perfection. These passages are about ongoing, secret, entangling sin. And they’re not listed to make you feel guilty about your shortcomings. They’re a question about the kind of life you want. Don’t put off the change that will lead to real freedom.
Perhaps this week’s message about secret sin led to some difficulty for you in dealing with issues from your past or in your present. We have resources for you! If you are struggling with any crisis in life – whether it’s addiction, loss, abuse, or relational brokenness – we have something for you in our Restore program. Restore offers “Next Step” opportunities to those seeking hope, healing, and restoration. Please visit gatewaychurch.com/restore for more information on options, including both individual and couples counseling, and a variety of special-topic classes designed to provide community and support to those seeking next steps.
Spiritual Outcome — Obey God