Sunday, August 28th
Do you sense the tension between faith and works? We don’t have to prove our worth to God — He proved our worth through Christ. What He wants is our faith, our trust in Him, but as God draws us close and assures us of His acceptance and love, we follow Him doing the good works He created us to do. This tension of assurance is what you’re invited to wrestle with this week.
Work through the following questions on your own, and get together with your running partner, Life Group or friends and family around the dinner table to talk through what you’re learning!
- Describe a time in your past, maybe as a child, when you didn’t get the punishment you may have deserved. How may this experience have altered your future actions or perceptions?
- Read Ephesians 2:8-9. What were your initial thoughts when you first heard about God’s Grace? Did it seem like a just or insufficient answer for how we can experience a relationship with God?
- Read Romans 6:23. While it may be hard to discern our true motives, do you struggle with finding yourself doing things to earn God’s favor? What might be a helpful action or thought when you’re tempted to prove your worth by striving to be “good enough”?
- Read James 2:17. How authentic do you perceive your faith to be? What evidence of good works can be seen that are inspired by your assurance of God’s acceptance and love?
- It was shared in the Sunday message that the problem is relational not behavioral. What does a relationship with God look like to you? What do you do to continually foster this relationship? Is it a dynamic relationship that has changed you in a way that others can see a difference?
- Read John 10:27-28. Describe a time when you felt safe enough to take a risk. What type of risks might you consider if you were convinced you were eternally safe?
- Identify one way this week you could take a step towards manifesting an outward sign of an inward reality –- doing the good deeds God has for you to do, as you trust and follow Him more each day.
Ephesians 2:8-9 — For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.
Romans 6:23 — The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
James 3:17 — In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
John 10:27-28 — My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.
If you’ve yet to do so, we encourage you to download the Bible App by YouVersion on your smart phone. Create a free YouVersion account. Tap Plans > Discover > Search: Outreach New Testament > Start Plan. Then you can read along each day with us!
Romans 4:2-5 — If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness.
James 2:18-24 — But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.
SPIRITUAL GROWTH PATH
Did you know you can now track your progress working through the outcomes we include in Next Steps right on Gateway’s website?! Go to Spiritual Growth Path and create an account. You’ll get access to Spiritual Fitness Checks and training with the spiritual outcomes.
Spiritual Outcomes — Trust Christ & Study God
- Learn how to wrestle with the questions about God that blow our mind by working through the TRUST CHRIST outcome.
- Learn how to wrestle with the questions about God that blow our mind by working through the STUDY GOD outcome.