WE WERE CREATED IN HIS IMAGE
REFLECTING HIS GLORY
WHEN WE FELL WE LOST
COMMUNION WITH HIM.
OUR HEARTS HARDENED
MAKING US LESS THAN HUMAN,
MARRING HIS IMAGE
BUT HE REDEEMED US BY HIS BLOOD
TO BEGIN AGAIN:
MAKING US HUMAN AGAIN.
WE CAN RESIST HIM
OR YIELD TO HIM
Every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different than it was before. And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing into a heavenly creature or a hellish creature: either into a creature that is in harmony with God, and with other creatures, and with itself, or else into one that is in a state of war and hatred with God, and with its fellow creatures, and with itself. To be the one kind of creature is heaven: that is, it is joy and peace and knowledge and power. To be the other means madness, horror, idiocy, rage, impotence, and eternal loneliness. Each of us at each moment is progressing to the one state of the other. (C. S. Lewis)
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you;
I will remove from you your heart of stone
and give you a heart of flesh. (Eze 36:26).
…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,
for it is God who works in you,
both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
This is a challenging passage. Many have stumbled on it, misunderstanding it. But when you understand it, you learn the secret of growth, and hope fills your heart that you really can grow, you really can become His masterpiece, reflecting His image again.
1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
2. In Sarah Wimberly’s testimony above, how did you see God at work in her life? How did her responsiveness to Him aid in the process?
Monday/Wednesday Bible Study
I so often pray that God will help me stop eating, to give me more patience with my grandchildren, to help me not to lose important things. I want deliverance from these sins that pester me. I want remodeling into a sweet little cottage.
But He wants so much more. He wants me to share my bread with the hungry, bring the homeless poor into my house, when I see the naked, to cover him, and not turn away from my own flesh and blood. He wants to turn me into a palace that reflects His glory.
Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.
(C. S. Lewis: Mere Christianity)
3. Often we want to change to get rid of a bad habit that bothers us, but The Potter has much more in mind than that. Reflect: What change do you have in mind for yourself, and what change do you think The Potter has in mind?
4. Read Philippians 2:12-14 in your own translation slowly. What stands out to you and why?
5. Some have thought Paul is telling us to work for our salvation, similar to Buddha who said “Work out your own salvation. Do not depend on others.” Explain, from the context, why this is a false interpretation. How would this interpretation go against the gospel?
6. A parallel passage is in the last chapter, Philippians 1:6. Listen to Steve Green sing it and let it permeate your heart and share reflections if you like.
7. Read Philippians 2: in The Message and then share if you see anything new.
What I’m getting at, friends, is that you should simply keep on doing what you’ve done from the beginning. When I was living among you, you lived in responsive obedience. Now that I’m separated from you, keep it up. Better yet, redouble your efforts. Be energetic in your life of salvation, reverent and sensitive before God. That energy is God’s energy, an energy deep within you, God himself willing and working at what will give him the most pleasure.
8. What would it mean for you to live in “responsive obedience?” Ask the Lord what that would look like for you today.
9. What if you do not want to do what His Spirit leads you to do? How could you pray verse 13?
Here is how my son J. R. answered this when visiting me on Mother’s Day:
The enemy lies to us, telling us if we do what His Spirit leads, we will be unhappy. But the truth is, as we join His Spirit, we are like the seagulls who fly with the wind, gliding in joy and peace. One of my favorite quotes from the great John Stott is:
Our love and our hatred not only reveal if we are in the light or the darkness, but actually contribute to the light or darkness in which we already are.
Thursday/Friday Listen to the Sermon: LINK
This is an excellent sermon by Jeffry White at Redeemer. Share your notes.
10. What is your take-a-way and why?