In Tender Mercies (one of my all time favorites!)
God uses a young widow to love “Mac,” a recovering alcoholic,
into the Kingdom. Her son, “Sonny” and “Mac”
are baptized one Sunday. On the way home, they reflect.
Mac: “Yeah, we are.”
Sonny: “Everybody said I was going to feel like a changed person. I guess I do feel a little different. But I don’t feel a whole lot different. Do you?”
Mac: “Not yet.”
Sonny: “You don’t look any different.” (Sonny sits up to look at himself in the rearview mirror.) “Do you think I look any different?”
Mac: “Not yet.”
Rankin Wilbourne said he knew after receiving Jesus, that Jesus promised rivers of living water would flow out of his heart,
but it seemed more like a trickle than a river.
Likewise, It took forty years between John Newton’s conversion
and his conviction regarding the slave trade,
forty years for the gospel to truly change him.
I too feel like I have grown so much in the last fifteen years,
but I am so sad it took me so long too really “get” some truths.
Wilbourne articulates these truths in Union with Christ. As I read them,
“Yes — that’s why I’m finally experiencing more of the power of His resurrection.”
We will look at two secrets of “union with Christ” Wilbourne articulates over the next two weeks: dying with Him and glorifying Him.
This week we will consider the truth of “dying with Him.”
It’s the same one that is the backbone of Ann VosKamp’s new book,
The Way of Brokenness.
Christ was broken on the cross and it led to life.
Yet we are afraid of being broken, of being “crucified with Christ.”
Rankin writes that the first test to “determine whether the radical nature of union with Christ is sinking in is to ask this:
Are you threatened by it?
Before you can rest in the comfort and experience the peace of your new identity in Christ, you have to sense how frightening it can be.
We love our idols — and letting them go feels frightening.
Though many of you have seen this testimony from Rebecca before,
watch it and find where she tells about how “she was scared – and why.”
SUNDAY, JAN 15TH Afraid to Die
1. What stood out to you from the above, and why?
MONDAY-WEDNESDAY: Crucified with Christ, We then LIVE!
Union with Christ means He is in us, and when we die with Him, suffer with Him, we also rise with Him and experience the power of His resurrection!
Prepare your heart with this:
As I consider my life, there were many times I died to myself voluntarily, and God blessed it. Yet often I did not die — either because I was rebelling or I did not see my sin, my hidden heart idols. Yet when God took Steve, it caused me to press into Jesus like never before — for where else could I go? The husband I had so relied on, even to the point of idolatry, was gone. And through that, I had to turn to the True Husband who would never die. So “being crucified with Christ” may come upon us involuntarily when our world falls apart, or it may come upon us voluntarily when, by faith, we choose it. But either way, the way of brokenness can lead to life, to experiencing more of the power of His resurrection, the power that brought Jesus out of the grave!
2. How wise we are when we choose to die to ourselves by faith, when we recognize sin, turn from it, and allow God to fill the place. What fruit followed Rebecca’s choice to die to her nightly ritual and replace it with communion with Christ?
3. Where have you died to yourself and seen Christ bring a resurrection?
4. Meditate on Romans 6:1-8
A. Read through vs.1-8 and find as many phrases as you can that describe union with Him.
B. Which phrases are frightening and which give you hope?
C Baptized means “immersed.” He is not talking about literal baptism here, though baptism, especially immersion, pictures this truth. What promise comes with immersing yourself into His death, according to verse 4?
D. What promise is in verse 5? This doesn’t just mean heaven, but an eternal life beginning on earth.
E. What reasons are given in each of verses 6, 7, and 8 for being united with Christ into His death?
5. Mediates on Romans 6:9-14
A. What must we do according to verse 11? Where must you consider yourself dead today?
B. According to verses 12-13 we must stop doing something and start doing something. Explain and then explain how this applies to you.
THURSDAY-FRIDAY: SERMON “Perfect Freedom” Tim Keller
LISTEN TO THIS AND SHARE YOUR NOTES AND THOUGHTS. IT’S ESSENTIAL KELLER (AND FREE) ON ROMANS 6. EVEN IF YOU’VE HEARD IT BEFORE, LISTEN AGAIN. As Keller says, “Romans 6, 7, and 8 are vital in understanding the power to be found.”
6. Notes or comments from Perfect Freedom.
7. What is your take-a-way and why?
SUNDAY, JANUARY 22, 2017
We are hard-wired for glory,
but in our sinfulness, instead of seeking glory for God,
we crave it for ourselves.
The first principle articulated in the Westminister Confession is:
We have deceitful hearts, and it is easy to think we are glorifying God, when what we are really doing is feeding our idols. As a young speaker, I told many stories of how God was meeting me, and He was — but looking back I realized it was more about me (and feeding my approval idol) than glorifying God. Liz Curtis HIggs (one of the funniest women alive) told me — “I realized people remembered my funny stories but not the message about Jesus.”
Kathy Keller, when Tim was a young preacher, often gave him a thumbs down after preaching. But she said, “When you get to Jesus, that’s when my heart begins to melt.” He took her criticism to heart and became the preacher he is today.
Isn’t it amazing that even in ministry (from parenting to preaching to pro-life volunteering) we can still be seeking our own glory instead of God’s!) This week we will look at John 12 for insight into replacing our quest for our own glory with a quest for seeking God’s glory. Though we thinking seeking our own glory will lead to joy, it does not. Instead Lewis says:
Monday-Wednesday Bible Study (Take two questions a day)
PREPARE YOUR HEART WITH THIS:
We are hard-wired for glory, but in our sinfulness we corrupt that desire, and seek glory, not for God, but ourselves. We see the contrast in our opening passage.
2. Read John 12:1-8
A. Whose glory was Judas seeking? How can you tell? Where did this ultimately lead for him?
B. Whose glory was Mary of Bethany seeking? How can you tell? Where did this ultimately lead for her?
C. Ask yourself today, each time you begin a new task or venture, “Whose glory will I seek in doing this?” Come back and report how it impacted you.
3. Read John 12:9-19 and find passages that show whose glory the chief priests were seeking. Explain why you think that is true.
4. Read John 12:20-26
A. What hour does Jesus say has come, and what does He mean?
B. How does Jesus explain and illustrate “the broken way” and how it leads to fruitfulness?
C. Through this illustration, how can you see how the truths of dying with Christ and glorifying God are linked?
D. “Losing your life” sounds frightening — it is the upside down way of the Kingdom. Share a recent time when you faced this trauma and either failed or succeeded in obeying and what happened.
5. Read John 12:27-36 Why was Jesus’ soul troubled” What caused Him to submit to the hard path?
6. Read John 12:36-43
A. Why did many of the authorities, though they believed, refused to confess it?
B. Ask the Lord to show you where you are seeking man’s glory. What does He show you?
C. Pray for yourself here.
Thursday-Friday (Message from Rankin Wilbourne)
7. What comments to you have on the above?
8. What is your take-a-way and why?