Martin Luther called it “the default mode of the human heart.”
What is it?
Tim Keller said that religion is just as dangerous as irreligion and the gospel calls us out of both.
Have you ever felt like God is punishing you because you failed Him?
Have you ever felt that if you would be better about Bible study and being pure, God would love you more?
Does your prayer life consist nearly exclusively of
requests to control your environment?
This summer we had a week where we saw how Galatians 4 used the story of Hagar and Sarah to illustrate the difference between the religion and the gospel. (If you missed it, you can review it here:
But in a nutshell, the birth of Ishmael came about through Sarah and Abraham’s own devices instead of trusting God,
whereas Isaac was “the child of the promise” who was a result of God’s plan.
Religion is a man-made plan to get right with God.
The Gospel is God’s plan to make us right with Him.
We’re going to examine in the next two weeks how we tend to veer into religion so that when we see it,
we can repent, and get back on the gospel track.
Some of these questions are hard, but just be as honest as you can.
This is to help you see into your heart. And we can help one another here, for a man’s heart is like deep dark waters, but a friend of understanding can draw those waters out.
AND ON THAT NOTE:
BRAVO SISTERS FOR PLUMBING TOGETHER
ONE OF THE HARDEST QUESTIONS LAST WEEK:
WHAT IS GOD’S ROLE IN SUFFERING?
THERE WERE SO MANY THOUGHTFUL RESPONSES I STARTED
PUTTING THEM IN MY JOURNAL.
I REALLY COULD HAVE JUST KEPT THE WHOLE BLOG.
FOR THOSE WHO WOULD LIKE TO REVIEW, CONTINUE THE DISCUSSION, OR KEEP THIS ON YOUR COMPUTER — HERE’S A PDF FROM MY JOURNAL:
1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
Monday: How are we saved from the wrath of God?
Ron stood behind my kitchen counter and banged his fist on it. “What you have been teaching my wife is not what I’ve heard in church all my life.”
“How is it different, Ron?”
“You told her that all she has to do to go to heaven is to put her trust in what Jesus did at the cross.”
He banged his fist again. “She doesn’t have to be good?”
2. What does Ephesians 2:8-9 tell us, and why does God tells us that our good deeds can’t get us into heaven?
3. Do you feel confident of your acceptance before God? If so, why?
Tuesday: Legalism versus the Gospel
4. How would you feel if someone asked you if you were a Christian? Be as honest as you can.
Martin Lloyd-Jones says that if you ask someone if they are a Christian, and they are insulted, you know that they are trusting in works righteousness. But if they say, “Yes! Isn’t it wonderful?” You know they are trusting in God.
5. Have you had any experiences that were enlightening to you when you asked someone if they were a Christian?
Wednesday: Why do you obey God?
6. What is your motivation for:
- Giving of your finances?
Thursday: What motivates you to serve God?
7. Which of the above do you think better describes you?
8. What does 1 John 4:18 say and how could this apply to the above?
Friday : How Do You Respond to Criticism?
Prepare your heart with this:
9. Give an example from Job of how his friends seemed to equate suffering with sin. (There are many — so go early and don’t copy others! :-) )
After Steve died, I remember thinking, I deserve this. i’m such an idiot. And then I was watching Keller and he said, “When a Christian suffers, God is never punishing him, for IT IS FINISHED.”
I thought, I knew that.
Luther’s right — our default mode is works righteousness, so we must continually speak the truth to our soul that Jesus paid it all.
10. What trial are you facing right now, and how do you pray you will process it?
11. What is your take-a-way and why?