Do You Have The Joy of a Gospel Transformed Life?

In October, Eugene Peterson, known

best for The Message

and for his inextinguishable joy,

went home to be with the Lord.

On his passing, the family wrote:

During the previous days, it was apparent that he was navigating

the thin and sacred space between earth and heaven.

We overheard him speaking to people we can only presume

were welcoming him into paradise…

Among his final words were, ‘Let’s go.’

And his joy: my, oh my; the man remained joyful right up

to his blessed end, smiling frequently.

In such moments it’s best for all mortal flesh to keep silence.

But if you have to say something say this: ‘Holy, Holy, Holy.’

From where did Peterson’s joy come?

If you wonder what happened to all the joy you once had,

you probably have lost your grasp on the gospel.

Peterson’s son joked at his funeral that he only had one sermon,

just dressed up in different ways. The thrust?

God sees you through and through and still loves you to the sky.

Peterson, as The Message might say in colloquial English,

got Galatians!

He wrote this commentary on Galatians:

 The cover shows a man fairly floating over this world,

because Christ has set him free from the idols that enslave:

free from the approval of man,

free from needing to have power or be in control, 

and free from engineering his own comfort & security!

How did he get set free to experience such joy?

In this commentary, Peterson reflects on Galatians 1:3-4 (KJV):

Grace be to you and peace from God the Father,

and from our Lord Jesus Christ,

who gave himself for our sins,

that he might deliver us from this present evil world…

Peterson writes: 

The key word “deliver” (exaireo) denotes not a removal from,

but a rescue from the power of…

The rescue is not from the world, but from sin,

which separates us from God.

Peterson gives documentations of deliverance in the lives of 

Joseph, Peter, and Paul.

Hearing these stories strengthens us to release our own idols,

trusting God in the momentary pain,

tasting freedom, and pressing on for more!

You have stories too,

and together, we’ll encourage one another to press on,

for it is for freedom that Christ set you free.

 

Sunday:

1. What stands out to  you from the above and why?

2. Read Galatians 1 slowly, as a review, and share anything that stands out to you.

Monday: Will God Just Let Me Sit In My Pain?

It was our own Rebecca who so honestly asked, in her struggle with overeating, that if she stopped, “Will God just let me sit in my pain?” We could ask the same question for any sin: “If I truly forgive from my heart, will God just let me sit in my pain?” “If I say yes to God every time, will my life become too hard?”

Rebecca decided God was good and trusted Him. By faith, she put away her nightly guilty pleasure of hiding out in her bedroom from her four “crazy” boys, eating pie in front of the news. Knowing idols cannot be removed but only replaced, she began to read spiritually edifying books. “It wasn’t a quick fix,” she says, “But in time God met me. I experienced His presence.” Rebecca has His joy!

We have to face that there is going to be initial pain, and our idols will put up a fight. Take forgiveness. Dietrich Bonhoeffer said that when you forgive, you have to pay a cost that someone else deserves to pay — and that hurts. But freedom follows. Freedom came for Rebecca, for freedom is waiting, after the pain. 

Although the following is a parable rather than a historical story of deliverance, Jesus was definitely making a point on what will happen to those who trust God enough to repent!

3. Read Luke 15:17-22

    A. What initial pain might the younger son have experienced in humbling himself?

    B. What waited for him on the other side of the repentance door?

4. Read Luke 15:25-31

   A. Why, do you think, the older son refused to repent of his lack of forgiveness?

   B. What do you think his life was like afterwards?

5. How can you apply this to a besetting sin?

Tuesday: Peterson and Spurgeon on Joseph

Peterson uses Joseph as a “documentation of deliverance,” illustrating Galatians 1:3-4.

Grace be to you and peace from God the Father,

and from our Lord Jesus Christ,

who gave himself for our sins,

that he might deliver us from this present evil world…

In his youth, Joseph was not without guilt, and certainly unwise in flaunting himself above his brothers. Yet their sin against him is astounding. Joseph turned to God again and again, trusting His goodness even when everything seemed stacked against him. Through these trials, God shaped him into a great heart, and we see his increasing strength and Christ-like character.

Peterson writes:

Remembering the Joseph story, we realize that no pit or prison is inaccessible to the freeing, delivering, rescuing power of God, and that freedom, once established even in one person, extends itself even into political and social relationships and cultural movements. (Traveling Light, p. 24)

Borgeous: Joseph Recognizing and Reconciling with Brothers

In my life, one of my greatest sources of joy is seeing how the dynamite power of the gospel which I have experienced ripples out to others. As John explained in his 1st letter, that when the fellowship they have experienced ripples out to others, it makes their joy full. (See 1 John 1:3-4) When I see you growing, experiencing more power and freedom, it does indeed make my joy full. I feel the same when I see it with friends and family. I stand in awe and feel like I’m being born again all over again!

6. Can you think of a way the freedom you have experienced has rippled out to others? Share one illustration if possible, and how it has given you joy.

Read the one page sketch on Joseph by Charles Spurgeon here and share how God summed up Joseph’s life:

7. Read Genesis 39:1-21

A. Summarize this account.

B. What do you learn about Joseph from verses 2 and 21?

C. How did Joseph speak to his soul when he faced temptation according to verse 9?

8. What can you learn from this documentation of deliverance to apply to your specific pits and temptations? Be specific.  

 

Wednesday: Stephen, the First Martyr, on Joseph.

The sermon that led to Stephen’s stoning showed how Joseph had inspired him.

9. Read Acts 6:8-15.

A. What do you learn about Stephen in verse 8?

B. What sin did the “Freedmen” commit against Stephen?

C. What did the members of the Sanhedrin see in Stephen? (vs. 15)

10. Read Acts 7:9-16

A. What does Stephen remember about Joseph in verses 9-10?

B. How did Joseph’s rescue speak to the Pharaoh and ultimately to his family?

    C. Why might have Joseph’s story been particularly helpful to Stephen as he faced martyrdom?

11. Challenge Question: This is deep, but important — and we will go more deeply into it the week we reach Galatians 3. But see if you can see, from Galatians 3:1-2, how Stephen applied the secret of deliverance from sin by means of the gospel.

Thursday-Friday: Keller Sermon

      Rescue - Timothy J. Keller

12. Share your notes and comments.

Saturday:

13. What is your take-a-way and why?

 

 

 

COMMENTS (130) Post a New Comment ↓
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Wednesday
A. What do you learn about Stephen in verse 8?
He was full of grace and power. He was doing great wonders and signs among the people.
B. What sin did the “Freedmen” commit against Stephen?
False reports and witness.
C. What did the members of the Sanhedrin see in Stephen? (vs. 15)
One who dwells in the presence of The Most High God, the face of an angel. It makes me think that he probably had a glow of holiness on him, not as intense as Moses for Moses had to cover his face.

10. Read Acts 7:9-16
A. What does Stephen remember about Joseph in verses 9-10?
There was great jealousy around Joseph, he was prosecuted but God was with him through the prosecution and rescued him out of all of his afflictions and gave him favor, and wisdom before the rulers of the land. God then gave Joseph the position of a ruler.
B. How did Joseph’s rescue speak to the Pharaoh and ultimately to his family?
That God saved nations, and a specific family through one mans painful long-suffering.

C. Why might have Joseph’s story been particularly helpful to Stephen as he faced martyrdom?
It shows God’s love and faithfulness, His sovereign control, and Stephen probably had a good understanding that what was happening to him, would have a large impact on many people.

11. How did Stephen apply the secret of deliverance from sin by means of the gospel?
Stephen received the Holly spirit by hearing with faith, not through works of the law. He was a doer of the word, by the Holy Spirit. He lived and died that way, in the presence of God.

Reply

Wednesday: Stephen, the First Martyr, on Joseph.
 
The sermon that led to Stephen’s stoning showed how Joseph had inspired him.
 
9. Read Acts 6:8-15.
 
A. What do you learn about Stephen in verse 8? – He was full of grace and power and doing great signs and wonders among the people.
 
B. What sin did the “Freedmen” commit against Stephen? – They disputed what he was speaking about Jesus and instigated others saying he was blaspheming words that Moses and God has spoke.
 
C. What did the members of the Sanhedrin see in Stephen? (vs. 15) – They saw a face of an angel.
 
10. Read Acts 7:9-16
 
A. What does Stephen remember about Joseph in verses 9-10? – He remembered how Joseph was sold into Egypt but God was with him and rescued him from all the afflictions.
 
B. How did Joseph’s rescue speak to the Pharaoh and ultimately to his family? – With Joseph’s life being brought to light, helped his family be delivered from the famine that was happening. The Pharaoh found favor with Joseph and all of his family.
 
    C. Why might have Joseph’s story been particularly helpful to Stephen as he faced martyrdom? – If Stephen can keep this rescue in mind, it will help him to continue to have faith in the Lord that he, The Lord, will also be with Stephen during his time of trial and afflictions.
 

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11. Challenge Question: This is deep, but important — and we will go more deeply into it the week we reach Galatians 3. But see if you can see, from Galatians 3:1-2, how Stephen applied the secret of deliverance from sin by means of the gospel. – Is this really a secret for those of us who know what Jesus did for us at the cross? I think he was able to apply this deliverance, because the Lord was with Him and he knew that only by Jesus dying on the cross are any of us delivered from sin. The law of the people will never be able to help reach this point in our lives.

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Wednesday: Stephen, the First Martyr, on Joseph.
The sermon that led to Stephen’s stoning showed how Joseph had inspired him.
9. Read Acts 6:8-15.
A. What do you learn about Stephen in verse 8? That he was a man full of God’s grace and power, and he
B. What sin did the “Freedmen” commit against Stephen?
They opposed Stephen and falsely accused him of blasphemy.
C. What did the members of the Sanhedrin see in Stephen? (vs. 15)
His face was like the face of an angel
10. Read Acts 7:9-16
A. What does Stephen remember about Joseph in verses 9-10?
That God was with him and and it was God who gave him wisdom and enabled him to have Pharaoh’s goodwill.
B. How did Joseph’s rescue speak to the Pharaoh and ultimately to his family?
    C. Why might have Joseph’s story been particularly helpful to Stephen as he faced martyrdom?
That God will use people’s ill will towards His people to bring about His good will and the good of those He love.
Stephen so believed that whatever would happen to him would be used by God.
11. Challenge Question: This is deep, but important — and we will go more deeply into it the week we reach Galatians 3. But see if you can see, from Galatians 3:1-2, how Stephen applied the secret of deliverance from sin by means of the gospel.
In his speech, he is portraying before the hearers how the Old Testament they know of is pointing to Jesus. That Jesus is who they need to be saved from their sins and that is not through the observance and works of the law but believing what they knew and heard.
A similarity between the salutations: in Galatians 3:1 You foolish Galatians! and Acts 7:51 You stiff necked people!
The difference: The Galatians were being insecure about their salvation and the Sanhedrin in Acts did not want to believe at all that  they needed to be saved from their sins.

Reply

Thursday-Friday: Keller Sermon
      Rescue – Timothy J. Keller
12. Share your notes and comments.
Galatians is a bomb! Oh, I so love this of Tim Keller. I have never looked at the salutation to the Galatians in the  way he explained it. And just like what one of the Wesley brother said, an overwhelming sense of peace washed over me to have the great confidence that I am saved and I need to do nothing.
a.  The importance of doctrine-Paul was denouncing false doctrine and he addressed the churches in Galatia not just one church.
b.  The importance of authority-Paul’s message was not from men or brought about by men. His message came from Jesus Himself.
c.  The importance of God’s initiative-Paul said it was the will of our God and Father that Jesus came to RESCUE us from the present evil age.
Being reminded again that I am saved and rescued daily not just from the coming evil age but at this very moment brings tears to my eyes. I can understand why Charles Wesley cried after finally realizing he does not have to do anything to be saved. It is all of grace-thank you, thank you, Lord.

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11. Challenge Question: This is deep, but important — and we will go more deeply into it the week we reach Galatians 3. But see if you can see, from Galatians 3:1-2, how Stephen applied the secret of deliverance from sin by means of the gospel.

 

I’m going to say that instead of his good works, he looked to Christ’s death for salvation, since the scripture says we have a choice to either believe in following the law (good works, moralism) or following the Spirit in faith.

 

 

Reply

9. Read Acts 6:8-15.
A. What do you learn about Stephen in verse 8?
He was full of God’s grace and power performing signs and wonders and full of the Spirit’s wisdom when he spoke.

B. What sin did the “Freedmen” commit against Stephen?

They persuaded men to lie about Stephen and stirred up everyone against him so they seized him and went to court. The witnesses against him lied about him.

C. What did the members of the Sanhedrin see in Stephen? (vs. 15)

His face was like the face of an angel. (despite being pulled into court via lies knowing most likely they would kill him)
10. Read Acts 7:9-16
A. What does Stephen remember about Joseph in verses 9-10?
That God was with Joseph when he was sold as a slave and God rescued him.
B. How did Joseph’s rescue speak to the Pharaoh and ultimately to his family?
Pharoah saw God’s wisdom in Joseph and Joseph gained goodwill with him and so Pharaoh gave him a high place ruling over Egypt and his palace. Pharaoh trusted him fully. Joseph’s family was humbled and blown over by his rescue for God rescued them from a famine through Joseph. God’s mercy and Grace so melts me with this.. but must have really impacted his family’s hearts…amazing.
    C. Why might have Joseph’s story been particularly helpful to Stephen as he faced martyrdom?
That his imprisonment and martyrdom will glorify God and that God is with Him, and regardless of what happens God will work through it to redeem others. God will redeem it somehow whether now or later and as far as Stephen is concerned He has tasted God’s presence and goodness and when he dies- in full- so he can glorify God even in his death.

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On the Challenge Question:

It certainly is true that Stephen could face death with confidence because Jesus had pain in full for his sins. That is related to Galatians 3:1. Good job.

But Keller goes deeper in his message — Stephen was given a vision of Jesus — and felt His love and approval — we must live and walk in the definite love, and not doubt it, and then we will be able to handle the disappointments of those who are unkind or even murderous toward us.

 

We have to ask ourselves — do we really believe Christ’s love for us — even while we are simultaneously sinners?

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B. What sin did the “Freedmen” commit against Stephen?
It seems that their jealousy drove them to give false testimony about Stephen.
I doubt they really understood what he was saying.

C. What did the members of the Sanhedrin see in Stephen? (vs. 15)

“that his face was like the face of an angel”

I thought of this

29 When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord.30 When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, his face was radiant, and they were afraid to come near him.”

And this

2 Corinthians 3:18
 
And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate[a] the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”

Reply

What does Stephen remember about Joseph in verses 9-10?

Perhaps that in the hardest parts of Josephs story, God was with him, actual working a rescue.
B. How did Joseph’s rescue speak to the Pharaoh and ultimately to his family?
God provided for the rescue of Jacob’s family and Pharaohs people too through the preservation of Josephs life and then by the wisdom and authority given to Joseph by God.
    C. Why might have Joseph’s story been particularly helpful to Stephen as he faced martyrdom?
 
God’s ways are higher than ours, Joseph’s story played out over years, hard years of slavery and imprisonment. Joseph was mistreated and misjudged but God really was working all things together for good.

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11. Challenge Question: This is deep, but important — and we will go more deeply into it the week we reach Galatians 3. But see if you can see, from Galatians 3:1-2, how Stephen applied the secret of deliverance from sin by means of the gospel.

 
I am guessing here …that Stephen had by faith so fully believed the message of our deliverance in Christ and had saturated himself with the Word that presence of God showed outwardly, his full trust was on Christ’s love to save him, that it cast out fear even as they stoned him to death.

Reply

Notes from Tim Keller’s Sermon – Rescue

The whole thing was good, but here is what jumped out at me in the first listen.

If you think you understand the Gospel, you probably don’t…If you think you don’t understand the Gospel, you are finally getting it.

What causes your emotions is not your circumstances, but what you believe. Everything about us is based on beliefs.

Jesus came to teach us how to ‘swim’, he didn’t just throw a manual at us. He is here to rescue us. Jesus stood in for us, he didn’t just let us drown.

I love these comments. We have to believe the best about ourselves so we don’t think we are worthless. And though these thoughts may come in to our minds, Jesus does not think these things about us so we shouldn’t either.

And to know that Jesus will guide us along the way and help us understand the instructions so to speak is so helpful. I remember a time when I first started working a ‘career’ job and my boss put big ledger books in front of me (I know I’m dating myself) and said figure it out. It was so overwhelming to not know what or how the person before me did the job, but to just figure it out. How defeating that day was to me. But here Jesus will not leave us to ‘figure it out’ he is with us, sitting next to us, just explaining what we need to do next.

Thank you Jesus for your instruction. You make each day livable because of your guidance.

 

    Reply

    Great story about “figure it out!”

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Thursday – Friday
 
12. Share your notes and comments.
 
I was immediately struck by the beauty of the salutation. Our use of language has become so condensed and rushed, it lacks beauty. I hadn’t noticed before how the message of this book was condensed into the salutation. My friend does that when she says grace, a brief easy to understand delivery of the gospel with thanksgiving for the food.

The Jiminy Cricket example, follow your heart and conscience, “it has worked well for serial killers.” Excellent point, who can argue with that? It’s a great concept to use for the follow your bliss and the universe will give you everything philosophy.

There was a lot of good points and truth is this sermon. Several good takeaways.
 

    Reply

    I loved the Jiminy Cricket illustration too!

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6. Can you think of a way the freedom you have experienced has rippled out to others?

What I see in you, Dee, is that you are other/outward focused, not self-focused, and so the freedom and power you are experiencing from the gospel ripples out to others. It is only when I experience the ‘freedom of self-forgetfulness’ (Tim Keller) that I have experienced this – I have to get over myself and my problems and focus on another. I did observe something in my daughter recently that brought me joy: there was ‘friendship drama’ going on between her and two friends; one was gossiping to everyone who would listen and blaming my daughter for something she didn’t do. It caused her a lot of anxiety and upset, and my ‘mama bear’ reaction was to be angry at this girl for hurting my daughter. It was a struggle for me to not go over it in my mind and I did pray for the matter to be resolved. When she was talking to my husband and me yesterday about it, my husband said something not nice about this girl, and my daughter said, “Dad, you don’t understand; I love her and I’m a very loyal person. I don’t want there to be something between us; we need to talk this out.” I thought wow, she’s way ahead of me! I’m not sure where my daughter’s at spiritually, but what I see in her is that she doesn’t hold onto grudges (which, by the way, the boyfriend of this girl told my daughter that she won’t get over this anytime soon because she holds a grudge for a long time). It brought me joy to see this attitude in my daughter.

    Reply

    Aww, thank you, Susan.

    That is great about your daughter’s mindset!

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Read the one page sketch on Joseph by Charles Spurgeon and share how God summed up Joseph’s life: “The Lord was with Joseph.”

7. Read Genesis 39:1-21

A. Summarize this account.

Joseph was bought by Potiphar and because the Lord was with Joseph, even Potiphar saw and gave credit to God for giving Joseph success in everything he did, and so he put Joseph in charge of everything and worried for nothing. After Potiphar’s wife falsely accused Joseph of trying to assault her, Potiphar had Joseph put in prison, where the Lord was with Joseph and granted him favor in the eyes of the warden, so that Joseph was put in charge of everything in the prison and the warden worried about nothing.

B. What do you learn about Joseph from verses 2 and 21?

The Lord was with Joseph and he prospered in all that he did.

C. How did Joseph speak to his soul when he faced temptation according to verse 9?

He recognized the enormous power he had been given, yet was not tempted to misuse it, saying, “How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?”

8. What can you learn from this documentation of deliverance to apply to your specific pits and temptations? Be specific.

For one thing, I have never suffered like Joseph did. A lot of my “suffering” is minor inconveniences, hassles, and frustrations. I need a change in attitude. I am often tempted to believe that God is not with me, and I would like to believe surely, as Joseph did, that my circumstances are not an evidence of the absence of God, if they are bad. As I read Spurgeon’s sermon, I did feel conviction about a past sin that I have confessed (in the past) because when I was doing it, I didn’t have the same kind of heart that Joseph had, asking myself, “How could I do this and sin against God?” I was willing to engage in sin, for a time, and sin against God. I did not consider that I was grieving Him.

    Reply

    Always so honest is our dear Susan.

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9. Read Acts 6:8-15

A. What do you learn about Stephen in verse 8?

God was with Stephen – he was full of God’s grace and power, and he had done great wonders and signs among the people.

B. What sin did the “Freedmen” commit against Stephen?

First, they argued with Stephen, but when they couldn’t stand up against his wisdom or his Spirit-inspired words, they stirred up opposition against him by spreading lies and slander, saying that he was blaspheming against Moses and against God. They brought him before the Sanhedrin and produced false witnesses to lie about Stephen.

C. What did members of the Sanhedrin see in Stephen? (verse 15)

They saw the Spirit of God in Stephen (to them, his face looked like the face of an angel).

10. Read Acts 7:9-16

A. What does Stephen remember about Joseph in verses 9-10?

He remembers how Joseph was sold into slavery in Egypt because the patriarchs, Joseph’s brothers, were jealous of him. But God was with Joseph and gave him wisdom and the favor of Pharaoh, and he became ruler over Egypt.

B. How did Joseph’s rescue speak to the Pharaoh and ultimately to his family?

Pharaoh respected Joseph and when he learned about his family, he told Joseph to bring them to Egypt and provide for them there. Ultimately, Joseph’s family understood that were it not for Joseph being in Egypt and preparing for the famine, they all would have died.

C. Why might Joseph’s story have been particularly helpful to Stephen as he faced martyrdom?

His story was similar in that people were jealous of him as they were of Joseph in the past, which led them to sin against him and plot his ruin. Yet for Stephen, there wasn’t going to be an earthly rescue; he wasn’t delivered from the hands of the people, but he was killed. But he must have trusted that God was with him even when facing death, and that his “Joseph ending” awaited him in heaven.

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11. Challenge Question: This is deep, but important – and we will go more deeply into it the week we reach Galatians 3. But see if you can see, from Galatians 3:1-2, how Stephen applied the secret of deliverance from sin by means of the gospel.

Galatians 3:1-2 is Paul calling the Galatians foolish, asking, “Who has bewitched you?” He reminds them that Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified (for their sins) and he asks them how it was that they received the Spirit (salvation) – was it by hearing and believing, or by observing the law? How does Stephen apply this? Do you mean how did he apply this as he was testifying before the Sanhedrin? Stephen, at the end of Acts 7, asks them (more forcefully) why they are so stiff-necked and refuse to believe? I’m guessing that the Freedmen were opposed to Stephen because he preached grace, Christ crucified, while they were adding to the gospel with rules that had to be obeyed in order to be saved. Stephen believed fully in the atoning work of Jesus, plus nothing. That allowed him to stand firm and not recant before his accusers.

    Reply

    Yes, I do think that helped him when he was testifying. I also liked what Keller said or implied that while he was being stoned he saw Jesus, felt his love, which is why his face shone like an angel. The gospel should help us feel His love in any circumstance and thus strengthen us to say no to idols.

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Keller’s sermon.

1.  The importance of doctrine. The only way anyone anywhere can ever change is to have their false beliefs challenged. We process everything in our lives by our beliefs, and in the Bible God confronts our wrong beliefs. The book of Galations is Paul confronting false beliefs, false doctrine.

2.  The importance of authority. Who tells you something matters. We can believe something because those before us believed it and passed it down to us. That is tradition. Or we can believe because that is what makes the most sense to us when we look inside ourselves. That is Jiminy Cricket, saying trust your conscience. Or we can get our beliefs directly from God. That is what Paul did, and is why God made sure we have the Bible. Only Jesus is trustworthy.

3.  The importance of God’s initiative. The heart of the Christian message, the gospel, it that God did it all. It isn’t us searching for Him or having merit in ourselves. Other religions give a manual, do this and you’ll be save. But Jesus didn’t underestimate our need. He understood that we were drowning and couldn’t read and follow the manual. Christianity doesn’t give us a manual, but a Savior. Jesus jumped in the water and took both our place and our behalf. He did it for the will of God.

4.  The importance of an ordinary day. Salvation isn’t for someday when we get out act together. It is for now, because God loves us as perfectly now as He always will. He wants us to live in His light and love, the life He purchased for us.

That last point is what hit me. The idea that His love for me isn’t growing as I grow. I think that if (when) I go backwards, He has to wait for me to catch up again before He can love me more. I don’t think I can grasp what it means that He already loves me more. If I never grew again, He still loves me to the max. He asks me to grow not for Him, but for me. That I will have more joy and peace and very other gift. But He gives those freely to me. I’m the one who has trouble living as though they are mine. I’m not saying this very well. Maybe because wrapping my mind around it is more than I can do.

    Reply

    You exemplify what Keller says — that when a person says he gets the gospel he doesn’t, but when he says he is starting to get it, he may be!

    Reply

    I love your answer to #1 Mary!

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7. Read Genesis 39:1-21
 
1.  Joseph was taken to Egypt and sold to Potiphar, Captain of the Guard for Pharaoh, King of Egypt.
         2.  The Lord was with Joseph and he succeeded in everything he did.  Potiphar noticed this put him in charge of his household          and the Lord blessed Potiphar’s household for Joseph’s sake.  He was then promoted to everything Potiphar owned.

         3.  Potipher’s wife began to lust after Joseph and day after day begged him to sleep with her.  Joseph declined her advancesand tried to stay out of her way.

         4.  Joseph was accused of trying to rape Potiphar’s wife and was thrown in Jail.

         5.  The Lord was with Joseph and showed him his faithful love.  Joseph had favor with the warden and before long he was running the entire prison. The warden was completely free of his duties.

 

 
B. What do you learn about Joseph from verses 2 and 21?No matter what hardship Joseph encountered the Lord was with him and gave him success.
 
C. How did Joseph speak to his soul when he faced temptation according to verse 9?I have more authority than anyone here.  I am trusted with everything but you.  How could I betray my master?  It would be wicked and a great sin against God.
 
8. What can you learn from this documentation of deliverance to apply to your specific pits and temptations? Be specific.  Speak clearly about the victories I have won in the past and then clearly define your boundaries for a current struggle.  If I am struggling to stay away from overeating, my boundary might be not purchasing food that calls my name all day and all night.  Think through the consequences, is this behavior pleasing to God.  While I am attempting to stay strong, imagine I bring oreo cookies home and I have just one or two.  Past experience tells me I am eating a whole sleeve and a big glass of milk.
 

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Wednesday: Stephen, the First Martyr, on Joseph.
 
The sermon that led to Stephen’s stoning showed how Joseph had inspired him.
 
9. Read Acts 6:8-15.
 
A. What do you learn about Stephen in verse 8? He was full of the Lord and power, and performed miracles and mighty signs.
 
B. What sin did the “Freedmen” commit against Stephen? They lied about him.
 
C. What did the members of the Sanhedrin see in Stephen? (vs. 15) His face glowed like an angel.
 
10. Read Acts 7:9-16
 
A. What does Stephen remember about Joseph in verses 9-10? The patriarch’s were jealous of him, sold him as a slave but God was with him.  God gave him unusual wisdom and he elevated to run the whole palace.  
 
B. How did Joseph’s rescue speak to the Pharaoh and ultimately to his family?  Pharaoh could easily see that the Lord was with him.  Joseph’s family was humbled by his rise to position through the Lord and the grace of God over their family.
 
    C. Why might have Joseph’s story been particularly helpful to Stephen as he faced martyrdom? No matter what Joseph faced the Lord remained faithful to him!
 
11. Challenge Question: This is deep, but important — and we will go more deeply into it the week we reach Galatians 3. But see if you can see, from Galatians 3:1-2, how Stephen applied the secret of deliverance from sin by means of the gospel.
 

 

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Keller’s sermon is another excellent one, although the analogy about belief systems did confound me a bit. I didn’t get it. I will need to go back and check it out again.

 

There are a few things that I gleaned from this sermon.

– The fact that Luther could dissect the text to come to the realization that the gospel is grace, not works. That must have been quite the epiphany for him.

 

– The beauty of the moment when John Wesley understood the ramifications of this grace; he went warm and was overcome with God’s presence. It was probably like when you are searching for something and viola! You find it. You are elated!

 

– We are saved by grace! Jesus paid it all, all for me.

 

– The connection between Luther, the Wesley’s, and us. It seems so cool to me that we are all experiencing the same revolution within ourselves that people of other times have also experienced. It’s like a baton is passed for what? thousands of years now? So sweet is the Bible.

 

 

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Your last sentences are so good, Tami, for all of us who struggle with over-eating.

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But see if you can see, from Galatians 3:1-2, how Stephen applied the secret of deliverance from sin by means of the gospel.

I read these verses in the amplified version and I think Stephen knew that the Holy Spirit’s teachings had to be practiced or applied to be fully appropriated by the “hearer”. Verse 1 starts out by saying “O you foolish and thoughtless and superficial Galatians, who has bewitched you that you would act like this…did you receive the Holy Spirit as the result of obeying the requirements of the law…?  For the Holy Spirit to do his work we must let go of all that we thought we knew (our customs and traditions) and cling by faith to what has already been accomplished for us! We have to confidently believe in the message…but oh, how hard that can be when day after day those who “keep the law”seem to be prospering over those who “cling by faith”. So Stephen then rehearsed aloud the stories of Abraham, Joseph, and Moses!

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13. What is your take-a-way and why?
a. That God will not let me sit in pain-thank you, Rebecca. He will work me through it with His help and keep on loving me.
b. That I fully know I am saved! Praise God! I am singing this wonderful song right now by Daniel Whittle, 1883
1.    I know not why God’s wondrous grace
To me He hath made known,
Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love
Redeemed me for His own.
o    Refrain:
But “I know Whom I have believed,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day.”
2.    I know not how this saving faith
To me He did impart,
Nor how believing in His Word
Wrought peace within my heart.
3.    I know not how the Spirit moves,
Convincing men of sin,
Revealing Jesus through the Word,
Creating faith in Him.
4.    I know not what of good or ill
May be reserved for me,
Of weary ways or golden days,
Before His face I see.
5.    I know not when my Lord may come,
At night or noonday fair,
Nor if I walk the vale with Him,
Or meet Him in the air.

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    I love this hymn and was singing it recently too!

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12. Share your notes and comments.  I loved Keller’s sermon but I am still processing all that he said.  I thoroughly enjoyed the recap of the Wesley brother’s salvation experience.  The description…power came over me, burden broke off me and I thought I saw my saviour.  Belief causes your emotions.  When an individual has a wrong belief you are fighting false doctrine.  Anything but the belief that Christ gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age according to the will of God is false doctrine.  Holland says, the essence of Martin Luther’s Preface is, “What we have nothing to do? No, nothing for the gospel.  We need nothing!  The only way to qualify to be a Christian is to have no qualifications.  Jesus is a hero.  Jesus is a saviour.  We can do nothing, add nothing to what He has done.
 

 
Saturday:  I have been a Christian since my early twenties and now at 55 doing this study is wow, just wow!  Anything other than the belief that Jesus gave himself to rescue us from this present evil age is false doctrine.  Although, I know this, the strength of Paul’s letter, his verbiage has me celebrating the gospel message.  I feel like fireworks are going off on the inside!  Praise our saviour for a job well done!  The most beautiful gift that keeps on giving!
13. What is your take-a-way and why?

    Reply

    Oh Tami — this gives me joy!

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