Below is a resource for you from 7/14/17.
Haven't We Already Covered That?
Recently I was meeting with my D-Group and discussing our journal entries from our Bible reading plans. Currently, we are reading through the book of Numbers which can be a little dense at times, but lately has been pretty thrilling, highlighting God's character when dealing with a grumbling and complaining people. One of the guys confessed being a little unsettled when reading things like God's... "anger being kindled, and the fire of the Lord burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp." (Num. 11:1) Also passages like "...how long will this people spurn me? And how long will they not believe in me, despite all the signs which I have performed in their midst? I will smite them with pestilence and dispossess them, and I will make you into a nation greater and mightier than they." (Num. 14:11-12) Of course there's Korah's, when he lead an assembly of people to try and stand in the place of the priest though unqualified, and God caused the, "ground that was under them to split open; and the earth opened it's mouth and swallowed them up, and their households, and all the men who belonged to Korah with their possessions." (Num. 16:31-32) My brother shared with the group that he was feeling an unrest with the holiness of God. He shared that he was feeling at times some fear, that because of constant sin struggles in his life, God would one day settle accounts with him at judgment.
My first reaction was to say, bro, haven't we already covered that? I mean, that's the gospel, that's basic to our faith. Being saved and forgiven rests on the truth that because of the work of Christ there is now no condemnation for those who are in Him. (Rom. 8:1) We should be talking about how to teach this to others and how to live obediently, not still struggling to believe it ourselves. But then I was reminded at how deceiving our hearts can be at times. I was reminded that the gospel is sometimes hard to grasp, and even harder to remain in no matter how long we have been disciples. I was reminded at how the enemy tries to get us to "think" we have moved beyond the basics of the gospel, relying on our own strength and not God's.
So we just began to camp out on the thought that there is no condemnation for those clinging to Christ. Instead of thinking we are past it, we dove deeper into the truth of the finished work of Jesus. What I found was that as we unpacked these things more, all of us left with a greater desire to "move on" to obedience and sharing the good news. What my brother was experiencing as Numbers was exposing his sin is a normal reaction. John, in his epistle, encourages believers to be reassured in the gospel whenever their hearts waffle like this, assuming this would be a constant battle of our minds
"By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God;" - 1 John 3:19-21
With that in mind, think through some ways to help your D-Group preach the gospel to themselves daily. Give them a grid for remembering that we never graduate from the basics of Jesus. So that when these wrestles of assurance happen in our hearts, we can continue in confidence before God. This is what motivates us to change and walk in power over our sin.
The following are some daily questions to share with your group that can help us preach the gospel to ourselves daily. We try to answer these questions with scripture and exhort ourselves with those passages.
- What is true about God and His design for this issue?
- Can I admit that my desires are wrong and fall short of God's design?
- Am I accepted, loved, healed by the blood of Jesus?
- How will I apply God's grace, and change?
I was reminded at how the enemy tries to get us to "think" we have moved beyond the basics of the gospel, relying on our own strength and not God's.
Grace & Peace, Scott
Photo by @felipepelaquim on Unsplash