Christian Growth is a Divine Design - pt2

October 21, 2007 Romans 8:26-27

 

Introduction

Today’s lesson is the capstone of this remarkable passage on progressive sanctification.

We have covered some great ground and profound principles:

  • Remember everyone is a slave to something
  • Understand that followers of Christ went from being enslaved to something that was bad to being enslaved to something that was good.
  • As Christians we are dead to the law and alive to God through Christ
  • Our new relationship can produce obedient fruitfulness
  • As believers we are no longer under condemnation
  • When we walk in Spirit our behavior is transformed
  • This transformed life results in a growing intimacy with our Father God
  • (Please include in this list major themes in our series that have impacted you)

Class input:  What major principles did you pick up for our series?

How have your students personally applied the series?

  1. For some of your students this has been a rich and beneficial study.
  2. For others, perhaps they are sitting in front of you and asking in their minds questions like this:

“I wish I could stop being impatient with my children!”

            “What can I do to stop feeling so guilty and depressed?”

“How can I claim victory over my negative imaginations?”

  • When these kinds of questions are being asked they are basically asking “How can I change?  How can I bring my thoughts under control and develop new attitudes?”
  • Some of your students come to the end of a series like ours on “Growth” and wonder if something is wrong with them.
  • They look around and see others who have changed but they feel drained, vulnerable, frail and exhausted.
  • They want change but don’t experience it.
  • Perhaps they do not have a grasp that spiritual growth is God’s divine plan and that He is ready to help them grow and change.
  • They have come to a place in life where they fell like throwing in the towel!

Class Input:  Do you ever feel as though you can’t change?

Give them Hope

They ask “Where is the HOPE?”

  • Our hope is not in feeble works (Eph. 2:9, I Tim. 1:9)
  • Our hope in not in our FBC’s programs.
  • Our hope is not in if we do ‘this good thing’ then God will do ‘that good thing’ to us in return which always leads one to wonder if his good thing was good enough.
  • Our hope is in the power of God working in the hearts of people.

Today’s lesson teaches our students that God stands ready to help you change.

3 Ways God Stands Ready to Help you Change.

  1. God provides Divine Assistance (8:26-27)
  2. The Spirit helps us in our weakness(verse 26)
  3. In this context, weakness doubtless refers to our human condition in general, not to specific weaknesses. The point is that, even after salvation, we are characterized by spiritual weakness.
  4. Man’s weakness becomes God’s opportunity to help, to engage with man.
  5. Read Mark’s account of Jesus silencing the raging sea in Mark 4:35-41.
  6. From the middle of the stormy lake the disciples on that sinking boat thought their only hope lay on the other side.

Class Input:  What is wrong about this kind of thinking?

  • Upon Jesus’ miraculous calming of the sea He asks two probing questions:
  • Why are you afraid?
  • Do you still have no faith?

Class Input:  Why were the disciples afraid?

Class Input:  How did they exhibit a lack of faith?

God leads us through great trials so that He might test us to know what is in our hearts, whether we would trust and obey or faithlessly cower through the storms of life

Class Input:  How does the story in Mark demonstrate how Jesus provides assistance?

Class Input:  Who will share a time when you watched God intervene in a seemingly hopeless situation.

Proverbs 17:3The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, But the Lord tests hearts.

Man’s powerlessness motivates him to keep his eyes on the Lord.

2 Chronicles 20:12“O our God, will You not judge them? For we are powerless before this great multitude who are coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on You.”

  • This week for homework ask your students to think through a personal example where they found themselves powererless against a problem, sickness or foe.
  • How did they respond?
  • How should they have responded?

God allows us to endure the storms of life that we might grow closer to Him
 and that we might know Him better through His divine assistance.

  1. God has a Divine Goal (verses 28-30)
  2. All things work together to accomplish God goal in the believer(verse 28)
  3. God sees man in his true sinful state

Genesis 6:5Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

  • Man’s wickedness is referred to in the Bible as sin.
  • In Classical Greek, sin means “to miss the mark” which was also the term used in Old English archery.
  • The sin of an arrow is the distance of the arrow strike from the bullseye.
  • Man, being a sinner, misses God’s holy mark of pleasing God.
  • God sees to it that we do NOT miss the mark.
  • The mark or standard, the bullseye of life is found in verse 29.
  • The bullseye is “to become conformed to the image of Christ”
  • This conformation to the image of Christ is sanctification.
  • Sanctification is a setting apart to be holy.
  • It has three parts

Positional

Sanctification

Positional sanctification, which relates to the position every believer enjoys by virtue of being set apart as a member of God’s family through faith in Christ. This is true for all believers regardless of different degrees of spiritual growth.

1 Corinthians 1:2To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours:

Progressive

Sanctification

The second aspect of sanctification concerns the progressive work of continuing to be set apart during the whole of our Christian lives. Every command and exhortation to holy living concerns progressive sanctification

1 Peter 1:16  because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

Ultimate

Sanctification

The third aspect is usually called ultimate sanctification, which we will attain in heaven when we shall be completely and eternally set apart to our God

Jude 24-25  Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

  • Left to his own devices, man always misses the bullseye.
  • But God in His wonderful grace sees to it that everyone that He “foreknew” will not miss the bullseye but be conformed to Christ’s image

1 John 3:2Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.

God predestines that all believers become conformed to the image of Jesus.
We can be sure that we will not miss the mark.

  1. God demonstrates a Divine Commitment (31-39)
  2. He sees us through till the end
  3. The meaning of “if” in verse 31, “If God is for us” isBecause God is for us”
  4. The word “if” translates the Greek conditional particle “ei,” signifying a fulfilled condition, not a mere possibility. The meaning of the first clause is therefore
    “Because God is for us.”[1]

Class Input:  What is result of God being for us?

  • We find the answer in verse 37.
  • We are “more than conquerors, Warren Wiersbe says the text means literally, “we are superconquerors” through Jesus Christ!
  • Is there an example where you or one of your students can testify of overcoming a trial in a way that resulted in personal growth
  • He gives us victory and more victory!
  • This is progressive sanctification
  • We need not fear life or death, things present or things to come, because Jesus Christ loves us and gives us the victory.
  • This is not a promise with conditions attached: “If you do this, God will do that.”
  • The fact that He sees us through to the end is an established fact, and we claim it for ourselves because we are in Christ.
  • Nothing can separate you from His love! Believe it—and rejoice in it!

Conclusion

  • God does not shelter us from the difficulties of life because we need them for our spiritual growth (Rom. 5:3–5).
  • In Romans 8:28 God assures us that the difficulties of life are working for us and not against us.
  • God permits trials to come that we might use them for our good and His glory.
  • We endure trials for His sake (Rom. 8:36), and since we do, do you think that He will desert us?
  • Of course not! Instead, He is closer to us when we go through the difficulties of life.

“The Spirit-filled life does not come through mystical or ecstatic experiences but from studying and submitting oneself to Scripture. As a believer faithfully and submissively saturates his mind and heart with God’s truth, his Spirit-controlled behavior will follow as surely as night follows day. When we are filled with God’s truth and led by His Spirit, even our involuntary reactions— those that happen when we don’t have time to consciously decide what to do or say—
will be godly.”—John MacArthur

Introduction

Today’s lesson is the capstone of this remarkable passage on progressive sanctification.

We have covered some great ground and profound principles:

  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

3 Ways God Stands Ready to Help you Change.

  1. God provides Divine Assistance (8:26-27)
  2. The Spirit helps us in our weakness(verse 26)
  3. Read Mark’s account of Jesus silencing the raging sea in Mark 4:35-41.

Man’s powerlessness motivates him to keep his eyes on the Lord.

2 Chronicles 20:12“O our God, will You not judge them? For we are powerless before this great multitude who are coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on You.”

  • This week for homework think through a personal example where you found yourselves powerless against a problem, sickness or foe.
  • How did you respond?
  • How should you have responded?

God allows us to endure the storms of life that we might grow closer to Him
 and that we might know Him better through His divine assistance.

  1. God has a Divine G  oal (verses 28-30)
  2. All things work together to accomplish God goal in the believer(verse 28)
  3. God’s goal for the Christian “to become conformed to the image of Christ”
  4. It has three parts

Positional

Sanctification

Positional sanctification, which relates to the position every believer enjoys by virtue of being set apart as a member of God’s family through faith in Christ. This is true for all believers regardless of different degrees of spiritual growth.

1 Corinthians 1:2To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours:

Progressive

Sanctification

The second aspect of sanctification concerns the progressive work of continuing to be set apart during the whole of our Christian lives. Every command and exhortation to holy living concerns progressive sanctification

1 Peter 1:16  because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

Ultimate

Sanctification

The third aspect is usually called ultimate sanctification, which we will attain in heaven when we shall be completely and eternally set apart to our God

Jude 24-25  Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

God predestines that all believers become conformed to the image of Jesus.
We can be sure that we will not miss the mark.

  1. God demonstrates a Divine Commitment (31-39)
  2. He sees us through till the end
  3. The meaning of “if” verse 31’s “If God is for us” is “Because God is for us”

Class Input:  What is result of God being for us?

  • Is there an example where you can testify of overcoming a trial in a way that resulted in personal growth

 “The Spirit-filled life does not come through mystical or ecstatic experiences but from studying and submitting oneself to Scripture. As a believer faithfully and submissively saturates his mind and heart with God’s truth, his Spirit-controlled behavior will follow as surely as night follows day. When we are filled with God’s truth and led by His Spirit, even our involuntary reactions— those that happen when we don’t have time to consciously decide what to do or say—
will be godly.”—John MacArthur

[1]MacArthur, J. (1996, c1991, c1994). Romans (502). Chicago: Moody Press.