"Set Apart by Faith"
TEXTS: 1 Peter 2:9-10; Hebrews 11:6; Gen. 3:15; Matt. 26:64; Heb. 9:22; 1 Cor. 15:3-4; Acts 1:9; Matt. 16:27
1. What sets us apart from unbelievers? Is it the presence of hope, love, and peace in our lives? Is it the awareness of life after death? While those are precious realities that come alive in our hearts through the work of Jesus, you can observe the same things (although they will be disconnected from God’s Word and truth) present in the lives of unbelievers. What actually sets us apart is receiving and believing “the faith.” The faith consists of very specific truths that shape and transform the way we view Jesus Christ.
2. Hebrews 11 speaks of the faith of many who were committed to the Lord but did not receive the promise they were seeking and waiting for. They lived and died full of faith; their eyes did not see what they were believing for. But, despite the difficulties they were facing, they remained faithful to Christ and trusted Him to fulfill all the promises He has made.
3. What are the truths that make up the faith? To be a part of the faith we must believe: (1) in the virgin birth of Christ, (2) that Jesus stands as humanity's representative and will judge the world as the Son of Man, (3) that the innocent Jesus physically died in the place of guilty sinners, (4) that Jesus resurrected from the dead, (5) Jesus ascended back into heaven and sits in ultimate authority over the Church, and (6) that Jesus will return to remove all evil and death from the universe.
4. The six truths listed above are essential and necessary to receive in order to be a part of “the faith.” We cannot make up our own version of the faith while ignoring the essential truths that God has revealed about Jesus. Receiving and adhering to those six truths powerfully unites us with others who also believe them. It sets us apart and makes us belong to a very special group of people—the Church of Jesus Christ.
5. The first three chapters of Revelation reveal what the risen Christ is busy doing today. He is sitting in authority over the Church and is working to keep us from drifting away from the faith. As God's people, we face the temptation of drifting away and misrepresenting the Christian faith to the world.
TALK TO EACH OTHER: 1. All six truths are necessary, but which single one has seemed to impact your life the most? Why?
2. How can we keep on going—like the believers in Hebrews 11—even when we don’t seem to see any evidence of God’s promises being fulfilled with our eyes? What is necessary in order for us to persevere and remain faithful like the believers mentioned in Hebrews?
3. How does Jesus keep His followers from drifting away from the faith?
Pray as you feel led concerning the following area(s):
- Rightly viewing Jesus; understanding the truths that make up "the faith"
- Understanding and treasuring how special it is to be a part of "the faith"
- Ramadan begins this week; pray for Muslims to encounter Jesus as they enter into a special time of seeking spiritual truth