"The Goal (It's Not Optional)"
TEXTS: 1 John 3:4-10; Rev. 3:1-6; 1 Cor. 7:32-36; Eph. 6:1-4
1. Sin can be defined as: (1) missing the mark, or (2) failing at the goal. Instead of relying on God, sin foolishly causes us to rely on self. The Bible proclaims that the goal of every human life is to image God. Therefore, sin is failing to image God properly. Jesus came to earth to break and destroy the power of sin (not imaging God).
2. God desires that we do the right things with the right heart. It is possible (and easy) to perform the right actions while having the wrong motivations within our hearts.
3. God is most often dealing with His covenant people when He mentions judgment and correction in the Scriptures. We can wrongly think that the Lord is dealing with the unbelieving world and their wickedness, but the Lord is more concerned with the holiness of His covenant people.
4. We are not called to have a passive faith. It seems as if modern evangelical believers simply want to sit back and be taught how to have a better earthly life (in the name of Jesus). Such an attitude causes us to be passive about advancing the Kingdom of God.
5. The Bible calls us to be dead to sin and every believer must choose to crucify their desire for wickedness (overcoming sin is not something that magically happens). If we identify an area where we are giving in to temptation and struggling to put sin aside, we should fervently cry out to God for help.
6. Many times our fears and anxieties are directed towards the wrong things. We are consumed with trivial matters when we should be anxious about more important issues. If we fear the right things and allow that to shape our decisions, we will not have to worry about the trivial and temporary things that often cause us to feel overwhelmed.
7. Married people will have more earthly anxieties than those who are unmarried. Those who are unmarried can give more attention to the Kingdom of God, whereas those who are married must tend to the needs of their family. Those who are married should be “anxiously striving” to meet the needs of their spouse.
8. Children should be anxiously striving to honor and obey their parents. Believing parents should be anxiously striving to bring their children up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
TALK TO EACH OTHER:
1. What does it mean to "image God" and why is this so important?
2. Can you identify some possible wrong motivations that could be behind our good works?
3. What types of things should believers be fearful and anxious about? Where should we direct our fears and anxieties?
4. How would you describe what passive faith looks like? What about active faith?
TALK TO GOD:
Pray as you feel led concerning the following area(s):
- That we would direct our fears and anxieties towards the appropriate things
- That we would properly image God before others (especially the younger generations and the unbelieving world)