"The Practical Way to Save the World"
TEXTS: 1 Cor. 7:25; John 3; Revelation; Matt. 5:16
1. Our focus as believers should not be on when the end (the return of Christ) will occur. We should be primarily concerned about how we are using the time we have been given. Are we consumed with selfish and temporary pursuits? Or are we motivated to advance the Kingdom of God?
2. The Book of Revelation was written to encourage believers who were facing intense (and deadly) persecution. It pointed them to the end of the age when all the promises of God would be fulfilled. The book is not very practical, but it gives suffering believers hope that the end is in God’s hands and that all the Lord’s purposes will be accomplished. It delivers big truths that believers can cling to when walking through life's difficulties.
3. God's presence can be uniquely experienced during a local church’s worship service. God manifests His presence in a special way when the children of God gather to celebrate their risen Savior. God does not promise to meet His people in this manner through any other means (which is why church is so critically important to the health of our souls).
4. Acts 2:42-47 provides believers something to unite around. We can (and should) be headed in the same general direction with our lives, and this text reveals what that direction should be. The verses proclaim how we are called to serve the Lord and others. The text also details the process of discipleship and spiritual growth. While many of the directives are not practical, if we prioritize them in our lives we will find our souls being filled with strength and vitality.
5. Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus (John 3) points out the darkness that God’s people were living in. They should have recognized Christ as Messiah and understood His teachings, but they were too concerned about their own status and power. As a result, their eyes were not open to what God was doing right before them. Jesus was not impressed with their seemingly pious performance, but rather calls them out for their self-righteousness.
6. Although the Kingdom of God advances through spiritual means that we sometimes cannot fully comprehend, we must also be committed to accomplishing the practical things that provide credibility to our gospel witness. Unbelievers may have trouble receiving spiritual truth from us if we fail take the practical things in our lives seriously. Every believer should personally seek the Lord concerning the practical things they need to pay attention to.
7. How does a believer guard themselves from being deceived? They commit themselves to practically serving the Lord and to the actions found in Acts 2:42-47. Doing your own thing will set you up to receive and be influenced by deception.
8. Believers in 21st Century America need to examine and balance the amount of entertainment they consume. Having this area of your life out of balance can have tragic consequences (in both your own soul and in the souls of your family) that many never anticipate coming.
9. A faith that is practiced only when it is convenient will not be able to be passed on to younger generations. Much of the Christian faith is not convenient and often requires sacrifice, and if we model following Christ based on convenience, our children will be hesitant to take our faith seriously.
TALK TO EACH OTHER:
1. Why does the Lord treat the gathering of His children for corporate worship in such a special way? Why do you think the Lord has chosen to reveal Himself more fully during that time?
2. What could be on the list of practical things that 21st Century American believers should be concerned about?
3. Self-righteousness is often subtle and hard to identify in ourselves. What are some of the attitudes and actions that we need to be on guard against when considering the presence of self-righteousness in our hearts?
4. What are some wise questions we need to ask ourselves concerning our consumption of entertainment? How should we navigate this area of life when it comes to our children's involvement with entertainment?
TALK TO GOD:
Pray as you feel led concerning the following area(s):
- That we would seek the Lord about how we are to practically serve Him
- Wisdom about how we use the time we have been given