The Sovereignty of God

Scripture Passage: Romans 8:26-30

Sovereignty of God—the biblical teaching that God possesses all power and is the ruler of all things

There are 3 tensions found in this passage and that surround the sovereignty of God in general: prayer, suffering and salvation.

Three Secrets to Embracing the Mystery of God’s Sovereignty

1. Simplicity is not an attribute of God.

The Spirit helps us in our weakness. We are not embracing ignorance nor do we have blind faith. We put our faith in God because that which we do know points to Him.

2. Tension is not treason.

Embracing the tension of our dueling realities is part of our Christianity.

3. Our invitation is to love God, not to solve God.

It is a love relationship that God had with us first and invites us into with Him.

Discussion Questions

Have you oversimplified God?

Pastor Ryan showed us a pillar with either embracing majesty at the top (leading to dependence, trust and grace) or reducing majesty at the top (leading to pride, despair and works). Which side of the pillar do you lean towards?

The Spirit of Adoption

Scripture Passage: Romans 8: 12-25

Three Impacts of Adoption on our lives as believers in Jesus Christ.

1. Adoption Impacts Our Identity
Our adoption into God’s family is something we can proclaim to the world.
Our adoption changes our legal status; God’s residing Holy Spirit guarantees our sonship.
Our adoption changes our relationship with God so that we can approach Him as Christ did by crying “Abba, Father,” we need You.

2. Adoption Impacts Our Inheritance
As heirs of God, we become joint-heirs with Christ, “that we may also be glorified with him.”

3. Adoption Impacts Our Ministry
Adoption to sons of God affects our ministry to our community.
Adoption calls us to have a mind like Christ to care for orphans.

Today, around your table with family or friends talk about how you might respond to God’s call in James 1:27, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”

• Will you pray?
• Will you be involved in ministry to the local orphan community?
• Will you give of your time and/or finances?
• Should you investigate Kingsland’s Tapestry Ministry?

The Apostle Paul tells the Galatian church, “If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.” (5: 25).” Share how the Holy Spirit might be leading you!

The Meaning of Freedom

romans-mission-to-lifeScripture Passage: Romans 8:1-4

At Kingsland we define freedom as God’s gift to every believer that releases us from captivity to live the life God intended us to live.

Pastor Ryan’s message about freedom focuses on the three major implications scripture teaches about God’s gift of freedom.

1. Freedom means that we have a secure position (vs. 1).
Our position is secure because we are “in Christ” and has nothing to do with our performance. Our secure position is a gift from God and based on what Christ did for us on the Cross.

2. Freedom means we have sufficient power (vs. 2-3).
The Spirit of God works in and through us and we are set free from the law of sin and death. Freedom means we rely on the Spirit of God and not on ourselves to overcome sin and live the life we are created to live.

3. Freedom means we have significant potential (vs.4).
As we rely daily on the Holy Spirit our lives reflect Christ and it impacts our homes and community.

Prayer:
• Ask God to reveal to you any area of your life that you have not surrendered to Him.
• Ask God to reveal to you any sins or challenges that you are trying to overcome in your own strength.

Father, thank you that I am your son/daughter and the Holy Spirit lives in me. Thank you that I have a secure position and identity because I am “in Christ.” Forgive me for the ways that I attempt to live my life apart from you and the power of the Holy Spirit. I surrender every area of my life to you. Help me trust you and rely on the Holy Spirit on a daily basis. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Victory Over Sin

romans-mission-to-lifeScripture Passage: Romans 6: 1-13

Wow!  What a love letter this morning from God as presented by Pastor Ryan.

As a believer in Jesus Christ,
we ARE dead to sin
we ARE alive to Christ
and we CAN claim “NO to sin”

Pastor Ryan shared three important words from this passage in Romans for us to remember.

The first word is KNOW and found in verse 6: “We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.”  Pastor Ryan encouraged us KNOW (understand) the fact of our salvation.  Our identity is in Christ.

The second word from verse 11 is CONSIDER: “So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Consider what Christ has done and rest in the grace of God given through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We are “crucified with Christ,” never the less we live, but it is not us, but Christ in us. In Christ we are no longer in bondage to sin.

The third word is PRESENT taken from verses 12-13: “…but present yourselves to God…” God’s Word tells us to present ourselves to Him. Understand that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Master, and we have surrendered our lives to Christ’s ability. He is our Master.

Talk About It
Today around our table let’s work to reinforce this practice by sharing how you came to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Master of your life.

• Tell how you KNOW you were saved through your faith in Him and what He’s done for you.
 
• Tell how you CONSIDER the price He paid as evidence of your salvation.

Share how you PRESENTED yourself to Christ as your Master, and now rely on His ability to work through you.

What a witness our life in Christ will be as we live out the freedom we have in Jesus Christ!

God’s Gifts to Us

romans-mission-to-lifePastor Ryan Cook continued our study in Romans. The focus was on the gifts we receive when we make a decision to follow Christ. Romans 5:1-5 show us several of these gifts:

1. God’s Gift of Justification

Justification is not the same as forgiveness. Forgiveness implies that you are guilty but the crime doesn’t count against you. Justification implies that you are altogether innocent. How does that work? James 2:10 makes it clear we are ALL guilty of breaking God’s law. God’s gift is to not only cancel our sin, but to also give us Christ’s righteousness. When God looks at His children, He only sees the righteousness of Christ.

2. God’s Gift of Reconciliation

God uses grace and peace to reconcile us. When we are in sin, we are declaring independence from God. Romans 5:10 says we are enemies of God. When we put our faith in Jesus, we become His children and we can then walk in God’s peace and grace.

3. God’s Gift of Expectation

Romans 5:2 reminds us that we exult in the hope of the glory of God. We have hope in living with God forever in Heaven, but we also have hope for the trials in our lives right now. We grow closer to God through the trials.

Discussion Points:

  • Talk about what sin is. A list of things we do wrong, or a state of being in rebellion to God?
  • If God wipes away our sins, why can’t we just live the way we want to?
  • How do difficult circumstances make us closer to God?

Saving Faith

romans-mission-to-lifeThis morning we continued our emphasis on bringing our mission to life as we dive into the book of Romans.  Pastor Ryan brought our focus to Romans 4:1-8, as we looked at what it has to say about saving faith.

However, before we can study what saving faith is, we must recognize what it is not.  Saving faith is NOT:

  • A vivid imagination
  • Believing a set of facts about Jesus
  • A powerful force that manipulates God
  • Optimism

Saving Faith is characterized by:

  1. An honest confession: We have nothing God needs and we can never earn His love.
  2. A willing surrender: We don’t work in order to be saved, we work because we’ve been saved.
  3. A transformed identity: We take on the righteousness of God.

Here are some questions to guide your discussion today:

  • In what area of your life are you trying to earn God’s love?
  • Think about your day and a name some things you “rest” in.  How are you resting in God?
  • The world tells us that goodness comes from what we do, but God tells us that we receive grace only through His Son, Jesus.  What are some ways that you can remember how God sees you this week?

Finish your time together by thanking the Lord for His grace and love and asking Him to remind you of how He sees you.

Failed Arguments Against the Gospel

romans-mission-to-lifeThree perspectives for today’s message:
1. You’re exploring the things of God but don’t accept that Jesus died for all.
2. You’ve trusted Jesus and have conversations with people who don’t buy it.
3. You are a Christian, but there are places in your life where you live as if you don’t believe.

Scripture Passage: Romans 1 and 2

Paul’s letter to the Romans indicts everyone for “all have sinned.” People reject the Gospel for different reasons.

Rejection Reason Number One: “I don’t believe in God.” (Romans 1:18-20)

1. Atheism is Nonsense. It doesn’t make logical sense.

2. “If God does not exist, everything is permitted.” (Fyodor Dostoyevsky) The fact that we all have an innate sense of right and wrong is an indicator of a God who instilled morality in us.

3. Notice the pattern: a slow turning away from God, manufacturing a god that works for you, and then destruction. That’s what Hell is—pushing God away and He grants your wish—eternal separation.

Rejection Reason Number Two: “Everyone can have their own truth.” (Romans 2:1-11)

1. Relativism is Nonsense.

2. Even those who push for pluralism are against it because they want everyone to forsake their own beliefs and believe like they do.

3. The grace of Jesus is profoundly inclusive—not exclusive. It’s not that people choose a different religion; it’s that they set religion aside and choose Jesus.

Rejection Reason Number Three: “I’m good enough myself. I don’t need a savior.” (Romans 2:17-24)

1.    Moralism is Nonsense.

2.    “If all we do is seek to make our neighbors more moral, we’ll just populate hell with nicer people.” (Larry Osborne) The goal is to introduce people to Jesus.

So what’s the solution: If rejecting God is nonsense and rejecting truth is nonsense and rejecting the acknowledgement of our failures is nonsense, then the solution is grace. When Jesus went to the cross, He took our sins and was willingly cut off from the Father on our behalf. True fulfillment is found only in Jesus Christ.

Discussion Questions

• Have you ever questioned the Gospel? Why?
• How would you respond to a neighbor who rejects God for one of these reasons? Practice your response.
• What is the difference between believing God exists and living as if He exists? (Practical atheism—those who claim to believe in God but live as if He doesn’t exist.)

The Confidence of the Gospel

romans-mission-to-life Scripture Passage: Romans 1:8-17

Last week Pastor Ryan talked about the four tables for 2017 and how to implement those into our lives. Today we focused on the Mission Table and looked at Paul’s example of how he lived this table out in his life.

Why was Paul so passionate about the Gospel?

A. Paul’s Commitment | Paul was passionate about the Gospel because he understood that God had set him free and that his debt had been paid. He now had an obligation to spread the Gospel to the Greeks and Barbarians.

B. Paul’s Conviction | Paul was passionate about the Gospel because he knew that the Gospel was true and this gave him confidence in the power of the Gospel.

C. Paul’s Conversion | Paul was passionate about the Gospel because he understood that through his conversion he was saved by faith.

Three reasons we do not share the good news about Jesus:

1. We lack the motivation to begin the conversation. We never step out of our comfort zone to allow the Holy Spirit to work.

2. We lack the confidence in the message of Jesus. We are not fully positive that we can fully defend the Gospel to others if questioned.

3. We forget the incredible work of salvation in our own lives. Remember Paul’s life on the road to Damascus; we sometimes forget that God has done an equally amazing transformation in our lives.

We should always look for and embrace opportunities to share the Gospel with people around us, which usually means stepping out of our comfort zones.

Discussion Questions:

• Who is someone in your life that you need to tell your story to?
• Where do you need to step out of your comfort zone to tell others about Christ?
• Which of the three reasons for not “going” do you most relate to?

The Gospel & The Four Tables

romans-mission-to-life
Scripture Passage:
Romans 1:1-13

What is the Gospel? Gospel means “a good message”. The message Paul brings in Romans is the best message – how a holy God can get an unholy people into a holy place.

How should the Gospel change us?

A. The Gospel doesn’t just improve us. It transforms us.

The purpose of the Gospel is to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of His name among all the nations. It’s more than doing, it’s knowing and experiencing the grace of Jesus.

B. The Gospel brings fulfillment when it invades every area of life.

The Gospel is all encompassing and it should transform all areas of your life. Kingsland’s mission statement is “Inviting all people to experience true fulfillment in Jesus Christ, one home at a time.” We define four domains of life. True fulfillment comes when these four areas are surrendered to God. Pastor Ryan pointed out the need for us to allow Jesus to claim all four areas. He defined each area by assigning a table that could represent each domain.

1. Heart Table | An end table or bedside table that represents your time spent alone with the Lord.

2. Home Table | The kitchen table represents your family and intentional time spent together over meaningful meals and faith discussions.

3. Community Table | We aren’t called to go through life alone. The coffee table represents time spent in Christian community.

4. Mission Table | A larger table such as a dining room table or restaurant table represents time we spend with others getting to know their stories and telling them about our faith journey. We are all called to share the Gospel with those around us.

Take a moment to define your four tables.

Discussion Questions:

Are you spending time at each “table”?
Which table needs more intentional focus?
What steps will you take to make improvements in a lacking area?

Prayers For a New Year

Scripture Passage: 1 Chronicles 4:9-10

Jabez was more honorable than his brothers; and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, “Because I bore him in pain.” Jabez called upon the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from harm so that it might not bring me pain!” And God granted what he asked.

What do you think about how Jabez’s prayed?

It’s Okay to Pray for Yourself

Jabez was bold to call upon the Lord to bless him. He desired to have God’s best and biggest blessings! We have the same freedom to pray with that kind of expectation.

Have you ever prayed this kind of prayer?

It’s Okay to Pray for Influence

Jabez also prayed for God to enlarger His boarders. That is not only referring to his land borders but also his areas of influence. Jabez didn’t ask these things for selfish gain but to be used for God’s glory.

Have you ever prayed for God to do something greater than what you could do in your own strength? If so share!

The Most Important Request is for More Of God

Jabez prayed that God’s hand would be with him! As believers, since the resurrection of Jesus, we have the Holy Spirit living inside of us all the time! One of the most significant requests we could ask is to have God take all the pieces of our lives and form them together for what He wants to do!

Are there any parts of your life you are still holding on? Pray and ask the Lord to loosen your grip on those pieces and allow God to bring healing, forgiveness and strength to them!  

Remember: God can use your life and bless you and your family in ways you may have never expected when you ask Him to do things beyond what you can do in your own strength! By His power and for His glory let’s move into this New Year with great anticipation for what He will do through our church family at Kingsland to impact the Kingdom of God.