Better Safe Than Sorry 07 Jan

(Message 1) Do you like to push the limits or skirt the edge? Living life on the edge eventually leads to compromise with sin and heartache. Join us as we look at the wisdom of setting up personal guardrails that God can use to keep us from pain and bad decisions.

Guardrail:

A non-negotiable boundary that is a matter of personal conviction.

 

 

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  1. Have you ever run into a guardrail while driving?  What was on the other side of the guardrail?
  2. A spiritual guardrail was defined as “a non-negotiable boundary that is a matter of personal conviction.”  Do you have some guardrails established in your marriage, finances, relationships, or personal morality?  Share an example with the group.
  3. Why does our culture resist the idea of having spiritual guardrails?  Pastor Troy said,  “Culture baits us to go to the edge and then berates us when we go over the cliff.”  Think of some examples to share when you have seen this happen.
  4. Read Ephesians 5:15-17.  Paul said we should be wise because “the days are evil.”  What does he mean by that?  What are some “evils” that you have faced or are facing today?
  5. Why can’t we just live by the philosophy of “what you don’t know won’t hurt you?”  Explain.
  6. To which are you most prone–careless or careful living? In what area of your life could you benefit from establishing or reestablishing a guardrail?
  7. Read Ephesians 5:18-20.  Instead of living with no guardrails (getting drunk with wine) Paul gives us another alternative (being filled with the Spirit).  How does being filled with the Spirit protect us from sin and temptation?
  8. Read Galatians 5:16-26 to help answer the following question: How do we live every day full of God’s Spirit?  If time allows, work through the “Digging Deeper” study found below the Daily Bible Reading schedule.

Daily Bible Reading:

Day 1:  Ephesians 5:1-2

Day 2:  Ephesians 5:15-20

Day 3: Galatians 5:1-6

Day 4:  Galatians 5:7-12

Day 5:  Galatians 5:13-16

Day 6:  Galatians 5:17-21

Day 7:  Galatians 5:22-25

Digging Deeper:

Let’s dig deeper into Scripture by doing a form of inductive Bible study.  We are going to take a passage through some steps (ABC’s and 1, 2, 3’s).  This week we have everything filled in for you as an example. Next week you’ll have the opportunity to dig deeper into another passage with your small group.  Pray for the Holy Spirit to guide your study.  Here’s the process:

Use commentaries to help answer the ABC’s.

  • A=Author
  • B=Background
  • C=Context

Step 1 – Observation:  What does the passage say?  

Read the passage.  Ask questions like: Who? What happened? What was taught? When? Where? How? Why?  Write down the literal facts.

Step Two – Interpretation:  What does it mean?  

Seek a more in-depth understanding.  Be careful to find the meaning of the verse in its context.  Use a Bible dictionary, footnotes, or read a different translation.

Step Three- Application:  How does it apply to my life?

What does it mean to me? What are the lessons or spiritual principles to follow and obey?

Here’s the example of Digging Deeper into the passage:

Read Galatians 5:22-25 (NIV)

v.22-23a But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control;

v.23b against such things there is no law.

v.24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

v.25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.

Author:  Paul

Background: Paul went on many missionary journeys and preached salvation by faith in Christ alone and several churches were started in Galatia.  After Paul left, false teachers started teaching that salvation was by faith in Christ, plus keeping the Jewish Law.

Context: The recipients of Paul’s letter in Galatia are geographically elusive. While we know that the region of Galatia was located in north-central Asia Minor, its expansiveness and Paul’s lack of specificity means we cannot identify precisely where within Galatia had convinced gentile members of the church that true believers in Christ must follow the Jewish Law in its entirety. Paul was alerted to this development and his letter outlines quite angrily his opposition to gentile adherence to the Jewish law, specifically the practice of circumcision. Paul’s letter reveals the difficulty in negotiating the relationship between being a Jew or Gentile and simultaneously being a follower of Jesus. Furthermore, Paul’s introductory remarks suggest that the circumcision party has challenged his apostolic authority.

Adapted from “Historical Context for Galatians by Paul” by Todd Berzon, Department of Religion, Columbia University

Step 1 – Observation:  What does the passage say?  

v.22-23a The Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Take note that fruit is singular, not plural.  The Holy Spirit procedures Christlikeness.

v.23b There’s no law against the fruit of the Spirit.

v.24 Those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

v.25 Live by the Spirit and walk by the Spirit.

Step Two – Interpretation:  What does it mean?  

v.22-23a Since I have the Spirit, the Spirit will produce love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

v.23b These are produced by the Spirit-not by man, so there is no law–it’s God working in us.

v.24 When we accepted Christ, we crucified our old corrupt nature.

v.25 As Christians we have the Spirit in our lives, so we can walk by the Spirit’s leading.

Step Three- Application:  How does it apply to my life?

v. 22-23a As a Christian, if I am following the lead of the Spirit of God in me, I will produce the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

v.23b I won’t worry about obeying laws, just following the Spirit’s leading!

v. 24 The day I accepted Christ as my savior, my flesh was crucified.  I will daily choose to die to my flesh and live in the Spirit.

v. 25 Because I am a Christian I have the Spirit to lead me and I will choose to walk in the Spirit.

That completes our example of “Digging Deeper” for this week.

Other messages in this series: