This Sunday, we continued our mini series on Titus 2, focussing particularly on verse 11. We looked at the aspect of God's grace concerned with salvation but began by clarifying the definition of grace, not as abstract 'stuff', but an umbrella term for all of the undeserved, personal activity of God towards mankind. Here's a summary of what I spoke about:
- What grace saves us from, i.e. God's just anger against and the penalty for our sinful nature and choices which leads to death (Rom 1:18; 6:23). This included thinking about God's perfect holiness.
- The loving nature of God as Father and His gracious, undeserved activity to bridge the chasm between us and Him (John 3:16-17)
- The costliness of the exchange which Jesus made (2 Cor 5:21)
- What grace saves us into, i.e. a totally new nature - We're no longer sinners; we're sons! (Luke 15:21-23; John 1:12; 2 Cor 5:17)
- The complete inclusiveness of the offer (Titus 2:11 - all people!) and fact that sin doesn't disqualify you from receiving the invitation which grace offers - it positively qualifies you (Rom 4:5)
- The fact that grace offers salvation, not forces it, and that to accept or deny it requires an active choice. What will you do?
I'd suggest that you don't try to cover all this ground in your discussion but I've given you all the verses that I used and some more for your own enjoyment. For your small groups, pick out a couple of elements - maybe the ones which surprised you or you're less familiar with - and get into the nitty gritty of those few points.
- Did anything surprise you about the talk... perhaps what the Bible says we are saved from?
- Do you have a tendency to 'move on' from grace? Why, and how can you fix your understanding of what grace is?
- Why does it matter so much to have a good understanding of the new nature which Jesus has offered mankind? What can we do to ensure that we don't minimalise it?
- Do you feel disqualified from grace? What does the Bible say about that?
In short, please use this time to feed and encourage each other with the ridiculously good truth which the Bible offers us. Here's the book which I recommended as well if you want to go on being nourished over the holiday (a bargain at £5!) http://www.amazon.co.uk/All-Grace-PB-Moody-Classics/dp/0802454526/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1313422859&sr=8-1