Closing the Gap Week 7 Study Guide

By February 18, 2018April 10th, 2018Small Group Study Guide

13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country — a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” Heb. 11:13-16

  1. Effective living sees life right now from a “life-span perspective”
    • Why is it helpful to have a “life-span perspective” that views life from: back then, now, next, and the final then?
  2. Sovereign Foundations: God works providentially through family, environment, and historical events in our lives as a part of us becoming who we are.
    • Who were some of the biblical examples Terry referred to when talking about Sovereign Foundations?  
    • In what ways do we see God’s providence at work in the passage above?
    • Think back on Abraham’s life; think back to the promise made. God was not playing games with him…he was developing him into a man of faith. What did that time of development look like? Why was it important?
    • Now think of your own life. Can you see God moving the same way through your own life? How so? Do you find this encouraging?
  3. See your life as the “Already/Not yet.”
    • What is meant be the phrase “Already/Not yet?”
    • Now think about Abraham’s life, did he receive the promise or not?
    • In what way was the promise the, “already/not yet?”
    • Why is it important that we look at the Scriptures and the promises of God in our lives as “already/not yet?”
    • Why does not seeing the “already/not yet” in Scriptures and in life lead to confusion and disappointment for people? How do we avoid this?
  4. See yourself as a Foreign National.
    • Abraham saw himself as a foreigner. How can it be helpful for you to see yourself (a Christian) as a foreign national?
    • What are some of the stumbling blocks we may face.
    • Discuss the following tension: Live faithfully in the time and place God has you but do not live like a “local” in terms of embracing the values that are not of your true King.
    • Why is it important that we embrace this tension?
  5. Living as a Foreigner: Abraham lived as a Foreigner. Living as a foreigner means that we resist the desire to want to “go back.”
    • What are the traps we should avoid to keep us from wanting to “go back?”
    • How does the statement, “glance back, gaze forward” help you to close the gap on faith?
  6. What is meant by the statement: We all have a now, a next, and a final then?
    • What is your “now, next, and ultimate then?”
    • When you’re living in the now, how do you keep from losing sight of the ultimate “then?”
    • Where are you? Are you focused on the “next?”
    • That’s okay, but how can you keep the larger “then” in perspective?
    • What can you do today to close the gap on faith and “Hang the pictures and remember you are an exile?” Will you close the gap?

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