Theme for 2019: Answers: What God has said about important life questions
STUDY GUIDE 5.12.19
SIN, SALVATION AND THE TRANSFORMATION OF TOIL
Start by asking your group member if anyone remembers what the goal for this year is?
Answer: Confidence! Confidence in God’s Word, in the Bible as a source of knowledge for us. We have a trustworthy source of knowledge regarding how we are to live and thrive as humans.
Share: We are five months into the year. Have someone share how their confidence has grown over the last few months. How have they been thriving and what has made the difference?
Understand that one of the primary ways we thrive is to see our work (where most of our time is spent) not as meaningless toil, but rather to see it as it actually is, a calling, a vocation. We were made for God’s glory and to love Him and to be loved by Him. Christ has redeemed and is redeeming, all of creation, including the daily work of your hands. All that we do should be wrapped up in Him.
WORK AS A CALLING (VOCATION):
Question: What if you were to infuse the Gospel into your work, what would that look like? Note: Remember the story Terry told us about Sisyphus. Think back to last week and the passages from Colossians 3.
Answer: The Gospel brings meaning! Ultimately, we don’t just want meaning, we need meaning. The Gospel tells us the truth about our purpose. The Gospel aligns our perspective with what is actually real about our life now. This truth is what makes the difference…the “same rock, the same hill… a different Sisyphus!”
TRANSFORMING TOIL INTO CALLING: FOUR GREAT TRUTHS
- We are made in God’s Image
Gen. 1:26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
Question: What does the passage tell us about who we are? Why is the answer to this question so important to know?
Answer: Knowing who you are as a Christian is a gift from God. He has told us we are image bearers. It is essential if you want to understand the nature of your work as a calling, that you understand your nature as an image bearer. We are designed to relate to God in a way that no other part of creation does or can.
Questions: Being made in His Image means: we are more than a collection of atoms, an illusion, a machine, an animal. Why is this distinction so important to understand?
Answer: We are designed to relate to God in a way that no other part of creation does or can. Genuine love is possible for us, machines cannot love, but we can. We have a choice. We can love because we can choose. We are choosing beings, and the most crucial choice of all is to love God.
- We are made to love God
Matt 22:36 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. And love others as you love yourself.”
Question: How does love for God and others show up? What does it look like in practical ways?
Answer: Loving God shows up in obeying God (trusting Him for the good) This obedience shows up most clearly in loving others. Our purpose, our meaning…is to love God… love is revealed in obedience…trust…that leads us to love others.
- Sin was (and is) the choice to not love God first…and sin’s consequences were to separate us from God and His good in our lives.
Gen. 3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ “”You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
Question: There is a lot going on in this verse, but what does this passage tell us about choice? What does it tell us about man?
Answer: 1. Without the reality of choice, to talk of humans as image bearers or as significant beings would be meaningless talk. It was not knowledge as knowledge that was wrong, it was the choice made against God’s loving warning and command that was wrong. 2. When we attempt to be like God through rebellion rather than to love God in obedience, the result is always despair and brokenness.
Gen. 3:8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” The man said, “The woman you put here with me — she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
Question: What were the consequences of sin?
Answer: Separation from God…He is the infinite-personal reference point…and so all became meaninglessness in this life. With sin we lost our point of reference for life. Toil is introduced, work had always been apart of God’s plan. Work is changed, because of sin, it now becomes toil… The woman has pain in childbirth, and the man has toil in his work.
- Jesus: The Cure for the Curse.
Rom. 5:12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned — 13 for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come. But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16 Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification.
Question: What is the cure for our rebellion?
Answer: Jesus is the cure. He, by his death on the cross and resurrection, has put an end to the sacrificial system. He has reversed the curse for those who place their faith in Him. We can trade our sin for Jesus righteousness. Only JESUS can bring healing.
The Gospel and its impact on our life’s work: Conclusion of these four principles.
Heb. 2:14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death — that is, the devil — 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.
Phil 1:21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
Question: What do these passages tell us about our purpose?
Answer: The power of death is gone! We are free, we’ve entered a doorway into a new life with Christ. Now all that we do has purpose and meaning. Christ brings meaning to all that we do. Through Christ, life and death have Purpose and meaning, it’s a win/win!
Our purpose must continually shape our perspective on and the practice of our work.
If your struggling right now, Remember, the difference-maker (for changing our perspective from toil to calling) is in understanding:
- Who you are: image bearer, made to love God.
- What the real problem of humanity is: sin, separation from God
- What the real solution of humanity is: the Gospel…relationship with Christ
- What the resulting impact on our lives now is: all of life is infused with eternal purpose.
How do we make this reality more consistently true in our lives?
Can we hold on to the Gospel more and more in the perception and the practice of our work?