THEME FOR 2019
Answers: What God has said about important life questions
*STUDY GUIDE 9.29.2019
Made in the Image of God: The Bible and Whole Life Balance.
Question: Think about what it means to, “Spend your time.” What is meant by the comment? How would you describe the idea of “spending” time? Can you get time back? Can you get a refund if you don’t like the way it was spent?
Note: Everyone is spending their lives (you can’t save them), paying out our lives in time, day by day, minute, hour, day, year.
Question: So why do you have a life? Why do you have time to spend (or waste)? What is it for?
In what ways are these enormously practical question?
Some possible answers from the culture around us: Some say you can’t really answer it, it’s a mystery. Others say only you can answer it for yourself personally. Some say you have a life because mindless space and time, at a point in time, spit you out on planet earth. Then at another point in time, you will dissolve again back into the mindless space and time.
Question: In what ways are people confused when it comes to answering the question?
Key Points to Remember/Know: The who (are we), leads to the why (we are here), leads to the how (we are to live and spend our time). Confusion on any of these three points leads people to disillusionment. It is crucial we know the answer to the big WHY as we travel through the minutes, hours, day, and years that we call our lives.
To understand that being made in the image of God as implications for “who” we are as humans. Understanding who we are is important because, on our own, we leak power and perspective in our walk with Christ. To stop leaking, we need to continually align our beliefs and behaviors with the truth through worship and prayer together in community.
Read Genesis 1:26-31 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.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground — everything that has the breath of life in it — I give every green plant for food.” And it was so. God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.
What does this passage say about the uniqueness of humans?
(Remember the 4 clues Terry talked about.)
- First Clue: “Let us make “vs. “Let there be.” Up to this point, God had said, “let there be “… “let there be light,” “let the water teem,” etc. When it comes to humanity, the verbiage changes to “Let us make.”
- Second Clue: “In our image” vs. “According to its kind,” We are not created in the image of plants or animals, but in the very image of God. Nor were plants and animals created in the image of God…only us. We are special in that we fall into an entirely different category than the rest of creation, image-bearer.
- Third Clue: Male and Female he created them. God created us to be male and female. There is uniqueness and creativity, and a reflection of God in the differences between male and female humans. Differences not found in male and female animals.
- Fourth Clue: Humanity is to “rule” over creation. Unlike plants and animals, humanity is to “rule” over creation.
Question: How would you sum up who we are? What is our WHY and WHO we are to be living for?
Answer: Our WHY is a result of our WHO…we are made in the image of God for the glory of God.
Read these questions below to your group members and leave them time to think about them silently. Don’t have them answer the questions at this point. Let them sit with the questions for a bit. These are great questions for perspective. They can help make appropriate course corrections.
- How can the fact that we are made in the image of God shape us?
- How can it shape the way we view life when it seems unfair?
- How can it shape the way we view situations when others seem to get easily what we have been working so hard for?
- How does it shape the way we view feeling left out or left behind?
- How does it shape the way we watch others around us suffering?
Read: Psalm 73 aloud slowly
Psa. 73:1 Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. 2 But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. 3 For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. 4 They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. 5 They are free from the burdens common to man; they are not plagued by human ills. 6 Therefore pride is their necklace; they clothe themselves with violence. 7 From their callous hearts comes iniquity; the evil conceits of their minds know no limits. 8 They scoff, and speak with malice; in their arrogance they threaten oppression. 9 Their mouths lay claim to heaven, and their tongues take possession of the earth. 10 Therefore their people turn to them and drink up waters in abundance. 11 They say, “How can God know? Does the Most High have knowledge?” 12 This is what the wicked are like — always carefree, they increase in wealth. 13 Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure; in vain have I washed my hands in innocence. 14 All day long I have been plagued; I have been punished every morning. 15 If I had said, “I will speak thus,” I would have betrayed your children. 16 When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me 17 till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny. 18 Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin.
21 When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, 22 I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you. 23 Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. 24 You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. 25 Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. 26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. 27 Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you. 28 But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.
Questions: Aseph begins By saying what he knows, he knows he is supposed to believe. What is it?
Answer: He wants to believe that God is good to those who are pure in heart.
What was causing Aseph’s perspective to leak out?
- Envy opened a leak after seeing the arrogant and wicked prosper.
- Thinking these others have no struggles opens another huge leak.
- Thinking that these who don’t have strength and great health opens another leak.
- Thinking those who do what they want to don’t face any real consequences opens another leak.
- Thinking the wicked are only carefree and prospering in life can open more leaks.
What did Aseph feel like?
- Felt like he had followed God’s way (he had kept his heart pure) all In vain.
- Felt like he was plagued and being punished.
- Felt he was unjustly oppressed.
When did Aseph finally get perspective?
- When he entered the sanctuary of God
What did this infusion of perspective tell him?
- Then he understood what slippery ground they were standing on.
- Then he understood how awful his thinking was.
- Then he understood God’s counsel leads towards glory.
- Then he understood there was nothing he deeply desired apart from God.
- Then he understood the perilous condition of those who live apart from God.
Read verse 28. What is Aseph is able to say with a renewed perspective:
“But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.”
Summarize the Cause and Cure for faulty thinking:
Cause: We leak power and perspective. Cure: We need a continual infusion of power and perspective.
Read Ephesians 5:18 “Be filled with the Spirit (remind them that this isn’t just a onetime filling, but a continual filling.
We are filled: In worship, in community, in the Word. Aseph saw what was true and real again and had his perspective restored.
Going from Leaking:
“Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure; in vain have I washed my hands in innocence.”
To having perspective:
“Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.”