Atonement-Driven Life: Life in Light of Christ’s Sacrifice
Sunday, May 18, 2014
- The circus illustration can be useful to illustrate how our theology should affect the way we live our lives, and particularly how the atonement should affect eh way we live.
- Q. can you think of a situation where the grace that God has given you has affected the way you have treated someone else?
- Q. Can you think of ways that you act differently based on what you believe to be true of God?
- Lesson Summary.
Draw near to God with confidence: (Heb. 10:19-22).
- Many people only view God as a powerful being who is aloof and detached. When we only see God in light of His power and perfection we become like Adam and eve trying to hide ourselves from His presence.
- When Adam and eve sinned God did not give up on them. Their sin would not have the final word. Salvation would reverse the fear caused by sin and would lead t restoration with God.
- Read Hebrews 10:19-22.
- The author of Hebrews opens this passage with the word “therefore.” This means that he is giving these truths in light of what he has previously said.
- The author pointed to the reality that all the Old Testament rituals were a mere shadow of what would be accomplished in Christ. That animal sacrifices pointed to our need for the once-for-all sacrifice of Christ. Or how the High Priest who atoned for his sins and the sins of the people was an imperfect shadow of Christ being our perfect High Priest and mediator.
- Also, in previous lessons we talked about the mercy seat in the temple being the place where God’s presence rested and how it was in the holiest of holies and was separated by a thick curtain and only the high priest could go in.
- But this passage points out that we have the ability to approach God because of the blood of Jesus. The curtain has been torn in two and the ultimate sacrifice has been made so we can boldly approach God.
- Since Jesus is our high Priest and has opened the way for us to God we are reminded that He is a God who is full of love and mercy and grants the forgiveness of sins to His people. So now we have the confidence to enter God’s presence by faith in the finished work of Christ.
- Why must we view God as loving and merciful and not just as powerful and perfect?
- Does it give you confidence in God’s work in your life knowing He did not give up on Adam and Eve? Why or why not?
- How does the image of the curtain being torn in two help us to understand what Jesus did for us?
- What does it mean for us as believers to boldly approach God? How do you do this in your daily life?
Hold unwaveringly to God’s promises: (Heb. 10:23).
- Read Hebrews 10:23.
- Christian hope is in the expectation that God will make good on His promises, that they have been fulfilled in Christ, and one day will be experienced by all people.
- The author of Hebrews 10 earlier quotes Jeremiah 31:33-34 in which God says he will write his laws on our hearts and will remember our sins no more.
- These promises signify God’s desire to have a close relationship with us. A relationship that is based on His faithfulness and not ours.
- So we can hold fast to the promises of God by looking away from ourselves and turning to God knowing He will see us through all circumstances because he is always faithful to His people.
- Does it excite you to know that God will one day make good on all of His promises? Why or why not?
- Why is it good for us to know that our relationship with God is dependent upon His faithfulness and not on ours?
- What might you be facing today that could be helped by putting your full trust in the faithfulness of God?
- How does this knowledge help us in our witness for the gospel of Jesus Christ?
Encourage one another in love and good deeds: (Heb. 10:24-25).
- Read Hebrews 10:24-25.
- Many people today feel like they do not need to go to church to be a faithful Christian, but Heb. 10:24-25 challenges this perspective by emphasizing the importance of being in community.
- One of the greatest accomplishments of the atonement is the formation of a new people called the church. Most scriptural metaphors used to describe the church are relational.
- The church is the bride of Christ joined to Jesus in a personal way.
- The church is the family of God made up of brothers and sisters in Christ.
- The church is the body of Christ united together by God.
- The church is called the temple of God which points out how the interlocking stones are like the people of God relying upon one another.
- The reality is that we cannot accomplish the work of God disconnected from the church as a whole and we cannot show concern for people that we can do without.
- This is why the author of Hebrews tells these Christians that regular attendance at worship should be a habit. This will promote love and good works.
- This is in line which what Jesus said about the church in Jn 13:34-35, “Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
- So the church is a distinctive community of believers who are identified by their love for God and for each other. And this is a visible community that people should see on a daily basis.
- It becomes the vehicle through which the gospel is displayed as we wait for the day that Christ will return.
- What are some reasons that people give for not going to church today?
- What do the images of bride, family, body, and temple teach us about the importance of the church?
- Does thinking of the church as the visible representation of the gospel help us to better serve one another? Why or why not?
- Do you think that our community sees the gospel being made visible through our church? Why and how? How can we do a better job of visibly living out the gospel as a community of believers?
I think that the last paragraph of the conclusion wraps up the lesson well. I might end with that paragraph and if you still have a couple minutes use it to think about how we are doing at living out the gospel as a faith community. This might be a helpful for exercise even to apply just to your small group.