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Bible Study Guide Sunday, December 16, 2018
Blessed Sermon Text: Psalm 32 Study Texts: Colossians 3:12-15 Sermon Recap: The main idea of Psalm 32 is, “The blessed trust the Lord for forgiveness of sins and steadfast love.” In Psalm 32, David remembers the weight of sin, specifically his unconfessed sin. Throughout the Psalm, he contrasts the sorrow and pain of unconfessed sin with the blessing and joy of those who have their sins forgiven. In verse 3, he bemoans the physical and spiritual effects of sin, but in verse 5, he celebrates that when he confessed his sins to the Lord, the Lord forgave him. David recognizes that true blessing, joy, and happiness await all those who confess their sins and receive God’s gracious gift of forgiveness. Because of Christ, we, like David, can cling to the promise of 1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Sermon Connection: In Colossians 3:12-15, Paul commands the Church to put on the attributes of Christ - compassion, kindness, forgiveness, and love. These actions and attitudes are distinct from their previous way of life before Christ (vv. 5-9) and define the new community of God collectively as we reflect His nature to one another and the outside world. The key connection between Psalm 32 and Colossians 3:12-15 is the blessing that comes from forgiveness. In Psalm 32, David experiences this blessing in the forgiveness of God. In Colossians 3, Paul exhorts the Church to bless one another by walking in a consistent pattern of forgiveness toward one another. If God in His mercy has forgiven our sins in Christ, how can we who are in Christ not forgive the sins of those who sin against us? This pattern of ongoing forgiveness within the community of God brings blessing to those who experience it.
Lesson Plan Lesson Goal: To see how the community of God reflects the image of God by the way that we live in relationship to one another
Lesson Points: Point 1: Our New Lifestyle is the Result of Our New Identity. (v. 12) Point 2: Our New Lifestyle is Lived Out in the Context of Community. (vv.12-14) Point 3: Our New Lifestyle Leads to Peace with God and Others. (v. 15) The Context: In the book of Colossians, rumbles of false doctrine were beginning to move through the Church, and Paul is writing to the believers to caution them from going down a path of “philosophy and empty deceit.” The tone of the letter suggests that it is preventive rather than corrective. In his attempt to remind the believers of the true nature of their faith, he appeals to their identity in Christ. In 3:5-9, Paul reminds the Colossians that they have been saved from a life of sin and are not to walk in the earthly, sinful desires of the flesh. Instead, having been chosen and set apart by God, they are to reflect the life of Christ since they have been raised to new life in Him. This new self is the defining mark of all genuine believers and rescues them from the futile life of selfishness and sin to the joyful life of mutual submission and love for one another. Opening Question: Why does God give so many Scriptural commands concerning how we as His people should live? Point 1 - Our New Lifestyle is the Result of Our New Identity. (v. 12) How does Paul’s affirmation of the Christian identity in verse 12 help us properly understand the intention of the commands that follow? How could we read these verses and walk away overwhelmed or discouraged? How does Paul’s identity affirmation in verse 12 protect his readers from that? What is the actual imperative that Paul is calling the Colossians to do in verse 12? How does this protect us from passivity as we live out our faith in the community of believers? Point 2 - Our New Lifestyle is Lived Out in the Context of Community. (vv.12-14) List out the attitudes and actions that Paul says should define the Christian life. As a group, discuss how you see Jesus/the gospel at the heart of each of these commands? What repeated phrase shows us Paul’s expectation that the Christian life is lived in community?
Which of these Christian virtues is the most difficult to live out as a community of believers? Why? How does life in community expose our weaknesses in a way that would otherwise go unnoticed? Why is that a good thing? What is the connection between having our weaknesses exposed and the need for the ongoing forgiveness that Paul describes in verse 13? It is not an uncommon experience for Christians to be hurt by others within the Church. According to verse 13, what is the appropriate response when that happens? Just as David was blessed when he received forgiveness from God, how are we blessed when we receive forgiveness from one another? Spend some time reflecting on how God has forgiven you. How does God’s forgiveness of our sins help us extend forgiveness to those who sin against us? Point 3 - Our New Lifestyle Leads to Peace with God and Others. (v. 15) Why is the collective unity of the body so important? Another way of translating “peace of Christ” is “the peace that Christ gives.” What is the “peace that Christ gives,” and how does that fit the context of the passage? How do the attributes of Christian living that were listed in the previous verses lead to peace among the body of Christ? How does a heart of thanksgiving (verse 16) contribute to peace in the community of God? The Big Picture While the practical aspects of the Colossians 3 life may seem daunting, we cannot miss the bigger picture of what God is doing in the community of believers. How many people would say that they don’t want their relationships with others defined by humility, patience, love, forgiveness, and peace? None! Which means that God has given us an incredibly gracious blessing in the Christian life. Through the community of believers, we experience the blessing of God by regularly seeing the attributes of God (love, patience, kindness, forgiveness) playing out in our relationships. And through the
community of believers, we experience the call of God to regularly live out these attributes among one another. Application Questions ● Are the attitudes and actions of Colossians 3 playing out in our growth group? ● Are we, as individuals of the growth group, open to being held accountable to this standard of Christian living? If not, why? ● Are we walking ready to forgive in our growth group? ● Is your marriage relationship defined by ready forgiveness, bitter grudges, or somewhere in between?