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SYNOPSIS OF THE SERMON
Being a Christian does not simply mean that you have adopted a set of beliefs about what God did. In Galatians 5:16-26, the apostle Paul addresses the change that should occur in a person’s life once they have accepted Christ Jesus into their life. In fact, it is the expectation of every New Testament writer that if you are a Christian, the Spirit of God is at work in your life changing you, transforming you. This ongoing process is called “sanctification”, which is the act of progressively being freed from the power and grip of sin over your life. It comes from walking by the Spirit, being led by the Spirit, and living in the Spirit.
GETTING THE CONVERSATION STARTED
These questions can be used as ice-breakers in the beginning OR interwoven between the questions below to draw the group into the discussion.
1. Have you ever had to work or train hard to achieve a goal? How much of a challenge was it?
2. Have you ever witnessed change in someone’s life? How did their change have an impact on your life?
3. What beliefs do you hold dear to your heart? How have these beliefs formed / changed who you are?
4. How has the change you’ve experienced had an impact on those around you? Briefly share your experience.
5. How have the people in your life (family, small group, etc) helped you change? Briefly share your experience.
INTERACTING WITH THE SERMON
1. In 5 minutes or less. Briefly give a synopsis of this week’s sermon. What insight, principle, or observation from this weekend’s message did you find to be most helpful, eye-opening, or troubling? Briefly explain.
2. Read Romans 8:1-11:
“1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful humanity to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in human flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.
5 Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind controlled by the sinful nature is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The sinful mind is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.
9 You, however, are not controlled by the sinful nature but are in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.”
• What does it mean to be free from sin and death? (v. 2) How have you experienced this freedom in your life? Briefly share.
• How do you understand the conflict between our sinful nature and the desires of the Spirit? How do you deal with this struggle in your life? How did God deal with this struggle? (vv. 3-4)
• How can we live in accordance with the Spirit? (v. 5) In a world full of distractions, how can we keep our mind set on what the Spirit desires? Have you ever experienced an interruption in your life due to the Spirit’s desires? Briefly share.
• In verse 11 the apostle Paul tells us that the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in us. In the face of our daily temptations, what does this mean? What impact does this have on our walk with Jesus?
3. In his sermon, Rich says that what God really wants to do is not only save us on the Day of Judgment, but to transform our lives right now.
• How has God transformed our lives already?
• Which areas of our life still need transformation?
• In light of Rich’s statement, what should our lives look like as true Christians? As a small group of “transformed” people, what impact can we have on our community?
• Please take time to pray for one another.