Everyone seems to have their own take on who Jesus is. Some will say he was a good man, some will say he was a wonderful teacher, some will say he was just a prophet, and others will say he was a crazy man (including his own family). Even those who confess that he is the “Son of God who takes away the sin of the world” will often soften him or try to form him into their own image. But who does Jesus say that he is? Who is the REAL JESUS? Join us as we explore the answers to these profound questions, along with the implications for our very lives.
The book of Psalms has been referred to as "The Hymnbook of the Old Testament," a collection of songs to be sung by God's people in response to His goodness, glory, and grace — most surely revealed in the face of Jesus Christ. Jesus came to put a song in the mouths of God's people. We sing psalms of praise to Him as our Savior and King. We sing psalms of lament to Him as our High Priest and Advocate. We sing psalms of thanksgiving to Him for who He is and what He’s done for us. We sing psalms of remembrance to Him as we survey all of redemptive history which finds its fulfillment in Him. We sing psalms of confidence to Him because He is trustworthy. And, we sing psalms of wisdom to Him because He is wisdom personified and the source of wisdom.
In preparation for our study of the book Hebrews which we will begin in October our focus on the Psalms will be to look at the Psalms the are referenced in Hebrews. Together we will see how the Old Testament Psalms point us to the person and work of Jesus Christ.
The heart sings of that in which it delights. Join us for our "Songs of the Savior" series, as we delight in the LORD and sing of His goodness, glory, and grace.
Week 1 : Grace Gone Wild (Ephesians 2:1-10)
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved…”
- Ephesians 2:4-5
“The final joy in any truly Christian discipline or practice or rhythm of life is, in the words of the apostle, “the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Phil 3:8). “This is eternal life,” and this is the goal of the means of grace: “that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3).” - Habits of Grace
What is Grace?
“Grace is the free and sovereign work of God to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves, even though we don’t deserve it.” - Habits of Grace
- Read Ephesians 2:1-10. What do we learn about - what we were (vs. 1-3)? who we are (4-8)? How we got there (9-10)?
2. What is grace? Why is it essential to the Christian message and to following/enjoying Jesus?
Getting in the way of Grace
“It is in this endless sea of his grace that we walk the path of the Christian life and take steps of grace -empowered effort and initiative. It works something like this - I can flip a switch, but I don’t provide the electricity. I can turn on a faucet, but I don’t make the water flow. There will be no light and no liquid refreshment without someone else providing it. And so it is for the Christian with the ongoing grace of God. His grace is essential for our spiritual lives, but we don’t control the supply. We can’t make the favor of God flow, but he has given us circuits to connect and pipes to open expectantly. There are paths along which he has promised his favor.” - Habits of Grace
3. Read Luke 19:1-10. What do we learn from Zacchaeus about encountering Jesus and receiving his grace? What do we learn about Jesus and his grace? What is the result?
4. Discuss how you have encountered Jesus and experienced his grace - both in the past and currently.
How you can grow in grace: Listen, speak, Belong
We cannot earn God’s grace or make it flow apart from his free gift. But we can position ourselves to go on getting as he keeps on giving. We can “fight to walk in the paths where he has promised his blessings.” We can ready ourselves to remain receivers along his regular routes, sometimes called the “spiritual disciplines” or even better, “the means of grace.” Such practices need not be fancy or highfalutin. They are the stuff of everyday, basic Christianity—unimpressively mundane, but spectacularly potent by the Spirit. While there’s no final and complete list of such practices, they long tally of helpful habits can be clustered underneath three main principles: hearing God’s voice, having his ear, and belonging to his body. Or simply, word, prayer and fellowship.” - Habits of Grace
5. Read Acts 2:42. What are the people devoted too? What do being devoted to these ordinary means of grace result in (43-47)?
6. What questions do you have about these “habits of grace”? What are some concrete steps you can take to help cultivate them in your current season of life?
"Habits of the heart"
The fruit of the Spirit are the habits of the heart for those who belong to Christ. As the Christian is united in Christ transformation begins to take place in their lives inwardly. This means that the Holy Spirit begins to shape their character into the image of Jesus. In Galatians Paul tells us that we are either being shaped by the world and the desires of the flesh or we are shaped by the Spirit who changes our desires and conforms us in the image of Christ.
We all have habits in our lives that demonstrate what is shaping us and habits are formed over time slowly becoming a pattern that is easily recognizable. Habits of the heart like fruit are developed slowly, while you can not see them grow you see the change. These habits are known by the world as virtues and these virtues reflect the inward work of Christ in an unmistakable way.
If the Holy Spirit is leading your life there will be an obvious reality, the fruit of the Spirit will be produced from the seed of salvation planted in you by Christ Jesus. This seed bears fruit and the outcome is the virtues of Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control. Paul says “walk by the Spirit” and as we walk by the Spirit then His fruit will cause the world around us to flourish by putting the character of Jesus Christ on display for all to see.
Join us for this brand new life changing series beginning on Sunday June 5th 10am at the Downtown YMCA.
- Pastor Ryan