Week of 9/27 - The Great Invitation

 SERIES OVERVIEW

The 80’s were an interesting time. Not since the 1960’s has there been a defining era of fashion, hairstyle and music. Big hair, mullets and parachute pants may have been popular but they definitely weren’t as cool as we remember. I am also pretty sure that music has yet to recover. The 80’s did teach us, though, that sometimes things need to change to get better.

In this series we will discuss some changes in methodology and redefining our core values to be more effective at reaching people with the Gospel. Helping people take their next step towards a deeper relationship with Jesus is the priority of The Fountains. This series helps us realize how we can be more effective, while having some fun reminiscing of days gone by.

Preparation

SESSION OVERVIEW

In this session, we discover what it means to truly begin a lasting relationship with Jesus. That relationship begins when we realize our inability to be good enough to get into heaven. The relationship flourishes as we discover the forgiveness we have received from Christ, and the security for our eternity based on what Christ did on the cross.

KEY PASSAGES

Romans 3:23-24 - for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
Isaiah 64:6 - But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; we all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
Romans 3:10 - As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one;"
Colossians 2:13 - When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins.
Colossians 2:14-15 - having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. (NIV)
John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Matt. 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.  Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

GOAL FOR THIS SESSION

Our goal for this session is for everyone within your Life Group to know exactly where they stand in their relationship with Christ.

KEY POINTS

  1. Because of our sin, it is impossible to have a relationship with God, no matter how good many good deeds we try, until we recognize our own rebellious heart and the fact that our behavior has limited our relationship with God. Our goodness is not compared to the behavior of others, but based on that one sin makes us bad enough to go to hell.
  2. Forgiveness is available to us, not by what we do, but based on the grace of what Christ has done on the cross. Because of his sacrifice forgiveness is available to all who will receive it.
  3. We can nail down our eternity by knowing that we have recognized our sin and found forgiveness in Christ.

LEADERSHIP 101

There is an assumption that because someone attends a Life Group, or church for that matter, that they have a relationship with Jesus. As we walk through this discussion, don’t allow that assumption to take away the opportunity for some one to become sure about their relationship with Christ. As we present the gospel, the Holy Spirit will work revealing truth to those in need of a savior. They may already be regular attenders or even your long time friends. I will never forget the day the gospel was presented in a Sunday School class where I was lead pastor. That day, as the invitation was given, a 76-year-old former deacon came forwards and gave his life to Christ and was later baptized. Church attendance or positions can not take the place of repentance and forgiveness.

Session 5: The Great Invitation!

REFRESH

Review the sermon if needed.

DISCUSSION

Use the questions provided in each session to facilitate your group’s discussion and application of each topic.

GET GOING

  • Who is the more promising candidate for heaven? The child that tells a little white lie to keep from getting a spanking or the serial murder? Explain your answer.
  • Do you find it strange that we have to teach our kids to do right but not to do wrong?

GET DEEP

Read Romans 3:23

  • If we have all done it, how can we clearly define sin?
  • How many sins does it take for us to be unavailable for the glory of God?
  • So because we have sinned, we have to do more good deeds in order to earn our way back into heaven?

Read Isaiah 64:6

 

  • What does the Scripture say about our good deeds?
  • Is it possible, because of our sin, to bridge the gap back to God?

Key Point One: Because of our sin, it is impossible to have a relationship with God, no matter how good many good deeds we try to do to get back to God.

  • Why do some people not desire forgiveness of their sin?
  • As a group, define justice.
  • What are some examples in todays headlines of injustice?
  • Why is sin an injustice to God?

Read Romans 3:23-24

  • According to this scripture, how did Jesus justify us and what part did we play in the justifying process?

Read Colossians 2:13-15

  • If we are incapable of making things right with God on our own how do we find forgiveness?

Key Point 2: Forgiveness is available to us, not by what we do, but based on the grace of what Christ has done on the cross. Because of His sacrifice, forgiveness is available to all who will receive it.

  • What are some dates that we usually try to remember? Why do we tend to remember them?
  • Do you know the actual date when you gave your heart to Jesus?
  • If not the date, do you remember the event itself?

Read John 3:3

  • Why is is so important to remember the date or the event when you gave your life to Christ?

Read Matthew 7:21-23

  • Why are those in the verse we just read not in a relationship with God? What was lacking from their argument to get in to heaven?

Key Point 3: We can nail down our eternity by knowing that we have recognized our sin and found forgiveness in Christ.

NEXT STEP

Help your group identify and take their next steps with Jesus. Pray with them and for them. Ask them about their next steps later this week.

Are you a 100% sure there you will spend eternity?

Today may be the day you need to take your first step by giving your heart to Jesus. Today, if you will recognize your sin and receive the forgiveness that Jesus has provided through the cross, you can nail down your eternity in a new relationship with God.

Perhaps you you have given your heart to Christ and continue to battle with forgiveness. Your next step maybe to embrace what Christ has done on the cross and walk in that forgiveness knowing that by grace you have a right relationship with God.

Today, you may have realized what a great gift Jesus offers to everyone who will receive it. Your next step could be that you learn to share your story so others may find the joy you have in Christ.

PRAY

  • Pray today for those in your group, that they may be sure for their personal relationship with God.
  • Pray for those in your group who have given their lives to Christ but have yet to grasp the freedom offered by the death and resurrection of Jesus.
  • Pray for boldness to share your story with others so they might find the relationship with God that you now have.