Grace to Save
You know the saying: “We plan, God laughs”? This is an especially difficult concept to grasp for those of us who are planners. We like to organize and structure our lives down to the very minute so that we know exactly what to expect... until the unexpected happens. It’s hard to believe there is someone who no matter what, His plan always prevails and never fails. It’s even more difficult to believe that this plan is the best one we could follow for our own lives. I guess it’s time we begin to believe what seems unbelievable.
1. Ice Breaker: Tell everyone about a time when you figured out a plan and it actually worked out exactly as you had planned.
2. What is Grace? How could it be possible that this was always God’s plan?
3. When we accept Christ into our life, our identity changes. Who do we become that we weren’t before? (From Outsider to Immediate Family)
4. Read Ephesians 1:5. When it comes to our identity in Christ, Paul relates it to that of being adopted. How is this an accurate portrayal of being accepted into the family of Christ? How is the way Paul was describing our adoption into the family of Christ similar/different to the way adoption is viewed today?
Ephesians 1:5 God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ.
5. Who is the Holy Spirit? What role does the Holy Spirit play in the kingdom of God?
6. Read Ephesians 2:1. What does Paul mean that we used to be “dead?” Once someone begins to follow Jesus and is “alive,” how should their life begin to change?
Ephesians 2:1 Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins.
7. Another NT writer, James, talks about what it means to be “alive” a little differently. Read James 2:14-26. Then compare that to Ephesians 2:8-9. The Apostle James asks the question, “What good is faith without deeds? Can that faith save them?” After reading these verses, how would you answer that question?
James 2:14 What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone?... So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.
Ephesians 2:8-9 God saved you by His grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.
One thing that can make us more equipped in our walk with Christ is to memorize the words He has called us to live by. For your next step this week, commit the bible verse below to memory so that whenever you face difficult situations, you can remind yourself of who God is. Or when you have conversations with family, friends, and coworkers about who God is, you can share these truths with confidence. If you have any questions about God, what it means to follow Jesus, or you need clarity on something we talked about, let your group leader know and they’ll try to answer your question or get you in touch with a Fountains Pastor.
CHANGING YOUR MIND
Ephesians 1:4 Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.