10/06/2018: GRACE POWERED FAITH

2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1

13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. 15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
Awaiting the New Body
5 For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Theme: “Grace Powered Faith”

• The word “Grace” means – God’s undeserved love in action.
• “Emotional health and spiritual maturity are inseparable. It is not possible to be spiritually mature while remaining emotionally immature” . Do you agree?

• A “Grace Powered Faith” will teach us that doubt in fact can be a gift; it can usher in new personal growth and spiritual vitality! Learning to Embrace your doubts, writes Lee Strobel; “may turn out to be the healthiest thing you’ve ever done” . What do you think? 

• Do your doubts and fears sometimes keep you awake at night? If so, how are you dealing with them? 

• Think carefully about the following quotes:

1. Os Guinness in his book “In Two Minds” writes ““Doubt comes from a word meaning ‘two’. To believe is to be ‘in one mind’ about accepting something as true; to disbelieve is to be ‘in one mind’ about rejecting it. To doubt is to waver between the two, to believe and disbelieve at once – and so to be ‘in two minds’”. This means that when we doubt we are indecisive or ambivalent about an issue – we haven’t made up our mind yet to believe or not believe.
2. Karl Barth the German Theologian said “Doubt only means swaying and staggering between Yes and No” .
• Do these quotes help you to better understand the origin or cause of some of the doubts you have struggled with in your life? If so, how? If not, why not? 

• “Grace Powered Faith” gives us the strength, purpose and insight to make the right decisions! Scripture is a good place to begin when looking for answers and direction [i.e. 2 Corinthians 4 ff.]:

13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak…
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal…
5 :1 For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands
Reflect on the words in bold and underlined. What are they encouraging you to remember when doubts and fears come your way…? 

• Learning to deal with doubts and fears, in the context of your relationship with the Lord, is all part of a healthy, vibrant and real faith! Many of the Psalms have a combination of doubt, fear and faith as a theme. List a few Psalms:

• Check out the following story of John the Baptist in Luke 7: 20-22;

20 When the men came to Jesus, they said, “John the Baptist sent us to you to ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?’” 21 At that very time Jesus cured many who had diseases, sicknesses and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind. 22So he replied to the messengers, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.

Can you identify the “words of doubt” John used in his question to Jesus? 

What did Jesus say in his response to John? 

A helpful strategy:
• Don’t believe you have to face your crisis/doubts on your own.
• Embrace your doubt and fear; try to learn to understand where it comes from.
• Ask for help from the Lord – and other Christ Followers you can trust.
• Develop a strategy/course of action.
• Take care of your spiritual health (stay in the Word, nurture an honest prayer life – remember the honesty of the writers in the Psalms).
• Keep an eternal perspective about it all too – there are some questions that cannot be answered in this life! After all – God is eternal, we are human and mortal!

God bless you,
Rev. Tim

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