Beyond Sunday - Week 15

Beyond Sunday
Week of May 5, 2024
“Ingredients for a Condemnation Cocktail” 
When in Rome-Week 15, Romans 8:1-4 

Thoughts: One of Pastor Jeremy Yancey’s points that hit home with me (out of several) was about how God DOESN’T respond to my sin. It was the opposite of the parenting under which I grew up, primarily from my mother. God disciplines (teaches) me but doesn’t punish. Boy did she punish, in the form of spankings (until my adolescence) with a switch from the Lilac bush outside our front door—a switch I was forced to fetch myself. God doesn’t lose it, but she did, venting her anger verbally, accusing and demeaning. God doesn’t reject me, but she withheld affection (rejected) when I displeased her. I recall many times hearing, “That does it, buddy. We (meaning the relationship) are done!”
I probably went too far in the opposite direction to avoid copying her poor example in parenting my children. I have tried, with some success and some failures, to look back to the original, my heavenly Father.
The other point that stuck out for me was that when I sin, it brings from God, NOT condemnation, but conviction. For a decade, I ministered to my friend “Sterbie” who battled addiction to crack cocaine. He had long seasons of sobriety, interspersed with seasons of surrendering to the addiction that destroyed his life. When he came out of those relapses, he was awash in shame and filled with self-condemnation. Many times, we discussed the difference between condemnation and conviction. I told him “Sterbie, your self-condemnation is leading you into self-pity and those are the death of hope. God is giving you conviction, an opportunity to learn and grow. Conviction is the birth of hope.” Sterbie had no trouble remembering the Truth, that God loved him. He had no trouble confessing his sin. He could even accept, at an intellectual level, that God forgave him. He just couldn’t forgive himself and live in the freedom that would bring.
How are you doing at living in the freedom Jesus purchased for you with His life?

Read: John 3:17, Colossians 1:22-23, 1 Peter 2:16, 1 John 1:8-9, Philippians 3:10-14
Discussion Questions:

• Consider all that Jesus did so that He could “…present you [to the Father] holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation…”  
o Describe what you learn about God from that.
o What questions does it raise for you?
• Pastor Jeremy gave us great answers to “What then shall we do?” Remember the Truth; Confess our sin(s); Accept God’s forgiveness and forgive ourselves.
o How are you doing on each of those steps?
o What would help you overcome any that give you difficulty?
• The Apostle Paul gave us great advice: Forget what lies behind, in our past, and strain toward the goal. He defines that goal as pleasing Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:8-10).
o What from your past do you have trouble forgetting?
o Big goals, like living a life worthy of God’s calling (2 Thessalonians 1:11), are achieved a step at a time, by setting intermediate goals. What intermediate goals can you set for yourself?

Pray: Confess to God any sin that plagues you currently or that lives in your past. Accept His forgiveness and praise God for making you “…holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation…” Ask the Holy Spirit to empower you to live a life “…worthy of his calling…”

Next Steps:

• We all need to surround ourselves with a community of others fully surrendered to God, a community that will support us as we walk closer to Him. Summer groups will be forming soon. Check the website here to see what groups might fit your schedule.
• Set some intermediate spiritual growth goals. Find a trusted friend to share those with, and ask them to help you be accountable.

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