The Cruciform Life | Week Five

The Cruciform Life
May 3, 2015
The Way to Victory
Colossians 2v8-15 

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Connect

  • What is one item you really should through away, but probably never will?
  • If you had to give up a favorite food, which would be the most difficult to give up?

Engage

  • Read Colossians 2v6-15. That thoughts, observations or questions do you have from this text or the sermon?
  • Read v. 8. According to the sermon what is the “hollow and deceptive philosophy” Paul is referring to here? How does Paul respond (vv. 6-7; 9-10)?
  • Read vv. 11-15. God’s victory in the cross is presented in a series of vivid images - circumcision, burial and resurrection, death and life, forgiveness, the cancellation of a legal debt, and the public triumph over one’s enemies. In one way or another all of these metaphors signal God’s reclamation of his creation through the overcoming of forces hostile to it. Which metaphor or image is most striking to you? What aspect of sin does this restore?
  • Read the following quote and discuss.

The webbing together of God, humans, and all creation in justice, fulfillment, and delight is what the Hebrew prophets call shalom. In the Bible, shalom means universal flourishing, wholeness, and delight — a rich state of affairs… Shalom, in other words, is the way things ought to be… We may safely describe evil as any spoiling of shalom, whether physically, morally, spiritually, or otherwise. Sin is the disruption or disturbance of what God has designed… Sin tends to disintegrate both its victims and its perpetrators. – Cornelius Plantinga

  • The most common-sense definition of sin is disobedience to God. But the Biblical view shows this has several dimensions. Here are three basic words for sin in the Old Testament Hebrew:
     
    • Avah – often translated “iniquity” (Ps 51v2) means to be twisted out of shape.
    • Chatha – often translated “sin” (Ps 51v2b) means to miss the mark or target. Sin is the failure to live as God wants — in peaceful harmony with him, others, and the world.
    • Pasha – often translated “transgression” (Ps 51v1) means to willfully rebel against someone to whom you owe allegiance.
       
  • Looking at each of the three Hebrew words for sin. What practical mistakes can we make in our lives if we forget or omit any of them?

Neither the language of medicine nor of law is adequate substitute for the language of [sin.] Contrary to the medical model, we are not entirely at the mercy of our maladies …the choice is to enter into the process of repentance… Contrary to the legal model... the essence of sin is not the violation of laws but… a wrecked relationship with God, one another, and the whole created order. “All sins are attempts to fill voids,” wrote Simone Weil. Because we cannot stand the God-shaped hole inside of us, we try stuffing it full of all sorts of things, but… only God may fill (it). – Barbara Brown Taylor

  • Barbara Brown Taylor says that, “The essence of sin is not the violation of laws… but a wrecked relationship.” Do you think this is true? Why or why not?

Apply

The Christian way is different: harder, and easier. Christ says 'Give Me All. I don't want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want You. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half-measures are any good. I don't want to cut off a branch here and a branch there, I want to have the whole tree down… Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires which you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked—the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact I will give you Myself: My own will shall become yours.” - CS Lewis, Mere Christianity

Jesus said to His disciples, “Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for Me will find it” - Matthew 16v24

  • Death to self is always the death of a lesser, false, sinful self, so that a nobler, more glorious, God-honoring, alive self might be born and begin to flourish. How might the things God is calling you to die to lead to a more healthy and abundant life? 

Pray

  • Prayerfully read Psalm 51v1-5. What things does David admit here? How does each one contribute to a full understanding of sin? Pray together this prayer of repentance making each verse your own.