NextLevel Online: Between Two Trees

Session 7: From Death to Giving Life - What do we do with Works?

The call for transformation is not a call to perfectionism, but a call to union. We don't begin this journey holy and perfect, but broken and sinful - but because of his sacrifice, we follow Christ on the road. He paved with patience and grace. This session covers our relationship with sin, becoming truly human and what do we do with work.



Classroom

Classroom Instructions

Lesson
Materials: Lesson Outline
Leader
  • A Parable

    • Cynthia Bourgeault, The Wisdom Way of Knowing

    • My main point: Stop Sinning.

  • Our Relationship with Sin

    • The “seeker sensitive” approach

    • Danger = embracing the inevitability of sin in your life isn’t admitting to the possibility of making mistakes but is proclaiming a union with Death.

      • Romans 6:1-2, 12-14

        • Paul says: Stop Sinning.

        • This is not a call to perfectionism, but a call to union with Christ (1 Peter 1:16).

      • This is a call to become truly human.

  • Becoming Truly Human

    • Sin is NOT a pre-requisite to be human.

      • If it was:

        • Jesus was never fully human because He did not sin.

        • Adam and Eve weren’t human until Genesis 3, essentially making Death humanity’s true creator.

      • To be human is not “to sin.” In fact, “to sin” is to be less than human.

    • So, what does it mean to be truly human?

      • The answer is not found in sin; the answer is found in Christ (Hebrews 4:15)

      • Jesus was without sin, which doesn’t make him less than human, but truly more human than you or I have ever experienced.

  • What do we do with Works?

    • Ephesians 2:8-9

      • We are not saved by works:

        • I agree. We are saved by the one work done in Jesus Christ.

        • BUT this doesn’t mean works don’t matter.

      • The problem is: we don’t know what works are.

        • Typically, we define works as saying “thank you” to God.

        • But this falls woefully short.

    • Ephesians 2:10

      • Grace = a movement of God toward us (that only God can do).

      • Faith = our movement toward God (that only we can do)

      • The Result:

        • Union (Ephesians 2:10)

        • Works = the natural outworking of our union with God.

  • Conclusion

    • The call of transformation is not a call to perfectionism, but a call to union.

    • We don’t begin this journey holy and perfect, but broken and sinful—but because of his sacrifice, we follow Christ on the road He paved with patience and grace.

Discussion Questions for Video 7:

  • What are some thoughts about the connection between Ephesians 2:8-10 and James 2:26?

  • Do you believe it is possible to have true faith without works? What roles do both faith and works play in this?

  • What does it look like to have works, but not faith? What are the implications of that?

  • How do we lovingly communicate the truth about good works?

  • How unified with sin do we think we are? Does society paint a picture of “fallen-ness” as being normal?

  • How do we teach people to stop sinning, when the idea that “We’re all sinners here” is so prevalent?

  • What are some practical steps to take daily in order to stop sinning (or, at the very least, to stop repeating the same sins over and over)?

  • How do we make it obvious that we do not sin as much as we used to without sounding arrogant or running the risk of making people feel unwelcome?

  • We are saved only by grace. Do you feel like you can mix up grace for works?

  • How can we teach someone to stop sinning without telling them to strive for perfection, but instead unity with God?

  • What is the difference between legalism and calls to holiness?

  • If we are truly a new creation, why is it so hard to stop sinning (e.g., Romans 7)?

  • Why do people think that sin is necessary to be human?

  • When people look at you, do they see more of Death or God?

  • With Shane’s statement (talking about the church): “We are the body of Christ and our actions should not differ much from His,” reflect on the works of the church today. Then reflect on your own works. What surfaces?

  • What might our churches look like if we chose to believe and embrace that sin makes us?

About NextLevel Online

The vision of Ozark Christian College is to glorify God by evangelizing the lost and edifying Christians worldwide. The mission of Ozark Christian College is to train men and women for Christian service as a degree-granting institution of biblical higher education.