01-07-2017

01-07&08-2017
Dr. E. Dale Locke
Sermon Series: Bridging the Great Divides
Week 1: Bridging the Spiritual Divide

 

  1. Name one of the most beautiful bridges you have seen and describe it.

 

  1. Pastor Dale said that, “The presence of any bridge points to the reality of a divide of some kind.”

In your opinion (without getting political), what are some factors that have led to our country being so divided right now?

 

  1. We begin this series looking at the spiritual divide.

Read Romans 5:8:

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

What thoughts come to your mind when you read this verse?

 

  1. The Christian life begins by acknowledging an important fact:

 

  • I’ve Got a Problem!

Our problem results from a combination of two facts:

  • God is holy
  • I am unholy

 

Holy means: perfect, without blemish. Our God is completely perfect.  But this creates a tension, because, if we want to come into relationship with this God and be with Him in heaven, Revelation 21:27 says: “Nothing impure will ever enter [heaven], nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”

 

Why isn’t it possible for an unholy being to be in relationship with God?

 

  1. Read Romans 3:23

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”

 

How do you feel about the idea that everyone (including you) is a sinner?

 

  1. We have a gap between a God who is holy and people who are unholy. So we try to figure out ways to manage this gap. What are some mistaken ways that people try to manage this gap?

 

  1. Read Romans 6:23a

“For the wages of sin is death….”

 

Does it seem extreme to you that even “everyday” sins would require death as a penalty?  Why or why not?

Why do you think sin brings death?

 

  • The Divide

 

  1. Read Isaiah 53:6a

“We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way.”

 

What does Isaiah mean by this?

 

  1. Read Proverbs 14:12:

“There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.”

 

Name some situations you’ve observed, where someone did what seemed right to them, but it actually set their life on a dangerous course.

 

  1. Read Isaiah 59:2a

“But your iniquities have separated you from your God.”

 

We can’t manage the gap on our own, so God decided to manage the gap for us.

 

  • God’s Got the Answer!

 

Read the following three verses and reflect on them.

Romans 5:8:

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Romans 6:23:

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

 

I Timothy 2:5-6 (The Living Translation):

“It’s that God is on the one side, and all the people are on the other side, and Christ Jesus, himself man, is between them to bring them together, by giving his life for all humankind.  This is the message that at the proper time God gave to the world.”

 

Reflect on these verses for a moment, and then describe how God managed the gap for us?

 

 

  1. But God’s answer is not automatic. It calls for a response from us.

 

  • I’ve Got to Decide!

 

Read the following two passages:

John 1:12-13:

“Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God — children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.”

 

John 3:16:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

 

Pastor Dale pointed out that believing isn’t just an intellectual thing.  It is a heart thing.  It is putting the full weight of our entire life on Jesus and what He has done for us. How does a person do that?

 

  1. What are some of the ways that people sometimes misunderstand what it means to “believe in Jesus”?

 

  1. If you’ve given your life to Christ, describe some of the factors that helped you take that step.

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