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FALL 2013: Personal Study Guide Ed Stetzer General Editor Trevin Wax Managing Editor

THE GOSPEL PROJECT FOR STUDENTS


peRsONAL stUDY gUIDe, FALL 2013 VOLUMe 2, NUMBeR 1 PRODUCTION AND MINISTRY TEAM VICe PResIDeNt, CHURCH ResOURCes: Eric Geiger GeNeRAL EDItOR: Ed Stetzer MANAgINg EDItOR: Trevin Wax CONteNt eDItOR: Andy McLean DIRECTOR, STUDENT MINISTRY PUBLISHING: Jeff Pratt DIRECTOR, stUDeNt MINIstRY: Ben Trueblood Send questions/comments to: Content Editor, The Gospel Project for Students Personal Study Guide, One LifeWay Plaza, Nashville, TN 37234-0174, Or make comments on the Web at www.lifeway.com Send questions/comments to: Publishing Team Leader, The Gospel Project: Personal Study Guide, One LifeWay Plaza, Nashville, TN 37234-0102; or make comments on the Web at www.lifeway.com. Printed in the United States of America

The Gospel Project for Students (ISSN 1939-0742; Item 005508013) is published quarterly by LifeWay Christian Resources, One LifeWay Plaza, Nashville, TN 37234, Thom S. Rainer, President. 2012 LifeWay Christian Resources. For ordering or inquiries, visit www.lifeway.com or write LifeWay Church Resources Customer Service, One LifeWay Plaza, Nashville, TN 37234-0113. For subscriptions or subscription address changes, e-mail subscribe@lifeway.com, fax (615) 251-5818, or write to the above address. For bulk shipments mailed quarterly to one address, e-mail orderentry@lifeway.com, fax (615) 251-5933, or write to the above address. We believe that the Bible has God for its author; salvation for its end; and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter and that all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy. To review LifeWays doctrinal guideline, please visit www.lifeway.com/doctrinalguideline. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, copyright 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are from the Holy Bible, New International Version, copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, IL 60189 USA. All rights reserved. Photos: iStockphoto and Getty Images

TGP Personal Study Guide

SESSION 11

FOREVER REFLECTING

ow often do you look back at pictures from when you were younger? When you do, what types of things do you notice? Bad hair styles? Weird clothes? Your mom and dad when they were much younger? Looking at old pictures is always fun. The strange thing is how much we change over time. Sometimes it can even be difficult to recognize yourself from old pictures. As we grow we get bigger, our bodies mature and eventually we show signs of aging. Whenever we look at pictures of our childhood, we notice how much we have changed. Spiritually, the longer we follow Christ the less we should resemble our old selves and the more we should be reecting Christ. This process, called sanctication, is the means by which we are progressively changed into looking like Jesus Christ more and more. We are being transformed into the image of our Maker.

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ARE WE THERE YET?


1 Corinthians 1:2 To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctied in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours. As MY 8tH gRADe YeAR began to draw to an end, everyone began talking about which high school they were going to attend. At one point, a group of us got to take a eld trip to the school we were to attend in order to take a tour. It was pretty exciting, and we even got to register for classes while being there. I remember thinking at one point that it seemed like the end of 8th grade was all about getting into high school and being ready. I had my classes picked out and I knew what friends would be where. I even knew when the tryouts for soccer were. I was ready. Eighth grade was followed by a normal summer and then the start of high school. I felt I had nally arrived. I had my new clothes and was ready to go. A lot of the teenage years revolved around getting ready for the next big thinghigh school, winter break, college, and tryouts. When you have a relationship with Christ, it is something that you dont have to wait on. When Paul was writing to the church at Corinth he said those who are sanctied in talking about Christians. The wording Paul used shows us that they, in one sense, were already sanctied. In other words, it wasnt something that they had to wait around to happen. It meant being set apart and made holy. When you come to Christ for salvation, He sets you apart and declares you holy. Sure, we make mistakes and need to get that right, but when God looks at us, He sees the righteousness of Christ imputed to us and our sin to Him. But in another sense, that doesnt mean that as followers of Jesus, Christians dont have things to look forward to. In fact, it is just the opposite. Everyday there is something new to look forward to while being in relationship with Christnew depths of love and grace and knowledge and personal transformation that exceeds the day before. We are set apart, but we are also changing and growing more into the image of Jesus everyday.

PAUse AND ReFLeCt


How does knowing that you have been set apart change the way you see yourself? How does knowing that you have been set apart change the way you make decisions in your life? Does the way you live your life and the decisions that you make reect one who has been set apart in Christ?

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NO GREEN THuMb
Colossians 3:5-11 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. I AM NOt A FAN of mowing the lawn, and Im pretty sure I have one of the worlds smallest yards. But, on the day that the grass has reached so high that I can no longer see the house, I break out the lawn mower and trimmer. I am also pretty sure Im allergic to grass. As the mower cuts and throws that grass around, I begin to itch and itch. If I could let the whole yard turn brown and convert it to concrete, I probably would. Maybe I hate mowing my lawn because I know that in a week or two the whole process will have to be repeated. In short, I dread mowing my lawn. At the moment of salvation, God declares us to be holy and right with Him. At that moment, God could never love us more or never love us less. We are right in a relationship with Him. Our problem is that even after we have made that decision to surrender our lives to Him, we still sin and do dumb things. And while that sin doesnt cause us to lose our relationship with Him and be back on our way to hell, it does hurt us in signicant ways. This is why God is working in us to make us more like Him so that we can live abundantly in Christ. Ive never asked my yard this, but I doubt my grass likes the mowing process any more than I do. However, the cutting away of the weeds and when it gets out of control actually helps it. For instance, the weeds clog up the ability for healthy growth. And while it may sometimes be painful, the process transforms the yard into something healthy and beautifulsimilar to the kind of work that God wants to do in your life.

PAUse AND ReFLeCt


What does Colossians 3:5-11 teach us about becoming more like Jesus? How does one clearly see Jesus in order be become more like Him? Hint: Jesus is seen most clearly in His word. Do you sense that God is making any changes to your life right now? Are you open or resistant to this work of His?

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WHicH WAY TO THE GYM?


1 John 3:2 Beloved, we are Gods children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. THeRe wAs A tIMe when I used to workout, but the weights got too heavy. I had this dream that I would become this buff and chiseled work of art. Unfortunately, I havent reached that point. I tried protein shakes and all kinds of supplements but never was mistaken for a body-builder. I am not sure why I can workout and never really get results. Maybe it is because I only go once or twice a month. Its hard to get motivated because I am not sure I believe that I will ever pass for a MMA ghter. In fact, I think I am destined to have chicken legs forever. It can be frustrating when we dont think we will ever arrive out our destination. It can cause us to lose our motivation and wonder if it will happen. 1 John 3:2 offers great comfort to us. We are called dear friends and Gods children. We are told that there will be a point when we will be like Him. There is a day when we will be made complete and perfect in and through Christ. This day will come because Christ purchased it on the cross. His blood was shed so that in Him I might become the righteousness of God. God is at work within us transforming us for that day. When He returns or we step into eternity, because of our relationship with Christ, we will be made perfect in Him. The reason it is so hard to stay motivated to workout is because I can lift hard one day then go home and I look the same. I want to see immediate results. Our sanctication doesnt work like that either. Gods nal work within you isnt something that is complete now. Like a master sculptor and artist, God is perfecting the heart change that has begun within you until it is complete in His presence. Until that day, we can take refuge in knowing that it is coming and keep our focus on Christ until then.

PAUse AND ReFLeCt


What changes have you seen God perform in your life since the moment you trusted in Christ? What are some of the ways that God uses to create lasting change within His children? How is our transformation in Christ more of a reection of Gods grace than it is of us?

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Our adoption means we will be...


In Christ, we are already presently sanctied in that we are no longer under sins dominion. In Christ, we are progressively being sanctied in that we cooperate with the Holy Spirit as we grow in holiness. In Christ, we will one day be perfectly sanctied, when we will once again reect God the way He intended us too. The mission of the church is to make disciples by the power of the Spirit.

Presently sanctied.
In elementary school, children learn about the mysterious wonder of metamorphosis. Insects, amphibians, and other creatures undergo a fundamental transition. A tadpole becomes a frog. Caterpillars emerge from their cocoons as moths or butteries. In the beginning stage of immaturity, the young creature barely resembles its future form. But it is the same species. This reality provides a glimpse of the glorious doctrine of the believers present sanctication. We may not resemble who we will one day be, but we are nonetheless already of the same order and species. We are united to Christ and thus sanctied in Him.

 Imagine that someone were to highlight your life in a biography. In what areas would a reader be particularly disturbed? In what ways might your life reect the kind of dysfunction we see in the Corinthian church?  If someone asked you are you holy? how would you answer that question? Why would you need to go beyond a simple yes or no with your response?

Justication is a legal declaration of righteousness, as if God, the supreme Judge, acquits us and declares us not guilty. Sanctication begins with this divine declaration made by God. The concept of sanctication is derived from the idea of consecration. In the Old Testament, we see certain people, places, and things being set apart and considered holy to the Lord.

We dene sanctication as Gods claiming and subsequent purifying of the believer as his possession. Kenneth Keathley

Progressively sanctied.
Like people are conformed to the image of those with whom they are most closely related, so are Gods children progressively conformed to the image of His beloved Son. As we reect upon and live according to the glorious gospel, we gradually yet surely become sanctied for the glory of our great God.

 How does the progressive side of sanctication enhance ones trust in Jesus?  What are some areas of your life in which you secretly protect sin? J  esus tells us to take the battle against sin very seriously. What are some ways you are killing sin in your own life?

This idea is at the heart of what is called progressive sanctication. Sanctication does not stop at our being set apart at the time we become Christians. Though Gods declaration of sanctication is the foundation upon which all subsequent sanctication is built, we must never neglect the truth of on-going sanctication. Though in some sense we are already holy, we are, in another sense, still in the process of being made holy.

We will eventually and surely be perfectly sanctied, perfectly set apart, completely free from all the residue of sin, and fully able to enter into the joy of eternal and ever-increasing worship of our glorious God. The Fathers intention is that we might be conformed to the image of the Son. He will providentially direct our lives to that end. This is why we can take great comfort in the promises of passages like Romans 8:28. He will work all things together for our good, if by good we understand not health, wealth, and happiness now but conformity to the image of Christ and the eternal reward of His presence. This is our treasure. This is our greatest good. Anything less is secondary.

Perfectly sanctied.

Conclusion The gospel is a glorious reality,


 Do you ever feel as if Gods work in your life is never quite nished? How does the promise of perfection make you feel?  How does the promise of future perfection impact your life now? Does it produce in you laziness or apathy or greater diligence and passion now? Explain .

and our sanctication stands as an essential element of the good news. We are no longer who we once were, and we will one day no longer by as we are now. We will be like Christ, conformed to the image of the One who perfectly images our good and gracious Father.  Discuss how God can use both positive and negative things in your life to help make you become more like Jesus.  As you look back on your Christian life up until now, in what ways do you notice a progression of growth in holiness?

ENCORe

fOREVER REflEcTiNg Our adoption means we will be...


1. PRESENTLY SaNCTIFIED (1 COR. 1:2). In elementary school, you learned about the mysterious wonder of metamorphosis. Insects, amphibians, and other creatures undergo a fundamental transition. A tadpole becomes a frog. Caterpillars emerge from their cocoons as moths or butteries. In the beginning stage of immaturity, the young creature barely resembles its future form. But it is the same species. This reality provides a glimpse of the glorious doctrine of the believers present sanctication. We may not resemble who we will one day be, but we are nonetheless already of the same order and species. We are united to Christ and thus sanctied in Him. The apostle Pauls greeting to the church in Corinth gives us a great example of what we mean by present sanctication. The Corinthians were a mess just like we are a mess. Yet here is the apostle Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, calling these people sanctied saints! What gives? What gives is the gospel! At the heart of the gospel is the reality of present sanctication. All who have believed upon Jesus and experienced the beautiful work of God in salvation are sanctied even nowset apart as saints for the glory of God. This is the foundation upon which all talk of sanctication must begin. Sanctication starts with Gods declaration. We were sanctied. This is done, complete, nished. This is the ground of our condence, assurance, and hope. In Christ, we have been presently sanctied. Any discussion of sanctication must begin here. Otherwise, we might spin away from the gravity of the gospel and into the spacious reaches of despair or works-righteousness. 2. PROGRESSIVELY SaNCTIFIED (2 COR. 3:17-18; COL. 3:5-11). Human beings have an innate ability to take on the characteristics of things we observe. We are sometimes like character chameleons being slowly and surely transformed by and to our environment. Consider how closely your speech patterns and style of dress mirror those of your family or friends. Consider how an accent often reects your place of origin. Humanity is endowed with this inherent ability, often subconscious, to adjust and change based upon the objects of attention and aection. This can work for our ruin or our restoration. By xing our eyes on the world, we become more and more like the world. However, God has graciously given us a new image upon which to x our gaze. The more we look at Christ in love and trust, the more we look like Christ, and the more we reect God in the way He originally intended. To see Christ, to truly see Him as He is with eyes opened by the light of the gospel, is to be transformed to the image of Christ. By seeing Christ we become more like Him. This process and means of transformation is why the Bible constantly calls Gods people to look at, behold, x our eyes upon, and consider Christ. Like people are conformed to the image of those with whom they are most closely related, so are Gods children progressively conformed to the image of His beloved Son. As we reect upon and live according to the glorious gospel, we gradually yet surely become sanctied for the glory of our
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great God. This idea is at the heart of what is called progressive sanctication. Sanctication does not stop at our being set apart at the time we become Christians. Though Gods declaration of sanctication is the foundation upon which all subsequent sanctication is built, we must never neglect the truth of on-going sanctication. Though in some sense we are already holy, we are, in another sense, still in the process of being made holy. This process is communicated by Hebrews 10:14. Though some translations do not capture the nuance, the original Greek contains a hint of this progressive nature of sanctication leading some translations to render the verse, for by a single oering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctied (ESV). According to 1 Corinthians 6:11, the children of God have been sanctied. According to 1 Corinthians 1:2, believers are sanctied. And now in this passage we see that we are being sanctied. How is this process of sanctication accomplished? It is a cooperative work between God and His people. Now, cooperation doesnt mean equal partnership. Even in our cooperation, God is sovereign over the process. Gods action is always primary and initiating while ours is secondary and responsive. 3. PERFECTLY SaNCTIFIED (1 JOHN 3:2). We are sanctied in Christ, and in Him, we are increasingly reecting His image. If we stopped there, we might put our hands to our mouths in wonder, joy, and awe. But the Bible goes even further. It promises an even greater height in our consideration of the topic of sanctication! As we consider the nal aspect of sanctication, I am amazed at the promise of perfection. One day, we will be fully and nally sanctied. We will be like Him. This is surely great news for those of us who know all too well the turmoil between esh and Spirit, the inner struggle with remaining sin. This is Gods promise to uswhat He has begun He will surely nish (Phil. 1:6). The Fathers intention is that we might be conformed to the image of the Son. He will providentially direct our lives to that end. This is why we can take great comfort in the promises of passages like Romans 8:28. He will work all things together for our good, if by good we understand not health, wealth, and happiness now, but conformity to the image of Christ and the eternal reward of His presence. This is our treasure. This is our greatest good. Anything less is secondary. What God has begun, He will complete. We will be perfectly sanctied. We will be like the Son. May we rest in that reality even now as we ght against remaining sin. CONCLUSION Sanctication is an essential topic for Christian life and practice. It is important that we recognize its multi-faceted nature. Unless we recognize that sanctication is a present, progressive, and future reality, then we will face various dangers. When we dont properly understand the full spectrum of sanctication, we may nd ourselves robbed of joy and paralyzed in our mission. The gospel is a glorious reality and our sanctication stands as an essential element of the good news. We are no longer who we once were and we will one day no longer be as we are now. We will be like Christ, conformed to the image of the One who is the perfect image of our good and gracious Father.

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