December 3, 2016
This year we have focused mainly on ‘Holiness’ through Paul’s letter to the young church at Corinth.
What is your understanding and definition of what holiness is? Has it changed over the course of this year?
At the beginning of Revelation (Chpt. 2&3) Jesus instructs John to write a letter of what He says to each of the churches in the province of Asia (present day Western Turkey). He finishes His messages with the words….
‘Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what He is saying to the churches.’
What has the Holy Spirit been saying to church@paravista this year and more specifically to you about holiness? As a result have you been guided to make any changes to your life?
Share your answer with your group.
What three things did Jesus say happens to believers? John 5:24.
Paul wrote 1 Corinthians to address nine major issues in their church which showed their lives reflected very unholy attitudes and actions.
Read his opening words to them. 1 Corinthians 1:2.
Who else does he include? See also Ephesians 1:4, 2 Thessalonians 2:13.
How does God see you as His child?
Discuss the following….
Holiness not what, where, or how holy we sound to others. Holiness is a life in which the sin is covered by the blood of Jesus. This is what makes our life sinless, blameless, righteous, and holy before our Father God.*
What are the four things Peter calls God’s people? 1 Peter 2:9.
Do you see yourself as holy?
Holiness here is presented as a positive thing – something to be excited about, on a par with being a chosen people. This idea of holiness is a million miles from the drudgery we often associate with the word.*
Are you excited about your position ‘In Christ’?
A. Absence of Sin
What is the point John makes in the following? 1 John 3:9, 5:18-19.
Why is this so?
Read 2 Corinthians 5:17 and discuss the following….
The point here is that when we become Christians, something fundamental changes within us. God changes our inner selves so that sin is no longer natural or inevitable for us as it was before we were Christians. In other words, we’re not supposed to just grit our teeth and bravely resist the temptation to sin. Something in us is supposed to revolt at the very idea.*
Is this your experience?
If you struggle with the difference between your position ‘In Christ’ and your lack of holiness at times be encouraged, it confirms God is at work in your life.
B. Holiness Is Wholeness
What does God do to help us to grow and change to live up to who we are ‘In Christ’? Hebrews 12:10-11. What is one of the results of holy living?
Discuss the following….
Holiness is also wholeness. It is healthy in the sense that it reflects our identity. Fundamentally, we are holy because God has made us so. Paul describes us as “slaves to righteousness” (Romans 6:18) So when we sin, we are not behaving like whole people – instead, we contradict ourselves and deny our own identity.*
C. Holiness Is Being Set Apart For God
The Hebrew word most often translated as “holy” in the Bible has the literal meaning of “set apart, separate”. In the final analysis, our holiness or otherwise is about who we belong to, what we’re made for, what kind of creatures we are. We are called to be holy in the sense of being set apart from the world we happen to inhabit for these fleeting seventy or eighty years; set apart to belong instead to the God who made us and who chose us even before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4).*
D. Holiness Means We Become Like Christ
What does Romans 8:29 tell us why God chose us?
What was Paul’s great desire? Philippians 3:7-14. (note: ‘perfection’ is used here to mean ‘mature’ or ‘complete’ not flawlessness in every detail. See also James 1:4.)
What do the following passages tell us about the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives? Philippians 2:13, 2 Corinthians 3:16-18.
How does the Holy Spirit help us to change? Ephesians 4:23-24, Romans 12:2.
What does becoming more and more Christ like an indication of? Philippians 3:15.
Does the following reflect your view of holy living?
Holiness as the Bible describes it is not a dull, grey requirement that we somehow have to grind our way towards, but a glorious, desirable state of liberation, joy and fulfillment. It’s what God intends for us, not as a punishment or even as a pruning or a refining, but as a blessing. Let’s strive for holiness, not out of fear of punishment if we fail, but out of hunger and thirst for the God who loves us and who we love.*
Has your understanding of “Holiness” changed in any way as a result of this study? Share your answer with your group.
* taken from: http://www.miketaylor.org.uk/xian/holiness2.html#gsc.tab=0