Leader Guide Sunday, August 26, 2018
Glorify Sermon Text: 1 Peter 2:9-12 Study Texts: Colossians 3:1-17 Sermon Recap: The glorifying of God is the primary purpose of the created realm. It follows, then, that glorifying God is the primary task of the people of God. In 1 Peter 2:9-12, we read that through the gospel of Christ, we become a holy nation unto God. We have been washed of our sin and given the full righteousness of Christ, and we are to exercise that in our lives for the glory of God in the world. What is the purpose of our salvation? That we might display God’s marvelous light to the world. In doing so, in conducting ourselves according to God’s righteousness, we not only glorify God, but we encourage others to see and to savor God through our lives. Sermon Connection: In this passage from Colossians, we find Paul giving instructions to the Church on how to live before God in light of Who He is and what He has done through Christ. We often use the phrase “glorify God,” but Paul here gives feet to the phrase. What does glorifying God look like? It looks like the people of God recognizing Christ as the foundation of their lives; it looks like God’s people putting sin to death in their lives, and in turn, pursuing holy living. We see this spectacular picture of what the Church is to be and how we are to live, and this is all rooted in the phrase “glorify God.”
Lesson Plan Lesson Goal: To see how the gifts God gives the Church are for His glory and our good Lesson Points: Point 1: The Foundation of God’s Glory (vv. 1-4) Point 2: Glorifying God by Putting Sin to Death (vv. 5-11) Point 3: Glorifying God Through Holy Living (vv. 12-17) The Context: Having laid the foundation of the Church in the gospel of Jesus Christ, Who Paul says “is the firstborn over all creation,” Paul now turns his attention to helping the Church understand how she is to live in the world. And as he writes, it all starts with setting our minds on Christ. All things are to Him and through Him. 1
Opening Question: Have you ever met someone that just will not stop talking about something they love? Perhaps a sports team, a hobby, etc? Transition Statement: As Christians we should always be talking about Jesus. For the Christian, the glory of Jesus is our greatest treasure... Point 1 - The Foundation of God’s Glory (vv. 1-4) Why does Paul instruct us to set our minds on “the things above”? See also 2 Cor. 4:17-18. We must see this instruction as the foundation upon which the rest of chapter 3 sits. For Paul, God is everything. There is no one else and nothing else for the Christian to spend his/her life on. If we understand Paul’s message up until this point in Colossians, we can say that “things that are above” is the proper mindset for the Christian. It is how we know God, how we keep ourselves from the false teachings and false hopes of the world. The contrast that he draws seems almost overly clear: Heavenly things and worldly things. The things in Heaven where God is, these are the true and good things; set your mind here. Do you want to know God, to follow hard after Him? Set your minds on things that are above... How often should this be happening in our lives? How does Psalm 1:2 tie in? It can sometimes be hard to gather this from our English Bibles, but the grammar Paul uses indicates that this, “Set your minds on things that are above...,” is better understood as “Always be setting your minds on things that are above.” It is not enough for us to set our minds on heavenly things once, or to do it occasionally. If we truly grasp what Paul is saying, then we will understand that this is not a one-time act of faithfulness but a lifestyle of faithfulness. We might say it like this: Just as fish must be in the water to live, so the Christian must set his mind on things that are above to live. Who is at the center of glorifying God according to vv. 1-4? Jesus. Jesus stands at the center of the Christian faith. He is the very essence of the gospel, and He is the theme of heaven. In verse 1, our being raised from the death of sin to life, is “with Christ.” As we “seek the things that are above...,” w e are seeking Jesus, for He now dwells in heaven. Our lives, forever redeemed in the gospel, are kept in Jesus; He is our assurance. In verse 4, we see quite literally that Jesus is the very essence of our lives, and He is the One with Whom we will stand in glory. Transition Statement: Knowing the foundation of God’s glory, let’s look now at dealing with our sin... Point 2 - Glorifying God by Putting Sin to Death (vv. 5-11) Not everything “earthly” is bad, so what is Paul referring to here? It is good to recognize that in God’s creation many good things exist. The world is good, and many, many things in the world are truly good. But, that is not Paul’s intent here. When he 2
uses the word, “earthly,” he means “sinful, wicked or that which is opposed to heavenly” things. Therefore, we can understand Paul to be saying, “Put to death therefore what is sinful and opposed to God in you…” The list Paul provides is lengthy, but we should not understand it to be exhaustive. He notes, “sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” He goes on to note, “anger, wrath, malice, slander and obscene talk...Do not lie to one another.” Again, our focus should not be on the particular sins that Paul notes (although we should not overlook them). Our focus should be on the fact that sinfulness keeps us from setting our minds on things that are above. One great Puritan pastor and theologian, John Owen, once wrote, “Do you kill [sin]? Do you make it your daily work? Be always at it whilst you live; cease not a day from this work; b e killing sin or it will be killing you.” What assumption is Paul making in verse 7? The way the verse is worded, Paul is assuming that his readers no longer walk in these things, or said differently, they are no longer practicing these sinful ways. His assumption means that he intended his letter to be read by Christians, those whose life is hidden with Christ in God. If Paul assumes the salvation of his readers, why does he instruct them to flee from sin? Do Christians struggle with sin? This is a big point for so many today: Christians struggle with sin. The salvation that comes through the gospel is comprehensive, complete and will not fail. But we must also recognize that the gospel promises us perfection from sin in the future and not in the present. While there is deliverance from the death of sin in the present, we are not yet fully delivered from its effects. And this is why Paul is writing to a church of Christians and reminding them to flee sin, to put it to death, and to treasure Jesus. How does Paul tie together “putting sin to death” and the health of the body of Christ in verses 10-11? In these verses, we see that our individual fight against sin is also an act of love for the Body of Christ as a whole. We are each plagued by sin, and when we fail to set our minds on the things that are above, we fail to fully glorify God, and we bring our sin into the Body of Christ. Therefore, we must see that as we glorify God by fighting against sin, we also glorify God by building up His people, the Church. Therefore, as we think about fighting sin, we must never think about ourselves as being alone. We fight together, we fight for holiness, and we fight to glorify God in our lives! Transition Statement: Paul has told us to put off sin, but now let’s look at what we are to put on in its place... 3
Point 3 - Glorifying God Through Holy Living (vv. 12-17) In contrast to v. 5, what is Paul’s instruction in verse 12? How is this tied to 1 Pt. 2:9? In verse 5, Paul tells us to put to death the earthly things in us. In verse 12, we are to put on godliness. So his instruction is two-fold. Kill sin and pursue holiness. This is how God is glorified in the Body of Christ, the Church. Everything the Church does that glorifies God is born out of these two actions. As we put off sin and put on righteousness, we become more and more like Jesus. And we must remember that Paul wrote this, not to an individual, but to the Church. Therefore, these are communal acts of faith meant to be done together. This idea of gospel community shows up in 1 Pt. 2:9, for Peter notes that God is saving a people, a nation. We are being saved into a people. And so, part of our glorifying of God is being identified with His people. We glorify God most when we glorify Him together! What characteristics does Paul list as those things which glorify God? Just with his list of sins, Paul’s list of righteous acts is not exhaustive, but we must consider each one. He notes the following characteristics that should be true of God’s people: compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, bearing with one another, forgiveness, and love. Again, note the community language of Paul’s list. These attributes, by their very nature, demand a community in which to exercise them. How can we see these things come to be true in our own lives, and our gospel communities? Where does it start? (See v. 16.) It can seem a bit overwhelming to look at such a list and ask, “How do I even start?” But thankfully, we have a gracious God Who desires that we accomplish the task of holiness, and He has given us all the tools we need. We begin with the Word of God; we let is dwell within us richly. There are many ways in which to accomplish this, but we can note a few: daily Bible reading, Scripture memorization, meditation, prayer, regular discussion with other believers, family devotion, songs of faith, etc. The Word of God can be worked into every facet of our lives, and that is how God intends that we glorify Him with His Word. And what better way to keep our minds set upon Christ? Verse 17 gives us a mission statement if you will. What does Paul say about glorifying God, and what does this assume about the Christian? This is the heart of this text, that we glorify God in all that we do. Paul desires that glorifying God become the heartbeat of our lives; he wants us to adopt this idea as our very own mission statement. What does it look like to do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus? It means continually having our mind set on the things that are above; it means putting sin to death in our lives; and it means treasuring Christ through the Word day-by-day.
The Big Picture Glorifying God is the task of the people of God, but it is also the deepest and most satisfying joy of the people of God. As we have seen in the passage from 1 Peter, God intends that His people be set apart from the world, a holy nation and royal priesthood. Christ died, was buried and was raised to see this accomplished. Resting on the foundation of Christ, it cannot be undone. At the same time, God calls the Church to embrace this reality and to live faithfully unto His glory. How are we to glorify God in our lives? We are to continually set our minds on Christ; we are to put sin to death in our bodies and mind; and we are to pursue righteous living personally and within the community of believers. Because the Church is an essential part of the Christian life, we recognize that we can never fully glorify God until we are doing all three of these acts in the community of God’s saints, and what a joy it is! Application Questions ● How am I setting my mind on things that are above? ● In what areas am I not controlling my mind? ● How am I putting sin to death in my life? ● How am I inviting the community of believers to help me in this? ● In what ways can growth groups encourage one another in this? ● How is your growth group doing in this regard? ● How are you actively seeking to build the community of your growth group?