Saturday, August 02, 2008

The Power of Dynamic Dependence

As the Red Letter Summer continues, we find ourselves discussing the importance of dependence and abiding in Christ alone. This is the topic of this weeks small group curriculum.

Big Idea:
We all depend on something or someone. Some people depend on bank accounts, investments, or careers; while others depend on people or simply themselves. As Christ followers we are called to place our total dependence on Him. We are called to abide and remain in Christ alone.

Summary:
When we place our total dependence in Christ alone and “abide” in Him, our lives reflect the fact that God’s Spirit truly lives in us. The word “abide” simply means: to wait for, to accept without objection, to remain, and to continue. This definition helps us understand that abiding in Christ means four things: (1) believing on Him; (2) trusting in Him; (3) listening to Him; and (4) following after Him. These four dynamics are the core competencies of the Christian life that we have been called to live. The results of truly abiding in Christ are incredible, both for this life and the life to come. We learn to be more selective as God helps us say no to things that do not matter and remove things that distract us from our Kingdom calling and purpose. Our lives become more productive because we live out of His strength and bear much good fruit. And our prayers are more effective because our desires become God’s desires.

When we enter this dynamic state of dependence, we experience deep change from within, and our wants are completely overhauled, beginning with our motives. So, when we pray for material things, we pray out of need, not out greed, and we can therefore pray with confidence. Our desire to be blessed goes from self-serving to an awareness that God wants to bless us so that we can be a blessing to the world around us. Finally, we must remember that while abiding in Christ produces peace, joy, victory, and favor; the result of not abiding in Christ is painful and ultimately results in spiritual malnutrition and death. The choice is simple – abide in Him and experience the power of dynamic dependence.

Discussion Questions: (read the scripture & discuss)

John 15:1-8
What is the result of remaining and abiding in Christ? What is the result of not abiding in Christ? Discuss how God has pruned you over the years. What fruit has come of this?

John 15:9-17
How does Christ say we practically abide and remain in Him? How does abiding in Christ affect and change your relationship with Him? What is one of the amazing results of abiding in Christ? (v.16)

1 John 2:28-29
Why is it important for us to live every day in Christ and for Christ? Discuss what can happen when we don’t. Give examples of how you are intentionally continuing and abiding in Christ.

Taking Action: Ask God to highlight any area of your life that needs to be pruned. While abiding in Him, cooperate with His will and His powerful work as it is cut off. This process of pruning can be somewhat painful, but it will result in much good fruit for His Kingdom.

Ministry Time

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