Monday, November 30, 2009

A Whole Notha' Level

Memory Verse:
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” - Matthew 5:17

Big Idea:
Jesus very clearly tells us that He didn’t come to “do away” with the law and bring a new law. Rather, Jesus tells us that He came to fulfill the law and to fulfill all the prophecies that proclaimed the coming of the Messiah. The law represents the character of God. The Law represents the righteous requirements of God. The law has not changed just as God has not changed. However, scripture tells us that we have a new covenant in Jesus Christ because only in Christ can we fully meet the requirements of the law. This new covenant is all about the heart. God wants our hearts, and when He has our hearts, we can live for Him like we couldn’t before - because of Christ.

With Christ, it is different. When we accept Him as our sacrifice, we not only receive forgiveness, but we are actually made into new creations. The old passes away and the new comes. Our hearts are filled with His grace that gives us what we need to live for God in a new way. Jesus takes it to a “whole notha’ level”. He fulfills the law.

God’s grace changes our hearts and empowers us to live for God - to live for righteousness and say no to evil. Sin is dead in us and we can now walk in newness of life because the work of Christ on the cross is complete and fulfills the law. The grace of Jesus Christ is powerful! The law hasn’t gone anywhere. God’s requirements remain the same. God still requires holiness and righteous living. However, in Christ “we now have all we need for life and godliness” - 2 Peter 1:3.

Scripture and Discussion Questions: Read the Bible passage(s) and discuss the questions.
1. Matthew 5:17-20 – Why is the Law still good? How did Jesus fulfill the Law? How did Jesus fulfilling the Law change everything? What does it mean to you and your daily life?
2. Ezekiel 11:19-20 – Why did we need a new heart? How does a new heart of flesh change us? Have you experienced an ability to follow the commandments of God since receiving your new heart in Christ?
3. Titus 2:11-12 –Beyond forgiveness, what does God’s grace do for Christ-followers? What areas of your life need a dose of this kind of grace? Take hold of God’s grace and in faith ask God for deliverance.

Kids Corner:
Setup a racecourse or an obstacle course in your backyard or in your living room. Race your children. Have fun with it. Next, tell your children that they can only hop on one leg for this next race. Then have one final race using both legs again. Read Matthew 5:17-20 and ask your children the following questions: (1) Was it easier to run with both legs or just one? (2) Where you faster with one or two legs? (3) Can you run longer one two legs or using just one? Talk to your children about the new covenant in Christ Jesus where He fulfilled the law which means we have His powerful grace that has two spiritual legs – one leg provides for our forgiveness while the other leg empowers us to say no to sin and to live for God. Read Titus 2:11-12 again and talk about how God’s grace helps them do the right thing.

Prayer Time:
Have a discussion with God about what you have just studied. Repent if you have only looked to His grace for forgiveness and not for the power to say no to sin. You are forgiven. Now confess Titus 2:11-12 and thank God for the new covenant in Christ Jesus that both forgives you and empowers you to kill sin and break bondage. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any area where you need God’s grace to break bondage. Ask God for His grace to destroy that bondage, sin, habit, or lie from the enemy. Jesus Christ has fulfilled the law and in Him you have all you need for life and godliness. It is by His grace.

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