on January 21, 2018

January 21: Growth Group Guide

Freedom in Christ

BIBLE STUDY GUIDE

LEADER GUIDE 

 

Sermon Text: Galatians 4:21-5:1

Study Texts: Romans 6:15-23

Sermon Recap:

In this passage, Paul continues to contrast Grace and the Law, Faith and Works. Under the leading of the Holy Spirit, he utilizes an Old Testament story as an analogy, an “allegory.” Gal. 4:24 will serve as an illustration.  He simply compares the similarities between the story of Abraham and the spiritual truth he is teaching.  Galatians 4:21-5:1 continues to contrast the Judaizers and the way of Paul.  But more importantly, it is an extended series of contrasts, of opposites between the Law and Grace, Works and Faith, man and God.  In this passage, we see the contrast of Hagar, a slave, and Sarah, a free woman. Paul contrasts the two sons of Abraham, Isaac and Ishmael, one who was born free and the other who was born in slavery.  Following the same pattern in this passage, we see the contrast of Old Covenant/New Covenant, Sinai/Zion, wrath/mercy, commandments/promise, slave/free, present Jerusalem/New Jerusalem,

rejection/inheritance and lostness/salvation.  So why all the contrasts? It is to teach us, to help us see and understand that God’s purpose of redemption was for freedom of the believer.  Christ set us free from the slavery of sin, from the legalism of the Law through His death and resurrection.  “...stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery” (Gal. 5:1a).  

Sermon Connection:

Those who trust in Christ are free and must not return to slavery under the Law.  In Romans 6:14, Paul writes, “For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.”  He continues this teaching in vv. 15-23, the focus of our study in Growth Groups.  We are reminded of our past slavery to sin.  And then he reminds us of our new enslavement to righteousness through our faith in Jesus Christ.  This the greatest gift God could give to fallen man, freedom from sin resulting in freedom in Christ.  As we study together, we will see that we are not under the Law but under grace (v. 15).  Slavery is not an option; we will be a slave either to sin or to Christ. (vv. 16-18). We were slaves of lawlessness and sin.  But now through Christ, we are presented as slaves of righteousness (vv. 19-21).  Paul concludes this passage by reminding us that true freedom leads to being a slave of God resulting in holy living and eternal life (vv. 22-23).  “Now you have been set free from sin and become slaves of God.” (v. 22)

Lesson Plan

Lesson Goal: To guide members to demonstrate understanding that we must either be slaves to sin or slaves to Jesus Christ.  To be a slave of Jesus Christ is true freedom!

Lesson Points

Point 1: We are not under the law but under grace. (Romans 6:15)

Point 2: Slavery is not optional in this world, to whom/what will you be a slave. (Romans 6:16-18)

Point 3: You were a slave of lawlessness and sin. Now present yourself as a slave of righteousness. (Romans 6:19-21)

Point 4: True freedom leads to being a slave of God resulting in holy living and eternal life. (Romans 6: 22-23)

 

The Context: From Romans chs. 3 - 5, Paul has reminded us that our forgiveness and our acceptance with God is grounded in His grace alone.  In Romans 6, he stresses that grace transforms.  Paul stresses that we are not only forgiven by the grace of God in Jesus Christ, but we are transformed; we are changed.  He makes it clear that when God comes to us in His Grace, He breaks not only the penalty of sin, but He breaks the power of sin. But when some people hear this message of grace and forgiveness, they think God doesn’t care how they live.  So in this passage, he warns us and wants us to know that, not only is there forgiveness by God’s grace, there is also a transformation of life because of God’s grace.  Not only is there forgiveness by grace, there is holiness by grace.  In this passage, Paul wants to shock us, to lead us to understand that we are all slaves to something...the law, sin, or righteousness.

 

Opening Questions: What does it mean to be free?

 

Point 1: We are not under the law but under grace. (Romans 6:15)

Should we sin because we are not under the law but under grace?

What does it mean to when Paul says, “we are not under law but under grace?” (v. 15)

What is the mark of a person who is a Christian? (Jeremiah 31:31-34)

Point 2:  Slavery is not optional in this world, to whom/what will you be a slave. (Romans 6:16-18)

What does it mean to be a slave?

  • One born into a condition of slavery
  • One whose will is swallowed up in the will of another
  • One who is bound to the master with bonds only death can break
  • One who serves his master to the disregard of his own interest

(Paul’s use of the image of slavery is one that his readers were very familiar with. It has been noted that there were about 50 million slaves in the Roman Empire during the first century.)

Don’t you know you are a slave to the one you obey?  (v. 16)

What does it mean to be a “slave of righteousness”? (vv. 17-18)

 

Point 3: You were a slave of lawlessness and sin. Now present yourself as a slave of righteousness. (Romans 6:19-21)

The following is true regarding slavery to sin:

  • We were born as slaves to sin.
  • Our will was swallowed up and captive to sin within us
  • Our bondage to sin was so strong that only death (spiritually dying with Jesus on the cross) could break the bondage.
  • We were so enslaved to sin that we served it to the disregard of our own interest, even when sin destroyed us.

In Romans 6:19, what illusion of freedom is Paul describing?

So what is Paul’s application of being slaves to Christ in Romans 6:19b?

What does Paul say is not really freedom at all but the worst kind of slavery? (vv. 20-21)

 

Point 4: True freedom leads to being a slave of God resulting in holy living and eternal life. (Romans 6: 22-23)

The following is true regarding our slavery to righteousness:

  • We are born again, now as slaves of righteousness.
  • Our will is now swallowed up in the will of God.
  • We are bound to Jesus with the bonds that only His death could break.
  • We now willingly choose to serve Jesus to disregard our own selfish interests.

What are “the fruits” (the benefits) of being a slave of God? (vv. 22-23)

What does a man who has been set free from sin and who is a slave of God know about true freedom?

 

The Big Picture

If you are without Jesus Christ, the Bible declares that you are a slave to sin.  Each day sin pushes you further into slavery; you are trapped.  It is like being caught in a net or web where there is no hope or human way out but only more slavery, spiritual death and ultimately hell forever.  The Good News is there is freedom from the slavery to sin.  It is a total work of God, not our own.  We don’t save ourselves, and we don’t work our way back to God.  God in His mercy freely forgives because of what Jesus did on the cross.

As a believer, Paul wants us to know; he has warned us and tried to shock us in Romans 6.  “Now you have been set free from sin and become slaves of God.” (v. 22) There is forgiveness from the slavery to sin by God’s grace alone.  But there is more. There is much more; we now have true freedom in Jesus Christ.  God’s grace, redemption through Jesus, has freed us from slavery to sin. God’s grace brings with it, transforming power, which totally changes our lives.  Not only does the work of Jesus justify us by His grace, but we are also sanctified by Him.  We are now slave to righteousness, being made holy day by day.

 

Application Questions

Am I content with pursuing holiness, or do I envy the world?

How can I show my total obedience to God, that I am a slave to Him?

Is my family able to see me bearing fruit of righteousness in our home?

How have I experienced “eternal life” in my present Christian life?

Does how I live really demonstrate that I believe that I am “under grace” and set free from sin?