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Pastor Steve Williams : Bridges You Toward

Gospel Life · 45:24 · Recorded May 30, 2021

Bridges You Toward

Galatians 3:27-28 (GNB) You were baptized into union with Christ, and now you are clothed, so to speak, with the life of Christ himself. So there is no difference between Jews and Gentiles, between slaves and free people, between men and women; you are all one in union with Christ Jesus.

Ways the gospel changes me:

1. It liberates me from myself for true HUMILITY.

Luke 9:23-24 (CEV) “If any of you want to be my followers, you must forget about yourself. You must take up your cross each day and follow me. If you want to save your life, you will destroy it. But if you give up your life for me, you will save it.”

I can say “no” to myself by saying “yes” to Jesus.

Galatians 2:20 (MSG) “Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central…Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not ‘mine,’ but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

1 Peter 1:14 (NLT) Live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then.

1 Peter 5:5 (CSB) All of you clothe yourselves with humility toward one another.

2. It calls me beyond self-concerns to genuine EMPATHY.

Philippians 2:3-4 (NAS) Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

I start caring about a ginormous world of others around me.

Romans 12:15-16 (NLT) Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!

3. It moves me to extend myself in loving SOLIDARITY.

Luke 6:31-35 (MSG) “Here is a simple rule of thumb for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them! If you only love the lovable, do you expect a pat on the back? Run-of-the-mill sinners do that. If you only help those who help you, do you expect a medal? Garden-variety sinners do that. If you only give for what you hope to get out of it, do you think that’s charity? The stingiest of pawnbrokers does that. “I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You’ll never- I promise-regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst.

I bear God’s image with you, so I won’t stand for your indignity.

4. It enables me to invest myself in lasting COMMUNITY.

Ephesians 2:14-17, 19 (TLB) Christ himself is our way of peace. He has made peace between us Jews and you Gentiles by making us all one family, breaking down the wall of contempt that used to separate us. …he took the two groups that had been opposed to each other and made them parts of himself; thus he fused us together to become one new person, and at last there was peace…for both of us have been reconciled to God. And so the feud ended at last at the cross. And he has brought this Good News of peace to you…Now you are no longer strangers to God and foreigners to heaven, but you are members of God’s very own family, citizens of God’s country, and you belong in God’s household with every other Christian.

I’m proud we’re now family forever!

Talk It Over
  • What’s a “big idea” from the message you’ve found yourself thinking about or focusing on this week?

  • When have you “gotten out of your comfort zone” with someone very different from yourself and experienced a surprisingly good connect-ion or led to an enriching relationship with them?

  • Why do you think we balk at relating intentionally to persons unlike ourselves? How does Christ’s love encourage you to risk doing this?

  • Review together the 4 main qualities this message emphasized. In reflecting on these, how do you feel Jesus is prompting you to be more like him in these – is there someone to relate to differently, or something you feel he’s calling you to follow him closer into? What scripture passage from this message especially encourages you in this prompting or calling to follow him?

  • While it’s easy to see ways that “the Church” has failed in its history to exemplify the truths of this message, what are ways you’ve seen God’s Church “get it right” in either your own experience or in past history?

  • Read Revelation 5:9 and 7:9 – what will it be like to be part of this ultimate “melting pot” of nations, tribes, languages and people-groups? How will heaven change the way you see others?

  • Parents – talk with your kids this week about what’s the same about everyone. On the outside – hair, eyes, hands, smiles, frowns, etc. On the inside – happy, sad, insecure, worried, friendly, confident, etc. Guide your conversation to help them see that God made us all and that when we’re loving each other we’re loving God. Pray together thanking God for both our sameness and our differences – both are good because he made them!

Talk It Over
  • What’s a “big idea” from the message you’ve found yourself thinking about or focusing on this week?

  • When have you “gotten out of your comfort zone” with someone very different from yourself and experienced a surprisingly good connect-ion or led to an enriching relationship with them?

  • Why do you think we balk at relating intentionally to persons unlike ourselves? How does Christ’s love encourage you to risk doing this?

  • Review together the 4 main qualities this message emphasized. In reflecting on these, how do you feel Jesus is prompting you to be more like him in these – is there someone to relate to differently, or something you feel he’s calling you to follow him closer into? What scripture passage from this message especially encourages you in this prompting or calling to follow him?

  • While it’s easy to see ways that “the Church” has failed in its history to exemplify the truths of this message, what are ways you’ve seen God’s Church “get it right” in either your own experience or in past history?

  • Read Revelation 5:9 and 7:9 – what will it be like to be part of this ultimate “melting pot” of nations, tribes, languages and people-groups? How will heaven change the way you see others?

  • Parents – talk with your kids this week about what’s the same about everyone. On the outside – hair, eyes, hands, smiles, frowns, etc. On the inside – happy, sad, insecure, worried, friendly, confident, etc. Guide your conversation to help them see that God made us all and that when we’re loving each other we’re loving God. Pray together thanking God for both our sameness and our differences – both are good because he made them!

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