- How would you explain the gospel?
- How has your understanding of the gospel changed over time?
- How do the two perspectives on the gospel complement one another? What are the dangers of emphasizing one perspective over the other?
- How often do you think about the gospel? Is it something you believed to, "get into heaven," but have since have forgotten about? Why is it important that we continue to grow in our knowledge and application of the gospel?
- When do you think about the gospel? Are there certain times at which you're prone to reflect on it?
- Pick one sin you struggle with. Address this issue with the truth of the gospel. Do the following exercise (adapted from Gospel in Life):
- Name one sin that you struggle with. Confess it to God. Describe it as honestly as you can.
- Identify the underlying issues. When you commit this sin, what are you trusting in? What are you hoping to accomplish? What are you seeking salvation from? What do you think this sin will give you?
- Honestly assess the sin. When you commit this sin, what/who are you worshiping? What/who are you serving? How are you rejecting God?
- Kill the sin. What effects has this sin produced in your life? What lie is this sin telling you? Why can't this sin deliver on its promises? Why is this sin weak and powerless?
- Rejoice in the gospel. What has Jesus done for you? How does it free you from this sin? In light of the gospel, why do you no longer need to commit this sin?
Here are a few sample prayers for step 5:
- Sample rejoicing prayer for times of anxiety: Lord, I live by your sheer grace. That means though I don't deserve to have things go right, yet I know you are working them all out for good (Romans 8:28), because you love me in Christ. My security in life is based neither in luck nor hard work, but on your gracious love for me. You have counted every hair on my head (Matthew 10:30-31) and every tear down my cheeks (Psalm 56:8). You love me far more and better than anyone else loves me, or than I love myself. Please remove my idol of security, which can never give me the security I need.
- Sample rejoicing prayer for times of anger: Lord, when I forget the gospel I become impatient and judgmental toward others. I forget that you have been infinitely patient with me over the years. You are, 'slow to anger and rich in love' (Psalm 145:8). When I am anything other than tenderhearted and compassionate to people around me, I am like the unmerciful servant, who, having been forgiven an infinite debt, is hard toward his fellow debtor (Matthew 18:21-35). Please remove the idol of power - the need to get my own way - which is making me so hard toward these people.
These are taken from Tim Keller, Gospel in Life - Grace Changes Everything: Study Guide (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2010); pp. 48-49.
- Once you've shared your insights, invite others to speak into your situation. How do the other members of the group think the gospel relates to your sin?