CRYING OUT: ABBA, FATHER
August 22, 2010 Romans 8:12-17
More Than Conquerors #3 There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations -- these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit -immortal horrors or everlasting splendors. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously -- no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption. And our charity must be a real and costly love, with deep feeling for the sins in spite of which we love the sinner--no mere tolerance, or indulgence which parodies love as flippancy parodies merriment. Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses. If he is your Christian neighbor, he is holy in almost the same way, for in him also Christ vere latitat* - the glorifier and the glorified, Glory Himself, is truly hidden." --C.S. Lewis in The Weight of Glory *‘truly hides’
The message began with a real life case study in mercy and grace. Read up on the story here and look at the compelling photographs here. 1. What advice would you give to the pastor and to the members of the church? How can the Christian world reach out to people in the bondage of sin without outright condemnation? Read the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant. (Matthew 18:23-35) What lesson do you take from this teaching of Jesus that applies to this question? 2. In Romans 8:14-17, Paul introduces “family language”: sons, adoption, children, Abba, Father. Read Mark 14:36, Luke 11:2. What would it be like for you to call God by the name that Jesus used: Daddy, Papa, Father? How would it affirm your place as a “child of God”? Read 1 John 3:1-2 for added perspective. 3. I made the point (again) that the Bible elevates the role and position of humanity and people. Consider the quote by C.S. Lewis in the left sidebar. If we are made in the image of God (Gen 1), what impact does/should that have on us, our family, our nation, and public policy? 4. Paul introduces the concept of adoption. Read also Ephesians 1:15. How are adoption and being “born again” (John 3) similar ideas in the New Testament? Have you thought of yourself as a “born-again” Christian? An “adopted child” of the Father? Is there a meaningful difference? 5. Paul then says that the Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God (vs. 16). How does this parallel what he wrote in 2 Corinthians 1:22? What does this actually mean in terms of your own life? (Remember, I suggested that each person get alone with God and ask the Holy Spirit for an inner witness, an assurance, a guarantee, so to speak, of His presence. Read also 2 Corinthians 5:5. Comment on this.) 6. How and when did you come to believe that God was more than just a word? Did you have an experience of an “inner witness”? Do you have a strong sense of security and certainty that you are a child of God? How and when did you become a Christian? 7. If Islam has 99 names for God and not one of the names is “Father”, can we say that all religions are basically the same? How does the place and prominence of the word “Father” in the Christian faith distinguish it from all other religions, especially Islam?
1. What advice would you give to the pastor and to the members of the church? How can the Christian world reach out to people in the bondage...