• Matt Beaney

#199 – THE POWER OF EXAMPLE (24/9/20)



Have you ever ‘idolised’ someone, a group, a team…? Why were you drawn to these people and how did it affect your life?


Our goals will be deeply influenced by the examples in our lives. Social media companies, the film and music industry, fashion brands… are all seeking to change our goals for their profit. Examples can inspire us to useless or wicked goals, but they can also inspire us to high aspirations. Paul writes,

'Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do.  For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ.  Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things.’ (Philippians 3:17-19)

Unfortunately, much of what is produced for our entertainment ‘glories in shame’ - they promote philosophies, attitudes and behaviours that are hateful to God. Too many Christians, sit too often at the feet of such examples and models. May the Holy Spirit give us all a passion for holiness in this area.


God encourages us to focus, and model ourselves on those whose goal is knowing Jesus. These models are:

Firstly, those given to us in scripture (Hebrews 11)

Secondly, those in our local church.

Thirdly, those saints whose biographies are inspirational (many available in audio versions). John Piper wrote,

“Biographies have served as much as any other human force in my life to overcome the inertia of mediocrity.”

Fourthly, we have access to many great examples online.


RESPONSE

Who are our examples or models of pursuing a relationship with Jesus? In our age of identity politics, I urge you to avoid limiting your heroes to those who are most like you.

If we want our hearts to burn with passion for Jesus and our lives to ‘shine like stars in the sky’ (Philippians 2:15), then we need to open ourselves up to godly influencers and close the door to ungodly inspiration.


A really helpful resources is:

https://www.desiringgod.org/biographies


COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY - KNOWING LEADS TO LIKENESS


Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.


Suggested opener/Ice-breaker

Have you ever ‘idolised’ someone, a group, a team…? Why were you drawn to these people and how did it affect your life?


Introduction - please share in your group

Our message on Sunday was an encouragement to ‘take hold of that for which you’ve been taken hold of’.

We can do many things and miss what’s of true value. For example, one can go for a beautiful walk only to be so caught up with our thinking or our phone, that we miss the beauty of the place - fail to ‘take hold’ of what is of true worth.

Likewise, as Christians, are called to pursue knowing Jesus, yet we can fail to ‘take hold of that for which you’ve been taken hold of’ as we should. Paul writes,

‘Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.’ (Philippians 3:12)


Discuss in your group

(Choose which questions to cover based on the time you have)


1. What is Paul’s goal? (3:7-8)


2. How does one ‘take hold’ of the goal of knowing Jesus?


3. How does knowing that Jesus has taken hold of us (saved us) and is working in us to complete this work motivate us rather than make us passive?


4. Knowing Jesus, principally, comes from meditating on God’s word. What scripture 5. have you read recently that has helped you to know God in a deeper way?


Discuss/share/pray in smaller groups:

1. What is the Holy Spirit speaking to you about (maybe from Sunday's message or your bible reading this week)?

2. What will you do in response?

3. How can we pray for you?



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