Amazing Grace: We Are Transformed
Writer: Ruben Aguila
Big Idea: William Wilberforce. J.R.R. Tolkien. Brian “Head” Welch. Augustine of Hippo. Saul. These men are tied together by a single truth: the unconditional love and grace of God radically changes our lives. This divine grace has the power to change our identity, purpose and our community as it is evidenced in the life of the Apostle Paul. Paul’s story testifies to the power of God’s amazing grace, but also explains his commitment to grace as the central component to the Good News of Jesus. We default to religion because we believe we are not good enough to stand on our own merit, but the beauty of grace is: we don’t have to. Imagine what God’s amazing grace could change about your views of God, yourself, and your neighbor?
Key Passage(s): Galatians 1-2; Acts 7:45-8:3; 9:1-31; 14; 16:1-6.
God’s grace is seen in His unconditional love for undeserving sinners. This unconditional love is so amazing that He sent His only Son, the Lord Jesus, to die for our sins so we can be forgiven through faith in His Son. The letter to the Galatians emphasizes that faith in Christ, not religious works, makes us completely righteous in the eyes of God.
But just as amazing is that God’s grace transforms my heart so that I become a new person inside. I become a forgiven sinner who seeks for ways to love and honor God. It is this truth that inspired John Newton to pen the words, “Amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.” By his own account he lived an immoral life as a sailor full of profanity, gambling and drinking. He would say he had, “ambition of Caesar” to rank in wickedness. Then in March 1748, Newton was aboard a ship that ran into a terrible storm that nearly sank the ship. In the midst of the storm he cried out, “Lord, have mercy.” Newton would later say in in one of his hymns, “Sovereign grace has the power alone to subdue a heart of stone; and the moment grace is felt, then the hardest heart will melt.” From this point in his life, Newton led three more voyages to sea as a slave trader. He would later deeply regret this and renounce his trade. In 1754, Newton left the sea and followed the call to become a pastor. He later became a prominent supporter of Britain’s effort to abolish slave trading. Amazing grace changed the heart and life of the sinner John Newton.
Throughout this series we want to create the space to hear each other’s story and testimony. Pick someone who would be willing to share tonight – if you need some help, consider these questions:
- When/how did you become aware of God’s love?
- Who were the people who played a key role in your spiritual journey? How?
- What are 2/3 key moments in your relationship with God?
- Take a moment to ask questions.
Someone in your group read out loud Galatians 1:1-24.
- How does God show His grace toward us? (vs. 3-4)
- What kind of former life did Paul live? (vs. 13-14)
- How did God’s grace transform Paul? (vs. 15-16, 23-24)
- How has the message that Christ died for your sins changed your life?
Background: Jews who falsely claimed to be Christians demanded new believers obey the Jewish law
of circumcision. They claimed that you must be circumcised i.e. obey religious laws to be accepted and forgiven by God.
Someone in group read out loud Galatians 2:1-21.
- How did Paul respond to these false Jewish believers? (vs. 2:3-5)
- Today, what religious rites or ceremonies do people practice in order to be accepted in the eyes of God?
- How is a person “justified” i.e. declared righteous and forgiven by God? (vs. 2:16)
In the introduction, the grace of God transformed John Newton such that he eventually left the slave trade business and became a pastor living for Christ.
- How should a Christian live? (vs. 2:20)
- Why should a Christian be motivated to live for the Son of God? (vs. 2:20)
Prayer: take a moment to pray for one another.
Weekly Prayer Focus: Pray that God’s amazing grace would transform our view of God, ourselves and our neighbors.
Past Series Curriculum
Week 1: Matthew 5:1-12 – Beatitudes Date: September 9 & 10 Writer: Steve Dang In first century Palestine, the people at the bottom of socio-economic-political pole were ignored and abandoned. But Jesus…Read More
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