Grace Reformed Network Conference

Grace Group Lesson 06/19/2024

GRC Grace Group 06/19/2024

Christ's Grace Gifts

Rom. 1:26 ¶ For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature;
Rom. 1:27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
Rom. 1:28 ¶ And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.
Rom. 1:29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips,
Rom. 1:30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents,
Rom. 1:31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.
Rom. 1:32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

Most Christians today agree that it is becoming increasingly difficult to stand up for the biblical principles in scripture in our modern world. Paul reads as if he is writing a commentary about America, not ancient Rome. The world has been under the power of the evil one for thousands of years, and at times, his lies can consume entire countries.
To encourage the church in Ephesus, he recalls the resurrection story of our Messiah. When Christ descended into Sheol, he set those imprisoned by death to live with the Father in heaven. This story was used to describe the power and gifts our Messiah brings after his resurrection from the dead.

The same power to remove the sting of death, to set captives free, to take the keys of death, and Hate is the same power used to empower his church.

Eph. 4:7 But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.
Eph. 4:8 Therefore it says,
 “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.”
Eph. 4:9 ¶ (In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth?
Eph. 4:10 He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.)

Here is the point, the church isn't just a nice part of our lives to help us along the way so we can live better lives. The church is the gift from the risen Savior to save the world from the evil that enslaves it.

Paul points us to the power that was accomplished at the cross and then said; it is the same power I use to animate my church. The gifts of grace...are people. Each child of God that Jesus saved becomes a gift to the rest of the family. Not some, but everyone, so that everyone can minister the power of the gospel.

QUESTION: What do you tend to put your faith in besides the church to bring true change in our world?
QUESTION: How is it encouraging to know that all Christians are Christ's grace gifts to the church and not just a special few?

Eph. 4:11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers,
Eph. 4:12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,
Eph. 4:15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,
Eph. 4:16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

The flow of thought: The Spirit empowers the church leaders to train each member to do ministry work. Paul doesn't say the work is finally done when the leaders do their job but when the whole church does its role. Everyone must be part of this work, or it doesn't have the promise of the Spirit's power. When everyone sees that they are gifts from Christ to the church, the body as a whole is strengthened supernaturally by Christ. Church isn't a place to learn new ideas and practices for life; it is a supernatural being that has been given to each member of God's family to protect them, grow them, and help them grow others through the power of the Spirit. This promise is never given outside of this gift of the church.

QUESTION: Why do so many Christians struggle to trust that the church is God's powerful gift of true Spiritual change?

QUESTION: If it is true that real change and maturity come through the local church ministering to each other, why do we so easily prioritize other things over the church?

The church does not only help us grow, it also protects us when it is functioning properly:

Eph. 4:13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,
Eph. 4:14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.

Let's approach this from the other direction. If we are not in a functioning church, we are vulnerable to all kinds of danger. Christ's grace gifts are designed to cause us to grow and protect us from what can lead us into lies. God places us into his family to make sure we do not easily wander into the lies of evil during this war we face.

QUESTION: Have you been misled in the past with false teaching? What was the experience like?

QUESTION: What happens if the church you are in is teaching false doctrine? How should we handle this situation?

QUESTION: What has prevented you from fully trusting in Christ's grace gift to you, the church?

There will never be a perfect church, but a church that places itself under the authority of God's word will be a church that one can trust. The goal of GRC is to ensure we are always looking to Christ in all of Scripture and that all our lives are governed by what we learn in Scripture.

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