[Thought Questions for Growing in Christ October 31, 2012]
1. Our victory. It’s not automatic, or is it? Since God has enough love to save everyone in the universe, why doesn’t He? If there was no devil alive to tempt us, to glorify sin, could we be good enough to be saved? Isn’t it the relentless working on us by the devil himself that renders us hopeless to be saved? Haven’t you felt once or twice that you were so worthless to God that you couldn’t possibly join Him in heaven? How can you and I begin to rejoice in “our” victory, the winning of the race for salvation by the grace of God?
2. Redemption. How often do you think of the cross and the sacrifice Jesus made for us there? Is it hard to explain to someone else how the death of Jesus brings us within reach of eternal life? What does it mean to be redeemed? Why does Jesus long to redeem us? Have you ever taken the blame for something someone else did? Is that a good idea? Why or why not? Did Jesus accept the guilt for our sins? Why? Should our belief that Jesus paid the price for our sin keep us from asking Him to help us keep from sinning? If He’s paid the price, what can we possibly do?
3. Free at last. Have you ever spent a night or more in jail? Or been sick with a violent and contagious disease and had to be quarantined? Or was lost on a back road somewhere? How does it feel to be restored to full health and freedom after you’ve been confined or lost? Have you ever wished you could be a slave? Wouldn’t your food and water be sure? Why does freedom matter to a human more than anything else? How does God’s freedom differ from the freedom we have when the work shift is over, or when we reach an important goal? In what ways will we be free throughout eternity if we choose God’s salvation?
4. Who’s the enemy? Have you had a discussion with a person who believes there are evil spirits around today? At Halloween in America a great display is made of macabre skeletons and ghosts and devilish creatures. Why are we so eager to create images of the dead and wicked? Do you want to see the devil himself? Will you ever be in a position to do so? In what ways does the Bible encompass both “natural and supernatural worldviews?” (p 41). Does the devil cause destructive forces of nature to break out, such as Hurricane Sandy? Should we expect these terrible storms to increase as we near the Second Coming? What should our attitude be towards them?
5. Principalities. Is it possible for human forces to exert power over you and me? How? Can you name the demands that thrust themselves onto you and the life you live? How about income taxes? or car repairs? or sickness? Is it possible even for the church to suppress you in some way without planning to do so? Can you find freedom in your heart even when surrounded by people who choose frolic or outright sinfulness? Did Jesus teach his disciples that they should live in isolation far from population centers? How much does it cost to have access to the biggest source of power ever known in the universe? Can you accept the gift of freedom?
6. Murder. Have you ever picked up a newspaper that didn’t have a story about a murder or a murder trial or a suspected murderer? Why does the devil go around inventing ways to help us humans lose our sense of what is right and encouraging us to hurt and even kill others? What are some of the death-dealing ways he has been especially clever in presenting to us in this age? Do you ever watch crime stories on TV? Why? Do we need to know more about the devil in order to want to escape from him? What weapons did God use to ruin the devil’s chances of taking over this world? Are you grateful for what He has done for you?
7. The battle. What would we see if our eyes were opened to observe both heavenly and devilish beings fighting the battle for our hearts? Why is the devil so consumed with anger towards the Lord? Shouldn’t he appreciate being allowed to live a healthy life for so long? Do you think the devil has more anger today towards God and His people than He did in the Garden of Eden and the scenes that followed? If so, why? Are you looking forward to being persecuted for Christ’s sake? Is that a good way to look to the future? Why or why not?
8. The great controversy. Have you expressed thanks to God lately for showing us clearly what is at stake in the war between good and evil? Does it make you feel good to be on the “right” side? Can you be sure you are on the right side? Should we assume that those who disagree with our theology are on the wrong side of the battle? If so, should we be friendly and helpful and cooperative with people who don’t believe as we do? Or should we be careful lest we expose ourselves to a view of sin we may find enticing?