For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren.” (Hebrews 2:11, NKJV).
[Thought questions for Reformation: The Outgrowth of Revival August 28, 2013]
1. What a promise! Look at the Memory Text for this week’s lesson, above. God the Almighty, God the Creator, God the Savior, Jesus the Master of all. How can such a holy and perfect Being consider Himself one with all the Christians of the world “who are being sanctified”? His brothers and sisters. Not just those who have achieved perfection or seem close to it, but all who are in the process of being sanctified. How does that make you feel?
2. Growing in grace. How is growing in grace like reformation? Is it possible to take in the blessings from God’s Word without being transformed by His Spirit? Are you sure? Do you have an Inner Voice that whispers to you when you are wandering off the safe path with God? Do you ever confuse what God is telling you with what the evil one is trying to lead you to believe? Can you be dead sure that you are responding to the voice of God in your heart and not to your selfish desire? How?
3. In the days of old. Why couldn’t God’s people walk closely with Him from the Exodus and onward as God poured out His blessings on His people? What about from Creation to the flood? Did God bless both the wicked and the righteous? Why? Do you ever wonder why there seems to be so much wickedness even today when so much has been revealed to us as God’s messengers? What did Jehoshaphat contribute to the spiritual life of the Hebrew nation? Can we be just as blessed today by the ministry of those who have dedicated themselves to God’s cause?
4. Ephesus and onward. Why is Ephesus included as one of the seven churches of Revelation? Do you think our Christian lives correspond at times to the biography of these churches? What about the centuries of our church in action? Are there any parallels there? How can a Christian be dutiful and helpful but miss the joy of full surrender? Did you once burn with a love for God and the gospel? Have you seen that ardor dim through the years? Can God bring you back?
5. Martin Luther’s reformation. You can read a few disappointing accounts of some aspects of Martin Luther’s personal life, but God used him anyway. And in a mighty way. Why? What was the core message of his call for a reformation? Do we have a similar message to deliver these days? Luther had a problem with sin, but by God’s grace he learned how to be delivered from the evil one by the grace of God, and not the works of man. But he was still not perfect. Are you? Can God use you as you are? What is required?
6. The end-time reformation. Are we more than a people of 28 beliefs, ten commandments, and a prophet who pointed us to God and His holy Word? Are you ever surprised to learn how different our concepts of a walk with Jesus are compared to those of other Christian faiths? How can we bring about a reformation in these closing days? Do more preaching? Shout louder? Poke fun of people who don’t agree with us? Is our end time message to the world to “just be like us?” Or is it something else? If so, what?
7. Today’s challenge. If revival is the spiritual awakening of our hearts to a deeper awareness of God’s will for us, what is reformation? Have you ever sat in a meeting with a call to revival and looked around to see “who else?” before you got to your feet to pledge your commitment? What should be our response to a fellow member who expresses a desire to walk more closely with Jesus and before long launches a comical discourse poking fun at actions of the church? What about you? Can you have a revival and reformation this week on your own? What is needed besides your own determination?