Grace as an idol leaves us with a heart of bitterness. Why? Because it tells us that God has failed us…that He has short-changed us…that He has held back things that we desperately need for fulfillment in life. Instead what happens? The grace that is meant to instruct us, will deprive us…the grace meant to discipline us, will seem like a disadvantage…and the one thing considered the greatest gift of all, will become a burden. Don’t trade the grace of God for cheap imitations.
SERMON FOLLOW-UP STUDY
Open: Describe a moment you left a project or plan unfinished:
Read: Hebrews 11-12; Deuteronomy 29
1. The writer of Hebrews uses a racing analogy to picture our journey of faith (Hebrews 12:1-2). In what ways is this analogy appropriate for our Christian walk? How is this race analogy demonstrated in the phrase “see to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God” (Hebrews 12:15)? What does it look to fall behind in God’s gracious work?
2. How does the idol version of grace cause bitterness in our lives? What trouble have you seen as a result of distorted grace? How are others affected?
3. The writer of Hebrews describes how grace drives us toward peace and holiness. The word “strive” means to aggressively pursue. What does it look like to strive for peace and holiness? How do these two concepts go together? What makes them so difficult? Might there be cases in which a stand for holiness might result is a loss of peace.
4. Describe the example of Esau in Hebrews 12:16: How do we trade the grace of God for “soup” (cheap imitations)? How is grace our “birthright”? In what ways does Biblical grace remind us that the desire to “be” must be greater than the hunger to “do”?
Pray: Pray that your appetite for God’s grace in your life will be greater than any other appetite the world has to offer.
Memorize/Meditate: See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no "root of bitterness" springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled. Hebrews 12:15