“Look, I am making everything new!” (Revelation 21:5)
As we begin a new year there is a wonderful, renewed sense of anticipation that with great expectations and fervent prayer, the above verse can become reality in our world.
With a new beginning comes a renewed sense of expectation, renewed hope, and a fresh vision of what could be. 2020 did not catch God by surprise, despite all that we faced both locally and globally. Our challenge is getting on board with God where He is already at work and partnering with Him in our kingdom mission.
We do not journey forward to go back to the past. God is doing a new thing, and He calls us to journey with Him on the adventure.
- God promised that He is doing a new thing (Isaiah 43:19, Rev 21:5). How have you seen this recently? How might this apply to you this year?
- Crossway’s vision is to see our city, nation and the nations become disciples of Jesus. What excites you about this vision? What new opportunities do you see that we have as a church to further fulfil this vision in 2021, given the year we have just come through? What might your part be in this?
- Our mission at Crossway is threefold: Loving God, Loving People, Disciples that Multiply. What are you doing to work towards one aspect of this mission? What are you doing in each of the three areas?
- What lessons have you learnt from this past year that you want to apply to do something new for God this year?
- Read Matthew 9:16-17. How does this metaphor apply to you? To your Life Group? What might be your “new wine” that needs “new skins”?
- How is God stretching you this year to do something new for Him? What are you going to do about this?
The new year offers each of us a new beginning, no matter where we are at with God. Take a moment alone now to quietly be honest with God. Seek what it is that He wants you to start this year as a new beginning in and through you. Where does God want you to partner with Him in a new thing He is doing? What is your answer to God?
We are made new when we invite Jesus Christ to rule over our lives. As the apostle Paul writes in 2 Corinthians, when we are ready to receive the new, the old has to go. During the message, Pastor Dale uses building demolition as a metaphor in starting the pathway of personal renewal. Brokenness needs to come our way first. We are blessed because instead of a big wrecking ball, God breaks us with His grace. And He is the only one that can renew us.
Read 2 Corinthians 5:17
- What comes to mind when you hear the word “demolition” or “knock down rebuild”? In 2 Corinthians 5:17, Paul talks about the renewal, or the knock down rebuild of our hearts. How might this look like to you?
- Read Galatians 2:20. “My old self has been crucified with Christ”. Brokenness, through the grace of God, needs to come our way before personal renewal can take place. How have you experienced this in the past? Share your story!
- Read John 5:19 & 30. When you find yourself in a situation where you can’t do something, do you tend to admit or conceal it? How has that influenced your trust in the Father?
- Read 2 Corinthians 4:7-11. Paul writes that when Jesus lives in us, we are fragile clay jars containing great treasure. With what’s happening in your life today, do these verses give you encouragement? Why or why not?
- In our pathway of personal renewal, knockdown means repenting of our sins, changing our minds from doing life our own way, and turning to God so we can do it His way. What are some areas in life that you find it difficult to surrender to Him?
- Read Philippians 3:12-14. What practical steps can you make as a group to encourage each other to press on in this pathway of personal renewal?
It is not in our nature to reveal our brokenness to others, or even to let God break into what we think is our tough exterior. Take a moment to have a quiet time between you and God. Is there one very specific area that you need Him to break into this year? Is there an area that He needs to Renew?
Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him”, is a verse that has often been quoted out of context by well-meaning believers. While it is certainly true that God can bring about his good outcomes despite the circumstances, we should not interpret this verse as saying that God is the CAUSE of every situation before us. When God gave mankind the gift of freewill, He gave the choice for each person to choose or reject Him, to do good or to do evil. Every choice we make has consequences – such is the nature of fallen humanity.
While God can use every situation to demonstrate His glory, not every situation we face is from Him, and our choices do not always reflect His will. Such is the process for us to grow and become more like Jesus as we learn from our choices, both good and bad.
Read Rom 8:28-39
- What is your understanding of the difference between “God causes everything” and “God causes everything to work together”? Discuss and share your stories.
- Think of some biblical examples where people faced difficult circumstances and may well have felt like God was abandoning them, and yet God ultimately used their situation for His Good? Discuss.
- A common translation of Romans 8:28 is, “God works for the good of those who love him.” How would you express “God working for your good” in the context of your current reality?
- When a person puts their faith in Jesus, it is quite common to see what is called a “redemptive lift”, whereby through God, they change their lifestyle or attitudes in a way that brings improvement to their life. Do you agree with this? Have you seen this? Why might this be the case?
- We are all on a journey in our faith to become more like Jesus. Looking back on your own life, what has been one significant turning point (positive or negative) that has had a significant impact upon your current faith trajectory? Why was this the case?
- Read Genesis 50:20. What was the ultimate good that God was working for in this story? What was the redemptive lift for Joseph? For his wider family? For the Israelites?
- What is one lesson that you can learn and apply from Joseph today?
God’s ultimate good, and the end goal for every believer, is for us to grow more like Jesus. This is a journey that we won’t conclude this side of heaven. What is one thing you can do or change this week to be one step further along in your journey to grow more like Jesus?
Most people spend the majority of their waking hours striving to get the best the world has to offer. We forget that through Jesus, we are saved and have eternal life. God is bringing about a new heaven and a new earth – a well-prepared, physically beautiful, healthy, satisfying, safe and perfected place where believers will be in His presence. The way we live today is up to us: we can try to accrue treasures on earth, or we can live in anticipation of what God has prepared for those who love Him.
Read Revelation 21:1-5
- What stands out to you in Revelation 21:1-5? Why?
- If you were to paint a picture of the eternal realm, what would it look like? Describe it with as much detail as possible.
- When we have an underdeveloped sense of eternity, we cling to what we have on earth. What are some things you consider to be your treasure?
- Read 1 Corinthians 2:9. What God has prepared for us is beyond what we can see, hear, think and imagine. How does that make you feel about your treasure on earth? Is there a need to shift your perspective?
- How can we develop our sense of eternity and prepare ourselves for this new heaven and new earth?
- What are you most looking forward to about the new heaven and new earth?
James says that life is a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. C.S. Lewis illustrated life on earth as only the cover and the title page. As believers, we fix our eyes on the day when we will live in the new heaven and new earth. But that does not mean we should waste our lives today. We are called to live out the Great Commandment and undertake the Great Commission. How does the eternal realm motivate you to read the Bible with a friend?
A note from the Going Deeper team
Due to the public holiday on Monday 8th March, Going Deeper will not be produced next week.