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Good News: Peace with God . · PDF fileRepentance and Faith The Westminster Shorter...

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  • Good News: Peace with God There is no better place to begin our study of “The Christian Basics” than with the Gospel. That is where Jesus Christ began. Our texts from Mark and 2 Corinthians are vital to our understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    Mark 1:14-20 14Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

    16Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 17And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” 18And immediately they left their nets and followed him. 19And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. 20And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him.

    2 Corinthians 5:16-21 16From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. 17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

    18All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20Therefore, owe are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

    Summary In our Mark text, we discover that the Gospel is essentially an announcement that, with the coming of Christ, a new Kingdom is being inaugurated. This Kingdom is actually a story, a narrative that, if we believe it, provides the larger story that explains our lives and provides the “script” for everyday living. The problem is that we often believe and live out “competing narratives” scripted by “imposter kings.” The challenge today for all who hear this Kingdom announcement is to repent (turn away from the imposters) and to believe (put our full trust in the true King and Author of our story).

    In II Corinthians, we see that, in Christ, everything has been made new; but that all of these gospel blessings are grounded in an amazing act of God, namely, that He has reconciled us to Himself. This reconciliation was necessary because of our sin and His infinite holiness. This great act of God has now become our primary message here and around the world. The most amazing thing of all is the way that God accomplished this reconciliation: His innocent Son became sin that we unworthy sinners might become His sons and daughters! It is only logical now that we worship and serve, with all of our hearts, the God of this amazing grace.

    And can it be that I should gain an interest in the Savior’s blood?

    Christian Basics: Lesson 1 Good News

    ©2011 Second Presbyterian Church. All Rights Reserved.

  • Died He for me, who caused His pain? For me, who Him to death pursued? Amazing love! How can it be that Thou, my God, should die for me? ! —Charles Wesley, 1738

                   

    Discussion Questions

    1) What are the most common “competing narratives” that allure? Why do we listen to them? What do they promise us? Where do they lead us? From the Westminster Shorter Catechism definition of repentance, what, in your own words, is the fundamental concept in it?

    2) How is the narrative of God’s Kingdom better than any other “script” that would attempt to define us? The call to follow Jesus is both urgent and radical. How do you see these in the text?

    3) What is the “key” that “unlocks” this Kingdom to us?

    4) What is the fundamental problem that naturally disqualifies us for citizenship in the Kingdom of God? Why do many people find this analysis offensive?

    5) What is reconciliation, and why is it necessary?

    6) Discuss 2. Cor. 5:21. What are the essential ideas in it?

    Christian Basics: Lesson 1 Good News

    ©2011 Second Presbyterian Church. All Rights Reserved.

    Going Deeper

    If we are to be ambassadors of Christ and ministers of reconciliation, how do you plan to fulfill that role this week and next?

    What are some specific areas of your life right now that are products of “competing narratives?”

    Related Reading

    Knowing God by J.I. Packer: Chapter 18, The Heard of the Gospel, and chapter 19, Sons of God. ISBN: 083081650X

    Redemption: Accomplished and Applied by John Murray ISBN: 0802811434

    Notes:

  • Good News: Believe It In our previous studies, we saw that the gospel is an announcement of the Kingdom of God and that at the heart of this good news is our reconciliation with God through the life and death of Jesus Christ.

    Our text this week addresses the response that is required of anyone who would hear and receive the gospel: repentance and faith. But, we must beware of the “counterfeits” of both repentance and faith.

    Mark 1:14-20 14Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

    16Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 17And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” 18And immediately they left their nets and followed him. 19And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. 20And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him.

    Repentance and Faith The Westminster Shorter Catechism (#87) defines true repentance this way:

    Repentance unto life is a saving grace, whereby a sinner, out of a true sense of his sin, and apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ, doth, with grief and hatred of his sin, turn from it unto God, will full purpose of, and endeavor after, new obedience.

    Of true faith, the Catechism (#86) says: Faith in Jesus Christ is a saving grace, whereby we receive and rest upon him alone for salvation, as he is offered to us in the gospel.

    Repentance and faith are “two sides of the same coin” and are the “instrumentality” of our receiving salvation. Amazingly, they are also both free gifts from God.

    We can see two very important elements of saving faith in the responses of the first disciples to the call of Jesus. They readily followed Jesus and they followed Him radically, that is, they left other things, even work and family, behind. Jesus became everything to them. Following Jesus is much like getting married: we take Him, forsaking all others; we are committed to Him forever; and our relationship becomes the framework for all of life.

                   

    Christian Basics: Lesson 2 Good News: Believe It

    ©2011 Second Presbyterian Church. All Rights Reserved.

  • Discussion Questions

    1) In order to enjoy the full benefits of the Kingdom of God, we must repent and believe. Why are these two things so closely linked?

    2) From the Westminster Shorter Catechism definition of repentance, what, in your own words, is the fundamental concept in it?

    3) What is meant by the term “counterfeit repentance”?

    4) The call to follow Jesus is both urgent and radical. How do you see these in the text?

    5) How might we today express the radical nature of discipleship? How do we “leave business and home” for Him?

    Christian Basics: Lesson 2 Good News: Believe It

    ©2011 Second Presbyterian Church. All Rights Reserved.

    Going Deeper

    1. Do you know for sure that you have savingly repented and believed the gospel of Christ? How do you know?

    2. In what ways could you follow Jesus more readily and more radically?

    Article to Read

    All of Life is Repentance by Tim Keller WEB LINK

    NOTES:

    http://www.rcpc.com http://www.rcpc.com

  • Talk to Him Walking with God, as we saw last week, means listening to Him. This week we learn that it also means talking to Him. Jesus teaches this in a famous section of the Sermon on the Mount.

    Matthew 6:5-15 15“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 16But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

    7“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

    9Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.

    10Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

    11Give us this day our daily bread,

    12and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

    13And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

    14For if you forgive others their t

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