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Week One: The Assurance of God's Love

Romans 5:1-11

*Abstract:
Every single believer wants to become more and more like Christ. This
is called the process of sanctification. By that is meant that we are
growing into holiness. Believers are given freedom from bondage to
sin. We never have to be enslaved by sin again. We are becoming more
like Jesus. We see that love, joy, peace, patience etc. are becoming
ours. The reason for this is that we have been given access to divine
power.
But how do we translate this into our practical daily experience? We
begin to find the answer not by trying to be holy, but by being assured
of God’s love and good intentions toward us. We must know for certain
that once we have believed, God is for us. We must know that.
I can’t think of any thought of God’s love for me without reflecting on
the cross of Jesus. All talk of God’s love must return to the story of the
bloody cross of suffering. It is at the cross that we finally find a love
unrivaled by anything that this world has ever seen. So for all of those
who struggle with whether or not God loves them; God has an answer.
We do not need to deal with childhood rejection issues or philosophical
discussion about the meaning of love. We need to drink deeply at the
cross. We need to think about the cross more earnestly and more
thoughtfully than we have ever done before. How much does God love
me? The answer is found at Calvary.

Questions:
• Share a time in your life when you have been given complete
forgiveness from another person. How did you feel or respond?
• From Romans 1-4, how can you know for certain that your sins
are forgiven? Review.
• Read verse 2. In this verse Paul is telling us that we stand “knee
deep” in grace? What does it mean to have access and stand in
grace? Are you completely convinced that God continually
intends to do good to you? Are you able to see how your
experiences are a part of God’s gracious hand? Explain.
• If God has us in the land of grace, why do we suffer? Have you
ever wondered why you have suffered? How do you approach
suffering? Do you see it as an act of grace or something else?
• Think of stories of selfless courage in which someone or some
people have given their lives for others? Why is Jesus' death on
the cross greater than that? Give examples. How does this help
you understand Christ’s love for you?
• In spite of what verse 9 teaches, why do we sometimes become
so consumed with guilt?
• Read 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10. Do you ever think about hell? Do
you ever fear the wrath of God. Read 1 John 4:18. To what extent
does this passage reflect your inner confidence?
• Compare verse 11 with Galatians 6:14. What is the difference
between worldly pride and pure pride? Reference 1 Corinthians
4:6-7.

Week Two: A Matter of Life and Death


Romans 5:12-6:7

*Abstract:
What do you know about your family tree? In other words, what do you
know about your heritage, your ancestry, your forefathers? Most
people can go back a few generations; some, if lucky, can trace their
family line back a few centuries.
But whether you realize it or not, all of us can trace our family lineage
back to the beginning of creation – back to Adam and Eve. Now I
realize that some in reading that may scoff and say, “Come on, how
can you prove something like that?” My answer to that is the same as
the Apostle Paul’s: all of us bear a strong family resemblance to our
forefather Adam. What is that strong resemblance? It’s seen in the fact
that we all sin and we’re all going to die.
The great truth of the Bible is that Christ has broken the power of sin.
This is first realized on the day of our conversion, when we come to
realize that all of our sins no longer count against us. But, thankfully,
the good news does not end there. Not only are my sins forgiven, but
the power of sin has been broken. Christians are really set free from
sin. Biblically, this is called sanctification. To put it another way,
justification speaks of our acquittal from sin, and sanctification speaks
of our deliverance from sinning. Both have occurred as a free act of
God’s grace. And just as we must believe that Christ has forgiven all
our sins, so we must also believe that Christ has delivered us from sins
power.

Questions:
• What quirks did you inherit from your parents? How do you see
yourself reflected in your children?
• What is the bad news found in verses 12-14?
• What has our forefather Adam passed on to mankind? How does
that reflect in you? What does Paul refer to as the only hope for
the “bad news” of verses 12-14?
• What distinct contrasts do you see between Adam and Jesus?
• How does 1 Cor. 15:22 help in understanding the contrast
between Jesus and Adam in vv. 15-19?
• There is a sense in this passage that says as bad as sin and
death are they are overwhelmed by the greatness of God’s
grace. What ways does Paul refer to this in this passage? How
does this encourage you in your daily journey with Christ?
• How does the fact that through Jesus’ one act of righteousness
(death on the cross) help you in understanding how we are all
guilty because of Adam’s sin in the garden? How does the truth
of verse 20 help you to walk in victory and assurance?
• There are two extremes that we must be aware of in our
Christian faith. One is legalism and the other is lawlessness.
Have you ever struggled with either one of those two?
• If we are really dead to sin, why doesn’t it feel that way? What is
Paul’s short answer to the addict who is a slave to his habit?
• What is the significance of baptism in knowing if we are dead to
sin? In this regard, how important is the experience of baptism to
living a victorious Christian life?
• It seems the defining mark of the believer is his or her freedom
from the power of sin. In what practical ways have you
experienced freedom from past sins.
• Do Christians still struggle with sin? How is our present struggle
different than what a non-Christian has?
• Every spiritual power in our life is activated by faith. Do you
believe that you are truly dead to sin?

Week Three: Raised with Christ


Romans 6:8-14

Abstract:
A great many Christians spend a great deal of energy trying to win the
battle over sin. This is fine, but it is certainly not an end in itself. The
goal of the Christian life is not avoiding sin but living the intended life.
Life was truly meant to be a full, exciting, holy adventure of knowing
God. The goal of Christianity is not the austere life of avoiding certain
practices, but the rich life of enjoying what we were created to be. The
Bible calls this resurrection life. We have not only died with Christ, we
have also been raised with him. The best news is not that the old life of
being ruled by sin is over, but that a new life of living in power has
begun.
If you have been lacking joy, freedom and purpose, this message is for
you. It may be true that sin prevents you from the intended life. But it
is also true that avoiding sin does not give you the intended life. The
intended life is lived as we realize what it means to have been raised
with Christ.

Questions:
• Share a time when your life was so fulfilling, it overflowed. What
did it feel like? What made it that way?
• As a group, come up with a list of 10 or more characteristics of
fulfilled Christian life. Which aspects of this list pertain to you?
• Read verse 11. Ask group members to share descriptive words
regarding their identity in Christ. How do you describe your life in
Christ? Who are you? What kind of a Christian are you? Why is it
so hard to believe that you are what Christ says you are? After all
he is God, he should know! Why is it so difficult to shift our
thinking?
• Now that you have a new identity in Christ, why is it possible to
say no to sin? Compare verse 9 to verse 12. Then – why are we
so easily seduced into sin?
• Read verse 13. Think of a body part to be given to sin. Paul
mentions a number of body parts in Romans 3:13-18. How is it
that your physical body can be used for good or for evil?
• Discuss how Christians should use their body in service of God –
or to engage the resurrected life. Read 1 Thessalonians 3:3-4; 1
Corinthians 9:27; 1 Corinthians 6:13-20. Describe how we honor
God with out body as 1 Corinthians 20 tells us.
• See verse 14. What does it mean to be “under grace”? Explain
how you have experienced the power of grace to live a fulfilled
life.
Week Four: You're Going to Serve Somebody
Romans 6:15-23

Abstract:
Some time ago, Bob Dylan wrote a song with a chorus that said,
“You’re gonna have to serve somebody, it may be the devil or it may
be the Lord, but you’re gonna have to serve somebody.” That thought
is exactly what the Bible speaks about. The real issue behind
sanctification is that everyone is going in one of two directions. We are
either growing in obedience to Jesus or we are growing in obedience to
sin. It is simply impossible to be neutral. We’ve all got to serve
somebody.
It is because we have to serve somebody that believers simply cannot
be careless about their sanctification. We simply can’t treat sin or
lawlessness in a cavalier fashion with the idea that we can always ask
for forgiveness when we have done wrong. The fact is that sin leads to
death – and sin breeds an ever increasing dependence on it. The more
we resist sin and the more we surrender to Christ, the more we create
a pattern in our life of godliness. The opposite is also true. So –
believers can never take a careless attitude to life. Carelessness is the
mark of the unbeliever. Ours is the approach to willing obedience to
Jesus.

Questions:
• Who was your first boss? Was this person easy to work for or a
slave driver?
• How does our society define freedom and slavery? How does the
Bible define freedom and slavery? See Romans 1:1. Compare.
• Is there a difference between being a disciple of Christ and a
slave of Christ? Read Luke 17:7-10. Do Christians have the option
of saying “NO” to Jesus?
• See verse 17 and notice the word “heart”. How delightful do you
find Christ’s commands? Are there any commands that you have
a great deal of difficulty with? Why? Are there any commands
you used to find difficulty with, but now find delightful. Share
these with the group.
• If you find yourself once again being a slave to sin, what does
this passage ask you to do?
• See verse 21. Sin always carries with it a set of negative
consequences. Look at Galatians 5:16-21 and pick out some of
the sins mentioned. What are the consequences to each
individual sin?
• Now look at Galatians 5:22-25. What are the consequences of
these things in a life controlled by the Spirit?
• If you had acted as God’s willing servant this week, what would
have changed in your attitudes and actions?
Week Five: God's Law & Christian Discipleship
Romans 7:1-13

Abstract:
Many Christians simply do not understand the Old Testament Law, and
what is the Christian’s relationship to it. This might seem to be a minor
theological point, but in fact, it is much more than that. At stake is
what it means to be a follower of Jesus. For some people, any use of
the Ten Commandments is simply legalism, and therefore they will
have none of it. The only law we are to keep, they say, is the law of
love. But the reality is that we often fall right back into enslavement to
sin, and therefore never become followers of Jesus. But at the same
time, Paul says that all Christians have died to the law. What then is
the Christian’s relationship to God’s law? And more so, how does God
want us to live? Are we to be careful to keep certain rules, or are all
rules simply laws that we have been liberated from. Today’s message
will help you understand the relationship of Christianity to the rules.

Questions:
• What are some of the “rules” that you were taught in your
religious upbringing? What are your memories of those rules?
• What is the relationship of the Christian to the Law? Given that
the law is a) a statement of right and wrong, b) it reveals the
nature of God c) it highlights human sinfulness d) reveals the
way of sacrifice. What is the relationship of the Christian in
relationship to these four things?
• Do Christians have to keep the 10 commandments? Yes or no?
Under what conditions? Why?
• We are dead to the law. What have we died to? Refer to sermon
notes. Discuss. Read Deuteronomy 28:15-24ff. What happens
when you break the law outside of grace? How does this make
Christ’s sacrifice seem real? Read Galatians 3:10-14.
• See verse 6. Note the contrast between the old written code and
the new life of the Spirit. Read Ezekiel 36:25-32. Tell of an
incident in your life where the Holy Spirit has given you joy in
keeping the commands of God.
• Read verse 7. Discuss: How do you know what is a sin, and what
is not
• Do you feel more married to a religious code or to the living
Christ? Explain.
Week Six: The Battle Within
Romans 7:14-25

Abstract:
Every single believer knows the reality of a battle that at times
threatens to lead them to despair. Why, oh Lord, do I fall into sin so
easily? Why do I end up doing the very things that I promised myself I
would never do again? Is this a sign that I am not a believer at all? Is
this normal? How can I break this cycle?
It is Christ’s will, that every single believer live a life of victory over sin.
Christ wants us to live lives that become more and more like Jesus. The
good news is that this is not only possible, this is the normal Christian
life. But what then of the battle within? The answer lies first in
understanding the nature of the battle. Then and only then will we
understand the keys to victory.

Questions:
• What New Years resolution have you started with good intentions
only to have it fizzle out?
• Compare 7:14 with 1 Corinthians 3:1-4. How did being fleshly
work its way out in the Corinthian church? What would happen to
our church or your Bible Study group if everyone acted according
to the flesh? What would happen to your marriage or your
friendships?
• Read Galatians 5:16-24. Define the flesh. Define the deeds or the
works of the flesh? Why is it, that the believer finds the works of
the flesh abhorrent? If we carry on in the flesh, what is the final
outcome?
• Why is our will sometimes overpowered by the flesh? Why does
that happen? Is there anything we can do? What is it?
• Read 1 Corinthians 9:27. How can you make your body submit to
you? Has anyone practiced fasting? What was the benefit that
you experienced?
• Discuss self denial as a virtue in the Christian life. How does
denying yourself for the sake of the gospel give you mastery
over the flesh. Discuss this in the area of tithing, service, living in
community or other items that require self denial.
• Read Romans 7:25b. How is the outcome of your life dependant
upon your mind – that is – your thoughts and emotions? See
Romans 8:5.
Week Seven: Free At Last
Romans 8:1-11

*Abstract:
Freedom is a desirable word. For those in prison, it is a longing to one
day be able to go anywhere they want and do anything they want. For
those in oppressed countries, it is the longing to be able to choose
ones own destiny. But for Christians, it means more than any other
longing for freedom. For the Christian, true freedom means to be able
to do exactly what God wants us to do without the bondage of our
inclination to sin.
Is such a life really possible? Of course we might think it is not, for we
know that we will finally and ultimately be free in heaven. But, there is
a freedom that is already available to us now – a greater freedom than
we ever imagined possible. It is the freedom to live according to the
will of God without the destructive power of sin. That freedom comes
only from the Holy Spirit.
In writing to the churches in Galatia, Paul asks the question: “After
beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by
human effort?” In other words, if you are saved by and through the
Spirit and not by your own works, why are you now thinking that you
should go back to living by the flesh and not by the same Spirit that
saved you?
Skip ahead 2000 or so years and you find that what was taking place in
Galatia is common practice for many Christians today – we believe we
are saved by the Spirit but when it comes to living our lives, we have a
great tendency to take matters into our own hands. In today’s passage
we find Paul instructing his readers on the why’s and how’s of living life
in the Spirit; the same Spirit who now lives in us.

Questions:
• When you were young, who had the greatest influence on the
direction of your life?
• Read verse 1. In your background, to what extent did guilt
motivate you? Do you ever fear that if guilt is taken away, you
will fail to be a faithful follower of Jesus? Is it good to tell people
there is no condemnation? What does Paul mean when he says
there is no condemnation? How free should you really be from
your sins? Discuss these questions at length.
• In what ways have you experienced the complete freedom from
condemnation?
• Have your group make a list of all the benefits that come into our
lives from having the Holy Spirit. You may want to use the
following passages as references: Acts 1:8; John 14:15-17; 14:25-
26; 16:7-15; Galatians 5:22-23; 1 Corinthians 12:1-13.
• Romans 8:5. What does it mean to set your mind on the things of
the Spirit? Discuss you own experience with the Holy Spirit. How
has the Holy Spirit made the difference in your life – equipping
you to be what Christ wants you to be?
• What one word would best describe your Christian life right now?
Have you ever felt like just packing it in?
• In verse 5, Paul contrasts a spiritually-minded and fleshly-minded
person – what do you think it means to live spiritually-minded as
opposed to fleshly-minded? In your daily life do you find yourself
being more spiritually-minded or fleshly-minded?
• Read Romans 12:2. If walking in the Spirit begins with the mind,
what are some ways we can ensure that our minds are being
transformed and not conformed to the world?
• Contrast verse 6 with verse 7. In what ways does God give us life
and peace? In what ways have you experienced life and peace
through the Spirit?
• In light of 8:3, why is it impossible to please God in the flesh as
Paul states in verse 8?
• What are the benefits that Paul gives in verses 9-11, of God
dwelling in you through the Holy Spirit? Take some time to look at
John 14:15-23 for further insight.
Week 8: Suffering & Glory
Romans 8:12-25

*Abstract:
We all know the difference between a hopeful and a discouraged
person. Hopeful people are optimistic and happy. Hopeful people know
that the very best days are not behind them but are ahead of them.
Hopeful people can bear any present difficulty with confidence,
because they know that the difficulty of the present will pass away and
good times are ahead. There is something about being around hopeful
people that is absolutely contagious. It simply lifts the spirit.
But hopeful people also groan. That is to say, being a hopeful person
doesn’t make you unrealistic or blind to suffering, or evil, or injustice.
Hope is not about being unrealistic or having ones head buried deep
into the sand. True hope is biblical hope. It takes the present moment
with absolute seriousness. But at the same time, because it is hope, it
never falls into despair. Hope is one of the three enduring qualities in
every believer.

Questions:
1. If we are not saved by good works, what is the motivation for doing
good works as a Christian?
3. What balance is Paul trying to achieve when he says in verse 13,
that “by the Spirit, you put to death the misdeeds of the body.”
4. How does the Spirit help in fighting our battles? Do you have any
personal examples where He has lead you through difficult times –
verse 14?
5. How should the fact that we have received the Spirit of adoption
help us from falling back into fear and slavery, as Paul states in verse
15.
6. What are some ways that the Spirit bears witness to your spirit that
you are His child – verse 16?
7. Why is it necessary not only to believe in Jesus but also to suffer for
His name sake – verse 17?
8. Compare Romans 8:18 with 2 Corinthians 4:17. Think of the worst
case of suffering that you know. How can that be considered light? Be
sure you answer this question thoroughly. It is important to know how
to answer it emotionally and intellectually for the time when you enter
into your own times of suffering.
9. How have you handled hardships in your life in the past? Hopefully?
In despair? In anger? Are you afraid of potential suffering in your own
future? How should you handle that?
10. Compare Romans 8:19-22 with 2 Peter 3:7; 11-13. Given the
realities of what you read, what should be the Christian’s response to
environmental concerns? What is God’s long term plan for this earth?
Why are there diseases, famines and natural calamities in this world?
Why should we view these things as birth pangs rather then death
pangs?
11. How is your hope as a believer attached to how you view the
creation?
12. Read Romans 8:23-25. What are the things that you are presently
given by the Holy Spirit? You can list things like forgiveness of sins
here. What are the things you are still hoping for, the things you don’t
have? Would you describe your own experience as groaning for the
things that are yet to come?
13. Are you afraid of death? Are you anticipating heaven? How would
you describe yourself and your personality? Are you an optimist or a
pessimist? Why?