Series: Living FREE, the Prison Epistles
Title: "In My Prison - Some Things Must Die"
In a Nutshell: The picture of death initiating new life is all around us! (Acorns, compost, fertilizer, the cross, baptism etc.) It is significant that the "new life" part is not something we can control. Life comes exclusively from God, but we do find Paul telling us to "put to death," (Col. 3:5; Rom. 8:13; Eph. 5:3-6; Gal. 5:24) some destructive behaviors. Satan works really hard at resurrecting those sinful habits. This battle begins in our minds, is given birth in the heart, and is lived out in the things we do.
Ice Breaker: Can you recall a habit or struggle you have had until something made it impossible for you to participate in it? (e.g. You love sugar sodas, then diabetes took them away) Describe the process of having something you couldn't stop, become something you could no longer do?
CONNECTING WITH THE TEXT:
- What are we Christians to seek/set our minds on? Col. 3:1,2 What do we tend to think about? (Seriously, make a list each evening of the things that preoccupied your mind.)
- Read Colossians chapters 2&3. To what two key events do the contexts of the words "death", "died", "raised up" seem to be referring?
- List "things above" and "things on earth" upon which we should (and shouldn't) set our minds.
- What does Paul mention as things that are "earthly" which we should "put to death?" How do we do that? Can you come up with an exhaustive list of these "sins of the flesh"?
- Based on the context of Rom. 6:11, what does "You also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus," look like? (see Romans 6:1-23)
REFLECTING ON YOUR LIFE:
- Now think about the above question #3 from the perspective of "the prison you are in.
- What do you remember about your baptism?
- This past week, what evidence do you see in your life that you have died to "the old way of life" and are walking in "new life" with the Holy Spirit's lead?
CONNECTING WITH YOUR CHURCH:
- What might our church do to help make the baptism experience one that focuses on Jesus death and resurrection and the baptized individual’s transformation from an old life to a new one in Christ?
- How might Christians best hold each other accountable to living out a new life in Christ, as opposed to saying one thing and doing something else?
- How about requiring a video of your personal testimony before we baptize someone as described in the below video?
Some Online Resources:
One Church’s video explanation of baptism
One Church's process of turning "baptism" into an individual's informational event on a spiritual journey.
Title: "In My Prison – Prejudice is Confronted”
Questions: Imagine you went to church one Sunday and a letter was read to the whole church which described the conversion of someone that had stolen from you and then disappeared. Now come to find out he accepted Christ and was sent back to your church and the letter was read publically challenging you to forgive the guy and "charge any cost up" to the mutual friend which is a missionary? What would you say to the preacher as you left church that day?
Parents with your children: Next Sunday's sermon is about prejudice. At Monday's supper read Philemon and ask the kids what "prejudice" looks like in their world. (school, friends, TV, church, etc.) Later in the week get together and review incidents that may have been some level of prejudice.