Dream a Little Dream Week -6
You Can’t Be Anything You Want to Be, But You Can Be Everything God Wants You to Be!
Where has God uniquely SHAPED you to serve? He is the Master Artist who designed us all for good works. We are God’s workmanship, and He wants us to be about the business of doing things that serve Him and His church.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
What is the worst injury you have ever had? How did it happen?
How did it affect the rest of your body? What daily activities became the most challenging?
An injury in one part of our body generally affects other parts too. If you sprain one ankle, you might put more stress on the other ankle. If you break a rib, it affects everything you do, making the smallest movements and basic functions painful. Our bodies work best, of course, when every part functions correctly. Paul used the body as a metaphor for the church in Romans 12. In order for the church to be an optimal body, it must have every part doing its job. Oftentimes this means we have to get a little uncomfortable in order to use our gifts and serve the body.
Have a volunteer read Ephesians 2:8-10.
Verse 10 follows Paul’s description of our salvation. What is one of the reasons God created you?
Why do you think it is so hard for us to live as people who were designed with service in mind? What are some of the things that steal our time and attention?
How does it make you feel to know that God has already prepared situations for you to do good works? Why?
As much as we often like to think that we have the option of doing nothing when it comes to service, especially service in the church, that is simply not an option Scripture gives us. One goal of salvation for us is the fruit of Christlike character and of good deeds. In other words, God made us to do something, and that something is serve Him and His church with the spiritual gifts He has given us. Paul elaborates on these gifts and the purposes they serve in Romans 12.
What can you do to more consistently serve at our church? How can we as a group intentionally help one another with this effort?
What are some specific things we can ask God to accomplish through us?
Make a list of some of the most common excuses your group members have used or heard for not serving. How do you think God would respond to each of these excuses? Why are none of them valid?
Close in prayer, asking God for the courage to be faithful stewards of the gifts He has given you. Thank Him for His many blessings and gifts, and pray that He will help each of you live with a fresh commitment to not waste a single opportunity He has given you. Pray for the opportunity to get involved in the service opportunities at our church.
2:8-9 It’s too often typical for us humans to suppose that our actions can help earn our eternal life. Paul wrote that this is never true. But then he went on to explain the role that good works have in the life of those who are saved. Trusting wholly in God’s provision is the opposite of trusting in one’s own contribution to salvation.
The whole of our redemption—past, present, and future—is God’s gift, by His initiative. Neither religious rituals, nor great kindness to others, nor living morally counts as anything in terms of meriting God’s salvation. For this reason, no one can boast about a personal contribution to salvation. Heaven will be filled with the praises of Christ’s glory and His works. No human display of works can compare to the riches of God’s grace toward those who once were dead in their sins but now are alive with Christ.
2:10 One of the goals of salvation for us is the fruit of Christlike character and of good deeds. Grace can be compared to the power grid that extends to someone’s house; faith is having the switch turned on to connect with the power; and good works are like all the helpful equipment that springs to life when connected to the power supply with the switch turned on.
In eternity past God prepared ahead of time that His redeemed people would do these good works as evidence of His grace. Here is His power not only in giving us new life but also in helping us to walk in good works throughout this life and into eternity. We cannot do anything to earn salvation. Yet God means for us who have received salvation to produce good works. If we have been given new life, raised with Christ, and seated with Him, we will certainly do good works as evidence that we have received this great salvation.