Recap: This week’s song is “Christ Be Magnified” by Cody Carnes and Cody Asbury. We have an opportunity as disciples to magnify Jesus to those around us. This begins with a heart attitude like John the Baptist in John 3:30 – He must increase, I must decrease! We walked through Psalm 148 that gives us a picture of heaven praising, the earth responding, and now it’s our turn.
Scripture: John 3:30; Psalm 148:1-12
Icebreaker: What is your favorite thing about where you live (from the county, your neighborhood, or city)?
- In your experience, what has helped magnify or enlarge your view of God?
- In what area of your life do you need an “increase” of God? What is your next step in pursuing that?
- Read Luke 19:34-40 & Esther 4:13-14. Both passages point to God being glorified through the verbal actions of His people. Why is it so hard to bring God into conversation when speaking with non-believers? In these scriptures, both the pharisees and Esther were afraid of what was or needed to be said. Tell of the fear-moments you’ve had when talking with others about your praises or testimony and build your courage for the next time you speak up: remember that you are not alone.
- God is most seen in our lives when we are in a place of need. Are you in a place of need where you can point to Him as your answer, or do you need to put yourself in more situations of needing Him? Talk about how a place of constant comfort could hinder us from living a life magnifying God?
- Read 2 Corinthians 5:19-20. Discuss the responsibility we have that’s stated in vs.20. What does a real-life UN ambassador look like and how can we be that in our daily life as an ambassador of the Kingdom of God?
- Read 2 Corinthians 6:2 (use the NIV translation). Use a concordance or Blue Letter Bible App to look up the word “vain” in this verse. Discuss what magnifying God has to do with any of the definitions. How is making Him evident in your life the opposite of those definitions?
- Send Out Question: How are you going to equip yourself this week to be ready to magnify God in every area of your life? What verse are you going to memorize to combat the enemy when he comes with fear to keep you silent?
Digging Deeper (A Personal Study)
Sometimes, when we think of Christ being evident and an elevated part of our visible life, we think it has to be done in a drastic and loud way. But God is not a break-and-enter God, pointing His finger from Heaven, demanding we should all sell our things and become missionaries in a place with big bugs. Instead, we should be in a heart-position of letting go of our lives and saying, “Your will be done” – being willing to go or to stay. If everyone left to be an apostle then who would fund them? Who would run the local food bank or mentor teenagers in your county? There are many ways to magnify Christ in your life through your testimony and taking opportunities to point back to God for how He has walked with you, but there is another Biblical way that will not only magnify God in your life, but the Church as well. (Big C and small c church applicable)
When you first became a believer your life trajectory drastically changed because the Holy Spirit began to live in you and His ways are now an option for you. You are no longer a dead man/woman walking; you came alive to a life to be effective. You are now able to do things you weren’t able to do before Christ. This is not a message for the person next to you reading this – this is for YOU to understand and believe. At your rebirth, you were given a gift by the Holy Spirit to be the most effective ambassador of Heaven that the people, situations, and settings in your world need. You were given a gift to make Jesus real to them and bring glory to God in the same dramatic way that a sunset picture of the Teton Mountains produces. But, there’s a catch as Beth Moore puts it in her study “Entrusted”. “You are called to be something you cannot be without the Holy Spirit… you’ve been called to a missionary journey of your own.”* You have to be in connection with the Holy Spirit through prayer and study for your gifts to come alive and be used as God in His sovereignty wills. Tying these two concepts with Ephesians 4:11-16, 1 Cor. 12:4-20, and Romans 12:3-8, we have a life we can live that is beyond ourselves and glorifies God all at the same time.
Those three passages break down Paul’s teachings of 15 gifts of the Spirit. Many of you have heard the sermon on how it helps build the church and makes it operate, but what if it goes even further? What if we as believers taking our gifts as seriously as our professions was a natural way of glorifying God and affecting the Heavenly realms more than we could imagine? What if you took your teaching and exhortation gift seriously and mentored teenagers in your area; finding out later they became the next Billy Graham because you were available to the Spirit to use your gift? It’s a scary thing to step into some of our gifts because we have to put ourselves out there, but you’re not the only one to feel that. Timothy, Paul’s spiritual son/mentee, was directly encouraged in his gifting by Paul in 2 Tim. 1:6-7. Paul isn’t talking about regular fear (although that verse is widely applied that way), but the context is him encouraging Timothy to keep his God-granted gift of being a missionary alive; to keep pressing forward knowing that fear was literally the only thing that could stop him.
Let’s end with a question to chew on this week… “What are you so afraid of?” If your answer is, “Nothing,” then I’d say take some time and analyze how your gifts are being used effectively and not comfortably. There are countless lists we can make for not stepping into our gifts, but Paul very clearly reminds Timothy that the only thing that will keep us from not keeping our gift ablaze is “deilia” a Greek word meaning timidity, fearfulness, or cowardice. So, where are we being timid, fearful, or at times even a coward to not use what God has given us? What would happen to our personal worlds, communities, families, and cause for the Cross if we all stepped up into our gifting and God was magnified in our servanthood? As Beth Moore says, ”If we’re going to pay a price, let’s make it an investment in something that guarantees eternal results.”*
Credits & Resources
Moore, Beth. Entrusted – Bible Study Book. Lifeway Church Resources, 2016.
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