Living a Life of Celebration–part 2
Living a life of celebration begins with a life of worship, which we studied last week. A surprising aspect of living a life of celebration is sacrifice!
Our fallen nature keeps looking for the easy way, the fun way, or the “meaningful to me” way. At core it is a self-centered approach to life that is doomed to cave in on itself. This week we will look at one of life’s surprising paradoxes!
DAY 1: “Disciple”
In today’s passage, Jesus tells us three “qualifications” for being a disciple. Each involves a measure of “sacrifice.”
Read Luke 14:26-33
1. Do you think Jesus intends for us to literally “hate” the most important people in our lives? (v. 26).
2. What is the point He is making? How is “hate” used in a manner of comparison? What is He saying should be the state of our relationship with Him? (See Matt. 22:37)
3. What does it mean to carry our cross? (Luke 14:27).
4. Read Mark 8:34. On this occasion, Jesus added another phrase to the verse we just read. What is it?
5. How does that help us understand what it means to “carry our cross?”
6. There is something that needs to “die” in us. What is it? (See Romans 6:2, 6, 11-13)
7. Jesus tells us to “give up” or “renounce” our possessions? (Luke 14:33) What do you think He means?
8. The point of this Luke 14 passage is this: each of us, as fallen creatures builds our life around self. For some it’s our relationships, for others it’s “self” and for others it’s “possessions.” But real life comes when we build our lives around Jesus Christ, and “sacrifice” or “renounce” everything else–putting everything else in its proper place or position in our hearts.
What strikes you from this passage?
DAY 2: Jesus
Read Philippians 2:1-11
1. How important to Paul was being “like-minded”? What does he associate with being like-minded? (vv. 1-2)
2. What two motivations are we to kill, and what two motivations should drive us? (v. 3)
3. How important are the “interests of others” to be to us? (v. 4)
4. Verses 3-4 depict specifics of what in v. 5?
5. In the following verses, what did Jesus “sacrifice” in order to accomplish His/ God’s purpose?
2:7-(look for 3 items, here)
2:8-(look for 3 items here)
6. This section finishes with the paradox of sacrifice. What we give to God, He is able to give back in abundance. What strikes you about 2:9-11?
DAY 3: “Treasure”
Living in this world is not a “bed of roses.” We live in a fallen world (Genesis 3:14-24). We do not live in Eden! Some Christians assume that now that they’re Christians life should be a close to a bed of roses. But that is not God’s purpose for us in this life.
Read 2 Corinthians 7:5-7
1. How did Paul describe his life in v. 5?
2. How does God meet us, comfort us in a fallen world? (See vv. 6-7) List at least four ways God comforted Paul in these verses?!
Read 2 Corinthians 4:4-12.
3. What is the “treasure” we have inside our hearts? (vv. 4-7).
4. Record the difficulties Paul had and his response to each:
5. There is something that is to “die” in us and something that is to come “alive” in us. What are they? (vv. 10-12)
One of the reasons life is so hard is that it takes difficulties and suffering to hammer out of us our self-centeredness, which is deeply, deeply rooted in our hearts. The silver lining here, is that God Himself is building into us the life of Jesus.
6. What strikes you from today’s study? What do you see God doing in your life?
DAY 4: “Should”
If you knew you had 24 hours to live, what would you do? What did Jesus do?
Read John 13:1-14
1. After the evening meal, what did Jesus do? (vv. 4-5).
2. What motivated Him to do this? (v. 1, 3)
3. Peter completely misunderstands the “cleansing.” Jesus has to explain for Peter and all the disciples why He washed their feet. What does He say in v. 13-14?
4. If anyone “should” have had His feet washed it “should” have been Jesus. Here, he attributes who “should” to someone else. Who is it?
5. Jesus explains another reason for washing their feet in v. 15. What is it? (Note another use of “should!”)
6. There are a number of reasons for “washing” others’ “feet.” But Jesus adds the basest of motivations in v. 17. What is it?
Our natural inclination from our sin nature is what others “should” do for us. Jesus turns this upside down, and tells us that it will be worth it to sacrifice ourselves for others! What strikes you most from today’s study?
DAY 5: “Reward”
Read 2 Timothy 4:6-8
1. Paul is under house arrest, chained to a Roman soldier, facing the final days of his life before execution. He knows his days are numbered. How did Paul describe his life, lived for others. (v. 6)
2. How illustrations/ pictures does Paul paint to describe what it is like to live a life for God? (v. 7)
3. Paul looks forward to heaven in v. 8. What does he see will result from living sacrificially for others?
4. Read 2 Timothy 4:16-18. Paul has had his trial before the Roman judge. What “surprising” thing happened in v. 16?
5. What was Paul’s response to being deserted?
6. Though no one came to stand with Paul, who did? (v. 17).
7. God not only stood with Paul, but enabled Paul to do what? (v. 17)
8. Paul looks back over his life serving God and encourages Timothy with what hope? (v. 18)
9. A life of sacrifice is our “lot” in this life. However, one of the great joys of heaven will be the rewards we will receive in the next! (See 2 Cor. 4:16-18; Matt. 25:23; James 1:12; 1 Peter 5:4; Revelation 3:10)
10. The great paradox of life is this: the more we really live for ourselves, the less real life we’ll experience. The more we live for the Lord and others, the greater will be our experience of real life, both now and in heaven.
11. What does it mean for you to live a life of sacrifice?