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Step 12: Life

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Next Steps are designed to help us grow as Christians in two categories: God's Mission and God's Word. 

←Mission→ Look out to the world; look in at our lives. 


Mission Training:  The book of Acts tells of the supernatural and explosive growth of the early church. Despite persecution and many hardships, despite the lack of modern travel and technology the gospel message rapidly spread throughout Asia, Africa, and Europe. How did the gospel spread so quickly and broadly? Certainly it was the work of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit worked through the bold verbal proclamation of the gospel message by ordinary disciples everywhere they went. Certainly it included strategic and intentional efforts to take the gospel and start new churches in place where it had yet to be proclaimed.

Paul gives us an insight to another important factor in the rapid multiplication: 2 Timothy 2:2 “… and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”

Paul instructed Timothy to make disciples and to train those disciples to teach others also. Paul taught Timothy who taught “faithful men” who taught “others”. That is what we need to do. We need to have a vision to make not just one generation of disciples but strive to train the “faithful" to teach others.

When you lead someone to Christ begin to disciple them using the Next Steps. Teach them how to share Christ with their friends and family. You don’t have to be an expert in evangelism because one of the best way to train them will be to share your own experiences, trials, and victories. Holding one another accountable, setting bi-weekly goals, and praying together will help lead them to soon begin making and training disciples who will make and train disciples. May more and more people experience the great love of our God and Savior Jesus Christ!


Accountability:  Last time we set a goal to share our testimony with one or more persons from our prayer list. How did that go? Celebrate any victories and encourage one another to keep striving to share Christ's love and gospel with those around you! 


Goals & Prayer: Looking at your prayer list, choose at least one person. How will you share Christ with them in the next two weeks (examples: share your testimony, share the gospel, invite them to church, study First Steps, etc.)? Share the name of the person you choose and the goal you’ve set. Pray for these goals and for one another.


↑Word↓ Look up to God's Word; look down to our lives. 


Gather Together Around God’s Word: Next Steps 12 - Life

Our Christian life began in our past, continues powerfully in our present, and we have a great future hope. Let's look at the Christian life from these three angles.

Past: Justification

Romans 3:24-26 “[We] are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus."

Definition: declared right before God once and for all. In justification we were saved from the guilt of sin.

Jesus' righteousness (the record of his perfect obedience to God) was given to us by grace when we believed in Jesus. This righteous status, given to us in the past at the time of our conversion, is unchanging and based upon Jesus' victory for us on the cross.

Our salvation does not change day to day, hour to hour, when we sin. God does not love us more or less; he loves us fully at all times. We are not further from God when we feel down nor closer when we feel up. His love is steadfast through the ever changing tides of our emotions. We do not need to try to earn acceptance from God. Rather we can trust Jesus and have peace and joy because we know we are God’s children.

Present: Sanctification

Romans 6:22 "But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life."

Definition: the ongoing process of becoming more holy like Jesus. In sanctification we are being saved from the power of sin.

Philippians 2:12-13 "Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure."

We strive to stop sinning and live a life of holiness. But it is God's Holy Spirit that works in us to give us both the desire and power to live rightly. Thus, love for God, love for others, and Christlike character are called "fruits" of the Spirit's work in our lives (Galatians 5:22-23).

Discussion: Is the process of your sanctification ever difficult or discouraging?

Though the process of sanctification is sometimes slower than we desire, and it will not be fully completed in this lifetime, we have the good hope of a future and complete salvation: Philippians 1:6 "And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ."

Future: Glorification

Colossians 3:4 "When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory."

Definition: being made completely holy and blameless in heaven to perfectly reflect the glory of God. In glorification we will be saved from the presence of sin.

Christ will come again soon, to bring the end of the age and to save us to be with God forever in heaven. Hebrews 9:28 "...Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.”

The believer's faith must endure to the end in order to be saved.
-Mark 13:13 "And you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved." 
-1 Corinthians 15:1-2 "Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain."
-Colossians 1:21-23 "And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister."

The Christian life is a "fight of faith" that continues until we meet Jesus in death or if he comes first. 1 Timothy 6:12-14 "Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ..."

We will not win this fight by trusting our own efforts; we need to continue to trust in Jesus Christ. We must abide in Jesus (John 15:1-5) and stay connected to his church (Hebrew 10:25; see Step 6). A vibrant relationship with God through prayer (see Step 2) and God's Word (see Step 3) is also vital.
We have confidence that by God's grace alone he will sustain our faith until the end and we will be perfect image bearers of God's own glory. Jude 1:24-25 "Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen." 


Fellowship:  How is everyone doing? What was the most significant event in the past two weeks? Is there something heavy upon your heart? Does anyone need prayer?