God’s Chosen Ones, Holy and Beloved

New Philly Sydney
Preached by Paul Yoo on November 29, 2015, Sunday.

Discussion Questions

CG questions written by Paul Yoo.

  1. Read Philippians 3:8 and Isaiah 64:6. These verses describe in vivid imagery how repulsive and filthy our best deeds really are before God. What is the imagery in these verses, which the translations don’t fully capture? Have you ever felt like your good deeds are good enough for you to be accepted by God? Why is it important for us to understand that none of our deeds are ever good enough to make us righteous in God’s sight? What is the only thing that will ever make us acceptable to God?
  2. Read Colossians 3:1-17. In vv. 1-4, Paul lays out some grand realities about our identity. Only afterwards does he say we must stop doing certain things that don’t fit with our identity (vv. 5-11) and do some things that are aligned with our identity (vv. 12-17). Why is it important to start with who we are [identity] before we address how we are to live [behavior]? What are some problems that arise when we get this backwards? Consider the dynamics of these two different approaches: The gospel says, “I’m accepted, holy and beloved [identity]; therefore, I obey
    [behavior].” Religion says, “I obey and live a good and moral life; therefore, I’m accepted.”
  3. Read verses 5 and 8. Paul lists two groups of five sins that we are to put to death. What is the motivation that he gives in vv. 1-4 for putting these sins to death? Why do you think he uses such violent language when describing our engagement with these sins?
  4. Read verse 12. Some people find it hard to accept the truth that believers are “God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved.” But this is consistent with the teaching of Scripture that God chooses us, not because of anything we’ve done or because we’re more moral or more enlightened or made wiser life decisions than anyone else, but as a sheer gift of free grace. If anyone ever chooses God, it is only because he chose us first (see John 6:44). While this is not always an easy truth to accept, we must build our knowledge of God and his ways on Scripture and not on our preferences or opinions or worldly philosophies. What are some questions or troubles you’ve had with this doctrine? On the other hand, what are some troubles with the belief that we God does not choose us, but that we freely choose God?
  5. Read vv. 12-15. It is because of our identity as “God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved,” that we are to clothe ourselves in compassion, kindness, humility, and so on. How does the knowledge of God’s free grace, that you are God’s chosen one, holy and beloved, help produce these specific good fruits in your life? Go one by one – compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, love, peace.
  6. A mature believer is one who is continually shows patience by bearing with others. What are some examples of what it looks like to bear with one another? What would a community look like if people did not bear with one another (whether in church, marriage, roommates, friendships, work)? What are some things that you typically have had a hard time bearing with in others, and what do you usually do instead of bearing with them?
  7. In verse 13, the word “forgiving each other” is in the present tense, meaning that this is something we are to continually do. We must continually forgive our brothers and sisters in the church, and our spouses, and our children, and our family, and our co-workers, and everyone! Is there anyone with whom you are withholding forgiveness (don’t share with the group if it will lead to gossip)? What does Paul say you must do about that?

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