With All Your Heart Worship Series: Repenting
March 24, 2019
Week 3 - Repenting
Fellowship – Snacks or a Meal (10 minutes with snacks; longer, obviously, if there is a meal)
Gathering Time (5-10 minutes) – In pairs or groups of three, discuss experiences of fasting. It can be fasting for a medical procedure or for religious purposes.
- Sweets of any kind
- Salty or savory snacks
- Binge watching television
- Sleeping late
- How would Isaiah 55:1 have been music to the ears of the people of Israel at this time? [See Background Information.]
- While God holds out a vision of abundance and plenty for the people in the opening verses of Isaiah 55, how else does Isaiah urge the people to come? [vv. 6-7 seeking, repenting, and trusting in God’s mercy.]
- How are we also guilty of feasting and laboring for that which does not satisfy? (Isaiah 55:2)
- How does God’s grace operate in surprising ways? [Isaiah 55:8-9]
- (R) How are you hoping God will provide nourishment and satisfaction for your soul this Lenten season?
These verses in Isaiah meet the people of Israel as they are returning from exile. Those returning had been living in a foreign land that was hostile to their religious way of life. Yet, they had also seen others, mostly non-Jews, living with plenty. Now, God was inviting them back to the Promised Land where they could live in abundance, where they could drink and eat off of God’s provisions, no longer subsisting in meager situations.
John Wesley on Salvation – Discussion
Convicting Grace and Repentance. Though our culture tends to shy away from notions of sin, neither Scripture nor John Wesley is afraid of discussing the topic. John Wesley pointed out that part of God’s grace is in the conviction of sin, which comes through the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Repentance can be likened to a porch on a house; its purpose is to lead us into deeper and more meaningful areas where relationships can become more intimate.
Read the following quote from John Wesley’s Sermon “On Working Out Our Own Salvation” and discuss the question that follows:
Salvation is carried on by convincing grace, usually in Scripture termed repentance; which brings a larger measure of self-knowledge, and a farther deliverance from the heart of stone. Afterwards we experience the proper Christian salvation; whereby, ‘through grace,’ we ‘are saved by faith;’ consisting of those two grand branches, justification and sanctification. By justification we are saved from the guilt of sin, and restored to the favour of God; by sanctification we are saved from the power and root of sin, and restored to the image of God. All experience, as well as Scripture, shows this salvation to be both instantaneous and gradual. It begins the moment we are justified, in the holy, humble, gentle, patient love of God and man. It gradually increases from that moment, as ‘a grain of mustard-seed, which, at first, is the least of all seeds,’ but afterwards puts forth large branches, and becomes a great tree; till, in another instant, the heart is cleansed, from all sin, and filled with pure love to God and man. But even that love increases more and more, till we ‘grow up in all things into him that is our Head;’ till we attain the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.’
What has been your experience of repentance? How is ongoing repentance vital to becoming a mature “citizen of heaven”?
Prayer (10 minutes) – Share prayer requests and respond appropriately.
Sending Forth (2 minutes) – End by praying the following or similar prayer:
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, you alone are the source of peace and abundance. Forgive us when we have not been as generous as you call us to be. Just as you modeled humility and a self-giving posture of life, empower us to be people who offer extravagant love to all we encounter. Amen.