Dwellings Worship Series, week 3 — CONFIDENCE
November 18, 2018
Small Groups: From Worship To Discipleship
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, for those who are willing, briefly share a humorous, embarrassing story.
Report the results of the Accountable Action from last week. (Tell at least one person, not in this group, a victory story; that is, a story of how having a relationship with Jesus has made a difference for your life.)
Group Dialogue (Approximately 30 minutes)
Read: Hebrews 10:11-14, (15-18), 19-25
Where do we see God dwelling in this passage?
Read: Hebrews 10:11-14, (15-18), 19-25
Where are we called to dwell according to this passage?
- When you approach God in prayer, do you most commonly feel….
- Familiar, like speaking to a friend
- Fearful or scared
- Why is it that the writer of Hebrews can declare that we can “approach [God] with a true heart in full of assurance of faith” [vv. 19-20]? How has the presence of God become available to us in a new way through Jesus [vv. 19-20]? (See note below on Curtain.)
- How does being able to dwell in the confidence of what God has done for us (atoned for our sin) and is doing in us (sanctifying us) free us to be more willing to uncover our weaknesses? [If our identity is secure in Christ, then our weaknesses do not define us!]
- Why do you think adults are so unwilling to be vulnerable with one another? [For an optional exercise, watch Bene Brown’s Ted Talk, “The Power of Vulnerability.”]
- (R) How can we more continually dwell in confidence? What practices do we need to put in place to more fully dwell in the confidence that God has for us?
- (R) What can we do to “provoke one another to love, holy tempers, and good works” (v. 24)? (See note below.)
Accountable Action — In pairs, name one area of life where you need encouragement or confidence. During this upcoming week, find at least one way to encourage your partner for this exercise.
Biblical — Curtain
The curtain referred to here is the curtain that separated the holy of holies from the rest of the temple area. This curtain maintained a boundary between the people and the holy God. In Jesus’ day, the curtain in the temple was some forty feet high. When Matthew notes, in 27:51, that the curtain was torn from top to bottom, it signaled that this curtain was torn by God because of what Jesus was accomplishing by his death. The holy God, approachable only mediated through the priests and sacrificial system, was now loose in the world because of Christ’s atonement on the cross.
Building on Hebrews 10:24-25 in his sermon “On Zeal,” John Wesley gives the purpose of the church as, “Lastly, that his followers may the more effectually provoke one another to love, holy tempers, and good works, our blessed Lord has united them together in one—the church, dispersed all over the earth; a little emblem of which, of the church universal, we have in every particular Christian congregation.” While we might think about provoking a fire or a fight, here provoke is used in the sense of encourage or stir up. For Wesley, like the author of Hebrews, who emphasized that salvation was more than receiving forgiveness of sins, one of the roles of the body of Christ is to stir up each other to dwell in the confidence and assurance of faith toward a growing love for God and neighbor.
Prayer (10 minutes). Share prayer requests and respond appropriately.
Sending Forth (2 minutes). End by praying the following or similar prayer:
“Almighty God, unto whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love thee, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.” From The Book of Worship quoted in Rueben P. Job, Norman Shawchuck, A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and Other Servants (Upper Room Books, 1983), 276.
11 “And every priest stands day after day at his service, offering again and again the same sacrifices that can never take away sins. 12 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, ‘he sat down at the right hand of God,’ 13 and since then has been waiting ‘until his enemies would be made a footstool for his feet.’ 14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified. 15 And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us, for after saying, 16 ‘This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord:
I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds,’ 17 he also adds, ‘I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.’ 18 Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin. 19 Therefore, my friends, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain (that is, through his flesh), 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for [God] who has promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
Introduction to Hebrews
The letter to the Hebrews teaches the importance of Jesus Christ. The letter explains how he is the Savior of the world. Christ fulfilled God’s law by willingly offering himself as the perfect sacrifice on the cross so that sins would be forgiven. Now our risen Lord lives in heaven. Hebrews encourages Christians to live by faith. Chapter 11 describes people through whom God did amazing things by the gift of faith. Hebrews includes the verse: “Therefore, let us go on toward perfection” (Hebrews 6:1). This letter was written by a church leader who was led by the Spirit.
Our verse for today is Hebrews, chapter 10, verse 23: “Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for [God] who has promised is faithful.”
Let’s think about what this means.
A faithful person is dependable, someone you can count on. God fulfills God’s promises.
A faithful friend is loyal. In our relationship with God, God sticks with us.
That’s why we can “hold fast.” God helps us hold on tight to “the confession of our hope.”
When we say, “I am a Christian,” we tell, or confess, that our hope is in Jesus Christ.
He is the source of our hope for life, now and forever.
Jesus helps us hold our faith “without wavering.” We don’t wobble, shake, or go back and forth.
We don’t need to doubt because we are sure of God’s goodness. We want to be loyal to God.
How could this message from God help you when you talk to a friend about going to church?
(Affirm the responses. Add other suggestions as you feel led.)
Dear God: Thank you for always being faithful! You encourage us to stay steady in faith. Please help us to tell other people that our hope is in you. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.