Visions from the Vincents

February 9, 2009

3. Because sgs help us use our spiritual gifts (1 Cor 12:7).

Filed under: sanctification,small groups — Joshua @ 2:40 am
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1 Corinthians 12-14 has a lot to say about spiritual gifts. God gives spiritual gifts to all Christians (12:7). The unique nature of spiritual gifts is that they are all for the purpose of using to encourage other Christians. Unfortunately, not everyone can practice their spiritual gift each Sunday morning, but sgs provide a context in which you can use your spiritual gifts in a small, casual, safe environment. Some may use the gift of music, while others practice hospitality. Seeing others gifted in these ways, while they are serving others with their gifts, models gospel living to others of us who might not be so gifted in those areas and allows us to benefit from the special fragrance of heaven you carry. So, sgs also provide a context in which you can use the gifts God has given you. Another part of being a spiritual body with real fellowship is caring for one another.

February 5, 2009

2. Because sgs work Sanctification (Gal 5:13-6:10)

Filed under: sanctification,small groups — Joshua @ 2:04 pm
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Sanctification happens in the kinds of community sgs seek to create.  Sanctification is a word, which identifies the “progressive work of God and man that makes us more and more free from sin and like Christ in our actual lives” (Wayne Grudem, ST, 756).  This is the natural outworking of a life that has been brought into right relationship with God.  God begins making his people new.  Many consider this to be a work that is entirely or mostly accomplished by the individual.  That is why you often hear people say, “My sin is none of your business.”  This may sound wise, because our culture teaches us to isolate ourselves and hide our weaknesses.  But, the first step of becoming a Christian is admitting weakness and even spiritual deadness.  As Christians, we must help one another flee sin.  In fact, as one pastor said, “all major exhortations to holy living are plural (Rom 6:1-23; Gal 5:13-6:10; Eph 4:17-6:18).  So, if we really want to live the Christian life, we need to involve others in our lives.  Sin grips us so tightly we need others to fight it.  Pastor C. J. Mahaney said, “It’s been sobering to observe others who have chosen not to participate in a local church or in small groups.  They have demonstrated a distinct lack of growth.  What’s worse, they haven’t even been aware of their spiritual stagnation” (Small Groups, 6).  Sgs have proven to address this significant need.  Not only do they address our need to pursue the good things of God and flee sin, they also prepare a helpful environment for us to be used by God.

February 4, 2009

1. Because sgs encourage biblical fellowship (1 Jn 1:1-10, Acts 2:42, Php 2:1)

Filed under: sanctification,small groups — Joshua @ 6:37 pm
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Biblical fellowship is the focus of sgs and all other reasons flow from this one. Many assume biblical fellowship automatically happens in a small church or in a church with a fellowship hall. However, many small churches and fellowship halls have never had true “biblical fellowship.” John 1 tells us that Christian fellowship begins with a special fellowship with God made possible by Jesus Christ and evidenced by the presence of the Holy Spirit. Once that relationship is made right, relationships with other Christians are brought to life. The New Testament is clear—sharing a common geographic local with another Christian doesn’t constitute biblical fellowship. Biblical fellowship centers on the Scriptures and their application. If you know me, you know I am not advocating boring relationships that do not appreciate the finer things of life like football or American Idol. But, we need to make sure our fellowship is centered on Christ or it isn’t distinctly Christian. Sgs are focused on having biblical fellowship. They serve to help us make sure that we are centering our conversations on Christ and the application that flows from life in Him. The natural outpouring of this kind of fellowship is my second reason.

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