The confession of your mouth leads to freedom in your life.
Confess to your group a gift you would like to receive for Christmas.
This week, we were able to hear from Pastor Gina, our Pastor of Children’s Ministries. She compared the movie, the Polar Express with our faith journey. She challenged us to consider this a crucial time for those who do not believe as well for believers who may be burdened by doubt. We were reminded of the truth that the invitation to climb on board the faith train is for EVERYONE.
Like the “hero boy” and Thomas, one of the 12 disciples, maybe you want to believe like so many of your friends and family. Thomas thought he knew who Jesus was–a king, a political leader that would free Israel from Roman rule. But after his crucifixion and death, Thomas was left wondering what train he was on. He felt like it had been derailed. When he was told that Jesus was alive, that He had been resurrected, Thomas still doubted. He needed to see the nail marks in Jesus’ hands and put his finger in Jesus’ side to believe. After this confession, Jesus shows up and allows Thomas to see and touch his wounds. Jesus instructed him to “Stop doubting and believe.”
Perhaps like Billy, the last boy to board the train, you may think that you are not valuable or deserving of the gift of Christmas. Perhaps you doubt your ability or value or even your foundation of faith. This debilitating doubt is from the enemy and serves to keep you from the hope and freedom that is in Christ alone.
Jesus desires for us to confess that doubt. He wants us to see that He is alive and to believe. After Thomas confessed His doubt, and he saw Jesus, he exclaimed, “My Lord and my God!” He knew Him as king, but now he confessed Him as Lord. At that moment, his entire reality changed.
So what are you wrestling with today? Do you wonder if God hears your prayers (James 5:17)? Do you doubt that God will meet your financial needs? (Philippians 4:19) The next step is to confess your doubts and confess the truth of who Jesus is. We know from Heb 11:6 that without faith it is impossible to please God. By confessing the truth about Jesus, you unlock your doubt so you can experience the life Jesus created for you.
Pastor Chris closed the sermon with a few thoughts. He reminded us that we live in a world that is in opposition to God. The world is trying to pull us away from God, His Word and our faith. The “hero boy” could not hear that bell because he had lost his faith. Like losing belief in Santa as we grow older, many fall away from the church and its teachings. It is seen as something for the simple-minded; it is something we no longer “need.” Jesus tells us we must have that child-like faith (Matthew 18:3). The Lord promises that if we confess Jesus as Lord, we will be saved (Romans 10:9-10). So get on the train! He is calling each of us. His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matthew 11:29). When one person confesses, the bells of heaven ring in celebration! (Luke 15:10). Encounter Jesus, and you will never be the same.
Read Ephesians 2:10.
1. God created our physical bodies, but upon believing, we are a new creation in Christ. This is the beginning of our eternal life. What is God’s purpose for our “new life”?
2. How does God work in the life of a believer?
3. What tools must a believer use to equip themselves for a life of faith?
4. Are we saved by good works?
5. What is the purpose of our good works?
6. From where do our good works originate?
Read John 1:12.
7. When we are born, we have a place in our earthly family. When we are “born again”, we become children of ___. How has seeing brokenness in earthly families given you a desire for a perfect, heavenly Father? How can your earthly family mirror God’s love for us as his children?
8. As a child of God, whom has God placed on your heart to share the Gospel? How will ask Him to prepare you to proclaim His name?
Read John 20:27.
9. In the passage on “Doubting Thomas,” we learn the difference between doubting and unbelief. Doubt is often an intellectual problem: we want to believe but faith is overwhelmed by problems and questions. Unbelief is a moral problem; we simply will not believe. What doubts are you facing in your faith journey right now?
10. Will you confess them to the Lord so you can fully experience the life Jesus created for you? (John 10:10) How can your group support you through your doubts?
Read Proverbs 18:20-21.
11. What comes out of our mouths will either be for us or against us. Our confession that Jesus is Lord saves us. Along the same lines, we can hurt others when we speak falsely of them, or we can help them when we share our testimony, share the gospel or intercede in prayer for them. Consider your tongue. Do you need to confess harmful words you have recently used? If you are carrying this burden, look at 1 John 1:9 for comfort.
12. Is God placing someone on your heart to share your testimony or the Gospel truth? Is He placing someone on your heart to pray for? How will you pray this week for God to increase your awareness and obedience to His call?
1. His purpose is to make us more like Christ.
2. Through His Holy Spirit.
3. Read God’s Word (study, meditate and feed on it) and pray.
4. No! We are saved by grace through faith. We are not saved by faith plus good works, but by a faith that works. (Warren Weirsbe)
5. To glorify God.
6. They originate from God. We do not manufacture them. We work out what God works in! Remember, Jesus worked for us (when he took our place on the cross); now let Him work in you and through you, that He might give you an exciting, creative life to the glory of God!
8. Pray for the Holy Spirit to enable, equip and empower you with love for people, compassion to care and for boldness to share.
9-11. Answers may vary.