Lesson 2: Life as God Sees It,Change as God Does It
CPR Preview• Central Point: Practical hope, comfort, and direction result from looking at our lives and our world from God’s big picture perspective.• Personal Application: I always need to evaluate myself in light of what God says about himself, me, my world, and change.• Relational Application: I need to help people see the hope found in looking at their lives from God’s big picture perspective.
The Big QuestionHow does “The Big Picture” help you to understand and respond to the God of grace as he works through the details of your life?
Scriptural Background: The Big Picture• Jeremiah 17:5-10: Thus says the LORD:"Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the LORD. He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land.
Scriptural Background: The Big Picture• Jeremiah 17:5-10: (cont.) "Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit."
Scriptural Background: The Big Picture• Jeremiah 17:5-10: (cont.) The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? "I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds."
Scriptural Background:Life with the Redeemer in the wilderness• I Corinthians 10:1-14: For I want you to know, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness.
Scriptural Background:Life with the Redeemer in the wilderness• I Corinthians 10:1-14 (cont.) Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, "The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.“ We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer.
Scriptural Background:Life with the Redeemer in the wilderness• I Corinthians 10:1-14 (cont.) Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.
Scriptural Background: The Example of Paul• 2 Corinthians 1:2-12 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer.
Scriptural Background: The Example of Paul• 2 Corinthians 1:2-12 (cont.) Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort. For we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.
Scriptural Background: The Example of Paul• 2 Corinthians 1:2-12 (cont.) He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many. For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you.
Scriptural Background: Other passages that show “The Big Picture”• Psalm 1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.
Scriptural Background: Other passages that show “The Big Picture”• Psalm 1 (cont.) The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.
Scriptural Background Other passages that show “The Big Picture”• Romans 12: 1-2 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Scriptural Background Other passages that show “The Big Picture”• Matthew 18:15-35 "If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Scriptural Background Other passages that show “The Big Picture”• Matthew 18:15-35 (cont.) Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” Then Peter came up and said to him, "Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?" Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven. "Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants.
Scriptural Background Other passages that show “The Big Picture”• Matthew 18:15-35 (cont.) When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.‘ And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, Pay what you owe.‘
Scriptural Background Other passages that show “The Big Picture”• Matthew 18:15-35 (cont.) So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, Have patience with me, and I will pay you.‘ He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. Then his master summoned him and said to him, You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?‘ And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart."
Scriptural Background Other passages that show “The Big Picture”• Galatians 5-6 For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.
Scriptural Background Other passages that show “The Big Picture”• Galatians 5-6 (cont.) You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion is not from him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. I have confidence in the Lord that you will take no other view than mine, and the one who is troubling you will bear the penalty, whoever he is. But if I, brothers, still preach circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed. I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves!
Scriptural Background Other passages that show “The Big Picture”• Galatians 5-6 (cont.) For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself.“ But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another. But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
Scriptural Background Other passages that show “The Big Picture”• Galatians 5-6 (cont.) For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Scriptural Background Other passages that show “The Big Picture”• Galatians 5-6 (cont.) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self- control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.
Scriptural Background Other passages that show “The Big Picture”• Galatians 5-6 (cont.) Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load. One who is taught the word must share all good things with the one who teaches. Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.
Scriptural Background Other passages that show “The Big Picture”• Galatians 5-6 (cont.) For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand. It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh who would force you to be circumcised, and only in order that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ.
Scriptural Background Other passages that show “The Big Picture”• Galatians 5-6 (cont.) For even those who are circumcised do not themselves keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh. But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. And as for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God. From now on let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.
Scriptural Background Other passages that show “The Big Picture”• James 3:13-4:12 Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
Scriptural Background Other passages that show “The Big Picture”• James 3:13-4:12 (cont.) What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
Scriptural Background Other passages that show “The Big Picture”• James 3:13-4:12 (cont.) Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, "He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us"? But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.“ Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.
Scriptural Background Other passages that show “The Big Picture”• James 3:13-4:12 (cont.) Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?
Illustrations• Use Numbers 11-14 as a link to I Corinthians 10:1-14.• Identify the four elements (HEAT-THORNS- CROSS-FRUIT) in 2 Corinthians 1:2-12.
Group Discussions• Use one or more additional passages to discuss the four elements.
Central Point, Personal Application, and Relational Application (CPR)Central Point:• Practical hope, comfort, and direction result from looking at our lives and our world from God’s overall perspective on change.• The Bible is honest about the trouble we face in a fallen world.• Scripture’s description of the change process that God oversees in our lives can be described using the categories of HEAT, THORNS, CROSS, and FRUIT.
CPRPersonal Application:• I always need to evaluate myself in light of what God says about me, my world, and change.• The Bible’s honesty about life in this world invites me to be honest about my difficulties and my responses to them.• I need to learn how to examine myself using the simple categories God provides in his Word (HEAT, THORNS, CROSS, and FRUIT).
CPRRelational Application:• I need to help people see the hope found in looking at life from God’s perspective.• I need to encourage people with the way the Bible accurately and honestly describes what we face every day.• A significant aspect of a wise and helpful ministry is to help others see themselves from the perspective of these simple biblical categories (HEAT, THORNS, CROSS, and FRUIT).
Make it Real (Homework)1. Identify a difficult situation or a big opportunity in your own life right now. Sort out the situation and your responses to it using the four elements of this model.
Make it Real (Homework)2. What aspects of the HEAT, THORNS, CROSS, and FRUIT model do you tend to emphasize to the neglect of the others? Some examples: -- Pharisees emphasized behavior over the heart. -- People who have suffered or been abused tend to emphasize the situation (“heat”) over everything else.
Make it Real (Homework)Examples (cont.)-- The overly introspective person tends to spend his time in endless heart examination.-- The “Jesus and me” person tends to focus on the cross in isolation from everything else.-- The legalist tends to look only at consequences and conclude that bad consequences prove that there must have been bad behavior (see Job’s counselors).