2:15 For God wants you to silence the ignorance of foolish people by doing good. 2:16 Live as free people, not using your freedom as a pretext for evil, but as God’s slaves.
Biblical Studies Press. (2005). The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible (1 Pe 2:14–16). Biblical Studies Press.
Freedom is a very familiar idea to Americans. We find it woven into the foundation of almost every aspect of our worldview. It’s the idea that our country was founded on, a concept we have exported to every corner of the globe, and a constant value we strive to achieve in our daily lives.
Freedom is not originally an American Idea, it’s a biblical idea. Ultimately, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is about freedom. The Gospel is our pathway to freedom from death, sin, and all the evil that holds us hostage. We are going to explore not only the way God has freed us from sin, but dive into the purpose of our freedom and how it shapes our lives.
Where do you feel shackled? What is holding you prisoner? Where do you feel enslaved right now? Make a list, examine it, pray over it and prepare your heart to engage God as he desires to remove your shackles and offer you freedom in Jesus Christ.
STUDY GUIDE WEEK 1
STUDY GUIDE WEEK 1
Our past can be a powerful prison. It’s so difficult to escape our shortcomings, mistakes and self inflicted scars. Let’s look at how even at his lowest moment, David’s worst sin doesn’t define him or handcuff him to his sin and shame. Through the forgiveness of God, we don’t bear the punishment or consequences of our past because Jesus bore them on the cross. Let’s dive into 2 Samuel together and be released from the Shackles of our past.
12:13 Then David exclaimed to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord!” Nathan replied to David, “Yes, and the Lord has forgiven your sin. You are not going to die.
Biblical Studies Press. (2005). The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible (2 Sa 12:13). Biblical Studies Press.
The Shackles of our past sin have been broken by the death and resurrection of Jesus.
Vers. 13–23. David’s penitent confession and punishment by the death of the child of Bathsheba.—Ver. 13. I have sinned against the Lord.—This frank, short, honest confession of sin was made not some time after this discourse of Nathan, but immediately as its direct result. The power of the prophetic word laid hold of the depths of his heart and conscience; the divine truth, which inexorably laid bare his sin, put an end to all self-deception and all anxious effort to cover up and palliate his transgression of the divine word. He confesses his sin as a sin against the Lord, to show that he clearly recognizes it to be, what it essentially is, a contradiction of God’s holy will. Nathan’s answer is the announcement of the Lord’s grace 1) in forgiving the sin: The Lord will cause [or, has caused—Tr.] thy sin to pass over, that is, it is not to remain before him, but to vanish, be forgiven; 2) in remitting the deserved punishment: Thou shalt not die!—As adulterer and homicide David had deserved death; but this just punishment was not executed, because he honestly repented and did not harden his heart against the Lord
Lange, J. P., Schaff, P., Erdmann, D., Toy, C. H., & Broadus, J. A. (2008). A commentary on the Holy Scriptures: 1 & 2 Samuel (p. 474). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
John Piper 2 minutes
STUDY GUIDE WEEK 2
STUDY GUIDE WEEK 2
Isaiah is a long, complex book of scripture spanning a large chunk of Israelite history. It’s easy to look at a book like Isaiah and ask “How does this connect to the shackles of fear I’m gripped by?” The easy answer is that this book was written to a people very much afraid. The recipients of this section of Isaiah were exiled in Babylon, their home had been destroyed and God’s promises seemed like they had failed. They were alone, in danger and hopeless. These people are easy for us to relate to. The power of God, his promises, and his love for his people flow out of this section of Isaiah, and in the midst of our fear, we will find this passage of scripture a strong, safe place to run.
41:8 “You, my servant Israel,
Jacob whom I have chosen,
offspring of Abraham my friend,
41:9 you whom I am bringing back from the earth’s extremities,
and have summoned from the remote regions—
I told you, “You are my servant.”
I have chosen you and not rejected you.
41:10 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you!
Don’t be frightened, for I am your God!
I strengthen you—
yes, I help you—
yes, I uphold you with my saving right hand!
41:11 Look, all who were angry at you will be ashamed and humiliated;
your adversaries will be reduced to nothing and perish.
Biblical Studies Press. (2005). The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible (Is 41:8–11). Biblical Studies Press.
The Power of God’s love for us is stronger than anything we could be afraid of.
In other words, Isaiah 40– 55 and 56– 66 are about the restoration of God’s people and will discuss why and how this can transpire. It will involve not just a return from Babylonian exile at the hands of “my servant Cyrus.” It will also involve a restoration of God’s personal relationship with his people, and right from the outset here we are told what God has done to make this happen: (1) the time of Israel’s servitude or term of service is over; (2) her iniquity is pardoned; and (3) she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins (which echoes Exodus 22: 3[ 4] and essentially means that the twofold repayment required of the guilty for their crime has been covered and taken care of).[ 13] Notice that just because someone’s sin is pardoned doesn’t mean that one doesn’t have to make restitution for the crime. Pardon doesn’t rule out penalty for sin, as will become clearer in Isaiah 52– 53, when we hear that punishment in the form of sacrifice is the basis of pardon and ransom. When God speaks comfort, comfort will happen. When God speaks restoration and return, restoration and return will happen, as God’s word does not fail.[ 14]
III, Ben Witherington, (2017-02-01). Isaiah Old and New (Kindle Locations 3633-3637). Fortress Press. Kindle Edition.
I have chosen you and not cast you off”; fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41: 8-10) God longs for us to draw strength from his greatness. Do you see here how he lingers over his commitments to his people? He chose us. He called us. He’s committed to us. People who have a sense of that in their hearts are unstoppable. The word “but” at the beginning of these verses is important. Isaiah is drawing a contrast. On the one hand, the nations nervously prop up their helpless, homemade saviors. On the other hand, the Sovereign of the universe chooses us and upholds us by his unerringly righteous right hand. God is saying, “I want you to know what you can expect from me: my presence, my strength, my help, my perfect support.” And when he calls us his servant, he’s not putting us down. He’s saying we’re his responsibility, and he will act responsibly.
Ortlund Jr., Raymond C. (2005-10-21). Isaiah (Preaching the Word) (p. 262). Crossway. Kindle Edition.
STUDY GUIDE WEEK 3
STUDY GUIDE WEEK 3
It seems like anytime we start exploring our identity, our relationships with our parents and family enter the picture in a way that is difficult to ignore. That universal reality is why the parable of the prodigal son is so powerful. Through the lens of significant relationships all people have experience with, we see God reveal who we truly are and how that shapes us. So many of us have been enslaved by false or stolen identities we run to. Jesus, in way that is gentle and powerful, walks into our lives and removes those shackles and replaces them with a freedom that can only be found in the identity we are given by him. Both sons err in the assumption that their identity is based on their performance rather than their person. They are made sons by their father. Your Identity is a source of heavenly celebration-when you are found by Christ you are celebrated.
15:21 Then his son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 15:22 But the father said to his slaves, ‘Hurry! Bring the best robe, and put it on him! Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet! 15:23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it! Let us eat and celebrate, 15:24 because this son of mine was dead, and is alive again—he was lost and is found!’ So they began to celebrate.
Biblical Studies Press. (2005). The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible (Lk 15:21–24). Biblical Studies Press.
Our identity comes from the reality that we are FOUND and LOVED by God through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ
20b-24 Although the younger son now places in motion his formulated plans, in Jesus’ narration the son’s initiative is quickly superseded by the proactivity of his father. Indeed, the confession for which the son had rehearsed (v 21) is now buried between dual demonstrations of acceptance and restoration— the compassion and embrace of the father (v 20) and the flurry of orders in preparation for the feast of homecoming (vv 22– 24). His confession is thus qualified in two ways. First, although his acknowledgment of his sin and shame is important enough to be included in the story line, 240 it is the younger son’s return, and not his confession, that makes reconciliation possible. Second, the phrasing of the confession— that is, as it is actually delivered versus its earlier rehearsal— has been cut short. Originally, acknowledgment of sin and shame led to the younger son’s proposal for a new form of relationship with his father, that of a hireling. At the moment of his encounter with his father, though, before the younger son can frame his proposition, his father has already launched a full restoration to status in the family. The father’s response, based solely on the return of his son, already undercuts his son’s plans. 241
Green, Joel B. (2010-04-19). The Gospel of Luke (Kindle Locations 13888-13898). Eerdmans Publishing Co - A. Kindle Edition.
Concern with inheritance surfaced in the Lukan narrative earlier, at 12: 13; memory of that earlier account casts the younger son immediately in a disparaging light, in some ways consistent with the Middle Eastern caricature of “younger brothers” as lazy and irresponsible, 229 covetous and greedy. Upon his father’s death, the younger son would be due part of the estate (though not as large as what would normally fall to the elder— cf. Num 27: 8– 11; 36: 7– 9; Deut 21: 17), but the actual disposition of property prior to the father’s death, while known in Second Temple Jewish literature (see Tob 8: 21), is also frowned upon (see Sir 33: 20– 24). That such a disposition is undertaken at the initiation of the younger son (and not by the father) is strikingly presumptuous. Read on its own terms, his request is highly irregular; read as the first of a series of actions that lead to his characterization as “dead and lost” (vv 24, 32), his request clearly signifies his rejection of his family. 230
Green, Joel B. (2010-04-19). The Gospel of Luke (Kindle Locations 13841-13849). Eerdmans Publishing Co - A. Kindle Edition.
Prof. Charles Baylis - 29 minutes