Sermon Summary and Discussion Questions | "Guard"
The writer of Hebrews knew that, even as Christians, our hearts are prone to wander. That wandering can be subtle and easily go unnoticed if we are not actively guarding our hearts. This passage prepares and protects us from the tendency to wander so that by God’s grace we may be preserved to the end.
1. The Problem
If we have been saved, why are we still so prone to wander? The answer: Indwelling sin. For the Christian, the penalty for sin has been satisfied. Christians are no longer under sin’s dominion. However, even though they are no longer enslaved by and to sin, they are not free from the presence and influence of sin. Freedom from that presence and influence awaits a day called heaven. Until that day, sin remains active and opposed to every believer.
Because of this truth, every Christian must wage war against sin in his heart. Although a difficult struggle, this warfare is glorious proof of regeneration. The true Christian may be known by his warfare as well as his belief, for there will be a war within! So, you have some conflict in your soul because of sin? If the answer is, “Yes,” it only serves to prove you are alive.
For those not actively at war against indwelling sin, the pastor who penned this passage warns of a gradual hardening of the heart. The conscience becomes slowly insensitive to sin and gradually you are no longer amazed by grace.
2. The Practice
This passage is a God-given provision for us. The author wants us to set our affections on things above and make the cross the center of those affections. In this way, we are guarding our hearts against the subtlety and deception of sin. However, this passage also encourages us to help each other. We need the community of believers so that we can exhort and remind one another of the supremacy and beauty of Christ. Left to ourselves, we will not actively perceive the sin in our own lives. Therefore, we need this accountability and active insight from others.
3. How do we respond?
First, we give attention to our own hearts, preaching the gospel to ourselves and applying its truth to our lives. Then, we exhort, encourage and help each other!
In all this, we must remember that ultimately, we persevere and are kept from wandering only by the preserving grace of God.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” -1 Peter 1:3-5
“Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.” –Jude 24-25
1. In his sermon, C.J. reminded us that even though we are no longer enslaved to sin, we are not free from the presence and influence of sin. Where in your life, are you currently experiencing the struggle against sin?
2. How does the truth that the struggle with sin is evidence of your regeneration comfort your soul?
3. Do you truly believe that we all need each other to see the presence of sin in our lives? How are you actively seeking help from believers around you? What are some practical ways that we, as a community group, can serve each other in the fight against sin?
4. In reminding us that it is ultimately God’s preserving grace that guards our hearts, C.J. mentioned 1 Peter 1:3-5 and Jude 24-25. What are some other scriptures that can remind us of this truth and keep our eyes fixed on the only One who is “able to keep [us] from stumbling”?