All notes are taken from The Gospel Project: God’s Story, Part 2.
In this session we look at how the early church dealt with a controversy over what constitutes a true believer in Christ. At stake in this discussion was the nature of grace. In Jerusalem, the apostles came together to proclaim that the church is united by faith in Christ’s work on the cross and by the fruit that flows from faith-filled hearts. Even today, sheer grace incorporates us into the family of God, shapes us as a people, and strengthens us for Christ’s mission.
1) Works-based religion threatens the centrality of faith in Jesus Christ (Acts 15:1-5)
a. Why is the idea of Christ plus something else dangerous? In what ways does adding to salvation distort our understanding of God and detract from Christ’s glory.
b. What unnecessary boundaries do churches put up regarding repentance? What might unbelievers stumble over in our churches before getting to the offense of the cross?
2) God’s people are constituted by grace alone through faith in Jesus alone (Galatians 2:15-21)
a. How does knowing the purpose of the law change the way we read and study it?
b. If God has shown us grace through Jesus, how should this affect our interactions with other people in our lives? In what ways do you struggle with showing and receiving grace?
3) God’s people are marked by faith in Jesus alone that results in good works (James 2:18-26)
a. What distinguishes saving faith from mere intellectual assent to facts about Jesus? Why is it so important that saving faith produces good works?
b. Is it possible to have assurance of salvation without bearing any fruit of the Spirit?