INTRODUCTION & OVERVIEW
Jim Elliot wrote these timeless words shortly before he lost his life on the mission field, and they were recorded by his wife for the world to hear: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose”. We hold so tightly to the things of this world knowing they will not (cannot) last. All things ultimately end in death. But Christ has come and defeated death to bring us life! The paradox is that that life begins with dying to self and living anew in Christ.
Jesus calls us not just to follow his teachings, but to identify with him in his life, death, and resurrection. The call to follow Jesus is a call to die – to self, to the world, to sin – that we might experience new life in Christ. This is the basis of our salvation – Surrender. He has defeated sin and death and calls us to live in the new reality of that victory on a daily basis. Our response: to “Take up our cross and follow him”. When we do that, the old life has gone and the new has come.
Jesus replied, “The time has come for the Human One to be glorified. 24 I assure you that unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it can only be a single seed. But if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 Those who love their lives will lose them, and those who hate their lives in this world will keep them forever. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me. Wherever I am, there my servant will also be. My Father will honor whoever serves me.” – John 12:23-26 CEB
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. And the life that I now live in my body, I live by faith, indeed, by the faithfulness of God’s Son, who loved me and gave himself for me.” – Galatians 2:20 CEB
“So then, if anyone is in Christ, that person is part of the new creation. The old things have gone away, and look, new things have arrived! All of these new things are from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and who gave us the ministry of reconciliation.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17-18 CEB
- Get a partner. Answer this: “What’s your most prized possession? Why?”
- Is there a time when you have had to give up something?
- What about giving up something to get something even better?
- What’s it mean to “give up what you cannot keep” to “gain what you cannot lose”?
- What do you need to let go of in order to experience new life in Christ?
- What would it take for you to identify with Christ in his sacrifice and his victory?
- What is one thing you can give to Jesus this weekend?
- What would it look like for you to follow Christ & ADVANCE from death to life?