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(When in life have you felt most alive? When have you felt most dead?)
- What kinds of expectations do you think God has of you?
Do you think you have been able to live up to them so far? Why or why not?
- Have you ever been “given a name” or been perceived in a way that you felt you had to live up to?
What was that like?
Do you think it was good for you or bad? Why?
- Have you ever put expectations on yourself or “given a name” to yourself—a reputation that wore you down and that you couldn’t seem to live up to?
- Are you putting expectations or trying to build a reputation that God hasn’t put on you in any areas currently? If so, explain.
Take a look at Revelation 2: 17 “To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.”
- According to this verse, who is the one who names you—who gives you your reputation?
During this sermon, Peter pointed out that the Angel that God is speaking to is most likely His very own Spirit. If this is the case, and God is talking (in the singular) to this Angel . . .
- Who can help you live up to that name?
- How does this realization make you feel?
- How might it change the energy with which you do things?
Jesus said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness.”
- In an attempt to name yourself or make yourself appear alive in your own strength, are there any areas in your life that you feel like a whitewashed tomb—looking good on the outside but a stinky mess on the inside—any areas where you feel like you’ve tried to make your “self” look alive when that part of you is actually dead?
- Take a moment to confess those areas to a trusted friend or loved one.
*Hopefully they will respond to you with the Gospel and not condemnation. But hear the Lord’s response to your confession. I imagine it would sound something like: “My dear, that is no longer your name. It’s been nailed to Jesus and born to destruction and He gives you a new name, and it’s your true name.”
Now, of course, you may have to deal with the consequences of trying to look alive in the places you are dead. You may have to deal with the “self” the “life” that you’ve tried to create in your own strength, but that’s not your name. And Jesus rises in you and gives you life. It’s the Word of God that descends in you and makes you a new creation.
These questions were prepared by Kimberly Weynen.