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EXPERIENCING, THE CROSS STUDY GUIDE
By HENRY BLACKABY BRIAN SMITH
Multnomah PublishersCopyright © 2006 Henry T. Blackaby
All right reserved.
Chapter OneLesson 1
YOUR DESPERATE NEED FOR THE CROSS
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A companion study to the introduction and chapter 1 in Experiencing the Cross
LIFE CHANGE OBJECTIVES
It's our prayer that after you have finished this lesson ...
You will begin to open yourself to greater personal ownership and experience of the cross.
You will grasp more deeply the seriousness of sin-particularly your own sin.
You will begin to live and speak in ways that will more highly elevate the name of God because of His sacrifice on your behalf.
DAY 1-A BURDEN TO BE SHARED
When the Lord repeats something, He expects us to sit up and listen! Consider the following statements from the Son of God:
"If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me" (Luke 9:23).
"He who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me" (Matthew 10:38).
"Whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple" (Luke 14:27; see also Matthew 16:24; Mark 8:34).
Key Question 1
Begin your study of Christ and His cross by talking to Him for a minute or two. Invite Him to change your heart and mind so that you willbegin to take ownership of His cross, just as He did so willingly for you. In the space below, write the essence of what you've asked Him to do for you.
1a. Read again the three passages quoted above (Luke 9:23; Matthew 10:38; Luke 14:27). In your own words, what do these statements say is involved in taking up your cross?
DAY 2-MORE THAN MERE KNOWLEDGE
What does it mean to take up your cross? Throughout this study you'll discover several truths that help answer that question. And underlying everything must be an actual experience of the cross.
Key Question 2
As you embark on your study of the cross, what do you think bearing your cross might cost you?
What are the reasons you want to bear your cross?
2a. If possible, describe a time when the sacrifice of Jesus became so real to you that, at least for a time, you lived as a different kind of person.
DAY 3-MORE THAN MERE HISTORY
Key Question 3
Read Matthew 16:21 and Luke 24:44-46. Why is it significant to you that Jesus recognized there was no other way to fulfill the Father's plan?
3a. Read Revelation 13:8 and Titus 1:2. Why is it significant for you that the cross was God's plan throughout the span of history and beyond?
DAY 4-THE REASON FOR THE CROSS
Key Question 4
Read Ephesians 2:11-12 and describe in your own words your prospects apart from the cross of Christ. (Without the cross, how does God view your eternity?)
4a. Consider the familiar words of John 3:16. Before reading Experiencing the Cross, what would you have chosen as the one word that represents the very core of what God is saying in this verse? Why did you choose that word?
4b. Describe the daily reminders God has provided all around you to help you understand the seriousness of sin. (See Genesis 3:16-19.)
According to Dr. Blackaby, "the reason we fall short of seeing eternity as God sees it is that we fail to view sin as God views it."
4c. How serious does God know our sin to be? What was the magnitude of the price it required? (See 1 Peter 1:18-19; Hebrews 9:27-28.)
DAY 5-GOD'S RADICAL TREATMENT OF SIN
Our English word radical comes from the Latin radix, "root." So when Dr. Blackaby says that God planned "to deal radically with sin," he means that God's plan was no mere Band-Aid. His remedy went to the very source from which our individual sins arise.
So consider two scenarios:
Scenario 1: God implements a plan by which He remedies each sin as you commit it, but leaves you essentially unchanged.
Scenario 2: God implements a plan by which He addresses the very root of your sin nature, changing you from the inside out.
Key Question 5
Why is it important to you that God chose the second of these scenarios? (See Ezekiel 36:26-27; John 3:3; Ephesians 4:22-24.)
5a. Read Hebrews 10:12-17 and describe your eternal prospects after the cross of the sinless Christ has been applied to your life. Under the cross, how does God view your eternity?
CONCLUSION-EXPERIENCING THE CROSS
The seriousness of sin applies not only to your life before Christ, but also to your life in Christ. In Experiencing the Cross, Dr. Blackaby explains that God implemented His plan of spiritual rebirth "for My holy name's sake, which you have profaned among the nations wherever you went. And I will sanctify My great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst; and the nations shall know that I am the Lord ... when I am hallowed in you before their eyes" (Ezekiel 36:22-23).
Key Question 6: Reflecting on the Cross
Take a few minutes and talk with your Father about your life as you have been living it. You might pray something similar to Dr. Blackaby's prayer:
Use the following space to record thoughts that come to mind as you pray with an open heart before Him.
6a. Take a few minutes more and ask Your Father that question: "Why did Jesus have to die? Was there no other way?" Pray also, "Lord, help me understand more deeply and personally that you did this for me ... that it was exactly what I needed."
Use the following space to record your thoughts as you converse with Him.
Key Question 7: Changed by the Cross
Choose one change you will make this week in your thinking, speech, or behavior in order to reflect your gratitude for God's sacrifice on your behalf.
For Meditation and Memorization
In each lesson, we will suggest a key Scripture passage for you to think about throughout the week. Write it on a card and carry it with you. Take it out and read it at least twice each day, reflecting on its significance in your life. This simple process is one way of practicing biblical meditation.
Allow the truth of the passage to sink deeply into your mind and heart. After a few days, you'll probably find that you can remember the specific words. But even if you can't, the essential significance of God's Word will become more deeply embedded in your thinking.
You were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. (1 Peter 1:18-19)
For Further Study and Application
Each lesson in this book will conclude with a selection of additional Scriptures that you may want to study to strengthen your understanding and application of the Bible's teaching about the cross.
The necessity of the cross: Luke 24:25-26; Acts 4:12; 1 Corinthians 15:3.
The seriousness of sin: Matthew 12:30; Ephesians 2:1-3; Colossians 1:21.
The magnitude of Christ's sacrifice on the cross: Hebrews 7:26; John 1:4.
The impact of the cross in our lives: Romans 5:8-10; Ephesians 2:10.
Excerpted from EXPERIENCING, THE CROSS STUDY GUIDE by HENRY BLACKABY BRIAN SMITH Copyright © 2006 by Henry T. Blackaby . Excerpted by permission.
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