Read an Excerpt
Introduction to This Study Guide
Faith. Grace. Obedience. Gratitude. Cross. Promises. Warnings. Holy Spirit. Justification. Sanctification. All of these play a role in living the Christian life. All Christians know that we should believe in Jesus and his sacrificial death. All Christians also know that we should obey Jesus in the present. And all Christians know that God has made very great promises to us for the future. But even this short summary raises a number of challenging and very important questions. For instance:
• How can something that happened two thousand years ago empower me to live obediently in the present?
• What do Christians mean by “faith,” and what is the object of our faith?
• Is grace pardon from sin or power over sin?
• What is justification? How does it relate to sanctification?
• Where does power for present obedience come from?
• Should we obey God in an effort to pay him back for all the good that he has done for us?
• Should we live the Christian life by faith or by the power of the Holy Spirit?
• And how do the answers to all of these questions actually work in everyday life? How does faith, grace, gratitude,
etc., actually enable us to overcome anxiety, covetousness, lust, and impatience?
• In short, what does it mean to actually live the Christian life?
The aim of this study guide is to aid you as you to seek to unravel the practical mysteries of the Christian life. Our hope is that as you work through this DVD and study guide, you would grow in your understanding of the dynamics of the Christian life, the particular ways that the faith relates to the past, the present, and the future, and the way that
God by his grace and through the Holy Spirit equips you with everything you need to do his will. More than that, our prayer is that you would not merely understand how to live the Christian life, but that you would be empowered by the grace of God to resist the fleeting pleasures of sin, to put to death the various sins and struggles that so easily entangle, and to embrace all that God is for you in Christ.
This study guide is designed for a twelve-session,1 guided group study that focuses on the Future Grace DVD Set. After an introductory lesson, each subsequent lesson examines one 25-minute session3 from Future Grace. You are encouraged to prepare for the viewing of each session by reading and reflecting upon Scripture, by considering key quotations, and by asking yourself penetrating questions. Your preparatory work for each lesson is marked with the heading “Before You Watch the DVD, Study and Prepare” in Lessons 2–11.
The workload is conveniently divided into five daily, manageable assignments. There is also a section suggesting further study. This work is to be completed individually before the group convenes to view the DVD and discuss the material.
Throughout this study guide, paragraphs printed in this typeface are excerpts from a book
written by John Piper (or occasionally another author) or excerpts taken from the Desiring God
website (www.desiringgod.org). They are included to supplement the study questions and to
summarize key or provocative points.
The second section in Lessons 2–11, titled “Further Up and Further In,” is designed for the learner who wants to explore the concepts and ideas introduced in the lesson in greater detail. This section is not required,
but it will deepen your understanding of the material.
The third section in Lessons 2–11, titled “While You Watch the DVD, Take Notes,” is to be completed as the DVD is playing. This section includes fill-in-the-blanks and leaves space for note taking. You are encouraged to engage with the DVD by filling in the appropriate blanks and writing down other notes that will aid you in the group discussion.
The fourth section in each normal lesson is “After You Watch the DVD, Discuss What You’ve Learned.” Three discussion questions are provided to guide and focus the conversation. You may record, in the spaces provided, notes that will help you contribute to the conversation. Or you may use this space to record things from the discussion that you want to remember.
The final section is an application section: “After You Discuss, Make Application.” You will be challenged to record a “takeaway point” and to engage in a certain activity that is a fitting response to the content presented in the lesson.
Group leaders will want to review the Leader’s Guide, included at the end of this study guide, immediately.
Life transformation will only occur by the grace of God. Therefore, we highly encourage you to seek the Lord in prayer throughout the learning process. Pray that God would open your eyes to see wonderful things in his Word. Pray that he would grant you the insight and concentration you need in order to get the most from this resource. Pray that God would cause you to not merely understand the truth but also to rejoice in it. And pray that the discussion in your group would be mutually encouraging and edifying. We’ve included objectives at the beginning of each lesson. These objectives won’t be realized without the gracious work of God through prayer.