Pastor Kyle McIver
If you’ve been around Redeemer for a little while, you may have heard people using the term “Life Groups”. Over the next few weeks here, the pastors are going to do a mini-series of exhortations to help us all understand what a Life Group is and why we have them at Redeemer.
Here’s the simple definition of a life group: bringing the Bible to life. Now what we’re not saying is “bringing the Bible itself to life” - rather, we’re bringing the Bible home into one another’s hearts and lives, into our lives a students and husbands and wives and mothers and fathers and employees and friends and neighbors. We believe the Bible is meant to shape us and every area of our lives.
So Life Groups exist to help us do that. The structure of a Life Group is either 3-5 men or 3-5 women, who meet regularly to lovingly bring the Bible to bear on one another’s lives. And those are the two main components of a life group: real life and the Bible.
I want to help us fill out the picture of life groups by looking at one verse and a few themes from Colossians 3. Here’s the verse, Colossians 3:16: Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another with all wisdom, singing psalms hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. What we see in this verse is the Word - let the word of Christ dwell in you richly - working itself out in relationship, seen through the phrase “one another”. The Bible, the Word of Christ, is meant to be brought to bear on each of our lives by others within the local church - by one another.
So that’s the verse, now for a few themes. Colossians as a letter opens by stating that the Colossians are in Christ, which gets at our union with Christ. Colossians chapter 3 starts with the phrase: If then you have been raised with Christ… which again is union with Christ. If you’re a Christian, you’re united to Jesus. And being united to Jesus and under his grace is the foundation of life groups - we all start and persevere in his grace alone.
Life Groups are grounded in gospel grace and bringing the Bible to bear on one another’s lives. Now I’ve got two more themes for you from Colossians 3 to complete this picture, and they’re a pair - they work in tandem. Colossians 3:5 charges us to: Put to death therefore what is earthly in you… and then lists sins that we need to put to death. Then we get to Colossians 3:12, which charges us to: Put on then, as God’s chosen ones… then lists character traits we are to “put on”, to grow in. So you can see the pair here - we put off and put on, we put sin to death, and we put on Christ, his righteousness, and his character. This putting off and putting on is how we grow. Growth is the fruit of the Bible in relationship.
So here’s your summary statement on Life Groups from Colossians 3: A small number of Christians, who are united to Jesus and one another, bringing the Bible home to one another’s hearts and lives, producing the effect that together they are killing sin and growing in holiness. The gospel is our foundation, and we’re pressing the Bible home to grow in Christlikeness.
And Life Groups very clearly remind us that we are sinners. We all need these relationships, because we all have sin to confess and repent of, and we need help to put those sins to death and grow to be more like Jesus. So let’s take a minute now to confess our sins and seek God’s grace in a moment of silent confession.
Father, thank you that you’ve given us Jesus. He is our representative at your right hand. He is our righteousness, who forever sits in your presence. So when we come to confess our sins, we can have confidence knowing that our forgiveness, our righteousness, our assurance, sits at your right hand. Help us to be a humble church, quick to confess our sins, willing to do the hard work of putting off and putting on, and would you make us zealous for good works that glorify the name of Jesus. In his name we pray, Amen.