Purpose of Community Groups: Sanctification
If you've been around a short time or are a long time guest, you may know that a vital part of being a member at Sovereign Grace Pasadena is in belonging to a Community Group. If you are new, you may not know why we do small groups or why they are important. And, if you are a long time member, you may have forgotten, or need some encouragement to remember.
Hebrews 3:12-14 tells us to encourage one another daily so that we won't be hardened by sin's deceitfulness and Hebrew 10:24 tells us to consider how to spur one another on to love and good deeds. Community groups are one way we put these commands into practice.
This short series about small groups - or community groups as we call them - is to help us know, remember and persevere in this means of grace that God has given to aid us in our growth as Christ-followers.
FOUR CLEAR GOALS FOR SMALL GROUPS
- progressive sanctification,
- mutual care,
- the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
For the next 4 posts, we will cover each of the goals for our Community Groups.
Defined: “Sanctification is a progressive work of God and man that makes us more and more free from sin and like Christ in our actual lives.” ~Wayne Grudem
~Don’t confuse justification and sanctification. You will never be more justified than you are at this moment because justification is an act of God. But by God’s grace, you will become ever more sanctified as you cooperate with God’s Spirit in the process of change.
~Sanctification is not optional. If one has truly been justified, that will be evident by a progressive work of sanctification in his life. Small groups contribute to this magnificent and gradual work of grace in our lives.
~A small group with an unbiblical purpose can do more harm than good. Groups that meet without the biblical purpose of pursuing character development have the tendency to reinforce, rather than confront, the sin and selfishness already present in us. None of us needs such reinforcement.
~Instead, we need to be provoked and challenged by others so we can change for the glory of God.
~Small groups provide the encouragement, correction, and accountability that keep us from drifting. As important as it is to cultivate a personal relationship with God by practicing the spiritual disciplines, we need others to help us in our pursuit of sanctification
A Mirror: A Nathan; Iron Sharpens Iron: These three descriptions show how small groups can provide help in your sanctification process.
- We deceive ourselves if we only hear God’s word and don’t apply it. Small groups give us a context where we can engage with others who act as a mirror for us - calling for us to make adjustments of obedience in response to Scripture.
- Comparing David and Solomon: David had a Nathan to help hold him accountable to obey the Lord, but Solomon didn’t. Solomon’s conclusion: “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up” (Ecc 4:9-10).
- Proverbs 27:17: “As iron sharpens iron so one man sharpens another.” We need the help of others to hone our obedience, keep us from self-deception and apply God’s word in a personal and practical way.
We encourage you to take a look at our Community Group page to find a group of committed, loving Christians who can walk with you on this journey of personal sanctification!
(If you haven't read the book: Why Small Groups by CJ Mahaney (and others) we'd encourage you to get a copy. We are summarizing and taking material from this classic Sovereign Grace resource.)