Message 3: 1st Californians

27: The Letters That Define Us

By Pastor Christopher Hilken, May 15, 2021

1st Californians

The Lenses We Can Use:

  1. – How we see things
  1. – How God sees things unless it’s difficult
  1. – How God sees things for others
  1. – How God sees things unless there’s wrestling
  1. – How God sees everything

The Gospel is the story of our , but it’s not only that.

It’s Jesus’ work saturating of our lives.

Gospel living will always seem to our old way of living.

“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” C.S. Lewis


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Life Group Study Questions

For the week of May 16, 2021


Looking back at your notes from this week’s teaching, was there anything you heard for the first time or something that caught your attention, challenged or confused you?


  1. Christopher talked about the five different lenses we can use to view life. Which one of those did you identify with the most?

Can you think of a time when you were using one of these lenses to view an area of your life? How did that affect how you lived?

  1. We heard this weekend that Gospel living will always seem foolish to our old way of living. Are there any attitudes or actions that are a part of your life now that you would have thought were foolish in the past?


  1. The Apostle Paul knew the Gospel was great news when it comes to life after death for the believer, which is why he wrote so much about it in 1 Corinthians 15. While there is a lot we still don’t know about eternity (How can finite minds ever fully understand eternity?), there is much in the Bible to give us great hope regarding it. What hope or confidence does 1 Corinthians 15:51-57 give to you?

1 Corinthians 15:51-57 New International Version (NIV) 51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” 55 “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

How could looking at our lives through the lens of eternity affect our priorities, our time and our relationships?

How has your understanding of Heaven and eternity changed over time?

The gateway to eternity for everyone is death. Despite the fact that “nothing is certain but death and taxes,” we generally don’t talk much about it. How could a person’s understanding about Heaven and eternity shape how they view and approach death?

Paul concludes his discussion of Christ’s resurrection and the eternal life it provides for believers with a call to action in 1 Corinthians 15:58. What catches your attention most about his concluding instructions?

1 Corinthians 15:58 New International Version (NIV) 58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

  1. In 1 Corinthians, Paul calls out the church members as people who weren’t allowing the Gospel to saturate every part of their lives. He identifies problem issues in the church such as divisions, sexual immorality, lawsuits among believers and the lack of love, to name just a few. In 1 Corinthians 3:1-4, he has strong words about their spiritual immaturity. How would you describe their spiritual immaturity in your own words?

1 Corinthians 3:1-4 New International Version (NIV) Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. 2 I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. 3 You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans? 4 For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere human beings?

How would you describe what spiritual maturity looks like?

Are there any situations you can think of where you’ve seen yourself acting worldly or as a spiritual infant?

What do you think keeps people from moving on from acting worldly and like infants?

Paul understood that the path to spiritual maturity takes a partnership between God’s Spirit working in our lives and us doing our part. He often used the analogy of athletic competition to help us understand our part in growing to maturity. How does 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 increase or affirm your understanding of what it takes to develop spiritual maturity?

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 New International Version (NIV) 24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.


Which point from this weekend’s message or Life Group study is most important for you to remember?




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