Explore The Bible Study: True Freedom

7:49 AM


According to a report from the National Reentry Resource Center, of 404,638 people released from state prisons in 30 states in 2005, 67.8 percent were arrested within 3 years of release, and 76.6 percent within 5 years of release. Why would so many people who have been granted freedom be willing give up their freedom so easily? This question is one we ask when we see people seemingly walk away from the freedom they have in Christ. Why would anyone who has experienced salvation willingly go back to an old, destructive, and enslaving way of life? This was Paul's question in Galatians 4 that is a part of this week's Explore The Bible Study: True Freedom.

This week's session is fairly simple, yet thought-provoking. It will lead your group to think about why people would want to become enslaved again to sin after experiencing freedom in Christ, how we should respond to helping them, and if we would allow someone to talk with us as Paul talked with the Galatian believers when they began to drift.

Ultimately, the session is designed to emphasize the fact that we have a choice in life as believers - to become enslaved by the sins and influences of the past, or to grow in our faith so we can experience the freedom Christ has provided for us.

LOOK UP IDEAS (For Introducing the Session)
Here are a few more statistics included in the downloadable teaching plan that you could use to introduce the session:

According to statistics from Promises Treatment Centers, the following takes place with people who have been freed from various additions.
(source: https://www.promises.com/articles/sobering-look-addiction-relapse-rates/)

  • Heroin and Opiate relapse rate is 90%
  • Cocaine relapse rate within one year is 73%
  • Eating Disorder relapse rate - A 2012 study published in Psychiatry Research found that of 100 women who received inpatient or day treatment for anorexia nervosa, 41% relapsed within one year. A study on relapse rates in bulimics assessed subjects before and after treatment, and then again after two years. Within two years, 31% had relapsed, with the majority of relapses occurring within the first six months. Another study by researchers at Oxford University that followed subjects over five years saw as high as 50% relapse rates in bulimics but only 18% in binge eaters.
  • Alcohol relapse rate is about 90% within one year.
LOOK IN (Digging into the Biblical Text)
Guidance for discussing the following phrases in the passage are provided in the downloadable teaching plans:
  • Galatians 4:9 - "Do you want to be enslaved to them all over again?"
  • Galatians 4:11 - "I am fearful for you, that perhaps my labor for you has been wasted."
  • Galatians 4:15 - "If possible, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me."
  • Galatians 4:17 - "They court you eagerly, but not for good."
  • Galatians 4:19 - "I am again suffering labor pains for you."
  • Galatians 4:20 - "I would like to be with you right now and change my tone of voice."
These all express the love Paul had for these young believers. He desperately wanted to speak to them in such a way that would keep them from missing out on the freedom Christ had given them when they became believers. This is how we should respond when we see people drifting back to their old ways as well.

LOOK OUT: (Applying the Text)
Consider using some of the following questions to guide application. Perhaps you should consider how you would answer them before leading the session.
  • Do we, in our culture today, feel that remaining silent when we see people being pulled away from their faith is the best way to respond? Why or why not? 
  • What actions can we learn from Paul that would help us individually become better at helping someone when we see them struggling in their faith?
  • How should what we studied affect the way we care for one another in our group: When someone is consistently absent? When someone begins to pull away?
  • How willing would you be to allow a close friend in the faith to correct you when they saw you wandering away or being pulled away? How would you respond to their correction? How should we respond?
DOWNLOAD THE SUPPLEMENTAL TEACHING IDEAS

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