Christ our REFINER

Small Group Study “Fourfold” Week 2



Reviewing Last Week’s Application

Last week we looked at the idea of Christ as the Head and asked a question about submission to his revealed will. Specifically, we asked what practical ways, in 2019, you could practice submission to Christ? You should have prayed about this as a small group, and then committed the ideas to prayer personally over the past seven days. 


  • What did you hear from God as you considered these ideas? 

  • What plans have you/will you put in place to make the changes required of you?


Study Text: Malachi 3:1-4; Matthew 3:11-17


 “Not only does [the gospel] unfold a higher standard, but it reveals a deeper, more interior life, a life that reaches even to the heart, the thoughts, the motives, the desires; which requires us to love the Lord with all our heart, and soul, and mind, and strength; to not only abstain from impurity, but from unholy thought and feeling; not only to do right, but to do right from a right motive.”

– A.B. Simpson, The Names of Jesus


  • In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) we hear a repeated refrain from Jesus, “you have heard it said… but I say to you.” How does this intensification of the demands of righteousness make you feel with regards to your ability to live a righteous life?

  • Malachi speaks of Jesus as one coming with a “refiner’s fire” to “purify” the sons of Levi (the priests – who stand as representatives of the people). How does the idea of purification by fire (see also John’s warning in Matthew 3) make you feel as you evaluate your life?

  • On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being inept and 10 being very confident, how confident do you feel about your ability to live up to the standard of righteousness that we are called to?


“The Refiner may be taking you through the experience of patience, and strengthening you with all might according to His glorious power unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness. Perhaps you have the patience and the longsuffering, but do you have the joyfulness? And so we might take all the lessons, and trace His gentle leading and teaching through the discipline of our spiritual life as He is bringing us closer and closer to His own glorious likeness.”

– A.B. Simpson, The Names of Jesus


  • If we are to accept the notion that our righteousness is insufficient, and that Christ wants to make us more perfect than we have the capacity to be on our own, then he will have to refine us, a process that can be painful and long. Can you recall a season of life where you felt like God refined you in a way that was painful at the time?

  • What was the fruit of that season of refining?

  • Are you better off for the experience or worse off?

  • How do you develop an attitude of joyfulness during a season of testing and refining by Jesus?


“Christ has not only revealed a higher holiness and purchased for us the right to it; but He has risen again to become for us the living source of that holiness through union with His own person; and He has offered to come to us in His person, and to become to each of us an indwelling life which will literally reproduce in us His own purity and enable us to live among men even as He lived."

– A.B. Simpson, The Names of Jesus


  • How do we get holiness?

  • Whose holiness do we get?

  • How is Jesus Christ not just our sanctifier, but sanctification himself?


Jesus doesn’t make us able to be sanctified as though he leaves a deposit of holiness within us — even his own holiness — but rather he comes and abides with us and becomes our sanctification. This week, end your study by praying for Jesus to come as your sanctification and practice again the art of surrender by giving your strivings over to him. If someone in your group is struggling through a season of refining, pray for them—asking specifically that they would be given a spirit of joyfulness and perseverance this week as God works on and in them. Next week you’ll begin by giving testimony to how this perspective has made a difference in your striving for holiness.