Working Through Doubt When Obedience Brings Pain

Exodus 5:1-6:12

 

Take-Home Truth: God’s deliverance is coming, but it normally takes longer to arrive than we think.

Christ-Connection: When our obedience results in trial and loss, we must never forget that Christ will never forget us. For every injustice we have suffered and sacrifice we have made, Christ will reward us with infinite joy and privilege. This is always worth waiting for. 

Hook:  (Ice-breaker question. Get the group talking!) 

  1. Tell us about a time that you had to wait and it really tested your patience.

Engage:  (Observe the passage and engage with the text) 

  1. As a group, read Exodus 5:1-6:12. Make observations. Discuss and unpack these verses together. 

  1. What does this story reveal about God’s character? 

Reflect and Respond:  (Reflect upon the key take-aways from the sermon and apply the truths of God’s Word to your heart, affections, and actions.)

  1. When God asks us to adjust our life to His agenda, we are tempted to say, “Why do I have to do this?” What does this reveal about where our focus is?

Hint: Pharaoh responded to Moses’ command to let Israel go by saying, “Who is the Lord that I should obey Him?” (Exodus 5:2)

  1. Obedience to God brought increasing hardship to Israel, resulting in frustration and despair – a despair they voiced to Pharaoh by asking for relief. (ASK Questions a & b)

(a) Do you think we tend to equate obedience with increased blessing or with increasing trial?

(b) When you are overwhelmed by a trial, is your tendency to talk to others or talk to God?

*If you need to adjust your life because of your answer to (b) in what specific way would you aim for change?

  1. God takes us through many trials instead of around them. Are you facing a trial now that you wish God would remove, yet it appears His will is to go through it? Please share this so that others may pray for you.

  1. Israel could not know God fully until they experienced His deliverance. What are some moments in your life when your relationship with God became more meaningful because you experienced His power? 

The Logo Sermon 

1 Corinthians 10:31 

 

Take-Home Truth: Worshipping God, Obeying Jesus, and Witnessing to the world should be the preoccupation of the Christ follower. 

Christ-Connection: Because Jesus completed the work God gave Him to do (John 17:4), He is worthy to be praised and followed. 

Hook:  (Ice-breaker question. Get the group talking!) 

  1. Tell us about a time that you got lost. (Briefly describe what happened.) Who or what did you follow to arrive safely at your destination? 

Engage:  (Observe the passage and engage with the text) 

  1. As a group, read 1 Corinthians 10:31 and Romans 1:21. Discuss and unpack these verses together. 

  1. What are specific areas in life (big or small) where you are full of gratitude? What do you take for granted? Where do you struggle with ungratefulness? 

Reflect and Respond:  (Reflect upon the key take-aways from the sermon and apply the truths of God’s Word to your heart, affections, and actions.)

  1. Pastor Richard asked, “What are you reading in the Word of God or seeing in the work of God that is causing your heart to praise Him with increasing joy?” 

  1. He continued, “How is Christ leading you to obey Him? In what areas have you seen the power of Jesus give you victory where you were once defeated? What area is He challenging you to release to His control?”

  1. And finally, “In what areas of ministry and service is the Holy Spirit leading you to help someone experience God? How is the Holy Spirit leading you to more boldly help others consider their relationship with God and place their faith in Christ?”

The Angels and Aziz

Colossians 1:15-2:2

 

Take-Home Truth: The gospel is for all people, and no one is out of reach. 

Christ-Connection: God’s mystery of redemption whispered through the ages was fully revealed in Jesus Christ.

Hook:  (Ice-breaker question. Get the group talking!) 

  1.  When was the last time you whispered? Why did you whisper? What did you say?

Engage:  (Observe the passage and engage with the text) 

 

  1. As a group, read Colossians 1:24-2:2 together aloud. What stands out to you most from this passage? Make observations and share! 

  1. What key words in this passage point out your responsibility to make known the gospel? 

Reflect:  (Reflect upon the key take-aways from the sermon)

 

  1. Chris stated, “Suffering authenticates the gospel, but it doesn’t make it easy.” What is the challenge of suffering in Western American Christianity? (Re-read verse 1:24) Has there been a time in your life when you have actually “rejoiced” in your sufferings? 

  1. Chris espoused, “We are called to be anonymous so that the Lord Jesus will never be anonymous.” Unpack this statement as a group. 

Respond: (Apply the truths of God’s Word to you heart, affections, and actions)

  1. Chris remarked, “When we understand the gospel is for everyone, it changes everything.” Think of a face or name that you feel is too far out of reach from the saving grace of the gospel. How does this passage motivate you to pray for their salvation? How does this passage challenge you to speak up and share the truth to this person? And lastly, how does Christ’s actions towards hostile sinners (verse 1:21-22) increase your allegiance to the Person of Christ? 

An Old Dragon and a New King

Matthew 2:1-23; Rev. 12:4; Micah 5:6; Daniel 5:11

 

Take-Home Truth: Kings die, Jesus lives, the dragon is thrown into the lake of fire, and Jesus sits on the throne! 

Christ-Connection: Christ is the ultimate provision in the chaos of this world.

Hook:  (Ice-breaker question. Get the group talking!) 

  1. How do you cope when you are trying to do your best in life (“doing everything right”) and all you see in response is chaos?

Engage:  (Observe the passage and engage with the text) 

  1. As a group, read Matthew 2:1-23 together aloud. What stands out to you most from this passage? (See also Rev. 12:4; Micah 5:6; Daniel 5:11)

  1. What are ways you see God at work in this passage? How is the enemy trying to combat good with evil? What are the different ways God provided a path out of the chaos? 

Reflect:  (Reflect upon the key take-aways from the sermon)

  1. Richard stated, “An invisible force of evil is predominant throughout the Christmas story.” Why is it important to acknowledge this point? 

  1. How are you like Herod who did not want Jesus to interrupt his personal kingdom?

Respond: (Apply the truths of God’s Word to you heart, affections, and actions)

  1. In the midst of your present chaos, present struggles, present pain, present unbelief and present lack of faith, what difference does it make to know that Christ has conquered evil and is SEATED on His throne? 
  2. How does your faith in the midst of chaos have a lasting impact on your family, friends, co-workers, baristas, neighbors, etc? 
  3. How has God’s provision in the midst of your chaos increased your faith that he sits on His throne? 

Born of Virgin

Matthew 1:18-23

 

Take-Home Truth: The virgin birth of Jesus uniquely qualifies him to solve the problem of sin.

Christ-Connection: Jesus is the only solution to the world’s sin problem.

Reflect: (Go deeper in the Word and in our world)

 

  1. Why is Jesus’ birth in the flesh essential? Why was the virgin birth necessary?
  2. Read Matthew 1:21. Discuss the significance of the name of Jesus and consider the examples used in Old and New Testament references. (Numbers 13:16, Zech. 3:1-4, 6-9)

Respond: (Live out God’s truth with new affections, mindset, and actions)

  1. In which ways does Jesus’ humanity encourage you in your struggle with sin?
  2. Give personal examples of victories over sin you have experienced through the power of Jesus. In which parts of your heart do you still need Jesus to solve your sin problem?
  3. How does the way I live my life reflect what I say I believe about the name of Jesus?

Resolve: What is the one thing you are committing to do this week?

God’s Kingdom is More Than Legos

Matthew 1:1-17

 

Take-Home Truth: The genealogy of Jesus Christ shows the unstoppable power and unrelenting kindness of God in human history. 

Christ-Connection: Jesus Christ is the long-awaited Messiah from the family line of Abraham and David. 

Reflect:(Go deeper in the Word and in our world)

 

  1. At first glance, it may look boring, but in the opening 16 verses, Matthew goes to great lengths to map out the genealogy of Jesus Christ. Why did he do this? What is he trying to prove to his original audience? Why is this significant for us today in the 21st century church?

 

  1. Richard outlined five of God’s “Kingdom Building Principles” that are seen throughout the pages of Scripture. Think of a story in your own life where you have personally experienced one of these principles. Take a few minutes with your group to share, listen, and reflect. 
  • His kingdom is mysterious and complex.
  • His methods are slow according to human measurement. 
  • His plans cannot be stopped by human weakness and failure.
  • He opens His doors to those who do not deserve it.
  • His redemptive plan values the role of women. 

Respond: (Live out God’s truth with new affections, mindset, and actions)

 

  1. The genealogy of Jesus Christ is messy and full of corrupt individuals. Yet, God’s plan for redemptive history was not thwarted as he used broken people to accomplish His divine purposes. How does this reality showcase the mystery, majesty and kindness of God towards wayward sinners? 

  1. Richard stated, “Jesus is a King who invites enemies to become friends and welcomes strangers into the family.” Thinking of Christ as our chief example, how can you grow in your love towards the enemies, outcasts, and strangers in your own life?

Resolve: What is the one thing you are committing to do this week?

A Theology of Rest

How the soul finds rest in Christ  

Matthew 11:28-30

 

Take-Home Truth: With the advent of Christ came the advent of rest. 

Christ-Connection: Behind your need for rest lies your need for Christ. 

 

Reflect:(Go deeper in the Word and in our world)

 

  1. As a group, read Matthew 11:28-30. What stands out to you most from this text? 

 

  1. How does the life of others around me reveal their pursuit of rest? How does my life reveal where my pursuit of rest is? 

 

  1. We’re all prone to become weary under the burden of the Law, the burden of sin, and the burden of affliction. Where do I most recognize my need for rest in Christ? Why?

 

Respond: (Live out God’s truth with new affections, mindset, and actions)

 

  1. Everyone is yoked to something. Yoking yourself to Christ is submitting to him as Lord. Where have I thrown off Christ’s yoke and put on another?

 

  1. Jesus invites us to come to him and learn from him, for he is gentle and lowly in heart. What’s keeping you from finding the rest that Jesus offers?  

 

Resolve: What is the one thing you are committing to do this week? Who in your life needs to know about the rest Jesus offers?

Hope Unveiled

Revelation 1:9-21

Take-Home Truth: Jesus is the King of the universe who works in the chaos as he walks with his church.

Christ-Connection: Jesus is God, Jesus is life and Jesus rules death.

Reflect:(Go deeper in the Word and in our world)

 

1. As a group, read Revelation 1:9-21. What stands out to you most from this text?

2. Describe the attributes of Jesus both in his physical description in verses 13-16 and in his response to John in verses 17-18.

3. How did John respond to Jesus’ presence? Do you remember another time in scripture where people encountered the presence of God? How did they respond?

Respond: (Live out God’s truth with new affections, mindset, and actions)

4. How does knowing that Jesus is God, Jesus is life and Jesus rules death affect your faith in the midst of your circumstances?

5. Richard said, “You can spend your life putting yourself in situations in which you are noticed and honored. Or you can spend your life getting to know those who are suffering in this world.”

Currently, which of these two is a better description of your life? Why?

Resolve: What is the one thing you are committing to do this week?

 

The Love of a Suffering & Reigning King

Revelation 1:4-6

Take-Home Truth: Our ultimate hope in a dark world is Jesus Christ, the Faithful One.

Christ-Connection: Jesus is a leader who never failed, a martyr who conquered death, and a king who truly reigns.

Reflect:(Go deeper in the Word and in our world)

 

1. As a group, read Revelation 1: 4-6. What stands out to you most from this text?

2. If Christ is a leader who never failed, conquered death, and truly reigns, why are Christians so quiet?

3. Richard said, “Our hope is the faithfulness of Jesus Christ.” How does this statement shake you from apathy? Embolden your witness? Stir your affections for Jesus?

Respond: (Live out God’s truth with new affections, mindset, and actions)

4. The evil one says to believers, “Be quiet,” while he destroys culture. In what ways are you compromising truth and being too quiet?

5. Richard outlined 4 things Christ has done for the believer in Revelation 1:4-6….

  • He loves you- “To Him who loves us…” (Verse 5)
  • He releases you from judgement- “freed us from our sins…” (Verse 5)
  • He gives you a place- “made us to be a kingdom…” (Verse 6)
  • He gives you a purpose- “made us priests to serve His God and Father” (Verse 6)

Which of these truths do you struggle to believe the most? Which of these truths bring you the most joy and comfort? Why?

Resolve: What is the one thing you are committing to do this week?

 

Pray Like Moses

Exodus 33:12-14

 

Take-Home Truth: Prayer reveals and changes the heart of a believer.

Reflect: (Go deeper in the Word and in our world)

  1. Last week you resolved to respond in a specific way? How did that go?
  2. Read Exodus 33:12-14 together as a group. What is one key take away from this passage that connected with your mind and heart? 
  3. Richard defined prayer as “a conversation between two people who love each other.” Do you think of prayer in these terms? If not, how does this definition reorient your understanding of prayer? 

 

Respond: (Live out God’s truth from the inside out)

  1. Does praying in the face of fear come naturally to you? Why or why not? 

  1. Richard stated, “How you pray when all your resources are gone reveals who you love and what you trust.” Who do you love and what do you trust?

  1. Read John 1:17 together. How are Moses and Jesus similar? How are they different? Why does this actually matter? 

Resolve: What is the one thing you are committing to do this week?