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Sunday Recap for 9/17 Big Picture Question: What does it mean that every knee shall bow and every tongue confess?

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Sunday, September 17, 2017, Evident Grace Fellowship looked at 1 Samuel 5.

1 Samuel 5:1 After the Philistines had captured the ark of God, they took it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. Then they carried the ark into Dagon’s temple and set it beside Dagon. When the people of Ashdod rose early the next day, there was Dagon, fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the Lord! They took Dagon and put him back in his place. But the following morning when they rose, there was Dagon, fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the Lord! His head and hands had been broken off and were lying on the threshold; only his body remained. That is why to this day neither the priests of Dagon nor any others who enter Dagon’s temple at Ashdod step on the threshold.

The Lord’s hand was heavy on the people of Ashdod and its vicinity; he brought devastation on them and afflicted them with tumors.[a] When the people of Ashdod saw what was happening, they said, “The ark of the god of Israel must not stay here with us, because his hand is heavy on us and on Dagon our god.” So they called together all the rulers of the Philistines and asked them, “What shall we do with the ark of the god of Israel?”

They answered, “Have the ark of the god of Israel moved to Gath.” So they moved the ark of the God of Israel.

But after they had moved it, the Lord’s hand was against that city, throwing it into a great panic. He afflicted the people of the city, both young and old, with an outbreak of tumors.[b] 10 So they sent the ark of God to Ekron.

As the ark of God was entering Ekron, the people of Ekron cried out, “They have brought the ark of the god of Israel around to us to kill us and our people.” 11 So they called together all the rulers of the Philistines and said, “Send the ark of the god of Israel away; let it go back to its own place, or it[c] will kill us and our people.” For death had filled the city with panic; God’s hand was very heavy on it. 12 Those who did not die were afflicted with tumors, and the outcry of the city went up to heaven.

In those verses, we looked at this Big Picture Question:

What does it mean that every knee shall bow and every tongue confess?

And we found these 3 answers:

  • All other systems fail.
  • The church has a voice.
  • God is holy.

All other systems will fail.

1 Samuel 5:1 After the Philistines had captured the ark of God, they took it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. Then they carried the ark into Dagon’s temple and set it beside Dagon. When the people of Ashdod rose early the next day, there was Dagon, fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the Lord! They took Dagon and put him back in his place. But the following morning when they rose, there was Dagon, fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the Lord! His head and hands had been broken off and were lying on the threshold; only his body remained. That is why to this day neither the priests of Dagon nor any others who enter Dagon’s temple at Ashdod step on the threshold.

The Philistines took the Ark of God captive and placed it in the temple of Dagon, their warrior, fishy, fertility god.  Yet, God causes Dagon to fall over, and they prop him back up.  Then God breaks off Dagon’s hands and head.  God demonstrates that He will not be controlled by anyone or anything.  He demonstrates that the religion of Dagon is false.

We must own this truth.  Every system in this world will fall before god.  No government will continue in heaven.  No economy, and no other religion.  All things will come under the subjection of God.

The church has a voice

1 Samuel5:6 The Lord’s hand was heavy on the people of Ashdod and its vicinity; he brought devastation on them and afflicted them with tumors. When the people of Ashdod saw what was happening, they said, “The ark of the god of Israel must not stay here with us, because his hand is heavy on us and on Dagon our god.” So they called together all the rulers of the Philistines and asked them, “What shall we do with the ark of the god of Israel?” They answered, “Have the ark of the god of Israel moved to Gath.” So they moved the ark of the God of Israel.

God inflicts tumors on multiple cities of the Philistines. Each city that gets the ark suffers, and the people ask what they should do.  The church must realize that the world is suffering and going to suffer.  And when they cry out what to do, the church must provide the vision of repenting and crying out in faith to Jesus.

God is holy

1 Samuel 5:9 But after they had moved it, the Lord’s hand was against that city, throwing it into a great panic. He afflicted the people of the city, both young and old, with an outbreak of tumors. 10 So they sent the ark of God to Ekron. As the ark of God was entering Ekron, the people of Ekron cried out, “They have brought the ark of the god of Israel around to us to kill us and our people.” 11 So they called together all the rulers of the Philistines and said, “Send the ark of the god of Israel away; let it go back to its own place, or it[c] will kill us and our people.” For death had filled the city with panic; God’s hand was very heavy on it. 12 Those who did not die were afflicted with tumors, and the outcry of the city went up to heaven.

God is holy, and He brings judgement for sin.  Again, the church is called by God to proclaim Jesus so that many, many will cry out in faith.

Big Picture Question:  What does it mean that every knee shall bow and every tongue confess

Truth:  God uses the church’s proclamation of his holiness to bring every knee and tongue into submission.

Application:  Live knowing that God is actively working to proclaim His holiness in your life to the world.

Action:  This week, remove one thing from your life that is not in submission to the holiness of God – if it isn’t painful, it doesn’t count.  If it isn’t something you love, it doesn’t count.

Sunday Recap for 9/10 Big Picture Question: How do we make God’s grace evident to the world?

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Sunday, September 10, 2017, Evident Grace Fellowship looked at Titus 2:11-14,

“For the grace of God has been made evident, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.”

And we pursued this Big Picture Question:

Big Picture Question:  How do we make God’s grace evident to the world?

And found these answers:

  • Worship
  • Community
  • Service

Worship

Titus 2:11 “For the grace of God has been made evident, bringing salvation for all people,”

Though God has always been gracious, his grace was made most clear and most evident at the death and resurrection of the church.  And that grace has appeared to all types of people – none are excluded merely by a category.  At Evident Grace, we seek to make the grace of Jesus evident in our worship services.  We desire Christians to enjoy their salvation and non-Christians to cry out for salvation.

Community

Titus 2:12-13 “training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,”

The grace of God trains us to renounce this work and wait for the appearance of Jesus. This best happens in the community of the church that Jesus created.  At Evident Grace, we want to grow in the training of renouncing this world and waiting for Jesus in 4 ways:  church membership, (eg)Groups, discipleship, and giving.

Service

Titus 2:14 “who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.”

As Jesus gave Himself up for us, He redeems us to be zealous for a life of service and good works.  At EG, we seek to serve in 4 ways:  within the church, in our community in acts of mercy, partnering with other churches, and in world missions

Truth:  Evident Grace exists to make God’s grace evident to the world through worship, community, and service.

Application:  Live knowing that you are a part of a church that desires to continually proclaim God’s grace to a broken and sinful world.

Action:  You were created for worship, born into the community of the church, and called to serve.

Personal Testimony

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At Evident Grace Fellowship, we make every effort we can to enable our folks to worship.  We are blessed to have families with children who have special needs.  They have taught us so much, and we are doing everything we can to make worship for those families as easy as possible.

Recently, we received this note from one of our families, and they asked us to share it with the larger community…

We are incredibly blessed and thankful to call Evident Grace Fellowship our home church. For more than 3 years we have attended and held membership at EG. Despite periods of being unable to attend due to the special needs of some of our children, Pastor Gordon Duncan, the elders, our assistant pastor, and the body of our church have always accommodated the special needs, welcomed us, embraced us, prayed with us and for us, and truly represented the body of Christ helping its members.

Recently, the church moved locations, and every week, our church has added an improvement to help accommodate everyone’s needs in our church. Just yesterday (Sunday service), I had to attend church with my 4 girls (6 and under) by myself and one daughter was graciously loved on despite having a rough morning. Another daughter in a wheelchair and on a feeding tube went into a Sunday school class without me because the volunteer staff at EG had the confidence and grace to care for her.  She was able to separate from me without being upset.

I was then able to sit and listen to a sermon for the first time in months outside in the lobby with a table and chairs while my infant made as much noise as she needed to without disturbing the congregation.  This was possible because our pastors have worked hard to accommodate those who can’t be in the service, whether by volunteer service to the church or because of little ones, etc.

After each sermon, our church body congregates for fellowship and refreshments. During this time one can see the love and unique faith each member of our church has. We are so blessed to have found Evident Grace. We look forward to the continual growth and blessing of our amazing church body.

Sunday Recap for 9/3: Who should be a church officer?

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You can find the audio of the service at http://www.sermonaudio.com/saplayer/playpopup.asp?SID=9317156377

Sunday 9/3, Evident Grace looked at this Big Picture Question.

Big Picture Question:  Who should be a church officer?

We found our answers in 1 Timothy 3:1-13

1 Timothy 3:  This saying is trustworthy: “If anyone aspires to be an overseer, he desires a noble work.” 2 An overseer, therefore, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, self-controlled, sensible, respectable, hospitable, an able teacher, 3 not addicted to wine, not a bully but gentle, not quarrelsome, not greedy— 4 one who manages his own household competently, having his children under control with all dignity. 5 (If anyone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of God’s church?) 6 He must not be a new convert, or he might become conceited and fall into the condemnation of the Devil. 7 Furthermore, he must have a good reputation among outsiders, so that he does not fall into disgrace and the Devil’s trap.

8 Deacons, likewise, should be worthy of respect, not hypocritical, not drinking a lot of wine, not greedy for money, 9 holding the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 And they must also be tested first; if they prove blameless, then they can serve as deacons. 11 Wives, too, must be worthy of respect, not slanderers, self-controlled, faithful in everything. 12 Deacons must be husbands of one wife, managing their children and their own households competently. 13 For those who have served well as deacons acquire a good standing for themselves, and great boldness in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

We found these two answers to our Big Picture Question:

Who should be a church officer?

  • Elders should be reputable managers of their home.
  • Deacons should be full of Dignity given to serve.

Elders should be reputable managers of their home.

1 Timothy 3:  This saying is trustworthy: “If anyone aspires to be an overseer, he desires a noble work.” 2 An overseer, therefore, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, self-controlled, sensible, respectable, hospitable, an able teacher, 3 not addicted to wine, not a bully but gentle, not quarrelsome, not greed 4 one who manages his own household competently, having his children under control with all dignity. 5 (If anyone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of God’s church?) 6 He must not be a new convert, or he might become conceited and fall into the condemnation of the Devil.  7 Furthermore, he must have a good reputation among outsiders, so that he does not fall into disgrace and the Devil’s trap.

Deacons should be full of Dignity given to serve.

8 Deacons, likewise, should be worthy of respect, not hypocritical, not drinking a lot of wine, not greedy for money, 9 holding the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 And they must also be tested first; if they prove blameless, then they can serve as deacons.  11 Wives, too, must be worthy of respect, not slanderers, self-controlled, faithful in everything.  12 Deacons must be husbands of one wife, managing their children and their own households competently. 13 For those who have served well as deacons acquire a good standing for themselves, and great boldness in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

Big Picture Question:  Who should be a church officer?

Truth: God has graciously gifted the church with elders and dignity who lead the church and their homes with dignity.

Application:  Live knowing that God prepares Godly leadership to greater enable you to be the church.

Action:  Pray for Godly leaders who will equip you to grow in Godliness in both the home and in the community.

Sunday Recap 8/20 Big Picture Question: Where is hope when things seem to be at their worst

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Sunday, August 20, Evident Grace Fellowship looked at 1 Samuel 4:12-22 asked this Big Picture Question:

Where is there hope when things seem to be at their worst? 

And we found these 3 answers to our question:

  • Some still cry
  • God keeps His promises
  • Some long for the glory of God

Some still cry

I Samuel 4:12 A man of Benjamin ran from the battle line and came to Shiloh the same day, with his clothes torn and with dirt on his head. 13 When he arrived, Eli was sitting on his seat by the road watching, for his heart trembled for the ark of God. And when the man came into the city and told the news, all the city cried out. 14 When Eli heard the sound of the outcry, he said, “What is this uproar?” Then the man hurried and came and told Eli.

The ark of God has been captured.  30,000 people have died, and one lone soldier returns to tell everyone.  When he tells the city of Shiloh what has happened, they all cry out to God.  This is as bad as a circumstance as one can imagine.  The proper response is to cry out to God.  The beginning of our hope in the worst of circumstances is to cry out to God for His help and His glory.

God keeps His promises

I Samuel 4:15 Now Eli was ninety-eight years old and his eyes were set so that he could not see. 16 And the man said to Eli, “I am he who has come from the battle; I fled from the battle today.” And he said, “How did it go, my son?” 17 He who brought the news answered and said, “Israel has fled before the Philistines, and there has also been a great defeat among the people. Your two sons also, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and the ark of God has been captured.”

18 As soon as he mentioned the ark of God, Eli fell over backward from his seat by the side of the gate, and his neck was broken and he died, for the man was old and heavy. He had judged Israel forty years.

The soldier tells Eli all that happened.  When Eli hears that the ark has been captured, all the soldiers have died, and that his sons have passed, he falls over backwards and dies.  God has twice promised that Eli and his household would be judged for their sin.  While this is not the type of promise of God we typically would memorize, it is an example of how God keeps His faithfulness to His promises.  In our worst of times, the beginning of our hope is to look to God’s promises.  His faithfulness gives us hope.

Some long for the glory of God

I Samuel 4:19 Now his daughter-in-law, the wife of Phinehas, was pregnant, about to give birth. And when she heard the news that the ark of God was captured, and that her father-in-law and her husband were dead, she bowed and gave birth, for her pains came upon her.

20 And about the time of her death the women attending her said to her, “Do not be afraid, for you have borne a son.” But she did not answer or pay attention. 21 And she named the child Ichabod, saying, “The glory has departed from Israel!” because the ark of God had been captured and because of her father-in-law and her husband. 22 And she said, “The glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been captured.”

When Eli’s daughter in law learns of all the tragedy, she goes into labor, gives birth, names her child “Ichabod”, and dies.  Ichabod means that the glory of God has departed.  This woman longed for the glory of God to return to His people.  When we long for the glory of God, we endure difficulty more patiently because we believe God is working something for His glory and our good.

Big Picture Question:  Where is there hope when things seem to be at their worst? 

Truth:  Even during the worst of this world, God keeps His promises and assures the hearts of those who cry out for His glory.

Application:  Live knowing that we will be most attuned to God’s faithfulness as we cry out and long for His glory.

Action:  Pray that God would comfort your heart with a longing for His glory.

Sunday Recap for 8/13 Big Picture Question: How does God protect His holiness and power?

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Sunday, August 13, Evident Grace Fellowship looked at this question in our sermon:

Big Picture Question:  How does God protect His Holiness and His Glory?

And we found these 3 answers to our question:

  • He disciplines sin
  • He uses sin sinlessly
  • He judges sin

He disciplines sin.

1 Samuel 4:1 And the word of Samuel came to all Israel.  Now Israel went out to battle against the Philistines. They encamped at Ebenezer, and the Philistines encamped at Aphek. 2 The Philistines drew up in line against Israel, and when the battle spread, Israel was defeated by the Philistines, who killed about four thousand men on the field of battle.

3 And when the troops came to the camp, the elders of Israel said, “Why has the Lord defeated us today before the Philistines? Let us bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord here from Shiloh, that it may come among us and save us from the power of our enemies.”

Israel goes into battle, and they lose badly.  4,000 men die, and they ask the right question, “Why did we lose?”  But instead of seeking God’s counsel and even repenting over sins, they choose to bring the Ark of the Covenant to the battlefield – the same Ark that is guarded behind the curtain in worship, the same Ark that the priests should protect.  But, Hophni and Phineas disregard those things.  They bring the Ark out anyway.

God is disciplining His people.  They are led sinfully by these two priests who have corrupted worship in the temple and even brought sexual sin into the temple…and God is disciplining them.  These 2 have hijacked the power and holiness of God, and they have hijacked the power of God, and God is discipling His people because of it.

He uses sin sinlessly

1 Samuel 4:4 So the people sent to Shiloh and brought from there the ark of the covenant of the Lord of hosts, who is enthroned on the cherubim. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God.

5 As soon as the ark of the covenant of the Lord came into the camp, all Israel gave a mighty shout, so that the earth resounded. 6 And when the Philistines heard the noise of the shouting, they said, “What does this great shouting in the camp of the Hebrews mean?”

And when they learned that the ark of the Lord had come to the camp, 7 the Philistines were afraid, for they said, “A god has come into the camp.” And they said, “Woe to us! For nothing like this has happened before. 8 Woe to us! Who can deliver us from the power of these mighty gods? These are the gods who struck the Egyptians with every sort of plague in the wilderness. 9 Take courage, and be men, O Philistines, lest you become slaves to the Hebrews as they have been to you; be men and fight.”

Israel attempts to use the Ark of the Covenant to win a battle. God will have none of it, and and the Philistines are more emboldened.  The use of the Ark was sinful, but God is going to use it to bring about His own purposes.

When we struggle with this concept, we must remember that the trial of Jesus was sin.  The mocking of Jesus was sin.  The death of Jesus was a sin, but God used it sinlessly to bring about our salvation.

He judges sin

1 Samuel 4:10 So the Philistines fought, and Israel was defeated, and they fled, every man to his home. And there was a very great slaughter, for there fell of Israel thirty thousand foot soldiers. 11 And the ark of God was captured, and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, died.

This time, 30,000 people die.  God judges the sin of Hophni and Phineas.  They misused the holiness and power of God, and God judged them for it.  God will judge sin.

Big Picture Question:  How does God protect His Holiness and His Glory?

Truth:  God protects His holiness and glory by discipling the sin of His children and judging the sin of those who don’t know Him.

Application:  Live knowing that God uses sin sinlessly to ultimately bring glory to Himself.

Action:  Don’t try to connect every circumstance in this world to a sin.  Seek repentance for yourself, and pray for repentance for others.

Sunday Recap for 8/6 Big Picture Question:  How is the Word of God a grace to the people of God?

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Sunday, August 6, Evident Grace Fellowship looked at 1 Samuel 3 and asked this question:

How is the Word of God a grace to His people?

And we found these three answers to the question:

  1. The Word calls people to a relationship with God
  2. The Word teaches God’s promises
  3. The Word teaches God’s will

In our first answer…

The Word calls people to a relationship with God

 1 Samuel 3:1 Now the young man Samuel was ministering to the Lord under Eli. And the word of the Lord was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision. 2 At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his own place. 3 The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was. 4 Then the Lord called Samuel, and he said, “Here I am!” 5 and ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call; lie down again.” So he went and lay down. 6 And the Lord called again, “Samuel!” and Samuel arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call, my son; lie down again.” 7 Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. 8a And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.”

While Samuel and Eli were about to go to sleep, God begins speaking to Samuel, but Samuel doesn’t know the voice of God.  But God is calling him into a deeper relationship to establish him as a prophet.  The scriptures say that, “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God”.  That’s what the Word of God does.  It calls us into a relationship with God and brings us deeper into relationship.

The Word teaches God’s promises

1 Samuel 3:8bThen Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the young man. 9 Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down, and if he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant hears.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. 10 And the Lord came and stood, calling as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant hears.” 11 Then the Lord said to Samuel, “Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel at which the two ears of everyone who hears it will tingle. 12 On that day I will fulfill against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. 13 And I declare to him that I am about to punish his house forever, for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them. 14 Therefore I swear to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever.”

God’s message to Samuel was that He was going to keep His promises. God has declared that He was going to judge Eli’s house for the sins of His sons.  God was declaring that He would keep His promises and it was going to make everyone in Israel notice.  The Word of God teaches us God’s promises:  promises of judgment and blessing.  And we grow closer to God as we learn these promises.

The Word teaches God’s will

1 Samuel 3:15 Samuel lay until morning; then he opened the doors of the house of the Lord. And Samuel was afraid to tell the vision to Eli. 16 But Eli called Samuel and said, “Samuel, my son.” And he said, “Here I am.” 17 And Eli said, “What was it that he told you? Do not hide it from me. May God do so to you and more also if you hide anything from me of all that he told you.” 18 So Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him. And he said, “It is the Lord. Let him do what seems good to him.”

19 And Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. 20 And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established as a prophet of the Lord. 21 And the Lord appeared again at Shiloh, for the Lord revealed himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the Lord.

Samuel wants to know what God said.  God told Samuel that it was His will to bring judgment to Eli’s house.  And all of Israel recognized Samuel as a prophet for this.  Samuel was faithful as he never let the Word of God fall to the ground.

For us, the scriptures teach us God’s will.  We learn how to live and what to do.  And that is God’s grace.

Big Picture Question: How is the Word of God a grace to His people

Truth: The word of God calls people into a relationship with Him as we learn and are transformed by His promises and His will.

Application: Live knowing we are forever comforted and guided by the promises and will of God that are found in His word.

Action: Confess the heart cause of sin. Confess whatever it is that is preventing you and your life from being immersed in God’s word…and walk in repentance and obedience.

Sunday Recap for 7/30 Big Picture Question:  If we can sin against God, who can help us?

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Sunday, July 30, Evident Grace Fellowship, we attempted to answer this Big Picture Question: 

If someone sins against God, who will help them

And we looked at 1 Samuel 2:22-36: 

22 Now Eli was very old, and he kept hearing all that his sons were doing to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who were serving at the entrance to the tent of meeting. 23 And he said to them, “Why do you do such things? For I hear of your evil dealings from all these people. 24 No, my sons; it is no good report that I hear the people of the Lord spreading abroad. 25 If someone sins against a man, God will mediate for him, but if someone sins against the Lord, who can intercede for him?” But they would not listen to the voice of their father, for it was the will of the Lord to put them to death

26 Now the boy Samuel continued to grow both in stature and in favor with the Lord and also with man. 

27 And there came a man of God to Eli and said to him, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Did I indeed reveal myself to the house of your father when they were in Egypt subject to the house of Pharaoh? 28 Did I choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to go up to my altar, to burn incense, to wear an ephod before me? I gave to the house of your father all my offerings by fire from the people of Israel. 29 Why then do you scorn my sacrifices and my offerings that I commanded for my dwelling, and honor your sons above me by fattening yourselves on the choicest parts of every offering of my people Israel?’ 30 Therefore the Lord, the God of Israel, declares: ‘I promised that your house and the house of your father should go in and out before me forever,’ but now the Lord declares: ‘Far be it from me, for those who honor me I will honor, and those who despise me shall be lightly esteemed. 31 Behold, the days are coming when I will cut off your strength and the strength of your father’s house, so that there will not be an old man in your house. 32 Then in distress you will look with envious eye on all the prosperity that shall be bestowed on Israel, and there shall not be an old man in your house forever. 33 The only one of you whom I shall not cut off from my altar shall be spared to weep his eyes out to grieve his heart, and all the descendants of your house shall die by the sword of men. 34 And this that shall come upon your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, shall be the sign to you: both of them shall die on the same day.  

35 And I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who shall do according to what is in my heart and in my mind. And I will build him a sure house, and he shall go in and out before my anointed forever. 36 And everyone who is left in your house shall come to implore him for a piece of silver or a loaf of bread and shall say, “Please put me in one of the priests’ places, that I may eat a morsel of bread.”’

And we found these 3 answers to our Big Picture Question: 

If someone sins against God, who will help them? 

  • Not a person
  • Not an institution
  • Only a faithful priest  

Not a person

1 Samuel 2:22 Now Eli was very old, and he kept hearing all that his sons were doing to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who were serving at the entrance to the tent of meeting. 23 And he said to them, “Why do you do such things? For I hear of your evil dealings from all these people. 24 No, my sons; it is no good report that I hear the people of the Lord spreading abroad. 25 If someone sins against a man, God will mediate for him, but if someone sins against the Lord, who can intercede for him?” But they would not listen to the voice of their father, for it was the will of the Lord to put them to death.  25 If someone sins against a man, God will mediate for him, but if someone sins against the Lord, who can intercede for him?” But they would not listen to the voice of their father, for it was the will of the Lord to put them to death. 

Eli’s sons were sinning greatly, and they weren’t going to stop.  Eli warned them, and he asks them, “If you sin against another person, God will intervene, but if you sin against God, who will intercede for you?”  That’s just it.  The priests were supposed to be doing that, but they failed.  They failed the people of God, and they failed God Himself.  They can’t intercede for themselves.  No man can mend the broken relationship between God and man.

Not an institution  

1 Samuel 2:26 Now the boy Samuel continued to grow both in stature and in favor with the Lord and also with man

27 And there came a man of God to Eli and said to him, “Thus the Lord has said, ‘Did I indeed reveal myself to the house of your father when they were in Egypt subject to the house of Pharaoh? 28 Did I choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to go up to my altar, to burn incense, to wear an ephod before me? I gave to the house of your father all my offerings by fire from the people of Israel.   

29 Why then do you scorn my sacrifices and my offerings that I commanded, and honor your sons above me by fattening yourselves on the choicest parts of every offering of my people Israel?’  

30 Therefore the Lord, the God of Israel, declares: ‘I promised that your house and the house of your father should go in and out before me forever,’ but now the Lord declares: ‘Far be it from me, for those who honor me I will honor, and those who despise me shall be lightly esteemed. 31 Behold, the days are coming when I will cut off your strength and the strength of your father’s house, so that there will not be an old man in your house.

32 Then in distress you will look with envious eye on all the prosperity that shall be bestowed on Israel, and there shall not be an old man in your house forever. 33 The only one of you whom I shall not cut off from my altar shall be spared to weep his eyes out to grieve his heart, and all the descendants of your house shall die by the sword of men.   

34 And this that shall come upon your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, shall be the sign to you: both of them shall die on the same day

Eli’s family were part of the Levitical priesthood.  God had promised that they would always have a priest serving Him from that family.  But Eli’s line within that family was going to be removed.  God was going to put Hophni and Phineas to death.  Eli and his sons trusted that they were priests.  They trusted that institutions would continue on.  But institutions don’t save.  The family, the church, and institutions like government won’t save us.  We need a faithful priest to save us. 

Only a faithful pries

1 Samuel 2:35 And I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who shall do according to what is in my heart and in my mind. And I will build him a sure house, and he shall go in and out before my anointed forever. 36 And everyone who is left in your house shall come to implore him for a piece of silver or a loaf of bread and shall say, “Please put me in one of the priests’ places, that I may eat a morsel of bread.”’” 

God promised that a faithful priest would serve Him and build a sure house for Him.  Hebrews 3.5-6 tell us that Jesus is that faithful priest and the church is the sure house of God.  Jesus is the hope for us when we sin against God.  He is our only hope

Big Picture Question:  If someone sins against God, who will help them

Truth:  Only Jesus can forgive you of your sin.   

Application:  Living knowing that God gifts you with Godly people, a church, and a pastor, but the purpose of all of them is to point to Jesus

Action:  This week, forgive someone so completely that it is like they never sinned against you.   

Sunday Recap for 7/23:  How is God at work even when we can’t see it?

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Sunday, July 23, Evident Grace Fellowship attempted to answer this Big Picture Question:

How is God at work even when it looks like He is not?

And we looked at 1 Samuel 2:11-21 to answer our Big Picture Question:

1 Samuel 2:11 Then Elkanah went home to Ramah. And the boy was ministering to the Lord in the presence of Eli the priest.

12 Now the sons of Eli were worthless men. They did not know the Lord. 13 The custom of the priests with the people was that when any man offered sacrifice, the priest’s servant would come, while the meat was boiling, with a three-pronged fork in his hand, 14 and he would thrust it into the pan or kettle or cauldron or pot. All that the fork brought up the priest would take for himself. This is what they did at Shiloh to all the Israelites who came there. 15 Moreover, before the fat was burned, the priest’s servant would come and say to the man who was sacrificing, “Give meat for the priest to roast, for he will not accept boiled meat from you but only raw.” 16 And if the man said to him, “Let them burn the fat first, and then take as much as you wish,” he would say, “No, you must give it now, and if not, I will take it by force.” 17 Thus the sin of the young men was very great in the sight of the Lord, for the men treated the offering of the Lord with contempt.

18 Samuel was ministering before the Lord, a boy clothed with a linen ephod. 19 And his mother used to make for him a little robe and take it to him each year when she went up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice. 20 Then Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife, and say, “May the Lord give you children by this woman for the petition she asked of the Lord.” So then they would return to their home.

21 Indeed the Lord visited Hannah, and she conceived and bore three sons and two daughters. And the boy Samuel grew in the presence of the Lord.

We found these 3 answers to our Big Picture Question:

How is God at work even when it looks like He is not?

  • He prepares Godly leaders.
  • He works through the people of God.
  • He blesses Godly families.

He prepares Godly leaders.

1 Samuel 2:11 Then Elkanah went home to Ramah. And the boy was ministering to the Lord in the presence of Eli the priest.

12 Now the sons of Eli were worthless men. They did not know the Lord. 13 The custom of the priests with the people was that when any man offered sacrifice, the priest’s servant would come, while the meat was boiling, with a three-pronged fork in his hand, 14 and he would thrust it into the pan or kettle or cauldron or pot. All that the fork brought up the priest would take for himself. This is what they did at Shiloh to all the Israelites who came there. 15 Moreover, before the fat was burned, the priest’s servant would come and say to the man who was sacrificing, “Give meat for the priest to roast, for he will not accept boiled meat from you but only raw.” 16 And if the man said to him, “Let them burn the fat first, and then take as much as you wish,” he would say, “No, you must give it now, and if not, I will take it by force.” 17 Thus the sin of the young men was very great in the sight of the Lord, for the men treated the offering of the Lord with contempt.

Eli’s sons, Hophni and Phineas, were corrupt priests who did not know the Lord.  They took the best of the sacrifices for themselves, and they threatened the people by force.  The worship of God became nothing more than a means to feed the priests’ appetites.  It would appear that people couldn’t worship even if they wanted to.  Yet, in the background, young Samuel was serving and ministering the Lord.  We have to remind ourselves that God is always at work and doesn’t leave His people without Godly leadership.  Even when it appears hopeless, God is at work preparing leadership for His people.

He works through the people of God.

1 Samuel 2:18 Samuel was ministering before the Lord, a boy clothed with a linen ephod. 19 And his mother used to make for him a little robe and take it to him each year when she went up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice. 20 Then Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife, and say, “May the Lord give you children by this woman for the petition she asked of the Lord.” So then they would return to their home.

Each year, sweet Hannah makes a robe for her son, Samuel.  She and her husband, Elkanah, bring it to him when they sacrifice.  And when they do this, Eli, the priest, gives them a blessing from God that they will have more children.  This is a wonderful picture of how God works in the people of God.  You have a faithful young man in Samuel.  You have a Godly family in Hannah and Elkanah.  And you have a Godly priest in Eli.  This is how God works…among the people of God, even in bad times.

He blesses Godly families.

1 Samuel 2:21 Indeed the Lord visited Hannah, and she conceived and bore three sons and two daughters. And the boy Samuel grew in the presence of the Lord.

God blesses Hannah with more children.  The woman who couldn’t have any children is now going to have a ton of kids.  And Samuel continues to grow and serve in the presence of God.

Since the Garden, God has promised and will work in Godly families…even when it appears that all is lost.  God is at work.

Big Picture Question:  How is God at work even when it looks like He is not?

Truth:  Even when we can’t see it, God is continually at work through Godly leaders, the people of God, and Godly families.

Application:  Live knowing that God is at work for His glory and your good, no matter the circumstance

Action:  Look for God to keep His promises.  All else is a prayer and petition.

Sunday Recap for 7/16 Big Picture Question:  How does God serve and protect His people?

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Sunday, July 16, Evident Grace Fellowship looked at this Big Picture Question:

How does God serve and protect His people?

And we looked at 1 Samuel 2:9-11:

1 Samuel 2:9 “He will guard the feet of his faithful ones, but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness, for not by might shall a man prevail. 10 The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces; against them he will thunder in heaven. The Lord will judge the ends of the earth; he will give strength to his king and exalt the horn of his anointed.” 11 Then Elkanah went home to Ramah. and the boy was ministering to the Lord in the presence of Eli the priest.

We found these three answers to our Big Picture Question:

How does God serve and protect His people

  • He Guards His People
  • The Lord Judges the Earth
  • The Lord Gives us His Anointed

He guards His people.

1 Samuel 2:9 “He will guard the feet of his faithful ones, but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness, for not by might shall a man prevail. 10 The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces; against them he will thunder in heaven.

God guards His people, and He breaks His adversaries to pieces.  The child of God’s steps are guarded on our day to day path and ultimately to heaven.  Nothing, not even anything we can do, will take us off that path.  And God thunders to your defense.

The Lord judges the earth.

1 Samuel 2:10b The Lord will judge the ends of the earth;

We live in a sinful, broken world.  The injustices of our days are gross and ugly.  We are called to be agents of justice in this world.  But we must always remember, God is the judge of this world.  And though we may see pain and injustice that we fear will go unpunished and unjudged, God will judge sin and right every injustice.

The Lord gives us His anointed.

1 Samuel 2:10c he will give strength to his king and exalt the horn of his anointed.” 11 Then Elkanah went home to Ramah. and the boy was ministering to the Lord in the presence of Eli the priest

Hannah concludes her song by prophesying that God will bring a king, His anointed who will protect His people with strength.  In light of what she has just sung, she isn’t singing of an earthly king.  God will sing His anointed, Jesus Christ, who protect God’s people in strength

Big Picture Question:  How does God serve and protect His people

Truth:  God righteously judges sin and guards His people through His anointed one, Jesus Christ.

Application:  Live knowing that you are constantly protected and cared for by Jesus Christ

Action:  Pray that God would move you to be more aware of and thankful for God’s service and protection.

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