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Sunday Recap from Easter 2018, Big Picture Question: How does waiting increase our love of God and others?

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Easter 2018, Evident Grace Fellowship looked at Mark 16:1-16:

Mark 16:1 When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. 2 And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. 3 And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” 4 And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. 5 And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. 6 And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” 8 And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.  9 Now when he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. 10 She went and told those who had been with him, as they mourned and wept. 11 But when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it.

12 After these things he appeared in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country. 13 And they went back and told the rest, but they did not believe them. 14 Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen.

15 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

We answered this Big Picture Question from those verses:

How does waiting increase our love of God and others?

We found these 3 answers to our Big Picture Question:

  • Waiting Fuels Worship
  • Waiting Fuels Community
  • Waiting Fuels Mission

Waiting Fuels Worship

Mark 16:1 When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. 2 And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. 3 And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” 4 And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. 5 And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. 6 And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” 8 And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.  9 Now when he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. 10 She went and told those who had been with him, as they mourned and wept. 11 But when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it.

Mary, Mary, and Salome go to visit Jesus’ tomb.  Can you imagine what was going on in their minds?  They knew Jesus’ promises of resurrection on the third day, but they brought spices just in case.  They hoped to see Him alive, but just in case, they brought spices to preserve His body.  Thankfully, the angel tells them that He is risen, and a few moments after that, Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene.

We are just like them.  We gather to worship Jesus.  We have hopes that Jesus’ promises are true.  We hope to meet Him intimately.  We hope to worship Him.  But we fear.  We doubt.  The first act of worship going forward to meet Him.

Waiting Fuels Community

12 After these things he appeared in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country. 13 And they went back and told the rest, but they did not believe them.  14 Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen

The disciples wait for Jesus.  They’ve been waiting for 3 days.  They’ve eaten, they’ve hidden, they wondered.  And they have doubted.  However, Jesus shows up to assure them that He is alive.  That is the essence of Godly communities.  We wait for God together.  We may doubt.  We may fear.  But we wait in faith for Jesus.

Waiting Fuels Service

15 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

Once the people are sure that Jesus is alive, He gives them a mission to go into all the world and tell them about His resurrection.  We believe because of their faithfulness.

So, now we wait.  We wait for Jesus to return, and when He returns it will be as…

Revelation 22: 3 No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.

Big Picture Question:  How does waiting increase our love of God and others?

Truth:  Our waiting for the outworking and fulfillment of Jesus’ work and mission fuels our worship, community, and service.

Application:  Live knowing that Jesus grows our faith by creating a persevering love within the church as we worship and serve together.

Action:  Pray for the faith to show grace to someone struggling this week.   

Sunday Recap for 3/25: How does Jesus’ kingship relate to your fear?

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Sunday, March 25, Evident Grace Fellowship looked at John 12:12-19:

John 12:12 The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. 13 So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” 14 And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written,

15 “Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt!”

16 His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about him and had been done to him. 17 The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to bear witness. 18 The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign. 19 So the Pharisees said to one another, “You see that you are gaining nothing. Look, the world has gone after him.”

We attempted to answer this Big Picture Question:

How does Jesus’ Kingship relate to your fear?

We found these three answers to our Big Picture Question:

  • He is Present
  • He is Appointed by God
  • He Offers Something the World Doesn’t

He is Present

John 12:12 The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. 13 So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!”

Jesus arrives in Jerusalem soon after raising Lazarus from the dead.  This miracle draws a crowd that is hopeful that Jesus is the promised king and messiah.  As He enters the town, the people cry, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.  The king of Israel.”

The people declare that the long-promised king has come.  The king is present.

Friends, your king is present.  Jesus is that king.  His kingship is both a declaration of the end of your fear and the promise that you have no need to ever fear again

But we do fear, don’t we?  Thankfully, King Jesus is…

He is Appointed by God

John 12:14 And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written, 15 “Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt!”

Jesus’ riding through Jerusalem on a donkey fulfilled this promise of Zechariah 9:9.  Jesus was appointed by God to be your king, and His arrival is the declaration that the reason for your fear is gone.

He offers something the world doesn’t

John 12:16 His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about him and had been done to him. 17 The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to bear witness. 18 The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign. 19 So the Pharisees said to one another, “You see that you are gaining nothing. Look, the world has gone after him.”

Jesus is different than every other thing that world offers.  The Pharisees think chasing after Him is a waste of time.  The disciples realize that He is the appointed king.  The world offers its own ideas of what is right and what is best.  Christ offers His Kingship.  He offers the end of guilt.  He ends our shame.  He ends the trusting of ourselves.

Big Picture Question:  How does Jesus’ Kingship relate to your fear?

Truth:  Jesus’ appointed presence alleviates your fear as you withdraw from the anxiousness of this world.

Application:  Live knowing that Jesus’ intimate presence in your life is intended to grow a comfort and confidence in you.

Action:  Jesus’ kingdom is graceful and fearless.  Your kingdom is graceless and fearful.  Choose this day who you will serve.

Join Evident Grace for a Week of Easter Celebrations

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Evident Grace Fellowship is excited to announce our Easter “Sunset to Sunrise” celebrations for 2018.  Our desire is to strip away the unnecessary elements and gimmicks of Easter celebrations and return to the roots of worship, community, and service.

Towards that end, we are inviting you to worship, fellowship, and serve with us in any and all of these events.

Sunday, March 25th – The Sunday before Easter has traditionally been called “Palm Sunday”.  In this service, we will worship around the passage in John where Jesus enters Jerusalem the week before His resurrection.  At that moment, the crowd waved palm leaves and declared Him as king.  While we won’t be waving palm leaves, we will be worshiping and calling everyone to worship Jesus as King.  This service will be at 10:00 am at the Ron Rosner YMCA located at 5700 Smith Station Rd.  We will have childcare at this service.

Thursday, March 29th – The Thursday before Easter, we will have a Maundy Thursday service.  The word “Maundy” means commandment, and the service is called that in light of Jesus’ statement in John 15:12-15,

12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 

Jesus said these things at the giving of the Lord’s Supper, on the night that He was betrayed. Evident Grace will have a fellowship dinner at the Fox Point Clubhouse at 6:30 pm.  During that time, we will also have some music, times of sharing, and the Lord’s Supper.  The Fox Point Clubhouse is located at 6120 Blackstone Blvd.  We will not have childcare for this service.

Friday, March 30th – The Friday before Easter is our Good Friday Service.  Church history has also called these services, “Tenebrae” or a service of darkness.  This is a service where we will meditate on the death of Jesus and our sin as the cause of His death.  This service ends in silence and meditation and you leave as you feel ready.  It will begin at 7:00 pm and will also be at the Fox Point Clubhouse located at 6120 Blackstone Blvd.  There will not be childcare for this service.

Saturday, March 31st – We won’t have a service on this day, but we will be serving.  Lots of folks from Evident Grace will be volunteering and participating in the 2018 5k Rabbit Run, 1 Mile Hop, Bunny Chase, and Easter Egg Hunt.  This event supports Young Lives which is a ministry to single and teen mothers.  You can sign up at their website. The race begins at 8:00 am. If you are a member of Evident Grace and would like to volunteer contact Nathan Thomas.  He needs 10-12 people.

Sunday, April 1st – And finally Sunday is Easter Sunday.  First, we will host a breakfast at 9:00 am at the Ron Rosner YMCA.  You are all invited and we hope you can make it.  Just show up, eat, and meet some great folks.  Then, at 10:00 am, we will have an Easter celebration where we will celebrate the resurrection of Jesus.  After the service, we will have food and coffee for all of our guests.  We will have childcare for our 10:00 am service. If you are a member of Evident Grace you can signup to bring food for the breakfast here.

Friends, our goal at Evident Grace is simple.  We want to make God’s grace evident through worship community, and service.  Our prayer is that these events will enable you to do that.  Please join us.

If you have any questions, you can either go to www.evidentgrace.com or email the church at [email protected].

Sunday Recap for 3/18: Why is obedience so hard?

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Sunday, March 18, Evident Grace Fellowship looked at 1 Samuel 15:1-15

1 And Samuel said to Saul, “The Lord sent me to anoint you king over his people Israel; now therefore listen to the words of the Lord. 2 Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘I have noted what Amalek did to Israel in opposing them on the way when they came up out of Egypt. 3 Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’”

4 So Saul summoned the people and numbered them in Telaim, two hundred thousand men on foot, and ten thousand men of Judah. 5 And Saul came to the city of Amalek and lay in wait in the valley. 6 Then Saul said to the Kenites, “Go, depart; go down from among the Amalekites, lest I destroy you with them. For you showed kindness to all the people of Israel when they came up out of Egypt.” So the Kenites departed from among the Amalekites. 7 And Saul defeated the Amalekites from Havilah as far as Shur, which is east of Egypt. 8 And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive and devoted to destruction all the people with the edge of the sword. 9 But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep and of the oxen and of the fattened calves and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them. All that was despised and worthless they devoted to destruction.

10 The word of the Lord came to Samuel: 11 “I regret that I have made Saul king, for he has turned back from following me and has not performed my commandments.” And Samuel was angry, and he cried to the Lord all night. 12 And Samuel rose early to meet Saul in the morning. And it was told Samuel, “Saul came to Carmel, and behold, he set up a monument for himself and turned and passed on and went down to Gilgal.” 13 And Samuel came to Saul, and Saul said to him, “Blessed be you to the Lord. I have performed the commandment of the Lord.” 14 And Samuel said, “What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears and the lowing of the oxen that I hear?” 15 Saul said, “They have brought them from the Amalekites, for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen to sacrifice to the Lord your God, and the rest we have devoted to destruction.”

In those verses, we attempted to answer this Big Picture Question:

What makes obedience so hard? 

  • God’s commands are clear.
  • God’s commands are personal.
  • The heart wants to look good.

God’s commands are clear

1 Samuel 15:1And Samuel said to Saul, “The Lord sent me to anoint you king over his people Israel; now therefore listen to the words of the Lord. 2 Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘I have noted what Amalek did to Israel in opposing them on the way when they came up out of Egypt. 3 Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’”

There is no wiggle room in God’s commands.  He commands, and we are to obey.  Saul had that same directive.  He was called to protect the people of God by thoroughly defeating the enemy of the people of God.  We’ll learn he can’t do that.  Our hearts struggle as well.  God’s commands are always clear.  Do not lie means don’t lie.  Be content means be content.  The heart struggles with such clarity

God’s commands are personal

1 Samuel 15:4 So Saul summoned the people and numbered them in Telaim, two hundred thousand men on foot, and ten thousand men of Judah. 5 And Saul came to the city of Amalek and lay in wait in the valley. 6 Then Saul said to the Kenites, “Go, depart; go down from among the Amalekites, lest I destroy you with them. For you showed kindness to all the people of Israel when they came up out of Egypt.” So the Kenites departed from among the Amalekites. 7 And Saul defeated the Amalekites from Havilah as far as Shur, which is east of Egypt. 8 And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive and devoted to destruction all the people with the edge of the sword. 9 But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep and of the oxen and of the fattened calves and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them. All that was despised and worthless they devoted to destruction.

The commands of God are not capricious or random.  They are personal reflections of God’s character.  Therefore, when the human heart hears God’s command, we rebel personally.  Saul did not thoroughly defeat the Amalekites.  He kept the king alive and the best of the spoil.  These things assured Saul affluence and reputation in the eyes of the world.  Saul wanted that more than obedience.  We struggle in this as well.  For example, when God tells us to be content, He is commanding us to trust His provision and providence.  Our discontentment is because we think we have a sense of what those things should be that are better than God’s.

The heart wants to look good.

1 Samuel 15:10 The word of the Lord came to Samuel: 11 “I regret that I have made Saul king, for he has turned back from following me and has not performed my commandments.” And Samuel was angry, and he cried to the Lord all night. 12 And Samuel rose early to meet Saul in the morning. And it was told Samuel, “Saul came to Carmel, and behold, he set up a monument for himself and turned and passed on and went down to Gilgal.” 13 And Samuel came to Saul, and Saul said to him, “Blessed be you to the Lord. I have performed the commandment of the Lord.” 14 And Samuel said, “What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears and the lowing of the oxen that I hear?” 15 Saul said, “They have brought them from the Amalekites, for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen to sacrifice to the Lord your God, and the rest we have devoted to destruction.”

When Saul’s sin is found out, he blames the people of God (“they”), and then says he was actually planning on making an offering to God.  Both of these are coverups, blame-shifting, and stink of self-righteousness.  The heart may rebel against God, but it still wants to look like it is obeying.

Here is our hope:  Titus 2:14 Jesus Christ 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.

Big Picture Question:  What makes obedience so hard? 

Truth:  Obeying God is hard because His commands are clear and are contrary to our selfishness and pride.

Application:  Live knowing that God’s commands are a way out of the muddled selfishness that we indulge in each day.

Action: 1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. 4 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

Sunday Recap for 3/4 Big Picture Question: How are our actions indicative of the kingdom we are building?

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Sunday, March 4, Evident Grace Fellowship looked at 1 Samuel 14:31-46:

1 Samuel 14:31 They struck down the Philistines that day from Michmash to Aijalon. And the people were very faint. 32 The people pounced on the spoil and took sheep and oxen and calves and slaughtered them on the ground. And the people ate them with the blood. 33 Then they told Saul, “Behold, the people are sinning against the Lord by eating with the blood.” And he said, “You have dealt treacherously; roll a great stone to me here.” 34 And Saul said, “Disperse yourselves among the people and say to them, ‘Let every man bring his ox or his sheep and slaughter them here and eat, and do not sin against the Lord by eating with the blood.’” So every one of the people brought his ox with him that night and they slaughtered them there. 35 And Saul built an altar to the Lord; it was the first altar that he built to the Lord.

36 Then Saul said, “Let us go down after the Philistines by night and plunder them until the morning light; let us not leave a man of them.” And they said, “Do whatever seems good to you.” But the priest said, “Let us draw near to God here.” 37 And Saul inquired of God, “Shall I go down after the Philistines? Will you give them into the hand of Israel?” But he did not answer him that day. 38 And Saul said, “Come here, all you leaders of the people, and know and see how this sin has arisen today. 39 For as the Lord lives who saves Israel, though it be in Jonathan my son, he shall surely die.” But there was not a man among all the people who answered him. 40 Then he said to all Israel, “You shall be on one side, and I and Jonathan my son will be on the other side.” And the people said to Saul, “Do what seems good to you.” 41 Therefore Saul said, “O Lord God of Israel, why have you not answered your servant this day? If this guilt is in me or in Jonathan my son, O Lord, God of Israel, give Urim. But if this guilt is in your people Israel, give Thummim.” And Jonathan and Saul were taken, but the people escaped. 42 Then Saul said, “Cast the lot between me and my son Jonathan.” And Jonathan was taken.

43 Then Saul said to Jonathan, “Tell me what you have done.” And Jonathan told him, “I tasted a little honey with the tip of the staff that was in my hand. Here I am; I will die.” 44 And Saul said, “God do so to me and more also; you shall surely die, Jonathan.” 45 Then the people said to Saul, “Shall Jonathan die, who has worked this great salvation in Israel? Far from it! As the Lord lives, there shall not one hair of his head fall to the ground, for he has worked with God this day.” So the people ransomed Jonathan, so that he did not die. 46 Then Saul went up from pursuing the Philistines, and the Philistines went to their own place.

We looked at this Big Picture Question:

How are our lives indicative of the kingdom we are building?

We found these three answers to our Big Picture Question:

  1. How We Respond to Our Needs
  2. What We Pray For
  3. What You Will Sacrifice For

How We Respond to Our Needs

1 Samuel 14:31 They struck down the Philistines that day from Michmash to Aijalon. And the people were very faint. 32 The people pounced on the spoil and took sheep and oxen and calves and slaughtered them on the ground. And the people ate them with the blood.

The soldiers are hungry and tired, and when the battle is over, they sin by eating off the ground and with blood.  We do this too.   Think about it:

Do you ever eat too much because you felt you earned it?

You drink too much because that’s what you do when hanging with friends

You yell at your wife or kids because you are stressed out and you can’t go off on your boss or coworkers.

These are the kingdom of self-actions, not the kingdom of God.

1 Samuel 14:33 Then they told Saul, “Behold, the people are sinning against the Lord by eating with the blood.” And he said, “You have dealt treacherously; roll a great stone to me here.” 34 And Saul said, “Disperse yourselves among the people and say to them, ‘Let every man bring his ox or his sheep and slaughter them here and eat, and do not sin against the Lord by eating with the blood.’” So every one of the people brought his ox with him that night and they slaughtered them there. 35 And Saul built an altar to the Lord; it was the first altar that he built to the Lord.

What We Pray For

1 Samuel 14:36 Then Saul said, “Let us go down after the Philistines by night and plunder them until the morning light; let us not leave a man of them.” And they said, “Do whatever seems good to you.” But the priest said, “Let us draw near to God here.” 37 And Saul inquired of God, “Shall I go down after the Philistines? Will you give them into the hand of Israel?” But he did not answer him that day.

Saul’s pastor reminds him, “Hey maybe you should pray before you do something else rash.  Look at the results of the last time” and he doesn’t even know about Jonathan yet.

1 Samuel 14:38 And Saul said, “Come here, all you leaders of the people, and know and see how this sin has arisen today. 39 For as the Lord lives who saves Israel, though it be in Jonathan my son, he shall surely die.” But there was not a man among all the people who answered him. 40 Then he said to all Israel, “You shall be on one side, and I and Jonathan my son will be on the other side.” And the people said to Saul, “Do what seems good to you.”

41 Therefore Saul said, “O Lord God of Israel, why have you not answered your servant this day? If this guilt is in me or in Jonathan my son, O Lord, God of Israel, give Urim. But if this guilt is in your people Israel, give Thummim.” And Jonathan and Saul were taken, but the people escaped. 42 Then Saul said, “Cast the lot between me and my son Jonathan.” And Jonathan was taken.

God’s silence is as powerful as his answers because both are intended to draw you closer to him.

What you’ll sacrifice for

1 Samuel 14:43 When Saul said to Jonathan, “Tell me what you have done.”

Notice Saul doesn’t assume he didn’t anything wrong.  He defends himself

And Jonathan told him, “I tasted a little honey with the tip of the staff that was in my hand. Here I am; I will die.”

Jonathan doesn’t defend himself.

1 Samuel 14:44 And Saul said, “God do so to me and more also; you shall surely die, Jonathan.”  Does he have to die?  Is this the only way?  45 Then the people said to Saul, “Shall Jonathan die, who has worked this great salvation in Israel? Far from it! As the Lord lives, there shall not one hair of his head fall to the ground, for he has worked with God this day.” So the people ransomed Jonathan, so that he did not die. 46 Then Saul went up from pursuing the Philistines, and the Philistines went to their own place. 

Jonathan is willing to die because his actions are harming the people of God.  The people of God will ransom him so that he doesn’t have to die.  Jesus did that for us.  Though innocent, He ransomed us from our guilt.

What we will sacrifice for indicates what kingdom we are building.

Big Picture Question:  How are our lives indicative of the kingdom we are building?

Truth:  How we respond, what we pray for, and who we defend display the kingdom we serve.

Application:  Live knowing Christ’s work on your behalf ransomed you out of the kingdom of self into the kingdom of God.

Action:  Pray for objectivity and seek accountability so you can make decisions consistent with the kingdom of God.

“But if the world is watching, we might as well tell the truth. And the truth is, the church doesn’t offer a cure. It doesn’t offer a quick fix. The church offers death and resurrection. The church offers the messy, inconvenient, gut-wrenching, never-ending work of healing and reconciliation. The church offers grace.”  Rachel Held Evans

Big Idea for 2/18: We live in the conflict between earthly wisdom and Godly wisdom.

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Sunday, February 18, Evident Grace Fellowship looked at 1 Samuel 14:16-30:

1 Samuel 14:16 And the watchmen of Saul in Gibeah of Benjamin looked, and behold, the multitude was dispersing here and there. 17 Then Saul said to the people who were with him, “Count and see who has gone from us.” And when they had counted, behold, Jonathan and his armor-bearer were not there. 18 So Saul said to Ahijah, “Bring the ark of God here.” For the ark of God went at that time with the people of Israel. 19 Now while Saul was talking to the priest, the tumult in the camp of the Philistines increased more and more. So Saul said to the priest, “Withdraw your hand.” 20 Then Saul and all the people who were with him rallied and went into the battle. And behold, every Philistine’s sword was against his fellow, and there was very great confusion. 21 Now the Hebrews who had been with the Philistines before that time and who had gone up with them into the camp, even they also turned to be with the Israelites who were with Saul and Jonathan. 22 Likewise, when all the men of Israel who had hidden themselves in the hill country of Ephraim heard that the Philistines were fleeing, they too followed hard after them in the battle. 23 So the Lord saved Israel that day. And the battle passed beyond Beth-aven.

24 And the men of Israel had been hard pressed that day, so Saul had laid an oath on the people, saying, “Cursed be the man who eats food until it is evening and I am avenged on my enemies.” So none of the people had tasted food. 25 Now when all the people came to the forest, behold, there was honey on the ground. 26 And when the people entered the forest, behold, the honey was dropping, but no one put his hand to his mouth, for the people feared the oath.

27 But Jonathan had not heard his father charge the people with the oath, so he put out the tip of the staff that was in his hand and dipped it in the honeycomb and put his hand to his mouth, and his eyes became bright. 28 Then one of the people said, “Your father strictly charged the people with an oath, saying, ‘Cursed be the man who eats food this day.’” And the people were faint. 29 Then Jonathan said, “My father has troubled the land. See how my eyes have become bright because I tasted a little of this honey. 30 How much better if the people had eaten freely today of the spoil of their enemies that they found. For now the defeat among the Philistines has not been great.”

And we attempted to understand this Big Idea from those verses:

We live in the conflict of Godly vs earthly wisdom. 

We explored these 3 thoughts about our Bid Idea:

  • God reigns amid both Godly and earthly wisdom.
  • Earthly wisdom sometimes causes unnecessary pain
  • Godly wisdom speaks the truth in love.

God reigns amid both Godly and earthly wisdom.

1 Samuel 14:16 And the watchmen of Saul in Gibeah of Benjamin looked, and behold, the multitude was dispersing here and there. 17 Then Saul said to the people who were with him, “Count and see who has gone from us.” And when they had counted, behold, Jonathan and his armor-bearer were not there. 18 So Saul said to Ahijah, “Bring the ark of God here.” For the ark of God went at that time with the people of Israel. 19 Now while Saul was talking to the priest, the tumult in the camp of the Philistines increased more and more. So Saul said to the priest, “Withdraw your hand.” 20 Then Saul and all the people who were with him rallied and went into the battle. And behold, every Philistine’s sword was against his fellow, and there was very great confusion. 21 Now the Hebrews who had been with the Philistines before that time and who had gone up with them into the camp, even they also turned to be with the Israelites who were with Saul and Jonathan. 22 Likewise, when all the men of Israel who had hidden themselves in the hill country of Ephraim heard that the Philistines were fleeing, they too followed hard after them in the battle. 23 So the Lord saved Israel that day. And the battle passed beyond Beth-aven.

Sometimes, it is just hard to understand why God does what He does.  Saul, full of earthly wisdom, brings the ark out to the battlefield.  He then sends it away.  The people of God rally, and the Israelites when the battle.  The first thing we must recognize is that God reigns amid earthly and Godly wisdom.  God’s first purpose is His own glory, and our call is to trust Him and seek His glory in all things.

Earthly wisdom causes unnecessary pain

1 Samuel 14:24 And the men of Israel had been hard pressed that day, so Saul had laid an oath on the people, saying, “Cursed be the man who eats food until it is evening and I am avenged on my enemies.” So none of the people had tasted food. 25 Now when all the people came to the forest, behold, there was honey on the ground. 26 And when the people entered the forest, behold, the honey was dropping, but no one put his hand to his mouth, for the people feared the oath.

Not all earthly wisdom causes unnecessary pain, but sometimes it does.  It makes no sense that Saul demands that no one eat until they win the battle.  Additionally, he isn’t fighting for God or the people.  He wants personal revenge.  And perhaps threatening to kill anyone who eats is a bit much.  This is a sad example of earthly wisdom that is untampered by the wisdom of God.

Godly wisdom speaks the truth in love.

1 Samuel 14:27 But Jonathan had not heard his father charge the people with the oath, so he put out the tip of the staff that was in his hand and dipped it in the honeycomb and put his hand to his mouth, and his eyes became bright. 28 Then one of the people said, “Your father strictly charged the people with an oath, saying, ‘Cursed be the man who eats food this day.’” And the people were faint. 29 Then Jonathan said, “My father has troubled the land. See how my eyes have become bright because I tasted a little of this honey. 30 How much better if the people had eaten freely today of the spoil of their enemies that they found. For now the defeat among the Philistines has not been great.”

Jonathan was unaware of Saul’s vow, so he eats and is immediately refreshed.  When informed of Saul’s vow, he declares that Saul is hurting the country by making rash vows.

Jonathan is a picture of how the Christian, who is gifted with the Spirit of God and the mind of God, should speak.  Read 1 Corinthians 2 to explain how this applies to Christians today.

1 Corinthians 2:11For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 13 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.  14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. 16 “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

Big Idea:  We live in the conflict of Godly vs earthly wisdom. 

Truth:  God reigns in a world where earthly wisdom inflicts pain instead of love and grace.

Application:  Live knowing that you have a constant and abundant supply of Godly wisdom to guide you in discerning how to speak and act in this world.

Action:  Commit yourself to studying, understanding, and applying Godly wisdom in your personal and professional life. 

Sunday Recap from 2/11 – Big Picture Question: How can we know that God can do anything?

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Sunday, February 11, Evident Grace Fellowship looked at 1 Samuel 13:151 Samuel 14:15:

1 Samuel 13:15 And Samuel arose and went up from Gilgal. The rest of the people went up after Saul to meet the army; they went up from Gilgal to Gibeah of Benjamin.

And Saul numbered the people who were present with him, about six hundred men. 16 And Saul and Jonathan his son and the people who were present with them stayed in Geba of Benjamin, but the Philistines encamped in Michmash. 17 And raiders came out of the camp of the Philistines in three companies. One company turned toward Ophrah, to the land of Shual; 18 another company turned toward Beth-horon; and another company turned toward the border that looks down on the Valley of Zeboim toward the wilderness

19 Now there was no blacksmith to be found throughout all the land of Israel, for the Philistines said, “Lest the Hebrews make themselves swords or spears.” 20 But every one of the Israelites went down to the Philistines to sharpen his plowshare, his mattock, his axe, or his sickle, 21 and the charge was two-thirds of a shekel for the plowshares and for the mattocks, and a third of a shekel for sharpening the axes and for setting the goads. 22 So on the day of the battle there was neither sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the people with Saul and Jonathan, but Saul and Jonathan his son had them. 23 And the garrison of the Philistines went out to the pass of Michmash.

14 One day Jonathan the son of Saul said to the young man who carried his armor, “Come, let us go over to the Philistine garrison on the other side.” But he did not tell his father. 2 Saul was staying in the outskirts of Gibeah in the pomegranate cave at Migron. The people who were with him were about six hundred men, 3 including Ahijah the son of Ahitub, Ichabod’s brother, son of Phinehas, son of Eli, the priest of the Lord in Shiloh, wearing an ephod. And the people did not know that Jonathan had gone. 4 Within the passes, by which Jonathan sought to go over to the Philistine garrison, there was a rocky crag on the one side and a rocky crag on the other side. The name of the one was Bozez, and the name of the other Seneh. 5 The one crag rose on the north in front of Michmash, and the other on the south in front of Geba.

6 Jonathan said to the young man who carried his armor, “Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised. It may be that the Lord will work for us, for nothing can hinder the Lord from saving by many or by few.” 7 And his armor-bearer said to him, “Do all that is in your heart. Do as you wish. Behold, I am with you heart and soul.” 8 Then Jonathan said, “Behold, we will cross over to the men, and we will show ourselves to them. 9 If they say to us, ‘Wait until we come to you,’ then we will stand still in our place, and we will not go up to them. 10 But if they say, ‘Come up to us,’ then we will go up, for the Lord has given them into our hand. And this shall be the sign to us.” 11 So both of them showed themselves to the garrison of the Philistines. And the Philistines said, “Look, Hebrews are coming out of the holes where they have hidden themselves.” 12 And the men of the garrison hailed Jonathan and his armor-bearer and said, “Come up to us, and we will show you a thing.” And Jonathan said to his armor-bearer, “Come up after me, for the Lord has given them into the hand of Israel.” 13 Then Jonathan climbed up on his hands and feet, and his armor-bearer after him. And they fell before Jonathan, and his armor-bearer killed them after him. 14 And that first strike, which Jonathan and his armor-bearer made, killed about twenty men within as it were half a furrow’s length in an acre of land. 15 And there was a panic in the camp, in the field, and among all the people. The garrison and even the raiders trembled, the earth quaked, and it became a very great panic.

From those scriptures, we sought to answer this Big Picture Question:

How do we know that God can do anything?

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

  • God Knows Your Challenges
  • Nothing Can Hinder God
  • The Battle Belongs to the Lord

God Knows Your Challenges

1 Samuel 13:15 And Samuel arose and went up from Gilgal. The rest of the people went up after Saul to meet the army; they went up from Gilgal to Gibeah of Benjamin.

And Saul numbered the people who were present with him, about six hundred men. 16 And Saul and Jonathan his son and the people who were present with them stayed in Geba of Benjamin, but the Philistines encamped in Michmash. 17 And raiders came out of the camp of the Philistines in three companies. One company turned toward Ophrah, to the land of Shual; 18 another company turned toward Beth-horon; and another company turned toward the border that looks down on the Valley of Zeboim toward the wilderness.

19 Now there was no blacksmith to be found throughout all the land of Israel, for the Philistines said, “Lest the Hebrews make themselves swords or spears.” 20 But every one of the Israelites went down to the Philistines to sharpen his plowshare, his mattock, his axe, or his sickle, 21 and the charge was two-thirds of a shekel for the plowshares and for the mattocks, and a third of a shekel for sharpening the axes and for setting the goads. 22 So on the day of the battle there was neither sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the people with Saul and Jonathan, but Saul and Jonathan his son had them. 23 And the garrison of the Philistines went out to the pass of Michmash.

Samuel left Saul without a blessing or a sacrifice.  Saul’s troops have dropped from 2,000 to 600.  Additionaly, the people of God don’t even have swords to go into battle.  Think about that.  Things don’t get much worse do they?  Feeling distant from God?  Not supported by enough people?  Lacking the resources you need?  That’s the time to believe that God can do anything.  The comfort we have in situations likes that is the trust that God knows all of our challenges.  In fact, He has ordained that we walked through them.  His intimate knowledge of us and our circumstances are the first step to believing that God will work

Nothing Can Hinder God 

1 Samuel 14:1 One day Jonathan the son of Saul said to the young man who carried his armor, “Come, let us go over to the Philistine garrison on the other side.” But he did not tell his father. 2 Saul was staying in the outskirts of Gibeah in the pomegranate cave at Migron. The people who were with him were about six hundred men, 3 including Ahijah the son of Ahitub, Ichabod’s brother, son of Phinehas, son of Eli, the priest of the Lord in Shiloh, wearing an ephod. And the people did not know that Jonathan had gone. 4 Within the passes, by which Jonathan sought to go over to the Philistine garrison, there was a rocky crag on the one side and a rocky crag on the other side. The name of the one was Bozez, and the name of the other Seneh. 5 The one crag rose on the north in front of Michmash, and the other on the south in front of Geba.

6 Jonathan said to the young man who carried his armor, “Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised. It may be that the Lord will work for us, for nothing can hinder the Lord from saving by many or by few.” 7 And his armor-bearer said to him, “Do all that is in your heart. Do as you wish. Behold, I am with you heart and soul.” 8 Then Jonathan said, “Behold, we will cross over to the men, and we will show ourselves to them. 9 If they say to us, ‘Wait until we come to you,’ then we will stand still in our place, and we will not go up to them. 10 But if they say, ‘Come up to us,’ then we will go up, for the Lord has given them into our hand. And this shall be the sign to us.”

Jonathan’s statement is a powerful one:  It may be that the Lord will work for us, for nothing can hinder the Lord from saving by many or by few.  Nothing can hinder God and His plans.  Nothing can get in the way.  He will accomplish His purposes whether there are many or few.  We need a faith like Jonathan’s.  Believing that the circumstances that paralyze us won’t paralyze God will helping us have greater faith that God can do anything in our lives.

The Battle Belongs to the Lord

1 Samuel 14:11 So both of them showed themselves to the garrison of the Philistines. And the Philistines said, “Look, Hebrews are coming out of the holes where they have hidden themselves.” 12 And the men of the garrison hailed Jonathan and his armor-bearer and said, “Come up to us, and we will show you a thing.” And Jonathan said to his armor-bearer, “Come up after me, for the Lord has given them into the hand of Israel.” 13 Then Jonathan climbed up on his hands and feet, and his armor-bearer after him. And they fell before Jonathan, and his armor-bearer killed them after him. 14 And that first strike, which Jonathan and his armor-bearer made, killed about twenty men within as it were half a furrow’s length in an acre of land. 15 And there was a panic in the camp, in the field, and among all the people. The garrison and even the raiders trembled, the earth quaked, and it became a very great panic.

Jonathan acts on faith.  The Philistines lower their guard, so he and his armor-bearer attack and win the battle.  God won the battle.  Jonathan just acted on faith.

For us, that is our call.  Believe God can do anything.  Know that God is aware of our challenges.  Believe that nothing will hinder God, and as we step forward in faith, recognize that the battle is won by God.

Big Picture Question:  How do we know that God can do anything?

Truth:  The Christian is called to act upon the faith that God’s power and plan will not be hindered in any personal battle, physical or spiritual.

Application:  Live knowing that God intends to display His power through you in the midst of your personal battles. 

Action:  Pray that God would enable you to see your personal battles as opportunities for God’s power to be displayed in you, through the church, and to the world.

Sunday Recap for 2/4 Big Picture Question: What is obedience?

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Sunday, February 4, Evident Grace Fellowship looked at 1 Samuel 13:8-15:

1 Samuel 13:8 He waited seven days, the time appointed by Samuel. But Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and the people were scattering from him. 9 So Saul said, “Bring the burnt offering here to me, and the peace offerings.” And he offered the burnt offering. 10 As soon as he had finished offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came. And Saul went out to meet him and greet him. 11 Samuel said, “What have you done?” And Saul said, “When I saw that the people were scattering from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines had mustered at Michmash, 12 I said, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the favor of the Lord.’ So I forced myself, and offered the burnt offering.” 13 And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the command of the Lord your God, with which he commanded you. For then the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. 14 But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought out a man after his own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be prince over his people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.” 15 And Samuel arose and went up from Gilgal. The rest of the people went up after Saul to meet the army; they went up from Gilgal to Gibeah of Benjamin.

We pursued this Big Picture Question from these verses:

Big Picture Question:  What is Obedience?

And we found these answers:

  • Obedience is Worship
  • Obedience is God’s Will
  • Obedience is Blessing

Obedience is Worship

1 Samuel 13:8 He waited seven days, the time appointed by Samuel. But Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and the people were scattering from him. 9 So Saul said, “Bring the burnt offering here to me, and the peace offerings.” And he offered the burnt offering.

Saul didn’t wait for Samuel to arrive to offer the sacrifice.  He gave into the pressure and offered it himself.  The problem was that he wasn’t allowed to do that.  God commanded that only the priests could offer a sacrifice.  Worship is an act of obedience even more than it is an act of the will.  We worship because God has commanded us to, and we worship the way God has commanded us to.  Saul violated both of those principles.

Obedience is God’s Will

1 Samuel 13:10 As soon as he had finished offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came. And Saul went out to meet him and greet him. 11 Samuel said, “What have you done?” And Saul said, “When I saw that the people were scattering from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines had mustered at Michmash, 12 I said, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the favor of the Lord.’ So I forced myself, and offered the burnt offering.”

Saul rationalizes his sin.  He blames his sin on the pressure he is enduring (the people are scattering).  He blames the threat (the Philistines).  He blames Saul for not arriving on time, and he goes with the “I never intended to do it, but I just did.  I didn’t really want to do it” excuse.  Obedience is God’s will for us no matter the circumstance.  We can’t blame our circumstances, other people, or our intentions.  It is God’s will for us to obey.

Obedience is Blessing

1 Samuel 13:13 And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the command of the Lord your God, with which he commanded you. For then the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. 14 But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought out a man after his own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be prince over his people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.” 15 And Samuel arose and went up from Gilgal. The rest of the people went up after Saul to meet the army; they went up from Gilgal to Gibeah of Benjamin.

God promised blessing to Saul and the people if they had obeyed.  We saw that in 1 Samuel 12:

12:14 if you will fear the Lord and serve him and obey his voice and not rebel against the commandment of the Lord, and if both you and the king who reigns over you will follow the Lord your God, it will be well. 15 But if you will not obey the voice of the Lord, but rebel against the commandment of the Lord, then the hand of the Lord will be against you and your king.

Since Saul disobeyed with this act of worship, God strips the kingship from him.  We too are promised blessing when we obey.  See 1 Peter 1:

1 Peter 1: 13 Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.   14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.

22 Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, 23 since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God;

Friends, we will always celebrate grace, but we are called to obey.  We are called to be holy as God is holy.  God’s grace is what enables us to obey.

Big Picture Question:  What is Obedience?

Truth:  Obedience is an act of worship where the believer enjoys God’s blessing while walking in His will.

Application:  Live knowing that your daily obedience enables you to worship God while simultaneously finding great joy in God’s will and blessing.

Action:  Pray this week to make your obedience an act of worship. 

Sunday Recap from 1/28 Big Picture Question: How do trials make us greater worshipers?

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Sunday, January 28, 2018, Evident Grace Fellowship looked at 1 Samuel 13:1-7:

1 Saul was . . . years old when he began to reign, and he reigned . . . and two years over Israel. 2 Saul chose three thousand men of Israel. Two thousand were with Saul in Michmash and the hill country of Bethel, and a thousand were with Jonathan in Gibeah of Benjamin. The rest of the people he sent home, every man to his tent. 3 Jonathan defeated the garrison of the Philistines that was at Geba, and the Philistines heard of it. And Saul blew the trumpet throughout all the land, saying, “Let the Hebrews hear.” 4 And all Israel heard it said that Saul had defeated the garrison of the Philistines, and also that Israel had become a stench to the Philistines. And the people were called out to join Saul at Gilgal.

5 And the Philistines mustered to fight with Israel, thirty thousand chariots and six thousand horsemen and troops like the sand on the seashore in multitude. They came up and encamped in Michmash, to the east of Beth-aven. 6 When the men of Israel saw that they were in trouble (for the people were hard pressed), the people hid themselves in caves and in holes and in rocks and in tombs and in cisterns, 7 and some Hebrews crossed the fords of the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead. Saul was still at Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling.

We looked at this Big Picture Question:

How do trials create greater worshipers? 

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

  • Trials Make You Thankful for Peace
  • Trials Protect Your Heart from Pride
  • Trials Make Your Fearless

Trials Make You Thankful for Peace

1 Samuel 13:1 Saul was . . . years old when he began to reign, and he reigned . . . and two years over Israel.  2 Saul chose three thousand men of Israel. Two thousand were with Saul in Michmash and the hill country of Bethel, and a thousand were with Jonathan in Gibeah of Benjamin. The rest of the people he sent home, every man to his tent.

Saul fully steps in asking now that Samuel is retired, and Israel enjoys a time of peace as Saul and his son, Jonathan, lead their armies.  Peace from trials is a gift.  In fact, if we worship and renew ourselves to God as Israel did in chapter twelve, we will have a much deeper appreciation, a heart of thanks, and posture of worship than if we complain during trials.

Trials Protect Your Heart from Pride

1 Samuel 13:3 Jonathan defeated the garrison of the Philistines that was at Geba, and the Philistines heard of it. And Saul blew the trumpet throughout all the land, saying, “Let the Hebrews hear.” 4 And all Israel heard it said that Saul had defeated the garrison of the Philistines, and also that Israel had become a stench to the Philistines. And the people were called out to join Saul at Gilgal.

Saul and Jonathan lead Israel into victory, but there is a complete lack of thanks to God in these verses.  Instead, Saul blows trumpets of victory, and Israel becomes a stench in the noses of the Philistines.  Just in reading that, you know that times are about to get worse.  When we worship amid the trials, we don’t take credit for the good times.  In fact, our hearts are protected from pride because we understand our dependence on God more.

Trials Make Your Fearless

1 Samuel 13:5 And the Philistines mustered to fight with Israel, thirty thousand chariots and six thousand horsemen and troops like the sand on the seashore in multitude. They came up and encamped in Michmash, to the east of Beth-aven. 6 When the men of Israel saw that they were in trouble (for the people were hard pressed), the people hid themselves in caves and in holes and in rocks and in tombs and in cisterns, 7 and some Hebrews crossed the fords of the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead. Saul was still at Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling.

Israel gets so scared at the oncoming battle with the Philistines, they retreat to caves and even cross BACK over the Jordan.  They literally leave Israel, and crossing the Jordan back is like walking away from God and His protection.

If we worship God in trials, we will greater understand His care and protection.  Our fear will be replaced with trust.

This is best illustrated by the promises of 1 Peter in light of Jesus’ work on behalf.

1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

1 Samuel 13:6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

We found these truths, applications, and actions from our sermon.

Big Picture Question:  How do trials create greater worshipers?

Truth:  The trials of life are intended to create a worshipful thankfulness that protects our hearts from pride and to bolster us to greater faith.

Application:  Live knowing that our moments of peace should prepare us to worship vibrantly, with no pride, and no retreat.

Action:  In peace?  Thank God, and ask Him to protect you from pride.  In trials?  Ask God to enable you to stand firm.

Sunday Recap for 1/21: Big Picture Question: How does God show His great pleasure to His children?

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Our Scripture for today is 1 Samuel 12:19-25:

1 Samuel 12: 19 And all the people said to Samuel, “Pray for your servants to the Lord your God, that we may not die, for we have added to all our sins this evil, to ask for ourselves a king.” 20 And Samuel said to the people, “Do not be afraid; you have done all this evil. Yet do not turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart. 21 And do not turn aside after empty things that cannot profit or deliver, for they are empty. 22 For the Lord will not forsake his people, for his great name’s sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you a people for himself. 23 Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you, and I will instruct you in the good and the right way. 24 Only fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you. 25 But if you still do wickedly, you shall be swept away, both you and your king.”

Our Big Picture Question is:

 How does God show His great pleasure to His children?

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

  • He makes them a people for Himself
  • He gives them Godly leaders
  • He does great things for them

Let’s look at our first answer.  We see that God shows His great pleasure to His children because…

He makes them a people for Himself

1 Samuel 12: 19 And all the people said to Samuel, “Pray for your servants to the Lord your God, that we may not die, for we have added to all our sins this evil, to ask for ourselves a king.” 20 And Samuel said to the people, “Do not be afraid; you have done all this evil. Yet do not turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart. 21 And do not turn aside after empty things that cannot profit or deliver, for they are empty. 22 For the Lord will not forsake his people, for his great name’s sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you a people for himself.

  • What was Samuel’s exhortation to Israel prior to these verses?
  • What sin did He accuse them of?
  • What is their response in verse 19?
  • How have these sins been a pattern in the life of the people of God?
  • Consider this quote from John Owen and consider how it details what Samuel is commanding the people.

If a sin has remained long corrupting your heart, if you have allowed it to abide in power and prevalency without vigorously attempting to kill it and apply healing to its wounds, this attitude is dangerous.   Have you permitted worldliness, ambition, and greediness to eat up other responsibilities instead of holding constant communion with God for a long period of time?  Have you allowed sin to defile your heart with vain, foolish, and wicked imaginations for many days?  That ongoing sin has a dangerous symptom as David said in Psalm 38:5 “My wounds stink and are corrupt because of my foolishness.”  

  • How does Samuel comfort the people?
  • What aspect of God’s character does he highlight?
  • Consider these three verses to show us how we might root out deep-seated sin in our hearts

Be silent before GodPsalm 4.4b ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent

Ask God to search youPsalm 139. Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!  24 And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!

Confess knowing you are in Christ2 Corinthians 13.5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?

  • What does it mean that God will not forsake you for His name’s sake? Consider Hebrews 6:

Hebrews 6:13 For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, 14 saying, “Surely I will bless you and multiply you.” 15 And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise. 16 For people swear by something greater than themselves, and in all their disputes an oath is final for confirmation. 17 So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, 18 so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. 19 We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul

Let’s look at our second answer.  We see that God shows His great pleasure to His children because…

He gives them Godly leaders

1 Samuel 12: 23 Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you, and I will instruct you in the good and the right way.

  • What role does Samuel see that he has in the life of the people of God?
  • How seriously does Samuel take that role?
  • How does the gravity and weight of Samuel’s responsibility and role display God’s pleasure for His children?
  • How is verse 23 connected to 19? What should that relationship look like in the life of the church?
  • Where do you see this type of relationship demonstrated and commanded in the NT?

Hebrews 13:17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.

Let’s look at our third answer.  We see that God shows His great pleasure to His children because…

He does great things for them

1 Samuel 12: 24 Only fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you. 25 But if you still do wickedly, you shall be swept away, both you and your king.”

  • What is the intersection of faith and fear look like?
  • What is the motivation for obedience in verse 24?
  • What is Samuel’s warning?
  • What are New Testament encouragements that are similar to this? Consider James 2:

James 2: 14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

  • How is James’ explanation of faith similar to Samuel’s exhortation?
  • What is the application that James gives?

Consider also 1 John 4:

I John 4 20 By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; 20 for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. 21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; 22 and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 24 Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.

  • How are the promises of 1 John also similar to Samuel and James?
  • How do these commands and promises work themselves out among the people of God?

Big Picture Question:  How does God show His great pleasure to His children?

Truth: God demonstrates His great pleasure to His children by making us a people for Himself, who He then equips with Godly leaders, to proclaim the great things that He has done and is doing.

Application: Live knowing that you spend each minute of each and every day beneath the undying and unending pleasure of God because of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

Action:  Begin your days this week with the recognition that God’s love is going to be poured out to you and through you. 

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