But God Meant it For Good Part 2
March 7, 2016 | by: Dave Maniquis | 0 Comments
Posted in: Sermon Questions
PARTICIPANT'S GUIDE FOR COMMUNITY GROUP GATHERINGS
Message: But God Meant it For Good Part 2 - March 6th, 2016
Series: Philippians: Finding Joy in the Circumstances of Life
Speaker: Anthony Orzo
Sermon Questions Prepared by: Dave Maniquis
Main Passage: Philippians 1:12-14- Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. 13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 14 And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.
Cross Referenced Passage: Philippians 1:21- For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
Launching Discussion: Speak about something you wanted so badly that you devoted most of your time, attention and mental life to obtaining it but it turned out to be disappointing in the end.
It’s rather easy to develop a “faith crisis” when you actually have devoted yourself to Jesus and living out your faith. Even though we may not want to admit it, we always risk having an expectation from God for our faithfulness. The sermon spoke of false or unrealistic expectations and their effect on a relationship.
1. Based on God’s character and your knowledge of His written Word, what invalid expectations do you have or have had? What valid ones?
Aside from Jesus, the New Testament portrays John the Baptist and Paul as people who “died to self.” Their total identity was wrapped up in Jesus. The hardships they experienced for their commitment to Christ are ones that genuine Christians through the ages have undergone. We have brothers and sisters in Christ undergoing such hardships, perhaps even worse, throughout the world right now. The theme of Anthony’s sermon could be simply called “The Bottom Line.”
2. In other words, the bottom line is what is your Bottom Line? Is it Jesus + something else?
- Name the something else(s) and explain why and how you think they compete with your total affection for Christ and His purposes?
- What kind of plan do you have to shed that “something else(s)?”
If we ignore the biblical doctrine of suffering (verse) clearly given us by Jesus and the Apostles, life’s circumstances can “wreck us” as the sermon mentioned. As Anthony put it, “This is where logic and good theology go out the window. This is where we surface the unhealthy root of the joy problem some of us suffer from.” *(See additional note below)
3. How has this week’s sermon, and the series generally, helped you to see how joy should and can work in your life as a Christian?
In speaking about the aftermath, and continuing condition of his son Aiden, Anthony stated, “In His Grace and over time God reminded me that it is OK for our circumstances to cause us to question Him. He makes a place for that in our lives and promises to walk with us through those seasons. He did just that for me.”
4. Have you ever, or do you now, feel angry and then guilty about questioning God for allowing hardships in your life that you feel are unfair or inexplicable?
5. Based on the main passage, sermon and knowing that Jesus is always in tune with your heart, how might your conversations with God be different.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4)
*Tim Keller has voiced something that highlights this deep biblical truth. To paraphrase, “we always pray for the removal of hardship or suffering for joy to be restored. However, according to God’s perfect purposes it’s the hardship and suffering that brings you to that place of joy.” Now, and for eternity.