|Real Hope Study Guide for 1-21-2018
Sermon Notes and Study Guide for this week
This week Mandy was back sharing how her life has been impacted and changed after being seen by millions over the media. The backdrop of her experience was a lot different than what everyone saw on the surface. Her new found fame was amazing, but at the same time very hard. However, each of the challenges she experienced helped strengthen her purpose and faith in God.
Question: Think of an time in your life when an event in your life turned out completely different than what you thought it would. It can be something you experienced or someone you know.
Suggested reading Isaiah 14:24, 46:10 and Daniel 4:35
1. Mandy shared that the most significant thing she has learned from her experiences is the importance of understanding God is in control. How do these verses explain the control God has? What do these verses say about his will and purpose in our lives?
a. The concept of the control of God over everything is called the “sovereignty” of God. Nothing gives us strength and confidence like an understanding of the sovereignty of God in our lives.
b. God’s sovereignty is defined as His complete and total independent control over every creature, event, and circumstance at every moment in history. Subject to none, influenced by none, absolutely independent, God does what He pleases, only as He pleases, always as He pleases.
c. God is in complete control of every molecule in the universe at every moment, and everything that happens is either caused or allowed by Him for His own perfect purposes.
d. Nothing is random or comes by chance, especially not in the lives of believers. He “purposed” it. That means to deliberately resolve to do something.
e. God has resolved to do what He will do, and nothing and no one stands in His way. This is our powerful, purposeful God who is in control of everything. That should bring us great comfort and help to alleviate our fears.
Suggested reading Romans 8:28 and Daniel 11:32
Question: How can we learn to trust God more and strengthen us in the challenges we face in a broken/sinful world?
a. God is unlimited in power, unrivalled in majesty, and not thwarted by anything outside Himself. Our God is in complete control of all circumstances, causing or allowing them for His own good purposes and plans to be fulfilled exactly as He has foreordained.
b. Imagine the kind of power we can have as in the Daniel passage. We can rejoice in our God’s sovereignty, because it is overshadowed by His goodness, His love, His mercy, His compassion, His faithfulness, and His holiness.
c. You can’t trust someone we don’t know, and there is only one way to know God—through His Word.
d. There is no magic formula to make us spiritual giants overnight, no mystical prayer to pray three times a day to mature us, build our faith, and make us towers of strength and confidence. There is only the Bible, the single source of power that will change our lives from the inside out.
e. It takes effort, diligent, everyday effort, to know the God who controls everything. If we drink deeply of His Word and let it fill our minds and hearts, the sovereignty of God will become clear to us, and we will rejoice in it because we will know intimately and trust completely the God who controls all things for His perfect purpose.
Suggested reading John 14:17, 1 Peter 1:1-9 and Romans 12:2
Question: Mandy and Pastor Justin shared that we must take a “leap of faith” in our lives at times. How can we prepare ourselves to take those steps of faith?
a. Those of us who have given their lives to Christ have come to realize that success does not come from our own human attempts; we always fail. 1 Corinthians 4:7 reminds us, “What makes you better than anyone else? What do you have that God hasn’t given you? And if all you have is from God, why boast as though you have accomplished something on your own?”
b. Without God, we are left to our own resources, which plague us with pride, stubbornness, indifference, insensitivity, and failure. The only one we can count on who absolutely will not fail us is God. Read Hebrews 13:5.
c. We should ask Him to reveal Himself to us and change us. The Bible promises that if we seek God, we will find Him (Matthew 7:7). And if we allow Him to, He will transform us into new people who can know His will.
d. If our trust in God is going to grow, we have to learn to step out in faith, moving out of our comfort zone and taking chances. If we believe that God will sustain us for that day, we can be free to carry out His will, regardless of the consequences.
Suggested reading Matthew 6:23 and Philippians 4:19
Question: During Mandy’s interview Pastor Justin shared that we should seek God’s Kingdom first. What does that mean? How can we apply this to our lives?
a. The verse’s meaning is as direct as it sounds. We are to seek the things of God as a priority over the things of the world.
b. Primarily, it means we are to seek the salvation that is inherent in the kingdom of God because it is of greater value than all the world’s riches.
c. If we are taking care of God’s business as a priority—seeking His salvation, living in obedience to Him, and sharing the good news of the kingdom with others—then He will take care of our business as He promised.
d. God has promised to provide for His own, supplying every need, but His idea of what we need is often different from ours, and His timing will only occasionally meet our expectations. For example, we may see our need as riches or advancement, but perhaps God knows that what we truly need is a time of poverty, loss or solitude.
e. When this happens, we are in good company. God loved both Job and Elijah, but He allowed Satan to absolutely pound Job (all under His watchful eye), and He let that evil woman, Jezebel, break the spirit of His own prophet Elijah (Job 1–2; 1 Kings 18–19). In both cases, God followed these trials with restoration and sustenance.
Suggested reading Matthew 22:37-40
Question: Mandy shared more than once that she has learned to live out her purpose in everything she does. How does this passage help us better understand our purpose as followers of Christ?
a. We must love God and follow him with more than just our minds. To truly understand having a relationship with God we must pursue him with our entire being, with all of our heart, soul and mind.
b. But just as seeking God with all your being it is also imperative to love others as a mark of a true Christian (John 13:35: “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”).
c. In fact, Christians cannot claim to love God if they don’t actively love other people as well. “If someone says, ‘I love God’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who doesn’t love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen” (1 John 4:20).
d. By following these this simple but profound command we can understand and live out the purpose God has designed for our life.
Next Steps: While reading through the plan listed below, reflect on the following:
- Let go of control, especially turn those things you can’t control over to God.
- Learn from others and what you read in the scriptures to rely on God for “what you actually need” instead of what the world offers.
- Start seeking God with all of your heart, soul and mind.
- Look for ways you can encourage and love on others.