2021 and Beyond: God is so powerful…so rest easy.
This week’s message is about God’s power. Because He is all powerful, we can rest easy knowing He can handle anything and everything. This is a message that has the potential to get people through a very difficult week.
Bottom-line: Thanksgiving is our response to the works of God.
Something To Talk About:
Want to know how to rest easy during uncertain times? The Biblical truth in this week’s message teaches us how to trust God when we need to most.
- Listen when God speaks: We face countless needs and opportunities in life. With each one, we are invited to inquire of God and listen for His response. Hearing God’s voice requires a listening heart. Mastering the art of listening is one of our greatest challenges. It is a challenge because we tend to jump in and finish people’s sentences or thoughts. It takes discipline to remain silent. As we are working to refine this area of our life, we should consider how often we do this to God. How often do we cut God off, assuming I already know what is going to be said? Do I try to put words into God’s mouth? Do we really listen when God talks.
- Embrace good and reject evil: It is a wonderful thing that, if you believe and teach the straightforward truths of the Bible, you will spare yourself learning some lessons the hard way. If you want to be useful for the kingdom, you don’t need to be an expert in theology or have several seminary degrees, you need to separate good from evil. Christians need to embrace good and reject evil. Compared to the world’s way of doing things, Jesus’ primary warfare principle of overcoming evil with good is revolutionary, and He proved it over and over throughout His life and His death. “Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.”(Romans 12:21).
- Depend on God and not yourself: We are told from very early on to be independent and self-reliant, preferably efficient and successful. That’s what’s expected of us, right? Then comes Christianity and tells us the opposite: depend on God, not on yourself. C.S. Lewis points out “Relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing had yet been done.” That’s how dependent on God we truly are. We need God every step of the way and every breath we take. Everything we are, everything we have, is a gift from God. “Not that we are sufficiently qualified in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency and qualifications come from God.”(2 Corinthians 2:3-5 AMP) Dependency on God is a good thing. Not necessarily at the first glance but when you truly learn to rely on God, not on yourself, you learn to live joyfully in grace.
- Treat your brothers and sisters the way the father treats you: We live in a society in which we measure out things like, love, grace, and respect in the measure that it’s given to us; but the Word tells us to live otherwise. In Matthew 7:12, Jesus Himself, says “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.” Jesus, Himself, showed us what it looked like to pour out His life for others. Remember when Jesus washed His disciples’ feet in John 13? He told them to use it as an example, and to wash each other’s feet as He washed theirs. Elsewhere, we’re told that we are to serve one another in love, to love our neighbor as our self, and to give to those in need. And we’re to expect nothing in return (Luke 14:12-14). Will this be easy? No. Will this be possible? Absolutely. But only by the power of the Holy Spirit at work in our lives.
- Give thanks: When the Pilgrims celebrated their first Thanksgiving in 1621, half their original group had died. Our forebears were able to focus on God’s goodness and mercy even in the midst of trials. Perhaps they took a lesson from Paul and Silas who, while in chains in the prison at Philippi, “prayed, and sang praises unto God” (Acts 16:25). Or perhaps they were simply following the instruction of Philippians 2:5, which says,“You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.” It was Christ Who, knowing exactly what lay ahead, gave thanks on the very night in which He was betrayed. As Christians, we’re called beyond simple thanks for the good things God has sent our way. We’re also to give thanks for what He has done for us…and for who He is.
- Is being thankful really our choice ? Can we actually decide that we will be thankful people?
- Describe a time when God clearly communicated with you. Recall what He said, the means He used, and why you believed it was God.
- Read Psalm 25:8-15 and answer the following questions. What do these verses teach us that God will do and for whom?
- There are differing opinions about how God speaks to us today. He may use His Word, other people, or our circumstances to communicate with us. How has He used these methods to communicate with you?
- Evil can be defined as “anything that tempts us to do something against God.” What are some things in your life that tempt you to do something against God?
- How do you define good as it relates to spiritual matters?
- Matthew 6 is a continuation of Jesus’ magnificent Sermon on the Mount. In verses 25 – 34, He lays out the stark contrast between living a life of worry and living a life in total dependence on God the Father. It is a choice between anxiety and faith, and between trust in ourselves and trust in God. The contrasts are stark because Jesus leaves no room for compromise. We can choose one or the other, but not both. In what ways do you seek God’s kingdom first before seeking the things of this world? In what ways do you put His kingdom second?
- How is your dependence on God connected to gratitude?
- Think of someone you know whose life is marked by gratitude. How do they express gratitude?
- Why is thankfulness an important part of the Christian life? What ways do you give thanks on a regular basis in your life?
- What keeps you from thanksgiving? How often during the day do you find yourself grumbling and complaining? How can you foster a thankful heart and an appreciation for God’s work in your life today?
- Reflect with your group on what have you learned from this message. Has anything surprised you? Have you learned something new?
- Share with your group any changes you want to make as a result of hearing this sermon?
Take one thing home with you:
Sing. How often so we sing to God?
All of us have moments when we feel discouraged by life’s circumstances. Our loved ones may try to lighten our load or lift our spirits, but unfortunately, their efforts can fall short. We wonder if we will ever emerge from today’s trying situation with our joy intact. “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” (Psalm 42:11 NIV) Psalm 74:14 (NLT) adds, “But I will keep on hoping for your help; I will praise you more and more.”
It’s good to know that our Father invites us to confide in Him, to share our feelings honestly in prayer. He cares for us and understands our needs and weaknesses. We can draw near to Him by singing psalms or hymns, or reflecting on His goodness and speaking well of Him. Of course, there are times when this may seem too difficult, but even whispering a prayer of praise can usher in a sense of liberty and peace.