Sermon Based Group Homework
For the message on February 10, 2019
Passage: Hebrews 11:1-40
This Sunday, Mike continued our discussion about what a Biblical faith looks like when tough times come our way.
GETTING TO KNOW YOU
1. What was the most difficult challenge you faced growing up? How has that challenge shaped who you are today?
2. How have the various trials in your life served to strengthen your faith and devotion to Christ?
LET’S GO DEEPER
1. In the message Sunday, Mike explained that our faith is best measured by our obedience rather than the earthly outcomes in our lives. One of the great stories in the Old Testament is about three young men who exhibited great faith in God without any guarantee about the outcome. Read the story below, then answer the questions below.
Daniel 3:8-18 (ESV)
8 Therefore at that time certain Chaldeans came forward and maliciously accused the Jews. 9 They declared to King Nebuchadnezzar, “O king, live forever! 10 You, O king, have made a decree, that every man who hears the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, shall fall down and worship the golden image. 11 And whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast into a burning fiery furnace. 12 There are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These men, O king, pay no attention to you; they do not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” 13 Then Nebuchadnezzar in furious rage commanded that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought. So they brought these men before the king. 14 Nebuchadnezzar answered and said to them, “Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I have set up? 15 Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, to fall down and worship the image that I have made, well and good. But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands?” 16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. 18 But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”
- What did these three men believe God was able to do?
- In verse 18, they said, “But if not.” What do you think these three guys believed about God and the nature of faith in God?
- Have you reached a place in your faith journey where you will trust God “even if” your obedience doesn’t eliminate or rescue us from the difficult situations we face in life?
2. Mike explained that faith helps guide us through the various trials that we face and keep our hearts devoted to the Lord. What do the following verses tell us about the value of faith in our lives?
Ephesians 6:16 (ESV)
16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;
1 Peter 1:6-7 (ESV)
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.
James 1:2-4 (ESV)
2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
- What have you learned about God through the various trials you have experienced?
3. Mike finished his message by reminding us that God is good no matter what happens. He said, “Don’t let your circumstances define who God is and what He’s like. Instead, let the character of God help you view and persevere through your circumstances.” What do the following verses in Psalm 102 tell us about the nature and character of God in the midst of our trials?
Psalm 73:1-28 (ESV)
1 Truly God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. 2 But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped. 3 For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. 4 For they have no pangs until death; their bodies are fat and sleek. 5 They are not in trouble as others are; they are not stricken like the rest of mankind. 6 Therefore pride is their necklace; violence covers them as a garment. 7 Their eyes swell out through fatness; their hearts overflow with follies. 8 They scoff and speak with malice; loftily they threaten oppression. 9 They set their mouths against the heavens, and their tongue struts through the earth. 10 Therefore his people turn back to them, and find no fault in them. 11 And they say, “How can God know? Is there knowledge in the Most High?” 12 Behold, these are the wicked; always at ease, they increase in riches. 13 All in vain have I kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence. 14 For all the day long I have been stricken and rebuked every morning. 15 If I had said, “I will speak thus,” I would have betrayed the generation of your children. 16 But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, 17 until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end. 18 Truly you set them in slippery places; you make them fall to ruin. 19 How they are destroyed in a moment, swept away utterly by terrors! 20 Like a dream when one awakes, O Lord, when you rouse yourself, you despise them as phantoms. 21 When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in heart, 22 I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast toward you. 23 Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. 24 You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory. 25 Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. 26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. 27 For behold, those who are far from you shall perish; you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you. 28 But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.
- What encouragement do you get from this Psalm regarding the difficulties you are experiencing now?
TAKE IT HOME
1. Looking back at this week’s teaching and study, is there one thing you’d especially like to remember this week?
2. Do you have any prayer requests for your group?