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The Lord's Goodness in the Midst of Challenging Circumstances!

July 28, 2019

 

 

SERMON NOTES

 

The Lord's Goodness in the Midst of Challenging Circumstances! 
Acts 12:1-11

 

"About that time Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church. 2 He killed James the brother of John with the sword, 3 and when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. This was during the days of Unleavened Bread. 4 And when he had seized him, he put him in prison, delivering him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out to the people. 5 So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church. 6 Now when Herod was about to bring him out, on that very night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison. 7 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And the chains fell off his hands. 8 And the angel said to him, “Dress yourself and put on your sandals.” And he did so. And he said to him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.” 9 And he went out and followed him. He did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. 10 When they had passed the first and the second guard, they came to the iron gate leading into the city. It opened for them of its own accord, and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel left him.11 When Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I am sure that the Lord has sent His angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.” (Acts 12:1-11, ESV)

 

Marwan Aboul-Zelof
Lead Pastor
City Bible Church, Beirut, Lebanon 

 

Jordan Crews 
SE Regional Director – Diaspora Training, 
Training Leaders International, Atlanta, GA.
 

 

 

LIFEGROUP NOTES

 

The Lord's Goodness in the Midst of Challenging Circumstances!

 

This weekend’s sermon was about how Christians often become overwhelmed with challenging circumstances.  In a hectic-paced world filled with chaos and confusion, this weekend’s sermon could not have been more practical or focused on an application for today’s Christian. But the practice of Christians making problems bigger than God is not new, in fact, one of the clearest examples of this can be seen in the Old Testament. As a group, let’s turn to 2 Kings 6 and read verses 8-23.

 

The Problem:


1.  What do we see from vv.8-11 that starts this whole confrontation? The King of Syria has just discovered a spy operating in his camp. Let’s take a moment and examine the King’s state of mind.


2.  We see from v.11 that the King was greatly troubled at this revelation. As a group, discuss other words that you would use to describe the King’s 
possible state of mind or his emotions.


3.  Typically, how does one react when they are feeling the emotions and the state of mind described above?


4.  Based on the King’s state of mind, we can expect pretty strong action to be taken. What does it imply about the king of Syria when it says that he sent a “great” army with chariots and horses just to capture one man?


The Natural Response to the Problem:


5.  Read v.15 as a group.  What do you think the servant’s state of mind and emotions are at this point?


6.  Place yourself in the position of Elisha’s servant in v.15.  How do you think you would have responded to walking outside and seeing this “great” army?


7.  Discuss as a group why it is so easy for us to make our issues greater than God and why we usually try to handle them ourselves.


The Faith-based Response to the Problem:


8.  The servant responded is a way that most of us would…by looking at the circumstances of the problem. As a group, summarize what Elisha  tells his servant in v16.

 

9.  Discuss how v.14 and v.17 work together. Specifically, what picture do they paint for us about our problems -vs- our God?


Impact Statement:


This passage is a great example of how we often act when confronted with challenging circumstances.  It is also a great example of how we should act in these circumstances.  As people of faith, there should not be a difference between how we do act and how we should act—but often there is.  We should not be overwhelmed with the scope of our problem. Instead, we should look for God’s provision in every difficult situation. God will confront the enemies of His people. Elisha demonstrates for us a faith that dwarfs the issue he is facing.  He prays for God to strike the army with blindness and then, without evidence they were actually blind, he walks right up to those sent to capture him and starts a conversation! He had faith that God was greater than the issues that he faced, and that God would answer his prayers!  This is how we can respond in faith—knowing that we have a faithful God who fights for us.
 

 

 

 

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