THE SOUL-RESTORING INTIMACY OF GOD
SERMON DISCUSSION | Isaiah 43:1-4
Pastor Ryan Buss
Pastor Ryan starting by discussing the different seasons of a church’s life, and how the Fall is a big time of growth for the church. He cast some vision for the Fall and some of the exciting things we are engaging in as a church. One of the biggest things we are planning is to multiply our morning service into two: 9am & 11am.
What is your favorite season of the year? What makes it your favorite?
I. Redeemed [v. 1]
Ryan helped to frame the context of Isaiah 43:1-4 by reminding us that God is calling His people to remember who He is and who they are in relationship with Him. God’s people were in exile in an enemy country and had many reasons to fear and lose hope and forget Him. Ryan retold some of the story of Israel and of God’s relationship with His people.
What parts of Israel’s story tends to resonate with you in your life?
Ryan then went on to talk about our own stories and how each of us and our stories have been formed by God to bring Him the most glory and honor, and to allow His gospel to shine through us in beauty. Telling our stories and remembering the LORD in it will help us as we experience difficulties and trials in our lives, and to not forget who the LORD is. When we forget it is easy to begin to doubt and despair.
What are some parts of your story that you often remember the LORD in? How does remembering that encourage you?
II. Rescued [v.2]
God gives His people the promise that they will experience trials in their lives, but also that He will be with them in it, and He will preserve them through it to the end.
What are some recent trials that you have experienced where you have seen and felt the presence and preservation of God in your life? How did that influence your relationship with Jesus?
What are circumstances or things that tend to overwhelm you? That tend to cause you pain? How does God help us in those times?
Ryan brought up the fact that fire in the Bible is also equated with the tongue, citing James 3.
How have you experienced the biting and piercing of words in your life? How have you experienced the joy and encouragement that comes from words?
We are brought into trials so that we might share in the suffering of Christ, and so that we might comfort others with His comfort. Who in your life can you bring the comfort of Christ to?
III. Ransomed [vs.3-4]
God end this text by describing how much His people mean to Him, how much they are worth in His eyes. What is something that you have that you felt like you paid too much money for? Why? What is something in your life that you feel you got a great price on?
God uses three words to describe what His people mean to Him in [v. 4]:
Which one of these three words resonates with your soul the most right now? How does this bring your encouragement? Which one is the hardest for you to believe about yourself? Why?
How does this help us in pursuing intimacy with Jesus? Do you have any action plans for pursuing Christ in your life in a new way?
IV. Pray for one another
BE A CHRISTIAN HEDONIST
What Is Christian Hedonism?
My shortest summary of Christian Hedonism is: God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.
We all make a god out of what we take the most pleasure in. Christian Hedonists want to make God their God by seeking after the greatest pleasure — pleasure in him.
By Christian Hedonism, we do not mean that our happiness is the highest good. We mean that pursuing the highest good will always result in our greatest happiness in the end. We should pursue this happiness, and pursue it with all our might. The desire to be happy is a proper motive for every good deed, and if you abandon the pursuit of your own joy, you cannot love man or please God.
The Difference Between Worldly and Christian Hedonism
Some people are inclined to believe that Christians are supposed to seek God’s will as opposed to pursuing their own pleasure. But what makes biblical morality different than worldly hedonism is not that biblical morality is disinterested and duty-driven, but that it is interested in vastly greater and purer things. Christian Hedonism is biblical morality because it recognizes that obeying God is the only route to final and lasting happiness. Here are some examples of this from the Bible:
Luke 6:35 says, “Love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great.” It is clear when Jesus says “expect nothing in return” that we should not be motivated by worldly aggrandizement, but we are given strength to suffer loss by the promise of a future reward.
Again, in Luke 14:12–14: “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your kinsmen or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return, and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor . . . and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. You will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.” That is, don’t do good deeds for worldly advantage; rather, do them for spiritual, heavenly benefits.
Should Duty Be Our Main Motivation?
But some will say, “No, no. These texts only describe what reward will result if you act disinterestedly. They do not teach us to actually seek the reward.”
Two answers to this objection:
1) It would be foolish to say, “If you take this pill, I’ll give you a nickel,” if you expect the desire for the nickel to ruin the pill. But Jesus was not foolish. He would not offer blessing to those who obey him and then hold it against us if these blessings motivated our obedience.
2) Even more importantly, there are texts that not only commend that we do good in the hope of future blessing, but command it.
Luke 12:33 says, “Sell your possessions, and give alms; provide yourselves with purses that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail.” The connection here between alms and having eternal treasure in heaven is not a chance result — it is the explicit purpose: “Make it your aim to have treasure in heaven, and the way to do this is to sell your possessions and give alms.”
And again, Luke 16:9 says, “Make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous mammon, so that when it fails they may receive you into eternal habitations.” Luke does not say that the result of using possessions properly is to receive eternal habitations. He says, “Make it your aim to secure an eternal habitation by the way you use your possessions.”
Therefore, a resounding NO to the belief that morality should be inspired more by duty than delight.
Don’t Be Too Easily Satisfied
Hebrews 11:6 teaches, “Without faith it is impossible to please [God]. For whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” You cannot please God if you do not come to him looking for reward. Therefore, faith that pleases God is the hedonistic pursuit of God.
As Christian Hedonists we know that everyone longs for happiness. And we will never tell them to deny or repress that desire. It is never a problem to want to be satisfied. The problem is being satisfied too easily. We believe that everyone who longs for satisfaction should no longer seek it from money or power or lust, but should come glut their soul-hunger on the grace of God. We will bend all our effort, by the Holy Spirit, to persuade people:
- that they can be happier in giving than receiving (Acts 20:35);
- that they should count everything as loss for the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus their Lord (Philippians 3:8);
- that the aim of all of Jesus’s commandments is that their joy be full (John 15:11);
- that if they delight themselves in the Lord he will give them the desire of their heart (Psalm 37:4);
- that there is great gain in godliness with contentment (1 Timothy 6:6);
- and that the joy of the Lord is their strength (Nehemiah 8:10).
We will not try to motivate anyone with appeals to mere duty. We will tell them that in God’s presence is full and lasting joy (Psalm 16:11) and our only duty is to come to him, seeking this pleasure.
This article may be originally found at Desiring God as adapted from John Piper’s article, Christian Hedonism: Forgive the Label, But Don’t Miss the Truth.
THE GLORY OF GOD
SERMON DISCUSSION | Ephesians 1:3-14
Spend some time catching up on each others lives. Summer can be a busy season and your group may not be spending as much time with each other as you normally do.
What was one thing that made you laugh this week (or since you last met)? Why?
What was a high moment from last week? What was a low moment from last week?
This week we had a guest speaker, Pastor Joel Webbon from the Response Church. His sermon was geared primarily towards turning our attention to the riches of the glory of God.
Joel shared that he grew up in a church that was primarily man-centered and not God-centered. What do you think a man-centered church would look like (it’s songs, it’s sermons, it’s conversations)? Can anyone relate to a church-going experience like this?
What are some differences you have seen between your church growing up (if you had one) and being a part of The Resolved?
Joel shared an often-quoted (but not often discussed) statement made by John Piper: God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him. Do you agree with this idea?
What does it mean to be most satisfied in God? How would that show itself in a Christian’s life?
I. Saved for God’s Glory
Joel spoke about how we can forget our salvation is part of a bigger story that is telling the glories of God, and how wonderful He is, especially the wonder and glory of His grace. Joel described God’s grace as the summit or peak of the glory of God.
When you hear the words “the glory of God”, what comes to mind?
In this Scripture passage the phrase “the praise of his glory” is used several times, as well as “the praise of his glorious grace” and “the riches of his grace”, in connection with our salvation.
Have you ever thought of God’s grace as being the pinnacle of His glory?
How does this differentiate the God of the Bible from the gods of other religions?
Joel said God orchestrates everything for the highest degree of His glory and heightening the praise of His people. Have you ever experienced God heightening your praise?
Has there been a particular circumstance or season in your life where you felt God was causing you to enjoy Him more than you had before? What did that look like?
II. Sealed for God’s Glory
In this section, Joel emphasized the spiritual security of the believer, and how that pointed to God’s concern for His own glory as well as His profound love for us.
Joel said God will not allow our salvation to rest on our own will and work so therefore we can be secure. How does the lifting of this burden from our shoulders give us security?
As Christians we often know in our heads that we are secure, but we don’t feel like its true. What sort of things, both externally and internally, prevent us from personally experiencing a feeling of security with God?
Do you think God wants you to feel secure? Why? Reading through verses 11-14 might help answer this question.
III. Viewing Our Sins Through the Lens of God’s Glory
We can view our sin through two different biblical lenses:
- The love of God: sin destroys that which God loves.
- The glory of God: sin perpetuates a lie about who God truly is.
Which lens do you normally look through? Why do you think that is?
When we are faced with sin, in ourselves or in others, what are some practical steps we can take to filter that sin through these two important lenses? What are some things we might need to say to ourselves or to others?
Read 2 Corinthians 7:10.
How do godly grief and worldly grief differ?
Assuming we have all experienced both kinds, how can you tell them apart in your own life? Reading through the rest of 2 Corinthians 7:10-16 might help solidify things.
Pray that God would open the eyes of our hearts to see that our own salvation story is part of the greater story of God revealing His glory.
Ask the Holy Spirit to give us a deeper experience of the absolute security we have in God through Jesus Christ.
Seek wisdom in viewing sin the way that God views sin.
Praise God for revealing His glory in the grace we have all received through the Cross of Christ!
YOUR GOODNESS & MERCY
PS 23:6a | SERMON DISCUSSION
Psalm 23 has taken us to some enlightening places, some dark places and David is now arriving at much more pleasant places. As we start verse 6 of the Psalm David presents to us God’s goodness and mercy.
What are somethings that could be argued seem universally good? What are some things that seem universally beautiful? (Duane gave the example of a sunset.)
Let’s back up to verse 5 and get a running start at verse 6:
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever. – Psalm 23:5-6
Duane had three main points to hit about God’s goodness and mercy
I. The Good God
II. The Good Mercy
III. The Good One
THE GOOD GOD
On the first page of the Bible we’re shown God as good. Through the act of creation He is shown as the creator and the source for each creation, which He deems “good” (Gen 1:31).
What does it say about God that He creates “good” things?
James 1:17, Romans 8:28, Matthew 7:11, Romans 12:2 all point to God as being good and the supply of good.
Where do you turn to when you’re looking for something good? Where do you point others?
Duane pointed out that it’s popular to think of “good” as an entity itself (e.g. “they are a force for good”, “it’s good versus evil”). Consequently we can think that God just shares some attributes of good.
What could be the danger of thinking of good as an entity? What analogy could you use to explain God’s relationship to goodness?
THE GOOD MERCY
Duane pointed out that our view of the word mercy may be smaller than it should. He defined the word mercy here as "a never stopping, never giving up, unbreakable, always and forever love."
How is that different from your understanding of mercy? Is it different from the popular definition of mercy?
David observed that “goodness and mercy will surely follow me”. He was assured and confident of God’s mercy.
How would you live if you thought God’s mercy was a one time event to you? What is different if it’s a continual ongoing in your life?
THE GOOD ONE
In Luke 18:18 Jesus is asked about goodness. A young ruler asks what does he have to do to receive eternal life. Jesus points him to the ten commandments, a veritable definition of what it would take to be “good.”
Have you ever made a serious effort to keep all the commandments? Were you able to? Why are we given the commandments if we can’t keep them?
God is good, and He also just. He cannot let an offense, an evil go without consequence.
Culture has a high view of justice, but a low view of consequences, why do you think that is?
As a result, Jesus lived a perfectly good life, so He can exchange us all his goodness for our badness and also accept our punishment.
Why is Jesus able to accept the punishment for all who believe not just one person? What does it say about God that still exacts punishment, even when it’s on His son?
Pray with our group that you would live knowing the God’s goodness and mercy have you covered eternally. That we as a church would reflect His goodness to San Diego.
FOUNTAINS OF BLESSING
The water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life. — John 4:14
The picture our Lord described here is not that of a simple stream of water, but an overflowing fountain. Continue to “be filled” (Ephesians 5:18) and the sweetness of your vital relationship to Jesus will flow as generously out of you as it has been given to you. If you find that His life is not springing up as it should, you are to blame— something is obstructing the flow. Was Jesus saying to stay focused on the Source so that you may be blessed personally? No, you are to focus on the Source so that out of you “will flow rivers of living water”— irrepressible life (John 7:38).
We are to be fountains through which Jesus can flow as “rivers of living water” in blessing to everyone. Yet some of us are like the Dead Sea, always receiving but never giving, because our relationship is not right with the Lord Jesus. As surely as we receive blessings from Him, He will pour out blessings through us. But whenever the blessings are not being poured out in the same measure they are received, there is a defect in our relationship with Him. Is there anything between you and Jesus Christ? Is there anything hindering your faith in Him? If not, then Jesus says that out of you “will flow rivers of living water.” It is not a blessing that you pass on, or an experience that you share with others, but a river that continually flows through you. Stay at the Source, closely guarding your faith in Jesus Christ and your relationship to Him, and there will be a steady flow into the lives of others with no dryness or deadness whatsoever.
Is it excessive to say that rivers will flow out of one individual believer? Do you look at yourself and say, “But I don’t see the rivers”? Through the history of God’s work you will usually find that He has started with the obscure, the unknown, the ignored, but those who have been steadfastly true to Jesus Christ.
SERMON DISCUSSION | PS 23:5d
I. The Filling Cup
- What does it look like to have a filled cup in life?
- God starts by forming and then filling the universe. He forms and fills the universe out of the overflow of His being. How do we see God doing this in Genesis 1?
- Are you a glass is half full or half empty person? Why? What do you think God is?
- Why did God create anything at all? What does this tell us about His character?
- Why is it important for us to remember that God is a God who fills? What might this do for our spiritual life with Him?
II. The Deadly Cup
- Cups in the Bible are also used to talk about “cups of wrath”. Cups can be used to describe blessing and curses.
- There are two cups in the Bible: the cup of life and love, the cup of sin and darkness. Why do we often choose the 2nd cup? How does this cup play out in your life?
- How does sin deceive us into thinking it is good? Do you know your own particular temptations which deceive you? How does God help you to fight them?
- The Bible describes how without Him, we are all drinking of the cup of sin and darkness and that God has reserved the cup of His wrath prepared for us if we do not repent.
III. The Overflowing Cup
- Jesus comes to us and drinks the cup of Gods wrath for us. In His resurrection He gives us the cup of His life and blessing. How does Jesus’ cup of life keep us filled? How do we drink from His cup?
-Why does Jesus’ cup the only cup which fully and continually satisfy us?
- Have you experienced this kind of overflowing? What was that like?
- Joyful emotion is the expression of the overflow. Is this your posture in life today? Why or why not?
- God made us for life, to have a full and happy life! We can only be truly and eternally happy if our happiness is rooted and found in Him.
IV. Pray for one another to have this kind of happy and full life in Christ!
AUDIO/VISUAL SERVICE OPPORTUNITIES
It is so humbling to me that the perfect Creator has trusted us at The Resolved Church with the resources that He has: a sound board, video cameras, computers, and the plethora of other equipment we use week in and week out to make a Sunday service happen. Not only do the servants of the Audio/Visual Ministry put in valuable and joyous time on every Sunday for The Resolved Church family and visitors, they do it very well.
I love nothing more than serving alongside those people every month, a team of Jesus followers that are passionate about sharing the Gospel in the 21st century and all that entails. This year, we are trying to build a filming studio, run multiple cameras on Sunday for a seamless multi-angle sermon video, and do monthly ministry videos to keep our growing family in tune with our church culture.
We are looking for 2 people to help with uploading video, operating cameras, and editing video.
“Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world. It controls our thoughts, minds, hearts, and spirits” (Martin Luther). On Sundays we make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation (Psalm 95), and it is the pinnacle of my week. Our musicians are seeping with skillful talent (Psalm 33:3), and their voices are, quite literally, music to my ears. When our speakers are pounding, the lyrics on the screen for all to sing His praise, and the congregation is making a joyful noise, and often times even dancing (Psalm 149:3), and it brings joyful softening to my heart to know that these faithful servants are a part of bringing a smile to the Lords face.
We are looking for 4 people to help us with slideshow, lights, and sound board tech on Sundays.
No previous experience in any of these crafts is desired or required, if you think you would like to be a part of this, or just have some questions, shoot me an email .
Dylan Milroy (Audiovisual & Facilities Director)
MERCY MINISTRY VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES
The Resolved Church Mercy Ministry hosts a dinner every Tuesday night at 6:00pm for our local homeless community. We are looking for more individuals and community groups to come serve with us! Volunteers are essential for us to continue to serve our community's underprivileged.
Even if you’ve never served or are unable to commit for more than just once, you are welcome to sign up. Food and supplies will be provided. If you are interested in signing you or your community group up, please sign up at the info booth.
THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS
In 1942, C. S. Lewis wrote The Screwtape Letters, a fictional account of letters from Screwtape, a senior demon, to his nephew, Wormwood, about how to draw his assigned patient (a believer) away from the Enemy (Jesus Christ). To be clear, these letters are to be read as both satirical and provocative of Satan and his demons work while reminding us of the subtle tricks that the devil attempts to use against us.
My Dear Wormwood,
Keep everything hazy in his mind... Keep him in that state as long as you can.
We want him to be in the maximum uncertainty, so that his mind will be filled with contradictory pictures of the future, every one of which arouses hope or fear.
There is nothing like suspense and anxiety for barricading a human's mind
against the Enemy. He wants men to be concerned with what they do; our business is to keep them thinking about what will happen to them.
It is funny how mortals always picture us as putting things into their minds: in reality our work is done by keeping things out.
As always, the first thing is to keep knowledge out.... To produce the best results from your patient... you must feed him with false hopes.
You Affectionate Uncle,
THE DANGER AND GRACE OF NO HOPE
SERMON DISCUSSION | Psalm 92
Dave Maddox began his sermon by defining hope as a “valued expectation”, as well as a “hope for something that is better or favorable”.
How does culture define hope? What are some things that you hope for?
After explaining the definition of hope, Dave elaborated by stating that there are three facets of hope that help to personify its role in relation to others, ourselves, and God. First off, hope has the tendency to bring life, especially in the context of the Christian’s walk. Next, we as saints can become tired and “die” when we drift into hopelessness, leading to thoughts that God has led us there. Lastly, hope is seen as a spiritual battle ground where we can easily be led astray and fall into despair.
Why would having hope help bring “life”? How does having hope relate to being a Christian? How does hope correlate with the doctrines of the Christian faith (i.e. sanctification, justification, etc.). What is the hope that we as Christians have?
What happens when lose hope? What does culture say we should do when we lose hope? Relating to Dave’s explanation of Pilgrim’s Progress, what does it mean to be caught in a “spiritual dungeon”? Does God intend for us to be hopeless?
Why is hope described as a “spiritual battleground”? Why do our minds become hazy? How does the state of our mind affect our perception what is true and false? How does Satan tempt us to despair when we have a hazy mindset? Why would Satan personalize temptations for each of us?
Dave continued his sermon be explaining that when are hopeless we enter dangerous territory, often due to us taking matters into our own hands. He gave the example of King Saul from 1 Samuel 13:8-13a, in which Saul attempted to fix his problems by giving a burnt offering to God when he was clearly instructed to wait for Samuel to administer the offering.
Read the passage – why did Saul want to perform the burnt offering? What were the intentions of his heart? Why do we want to try to fix our problems on our own? What does our cultural attitude of unwavering self-confidence reveal about the state of our heart towards God and his provision for us?
Dave mentioned that a clear indicator of hopelessness is when we immerse ourselves in distractions, whether that be Facebook, celebrity gossip, sports, video games, alcohol, careers, or even family. We often us these as coping mechanisms to avoid dealing with the hopelessness than seeking solutions to deal with the root cause of the problem.
What are some things that you tend to immerse yourself in? Why do we tend to avoid dealing with our problems? What does it mean to have a “coping mechanism”? What is the end result of relying on a coping mechanism?
Dave continued by providing context for Psalm 92 by reviewing the main themes of Psalms proceeding it:
Psalm 89 – the Israelites cried out to God, stating that He had confused them.
Psalm 90 – the Israelites asked if God was faithful to who he had claimed he was.
Psalm 91 – the Israelites asked if God still cared for them and whether he was able to fulfill the promises that he had made.
Psalm 92 – the Israelites turn to God’s word and his promises, realizing they need not move forward relying on what they saw but with what they heard from God.
Why do we assume God would try to confuse us or mislead us? How can we know if God is faithful to who he is and the promises he has made to his people? How do we know that God cares for us? Why would God care for us? How do we come to know what God has told us about himself and his love for us?
Concluding his sermon, Dave presented five habits and mindsets exhibited from Psalm 92 that help restore hope for the believer:
Remember that God is most high – No matter what, God is in control.
Start each day by thanking and praising God for who he is and for what he has done for us – Remembering God’s faithfulness in the morning sets the stage for us to be reminded of who He is throughout the day and into the evening (v1).
Faith opens our eyes to what the flesh cannot see – When our hearts are nourished with the faith that God gives us we are less likely to fall victim to forgetting the good works God has done for us.
When we are attacked, count on family to act like family – When we experience trials, draw closer to those of the faith, for they are there to comfort you and build you up to who God is making you to be.
God’s hope is good for yesterday, today, and tomorrow – You can count on the faithfulness of our God for everything in your life, including your past and your future.
What does it mean that God is “most high”? What are some habits that would be conducive for starting each day with God as well as remembering him throughout the day? How does the “flesh” cloud our vision? How are we as the family of God to console those in need? Why can we trust that God’s promises are good for yesterday, today, and tomorrow?