sermon overviews

Date: Sunday, August 7, 2016

Series: Stress and the Sovereignty of God

Sermon Title: Sovereign Justice and Mercy

Scripture: Daniel 5

Overview:  The scales of God’s justice and mercy are perfectly balanced in Jesus Christ. We too have been weighed and found wanting, but God is sovereign, God is just and God is merciful. Even though the wages of sin is death, God extends mercy to us through the life death and resurrection of his son as propitiation for the condemnation we rightfully deserve.

Corroborating Texts:  Romans 3:23, 6:23 1 John 2:1-2

Discussion Questions:

1. We all cry out for justice, yet we want mercy for ourselves. We fail in our balance of justice and mercy, but God’s justice and mercy are perfectly balanced in Jesus Christ. How do we fail in our lives to seek justice while expecting mercy?

2. Throughout the book of Daniel we are shown repeatedly that God is sovereign. God is in control of every part of existence. Knowing that God is sovereign, how can we be humble, thoughtful, thankful and confident?

3. In Daniel 5, we see the justice of God in his wrath against King Belshazzar. Like King Belshazzar we too have been weighed and found wanting [read Romans 3:23]. This should instill in us a holy fear, conviction and a hatred towards our sin. God’s justice is not our problem, our sins are. Discuss our depravity and lack of righteousness. This should lead us to the mercy of God.

4. Read aloud 1 John 2:1-2. Even though we—like King Belshazzar—deserve death as an appropriate punishment for our sin, we have an advocate in Jesus Christ. Jesus lived a sinless and perfectly righteous life, died on our behalf, and rose again conquering sin and satisfying the wrath of God against our sin. His righteousness becomes our reward; His death becomes our forgiveness. Reflect on the mercy of God, rejoice in the truth of his salvation. How you have seen the mercy of God in your lives? Share and discuss.

Date: Sunday, August 14, 2016

Series: Stress and the Sovereignty of God

Sermon Title: Sovereign Justice and Mercy

Scripture: Daniel 6


Regardless of life circumstances, we all deal with troubles that can make us fearful and bring real danger. Yet the Christian has courage in the face of trouble for his God is present and in control. Our hope isn't that God will rescue us from all pain, but that He'll be with us in our troubles as He was with Daniel in the lions’ den.

Corroborating Texts: Matthew 10:28-30, Romans 8:31-39

Discussion Questions

1. Everyone has trouble in their lives that can lead us to be afraid and even erode our faith. What are some pressing troubles that you're dealing with? How have they affected your faith and/or trust in God?

2. Daniel's faith was "personal but not private.” What's the difference between those two? How are you doing at living in accordance with that truth?

3. Why is it so important to see that the point of the story isn't that we'll be rescued from harm, but that God will be with us as He was with Daniel in the lions’ den? What dangers come with believing the former?

4. How does God's presence and sovereignty help bring us courage? Prayer is a crucial means of grace that helps us grab hold of God's promises—have you experienced that in your life?

5. We can't have confidence in the world if we don't have confidence before God. Where do we find that confidence? What's the connection between Christ's substitutionary death and the promises found in Romans 8:31-39?

Date: August 28, 2016

Series: Stress and the Sovereignty of God

Sermon Title: Calmness in the Midst of Chaos

Scripture: Daniel 7


We often experience struggles, uncertainty, confusion, and chaos in our lives. We may have difficulty maintaining our perspective and confidence. We need to cultivate a firm focus on the supremacy of Jesus and not rely on the opinions of our culture for our identity, mission, and confidence. The main idea of the sermon is—The supremacy of Jesus Christ compels us to be reverent and worshipful Pilgrims.

Discussion Questions

1. Describe the sea in Daniel 7:2. How does this compare to the description in the Throne Room [see Rev. 4] Why is this important?

2. What were the key elements of Daniel’s vision? What is the meaning and significance?

3. Reflect on Daniel’s confusion about his own dream—his normal confidence and understanding appear shaken for a time. How do we struggle for faith in perplexing situations?

4. Reflect on the Jew’s confusion in regard to God’s promises—were they completely forsaken and defeated? Were God’s promises still intact for the future? How was the message of Daniel’s vision important to the exiled Jews?

5. What is the significance of the term “Son of Man?” How does it come up again in the New Testament? [see John 3:13; Mark 4:61-62; et al.]

6. What are some of your own struggles?”

7. How can this passage help with that?

8. How do we daily recognize Jesus’ authority over our lives and families? What challenges hinder us in this task?

9. How do we enjoy calm boldness in the chaos of life?

10. How does this vision and interpretation fuel and shape our worship? How do we help and encourage one another to worship more “holistically" in light of the Son of Man and the Ancient of Days?

Date: September 4, 2016

Series: Stress and the Sovereignty of God

Sermon Title: Painful Providence

Scripture: Daniel 8


The Christian life is hard, and it can be full of suffering and affliction. But it is through that affliction that we find contentment in the fact that we know God is both sovereign and loving. The love of God does not make our life easy, but it does make it holy.

Corroborating Texts : John 16:33; Matthew 10:16; Matthew 5:10–11, Micah 6:8, Romans 5:8

Discussion Questions

1. In what way or ways are you currently experiencing affliction?

2. In the midst of life’s craziness, how are you experiencing calmness?

3. What brings calmness?

4. When we are honest with ourselves, what do we expect from God?

5. When things get difficult and/or don’t go your way, what do you do? What did Daniel do?

6. Read Micah 6:8. How do you get this confused? In which area do you most need to grow?

7. How can we encourage one another to know and understand the love of God better?

Date:  September 11, 2016

Series:   Stress and the Sovereignty of God

Sermon TitleDaniel's Prayer

Scripture: Daniel 9


Daniel’s confessional prayer teaches us that as Christians in this world, we are not only seeking our home, we are seeking our God. Daniel pleaded with God and longed for the day when Jerusalem would be restored from its desolation and Israel released from its captivity. Daniel’s hope for this restoration was grounded in His Word and His sovereignty. Daniel’s prayer also teaches us that there is no seeking God’s grace without confessing our sins. The nearness of God is our ruin unless we have His pardon. In our seeking, our turning is the beginning of repentance. But we need not fear God, since His grace is greater than our sin. As we seek the face of God and come into His presence, His face will shine upon us because He loves us.

Discussion Questions

1. How is your time in the Word? How is your prayer life? How often do you find yourself praying to God, but not really in a way that is seeking the face of God? Why do you think that is? What holds you back?

2. In your prayers, do you often seek God’s grace without confessing your sins? If so, why? Do you think this lack of confession may be hindering your prayers?

3. Sometimes we presume upon God’s grace without much thought of seeking Him or seeking His favor. Sometimes we underestimate God’s grace and therefore don’t seek Him or His favor. Where do you find yourself lately?

4. Do you feel the weight and burden of your sin is keeping you from seeking God more closely and trusting in His grace? If so, why? During these times, do you trust your feelings more than God’s promises? Do you look to God’s Word to counter the lies of the devil?

5. If God is sovereign, why pray? (Remember the homing pigeon.)

Date: September 18, 2016

Series: Stress and the Sovereignty of God

Scripture: Daniel 10


After weeks of fasting and mourning, Daniel is visited by a divine being. Comparing this appearance with that of Revelation 1:12-15, this was most likely Christ. Although Daniel is almost paralyzed by fear, he is encouraged and reminded of God’s great love and faithfulness for him. In the same way, we as Christians are to look at God’s love for us in Christ to be strengthened and transformed.

Corroborating Texts: Revelation 1:12-15, Psalm 36:7, Zephaniah 3:17, Psalm 25:6, John 3:16, Romans 5:8, John 5:42a, Romans 8:38-39, Ephesians 3:14-19

Discussion Questions

1. Talk about what it means to say that God wants us to care for others and bring those cares to Him in prayer.

2. Daniel was going through a difficult season of mourning and fasting because his people had forfeited the return to Jerusalem, yet God was encouraging him. When going through your own difficult season, how has God encouraged and sustained you?

3. How does God’s love for us empower us? Is there an area of your life where you need to be empowered by God’s love?

4. Why is it important to have a strong theology of God’s love? What are the dangers of not having this strong theology of God’s love worked out?

5. What are things that keep you from truly believing and deeply experiencing God’s love for you in Christ?

Date: Sunday, September 25, 2016

Series: Stress and the Sovereignty of God

Scripture: Daniel 11


Countries come and go, empires rise and fall, leaders live and die. Even when things seem up in the air and uncertain, we (the church) are called to be bold. The prophecy in Daniel 11 shows us that this boldness in and amongst the world is rooted in God’s sovereignty, promises, and commands.

Corroborating Texts: 1 John 2:18, 2 Thessalonians 2:1–8, Matthew 22:37–40, 1 Peter 3:8–18, Matthew 28:19–20, Matthew 5:43–48, John 15

Discussion Questions

1. How are we—Christians—supposed to live in this world? What keeps us from being afraid, weak, and so forth?

2. Describe God’s sovereignty. What about this truth comforts us? In what ways are we sometimes short-sighted and take this comfort for granted?

3. List some promises of God that strengthen us. In what ways do we tend to be weak? How can we remember these promises and be encouraged by them when this is the case?

4. What two commands of God sum up all of God’s commands? These are so simple to say and remember, but, of course, we tend to forget what they truly mean.

       a. Discuss the true definition of "all your heart, soul, and mind,” and how we tend 

           to fall short.

      b. Discuss the true definition of loving our neighbor. Be sure to emphasize what

          true love is, as well as what a true neighbor is.

   5. In light of these commands, God’s promises, and His sovereignty, how are we to obey the great commission? [We bear witness about Jesus boldly, though this may look different in different contexts.] Encourage the group that God not only calls, but empowers us to do these things.