Forces at Work For Us


INSIGHT

Why does God let Satan hurt us? This question is similar to the ageless questions: Why do bad things happen to good people? Or Why does God allow humans to suffer?

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“Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone—while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?” Job 38:2-7

Job realized that he could only trust in God and believe that He had Job’s best interest in mind:

How do you respond to the challenges that God brings about in your life? Do you let Satan stop you from thanking God? Do you doubt the love of God? Do you get angry at God?

Why don’t we begin to develop spiritual foresight and learn to see God’s love for us in everything that happens around us? See God with your headlights AND your taillights!

Spiritual Warfare: Seeing The Unseen Forces at Work For Us…



Key Text:1 Peter 1:3-9

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade–kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”

Theme:

The Lord God allows Satan and his evil forces to attack us because growth comes as a result of trials. He never lets them defeat us, but He permits them to cause us grief. Peter uses the refinement of gold as a word picture to illustrate to us this process of growth through trial. The kind of growth that emerges through trial and suffering is a spiritual growth; a growth that comes by having your faith proved genuine because of your trust and reliance upon God throughout difficult times.

Application:

Here are some practical suggestions:

  1. Don’t let trials embitter you. Satan’s desire is to paralyze your growth in Christ. Use trials and difficult times as stepping stones toward spiritual growth and maturity, not as stumbling stones!
  2. Don’t be hardened. Listen to the voice of the Spirit through your older brothers and sisters. Don’t give in to the flesh! It doesn’t like trials! Remain pliable in your heart!
  3. Become better! Let the Holy Spirit mold you and renew you in thought, attitude and strength. You have the victory!

May the Lord richly bless you!

Sermon Outline

Spiritual Warfare:

I.      Forces at Work Within Us

"…but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed."   James 1:14

1. Your desires are used against you.

2. Your emotions are used to deceive you.

3. He uses pain and suffering to weaken you.

4. He tries to confuse your convictions.

5. He uses your family against you.

II.  Forces at Work For Us

       A. The Goal: Purification of your Faith.

         1. 1 Peter 1:3-9

         2. Impurities need to be burned away!

         3. The Goldsmith wants His gold to reflect Him!

         4. The gold needs to be malleable.

         5. The gold needs to become strong.

         6. He does not allow the fire to get too hot.    1 Co 10:13

         7. He doesn’t allow the heat to be on too long or the cooling process to happen too fast. He will  gradually restore you. 1 Peter 5:10

       B. The Cross defeated the Devil.

         1. Satan was unaware of God’s plan.  1Co 2:7-8

         2. Jesus suffered separation in our place!

         3. His blood was shed for our sins.

         4. If we die with Him, we too shall be raised to life!

         5. He has made a public spectacle of Satan’s force.  Col 2:14-15

  

       C. The Power at work within us. The Holy Spirit

         1. Ephesians 3:20

         2. He lives in us. Rom 8:9

         3. He leads us.Rom 8:13-14; 1 John 4:1

  4. He represents us.1 Co 2:9-16; Rom 8:26-27

  5. He strengthens us.  Ephe 3:16-17

       D. Angels minister to us.  Hebrews 1:14

       E. We are here for each other.

         1. He comforts us in our trials so we can comfort others.  2 Co 1:3-4

         2. We pray for each other and confess to each

              other. James 5:13-16

 

Small Group Study

Warm-up:

Read 1 John 4:1 and think about the answer to the following question: How do you learn to listen to the Spirit of God?

See To It Joshua 1:7-9

1-Who is this speaking? To who is he speaking?

2-How were they going to find success? (Three things…)

3-How many times does he command them to be strong and courageous? Why?

4-How would they know whether God was with them or not?

5-How would they be able to test whether something was from God or not?

Seeing It Closer :Hebrews 5:12-14

1-What was Paul’s rebuke to the Hebrews?

2-What does he call the elementary truths of God’s Word?

3-Does a young Christian live on milk or on solid food?

4-Is a young Christian acquainted with the teaching about righteousness? Is a young Christian well trained to listen to the Spirit of God?

5-What is solid food? How is a mature Christian trained to listen to the Spirit of God?

Getting To It:

"Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long. Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, forthey are ever with me. I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes. I have more understanding than the elders, for I obey your precepts. I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I mightobey your word. I have not departed from your laws, for you yourself have taught me. How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!"  Psalm 119:97-103

This week’s Quiet Times:


FORCES AT WORK FOR US…

MONDAY

By the end of the week, you will be rejoicing in your spirit, knowing all that God has and is giving you to protect you from harm. He teaches you, through His Holy Spirit, how to turn Satan’s flaming arrows into stepping stones towards spiritual maturity. Read 1 Peter 1:3-9. How is God’s power able to shield you? Notice; you are to rejoice despite what? How is your faith proved genuine? Would you be filled with inexpressible joy if your faith were not tested? Read 1 Co 10:13. Do you sometimes feel as if your temptations are unique? That nobody understands the kinds of emotions you’re going through? What does this passage say about that? How does God show His faithfulness? Check out 1 Pe 5:10. Is it necessary for you to suffer? Why? Isn’t it great that God doesn’t even allow us to suffer for too long?! What happens after you’ve suffered? Write 2 Co 1:5 on an index card and memorize it.

TUESDAY

Check out Col 2:9-15. This passage is packed with hope and victory for us. Verses 9 and 10 speak about the fullness of Christ. What is this fullness, mentioned in verse 10, that has been given to us? How is this reassuring to you? Make a list of the work done by God on your behalf in vs. 11-15. Is there anything at all left for you to do to receive all these blessings? (Two things [see Mark 16:16]) Can any of this that has happened be credited to us? Are we saved by His incredible grace or what??!! Many believe that baptism is a work of man, and therefore not necessary for salvation. What does the verse really say? Why was the written code against you? How did Jesus disarm the power of the devil? How do you think the devil uses the Law against us? (1 Co 15:56). Do you think the devil had any idea of how God was going to use the cross? If he did, what would the devil had done? Write 1 Co 15:57 on an index card and memorize it.

WEDNESDAY

How do you test to see whether or not the Holy Spirit is in you? How do you know if God’s power is at work within you? See Ephesians 3:20. Carefully read 2 Co 13:5. Why should you examine yourself? Do you think this passage is intended to cause you doubt? What should be your conclusion after examining yourself? How would you know if you fail? How do you know if it is indeed Jesus who is in you? Read Rom 8:5-17 to find out! How do you let the Spirit control you? If you are not controlled by the Spirit of God, who or what controls you? If you can hear the Spirit within you, What does the Spirit cry out along with you? If your sonship is made possible through Jesus, what is your inheritance? Check out Ephe 3:16-20. How does God provide spiritual strength for you? How is Jesus able to dwell in your heart? What must you be rooted in to have the power to grasp Jesus’ love for you? How can you be filled with the measure of all the fullness of God? Isn’t this amazing?! If you indeed realize all these blessings because your eyes have been opened and your heart is soft, isn’t it because you are yielding to God’s Spirit? What should you do if you don’t realize these things and you notice your heart hardening?

THURSDAY

Angels are also forces at work for us. Perhaps the most detailed passage about angels is the comparison between Jesus and angels in Hebrews 1-2:9. Draw up a contrast between Jesus and angels. Where do we, as humans, fit in? What do angels have to do with us? Would you feel safer with an angel watching over you, or the Holy Spirit being within you? What’s the difference between angels and the Holy Spirit? Would Satan have a tougher time fighting an angel or the Holy Spirit? I’m bringing up these questions just to let you know that, if you are a Christian, you have the best protection afforded to anyone on Earth. Although angels do serve us and minister to us, God chooses to manifest most of His work today through the Holy Spirit He has given us. Write Rom 5:5 on an index card and memorize it.

FRIDAY

Perhaps the most visible, reassuring and palpable force at work for us is the body of Christ. God’s love, His word and His Spirit work through us, in the body, to encourage, uplift and spur each other on toward love and good deeds. It is a shame when we don’t humble ourselves to each other, in recognition of the fact that God works through all of us. It is no wonder that the Bible reminds us of this fact in 1 John 4:12-16. How do we know if God is living in us? How does God show His love for us through each other? Write 1 Co. 3:16 on an index card and memorize it.