Finding Favor Week 3 – Discussion Guide
Main Idea: Finding God’s favor is truly important, but there is no favor without faith—and that means we have to trust God even when things are not pleasant.
Introduction: Bad things happen in the world all the time. Some people are more affected than others, but we are all affected. This Sunday, Pastor Zac talked about God’s favor, and how it’s kind of like an umbrella on a rainy day—the rain is all around us, but whether or not to open the umbrella is a choice. We need to remember that having God’s favor does not always mean that everything is pleasant all the time, or that we never experience pain or loss. But, it does mean that the important things in life are taken care of.
Discussion Starter: What is a good movie or TV show that you’ve enjoyed lately? What was the “big problem” that really got the story going?
Primary Scriptures: Matthew 5:11-12, Daniel 3:8-27, Psalm 5
- We definitely want to have God’s favor. But having God’s favor doesn’t mean that this earthly life is going to be problem-free or pain-free. Jesus’ life and death demonstrates this perfectly. In Matthew 5:11, Jesus talks about a blessing that may not seem at all pleasant. In your group, consider these questions: How is it that someone could be blessed and have God’s favor, but at the same time experience such painful things? And why on earth would God’s favor involve being in pain like that?
- In Daniel 3:8-27, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego were fireproof. This wouldn’t have been very noteworthy if they had been at home eating junk food. Instead, they were publicly standing up against evil (literally — they refused to bow), at the risk of their own lives. They had no promise that God would save their lives. They just knew that it was wrong to bow to anything besides God. Probably there aren’t any people threatening to throw anyone in your group into a literal furnace, but what are the “fires” in your lives? What difficult things try to pressure you away from what you know is right?
- Continuing in Daniel 3, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego were immune to the fire—nobody could even smell smoke on them when they came out of the furnace. But, although they were immune to the fire, they were not immune to falling into the furnace. Discuss with your group how you think the three of them told this story to their friends after it happened. Do you think that they focused on how unpleasant that was or how God kept them safe during that time? ? And further, what do you focus on when you talk to others about the difficult parts of your life? Do you view it as an opportunity to talk about how good God is?
- God certainly showed favor to David, who trusted in Him. But David, the writer of Psalm 5, was no stranger to God’s correctional punishment. David often found himself in sin and in need of God’s discipline. However, David showed a pattern of repentance when confronted with his sin. He did not want to live in sin, despite finding himself in it frequently. Like Pastor Zac said, it’s not really possible for us to lead our friends and loved ones to a place that we ourselves are not. There is no room for God’s favor if we are valuing something or someone over God. So the question to talk about with your group is this: How have you spent your time this past week? How much time was there spent in prayer, or in Bible reading, or talking to others about Jesus? Also, how much time was spent watching Netflix, or sports?
Discovery Bible Method:
For deeper study, as an alternative to the questions above, read Psalm 5 and use the Discovery Bible Method to explore the passage.
Suggestion: Consider breaking the group into twos or threes for this section.
Have each person in your group share something they have been truly thankful to God for this winter. It can be anything, but try to explain how it made you think that God is good.
Engage the World Around Us
Engaging at Faith Promise: It’s difficult to engage with people right now because of pandemic precautions. Have your group figure out one way that you can check up on others at Faith Promise. There are many core members who have been unable to attend, and would probably love to hear from a fellow Promisor. Contact your Groups/Missions Pastor to see how your group can reach out to fellow Promisors.
Engaging in Community and the World: Social media right now is in desperate need of the love of Christ. How can your group, on social media, be the “light of the world” that Jesus talked about in Matthew 5:14? How can your group be the love of God through social media outlets?
Expand God’s Kingdom
Jesus said in Luke 10:2 that there were plenty of people ready to be saved, but few laborers. Then…interestingly…He said that the next thing to do was pray: pray that God would send laborers into the harvest. We are the laborers sent into the harvest. Who burdens your heart that is far from God? Who needs to know Jesus? Make a list of those people and start praying for God to help you share the Gospel. Then pray for others to join you in the harvest field.
Hints for group leaders:
A wise person once said, “You don’t have the opportunity to act like Jesus until someone mistreats you.” We often talk about wanting to imitate Jesus or be like God, but that requires that we endure a lot of unpleasant things at times. Matthew 5:12 says that our reward is great in heaven when we go through such awful things down here. And we also have the opportunity to have a shared experience with the Almighty God (loving people even when they do not love us)! Also, importantly, persecution reveals the truth of our faith (or lack thereof). In Matthew 13:21, Jesus talks about those who have a fake faith that doesn’t last. When bad things happen, it reveals what we truly are. And not only that, others can see, and this can lead others to faith in Christ.
ALL groups at Faith Promise should follow Jesus Christ and lead others to do the same. Below are the marks of a growing follower and disciple of Jesus.
– A follower of Jesus desires to encounter God through the deeper study and application of God’s Word.
– A follower of Jesus embraces people and values relationships on a deeper level so everyone can grow together.
– A follower of Jesus engages and serves the world around them and in their community, through local partners or God-directed opportunities.
– A follower of Jesus expands God’s Kingdom through development and multiplication of disciple-makers, possibly to lead more groups at Faith Promise.