As we head toward Good Friday, we will ponder again the depth of His love so that we can be overcomers in both suffering and sin. He set His face like flint to go through the deepest storm imaginable. Why? For us.
Photo courtesy of Egor Yakushkin on Unsplash
We will be in 1 Peter 4:4-12 and a sermon by Mike Reeves for the three weeks leading up to Easter Sunday. I will take you to other rich places too, but the 7 page transcript from Reeves will be our home base. (If you have a printer, print it off and number the 7 pages.) Reeves_Transcription03152023 (1)
(A huge thanks to my friend Kathy Houts for doing this transcript.)
And here is the actual sermon.
God Hunt Sunday
1. How have you experienced the presence of God in the last week?
Monday: A Time to Weep, A Time to be Silent
I so identified with the opening to Reeve’s sermon, when he discovered devastating news as he was about to preach. I learned of my husband’s fatal diagnosis before speaking to a large audience in Indiana. Two of my daughters were with me. When Kim Hill led us in worship, she had us in mind, with songs like “It is Well with My Soul,” but I couldn’t sing them honestly, for it wasn’t well with my soul. My daughters also later found most of their friends, who were young, could not identify with their pain and were, as with Job’s friends, “miserable comforters.”
Read 1 first half of page 1 of Reeve’s sermon (or listen) up to when he asks us to come to 1 Peter 4.
2. What was Reeve’s experience? Thoughts?
3. Are you familiar with the Jewish tradition of “sitting shiva?” They were to go to a person who had a catastrophic loss and sit with them for seven (shiva) days and just listen. Because 7 is the number of completion, it meant “as long as it takes.” What is the value of this approach to one who is suffering in contrast to giving them little sermons?
4. How I remember friends who comforted me by simply weeping. Share a time a friend comforted you and why it did.
5. Read Proverbs 25:20
A. What does it mean to sing songs to a heavy heart? Give an example.
B. Many of the things we want to say to a heavy heart may be true, such as your child is in heaven now, and when that person reads it herself, it brings comfort, but if you go to her at the news of the child’s death and say it may feel like vinegar poured on a wound. Why?
Tuesday: “In Babylon”
Read the next two paragraphs from Reeves on page 1, beginning with “Would you come with me…”
5. What does 1 Peter 4:12 say?
6. Do a google search and find out what the recipients of Peter’s letter were about to face from Nero in Rome.
8. According to 1 Peter 5:13 say? How does Mike Reeves explain this strange closing to the letter?
9. What happened to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in Babylon? Reeves refers in particular to one thing. (Daniel 3:25) I know nearly all of my active participants have been through terrible suffering. Please share here how you experienced this fourth man in your fire.
Wednesday: If I Forget You, O Jerusalem
This month I read a book by Max Lucado’s daughter, Andrea, in which she tells how Psalm 137 brought her to her senses while she was studying at Oxford.
She was going through a dark night of the soul, wondering if the only reason she was a believer was simply because of her believing parents, whom her peers implied had brainwashed her. Then she went to a lecture on Arts and Faith, and told her how Dr. McGrath’s exposition of Psalm 137 brought her back to the gospel truth. It is a song sung by the captives in Jerusalem who were taunted by their captives to sing their religious songs. But they refused, hanging their harps on the willows. Andrea realized what she had been taught was true, and to forget Jerusalem (meaning the truth of the goodness of God – her highest joy) was a travesty. Here is psalm 137 set to music:
10. Comments on the above?
11. The verse that penetrated Andrea was Psalm 137:4. Read it.
A. What does it say?
B. Andrea’s foreign land was England and the skeptical sophisticates of Oxford. The Israelites’ foreign land was Babylon and the wealthy pagans. Where is your foreign land? How might the inhabitants taunt you, particularly when you suffer?
12. Why should we not be surprised by fiery trials according to 1 Peter 4:12-13? How is our suffering not wasted in contrast to those of unbelievers?
Thursday: Christ is the Head
A baby suffers even as he is being born. Head first, but the body must follow.
On the transcript from Mike Reeves, read from the closing paragraph on page 1 to the middle of page 2 when he says “And Peter is no hypocrite…”
13. How does Reeves use the metaphor of birth to help us understand why we must follow Christ in His sufferings?
14. According to 1 Peter 4:14, where will we who follow Him in His sufferings, also go?
15. In a recent sermon on 1 Peter from Tim Keller, he referred to 1 Peter 3:1 which has always dumbfounded me, but now I understand.
A. Read 1 Peter 4:1. What does it say? What do you think it means?
B. Keller explained that as Christ died and was done with sin, so it is when we die to ourselves, truly, we overcome sin. We will not be permanently done with sin until glory, yet with every death, we kill sin more. One friend used to say “With every death there is a resurrection.” How have you experienced that?
C. Keller also said that when we try to overcome sin by telling ourselves just to stop it, the temptation becomes stronger. But if we overcome it by remembering how much love it took Christ to die, and if we do not want to take that lightly, we become stronger. Have you experienced this?
16. What suffering, small or large, are you going through right now? (As there is always something if we are honest.) How could what you have learned or reviewed this week help you? How will you talk to your soul?
17. What sin are you endeavoring to overcome? How could you, based on yesterday’s lesson from Keller, help you pray so as to have victory?
18. What is your take-a-way and why?