We seek to encourage our church in reading, studying, and living out Scripture in our daily lives. This study guide is designed to correspond to Sunday’s sermon (January 7th) [Listen Here]. Read through this lesson on your own or with a small group.
The story of God’s people -the one that began with Adam & Eve and will continue even after Jesus returns- is not a straight line. It has its ups and downs, times of doubt and declination and times of prosperity and blessing.
In the sermon, “Momentum,” we will take a look at some biblical examples of how clinging to the past can be a detriment, and how we can use that same past as a stepping stone to a brighter future.
Let’s begin with the nation of Israel, newly-freed from the Egyptian bondage.
- Knowing what you know about the future of the Israelites, how do you react to their complaints?
- In the first passage, Egyptian soldiers are hot on the trail of Israel. For us, the time that comes immediately after breaking a sinful habit or making the decision to leave a bad personal situation can be both liberating and dangerous. How do we combat the temptation to fall back into our old ways?
- Compare and contrast the two options the Israelites give themselves in Exodus 14: serving Egypt vs. dying in the desert. What are the pros and cons of each?
- In Exodus 16, the Israelites have on what we call “rose-colored glasses” when they are looking at the past: all they are remembering are the good things they had, not the horrible situation they were in. Why is this so easy to do?
Philemon (Yep, the whole thing)
- Paul wrote to Philemon attempting to convince him to forgive the crimes of his slave Onesimus. Indeed, he asks Philemon to take Onesimus back, not as a slave, but as a friend and brother in Christ! Why would this be a difficult thing to do?
- Why is it so hard to forget the sins of those who’ve wronged us?
- In what way can refusal to forgive others hurt ourselves?
Our past can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, it is all-too-easy to get trapped in our nostalgia and have a skewed version of what really happened. However, the past can also be useful to see where we’ve come from and the progress we’ve made in our faith. We can point to times when dealing with doubt and indecision would be a time of crisis and see that we can handle those issues much easier today. Let’s take some time to look to our past and do just that.
- What would you say is your “starting point” in your faith, the time when you started building the momentum that brought you to this point?
- Is there a time in your life that you tend to look at with rose-colored glasses? How can that be detrimental to you?
- As we look back on our past, what is something you can change to make the future a better place? Someone to forgive, a habit that can be broken, etc.
Pray for a clear picture of the past, and thank God for giving us a history of the church and His people. Ask Him to guide you toward the future with an honest understanding of where you’ve come from. Ask also for opportunities to spread His kingdom as we use the momentum we’ve built thus far.