When Angels Stare into the Face of God
Pastor John Sloan
Introduction: Five seemingly disconnected stories and admonitions. That’s what Jesus strings together in his fourth sermon to his disciples (and onlookers). But behind the ostensible randomness is a very intentional point that Christ is making: he is revealing something essential about the character and nature of God the Father.
Questions For Discussion & Discovery
1. What’s behind Jesus’ use of the word “woe” (verse 7)? What emotions are being expressed?
2. What is the practice of “radical amputation” (see verses 8-9)? Why is it so important that we deal with the sin in our own hearts? What about the sin in the church?
3. The Puritan, John Owen, wrote, “Be killing sin or sin will be killing you.” How does this apply to this passage in Matthew that we studied?
4. Why do we have hope even when we sin? How can we answer the Accuser when he points out our constant shortcomings?
5. What does it mean to say that God is a pursuing God? How have you seen God run after you when you have strayed or become spiritually complacent?
6. God “rejoices greatly” when a wandering child comes home. What does this tell you about God’s love and care for his children?
1. Read Matthew 18:7-9.
2. “Hurts must happen in a rebellious creation.” – Frederick Bruner
3. 01. Sin “in the evil world” is no less destructive than the sin in our own hearts, which must be addressed regularly and aggressively.
4. “Helping well-dressed families in SUVs find the next available parking space isn’t my spiritual gift.” – Spencer Burke
5. “Be killing sin or sin will be killing you.” – John Owen
6. Read Matthew 18:10.
7. 02. We tread on dangerous ground when we “despise” (or look down on) the spiritually less-mature.
8. Read Matthew 18:12-14.
9. “God has holy emotions, which include the holy joy he feels over us when we return to him and walk with him.” – Daniel Doriani
10. 03. At the heart of God is a deep desire for every living thing to be reconciled to Himself (and to one another).