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9.16.2018 Sermon Notes & Slides

9.23.2018 Sermon Notes and Slides

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Goodness and Mercy Shall Follow Me
1 Samuel 18-20
Tony Chute, Interim Pastor

Introduction: 1 Samuel 18 highlights further differences between David and Saul. As David increased in popularity, Saul degenerated to near insanity. Several texts describe how people loved David or took joy in what David did, which contributed to Saul’s angry reaction. 1 Samuel 19 continues the narrative by showing how Saul’s attempts to dispose of David were foiled by various means: Jonathan’s intercession (19:4-6); David’s swift action (19:9-10); Michal’s forward thinking (19:11-17); and the Holy Spirit’s intervention (19:18-24). Jonathan and David rightly conclude that Saul’s hatred will not be satiated until David is dead (20:1-34), so they seal their friendship in the Lord together as David begins a life on the run (20:35-42). This entire section raises an important question: How can David say that goodness and mercy shall follow him, when he is but one step away from death? (1 Samuel 20:3)

01. God’s goodness is fundamental to His nature. His mercy flows from His goodness in response to a fallen world.

02. God’s goodness does not preclude His judgment on unbelievers nor hardships in the lives of believers.

03. God’s goodness is often seen through His mercies, which sometimes come to believers in very ordinary ways and oftentimes is appreciated only in hindsight.

Questions For Discussion & Discovery

1. Why was Saul envious of David? Since the Philistines were a common enemy of Israel (not just Saul or David), should Saul have acted differently when the people of Israel celebrated their defeat? How would your life change in the workplace if everyone celebrated a job well done without worrying about who gets the credit? What is distinctly Christian about “rejoicing with those who rejoice” (Romans 12:12)?

2. It is clear that nothing Saul devises can harm David. Why is this so? Are you encouraged by the fact that even the trials in our lives are ordained for our good and God’s glory?

3. In 1 Samuel 19-20, God’s providence comes in the form of “natural” means (i.e., a good word from someone; a personal skill; intervention from a loved one). Does the fact that God uses others to highlight His mercies in our lives make His providences any less remarkable? How have you benefitted from friends, family, or fellow Christians as God’s means of grace in your life?

3. Jonathan and David’s friendship forms an important part of the narrative. What does this friendship suggest about Jonathan’s character given the fact that he should have succeeded his father as king? How does their friendship in the Lord mirror that of brothers and sisters in Christ? See 2 Samuel 9 for further insight into David’s fulfillment of his promise to Jonathan in 1 Samuel 20:14-17.

4. David’s comment that “there is but a step between me and death” (1 Samuel 20:3) was made in the context of being hunted by Saul. How does David’s comment apply to all of us, even when life itself is peaceful? In what ways would your life change if you took David’s words to heart? How can we live productively in light of this fact?

5. God’s judgment on Saul continues throughout this section. What does this suggest about unbelievers who dismiss God’s call for repentance on the premise that they can “get right” with God later in life? See the interplay between Pharaoh hardening his heart and God hardening Pharaoh’s heart for further consideration (Exodus 8:15, 32; 9:34; 10:1, 20, 27; 11:10).

 

9.16.2018 Sermon Notes and Slides

You Anoint My Head With Oil
1 Samuel 16-17
Tony Chute, Interim Pastor

Introduction: Many have read this text primarily as the battle between David and Goliath, but it actually deals more with the transition from Saul to David. As Samuel mourns for Saul, the Lord sends him to anoint David as the next king of Israel (16:1-5). Several significant contrasts then become evident: Saul loses the Spirit while David receives the Spirit (16:13-14); Saul loses touch with reality while David’s music helps calm him (16:14-23); and Saul is unwilling to fight Goliath while David is unwilling to back down (17). Although this section contains multiple details with respect to external appearances, the central passage assures us that “the Lord looks on the heart” (16:7). Thus, David’s encounter with Goliath tells us much about the kind of person who truly loves the Lord and is fit to lead God’s people.

01. External religion assumes we have a right standing before God based on past religious experience, the affirmation of others, or an occasional sense of peace.

02. True religion is an internal work of grace in our hearts that manifests itself with a singular focus to glorify God in all things.

03. Those who truly love the Lord defend His honor; they faithfully build upon His previous mercies; they continue to care about the things of God; and they long to have a positive impact on the people of God.

Questions For Discussion & Discovery

1. What does the Lord’s rebuke to Samuel in 16:1 suggest about looking forward to the future rather than regretting the past as we serve the Lord?

2. How does the Lord alleviate Samuel’s fear in 16:2? How does this plan fit with passages such as 1 Samuel 15:29 and Titus 1:2?

3. Note the frequent references to the physical appearance of people in 1 Samuel 16-17. Why do you think these details are given when the Lord Himself says that He looks on the heart? What mistakes do we make when we judge by appearances only?

4. What accounts for the departure of the Spirit of the Lord from Saul in 16:14? Why is it important to distinguish between this event and the presence of the Spirit in believers today? See Ephesians 1:11-14 for further insight.

5. What problems might arise when we use 1 Samuel 17 as a lesson about defeating giants in our lives? What indications are provided within the text to highlight Goliath’s arrogance towards God as the primary problem?

6. Does your translation of the Bible contain a footnote for 1 Samuel 17:4? If so, what does the alternate reading suggest about Goliath’s height? Does this potential difference change the dramatics of the story in any way?

7. Which people in your life have set an example for you to live more earnestly for the Lord?

For Further Reading: Sinclair Ferguson, The Holy Spirit (IVP Academic, 1997).

9.9.2018 Sermon Notes and Slides

In the Presence of My Enemies
1 Samuel 13-15
Tony Chute, Interim Pastor

Introduction: As Saul’s kingship begins to take shape, the enemies of Israel have little chance of winning battles against God’s people. The Philistines are defeated (13:2-4; 14:6-23); Israel wins battles over several other people groups (14:47-48); and the Amalekites are targeted for destruction (15:1-7). Despite these victories, God regrets that He has made Saul king over Israel (15:10, 35) and Samuel announces that God has rejected Saul (15:26). The basis for this rejection was due to Saul’s unlawful sacrifice (13:8-14); his rash vow (14:24-45); and his refusal to obey the Lord’s command (15:7-26). In a striking turn of events, the search for a king after God’s heart is already underway even while Saul continues to reign.

01. God’s opposition to sin and resolve to judge sinful humans is not merely an Old Testament concept. God is eternally holy and will do worse to his enemies than our present text depicts.

02. God’s enemies are those without the desire or ability to obey God’s commandments; without regard for God’s glory; and without true repentance for their sins.

03. God’s provision for salvation is found in the One who obeyed Him in all things, and gave His life as a sacrifice for all who would believe.

04. God’s people are called to put to death sin in their own lives in order to make their calling and election sure.

Questions For Discussion & Discovery

1. What does the mixture of Saul’s victories in battle and his failures before the Lord suggest about how we should define success? See Matthew 16:26.
2. The Bible uses anthropomorphic language when it states that God “regretted that He made Saul king.” Why is this type of language useful in helping us to understand God better? In what ways can we go wrong by pressing this type of language too far?
3. If someone were to say, “I see no difference between the killing of innocents in 1 Samuel 13-15 and the killing of innocents on September 11, 2001,” how would you respond?
4. How does the teaching of Jesus in the New Testament (a) affirm that there is no difference between the Old and New Testament revelation of God, and (b) confirm that believers today are never to go to war to advance the kingdom of God?
5. What is the essence of the phrase “to obey is better than sacrifice” (1 Samuel 15:22)? Does the former cancel out the latter, or are both somehow essential for serving the Lord?
6. Look carefully at Saul’s response to Samuel in 15:24-31. What indication can you find that suggests Saul’s repentance was superficial? Compare this section with 2 Corinthians 7:10-11. What are the indicators of true repentance?

For Further Reading: Thomas Watson, The Doctrine of Repentance. Originally published, 1688; Banner of Truth edition, 1987.

 

9.2.2018 Sermon Notes and Slides

Your Rod and Staff Comfort Me
1 Samuel 8-12
Tony Chute, Interim Pastor

Introduction: Israel’s request for a king to lead them came from a desire to be like other nations, hence it was a rejection of God’s leadership (chapter 8). Despite the warnings they received about the future consequences of their decision, Israel clamored all the more and the Lord gave them what they wanted (chapter 9). From a purely human perspective, Saul seemed to be an excellent choice as king, but evidence of Saul’s lack of godly character would become clearer over time and God’s people would suffer for it (chapters 10-11). Samuel’s final words on the matter offered a mixture of somber reflection and great comfort as the Lord proves Himself to be Israel’s true king (chapter 12).

01. We reject the Lord’s leadership when we place our will above God’s will, move in our time instead of God’s time, and seek our purposes instead of His glory.

02. God may respond to our rejection by giving us what we ask for instead of what we need. One way to know the difference is to consider long-term benefits over short-term gains.

03. When God’s Word is silent on a matter we should listen to those whose character is unquestioned, who are committed to following Scripture, and who lovingly pray for those with whom they disagree.

04. We can take comfort in the fact that God never ultimately rejects His people. Our foolishness and faithlessness are overcome by God’s wisdom and faithfulness.

Questions For Discussion & Discovery

1. What commonalities can be found between the sons of Eli and the sons of Samuel? Given the fact that Samuel is often presented in a good light, following the Lord at every turn, how does one account for the failure of his sons to honor the Lord?

2. Do you think it was realistic for Israel to exist as a country without a king when surrounding nations had their king and a standing army? Can you think of ways that God’s people employ worldly standards in order to be “successful”? Why is such an approach ultimately doomed to fail?

3. What clues from the text indicate that God is in control even when His people reject Him to get what they want? What does this truth imply about the importance of denying ourselves in order to follow the Lord?

4. With so many voices clamoring for attention in order to move Israel in a certain direction, what does the text tell us about Samuel that shows he truly cares about the things of God? What example does Samuel provide for us when dealing with rejection? How does his example of integrity in the face of rejection point us to Christ?

5. The fact that God never ultimately rejects his people can be misunderstood but must be embraced. What examples can you think of where people wrongly presume on God’s faithfulness to justify their sin? What examples can you think of where God’s faithfulness truly brings relief to the brokenhearted?

For Further Reading: Jeremiah Burroughs, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment (orig. published, 1648; Banner of Truth, 1964).