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9.16.2018 Sermon Notes & Slides

9.30.2018 Sermon Notes & Slides

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All the Days of My Life
1 Samuel 21-26
Tony Chute, Interim Pastor

Introduction: First Samuel is clear that God has chosen David over Saul, but chapters 21-26 indicate that neither David nor Saul have fully worked this out. Saul pursues David as if he has a chance to rid himself of his rival, and David flees from Saul as if he himself could die at any moment. Chapters 21-22 portray David on the run, preserving his life by acquiring food and weaponry (21:1-9), feigning insanity (21:10-15), and gaining a following (22:1-2); while Saul pursues David and kills those who offer him support (22:6-19). Significantly, David inquires of the Lord on multiple occasions (23:2, 10) and though Saul discovers David’s whereabouts (23:7, 19), the Lord protects David from harm (23:14, 26-28). On two separate occasions, David has the opportunity to take Saul’s life (chapters 24, 26), but he refrains from doing so out of respect for the Lord (24:6; 26:11). David’s actions throughout this section show that the longer he lives, the more he depends upon the Lord.

01. The longer we live without the Lord, the more consequences of sin we shall bear.

02. The longer we live for the Lord, the more appreciative we are on the means of grace.

03. The longer we live for the Lord, the more we long to live righteously before God and others.

04. The longer we live for the Lord, the more indebted are we to those who speak life to us.

Questions For Discussion & Discovery

1. What do you make of the fact that David’s attempts to preserve his life are motivated by fear of man? Do you find it surprising that a person with his background of trusting the Lord finds himself depending on his own resourcefulness rather than the Lord? Have you experienced similar occasions when you know that you should trust the Lord, but begin to believe you can take care of yourself just as well?

2. Compare 1 Samuel 21:1-6 with Matthew 12:1-14. How does Jesus use the episode of David and the consecrated bread to illustrate the danger of a legalistic understanding of God’s law? In what ways do we need to apply such truths today? In what ways might we go too far in the area of compassion and thus miss the point of God’s commands altogether?

3. Note the kinds of people that gathered around David in 24:2. What does it suggest about David when these people are attracted to and transformed by his leadership? How does this “motley crew” resemble the twelve that Jesus called to be His disciples?

4. David blamed himself for the murder of the eighty-five priests, even though Saul gave the order and Doeg carried out the command (1 Samuel 22:17-22). What is the proper balance between owning up to the consequences of our actions and understanding that we are not entirely responsible for the actions of others? What hope does the Bible give for those who bear tremendous guilt for their past decisions?

5. 1 Samuel 23 describes how the Lord delivered David through direct communication (verses 1-5) and through special circumstance (verses 26-29). How would you articulate the relationship between prayer and providence? Do you tend to see more providences as you pray?

6. David’s preservation of Saul is all the more remarkable because he had opportunity, motive, and encouragement to take Saul’s life instead. How difficult is it to trust in the Lord and His timing when taking matters into our own hands is otherwise acceptable to others and likely easier on ourselves? Read Psalm 57 for further encouragement.

For Further Reading: Eugene Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society. InterVarsity Press, 2000; 20th Anniversary Edition.


9.23.2018 Sermon Notes & 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 & 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 & 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.