Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes


Stormy Times
Pastor Steve Schell
Matthew 7:21-29
Jesus didn’t promise us a life of personal comfort and safety. In fact, He made it clear that times of testing would visit us all. However, He included with this warning a promise that those who actually live by the principles He taught will not be destroyed when trouble arrives. They will weather these storms in stark contrast to those who have heard His words but don’t put them into practice.

It looks like our country has entered some stormy weather. There is uncertainty in our economy, our political future, our ability to withstand terrorism and even how warm our earth’s climate will become. And the most obvious effect of these uncertainties is fear. Many are peering into the future and letting their imaginations run wild. Sadly, this kind of thinking is contagious and none of us can claim to be unaffected by it. It drains our energy, drowns our joy and challenges our faith. Fear asks, “Where is God in all of this?” And there are always a wide variety of answers from which to choose ranging from, “See I told you there’s no God!” to “He’s angry and finally giving us the punishment we deserve.” The truth is only God knows the future and generally He won’t tell. Jesus’ counsel is “…do not worry about tomorrow… Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Mt 6:34). But remember, He said this right after promising that God will care for us like He does the birds of the air and the lilies of the field (Mt 6:25-33).

If we allow fearful speculation to grip our hearts and guide our decisions, we’ll watch our house collapse. But if we choose to live by faith, this storm can become one more opportunity to watch God do miracles.
A. Storms reveal the genuineness of our obedience
1. Matthew 7:21-29
2. You’ve got to walk the walk, not just talk the talk
3. Rock: unchanging truth, God’s promises; sand: always changing human opinion (appears stable before it’s tested)
4. Note: Both houses endured storms. It’s not that one goes storm-free and the other gets hammered. The difference is in the foundation (Jesus’ teaching vs. the world’s wisdom).
5. There’s a difference between grace and blessing. Grace is a gift, blessing is received by obedience.

B. Storms reveal the genuineness of faith
1. Matthew 8:23-27
2. Storms reveal the heart (fear or faith)
3. Jesus was frustrated that after all His disciples had seen they still worried rather than turned to God.

C. Storms cause us to reach for something solid to hang on to. Here are some solid stones to hang on to:
1. Worship
• 1 Samuel 30:1-8
• “Worship myself strong”
• Never make decisions while afraid
• David had asked for guidance after he had been set free from fear
2. Tithe
• Malachi 3:7-12; Haggai 1:3-11
• I believe God promises to provide for those who tithe (along with honesty, hard work, etc.)
• We honor God as our source in deed, not just words
• Churches I superintended who never or irregularly tithed were always in or near financial trouble.
• God prunes greed in our hearts by asking for the tithe and costly gifts.
3. Prayer
• 2 Chronicles 7:14
• Aggressive faith-filled prayers of agreement (Thursday evening prayer meeting)
• Politicians cannot bring revival
• Awakening vs. revival: God awakens the unbelieving society to their need for God, and He revives His church to faithfully proclaim the gospel, pray for the lost and care for those who come.
• It’s still important to vote and even serve in political office (if God calls you to do this).
4. Promise
• “These will be good years ahead”
• What does He mean by “good?” A life of ease or a season of spiritual fruitfulness?
• What would we ask God for? What would bring us joy? Personal comfort & the absence of challenges or awakening of the nation & reviving of His church?
• When God says these will be good years, He means His kind of good.

D. Summary
1. Don’t accept other people’s fear (unbelievers or fearful believers). Wait till you have faith before making decisions.
2. Rely on God’s financial plan, not the world’s.
3. Put your trust in God to heal our land, not politicians. Pray He’ll turn the country’s heart and raise up righteous leaders.
4. Believe God is answering our prayer to turn our nation, not grumpily abandoning us to trouble.

E. Questions
1. Name something good you see growing in our country today.
2. Where do you see God at work in America today? Where do you see Him at work in His church?
3. Describe how God has taught you to pray for our country.

 


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