Episode 4: Forever Peace
Discussion following the sermon from 8/28/22
"Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever." Psalm 23:6
"...It is through grace that we have been saved. And God has given us a place with Christ in heaven to show for all ages to come God's goodness to us because of Christ..." Ephesians 2:5-7
One of the greatest benefits of the Christian faith is forever peace. The believer has Christ’s promise that we will be with the Lord forever. And it is not only the peace of knowing we have God’s love and protection now, but it is also the indescribable joy of knowing that this life is just the beginning of our eternity with God. There is a lot we don’t know about heaven, but there is a lot that we do know. This message is about what the Bible tells us about heaven.
WHAT IS HEAVEN?
1. IT'S A PHYSICAL PLACE.
"Don't let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father's home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am." John 14:1-3
2. IT'S AN ETERNAL PLACE.
"For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." 2 Corinthians 5:1
3. IT'S A RESERVED PLACE
"But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb's Book of Life." Revelation 21:27
Discussion: Who are the people in your life you need to share the gospel with so they too can be written in the Lamb's Book of Life and spend eternity in heaven?
HOW IS HEAVEN DIFFERENT?
"No eye has ever seen, no ear has ever heard, and no mind has ever even imagined what God has prepared for those who love him!" 1 Corinthians 2:9
WHAT IS NOT IN HEAVEN?
Discussion: What are you looking forward to that isn't going to be in heaven?
WHAT WILL WE DO IN HEAVEN?
1. WE WILL BE REUNITED WITH THOSE WHO LOVE JESUS.
"...There will be one huge family reunion with the Master." 1 Thessalonians 4:17
2. WE WILL BE REWARDED FOR OUR FAITH, HOPE, AND LOVE.
"...know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward for serving Christ." Colossians 3:24
3. WE WILL BE ASSIGNED WORK THAT WE ENJOY DOING.
"Well done, good and faithful servant! You've been faithful with a few things; I will now put you in charge of many things. Come and share your Master's happiness!" Matthew 25:21
Discussion: Who are you looking forward to seeing again in heaven?
Application: Spend a few minutes thinking about what it will be like being with Jesus forever.
Episode 3: Blessed With Peace
Discussion following the sermon from 8/21/22
"And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 'Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, 'This is the way you shall bless the children of Israel. Say to them: 'The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace. So they shall put My name on the children of Israel, and I will bless them.'" Numbers 6:22-27
The peace we have with God through faith in Jesus is just the beginning of the peace we have because of God’s amazing love and provision. The Bible tells us that God blesses every believer with His peace, and there is no greater commodity than God’s blessing. Aaron and his sons served as the people’s representatives to God. For them to say, “the LORD bless you” means they are blessed in the name of the LORD, and the name of the LORD is the same as the LORD Himself. Notice the phrases the priests are to use in this blessing: “Bless you and keep you, be gracious to you, lift His countenance to you, and give you peace.” Can there be any doubt that God’s people have His favor?
1. ACCEPT THAT MY GOD SATISFIES AND SHIELDS ME.
"Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:4
"The Lord is your keeper; The Lord is your shade at your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore." Psalm 121:5-8
Discussion: Why is it so easy to look to the world for satisfaction and protection even when we know that the only true satisfaction and protection comes from God?
2. RECEIVE THAT MY GOD SEES ME AND SAVES ME.
"And I will not hide My face from them anymore; for I shall have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel, says the Lord God." Ezekiel 39:29
"But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." Ephesians 2:4-9
Discussion: Do I believe that God knows my situation, and that He cares enough about me to save me in whatever trial I face?
3. BELIEVE THAT MY GOD FAVORS ME AND FULFILLS ME.
"The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing." Zephaniah 3:17
"So Gideon built an altar there to the Lord, and called it The Lord is Peace." Judges 6:24
Discussion: Am I really convinced that I have God’s favor, and that His favor is all I need to live a blessed and fulfilled life?
Application: Pray the blessing that God spoke to Moses each day this week and take a few moments to meditate on the blessedness of having God’s favor for you.
Close by taking prayer requests and praying for one another.
Episode 2: Peace To The People
Discussion following the sermon from 8/14/22
"The Lord detests the proud; they will surely be punished. Unfailing love and faithfulness make atonement for sin. By fearing the Lord, people avoid evil. When people's lives please the Lord, even their enemies are at peace with them." Proverbs 16:5-7
"And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved." Matthew 24:10-13
A common adage in the culture today is, “Can’t we just get along.” Living at peace with one another seems like a reasonable proposition, but our experience shows us that having peace with our fellow man is extremely difficult. We know that there was strife in the very first family. Cain killed his brother because of his pride and jealously, and his sin revealed the true nature of man. Selfishness, jealously, ambition, and a host of other sins make peace a rare commodity, but the Bible reveals that we can live at peace, even with those who we feel have done us wrong. Peace happens as we give up our natural human attitudes and responses and follow the plan that God has set out in His Word.
HOW TO ESCAPE THE TRAP OF OFFENSE AND LIVE AT PEACE WITH PEOPLE:
1. CONFESS MY PRIDE AND HUMBLE MYSELF BEFORE MY GOD.
"If my people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14
"God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you." James 4:6-7
Discussion: Why does peace with others start at humbling yourself and giving up your pride?
2. CONTINUALLY FORGIVE OTHERS IN THE SAME WAY I'VE BEEN FORGIVEN.
"Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you." Ephesians 4:31-32
"And forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. And don't let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one." Matthew 6:12-13
Discussion: For us to have peace, we must be forgiving of others. Discuss what that means and how it might relate to a specific thing in your life.
3. CHOOSE TO LOVE THE HARD TO LOVE PEOPLE IN THE HARD TO LOVE PLACES.
"But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you...Do to others as you would like them to do to you." Luke 6:27-28, 31
Discussion: Think of someone you need to forgive. Think of ways you can reconcile with this person. Take some time and pray.
Application: Take a few minutes to identify the people in your life that you need to forgive, and then decide in your heart to love them as God loves you.
Close by taking prayer requests and praying for one another.
Episode 1: Peace Talks
Discussion following the sermon from 8/7/22
"And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness." James 3:18 (NLT)
We start a new series this week called Peace Man that is about how we have peace and make peace. Today’s sermon explains how we can promote peace through what we say. The Scripture comes from the book of James; a book that defines the heart and actions of the wise. The third chapter talks specifically about the tongue, where James says that the peacemaker makes peace by saying things that lead to peace. Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount said, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God.” (Mat. 5:9) We have peace by promoting peace in what we say, and when we speak words of peace we are acting like our gracious Heavenly Father.
1. UNDERSTAND THE POWER OF MY WORDS.
"Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way. We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself." James 3:2-6
Discussion: Is there anyone in your life that you need to reconcile with? How can our words bring healing to others?
2. PURIFY THE SOURCE OF MY WORDS.
"People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison." James 3:7-8
"A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in you heart." Luke 6:45
"Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me." Psalm 51:10
Discussion: What are some things in your life that are 'poisoning the well' and how do they effect you negatively?
3. COMMIT TO PLANTING WORDS OF PEACE.
"Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!" James 3:9-10
"And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak." Matthew 12:36-37
"May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer." Psalm 19:14
Application: Make a commitment this week to practice speaking words of peace and pay close attention to the responses you receive from others.
Close by taking prayer requests and praying for one another.