Sermon Title: Look at the Mess We’ve Made
Text: Zephaniah 1:2-18
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Brief summary (what’s the point of this text/sermon?)
The problems and issues of life are many. Most of the time, the major problems we face are self-induced. It can be difficult to accurately identify and analyze the root causes when we are not honest with ourselves. Also, identifying root causes is often difficult when we close our eyes to prevailing facts and factors associated with our problems.
In the sermon, Stan compared the confused world of Zephaniah’s day with our own. Judah was confused in so many ways, having bought into the false ideologies of the world. They had turned away from God and had turned to idols, even sacrificing their own children to pagan gods. In a similar way, we are sometimes persuaded by the false messages of the world, buying into philosophical perspectives that are more concerned about political correctness than they are about truth.
As Christians, we must keep our eyes focused on Jesus, and he will open our eyes to see truth, enabling us to clean up the messes in our lives.
How do I live out the implications of this passage? (Discussion starters to help with applying the sermon to our lives)
- What is political correctness? Does it negatively affect us? If so, how?
- What are some of the false narratives that our children and grandchildren are learning at school or university? How are these messages negatively affecting their relationship to Jesus?
- What ideologies might a first-year college student learn in her/his introductory classes in college? (e.g., philosophy, religion, science, etc.) Are some of these ideologies godless? How are they influencing our young people? What should we be doing to counteract them?
- Stan used this illustration: if a sailor sets his/her compass off by one degree, it will not make a big difference for a short trip; however, if the voyage is a great distance, the ship will never find its destination. Discuss how this illustration helps us understand the importance of “setting our course” in the right direction (especially our young people).
- There were times when Judah literally lost God’s Word (they did not know where copies of it were), and this obviously led to their living outside of God’s will. What ways might we sometimes “lose God’s Word” as well? We’ve got easy access to it, of course, but to what extent do we depend on it for our choices?
- Judah would stray away from God, and then God would raise up a prophet or king who would lead a great restoration of the people back to God. Does today’s church need another great restoration? In what ways?
- Stan referred to Matthew 15:14 (“Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.”). How are we following the blind guides of our pluralistic culture?
- How does keeping our eyes on Jesus help lessen the influence of our culture’s false ideologies?