Sermon Title: Please, Lord. When, Lord?
Text: Isaiah 64:1-12
Tonight’s Discussion Questions
- In what areas of life do you find it most difficult to wait on God to act? Below are a few possibilities:
- In the life of your child (faith struggles, rebellion, etc.)
- With health problems in your life or in someone you love
- In response to evil in the world (terrorism, violence, etc.; Why doesn’t God punish them immediately?)
- In your relationships (why doesn’t God fix them right now?)
- Fertility issues
- Why is it sometimes so hard to live the Christian life? Why doesn’t God just miraculously intervene and make us immediately holy? Why is sanctification a lifelong process?
- Someone came to Chuck after the sermon and expressed his struggles in wanting God to act quickly and decisively in response to tragedies like the murder of the little three-year-old girl in Florida last month. Have you ever felt frustrated that evil like that isn’t punished quickly and harshly by God?
- Isaiah seems to imply that sometimes God may not act because of our sinfulness (vv. 5b-7). How do our sins impede God’s work in the world?
- Should we as a church engage in public, corporate confession of sin? Why or why not?
- How actively and consistently do you engage in private confession of sin? How often? How specifically?
- Reflect on this statement: Just because we don’t see God’s work in the world as visibly as we sometimes wish, that doesn’t mean he isn’t working.
- At times in the past, God acted demonstrably, as in parting the Red Sea or coming down to Mt. Sinai with smoke and lightning (which Isaiah had in mind). Do you sometimes wish that he would act in similarly obvious and miraculous ways? If he did, would that make everyone believe? [The story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31 might apply here.]
- One of the reasons Isaiah wants God to act is so that his name might be known to his adversaries (v. 2). Have you ever heard someone mocking God and flouting his or her hatred of Christianity and wished God would do something immediately to make this person see him? When? Why?
- Isaiah said that God meets those who “work righteousness” (v. 5a), what Chuck called “kingdom work.” What does it mean to “work righteousness”? Is there a way that our “kingdom work” might hasten the coming of Jesus’ everlasting kingdom?
- Chuck referred to several verses in the New Testament that urge Christians to anticipate eagerly Jesus’ second coming (1 Cor 1:7; 2 Pet 3:10-13; Rev 22:20). When is the last time any of us prayed for Jesus to come back soon? Why is that?
- One criticism of Christians has been that we are “so heavenly minded that we are no earthly good.” In other words, we’re so focused on the next life that we aren’t actively engaged in making this world a better place. How do we avoid living up to that negative stereotype?