Sermon Study Guide – St. Thomas’ Church, St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador

 

(Date: 7 Oct 2012)     “Thankful lives”                                Joel 2:21-27 & Matthew 6:25-33

 

Children are not always, naturally, grateful for things. They tend to be grateful for the things they like and ungrateful for the things they don’t like. This is similar to adults except adults can hide it better than children. In our Scripture readings God addresses the centre of the ungrateful heart, so that we can grow in thankfulness and not miss any of the riches of life He offers to us.

 

Jesus said “…your heavenly Father knows that you need them.” (6:32)

 

  1. In our society, how is success generally measured? From what sources do you feel pressured to meet this standard? Are there measures of success for a church to be judged “a good church’? What are they? What is your measure of a good and successful life?

 

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Leader’s Guide:

Read Matthew 6:19-24 (the preceding segment of the chapter). What alternatives does Jesus propose with respect to treasures (vv. 19-21), desires (vv. 22-23) and masters (v. 24)? If Jesus were to analyse your life, what would he say your “treasure” is? What is the connection between eye and body? What does it mean to have good eyes? Bad eyes? According to Jesus, what are we to seek in place of food and clothes? What results from seeking this?

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Be not afraid, O land; be glad and rejoice! (Joel 2:21)

 

  1. Anxiety and concern for worldly needs is always a concern for people- believers or unbelievers. We all have the same basic needs. Jesus reminds His hearers that God knows about those needs and cares about all of them. We will have to trust Him with that. The prophet Joel addressed God’s people in a time when a plague of locusts was consuming Judah. He called the people to return to the enduring grace of God- an eternal God and His future kingdom, and not give up hope. What is it that most threatens your hope in the future? In the present? That God hears and cares for you?

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Leader’s Guide:

Sometimes God allows us to go through ‘plague’ times in our lives. These times can teach us much about God’s love. God can grant us a deeper knowledge of Himself through these times. When and why have you felt a sense of shame: (a) Not knowing God was working in your life? (b) Enduring personal calamity? (c) Not living as a Christian? (d) Giving up too soon on God? On others? On self? In these experiences, what does the promise given in verse 27 mean to you?

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What is one thing you can do in the coming week “to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness”?

Prayer For Deliverance in Peril (from the Book of Common Prayer).

ALMIGHTY God, who art a strong tower of defence unto thy servants in the time of trouble: We yield thee praise and hearty thanks for our deliverance from the dangers which lately encompassed us [and for thy gracious gift of peace]. We confess that it is thy goodness alone that hath preserved us; and we beseech thee still to continue thy mercies towards us, that we may always acknowledge thee as our Saviour and mighty Deliverer; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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