Theodicy: Biblical Motifs (Week 3)
OPENER: Have your group think back to the testimonies of Linda, Joy, and Corrie and Curtis. What was the common theme? Who was the Hero of their stories?
Terry has talked a lot the last couple of weeks about having “high faith in low light situations.” How would you define this statement? Now think back to the testimonies, are they living with “high faith in low light situations?”
OBJECTIVE: The objective for today is to understand that the Gospel, the Cross, is the answer to pain and suffering. We can place our trust in Christ, for he is the Hero of the story of our lives. He is the one we place our hope in, we can trust Him, we can learn to have high faith in low light situations because He has proven His love for us by taking our place on the cross. He is a personal God who’s made Himself known. He wants you to know Him personally, and place your complete trust in Him.
Terry said that faith is a part of every story. It is the story of the Bible, the story of your life and mine. So today, spend some time with your group meditating together over the passages below. Think about how these passages point to a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ resulting in the Holy Spirit living in you in ways that change you inside out. Think about how they give you reason to trust Him.
Questions to consider as you read the passages:
- Who are you going to trust?
- How do these verses connect to your story?
- What do these verses say to you about personally trusting in Christ?
- How does the cross give us reason to trust?
Note: This is a great time for us to be honest with each member of our group.
Eccl. 3:11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
Pet. 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade — kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that your faith — of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire — may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
Heb. 12:1-3 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Note: Remember that when we face hardship and discouragement, it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture. However, we’re not alone; there is help. Many have already made it through life, enduring far more difficult circumstances than we have experienced. Suffering is the training ground for Christian maturity. It develops our patience and makes our final victory sweet. (Life Application Bible notes)
1Cor. 1:18-21 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.
Note: The world takes the Gospel and its emphasis on the cross as foolishness, but God determined to save people on the basis of their trust in the foolish message preached—Christ crucified. (The HCSB Study Bible)
1 Cor. 4:20 “The kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power”
Romans 5:8 “God demonstrates his own love for us in this, while we were still sinners Christ died for us.”
Close your group time in prayer. Praise God for your relationship with Him through Christ Jesus.
Ask Him to work in the lives of those you know who do not know Him personally. Thank him for the cross, for giving us every reason to trust Him.