One passage per day for a whole week, based on the sermon:
- 1 Samuel 1
- 1 Samuel 2:1-11, 18-26 (compare 2:26 with Luke 2:52)
- Romans 4
- Hebrews 11:1-12:2
- James 2
- John 16
- Acts 3 (pay attention to verse 24)
eGroup Questions – Great for personal reflection as well!
Work It Out
Faith Without Works is Dead
25 In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.James 2:25-26, NIV, emphasis mine
Sometimes bad things happen to us because we do it to ourselves.
Sometimes bad things just happen. We have no control over them.
If we think God will shelter us from the bad things that just happen–because God is good–we will be disappointed.
Instead, God will leverage those things to grow us.
Sometimes when we face bad things, we get stuck.
We endure those bad things because we think we deserve it.
We think we’re paying penance for our past misdeeds.
You don’t have to live stuck.
God has a plan for you.
Life does not have to be a merry-go-round.
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.Hebrews 11:6, NIV
God isn’t pleased by performance, works, or deeds, he’s pleased by faith and trust.
In those moments when you’re facing bad things, realize:
God is not trying to do something to you
He’s trying to develop something in you
So that he can do something through you.
Faith does not grow in comfort.
God allows discomfort to elevate faith.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.Hebrews 11:1, KJV, emphasis mine
Faith is evidence and substance.
Works and deeds are the evidence of faith. (James 2:26)
How Do I Work Out My Faith?
1 Samuel 1 – The Story of Hannah
1. The Deficit Is Faith’s Opportunity
1 There was a certain man from Ramathaim, a Zuphite from the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Elkanah son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. 2 He had two wives; one was called Hannah and the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none.
3 Year after year this man went up from his town to worship and sacrifice to the Lord Almighty at Shiloh, where Hophni and Phinehas, the two sons of Eli, were priests of the Lord. 4 Whenever the day came for Elkanah to sacrifice, he would give portions of the meat to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters. 5 But to Hannah he gave a double portion because he loved her, and the Lord had closed her womb. 6 Because the Lord had closed Hannah’s womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her. 7 This went on year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the Lord, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat. 8 Her husband Elkanah would say to her, “Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don’t you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?”1 Samuel 1:1-8, NIV, emphasis mine
Purpose comes through the conduit of pain. (Here, he tells the story of his wife’s second pregnancy and the potential birth problems his daughter might have had, but he prayed for her on a consistent basis through the pregnancy–“Call things which are not as though they were”–second half of Romans 4:17.)
In this world you will have trouble. (Middle part of John 16:33)
It was good for me to be afflicted. (First half of Psalm 119:71)
My faith grows in the valley and celebrates on the mountaintop.
2. The Word is Faith’s Foundation
9 Once when they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh, Hannah stood up. Now Eli the priest was sitting on his chair by the doorpost of the Lord’s house. 10 In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly. 11 And she made a vow, saying, “Lord Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.”
12 As she kept on praying to the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. 13 Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk 14 and said to her, “How long are you going to stay drunk? Put away your wine.”
15 “Not so, my lord,” Hannah replied, “I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the Lord. 16 Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.”
17 Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.”
18 She said, “May your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast.1 Samuel 1:9-18
Hannah got “a word” from Eli, an “in season word.”
[Nick: Rhema is Greek for a spoken word, as opposed to a word that is written down. The word rhema would not have been used in this passage because 1 Samuel was written in Hebrew, so Pastor Daniel is simply distinguishing between “the Word,” God’s Word that is written in Scripture, and “a word,” something God might be saying to you through someone else for a particular moment in your life.]
The lame man gave Peter and John his attention, expecting to get something from them. (Acts 3:5)
Work out the word God has given you!
3. The Sacrifice is Faith’s Test
19 Early the next morning they arose and worshiped before the Lord and then went back to their home at Ramah. Elkanah made love to his wife Hannah, and the Lord remembered her. 20 So in the course of time Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, “Because I asked the Lord for him.”
24 After he was weaned, she took the boy with her, young as he was, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour and a skin of wine, and brought him to the house of the Lord at Shiloh. 25 When the bull had been sacrificed, they brought the boy to Eli, 26 and she said to him, “Pardon me, my lord. As surely as you live, I am the woman who stood here beside you praying to the Lord. 27 I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. 28 So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.”1 Samuel 1:19-20, 24-28, NIV
The test wasn’t if Hannah would believe that God could give her a child.
The test was could Hannah give the child back to God?
Live with an open hand–God will give you more:
And the Lord was gracious to Hannah; she gave birth to three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile, the boy Samuel grew up in the presence of the Lord.1 Samuel 2:21, NIV
The thing you’re going through isn’t about the thing you’re going through. What is God trying to develop in you?