The goal for these discussion questions are to guide you into level-three conversation by using the latest sermon, “What’s Taking So Long?”
This sermon is meant to serve as a starting place for honest dialogue about our relationship with Jesus in the midst of life’s complexities. In case you missed the sermon, I’ve tried to provide enough content to get everyone on the same page (you can also listen or read the entire sermon online). As you’ll see, the questions are set up in clusters and subdivided by bullets, each as a follow up to the one before it, moving from theoretical to practical.
I’ve also thrown in some bracketed asides specifically for the Life Group Point-Person. These are meant to help you guide the discussion. Feel free to throw in any extra questions that come to mind, or skip what seems out of place. The plan for these questions is that they help guide your time together, not consume the entire thing. So, as always, I encourage you to use the questions as they are helpful, and then fill in the rest.
Flawed doctrine eventually leads to flawed living. This was certainly the case for the “scoffers” mentioned in 2 Peter. In Chapter 2 Peter uses strong language to describe their waywardness, and in Chapter 3, we see what’s behind their sinful lifestyles — they didn’t believe Jesus was coming back to judge them. They figured that if Jesus wasn’t coming back for a final judgment then there weren’t any final consequences for their sin. Their flawed doctrine (no final judgment) led to their flawed living (did whatever they wanted).
- Have you ever experienced anything like that? Can you think of a time in your life when your flawed living was connected to your flawed view of God? Another way of putting it: when we sin or behave in certain ways, what does it say about how we view God? How is our doctrine wrong?
God’s judgment is certain. We know it’s certain, first, because Jesus said so. And the apostles and prophets said so. The Bible is clear about it. We also have the historical examples such as the flood. God will judge every wrong — “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord” (Rom. 12:19).
- Now, how does that make you feel? Is it terrifying? Is it comforting? Is it both? And why?
[Give some time to this question. It is such an unpopular thing to think deeply about the judgment of God. Most people have never done it. You may have to spend some time talking more about the justice of God’s judgment. Ezekiel 16 might be a helpful chapter for why judgment is so essential.]
From the sermon:
God has his own timing, and until we understand that God has his own timing we will accuse him of not doing what he says — because he doesn’t do it when we want him to — and we’ll keep on accusing him of that until, eventually, we will misunderstand his motives toward us.
Here’s another way of saying it: Sometimes we can accuse God for not doing something at all only because he hasn’t done it yet. He hasn’t done it on our clock and therefore we assume he just will not do it. This, of course, is problematic thinking, but even worse is that it can lead us to think terribly of God — we can think that somehow, as Nancy Guthrie says, “he is out to get us.”
- Has there been a time in your life (or maybe now?) when God has not answered your prayers in the timing that you preferred? Have you had to wait on him? What was that process like, including the highs and lows? How would you encourage someone who is in a season of waiting right now?
From the sermon:
We need to know that when Jesus doesn’t do what we want him to when we want him to, it’s not because he’s against us, it’s because he’s actually for us. He’s not being slack, he’s being patient. He’s not being harsh, he’s being gracious.
And this really matters at the level of how we imagine him. It matters how we see him. His patience is full of grace. Which means that whatever it is you are waiting for — whatever promises he’s made that you can’t feel — he’s not looking at you with his arms crossed; he’s not frantically checking his watch; he’s not annoyed by how you are handling things.
Often, I think, we tend to project our struggle with patience on Jesus. We can imagine that he is as impatient as we are. But nothing could be farther from the truth. He is so patient. We really have no idea. Peter says to “count the Lord’s patience as salvation” (2 Peter 3:15). Jesus is patient, and his patience is full of grace!
- In what ways have you been tempted to imagine Jesus as impatient and frustrated with you? How does the patience of Jesus impact the specific struggles you’re going through right now?