Yesterday, Pastor Mike reminded us that all of humanity has a massive sin problem, and — thanks be to Jesus — we have hope and salvation through His atoning death on the cross. He alone is mighty to save, to heal, and to restore.
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Zephaniah was a prophet to Judah, the southern kingdom of Israel. He was a poet during a season of such darkness and disorder that God rose up to pour out His holy indignation upon sin (Zephaniah 3:8). But God is not punitive, and quickly reveals that He disciplines for the sake of purification and restoration (Zephaniah 3:9-13). Thus, the book of Zephaniah begins in chaos and ends in soul-quieting comfort.
Read Zephaniah 3:14-15
Read these verses aloud. Remember, these words were written to a people steeped in sin, whose world had descended into darkness because of their folly. List four reasons Zephaniah gives for Israel to sing and rejoice in verse 15. Think about each of those four statements. Which one is especially meaningful to you today and why?
Read Zephaniah 3:16-20
Copy verse 17 onto a notecard, or if you enjoy art, create something beautiful using this verse. What does this verse teach you about God’s view of you? In what ways do you need God to save you? In what ways do you need Him to quiet you?
This passage uses seven key verbs to describe how God will care for His people. He will sing, rejoice, exult, quiet, gather, save, and restore. Which of these verbs is especially meaningful to you today? Pause and use this verb to pray specifically to God regarding your present circumstances. For example:
- “God, I need your restoration. Would you restore my…”
- “Please quiet me in your love, Lord! I am so anxious and unsettled about…”
- “It blows my mind that You would exult in me, God. I should exult in You! But knowing You exult over me with loud singing makes me feel…”
Finally, focus on verse 19. Pause and reflect on how God regards injustice and oppression. Ask Him to give you a heart like His and to use you as an agent of gospel love in His world.
Grace Communities: Sermon Discussion Questions
Reread Jonah 3:5-10. This is a picture of radical repentance and the mercy of God. Would anyone like to share a brief testimony of your own journey to repentance and saving faith in Christ?
Pastor Mike stressed the value of looking inward and examining our own hearts for personal sin. Has anyone had a chance for silent reflection this week? What did God reveal to you?
Read James 1:19-21. Would you characterize yourself as someone who is “quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry”? Why or why not? Why is it important to cultivate an attitude like this?
What are some indicators that we’ve allowed political ideologies to hold too lofty a position in our hearts? How can we be agents of hope and healing during this season?
What is one next step you’d like to take this week, in response to God?
GraceStudents 5th/6th Grade
Word of the Week—Remnant
This is a great word to understand because it’s used several times in the Bible. A remnant is a small, remaining portion of something. If you asked your mom, “Can I have the remnants of your pizza?” you would be asking for her leftovers — the small remaining portion of pizza on her plate. (And she would think, “Wow! I’m raising a genius!”)
In the Bible, God’s people sinned again and again and again. Remind you of anyone? Sometimes their sin was so awful, other nations ended up capturing them. This was part of God’s discipline. But God is so merciful. He always left a remnant — a small remaining portion of His people, who would return to Him wholeheartedly, repent, and devote themselves to worship. In this way, God showed mercy to His people again and again and again.
Thank God for His endless mercy. Praise Him that no matter how much you fail, He will always meet you with love and forgiveness.
GraceStudents (7-12 Grades)
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