This weekend Pastor Matt talked about a false type of expectation held by some Christians—namely, if I do all the right things, and make all the right sacrifices, God is somehow obligated to bless me—and even withhold his approval from those who don’t perform nearly as well.
How do you feel when people cut in line in front of you? How do you usually respond?
WHAT DOES GOD WANT US TO HEAR?
“Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.’ But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’ And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’” (Luke 15:25-32)
Why did the older son refuse to come in to the party and celebrate the return of his younger brother? What did the older brother assume his sibling had done with his squandered inheritance?
Why is it so easy for some people to get comfortable with their sense of “comparable goodness” – namely, compared to many others, (especially irresponsible people), that they are “exceptionally worthy.”
Why is this type of hubris always spiritually dangerous?
Have you ever been tempted by this? Explain.
WHAT DOES GOD WANT US TO DO?
What are some expectations you’ve had of others that turned out to be unfounded?
What are some expectations you’ve had of God that turned out to be baseless?
Read 1 Corinthians 3:10-15, the passage where the Apostle Paul describes “the big reveal” in regard to how believers will be rewarded ...
By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.
On what do you expect your earthly and heavenly rewards to be based on?
How has this expectation shaped your decision-making, especially in regard to your role in the Kingdom of God?
WHAT DOES GOD WANT ME TO DO?
Who are some of the people in your life with whom God has been generous in different ways than He’s been generous with you?
If you can do so with a willing heart, celebrate with those people this week (or at least acknowledge the presence of God’s blessing in their lives).
Write down 3-5 expectations you have of God, and what you believe will motivate or incentivize Him to do these things.
Do any of those expectations need to be re-shaped? If so, work on them this week, and share what you discover with someone you trust.
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