SERMON SERIES: HALF TRUTHS
WEEK 2: GOD HELPS THOSE WHO HELP THEMSELVES
(Seven Questions HMC study for the week of 10-16th July 2017)
ICE BREAKER: At mealtimes one usually pronounces a blessing over the meal. Consider the roles that many play so that this food ends up on your plate?
FOCUS SCRIPTURE PASSAGES: Ps 10:14b, 17-18a; 2 Thess. 3:10-12; Lev. 23:15-22; Ps 121:1-2
OVERVIEW: Adam Hamilton recounts the scenario of people on the street being asked to name of the Ten Commandments, who reply with this exact statement! Of course it is not one of the Ten Commandments but originated in Greek mythology in the 5th Century BC, and has echoed down the millennia forming part of many people’s thinking today. It’s not found anywhere in Scripture, although Scripture may hint at this, so what is the spiritual truth we are to embrace?
- Whether its food, applying for a job, or selling a possession, God has blessed us with brains, strength and wisdom, and others to assist us – it’s up to us how we use these gifts. Adam Hamilton says, “So we pray – and we work.” Discuss this statement.
- READ: 2 Thess. 3:10-12. Sometimes, simply praying for God’s help will not suffice. The Benedictine Monks use the Latin phrase ora et labora – “Pray and Work”. How does this Scripture and statement shape your understanding of how God provides for you?
- Scripture reveals over and over that God works through people. How does our time of prayer empower and guide us into action to help ourselves or others?
- Jesus calls us to love our neighbour as we love ourselves (Lev. 19:18, Mark 12:31). Sometimes they are in such a deep hole they’re unable to climb out without help. Read: Lev. 23:15-22. What do you think is God’s intention?
- Showing compassion and mercy is God’s character and typically meets the needs of the poor, the struggling and hurting. How can we demonstrate this without creating situations of dependency?
- God’s help for the helpless = Grace. When we are in a place of despair, perhaps because of circumstances, sin, temptation or lack of a sense of belonging/trust, God extends grace towards us. Share an experience of receiving grace from God.
- TRUTH NUGGET: READ Ps. 121:1-2. God says, “I am here”. The essence of grace is that God helps those who cannot help themselves. Sometimes we can help ourselves, at other times we can’t. God prompts us and others to help each other – we become God’s answer to someone else’s prayer. What do you think?
Light a candle as a symbol of Christ’s presence in your midst.
Please pray for our Nation and Community:
- Protection of Journalists so that they are able to report with integrity and honesty.
- Pray against the upsurge of fake news and news sites.
- Pray for the on-going disaster management in Knysna as a result of fires – many are still without homes, clothing and food. Many churches and organisations are still involved in this disaster management.
- Pray for the EThekwini Municipality that they govern with integrity to provide services for all of the community – especially in respect of the Gleblands Hostel situation, and the management of protest situations, which in itself highlights deep crisis in our communities.
Pray for the Church, Church Leaders and Members, that we will all consider our response to the many challenges faced by the Church.
Pray aloud together:
“God, thank you for grace. Thank you for the many times you have helped me when I did not deserve it. Thank you for your love. Thank you for your forgiveness. Thank you for the meaning you bring to my life. Thank you for rescuing me. Please use me, Lord, as your instrument to help others who are in need. I offer myself to you. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.