Reality & A Defiant Hope

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Pastor Steve Thomas

Daniel 7

Reality and Defiant Hope_Sermon Notes

Going Deeper:

  1. Read Daniel 7 straight through 3 times.
  2. Without attaching a beast to a historical kingdom, but as a group, what do they seem to represent about human kingdoms in general?
  3. Quickly read (or reflect on) Genesis 1-3. How could the biblical narrative of creation, fall, and redemption help you understand the beasts and “son of man”?
  4. The author crafted this chapter to instill courage in the face of suffering. What are some ways the author exalts God and diminishes the beastly kings?
  5. How do you relate to Daniel’s reactions to his vision? How did Daniel proceed to live in light of this vision? (Note—this was during Belshazzar’s reign.)
  6. Watch The Bible Project (www.thebibleproject.com) video titled “The Son of Man”” or read the article by Kyle Blevins at biblestudytools.com about “Son of Man”. What did you learn?

Spiritual Exercise: Daniel’s reaction to God’s vision was anxiety—a “troubled spirit”. That is understandable! What is troubling you right now? Daniel sought information from God to alleviate his anxiety. This wasn’t wrong but didn’t help much. Yet, his vision of the “Ancient of Days” does gives hope. Remembering God’s rule helps relieve our troubled spirits. So, memorize Psalm 121 and use it to kindle defiant hope

The Window, Not The Lions

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Pastor Steve Thomas

Daniel 6

The Window not the Lions_Sermon Notes

Going Deeper:

  1. Read Daniel 6, taking special note of the characters and conflicts.
  2. What instigated the plot to bring down Daniel? What does the plot tell us about Daniel’s witness and the world’s reaction? (c.f. John 15:18-21)
  3. Daniel seemed to have favor and be hated by the leadership (and people?) of Babylon. What might be wrong in our practice of the Christian faith if people are either always offended or never offended by us?
  4. What does the nature of the conspirators’ plot reveal about Daniel’s spiritual life?
  5. Read verse 10 carefully. Is Daniel doing something unusual and flashy, or habitual and private? How does this help us understand displaying God’s grace?
  6. Where was Daniel looking when he prayed? How do you think his posture and view helped him be a humble servant and willing resistor? (c.f. Jer. 29:11; 1 Kings 8:46-53; Col. 3:1-4) How can you apply this to your prayer life?

Spiritual Exercise: Jesus said that we are blessed when persecuted for His name’s sake and in danger when all people speak well of us. Jesus calls us to be salt and light in the world and prays for our protection from the evil one in the world. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you where you may need to stop hiding from, or yelling at, the world, in order to influence the people in your world with Gods’ love. Keep in step.

 

Soteriology Ends the Soiree

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Pastor Steve Thomas

Daniel 5

Soteriology Ends the Soiree_Sermon Notes

Going Deeper:

  1. Read Daniel 5. What verse most stands out to you? Why?
  2. Think about the party (vv.1-4) against the backdrop of the imminent fall of Babylon (5:30-31). It seems Belshazzar might be medicating himself against his mortality… how do people in Corvallis medicate themselves against their mortality?
  3. The author abruptly juxtaposes Nebuchadnezzar’s humbling (Daniel 4) with Belshazzar’s condemnation (Daniel 5). What seems to be the difference between King Neb and King Bel? Is this about information or response?
  4. What can you learn about serving Jesus from Daniel in this chapter?
  5. Where does Jesus talk about parties and banquets that can give you hope?
  6. Spiritual Exercise: Read and reflect upon Psalm 23. Consider it in light of Daniel 5. In prayer, ask the Lord to show you how He is brining the promises of the Psalm into your daily life.

 

The Opposing Powers of Pride & Humility

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Pastor Steve Thomas

Daniel 4

The Opposing Powers of Pride & Humility_Sermon Notes

Going Deeper:

  1. Read Daniel 4. What are some repeated phrases or words? How does this help you identify the major theme?
  2. What can you learn from Daniel’s role in this story?
  3. Read Romans 1:21-32. Consider Nebuchadnezzar’s judgment in light of Paul’s teaching on God “giving over”. How can pride lead to dehumanizing?
  4. Read carefully Nebuchadnezzar’s language before his humiliation (vv.29-30) and after his restoration (vv.1-3 and vv.34-39). What are some marks of humility, some changes, you see in Nebuchadnezzar’s words?
  5. Is there a time in your life when God, in His graciousness, humbled you? How did you grow through that experience?
  6. How can you use this passage to build a healthy self-confidence?
  7. Spiritual Exercise: The king’s state of mind changed when his eyes moved and he looked upward. This week, if your pride is showing in insecurity or arrogance, or you are feeling anxious from scarcity or while “content and prosperous”, turn your eyes to heaven in humble acknowledgment of God’s rule and ask Him to restore your “reason” and find peace in His reign.

 

Courage in Resistance

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Pastor Steve Thomas

Daniel 3

Courage in Resistance_Sermon Notes

Going Deeper:

  1. Read Daniel 3. What was the author’s purpose in writing this after the event? After reading the story, what leaves an impression on you?
  2. Consider carefully the words in vv.16-18. What do the words teach about faith and God’s deliverance from suffering? What compelled the guys to stand?
  3. In what ways do you think God’s work of deliverance in Daniel 3 is normative for those suffering persecution or unique to these three guys? Why?
  4. Where can you find hope to give you courage to resist the idols in our culture?
  5. Read Exodus 20:1-6. According to Exodus 20:1-6—what can become an idol in our lives? Tim Keller defines an idol as “anything that becomes more functionally fundamental to your happiness, meaning in life, and identity then God.” What are some idols you see people worshipping? What idol do you struggle with?

Spiritual Exercise: The example of faith in Daniel 3 clarifies that faith is not just
doctrinal ascent, but active obedience. They obeyed God’s revealed will (Exo. 20:5) and trusted God with the results. Is there a situation in your life where you need to stand and obey God’s revealed will, trusting Him with the resulting circumstances? Remember, you are not standing alone “… But I see four men… and the fourth is like a son of the gods.” (Dan. 3:25). “I will be with you always…” (Mat. 28:20).

 

A Firm Hope and A Sure Song

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Pastor Steve Thomas

Daniel 2

A Firm Hope and Sure Song_Sermon Notes

Going Deeper:

  1. Read Daniel chapter 2. Who are the main characters? What roles do they play?
  2. Based on this account, what words would you use to describe the king, the king’s advisors, Daniel (and the guys), and God?
  3. The author of the book of Daniel intended for this account to provide something needed for God’s people to live faithfully in a mostly “God-less” society. What are some ideas the author conveys? Do you need to hear these in your life?
  4. Where do you see the end of “Babylonian” thinking? When it comes to fully knowing life, the future, and who we are and God is, what is needed?
  5. How does this story challenge you or comfort you?
  6. Spiritual Exercise: Reflect on what gave Daniel the confidence to sing worship while in exile. Read the “song” a few times in Daniel 2:20-23. How is God
    encouraging you to live firmly and faithfully in your experience of “exile’? How can you act in faith?

 

Wisdom in Resistance

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Pastor Steve Thomas

Daniel 1

Wisdom In Resistance_ Sermon Notes

Going Deeper:

  1. Read Daniel chapter 1 and Matthew 22:15-22. Does anything stand out to you? What are some ways these two passages connect with each other?
  2. Daniel’s resolution to temporarily abstain from food from the king’s table, yet submitting to (and utilizing parts of) secular education, appearance, and names in service to the king, is an example of his resolve not to defile himself. Why do you think he made this choice? How does that help inform you about living for God in our cultural moment?
  3. Neither the author of Daniel, nor Jesus in Matthew, provides a clear list of “do’s” and “do nots” when it comes to living faithfully in a corrupting culture. What might the reason be? How does this challenge you to live?
  4. Where do you see Daniel demonstrating Christ-likeness in his act of resistance?
  5. Spiritual Exercise: Read Daniel’s resolve and Jesus’ exhortation again. Pray about them. Listen to the Holy Spirit prompting you. Is this resolve of heart one you share with Daniel? Do you need to make it? Do you need to honor it today?

 

Exile As Opportunity

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Pastor Steve Thomas

Daniel 1:1-7; Jeremiah 29:1-7

Exile as Opportunity_Sermon Notes

Going Deeper

  • Read Daniel 1:1-7 and consider their experience of entering exile. What did they lose and find? How would exile challenge their faith?
  • Can you identify with any of the experiences of “exile” in your life? How? What are some reasons our experience is not a direct parallel with Daniel?
  • How would you evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the various paradigms of exile? Have you experienced any of these for good or ill?
  • Read Jeremiah 29:1-7. What did God call the exiles to do in Babylon? How does this inform your perception of being a Christian in Corvallis?
  • Where is God in both Daniel 1:1-7 and Jeremiah 29:1-7? How does this give you hope in your “exile”?

Spiritual Exercise: The word “welfare” (ESV) or “peace” (NIV) is the Hebrew word “shalom”. Shalom means “wholeness” or “flourishing fullness”. Pray for wisdom to find a way you could help bring shalom into Corvallis this week and then follow the Spirit’s leading in faithful obedience.