...but God

Skip Heitzig

All of us experience times of desperation, but as James Montgomery Boice said, "If you understand those two words, 'But God,' they will save your soul. If you recall them daily and live by them, they will transform your life completely." In this series, Skip Heitzig explores the "but God" moments of David, Jonah, Moses, and other biblical figures, encouraging us to let the Lord turn our personal periods into pivot points.


 

Table of Contents

# SCRIPTURE: MESSAGE:
1 Jesus Died...but God
2 1 Samuel 23:14-18 Haters Hate…but God
3 Genesis 50:15-21 Evil Happens…but God
4 Genesis 6-8 Judgment Is Coming…but God
5 Nehemiah 9 We’ve Failed...but God
6 Jonah 1-2 You Can Run…but God
7 Genesis 31 Families Are Dysfunctional...but God
8 Psalm 49 Death Is Certain...but God
9 Daniel 2 The Future Looks Uncertain...but God
10 Ephesians 2:1-10 You Were Dead…but God

 


 

SERIES: ...but God
MESSAGE: Jesus Died...but God
SPEAKER: Skip Heitzig
URL: http://SkipHeitzig.com/4290

STUDY GUIDE
Recap Notes: April 1, 2018
Teacher: Skip Heitzig
Teaching: "Jesus Died…but God"
Text: Acts 13:26-30

Path

The resurrection is the heart of the gospel message. As the apostle Paulstated, "And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty" (1 Corinthians 15:14). Along with the incarnation, the resurrection is the greatest event in history. Because of the empty tomb, history is changed forever. And equally profound, the Father raised Christ so we might live—having new life in Him (see 2 Corinthians 5:15). In this Easter message, Pastor Skip taught from Acts 13:26-30, noting that Jesus died, but God raised Him from the dead. 

  1. God Has a Message for You (v. 26)
  2. God Sent a Messenger to Us (v. 27)
  3. God Knows the Mischief in Us (vv. 28-29)
  4. God Works a Marvel Despite Us (v. 30)

Points

Two Most Important Words: But God
God Has a Message for You
God Sent a Messenger to Us
God Knows the Mischief in Us
God Works a Marvel Despite Us
Practice

Connect Up: How are the incarnation (Jesus' birth) and the resurrection two of the Father's greatest miracles? Why are both central to a biblical worldview?

Connect In: How has the reality of the resurrection changed your life, the church, and the world? Discuss how history changed because of the resurrection. (Hint: consider love, the church, the role of women, family life, government, the arts, etc.)

Connect Out: When talking to an unbeliever, what truths might you stress? For example, Christ was born, died for sin, rose from the dead, was seen by many, and is coming again (see 1 Corinthians 15). How would you give a defense of the resurrection to a nonbeliever? Consider eyewitness testimony, changed lives, and historical record. Why are all these important?

DETAILED NOTES
"Jesus Died…but God"
Acts 13:30

  1. Introduction
    1. The two most important words are "but God"
      1. Two simple words, but when combined, they form a powerful truth
      2. They point us to the great interrupter, the one who can powerfully and graciously interrupt our lives with His plans and change our lives forever
      3. This phrase is found forty-five times in the Bible, and it is always followed by radical change
    2. The resurrection of Christ is the ultimate "but God" moment in history
      1. If God can do that, then He can do anything
      2. "But God raised Him from the dead" (Acts 13:30)
  2. God has a message for you
    1. God has spoken to mankind throughout all of history
      1. He spoke through creation
      2. Psalm 19:1
    2. God has spoken generally, but He has also spoken specifically
      1. He sent prophets to proclaim His messages
      2. Hebrews 1:1
      3. This shows God's interest in His creation
    3. As human beings, we are naturally in a box—the confines of time and space
      1. Outside that box of humanity is the supernatural realm
      2. Religion is man's attempt to escape the natural and reach the supernatural
    4. We cannot transcend our own existence—someone outside the box must reach into our box, and that's what God did:
      1. He spoke from a burning bush to Moses
      2. He spoke in a lightning storm at Mount Sinai
      3. He spoke in a still, small voice to the prophet Elijah
      4. He spoke His truth, values, and desires for His people through the prophets
    5. Why did God speak? Because God loves people
      1. He doesn't want people living on earth without purpose and without hope
      2. God spoke especially when His people messed up
    6. God has a message that will speak to your mess
      1. God wants to speak to you because He loves you—He has a message of love for you
      2. "God loves each of us as if there were only one of us to love" —Augustine
  3. God sent a messenger to us
    1. God's ultimate message to humanity is not a sermon, prophecy, set of instructions, or law—it's a person
      1. God's ultimate message to humanity is in the person of Jesus Christ
      2. All of the messages in the Old Testament and all the prophets who spoke God's truth were pointing toward a messenger the Jews called Messiah—Jesus
      3. Messiah means someone specifically prepared and selected by God to save the world
    2. God spoke through the ages, but His final message before judgment is His hand of love extended to humanity
      1. The Old Testament was God's story that unfolded gradually and progressively
      2. All of those messages were incomplete until the messenger came
    3. Mankind is trapped in a natural box within the walls of time and space
      1. We cannot get out of our box and connect with the supernatural
      2. God sent His Son to crawl inside the box—God became a man and came to earth to show us His truth
        1. This is the difference between Christianity and every other world religion
        2. Religion is man's attempt to discover God; Christianity is God bursting into our world, crawling inside our box
        3. When Jesus came, He showed people what God is like; when God came down to our level, the relationship changed
      3. Christianity is not a creed, ritual, or institution; Christianity is knowing Christ personally
  4. God knows the mischief in us
    1. God's messenger, the Messiah, was innocent—He lived a perfect life
      1. The very people He was sent to save executed Him—condemned Him as a criminal
      2. People didn't want to hear God's message, and people didn't want God's messenger, so they killed Him
      3. The light of truth came into this world, and the very hands that God created put Jesus on the cross
    2. If there's one thing this world consistently gets wrong, it's the identity of Jesus Christ
      1. There are so many ideas out there as to who Jesus Christ is
      2. The Gospels are filled with various ideas and concepts of who Jesus was
        1. Matthew 16:14
        2. Luke 23:2
        3. John 6:14-15
        4. John 7:12
        5. John 10:20
    3. Who is Jesus to you?
      1. What have you done personally with Jesus Christ?
      2. The best thing to be a fanatic about is the living God who can change lives
  5. Conclusion
    1. God works a marvel despite us
    2. "But God raised Him from the dead"
      1. Jesus was put on the cross and left for dead, but God raised Him up
      2. They put Him in a tomb, but God got Him out
      3. They walked away and thought it was all over, but God made sure it was just the beginning
    3. Those two little words of hope can be part of your story
      1. Ephesians 2:5
      2. Apart from Christ, people are spiritual zombies—they're dead, and they don't even know they're dead
      3. God, in His mercy and in His love for us, gave us life when He raised Christ from the dead
    4. If God can raise a corpse from the dead, He can change your life
      1. The world says no, but God says yes
      2. The world says can't, but God says can
Figures referenced: Augustine

Cross references: Psalm 19:1; Matthew 16:14; Luke 23:2; John 6:14-15; 7:12; 10:20; Acts 13:30; Ephesians 2:5; Hebrews 1:1

Topic: Easter

Keywords: death, history, hope, humanity, interrupt, Jesus, life, love, mercy, message, messenger, Messiah, resurrection, supernatural, truth

 


 

SERIES: ...but God
MESSAGE: Haters Hate…but God
SPEAKER: Skip Heitzig
SCRIPTURE: 1 Samuel 23:14-18
URL: http://SkipHeitzig.com/4295

MESSAGE SUMMARY
I want to help you today to view the circumstances of your life correctly; I’d like to clear up your spiritual vision. This week and next, we will examine the lives of two well-known characters in Scripture who were attacked by people close to them, but God changed the outcome. Their evil hatred couldn’t stop the great plans that a good God had set in motion. Today, a five-verse pericope gives rich principles that clear up our vision.

STUDY GUIDE
Recap Notes: April 15, 2018
Teacher: Skip Heitzig
Teaching: Haters Hate…but God
Text: 1 Samuel 23:14-18

Path

There is a correct way to view the circumstances of your life so you can have clear spiritual vision. This week and next, Pastor Skip will examine the lives of two well-known characters in Scripture who were attacked by people close to them, but God changed the outcome. Their evil hatred couldn't stop the great plans that a good God had set in motion. In this teaching, a five-verse pericope gives us rich principles that clear up our vision:

  1. Bad Things Happen to Good People (vv. 14-18)
  2. Bad People Can't Stop a Good God (v. 14)
  3. A Good God Doesn't Negate Good Sense (v. 15)
  4. Bad Times Call for Good Friends (vv. 16-18)

Points

Bad Things Happen to Good People
Bad People Can't Stop a Good God
A Good God Doesn't Negate Good Sense
Bad Times Call for Good Friends
Practice

Connect Up: Sovereignty is defined as supreme power or authority. Free will is defined as voluntary and independent choice. Though ultimately a mystery above our understanding, discuss how God can be both sovereign and allow people to have free will.

Connect In: Though each of us has friends to help us through life, how can Christians help other Christians persevere? Consider Galatians 6:2: "Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." What does it mean to bear one another's burdens? Read John 13:34-35. How do we fulfill the law of Christ when we support one another?

Connect Out: Discuss how you can use the two words but God to reach out to an unbeliever.

DETAILED NOTES

  1. Introduction
    1. Everyone has a worldview
    2. The biblical worldview is this:
      1. God created everything
      2. Mankind made bad choices that caused disastrous results, lingering in every generation and bringing death physically, morally, and spiritually
      3. God's plan was to let those results play out for thousands of years while staging a rescue operation to take care of the sin problem
      4. Eventually, God will rule over a restored creation with those He was sent to save
    3. If you don't have this worldview, most of life will not make sense
    4. If this is your worldview, life will still be hard, but clearer and more satisfying
    5. The phrase but God changes everything
  2. Bad Things Happen to Good People (vv. 14-18)
    1. David was a man after God's own heart (see Acts 13:22), the future king of Israel, and the ancestor of Jesus Christ, the central figure in God's plan of redemptive history
    2. David was suffering
      1. Suffering is not a measure of goodness or godliness (see Matthew 5:45)
      2. Saul was jealous of David's calling and capabilities
      3. David fled and lived for up to ten years as a refugee
      4. David wrote many psalms during this time of suffering (see Psalm 63)
    3. What did David do to invite this mistreatment by King Saul?
      1. Nothing (see Psalm 59)
      2. Bad things happen to good people
      3. It started with David's victory over Goliath (see 1 Samuel 18:7); Saul was jealous of and mistreated David from that moment on
      4. Out of David's suffering came many magnificent, encouraging psalms
    4. When you become a Christian, your problems don't go away
      1. Your biggest problem does go away: you are no longer going to hell
      2. But you are beset with other problems
  3. Bad People Can't Stop a Good God (v. 14)
    1. Saul was relentless
      1. But God changes everything
      2. James Montgomery Boice said these two words will save your soul and transform your life
    2. There is a divine sovereign hand ruling the universe
      1. When you have a universal, all-powerful ruler, malicious plans won't always succeed
      2. Sometimes they succeed for a time
    3. God allowed David's suffering for a time
      1. David was a refugee for ten years
      2. Saul was only allowed to go so far, and then God stepped in
      3. It stopped when David's suffering no longer served God's purpose
    4. Suffering can be very beneficial to the life of a believer
      1. Many believers' testimonies include times of suffering
      2. Spurgeon said the most Christlike believers are those who have suffered the most affliction
    5. The good news is there is a limit
      1. When suffering violates God's purpose, He steps in
      2. Satan is under the parameters and permission of a sovereign God (see Job 1:6-2:10)
      3. Satan is on a leash (see Mark 5:12-13)
      4. All people, angels, demons, and Satan himself operate under the strict parameters of a sovereign God
      5. If you are going through a fiery trial, God has His eye on you and His hand on the thermostat
      6. You are invincible until God is done with you (see Revelation 11:7)
  4. A Good God Doesn't Negate Good Sense (v. 15)
    1. Why did David hide himself and his men?
      1. David wasn't an idiot or a fatalist; he used his mind to get out of a predicament
      2. God may deliver, but David still had to duck
      3. David believed that God's sovereignty is enmeshed in man's responsibility
    2. Parable of the unjust steward
      1. Luke 16:8
      2. Jesus was saying that sometimes unbelievers are smarter than believers in thinking through their future
    3. While God is being sovereign, make sure you're being sensible; God delivers, but we must deliberate
  5. Bad Times Call for Good Friends (vv. 16-18)
    1. David was hiding and trusting in a sovereign God, but he was discouraged, weak, and fearful
    2. We know this from the psalms of this period
    3. Jonathan encouraged David to be strong in the Lord
      1. All believers experience discouragement and setbacks, even the greatest men of faith
      2. 1 Kings 19:4
      3. 2 Corinthians 1:8
    4. Every David needs his Jonathan; every discouraged person needs their encourager
      1. Jonathan knew David loved the Lord
      2. The best friend you can ever have is one who turns your thoughts back to the God you love
      3. David and Jonathan's friendship was forged over their mutual love for the Lord (see 1 Samuel 18:1)
  6. Closing
    1. But God changes everything
      1. David was being chased and attacked by Saul, but God kept him safe
      2. David was feeling weak and discouraged, but God sent Jonathan
      3. David was hated by the king, but God would one day make him king
    2. If you can live your life with the truth of but God and learn to look for the but God times in your life, that can change it all
Figures referenced: James Montgomery Boice, Charles Spurgeon

Cross references: 1 Samuel 18:1, 7; 1 Kings 19:4; Job 1:6-2:10; Psalm 59; 63; Proverbs 27:17; Matthew 5:45; 8:28-34; Mark 5:12-13; Luke 16:8; John 19:8-11; Acts 13:22; 2 Corinthians 1:8; Philippians 4:7; Revelation 11:7

Topic: Sovereignty

Keywords: worldview, jealous, suffer, suffering, problems, providential, sovereign, deliverance, demons, the Devil, purpose, shrewd, discouragement, encouragement, friendship

 


 

SERIES: ...but God
MESSAGE: Evil Happens…but God
SPEAKER: Skip Heitzig
SCRIPTURE: Genesis 50:15-21
URL: http://SkipHeitzig.com/4297

MESSAGE SUMMARY
The story of Joseph is one of the Bible’s most compelling tales. And the most gripping feature is the difference between Joseph’s outlook and that of his eleven brothers. After all the intrigue, the ups and downs of Joseph’s life and career, and the years of deception and selfishness by Joseph’s brothers, the finale comes after their father, Jacob, dies. This is one of the Bible’s best but God moments,as forgiveness eclipses failure. Let’s consider Joseph’s brothers as they approach him one last time.

STUDY GUIDE
Connect Recap Notes: April 22, 2018
Speaker: Skip Heitzig
Teaching: "Evil Happens…but God"
Text: Genesis 50:15-21

Path

The story of Joseph is one of the Bible's most compelling tales. And the most gripping feature is the difference between Joseph's outlook and that of his eleven brothers. After all the intrigue, the ups and downs of Joseph's life and career, and the years of deception and selfishness by Joseph's brothers, the finale comes after their father, Jacob, dies. This is one of the Bible's best but God moments, as forgiveness eclipses failure.

  1. Their Baseless Fear (v. 15)
  2. Their Blatant Fabrication (vv. 16-18)
  3. Their Brother's Forgiveness (vv. 19-21)
Points

Their Baseless Fear
Their Blatant Fabrication
Their Brother's Forgiveness
Practice

Connect Up: Pastor Skip referred to two types of providence: natural (whereby God cooperates with created things to cause them to act in a certain way) and supernatural (a miracle). How are the two similar and different? Though we don't fully understand God's governance and use of both, how have you experienced them in your life? In what events in your life did you see God's hand at work?

Connect In: Using Joseph as an example, what characteristics should the church work hard to mimic and implement? For example: forgiveness, grace, trust, patience, etc. Discuss others you can think of.

Connect Out: How can you use Joseph's story to witness to nonbelievers? What events and scenarios within the story do you think an unbeliever might respond to?

DETAILED NOTES

  1. Introduction
    1. Joseph had so many bad things happen to him
    2. His brothers hated him, Midianites sold him, Potiphar jailed him, cellmates forgot him, but God promoted him
    3. One-fourth of Genesis—thirteen chapters—is devoted to Joseph
      1. Rags to riches story: Joseph went from total obscurity to the second most powerful person in Egypt
      2. Reveals God's providence: God cooperates with natural law to affect a supernatural result; an extraordinary outcome from ordinary circumstances
      3. Joseph proved no one needs to be held down by past baggage
        1. Dysfunctional family
        2. Jacob had four wives at the same time
        3. Brothers involved in rape, incest, murder, and human trafficking
    4. Genesis 50 is the crescendo and grand finale
      1. Jacob had died and been buried
      2. Brothers were paranoid
  2. Their Baseless Fear (v. 15)
    1. Brothers' guilt is evident
      1. Joseph's brothers got rid of him, sold him to the Midianites, taken to Egypt, etc.
      2. They thought Joseph was dead; they found out he controlled the world economy from Egypt
      3. Joseph had provided for and protected his brothers; they were completely in debt to him, fearing he could rescind his favor and protection
    2. Their father, Jacob was dead
      1. Brothers thought Jacob was a buffer between them and Joseph
      2. They were completely vulnerable
    3. Brothers had two fears
      1. Joseph's personal emotion ("Perhaps Joseph will hate us")
      2. Joseph's possible reaction ("may actually repay us for all the evil")
    4. A guilty conscience is a heavy load to bear
      1. Guilty conscience needs no accuser (see Psalm 38:4)
      2. They were projecting their guilt into the situation
      3. They had been carrying their unresolved guilt for forty years
      4. Guilt filters everything and distorts reality
        1. They thought Joseph hated them—he loved them
        2. They thought he was unforgiving—he forgave them five chapters ago
  3. Their Blatant Fabrication (vv. 16-18)
    1. Jacob's supposed words were very likely fabricated by the brothers
      1. Brothers were so paranoid, they sent messengers ahead of them
      2. No record that Jacob said these things
      3. It was too important a message to deliver via messenger
      4. Jacob would have told Joseph himself; all twelve sons were at Jacob's side when he died (see Genesis 49)
      5. Used their dead father as the fall guy, a scapegoat
        1. Brothers' collective personality was paranoid, opportunistic, deceptive
        2. They had been lavishly treated by Joseph and Pharaoh, protected and provided for all these years, and relocated to avoid famine
        3. They had already confessed to lying all these years
        4. Self-preservation (see Proverbs 29:25)
    2. Joseph always lived from the but God perspective
      1. Joseph revealed himself to his brothers (see Genesis 45:1-13)
      2. "God sent me before you to preserve life…. God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you…and to save your lives" (vv. 5, 7)
    3. Joseph's brothers lived from the but we perspective
      1. "Joseph told us his dreams, but we resent him"
      2. "Joseph brings us a message from dad, but we despise him"
      3. "Here comes Joseph in his coat, but we will show him; we will sell him"
      4. "Now dad is dead and Joseph is prime minister, but we will outsmart him"
      5. This is self-preservation
  4. Their Brother's Forgiveness (vv. 19-21)
    1. Brothers expected anger and vengeance, but Joseph wept
      1. Joseph saw their torment and was sensitive
      2. He saw their fear and extended forgiveness
      3. He comforted them
    2. How does love and forgiveness come from the heart of someone who has been so mistreated? How is that cultivated in a person who has been so hurt?
      1. This was Joseph's theology on pain and suffering:
        1. God is in charge, not me (see v. 19)
  1. Our problems begin when we push God off the throne
  2. Romans 11:34; 13:1; Daniel 4:17
        1. God uses bad events to bring about good results (see v. 20)
          1. Joseph had a clear understanding of God's providence, no matter people's intentions
          2. Joseph knew that his brothers were to be the twelve tribal leaders of Israel; their lives had to be protected
          3. Romans 8:28
          4. Be careful what you call "bad"
        2. God uses people to help other people (see v. 21)
          1. Joseph committed to providing for his brothers and their families
          2. Joseph acknowledged their evil acts, but he saw that God took all those "bad" events and worked them together
      1. Suffering is never wasted
        1. God can help someone else from your time of suffering
        2. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
  1. Closing
    1. How big is your God?
    2. Big enough to take the bad things of your past and weave them together to produce something of value and beauty?
    3. Can you trust Him in maybe the worst point in your life?
    4. Say but God, not but me

Figures referenced: Jonathan Haidt, William Newell, Walter Scott, Shakespeare, Charles Spurgeon, R.A. Torrey

Cross references: Genesis 45:1-13; 49; Daniel 4:17; Psalm 38:4; Proverbs 29:25; Romans 8:28; 11:34; 13:1; 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Greek/Hebrew words: sunergeó

Topic: Providence

Keywords: fear, forgiveness, grudge, guilt, projecting, providence, scapegoat, self-preservation, suffering, theology, vengeance

 


 

SERIES: ...but God
MESSAGE: Judgment Is Coming…but God
SPEAKER: Skip Heitzig
SCRIPTURE: Genesis 6-8
URL: http://SkipHeitzig.com/4307

MESSAGE SUMMARY
The two worst days of the human race are days of destruction. A near total annihilation happened in the distant past and will happen again in the future. Both are directly the result of God’s judgment. Just as certain as the sun will shine tomorrow, judgment is coming eventually—but God has a better alternative. As we examine His past judgment on the earth, we will be able to better understand His future judgment and how we can find purpose in His plans for His world.

STUDY GUIDE
Connect Recap Notes: April 29, 2018
Speaker: Skip Heitzig
Teaching: "Judgment is Coming…but God"
Text: Genesis 6-8

Path

The two worst days of the human race are days of destruction. A near total annihilation happened in the distant past and will happen again in the future. Both are directly the result of God's judgment. Just as certain as the sun will shine tomorrow, judgment is coming eventually—but God has a better alternative. Pastor Skip examines God's past judgment on the earth, helping us to better understand His future judgment and how we can find purpose in His plans for His world.

  1. God Is Patient but He Judges (Genesis 6:1-3, 5-7)
  2. God Judges but He Differentiates (Genesis 6:8, 11-14)
  3. God Differentiates but He Doesn't Exempt (Genesis 7:1, 20-23)
  4. God Doesn't Exempt but He Does Remember (Genesis 8:1)
Points

God Is Patient but He Judges
God Judges but He Differentiates
God Differentiates but He Doesn't Exempt
God Doesn't Exempt but He Does Remember
Practice

Connect Up: Judgment flows from God's holiness and righteousness. Because He is holy and righteous, He cannot overlook sin forever. Sin must be punished. Are God's love and holiness contradictory? Consider: A person can have two or more qualities at once, for example, a woman can be a daughter, mother, and friend. She takes on different attributes for each role.

Connect In: The Bible speaks of a future judgment for all people, including Christians. However, the Bible also points to differing judgments:
How are these judgments similar? How are they different?

Connect Out: Do you think the future, final judgment (not specific conclusions about an individual) can be an effective witnessing tool? If so, how? What are some of the drawbacks and advantages of using judgment as the basis for witnessing to unbelievers?


¹Leon Morris, Apostolic Preaching of the Cross, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1965, 159.

DETAILED NOTES

  1. Introduction
    1. We evaluate—judge—everything from food and restaurant service to people
      1. Athletes, singers, and dancers are judged in competition
      2. Law enforcement officers and courtrooms judge driving and crimes
    2. There is a final evaluation for life by a perfect and impartial judge: God
    3. Abraham called God the "Judge of all the earth" (Genesis 18:25)
  1. God Is PatientbutHe Judges (Genesis 6:1-3, 5-7)
    1. God's judgment is based on His justice; God judges because He is just
      1. If God does not judge, then He is not just; if He is not just, then He is not perfect; and if He's not perfect, then He is not God
      2. God alone is qualified to judge (see Romans 3:23-26)
      3. He alone has all the facts (see Revelation 20:12)
    2. God is slow to anger (see Psalm 103:8), but "[His] Spirit shall not strive with man forever" (v. 3)
      1. How patient is God?
        1. Adam ate the forbidden fruit, but did not die for 930 years (see Genesis 5:5)
        2. Canaanites were given 800 years for their iniquity to be full (see Genesis 15:16)
        3. Noah was a "preacher of righteousness" (2 Peter 2:5) for 120 years while he built the ark
      2. God seems to let sin accumulate until His wrath must eclipse His mercy
    1. Bible speaks of certainty of judgment for everyone (see Hebrews 9:27)
    2. Jesus is both Savior and Judge
      1. He is the only one qualified to be both
      2. Jesus linked the flood to a future, final judgment (see Matthew 24:37-39)
    3. The days of Noah correlate to current times
      1. Increase in population (see v. 1)
      2. Increase in sexual depravity; breakdown of the traditional family (see vv. 2-4)
      3. Increase in wickedness (see v. 5)
      4. Increase in violence (see v. 11)
    4. During the time of God's patience, what are we supposed to do?
      1. Repent
      2. A refusal to repent attracts judgment (see Romans 2:3-6)
  1. God JudgesbutHe Differentiates (Genesis 6:8, 11-14)
    1. "But Noah found grace" (v. 8)
      1. Grace means favor
      2. Noah was a pleasure to the Lord; everyone else was not
    2. "In the eyes of the Lord" (v. 8) indicates God sees deeper and knows more
      1. No creature hidden from His sight (see Hebrews 4:13)
      2. The ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord (see Proverbs 5:21)
      3. God looks at the heart (see 1 Samuel 16:7)
    3. God sent judgment while He saved Noah
      1. God judges individually
      2. Peter pointed out God's differentiation with Noah (see 2 Peter 2:5)
      3. God lifted Noah off the earth
        1. Could the ark foreshadow the rapture?
        2. The same word, harpazó, is used, meaning to be taken up or to be snatched away (see 1 Thessalonians 4:17)
  2. God DifferentiatesbutHe Doesn't Exempt (Genesis 7:1, 20-23)
    1. Noah was not directly affected by the judgment, but he was indirectly affected
      1. In the ark for thirteen months, very isolated
      2. All friends and neighbors drowned
    2. God's judgment of unbelievers should affect believers
      1. We should feel discomfort and be grieved
      2. We shouldn't be willing to let anyone perish (see 2 Peter 3:9)
  3. God Doesn't ExemptbutHe Does Remember (Genesis 8:1)
    1. But God remembered Noah
      1. God had not forgotten Noah
      2. Now He fully turned His attention to Noah
    2. Noah's story is not primarily about death or judgment, but life and establishment
    3. From Genesis 8 on, the entire Bible is about life after the flood
  4. Closing
    1. God had a plan for Noah: fill the earth, start over, a second chance
    2. God has a plan for you
      1. His plan includes hope and a future (see Jeremiah 29:11)
      2. He will complete His plan (see Philippians 1:6)
    3. Judgment is coming again in the future
      1. But God sent Jesus to take the judgment in your place
      2. Jesus said believers are not judged (see John 5:24)
      3. Belief in Jesus Christ is your "ark," your salvation
Figures referenced: Horace Gray, Robert Ingersoll, Dr. Henry Morris, Leon Morris, Joseph Parker, Babe Ruth, Dr. John Whitcomb

Cross references: Genesis 3:15; 5:5; 15:16; 18:25; 1 Samuel 16:7; Psalm 103:8; Proverbs 5:21; Jeremiah 29:11; Matthew 24:37-39; John 5:24; Romans 2:3-6; 3:23-26; Philippians 1:6; 1 Thessalonians 4:17; Hebrews 4:13; 9:27; 2 Peter 2:5; 3:9; Revelation 20:12

Greek/Hebrew words: harpazó

Topic: Judgment

Keywords: judge, judgment, salvation, tribulation, the flood, the ark

 


 

SERIES: ...but God
MESSAGE: We’ve Failed...but God
SPEAKER: Skip Heitzig
SCRIPTURE: Nehemiah 9
URL: http://SkipHeitzig.com/4309

MESSAGE SUMMARY
Most all of us know that we are not what we should be or could be. Sin has scarred our lives. We are aware of personal failures. The really good news is that we may fail but God forgives. The whole reason for the atoning death of Christ was to provide clemency for transgressions and mercy for our offenses. Nehemiah knew the history of his people, and after gathering them back in the land after the captivity, he prays on their behalf. We learn four vital lessons in this prayer about the human condition and the divine solution.

STUDY GUIDE
Connect Recap Notes: Sunday, May 6, 2018
Speaker: Skip Heitzig
Teaching: "We've Failed…but God"
Text: Nehemiah 9

Path

Most all of us know that we are not what we should be or could be. Sin has scarred our lives. We are aware of personal failures. The really good news is that we may fail but God forgives. The whole reason for the atoning death of Christ was to provide clemency for transgressions and mercy for our offenses. Nehemiah knew the history of his people, and after gathering them back in the land after the captivity, he prays on their behalf. We learn four vital lessons in this prayer about the human condition and the divine solution.

  1. Failure Is Our Problem (vv. 16, 17a, 18, 26, 28, 33)
  2. Forgiveness Is Our Provision (v. 17)
  3. Faithfulness Is Our Promise (vv. 18-21, 30-31)
  4. Following Is Our Priority (vv. 36, 38)
Points

Failure Is Our Problem (vv. 16, 17a, 18, 26, 28, 33)
Forgiveness Is Our Provision (v. 17)
Faithfulness Is Our Promise (vv. 18-21, 30-31)
Following Is Our Priority (vv. 32, 36-38)
Practice

Connect Up: "The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy" (Psalm 103:8­). How does this summarize God's actions toward people? Share a time He has been merciful and gracious to you.

Connect In: Christians should be people of forgiveness. On what basis do we forgive? "Be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you" (Ephesians 4:32). How is our forgiveness based in His forgiveness?

Connect Out: A prominent oncologist noted the refusal to forgive makes people sick."2 What other benefits does forgiveness offer that you might share with someone struggling with an unforgiving heart? Consider these factors noted by the Mayo Clinic:
1Bible Hub, "Metanoia," 2016, biblehub.com/str/greek/3134.htm, accessed 5/7/18.
2Lorie Johnson, "The Deadly Consequences of Unforgiveness," June, 22, 2015, www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/healthscience/2015/june/the-deadly-consequences-of-unforgiveness, accessed 5/6/18.
3Mayo Clinic Staff, "Forgiveness: Letting Go of Grudges and Bitterness," November 4, 2017, www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/forgiveness/art-20047692, accessed 5/6/18.

DETAILED NOTES

  1. Introduction
    1. Mourning is a sign of maturity
      1. Acknowledging failure demonstrates spiritual progress
      2. Jesus said, "Blessed are those who mourn" (Matthew 5:4); blessed means happy
      3. Confession brings comfort (see Proverbs 28:13)
    2. Nehemiah 9 is a worship service
      1. Very long, filled with confession: a record of fasting, repentance, and prayer followed by a covenant
      2. Several hours reading the Word, several hours confessing (see v. 2)
      3. Longest recorded prayer in the Bible
      4. Illustrates that "godly sorrow produces repentance" (2 Corinthians 7:10)
    3. Failure doesn't need to be the end of your story
      1. You can have a bright future in spite of a dark failure
      2. God meets our failures with His forgiveness and faithfulness
  1. Failure Is Our Problem (vv. 16, 17a, 18, 26, 28, 33)
    1. Ezra prayed historically from creation to captivity, recounting the Israelites' history of rebellion against God
    2. Israelites' problem was sin and failure
    3. Humanity's problem is sin and failure (see Romans 3:23)
      1. Hamartia is the Greek word for sin: to miss the mark
      2. Bible records history of sin, a journal of human failure (see Romans 5:12)
      3. Sin is mentioned 629 times in Scripture; sin is our nature (see Ephesians 2:3)
      4. Without accepting this basic truth, the world makes no sense (see Jeremiah 17:9)
  1. Forgiveness Is Our Provision (v. 17)
    1. "But you are God " is the but God moment
    2. Our failure meets His forgiveness; our penchant for sin meets His pardon for sin
    3. God is so much bigger than our failure
      1. He expected and anticipated our failure (see Deuteronomy 28-29; 1 Kings 8:27-52)
      2. Your sin and failure never surprise God
    4. Jesus' first words on the cross were "Father, forgive them" (Luke 23:34)
      1. Forgiveness is our greatest need
      2. Even the secular world acknowledges the benefits of confession
    5. To confess does not mean to admit; it means to say the same thing about my sin and failure as God says about it
      1. To confess means to agree with God and implies turning away from sin
      2. God is ready to pardon—are you ready to confess? (see 1 John 1:9)
    6. Grace and mercy: two related but different attributes of God
      1. Grace is getting what you don't deserve; mercy is not getting what you deserve
      2. In grace, God adds the blessing you don't deserve; in mercy, God withholds the judgment you deserve
      3. The cross satisfies God's justice to enable the outpouring of His grace and mercy
  1. Faithfulness Is Our Promise (vv. 18-21, 30-31)
    1. God's love is so different than any other love
    2. God's love is unstoppable, unrelenting, unconditional (see 1 John 3:1)
      1. We keep running, God keeps chasing
      2. Hosea's ministry to his unfaithful wife demonstrated this kind of love
        1. Hosea is like God; Gomer is like Israel
        2. We are like Israel, continually going astray (see Isaiah 53:6)
    3. You might worry you've exhausted God's patience
      1. God's patience does have a limit (see Genesis 6:3)
      2. Your concern shows there's hope
      3. There is no dam that sin can erect that God's grace cannot flow over and flood (see Romans 5:20)
    4. God's nature is love (see John 3:16)
      1. Human love is object-oriented
      2. Divine love is subject-oriented and based on God's character
        1. God loves you because He is God and God is love
        2. His love pursues us, but we can move away from or hide from His love (see Jude 1:21)
  1. Following Is Our Priority (vv. 36, 38)
    1. Our response to our failure met by His forgiveness and His faithfulness is to follow
      1. Romans 12 has a similar format (see Romans 12:1)
      2. The Israelites didn't just feel bad about their past; they committed to follow Him into the future
    2. The covenant indicates repentance
    3. Don't confuse remorse with repentance
      1. Remorse is a feeling and sensation
      2. Repentance is a change and a decision
  1. Closing
    1. Today might be the day you need to finally surrender your life completely to the lordship of Jesus Christ
    2. He knows your failures, but He pursues you anyway
Figures referenced: Malcolm Muggeridge, Leonard Ravenhill

Cross references: Genesis 6:3; Deuteronomy 28-29; 1 Kings 8:27-52; Proverbs 28:13; Isaiah 53:6; Jeremiah 17:9; Hosea; Matthew 5:4; Luke 23:34; John 3:16; Romans 3:23; 5:12, 20; 12:1; 2 Corinthians 7:10; Ephesians 2:3; 1 John 1:9; 3:1; Jude 1:21

Greek words: hamartia

Topic: Repentance

Keywords: confession, covenant, fasting, forgiveness, grace, mercy, pardon, pray, remorse, repent, sin, surrender, unconditional

 


 

SERIES: ...but God
MESSAGE: You Can Run…but God
SPEAKER: Skip Heitzig
SCRIPTURE: Jonah 1-2
URL: http://SkipHeitzig.com/4315

MESSAGE SUMMARY
I’ll bet you played hide-and-seek as a kid (or as a parent with your kids). After a while, you get really creative in finding places to hide. But can you imagine actually trying to hide from God? This is the story of a prophet of God who found out that you can run but you can’t hide. As Jonah runs from the call of God, God pursues him. In this scene we discover three principles every one of us should remember.

STUDY GUIDE
Connect Recap Notes: Sunday, May 27, 2018
Speaker: Skip Heitzig
Teaching: "You Can Run…but God"
Text: Jonah 1-2

Path

I'll bet you played hide-and-seek as a kid (or as a parent with your kids). After a while, you get really creative in finding places to hide. But can you imagine actually trying to hide from God? This is the story of a prophet of God who found out that you can run but you can't hide. As Jonah runs from the call of God, God pursues him. In this scene we discover three principles every one of us should remember.

  1. God's Call Doesn't Guarantee Our Success
  2. Knowing Truth Doesn't Mean Doing Truth
  3. Your Willfulness Won't Stop God's Will
Points

God's Call Doesn't Guarantee Our Success
Knowing Truth Doesn't Mean Doing Truth
Your Willfulness Won't Stop God's Will
Practice

Connect Up: The story of Jonah contains many attributes (characteristics) of God. Here are a few to discuss:
What other attributes of God are found in the story of Jonah? Find and download a list of God's attributes here.1

Connect In: What can the story of Jonah teach the church today? For instance, how does Jonah teach us to love the unlovable? Who are the unlovable in our world today (terrorists, murderers, politicians, people with different beliefs, etc.)?

Connect Out: What can Jonah teach us about God's heart to seek and save the lost? Furthermore, what can the story teach us about our own heart regarding the unsaved? What is our role in reaching the world for Christ, both proclaiming—and showing—God's love and mercy?

1Kay Arthur, Precept Ministries International, "Attributes of God," December 15, 2016, https://www.precept.org/resources/attributes-of-god/, accessed 05/27/18.

DETAILED NOTES

  1. Introduction
    1. The phrase "but God" appears forty-five times in the Bible, and "but the Lord" another sixty times
    2. These words consistently usher in great change
    3. No matter who you are, what you've done, or how you've failed, God can make things different for you going forward
    4. God is active in the affairs of this world
  2. God's Call Doesn't Guarantee Our Success
    1. Jonah's is the story of a man who ran from God and the God who ran after the man—a prodigal prophet and a pursuing God
      1. Jonah ran in three phases: from God, to God, and with God
      2. That can be our testimony, too
    2. God called Jonah to Nineveh
      1. Nineveh was the capital of Assyria
      2. 550 miles northeast of Jerusalem, where Jonah was in Israel
    3. Jonah sailed to Tarshish instead
      1. The southwest coast of Spain
      2. Jonah went as far away as he could to avoid God's calling
    4. God has placed a calling on every believer's life (see 1 Corinthians 1:26; Ephesians 4:1)
    5. Jonah did eventually go to Nineveh, and with great success (see Jonah 3)
      1. A lot of time was wasted; a lot of pain was endured
      2. The text mentions Jonah went down three times, and Jonah also went down spiritually, away from God's will
      3. When you go your own way, you never get to the destination but you pay the fare (see Jonah 1:3); when you go God's way, you always get to the destination and God pays the fare
    6. Why did Jonah run?
      1. It was too difficult a journey and too difficult a task for a Hebrew prophet to speak to Ninevites
      2. It was too dangerous; Nineveh was known for its brutality (see Jonah 1:2)
      3. It was too disdainful (see Jonah 3:10-4:3)
        1. Jonah knew God's message would work, that God would forgive the Ninevites
        2. Jonah was angry, bitter, and racist; he preferred bitterness to forgiveness
      4. Can anyone flee from God's presence? (see Psalm 139:7-10)
  3. Knowing Truth Doesn't Mean Doing Truth
    1. Jonah knew the will of God; Jonah knew the Word of God
    2. Jonah's words were bathed in Bible truth, but Jonah's actions were bathed in bitter self-will
    3. Exposure to Scripture is no guarantee of a godly life
      1. John 13:17
      2. The joy is in the doing, not in the knowing (see Luke 6:46)
    4. Sometimes we don't believe what we believe
      1. Our prescribed theology says, "Jesus is Lord"
      2. Our practical theology says, "I am lord when His lordship conflicts with my desire"
  4. Your Willfulness Won't Stop God's Will
    1. Jonah went to Nineveh
    2. If God wanted Nineveh reached, it would be reached whether by Jonah or someone else (see Esther 4:14)
    3. God is in the business of using the most unlikely people (see 1 Corinthians 1:27)
  5. Closing
    1. If God's still, small voice won't work with you, you may want to buy storm insurance
    2. Jacob wrestled with the Lord all night long and ended up with a limp for the rest of his life (see Genesis 32:24-32)
    3. God demonstrates severe mercy as well as "harsh discipline" (Proverbs 15:10)
    4. The quicker you listen to and obey God's call, the better off and happier you'll be
Figures referenced: Ashurbanipal, Adolf Hitler, Tiglath-Pileser

Cross references: Genesis 32:24-32; Esther 4:14; Psalm 139:7-10; Proverbs 15:10; Jonah 1-2; 3:1-4:3; Luke 6:46; John 13:17; 1 Corinthians 1:26-27; Ephesians 4:1

Topic: Obedience

Keywords: bitter, calling, discipline, mercy, prodigal, prophet, theology, will

 


 

SERIES: ...but God
MESSAGE: Families Are Dysfunctional...but God
SPEAKER: Skip Heitzig
SCRIPTURE: Genesis 31
URL: http://SkipHeitzig.com/4317

MESSAGE SUMMARY
One of the most used (if not overused) terms of our culture is the term dysfunctional. It has become the chic descriptor of flawed and broken people and especially families. Too often this expression is used as an excuse to justify bad behaviors in other people. But this story of Jacob and Laban yields much insight into human behavior as well as divine intervention. Here we discover three levels of relational interaction and family dynamics.

STUDY GUIDE
Connect Recap Notes: June 3, 2018
Speaker: Skip Heitzig
Teaching: "Families Are Dysfunctional…but God"
Text: Genesis 31

Path

One of the most used (if not overused) terms of our culture is the word dysfunctional. It has become the chic descriptor of flawed and broken people and especially families. Too often this expression is used as an excuse to justify bad behaviors in other people. But this story of Jacob and Laban yields much insight into human behavior as well as divine intervention. Here we discover three levels of relational interaction and family dynamics.

  1. Every Family Is Dysfunctional (vv. 1-2)
  2. God Can Function in Dysfunction (v. 3)
  3. Growth Is Seeing God Instead of Dysfunction (vv. 4-11)
Points

Every Family Is Dysfunctional (vv. 1-2)
God Can Function in Dysfunction (v. 3)
Growth Is Seeing God Instead of Dysfunction (vv. 4-11)
Practice

Connect Up: The Christian life has three stages: justification (salvation), sanctification (being conformed into the image of Christ), and glorification (going home to the Lord upon death)—all part of His desire for us to overcome our dysfunction. How can we better partner with God in the sanctification process, turning dysfunction into function, and clothing ourselves with the character of Christ? Read Colossians 3:12-17 for insight.

Connect In: Though we wish it wasn't, the church is full of dysfunctional people, at times mimicking a biological family. How are we to handle one another when dysfunction arises within the church? Read and discuss these verses: Matthew 18:15-20; Philippians 2:1-4; James 4:7-12.

Connect Out: How would you explain to an unbeliever the fact that saved people are still sinners (see 1 John 1:10), at times acting dysfunctional? How would you share the process of going from spiritual dysfunction to function via the gospel?

Tim Sanford, "Eight Steps to Break Up a Cycle of Family Dysfunction," May 19, 2014, http://www.boundless.org/adulthood/2014/8-steps-to-break-a-cycle-of-family-dysfunction, accessed 06/03/18.

DETAILED NOTES

  1. Introduction
    1. You can't choose your family, but you can choose to adjust to and add positivity to your family
    2. The term dysfunctional family has been used since the 1960s to describe families that have problems that follow children into the next generation
    3. Dysfunctional is overused, but dysfunction is pervasive
  2. Every Family Is Dysfunctional (vv. 1-2)
    1. Genesis 27-33 chronicles one messed up family: Jacob, his wives Rachel and Leah, and his father-in-law, Laban
    2. Jacob both came from and married into a dysfunctional family
      1. Dysfunctional people tend to attract dysfunctional people
      2. Jacob and Laban were two peas in a dysfunctional pod
    3. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are biblical heroes, but lying and deception was practiced and passed on for generations
      1. Jacob's parents played favorites: Isaac preferred Esau; Rebekah preferred Jacob (see Genesis 25:28)
      2. God predicted Esau, the oldest, would serve Jacob, the youngest (see Genesis 25:23); Isaac fought against God's prediction
      3. Jacob connived, deceived, and tricked Esau out of his birthright in exchange for a bowl of stew (see Genesis 25:29-33)
      4. When Isaac was old, Jacob and Rebekah conspired to deceive Isaac into giving Jacob his blessing (see Genesis 27)
    4. Jacob fell in love with Rachel, whose father, Laban, was a master deceiver (see Genesis 29:18-28)
      1. Laban forced Jacob to work for him for seven years in order to marry Rachel
      2. On their wedding night, Laban switched Rachel for his older daughter, Leah
      3. Jacob worked seven more years for Laban to finally marry Rachel
    5. Jacob had two wives, two concubine wives, lots of kids, and many problems
    6. Every human has their issues that affect their family and the family they marry into
      1. We don't function the way God intended
      2. Dysfunction is the result of sin (see 1 Corinthians 15:21)
      3. Even the church is dysfunctional
      4. Jesus described humans as poor, brokenhearted, captives, blind, and oppressed (see Luke 4:18)
  3. God Can Function in Dysfunction (v. 3)
    1. A dysfunctional family never stopped God from functioning, blessing, or working through that family
      1. God spoke to Jacob (see v. 3)
      2. God spoke to Laban (see v. 24)
    2. Perfect God works through and uses imperfect people; Holy God speaks to and works through unholy people
      1. There is no other kind of people for Him to use (see 1 Corinthians 1:27)
      2. Peter failed; Moses failed; David failed; Abraham failed; Isaac and Jacob failed
      3. Taking failure as the final word is to fail; learning from failure is to grow
      4. Don't let your failure define you—make your failure serve you
    3. God reserves the right to use people who disagree with you, who don't like you
  4. Growth Is Seeing God Instead of Dysfunction (vv. 4-11)
    1. Jacob demonstrated real spiritual growth (see vv. 4-8)
      1. He included God in his situation
      2. He gathered his family together to discuss the problems; he was honest and candid  
      3. He revealed a new way of seeing, of processing evil and pain; the lens through which he now viewed his life and events was but God bifocals
      4. He acknowledged God's presence (see v. 5), God's protection (see v. 7), and God's partnership (see v. 9)
    2. Jacob saw the functioning God rather than the dysfunction around him
    3. Other biblical heroes also wore but God bifocals
      1. Joseph (see Genesis 50:20)
      2. David (see 1 Samuel 23:14)
      3. Ezra (see Nehemiah 9:17)
      4. Paul (see Romans 8:28)
  5. Closing
    1. But God bifocals let you see the divine hand; they pull back the curtain of providence
    2. Let's interpret life through the lens of but God bifocals
    3. God is never intimidated by our flaws or failures; He can match all our dysfunction with His faithfulness
    4. The gospel—the cross—is the greatest example of how God functions in our dysfunction
Figures referenced: James Montgomery Boice, George Burns, Richard Carl Hoefler, J.I. Packer, George Bernard Shaw

Cross references: Genesis 25:23, 28, 29-33; 27; 29:18-28; 31; 50:20; 1 Samuel 23:14; Nehemiah 9:17; Luke 4:18; Romans 8:28; 1 Corinthians 1:27; 15:21

Topic: Family

Keywords: birthright, blessing, deceive, dysfunctional, failure, family, providence

 


 

SERIES: ...but God
MESSAGE: Death Is Certain...but God
SPEAKER: Skip Heitzig
SCRIPTURE: Psalm 49
URL: http://SkipHeitzig.com/4323

MESSAGE SUMMARY
We have all heard the famous Benjamin Franklin quip, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Given death’s sure nature, why is it that most people try to avoid talking about it? And why do most people place all their energy and stock in this life alone? Death is the enemy of us all (see 1 Corinthians 15:26), and it is the assured fate of us all. But God changes this enemy into a friend and provides confidence to face it.

STUDY GUIDE
Connect Recap Notes: June 24, 2018
Speaker: Skip Heitzig
Teaching: "Death Is Certain…but God"
Text: Psalm 49

Path

We have all heard the famous Benjamin Franklin quip, "In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes." Given death's sure nature, why is it that most people try to avoid talking about it? And why do most people place all their energy and stock in this life alone? Death is the enemy of us all (see 1 Corinthians 15:26), and it is the assured fate of us all. But God changes this enemy into a friend and provides confidence to face it.

  1. Life Is Unstable (vv. 1-5)
  2. Death Is Universal (vv. 1, 6-12)
  3. Redemption Is Possible (vv. 14-15)
  4. Confidence Is Conditional (vv. 16-20)
Points

Life Is UnstableDeath Is UniversalRedemption Is PossibleConfidence Is ConditionalPractice

Connect Up: Though it ultimately remains a mystery, why do you think God allowed death? Discuss these ideas:Connect In: Often the New Testament refers to a believer's death as being "asleep" (see 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17). Pastor Skip has referred to death as a "change of address." What should a Christian's attitude be towards death? How should we handle a believer's funeral? Should it be a celebration? A memorial? A somber time of sorrow?

Connect Out: The reality of death can be a means to bring people to Christ. Have you experienced someone coming to know Christ via a friend or relative's death? What were the circumstances? How did death help them reach a decision for Christ? If you were to tell someone who is grieving about Jesus, what would you say?


1 Bible Hub, "bios," 2011, http://biblehub.com/str/greek/979.htm, accessed 06/25/18.
2 Bible Hub, "psuché," 2011, http://biblehub.com/str/greek/5590.htm, accessed 06/25/18.
3 Bible Hub, "zóé‚" 2011, http://biblehub.com/str/greek/2222.htm, accessed 06/25/18.
4 Ecology Global Network, "World Birth and Death Rates," 2011, http://www.ecology.com/birth-death-rates/, accessed 06/25/18.

DETAILED NOTES
"Death Is Certain…but God"
Psalm 49

  1. Introduction
    1. As humans, we all have to face our own mortality
      1. The most basic truth about life is death
      2. The theme of Psalm 49 is the brevity of life and the certainty of death
      3. James 4:14
    2. God has a solution for the brevity of life
      1. "But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave, for He shall receive me" (v. 15)
      2. Psalm 49 could be summed up this way: we live precariously, we die certainly, and we must plan accordingly
  2. Life Is Unstable (vv. 1-5)
    1. This psalm points to life's instability and uncertainty in talking about common experiences
      1. Notice the contrast between high and low, rich and poor
      2. "I have one foot in heaven and one foot on Earth, and the foot on Earth is on a banana peel" —Malcolm Muggeridge
      3. Ecclesiastes 6:12
    2. In the New Testament, there are three different Greek words that are translated into one English word—life
      1. The first two are unstable; the third is stable
      2. Bios—the most basic word for life in Greek; physical life
        1. This is where most people spend most of their time, energy, effort, and money
        2. Physical life is very unstable
      3. Psuché—the inward life; your personality and how you process thoughts
        1. This is the inner person
        2. This aspect of life is also unstable, because you can have peace one day and be filled with anxiety the next
        3. Many people are alive physically but tormented mentally, with no peace of mind
      4. Zóé—eternal life or everlasting life
        1. Life on the spiritual plane, which is stable
        2. This theological term is found 143 times in the New Testament
        3. This describes a quality of life—life in the here and now that will follow you into the future
        4. John 5:24
  3. Death Is Universal (vv. 1, 6-12)
    1. This psalm cuts across all different categories of geography
      1. All peoples
      2. All social strata
    2. This is a message for everyone: we're all going to die
      1. No one gets out of this alive; death is the great leveler for all of us
      2. Hebrews 9:27
      3. Death is mentioned 394 times in the Bible
      4. Not even the wealthiest person with access to the world's best health care can escape death; all the money in the world can't buy life
  4. Redemption Is Possible (vv. 14-15)
    1. You can't redeem anybody, and you can't redeem yourself
      1. The word redeem meansto set free by paying a price
      2. You can't pay a price to free anyone; God paid the price to free everyone
      3. Jesus, by His death, makes your death temporary
      4. The only loophole to death is to have a relationship with the one who holds the keys of life and death—the Lord Jesus Christ
    2. Verse 15 is highly theological; it expresses faith in God for personal redemption and for eventual resurrection
      1. God will provide payment for my soul—this payment was made on the cross
      2. God's redemption includes giving me power over death—God plans to resurrect me at some point after death
        1. Psalm 73:24
        2. Genesis 5:24
        3. Hebrews 11:5
        4. Job 19:25
    3. Death is not the final word—Jesus is (see John 11:25)
  5. Confidence Is Conditional (vv. 16-20)
    1. Don't be jealous of people who have a lot, because people who have a lot leave a lot when they die
      1. Job 1:21
      2. 1 Timothy 6:7
    2. Trusting anyone other than God is foolish
      1. "This is the way of those who are foolish" (v. 13)
      2. Luke 12:16-21
    3. When you understand the temporary nature of life, the certainty of death, and the spiritual reality of everlasting life, you will have confidence because you have stability
      1. Stability breeds real confidence
      2. Confidence is conditional—not everybody has it
        1. The believer has confidence because death isn't the end of the road
        2. Death is the doorway to life
  6. Conclusion
    1. If there is no hereafter, then nothing matters
      1. This is why so many philosophers become fatalists
      2. If you just live biologically and consciously, but afterwards cease to exist, there's no purpose to life and nothing matters
    2. If there is a hereafter, then nothing else matters
      1. This is the central issue
      2. We need to think clearly and soberly about life, death, judgment, and eternity
Figures referenced: Malcolm Muggeridge

Cross references: Genesis 5:24; Job 1:21; 19:25; Psalm 73:24; Ecclesiastes 6:12; Luke 12:16-21; John 5:24; 11:25; 1 Timothy 6:7; Hebrews 9:27; 11:5; James 4:14

Greek words: bios, psuché, zóé

Topic: death

Keywords: brevity, confidence, eternity, judgment, life, redemption, resurrection, trust, uncertainty, unstable

 


 

SERIES: ...but God
MESSAGE: The Future Looks Uncertain...but God
SPEAKER: Skip Heitzig
SCRIPTURE: Daniel 2
URL: http://SkipHeitzig.com/4326

MESSAGE SUMMARY
Prognosticators and forecasters abound all around us, from weather reporters to psychics. Even the National Geographic Channel hosts programs about aliens who are trying to tell us poor earthlings a thing or two about the future. And everyone seems amazed that someone as distant as Nostradamus could’ve predicted life in our modern culture—or did he? The future is shrouded in mystery for us all but God specializes in knowing and predicting the future. To what end? What is the purpose of God showing us today what will happen tomorrow?

STUDY GUIDE
Connect Recap Notes: July 8, 2018
Speaker: Skip Heitzig
Teaching: "The Future Looks Uncertain…but God"
Text: Daniel 2

Path

Prognosticators and forecasters abound all around us, from weather reporters to psychics. Even the National Geographic Channel hosts programs about aliens who are trying to tell earthlings a thing or two about the future. And everyone seems amazed that someone as distant as Nostradamus could've predicted life in our modern culture—or did he? The future is shrouded in mystery for us all, but God specializes in knowing and predicting the future. To what end? What is the purpose of God showing us today what will happen tomorrow?

  1. The Future Is Unknown to Us (vv. 1-2, 10)
  2. The Future Is Well Known to God (vv. 15-23)
  3. The Future Is Made Known to Us (vv. 26-30)
  4. The Future Makes God Known to Us (v. 45)
Points

The Future Is Unknown to UsThe Future Is Well Known to God The Future Is Made Known to UsThe Future Makes God Known to Us Practice

Connect Up: Worship the Lord together in song and prayer. Thank Him for who He is—His attributes and splendor.

Connect In: We should never overtly dwell on prophecy, since Christ alone deserves our full focus. Consider why prophecy is important to the church. How does it give us more credentials to share Christ?

Connect Out: How can you use prophecy to share the gospel? Consider the nature and purpose of prophecy. How does it reveal God's trustworthiness and sovereignty?


1 Christian Today, "Visions and Dreams Awakening Muslims," https://www.christiantoday.com/article/visions.and.dreams.awakening.muslims/30537, 2017, accessed 07/09/18.

DETAILED NOTES
"The Future Looks Uncertain…but God"
Daniel 2

  1. Introduction
    1. Predicting the future is big business
      1. People have created an industry, from fortune cookies to horoscopes
      2. In the US, it's a $2 billion per year industry
      3. This includes Christians—seminars and books regarding prophecy are in high demand
    2. Why is it that people are so obsessed about knowing their future?
      1. They want to know what the future will hold so they can prepare for it
      2. Self-preservation is a basic human instinct; we naturally strive to get the information we need in order to know how to survive
      3. Knowledge of the future, even if it's incomplete, is power
      4. Lack of knowledge creates fear
    3. But do you really want to know your future?
      1. God wisely withholds such information from us
      2. Knowledge of the future would overwhelm us
    4. Daniel 2 is the story of a king—Nebuchadnezzar—who wanted to know his future
      1. Nebuchadnezzar was, at this time, the world ruler
      2. He was wondering about the future—who would take over his position, etc.
  2. The Future Is Unknown to Us (vv. 1-2, 10)
    1. From a human perspective, it's impossible to predict future events
    2. Nebuchadnezzar was having dreams
      1. God gave him dreams, but he couldn't remember them
      2. His spirit was troubled—the word in Hebrew is pa'am, which means to beat something persistently
    3. Nebuchadnezzar called in the magicians, astrologers, sorcerers, and Chaldeans to tell him his dreams and to interpret them
      1. They were unable to interpret his dreams because they didn't know what the dreams were
      2. No person on earth can read minds or predict the future
      3. Ecclesiastes 7:14
        1. 125 million people in the US believe in astrology
        2. 70 million people read their horoscopes every day; 12 million people change their behavior based on their horoscope
        3. According to the Gallup Poll, 10 percent of people who say they are evangelical Christians also believe in astrology to some degree
  3. The Future Is Well Known to God (vv. 15-23)
    1. Daniel believed that it was possible to know the future if God revealed it to him
      1. "The secret was revealed to Daniel in a night vision" (v. 19)
      2. This was not a dream—Daniel was awake when he saw what the king had seen
    2. Because God knows everything, He knows what the future is
      1. Psalm 139:1-4
      2. God's knowledge is immediate, comprehensive, and without deterioration
    3. God exists outside of time
      1. He is not confined by our time-space continuum
      2. He dwells in the realm of eternity—the eternal present
      3. Because of this, He often predicts what hasn't yet happened by using the past tense, as if it has already happened
    4. Daniel believed that God is omniscient, so he activated his faith—the God Daniel knew is the God who knows everything
  4. The Future Is Made Known to Us (vv. 26-30)
    1. "But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets" (v. 28)
      1. Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar that he couldn't tell him about his dream
      2. But Daniel told him that there is a God in heaven who was able to explain Nebuchadnezzar's dream
    2. God wants to make known to us the future
      1. All of the details of the future would overwhelm us, but He wants to give us a limited amount of knowledge
      2. That's essentially what biblical prophecy is—God telling us what's going to happen in the future
    3. The Bible reveals future judgment
      1. The rapture
      2. The great tribulation period
      3. Jesus will come back to earth
      4. There's going to be an eternal kingdom with a new heaven and a new earth
    4. How impressive is biblical prophecy?
      1. Some events and people were spoken about and mentioned by name hundreds of years before they existed
      2. One quarter of the Bible is predictive prophecy
        1. The more detailed the prediction is, the more complicated it becomes
        2. With complication comes greater risk, and with risk, the possibility of that prediction being fulfilled decreases; this is known as compound probability
        3. The Jewish prophets predicted about 300 to 330 different layers of details with regards to the Messiah:
          1. He would be born of a virgin (see Isaiah 7:14)
          2. He would be born in Bethlehem (see Micah 5:2)
          3. He would be born into the tribe of Judah (see Genesis 49:10)
          4. His ministry would begin in Galilee, not Jerusalem (see Isaiah 9:1)
          5. He would work miracles (see Isaiah 35:5-6)
          6. He would enter Jerusalem on a donkey (see Zechariah 9:9)
          7. He would be betrayed by a friend (see Psalm 41:9)
          8. He would be sold for thirty pieces of silver (see Zechariah 11:12)
          9. He would be wounded and bruised (see Isaiah 53:5)
          10. His hands and feet would be pierced (see Psalm 22:16)
          11. He would be crucified with thieves (see Isaiah 53:12)
          12. His garments would be torn, and lots would be cast for them (see Psalm 22:18)
          13. His bones would not be broken (see Psalm 34:20)
          14. His side would be pierced (see Zechariah 12:10)
          15. He would be buried in a rich man's tomb (see Isaiah 53:9)
          16. He would rise from the dead (see Psalm 16:10)
      3. These are impossible to arrange from a human level—100 billion years wouldn't be enough time to give us enough chances for those processes to be fulfilled without God
      4. Biblical prophecy isn't a good guess—it's good news to a guessing world
      5. There's only one explanation: divine authorship
  5. The Future Makes God Known to Us (v. 45)
    1. God predicts future events in order to make Himself known to us
      1. This is the reason for biblical prophecy—so that people will realize that there is only one God
      2. God uses prophecy as His business card—to show that other world religions are all a sham and that demonic endeavors don't add up to anything
        1. Isaiah 41:21-23
        2. John 14:29
    2. There are three credentials that set Jesus apart from every other religious system or belief system
      1. His impact on history is incomparable
      2. His resurrection from the dead
      3. Fulfilled prophecy
    3. Most religions base their beliefs on the philosophical postulates of their founders
      1. The things they said—words of wisdom
      2. A lifestyle captured by their disciples and written down
    4. But of all the books that claim to be scripture, there is something absent in all of them except one—detailed prophecy
  6. Conclusion
    1. God reveals Himself in prophecy not to make people aware, but to make people adore
      1. Not to inform people of His plan, but to conform people to His plan
      2. Not just to amaze people, but to get people to worship Him and surrender to His plan
    2. You can't see what's ahead in your road, but God does
      1. He will be there to meet you when those events occur in your life, to give you the grace to endure them all
      2. Because we are limited and God is unlimited, we who are limited should surrender ourselves to the unlimited being who wants to be a part of our lives
      3. "Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God" —Corrie ten Boom
      4. This is the God who wants to reveal Himself to you, walk with you, and have a relationship with you
Figures referenced: Corrie ten Boom

Cross references: Genesis 49:10; Psalm 16:10; 22:16, 18; 34:20; 41:9; 139:1-4; Ecclesiastes 7:14; Isaiah 7:14; 9:1; 35:5-6; 41:21-23; 53:5, 9, 12; Micah 5:2; Zechariah 9:9; 11:12; 12:10; John 14:29

Hebrew words: pa'am

Topic: the future

Keywords: details, knowledge, omniscience, omniscient, prophecy, reveal, uncertain, unlimited

 


 

SERIES: ...but God
MESSAGE: You Were Dead…but God
SPEAKER: Skip Heitzig
SCRIPTURE: Ephesians 2:1-10
URL: http://SkipHeitzig.com/4328

MESSAGE SUMMARY
This is the tenth and final study in our series ...but God, and today we get most personal. Rather than considering Joseph, David, Nehemiah, Isaac, or Daniel, we focus on our own story. Four simple phrases describe for us the spiritual journey all believers take through this life on our way to heaven. If you are a believer, all four of these things should happen. Unfortunately, too many stop with the first two and never successfully engage the last two. Let’s look at each one and evaluate how our lives can be lived to the full potential.

STUDY GUIDE
Connect Recap Notes: July 15, 2018
Speaker: Skip Heitzig
Teaching: "You were dead…but God"
Text: Ephesians 2:1-10

Path

Four simple phrases describe the spiritual journey all believers take through life on our way to heaven. If you are a believer, all four things should happen. Unfortunately, too many stop with the first two and never successfully engage the last two. Let's look at each one and evaluate how our lives can be lived to the full potential.

  1. Wandering from God (vv. 1-3)
  2. Waking to God (vv. 4-6)
  3. Watching for God (vv. 6-7)
  4. Working with God (vv. 8-10)
Points

Wandering from God Waking to God Watching for GodWorking with GodPractice

Connect Up:Take time to praise God together in song.

Connect In:Take time to pray for one another and the church.

Connect Out:Take time to prepare your hearts to preach the gospel to unbelievers, praying for specific names and open doors.


1 Bible Hub, "harmatia," 2011, http://biblehub.com/str/greek/266.htmaccessed 7/16/18.
2 Bible Hub, "peripateó," 2011, http://biblehub.com/str/greek/4043.htmaccessed 7/16/18.
3 For more Scripture references, visit http://ipost.christianpost.com/post/44-bible-verses-about-second-coming-of-jesus-christ-besides-the-gospels http://ipost.christianpost.com/post/44-bible-verses-about-second-coming-of-jesus-christ-besides-the-gospels
4 Bible Hub, "poiéma," 2011http://biblehub.com/str/greek/4161.htm, accessed 7/16/18.

DETAILED NOTES
"You Were Dead…but God"
Ephesians 2:1-10

  1. Introduction
    1. Spiritual growth can be compared to typical human development
      1. There are steps that every spiritual person ought to be taking toward maturity
      2. We need to learn how to carefully and accurately self-evaluate our spiritual maturity
    2. God has the power to intercept a person's life and radically change their future
      1. God protected David from Saul
      2. He intervened in Joseph's life
      3. He remembered Noah and his family during the flood
      4. He was merciful to forgive the nation of Israel after the Babylonian captivity
      5. He used Jacob despite his dysfunctional family
      6. Death is universal to all mankind, but God counteracts death with the promise of resurrection
      7. The future is uncertain to us but well known to God
  2. Wandering from God (vv. 1-3)
    1. The first ten verses of Ephesians 2 are a panorama of our salvation
      1. These verses tell us about our past, our present, and our future
      2. They also outline the steps of normal Christian development
    2. The first phase of a Christian's spiritual development is where we all were before we met Jesus Christ
      1. Before Christ, we were all dead on arrival
      2. We are separated from God by sin
      3. Unbelievers aren't just sick—they're dead
        1. They lack the capacity to respond to spiritual stimuli
        2. They don't need a self-help course or personality adjustment—they need salvation, a "but God" moment
          1. You can put a person in therapy and they'll come out a well-adjusted sinner; you can put a person in church and they'll come out a religious sinner
          2. It's only when you put a person in Christ that they are a saved sinner
    3. As soon as Adam ate the forbidden fruit, he died spiritually—he was separated from his Creator (see Genesis 2:17)
      1. Romans 5:12
      2. This is why an unbeliever cannot understand spiritual things apart from God revealing it to him
      3. 1 Corinthians 2:14
      4. A dead person can do nothing to improve their condition; you can't be more or less dead than somebody else
    4. If you are dead, you need a new birth—"you must be born again" (John 3:7)
      1. What causes this death? It's our nature—we are by nature the children of wrath or the children that incur God's wrath
      2. "You He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins" (v. 1)
        1. The Greek word for sin is hamartia, which literally means to miss the mark
          1. This word is used 173 times in the New Testament
          2. To sin is to fall short; it's what you don't do—you don't make God's mark
        2. A trespass is different
          1. To trespass is a deliberate action—it means to cross a known boundary
          2. It's a willful act of disobedience
    5. "You once walked according to the course of this world" (v. 2)
      1. The Greek word used here for walked is peripateó, which means to order your behavior
      2. One source suggests that this word could also mean to meanderor to browse—wandering about loosely, without a goal or purpose
      3. This is the natural human proclivity—to wander (see Isaiah 53:6)
  3. Waking to God (vv. 4-6)
    1. The phrase "but God" is one of the most significant, eloquent transitions in Scripture
      1. It appears forty-five times throughout the Bible
      2. "If you understand those two words—'but God'—they will save your soul" —James Montgomery Boice
      3. "These two words, in and of themselves, in a sense contain the whole gospel" —Martyn Lloyd-Jones
    2. You were sleeping the sleep of death until God woke you up
      1. He "made us alive together" (v. 5)
      2. If you're a saved person, you have a "but God" moment
    3. Why did God do it?
      1. Why bother with interrupting the normal course of a person's life to do this?
      2. Because God is merciful
        1. God is "rich in mercy" (v. 4)
        2. Lamentations 3:22
      3. "Because of His great love" (v. 4)
        1. God loves you, and when you discover His love for you, it's monumental
        2. God isn't out to get you or hurt you; He's not in heaven waiting to punish you
        3. He loves you and wants to save you
        4. He wants to intercept your life and change the way things are going and where you are going
      4. What exactly did God do?
        1. He "made us alive together" (v. 5)
          1. In Greek, this is just one word: suzóopoieó
          2. God reanimates someone who is dead spiritually to be alive, to be awake
        2. "In the majority of occurrences in the New Testament, the verb 'to make alive' is a synonym of 'to raise' from the dead" —Markus Barth
        3. How can someone be reanimated?
          1. Someone from the outside must do something to reanimate a dead person
          2. A corpse can't crawl out of a casket—God reanimated your dead spirit
    4. When did God start loving you?
      1. Did He love you when you were lovable, or when you realized that you need Him?
      2. He loved you when you were unlovable—when you had no capacity to love
        1. "Because of His great love with which He loved us" (v. 4)
        2. Romans 5:8
      3. He loved you when you hated Him; He loved you when you ran from Him; He loved you when you had no thought of Him at all
  4. Watching for God (vv. 6-7)
    1. Paul used the phrase "in Christ" eighty-five times in his writings
      1. God "made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus" (v. 6)
      2. What Paul meant by this is that we are in heavenly places positionally and eventually we will be with God literally
      3. Paul was so sure of this that he spoke as though it had already happened—that's the process of salvation
    2. In the natural, normal progress of the Christian life, we come to several realizations
      1. We realize that we are forgiven children of God, but this is just the beginning
      2. Next comes the realization that this is not my home—heaven is my home
    3. Not only do we have peace, forgiveness, and purpose—there are ages yet to come
      1. As believers, we ought to be looking forward to that, expecting it, and watching for His return
      2. Philippians 3:20
      3. 1 Thessalonians 1:10
      4. Titus 2:13
    4. How are we to wait for Him?
      1. Do you eagerly wait for Jesus to return?
      2. Does it excite you that He's coming?
    5. This is the healthy growth of the Christian life:
      1. You were dead
      2. You're awake and alive
      3. You are also aware and watching eagerly for His return
    6. "That in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus" (v. 7)
      1. God loves you so much that it's going to take Him all of eternity to fully reveal that love to you
      2. Eternity will become the unfolding revelation of His love
      3. Our hope is not in the coming of the Lord as much as in the Lord who is coming
        1. We're not looking for an event, but a person
        2. We're waiting for a real person with whom we'll be in heavenly places
      4. "A continual looking forward to the eternal world is not (as some modern people think) a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do…. If you read history you will find that the Christians who did the most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next…. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this" —C.S. Lewis
  5. Working with God (vv. 8-10)
    1. He gave us life, and we're looking forward to the ages we get to spend with Him
      1. But in the meantime, we have the present
      2. While we're watching for His return, there are things for us to do here
    2. God's work in you
      1. You are His workmanship, His masterpiece
      2. In the Greek, this is poiéma—an exquisite masterpiece in which someone expresses himself in a literary form
      3. You are God's masterpiece in progress; God has an end in mind, and He is committed to working on you to the end (see Philippians 1:6)
      4. God is the master sculptor in the business of liberating masterpieces from stone, and He has never yet thrown a single stone away
    3. God's work through you
      1. You were created in Christ to do the good works which God has prepared for you
      2. His work in you is for a reason—that He might work through you
      3. Real fulfillment is to be an instrument through which God works in the world
      4. You don't have to reach a certain level for God to work through you
        1. "God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise" (1 Corinthians 1:27)
        2. All the people God uses—all of His instruments—are severely flawed, because the only tools He has to work with are human beings
        3. But because God does glorious work with imperfect tools, He gets more glory
      5. You're not saved by good works—you're saved for good works; He saved you from sin for service
  6. Conclusion
    1. Paul asked two questions
      1. "Who are You, Lord?" (Acts 9:5)
      2. He's Jesus Christ, the Lord of all, who gives new life
    2. The second question was "Lord, what do You want me to do?" (Acts 9:6)
      1. What are the good works He has prepared for your life, so that no matter what occupation you serve, your real calling is to serve Him and reach people?
      2. God wants to make your life a masterpiece, but you only get one canvas
      3. May you have many more "but God" moments for service
Figures referenced: Markus Barth, James Montgomery Boice, C.S. Lewis, Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Cross references: Genesis 2:17; Isaiah 53:6; Lamentations 3:22; John 3:7; Acts 9:5-6; Romans 5:8, 12; 1 Corinthians 1:27; 2:14; Philippians 1:6; 3:20; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; Titus 2:13

Greek words: hamartia, peripateó, poiéma, suzóopoieó

Topic: spiritual growth

Keywords: ages, alive, awake, believer, created, dead, grow, life, love, salvation, sin, work, walk


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