Big Questions, Bigger Answers

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Part 1: "Does God Really Love Us?"  |  04/19/20

Study Questions for Malachi 1:1-5


1.  Malachi is written to the Israelites around 100 year (5 generations) after they had returned from exile.  What are the challenges of having an 'inherited faith' based on what you've been taught versus what you've experienced personally?


2.  Israel had unmet expectations, which led them to question and doubt God.  How do we do this with God?


3.  How does our faith get affected by our circumstances, and by what other people's lives look like?


4.  What in your life has made you question God and His love for you?


5.  Why do we feel entitled to things in our lives?  How does this align or conflict with God's sovereignty?


6.  Malachi has themes of covenant commitment, unfailing love in marriage, and God's unwavering faithfulness.  If we truly believe God is like this, how will it affect us?


7.  How can reflecting on God's track record in our life, daily thankfulness, rehearsing God's promises, and focusing on our eternal future, be the antidote to questioning God's love for us?  


     a)  Choose one of these things to do daily this week and see how your perspective shifts.



Part 2: "What Do My Actions Say About My Attitude to God?"  |  04/26/20

Study Questions for Malachi 1:6-14


1.  The Jews who had returned from Babylon were disappointed with God for not building a great kingdom for them.  How can our disappointments in life fuel resentment towards God?


2.  Read Malachi 1:6-9.  What are some ways that we can offer "defiled sacrifices" when we're lukewarm and not fully devoted to God?


3.  Read Malachi 1:10-13.  When we see worshipping and serving God as a "burden", what does it say about our view of God?


     a)  What does it say about our view of ourselves?


     b)  What do these verses tell us about God's response to this kind of "worship"?


4.  Read Isaiah 40:22-26.  Take a moment to quietly reflect on who God really is.  What about your view of God or your attitude towards Him needs a reset?


5.  Is there anything in your life right now, even from your past, that is triggering resentment towards God?  If so, what difference would it make if you filtered that situation through an accurate view of God's sovereignty, holiness and love for you?


6.  Examine your motivation towards serving God.  


     a)  What do you do out of obligation?


     b)  Where do you serve/give halfheartedly?


     c)  What options get precedence over God consistently in your life?


     d)  Are there aspects of your service that, if you're honest, you do because of what it does for you (makes you look good, makes you 'feel' good, to ease guilt)?


7.  God's message through Malachi wasn't to condemn and beat-down.  Within the challenge was an invitation back to a living and genuine loving relationship with Him.  Take a minute to ask yourself what that looks like for you, and what you need to do in order to get back to that place with Him.  Spend some time thanking God for His perfect love and open invitation to restart with Him.



Part 3: "What Happens When I Give God a Bad Name?"  |  05/03/20

Study Questions for Malachi 2:1-9


1.  Read Malachi 2:1-9.  The priests were making sacrifices but they didn't honor God with their lives.  How can you be like those priests today?


2.  What's the difference between a 'convert' and a 'follower of God'?


3.  Read Luke 9:23.  How does Jesus define following Him?


4.  Read Malachi 2:3.  What does poop on the face represent?  


     a)  Read Hebrews 13:12-16.  What does the death of Jesus, outside the camp, mean for us?


     b)  Reflect on what it means that Jesus has taken the disgrace for our sin.  How does this affect our response to the sin we are aware of in our daily lives as Christ-followers?


5.  Read Romans 6.  What does 'ongoing grace' mean to you?


6.  Read Malachi 2:7-9.  How does this relate to us being Christ's ambassadors (see 2 Corinthians 5:20)?


7.  If you are going to represent Christ well this week as His ambassador, what do you need to 'deny yourself', and what will you need to 'take up'?



Part 4: "How Can I Be Faithful to God?"  |  05/10/20

Study Questions for Malachi 2:10-16


1.  Read Malachi 2:10-16.  What are some evidences we can see in the text of the Israelites unfaithfulness to God?

2.  How can we be faithful to one another?  

     a)  What causes us to be unfaithful to each other?

3.  Look at verse 10 in relation to 2 Corinthians 6:14-16.  Why does God want his followers to marry other followers?  Why does it matter?

4.  The word translated 5 times in these verses as 'unfaithful' literally means 'treacherous'.  How is unfaithfulness treachery, or a betrayal?

5.  When you choose to follow Jesus, you commit yourself to living to please God.  Read Galatians 2:20 and Romans 6:11.  How can we stay committed to living a life that pleases God?

6.  How has your inability to be content, or the fear of missing out, ruined things or robbed you of life in the past?  

     a)  How does faithfulness to God lead to a full life?

7.  Read Romans 12:1-2.  What steps do you need to take in order to honor the covenant God has for you this week? 

     a)  Choose one particular area of your life and write down an action step.  Share this with your group and pray for each other.



Part 5: "Does It Really Matter if I Don't Take My Faith Seriously?"  |  05/17/20

Study Questions for Malachi 2:17-3:5


1.  Read Malachi 2:17-3:5.  Recall the Jews history since the exile.  Why had they lost faith in God’s goodness?

     a)  What does it look like when you personally, are just “going through the motions” with God?

2.  Read Matthew 12:38-39John 1:47-50 and John 6:26.  How can religious “experiences” give us false assurance about our faith?

3.  The Jews made God and His Word suit themselves.  In what ways do we do the same thing today?

4.  Read 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 and 2 Corinthians 5:10.  If you’re a Christian, what will you be judged for, and can it affect your salvation? 

5.  Read Romans 6:1-18.  What does following Jesus really mean in terms of our death and burial and resurrection with Christ?

     a)  What response do you have as you think about the future judgment?  

     b)  How can it impact you this coming week?



Part 6: "Am I Testing God's Goodness or Am I Testing His Patience?"  |  05/24/20

Study Questions for Malachi 3:6-12


1.  Read Malachi 3:6-12.  The Jews had a covenant with God - a permanent agreement - that they would obey God and follow His commands and He would protect and bless them.  They had renewed their dedication with Nehemiah but now turned their back on it. How can we do this today?


2.  Deuteronomy 18:1-2 was God’s agreement as part of this covenant.  What would their life have looked like if they had obeyed Him?


     a)  What would your future would look like (specifically) if you began testing the goodness of God and trusted Him more?


3.  Read Malachi 3:6.  Why did God remind them He was still the same?


4.  Read Malachi 3:8-9.  God asks us to return to being fully present and connected with Him.  With that in mind, how do we rob God? 


5.  Read Malachi 3:10.  What did God mean when He invited them to test Him?  Was it only about tithes? 


6.  Read Ephesians 1:18-193:17-19.  Where do you need to experience the “fullness” of God right now? 

 

     a)  How will you put your faith fully in God so you can “test Him in this”, this week?