This Sunday started our new series Philemon: Grace on the Run. As we read through the first sixteen verses, we saw that we can face our problems. When we acknowledge the problem we have, we can give it over to God and let Him be our Salvation. We can face our problems and focus not on our past, but on God’s purposeful and good plan for our future because of the grace He provides.
As you reflect on Sunday’s message, What impacted you the most? What stood out to you and why?
Read Philemon 11-16, 2 Chronicles 20:1-4,15-17, 1 Samuel 17:20-37
1. There are many stories in the Bible detailing terrifying or difficult situations. In each story, the people had a choice to run from the problem (war, death, starvation, idolatry, etc) or to face the problem. When the people of God chose to face their problems in faith, knowing God would take care of them, God always delivered.
- What really big problem did Onesimus have? How did he face it?
- How was Onesimus’ problem similar to the problems in the other two passages listed?
Read Philemon 7-11, Colossians 1:21-22, Ephesians 2:12-13, 5:8, 1 Samuel 17:45-47
2. God is faithful enough, gracious enough, loving enough, and powerful enough to take care of all of our past, present, and future. We may not understand how He works or why He chooses to love us so unconditionally but we don’t have to. He has already done all the work necessary for everything we’ve done to be redeemed and to give us a hope and a good future.
- In the story of David and Goliath, what did the Israelites focus on instead of what could be? What did David focus on?
- What does Paul encourage us to focus on as what “can be”?
Read Philemon 11-16, Joshua 1:1-11, Hebrews 4:14-16, 11:1-3
3. The Scriptures are filled with examples of what God can do in impossible situations. Over and over God shows us that what looks terrifying or like an impossible problem to overcome, when He is part of the situation, He can do great things!
- What was Paul implying could be the end result for Onesimus?
- We have the benefit of hindsight when we read Scripture, but the real people going through the situations in the Bible did not know what would happen. What part of their past might Joshua and the Israelites have been tempted to focus on? What did they think could be instead?
Life Application: Everyone
- Is there a problem or issue that you haven’t faced in your past that you need to give to God? What has held you back from doing so?
- Have you ever witnessed someone else facing their problems head on? What happened?
- Talk about a time when you remember the faithfulness of God, like David did in 1 Samuel 17. Was it difficult to focus on what could be instead of what had happened in the past?
- How does your personal salvation story give you hope and boldness to face whatever problems you have right now?
Life Application: Married Couples
- Are you or your spouse facing a difficult problem right now? What are you doing to face that problem instead of deny it?
- If you or someone you know has come through the other side of a problem in marriage, what did you do to face it? How did you allow God to take care of you through that problem?
- If your spouse is facing a problem right now, how can you encourage them to face it and focus on what can be instead of what was?
- We don’t have the power to fix big problems on our own, but God does. Share with your small group one big problem in your marriage that you need God to fix or fight so that they can pray with and for you.
Life Application: Parents
- Denying our problems is a mechanism for coping. From an early age children learn how to “hide” from anything that is uncomfortable (which all problems are). How do you as a loving parent, help your children face their problems instead of deny them?
- When we are open and honest with ourselves, the people who love us, and our Heavenly Father about problems we are facing, we open the door for the glory and strength of God to be on display. Do you find that you typically hide your problems from your children? Why/not? How can you set the example for them so that they can witness God’s glory and grace first hand?
- What problem specific to parenting are you facing right now? Ask your small group to pray with and for you as you face the problem head on and focus on what can be, not on what was.
- Have you or someone you know been through a difficult problem as a parent that has now been resolved or completed? How did God prove Himself faithful and loving in that problem?