Son Of Man | Daniel 7:1-28

Sermon Description

It is not an overstatement to say that Daniel 7 may be the most influential chapter in the Hebrew Scriptures when it comes to the life and work of Jesus. As we approach this challenging section of apocalyptic Scripture, there is great hope to be had in trusting Jesus, even as the nations rage.

Discussion Questions

  1. What are the different genres of literature in the Bible? How does each genre contribute something to the overall collection? Why is “apocalyptic” important?

  2. What fears do you have when it comes to understanding the Bible? How can we help each other have confidence as we search the Scriptures for truth?

  3. Why might Daniel 7 be the most important section of the Hebrew Bible when it comes to understanding the life and ministry of Jesus? Consult the PDF of “Son of Man” references for understanding how important this is to the life and teaching of Jesus.

  4. Where are you currently experiencing stress, worry, fear, and confusion? How does Jesus step in and help us in that state?

Prayer Points

  1. Pray that Sound City Bible Church would be the kind of church who diligently searches the Scripture for truth, guidance, and comfort in a harsh and sinful world.

  2. Pray for opportunities to share the Son of Man with those who have yet to come to faith and are experiencing the hardships of this fallen world.

Man and Animal

From Nebuchadnezzar’s madness to prophetic visions of goats, rams, and lions, the book of Daniel is chock-full of references to animals. When we understand that the central hero of the book is one like a “son of man,” we can better live out our true vocation  as God’s image-bearers in the world.

Discussion Questions

  1. Why is it important to define “image bearer” not as some ability that we possess but as what it means to be human? What are the implications of being an “image bearer”?

  2. Why does pride and sin make us act like animals? How do we see this lived out in our world? How do you see it play out in your own life?

  3. Why is it important that Jesus is the perfect image-bearer of God? How is it good news for us that he perfectly lived in that space between angels and animals?

  4. What does it mean for us to be good stewards as followers of Jesus in the north Puget Sound suburbs? How can we work while we await the final return of Jesus?

Prayer Points

  1. Pray that God would continue to restore his image in you, “from one degree of glory to another” as you grow in sanctification.

  2. Pray for opportunities to go into the world and exercise God’s wise and loving rule. Pray for opportunities to share about Jesus, the one who is the perfect “image of the invisible God.”

The Lion's Den | Daniel 6:1-28

Sermon Description

The last story in the book of Daniel is arguably one of the most famous stories in the entire Bible: Daniel in the Lion’s Den. Through this account, we learn that exiles will only be able to endure if they deeply rely upon the Lord through prayer.

Discussion Questions

  1. Why can we trust the Scriptures even if we don’t have all the information (historical or otherwise) that we might want?

  2. What can we learn about the nature of being an exile from this chapter of Daniel’s life? How does this story encourage us to not put our ultimate hope in human political rulers?

  3. Consider the parallels between Daniel and Jesus. How can we find inspiration from the life of Daniel? And how is that different from finding living power from Jesus?

  4. How does Daniel encourage us to be public with our faith? What fears and insecurities keep you from loving non-believers by sharing the gospel with them?

Prayer Points

  1. Pray that Sound City would truly be the type of church that is deeply committed to both Scripture and prayer.

  2. Pray for God’s kingdom to come and his will to be done in the north Seattle suburbs. Pray that he would use us to share his kingdom.

Writing On The Wall | Daniel 5:1-30

Sermon Description

Daniel is now an old man, and a young, impetuous ruler named Belshazzar sits on the throne of Babylon. As Persian forces gather to conquer Babylon, the hand of the Lord appears in the Babylonian throne room; a sign of great terror for the wicked king, but a sign of great comfort for the exiled Hebrews.

Discussion Questions

  1. Read 2 Kings 24:10-17 and 2 Chronicles 36:5-8. Why do all these writers mention the “vessels” from the house of the Lord? What is their significance in the story of Daniel?

  2. How is “the hand of the Lord” both a symbol of his judgment and his grace? What verses come to mind for you when you hear this phrase?

  3. How did Jesus experience both the hand of God’s judgment and redemption? How is this good news relevant to us?

  4. As a Christian, the “hand of the Lord” should now be a source of great comfort, but is there anywhere this phrase brings fear in your heart? Why? How can we help one another think differently about this phrase?

Prayer Points

  1. Pray that you would walk in humility before the Lord and others, and that you would experience God’s hand of grace, power, and providence.

  2. Pray for the non-Christians in your life to be humbled before the hand of the Lord so that they can experience his grace and redemption.

Pride and Humility | Daniel 4

Sermon Description

Nebuchadnezzar has another dream, and once again requires the assistance of Daniel to interpret its meaning. In the dream, God warns Nebuchadnezzar that if left unchecked, his pride and arrogance will lead to his downfall. For Christians, the passage serves as a comfort—God is sovereign over even the most prideful kings—and as a warning: none of us are exempt from the corruption of pride.

Discussion Questions

  1. What are the differences between good and bad pride? How can we cultivate a healthy self-respect while actively fleeing from sinful pride?

  2. When pride shows up in your life, what does it typically look like? How can those who are closest to you help you to see your pride? How can you practice humility by truly hearing their perspective and learning from them?

  3. In what ways did Jesus display humility during his earthly ministry? How is the cross the ultimate example of humility? Why is Jesus’ humility our only hope?

  4. How can we demonstrate gospel humility to our prideful culture and broken world?

Prayer Points

  1. Pray that you would pursue humility so that God would not have to break you of pride through hardship and discipline.

  2. Pray that we would demonstrate gospel humility to our family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers who don’t yet know our humble King Jesus.

The Fiery Furnace | Daniel 3:1-30

Sermon Description

The story of Shadrach, Mesach, and Abednego is one of the most memorable stories in the Bible. It is also one of the most misunderstood and misused. This story does inspire us to remain faithful to God even under pressure. But the more that  we truly see God’s faithfulness, the more we can find the courage to face life’s trials and temptations.

Discussion Questions

  1. While we might not face something as extreme as this “bow or burn” tale, where do we face pressure to bow to false idols in our culture?

  2. What temptations do you struggle with? Where might you be tempted to give in to temptation, even though it won’t necessarily help you avoid trials?

  3. What trials are you currently facing? How does Jesus want to use his word and his people to reassure you of his love for you?

  4. How is Jesus the real hero of the story of Daniel 3? How does keeping him as the focus actually empower us to live courageous lives?

Prayer Points

  1. Pray that we would treasure Jesus more and more, so that we would have the courage to say “no” to temptation, and the strength to face life’s trials.

  2. Pray that our courage and resolve would be a witness, even to people seemingly as far away from God as Nebuchadnezzar.

Wisdom and Power | Daniel 2:1-49

Humans—both ancient and modern—seek out knowledge and wisdom so that they can have some semblance of power and control in a chaotic and frightening world. True wisdom and power belong to God alone, and he gives them with those who come to him through Christ Jesus.

Discussion Questions

  1. Consider the similarities between the story of Joseph (Genesis 37-50) and the story of Daniel. How is Daniel presented as even greater than Joseph? How would Daniel’s story be particularly encouraging to the Israelites in exile at the time?

  2. When you are tempted to seek wisdom apart from Christ, what sorts of things grab your attention most easily? What would those who are closest to you say?

  3. How can we encourage each other as we pursue wisdom from Christ and the Word of God? How can we encourage each other to treasure God’s Word more and more?

  4. How can we share the gospel in the middle of a culture that seems to be declining or deteriorating? How might it encourage us when we remember that all earthly kingdoms decline?

Prayer Points

  1. Pray for wisdom and might that comes from God alone. Pray for the ability to resist the allure of mere human knowledge and power.

  2. Pray that your confidence and hope in Jesus would grow so that you are more excited and willing to share the gospel with others in your life.

Living As Exiles | Daniel 1:1-21

Sermon Description

The book of Daniel tells the story of one of the darkest days in Israel’s history: the exile. Yet despite the difficulty of these days, we see that God is always working behind the scenes to bring about the hope of restoration. Because of this, we can remain faithful to God even while we live in a world that is not our final home.

Discussion Questions

  1. What stood out to you from Daniel 1? What questions do you have? What are you hoping to learn or see as we study this book?

  2. Why does the Apostle Peter call us “exiles” and “sojourners”? How does this help us to relate to the people of Israel in the exile?

  3. Where are you tempted to compromise your faith in the little things? How does this story help us find the courage to be faithful even when it seems small?

  4. When it comes to our sinful culture, are you more prone toward the fight impulse or the flight impulse? How does God want you to grow in faithfulness and service to your city?

Prayer Points

  1. Pray that God would use our time in the book of Daniel to teach us how to live faithfully as exiles and sojourners in this present world.

  2. Pray that we would seek the welfare of our city, and in so doing we would show the goodness of Jesus and the hope of the gospel to those in our lives who have yet to believe.

For Further Study

The Proverbs 31 Woman | Proverbs 31: 10-31

Sermon Description

Proverbs 31 presents us with an idealized portrait of the wisest woman who ever lived. But when we look at idyllic people, our hearts are prone to either pride or despair. Only Jesus is the ideal; the rest of us are growing and making progress as we increasingly rely on his grace.

Discussion Questions

  1. What misconceptions or misunderstandings have you had about Proverbs 31?

  2. How is this idealized portrait of the “virtuous woman” intended to inspire and instruct us, not demoralize us? How can we help one another guard against both pride and despair?

  3. Read Hebrews 10:11-18. What does vs. 14 mean when it says that we have been perfected, but are still being sanctified? How is this truth freeing and life-giving?

  4. Where is God currently showing you your weaknesses and imperfections? Rather than ignoring them or explaining them away, how can they be used to grow in his grace?

Prayer Points

  1. Pray that, in our efforts to pursue wisdom, we would not give place to pride or despair, but that we would increasingly fear the Lord and rely upon his grace.

  2. Pray for opportunities to show non-Christians in our lives that we are not perfect people, but that we follow a perfect Savior.

Wisdom and Words | Proverbs 18:20-21

When God speaks, it is an act of incredible power. As humans who are created in his likeness, our words also carry a great amount of power. People who truly know God will grow in wisdom in what they hear and what they speak.

Discussion Questions

  1. Read Proverbs 18:21. Why do our words carry such power? Also, what does this verse not mean?

  2. Of the various types of harmful words, which one(s) do you struggle with the most? Why is this type of speech able to snare you easily?

  3. What does it mean that Jesus is the true Word of God? Why is this such incredibly good news for us?

  4. How can we help one another to use our words in a God-honoring way, and in a way that builds others up? How might we need to grow in boldness to confront sinful words in our Christian brothers and sisters?

Prayer Points

  1. Pray that God would give us godly restraint in our speech, and that we would use our words to bring God’s grace and life into the world.

  2. Pray for opportunities to use our words to communicate the good news of Jesus with those who have yet to hear and believe.

The Weight of Wisdom | Ecclesiastes 1-12-18

God has hardwired us to search for knowledge and wisdom. But, as fallen creatures, we often search for that wisdom in places outside of God. As well, the more that we learn and understand, the heavier the weight of wisdom becomes. Only in Jesus can true wisdom for life be found.

Discussion Questions

  1. How does Genesis 1 show that humans are hardwired for knowledge and wisdom? Why is this desire a good thing? Where does it go wrong?

  2. If Proverbs is more “optimistic,” why do we need a book like Ecclesiastes that seems so pessimistic? How is this God-breathed Scripture useful for us?

  3. Why is wisdom so heavy? Why does sorrow increase the more that we learn?

  4. Why do we need Jesus “over the sun” to find meaning in this life “under the sun”? How can we trust him to bear the weight of wisdom?

Prayer Points

  1. Pray that we as disciples would seek true wisdom and knowledge in Jesus. And pray that he would help us give the weight of wisdom to him.

  2. Pray that we would be faithful to share the gospel of Jesus with those in our world who are searching for knowledge, wisdom, and meaning from life.

Fear of Man | Proverbs 29:25

Sermon Description

The book of Proverbs repeatedly warns us against something called “the fear of man.” What is the fear of man, and how can we avoid it by fearing God? Guest preacher Dmitriy Spatarel from Resurrection Church Tacoma continues our series in Proverbs.

Discussion Questions

  1. Do you struggle with the fear of man? Where does it show up most often in your life?

  2. What does trusting God in those moments of temptation with the 'fear of man' look like for you?

  3. How does the Gospel of Jesus Christ free you from the 'fear of man'?

  4. What does it mean to truly fear the Lord in the right way? How does the Bible portray the fear of the Lord?

Prayer Points

  1. Pray that we would truly fear God, and not give place to the fear of man. Pray that in those moments where we are tempted to fear man God’s Spirit would remind us to fear the Lord and seek to please him.

  2. Pray for opportunities to get over our fear of man and share the gospel with those in our lives who don’t yet know his grace.

The Wisdom of Friendship | Proverbs 17:17

Sermon Description

Friendship is one of the most misunderstood and often-neglected virtues in our modern world. But Jesus calls us his friends, his close companions. In the Proverbs, we see much wisdom on what it means to have friendship with Christ and with each other.

Discussion Questions

  1. Why do you think that friendship is so often misunderstood in our culture? What are the ways that our culture gets it right/wrong? How does the biblical picture of friendship stand in contrast?

  2. Why do true friendships always involved risk? How can we help one another to open our hearts and lives to be truly vulnerable in friendship with one another?

  3. Think about the continuum of acquaintance-companion-friend-family. How does the gospel continually move us further down the line into a place of committed closeness?

  4. How do our close, committed, and caring friendships showcase the gospel of Jesus to a world that is fragmented and isolated? How should our friendships be used to further our witness, not hinder it?

Prayer Points

  1. Pray that God would grow us as people who practice true, biblical, committed, and loving friendships.

  2. Pray that God would heal us from pains that we’ve experienced in friendship.

  3. Pray that our friendships would serve as a gospel witness to a lost and broken world, a world that deeply longs to be loved and known.

The Nature of Wisdom | Proverbs 1:1-7

The book of Proverbs is a unique collection of pithy sayings, speeches, and poems. Its purpose is to help God’s people not just have heads full of information, but to be equipped for wisely navigating the many challenges of life.

Discussion Questions

  1. Do you have any favorite proverbs? Why are they meaningful to you? How can we help one another think about them as truth, not necessarily as “promises”?

  2. Why is it so important to understand that wisdom is more than just “following the rules?” How does this mindset encourage trust in God and relationship?

  3. If Jesus is the wisdom of God, how is the gospel at the foundation of all true wisdom? What are some ways that the wisdom of the gospel differs from worldly wisdom?

  4. How does wise living help us live on mission with Jesus in the world?

Prayer Points

  1. Pray that God would use our time in the Proverbs to grow us in wisdom, understanding, and insight. And pray that God would grow us in wise living.

  2. Pray that God would give us wisdom in sharing the gospel with a world that values a completely different approach to wisdom, knowledge, and living.

Praise Service Testimonies

In this special week we didn’t have a sermon, but rather heard from Pastor Shane Patrick and Stephanie Hansen. They’ve both been embattled in health issues and their presence with us is evidence of God’s grace. They share what their experiences have been, how they’ve struggled with the Lord, and how they’ve seen his grace in their difficult times.

It's Hard to Love Your Actual Neighbor | Leviticus 19:9-18

Virtually nobody will argue with the thought that Jesus wants us to love our neighbor. The questions we need to answer are things like “why don’t I love my neighbor?” or “what would it look like if I did love my neighbor?” or “how can I find the motivation to actually love my neighbor?”

Discussion Questions

  1. In your group, go around the circle and talk about how many of your actual neighbors you know by name. What barriers exist to developing real relationships?

  2. Where is your heart cold? Where do not love your neighbor due to pride, fear, or a false sense of identity?

  3. Think about the gospel in terms of Jesus being our true neighbor. How does this provide a right motivation for us to love our neighbors? If we lack this true motivation, how can our efforts to love our neighbors go awry?

  4. What practical steps do you need to take to truly love your neighbors? Your family? Your group?

Prayer Points

  1. Pray by name for those neighbors that you do know. Pray for God to open doors to get to know, love, and serve those in your immediate vicinity.

  2. Pray that we would represent God well as we share the abundant grace of Jesus with those in our neighborhoods who have yet to come to know him.

Things That Are Hard to Do | Q&R w/ Aaron and Shane

In this episode, Pastors Shane and Aaron give responses to questions that have come in through the course of the “Things That Are Hard to Do” series.

0:00 General introduction
2:49 Question from the sermon on race
11:38 Question from the sermon on accountability
19:54 Question from the sermon on sexuality
25:17 Question from the sermon on sexuality
40:12 Question from the sermon on singleness

It's Hard To Understand the End Times | Matthew 24:3-14

Sermon Description

Very few Christian doctrines are so controversial as the “end times.” But if God has given us these truths in his Word, then they must be for our good in some way. When it comes to understanding the end times, the most important thing is to remember that we are living in the grand story of God’s work in the world.

Discussion Questions

  1. What questions, fears, or apprehensions do you have around the subject of the end times? Where might these fears come from?

  2. What areas of end times study do interest you? Where might Jesus be leading you to pursue knowledge and wisdom in these areas? How might this help your faith?

  3. Why is the gospel inseparable from the subject of eschatology? How does the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus directly tie in to the idea of where human history is headed?

  4. How can we help one another to persevere and develop “grit”? How can learning about the persecuted church around the world help us in this endeavor?

Prayer Points

  1. Pray that we would keep the Kingdom of God in full view as we navigate our way through this world.

  2. Pray for persecuted Christians throughout the world. Pray that God would strengthen them, and pray for their persecutors to face justice.

  3. Pray for opportunities to share the gospel with your friends and neighbors in light of the imminent return of Jesus.

It's Hard to Talk About Race | Ephesians 2:11-22

Sermon Description

The subject of race is prevalent in our culture, and people are looking everywhere for solutions to one of the oldest problems of the human condition: racism. In this sermon, Rabbi Matt shows us how racial reconciliation is at the very heart of what Jesus came to do through his life, death, and resurrection.

Discussion Questions

  1. Why is our culture talking about race so much right now? Why do you think that so many people think that the Bible has nothing to say on the subject, when it is full of teaching on the subject?

  2. When we are “in Christ,” we don’t lose our ethnicity (or gender, per Ephesians 2), but we are woven into the fabric of the community of faith? Why is this such good news?

  3. How does the gospel of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection empower us to be able to have conversations about race?

  4. Where does God want you to repent of sin and grow in his grace? Is there racial animosity or indifference in your heart? Have you been afraid to talk, learn, or grow because you have forgotten the power of the gospel?

Prayer Points

  1. Pray that Jesus would rid our hearts of any shred of racial prejudice or animosity, and that he would fill us with a Christ-like love for all people.

  2. Pray that Jesus would use us to bring his light and healing to a world that is deeply divided by racial animosity.

It’s Hard to Think Biblically About Sexuality | 1 Corinthians 6:9-20

The Bible never shies away from the subject of sexuality. It celebrates sex as a good gift from a loving God, but also warns of the harm that comes when we misunderstand or misuse this precious gift. As Christians, we have come to know that we are not our own, we were bought with a price, so we are now free to follow Jesus and his will for our sexuality.

Discussion Questions

  1. Why is it important for a Christian to have a gospel-formed vision of sexuality? Why would it be important for anyone to have a coherent idea of sexuality?

  2. Paul starts this section by laying out the gospel in such a way that it creates categories for righteousness, unrighteousness and redemption. Why is it important to have these categories? Hint: it helps us make sense of all the competing moral frameworks around us. What is good? What is broken? What will be redeemed?

  3. The first objection Paul deals with is an argument from desire. This argument essentially says, “if someone really wants to do something, why would we stop them? But we all have a category for a desire that we resist because we know it’s not good for us or because it doesn’t accomplish our greater goals. What are some examples of these kinds of desires in us, our kids and the people around us?

  4. The second argument is one about freedom and gets to the idea of identity. This argument says, “If I am fundamentally my own person, then I should be the one to decide my behavior.” The gospel tells us that “we are not our own but were bought with a price.” How does this change the way we see ourselves? What are the implications for sexual morality? What are some of the dangers of taking on anything (including sexuality) as your identity?

Prayer Points

  1. Pray that we would be people who are deeply faithful to God’s will for sexuality, and who are deeply committed to practicing grace and love in all things.

  2. Pray for the grace to share the gospel with people who think the Bible’s teaching on sexuality is outdated or confusing.