Sunday School Material 3-20-16: Struggling Faith





(Mark 14:26-31, 66-72; 3/20/16)

Introduction: A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is that Peter denied the Lord in the courtyard, as Jesus has prophesied. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to work on having the faith needed for the challenges of our lives.

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Body:

Read Mark 14:26-31

I. To the Mount of Olives. Jesus and His disciples have sung a hymn and went to the Mount of Olives. In our Sunday School material Jesus shared with them that all of them would fall away from Him.

When the shepherd is struck, the sheep are scattered. There is an exchange with Peter. And all of the disciples affirm their allegiance to Jesus.

Applications –

- Defending our shepherd. Notice in vs. 27 that when the shepherd is struck, the sheep are scattered. First, we should work on protecting our shepherd/leader because we love him/her. Love protects (see I Cor. 13:7).

Second, we should protect our shepherd/leader, so we, as sheep, are not destroyed by the enemy. Third, we can protect our shepherd by praying for him, following his instructions, and defending him when we hear him being attacked.

Let’s work on defending our shepherd. Think about how we have shepherds in our churches, families, and communities.

- After bloody Friday. Notice in vs. 28 that God has plans that go beyond bloody Friday. On one hand, God’s plan often includes some difficult times like Jesus’ betrayal and crucifixion. In like manner, we can expect some difficult times in our lives as well.

But on the other hand, we can count on God to work things out for the good of His people. Just like Calvary was not the end of Jesus, your difficult situation is not the end of you.

Let’s work on living like we believe that God can work difficult situations out for the good of His people.

- Sober thinking. Notice in vss. 29-31 of our Sunday School material that Peter probably meant well, but could not back up his promise. In like manner, we should be careful about over estimating our spiritual strength.

We should have a mind to do great things for the Lord. But we should also realize that we are not any better than those we see in the Bible.

Let’s be sober (i.e., serious and without exaggeration) about how much we expect out of ourselves. Additionally, we should thank God for the sufficiency of His grace, when we mess up.

Read Mark 14:66-72

II. At the Place of Trial. Peter is in the courtyard warming himself. A woman recognizes him, but Peter denies being affiliated with Jesus. Others join in calling Peter out.

In our Sunday School material Peter denies with great energy and then the rooster crows. This triggers not only the memory of Jesus’ prophesy, but it triggers Peter’s breaking down and weeping.

Applications –

- The presence of God. Notice in vs. 67 that a servant girl saw and knew who Peter was. In like manner, we should be aware that no matter how we try to hide, someone normally sees us and knows who we are. In fact, God always sees us and knows who we are.

Let’s work on living like God is always present. By the way, He is always present. Such living should be known for striving to live lives known for loving God with all that we have and loving others, as we love ourselves.

- Sin and weeping. Notice in vss. 68-72 that Peter’s sins lead to his weeping. In like manner, we can expect that there is still some weeping on the road of sin for us. When we drift from obeying God, we are drifting into sin.

No matter how sin starts, it ends with our weeping and destruction, if we don’t repent. Let’s work on avoiding sin and repenting quickly, if we mess up. We don’t have stay in the courtyard weeping. God wants us to repent, learn from our mistakes, and do better next time.

- God’s promises. Notice in vs. 27 that God’s promises are trustworthy. Just as God’s promise about Peter’s denial came true, all of God’s promises will come true. God has promised that He will bless obedience and punish disobedience.

Let’s live like we trust the promises of God. Such living should be known for obedience, instead of disobedience. Think about how we make sure we are driving correctly, when we pass a police officer. And then think about how we live, in the presence of God and in regard to His promises.

Conclusion: Let’s work on having the faith needed for the challenges of our lives. God has much for those who obey His will.

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