Home Group guide

How To Use This Guide:

listen

Listen to the weekly sermon and read through the main passages(s)

reflect

Prayerfully answer the questions below

discuss

Meet with your group to discuss

respond

Apply the truth of God’s word to your life

How To Use This Guide:

listen

Listen to the weekly sermon and read through the main passages(s)

reflect

Prayerfully answer the questions below

discuss

Meet with your group to discuss

respond

Apply the truth of God’s word to your life

this week's message:

HOME GROUPS  

BACKGROUND
This week's question is, “If God is both good and sovereign, why are there evil and suffering in the world?” As the theologian John Frame has noted, “The problem of evil is probably the most difficult problem in all of theology, and for many atheists it is the Achilles’ heel of the theistic worldview.” The tension lies in the fact that scripture presents God as all-powerful and all-good, and yet evil exists.

The life of Joseph is one example. He suffered because of the evil actions of his half-brothers. At the end of his father’s life, he recognizes what they meant for evil, “God meant… for good” (Genesis 50:20).

While our finite minds cannot fully resolve this tension, we understand that all these are true simultaneously. God is good. He is working for our good. And evil and suffering persist. However, our suffering is not meaningless. God uses evil and suffering for good—the most incredible display of this is on the cross. The suffering of Jesus reminds us that God can both relate to us in our suffering and overcome the source of that suffering, forever ending the effects of the fall.

OPEN
1. When was a time you faced severe difficulty or suffering? What were the most significant questions you wrestled with?

REFLECT
2. Read Romans 8:28. Paul is not suggesting that every situation will have a happy ending or full resolution here on earth. What does it mean that God works in all things “for good, for those who are called according to his purpose?”

3. Read Genesis 45:4-8 and 50:20. Who is responsible for the actions of Joseph's half-brothers? Why is this question so complicated? What is significant about his response?

4.  In scripture, what is the greater purpose behind suffering? (cf. Romans 8:18 and 2 Corinthians 4:17) How would you respond if someone asked, “Why does God allow suffering?”

APPLY
5. How should Christians respond to the presence of evil in the world? What is the appropriate response when we see others perpetrating acts of evil?

6. How does suffering help us grow in our faith? (cf. James 1:2-4, Romans 5:1-5) How has your own experience with suffering impacted your reliance on God?

7.  What is one way God is speaking to you through this study? How might your thinking, words, or actions need to be changed regarding evil and suffering? As a small group, discuss this with one another and pray about these things together.

RESOURCES
Article: “Viewing the Christian Story through the Lens of Our Suffering” by Mark Talbot
Podcast: “Interview with Jacob Chamberlin” by Storyformed
Book: Suffering and the Sovereignty of God edited by John Piper and Justin Taylor (Free PDF)
If you are interested in joining a Home Group, please fill out the Home Group Interest Form found here.
For more information, contact Doug Barnwell at dbarnwell@fellowshipjackson.com.