Awaken: Week Three Study Guide

In the third and final week of “Awaken,” a special Church United study alongside 100+ in South Florida, we’ll explore what might happen in our communities if the Church asked for boldness and then walked in boldness!

 

TALK IT OUT

Below, you’ll find some key discussion points to reflect on and questions to discuss in your small group, with your family, or in your circle of friends, as well as some action points for the week.

Memory Verse of the Week: Philippians 4:6–7 (NKJV)

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Getting the Conversation Going: Throughout history, people have sought to claim sovereignty over others. Emperors, kings, tyrants, presidents, and terrorists have all sought to forcefully take what is not theirs to take. And all eventually fail or die. Why? Because true sovereignty can’t be claimed or taken as it belongs to God. He doesn’t need to take it, He simply operates in it! 

So, what is sovereignty?

Sovereign (despota): an authority figure (“master”) who exercises complete jurisdiction (wields unrestricted power); someone exercising unrestricted power and absolute domination, confessing no limitations or restraints.

Jesus said, “The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord” (John 10:17–19 NIV). When talking to Pilate, He said, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above” (John 19:11 NIV). Jesus was in full control. His trial, crucifixion, and death were all part of the plan.

Discussion Question 1: What does it mean that God is sovereign over all?

Discussion Question 2: How does the sovereignty of God impact your day-to-day life?

READ ACTS 4:23–31

Our Boldness Stands On the Sovereignty of God: Knowing the absolute sovereignty of our Lord, we can walk with confidence into every fiery furnace, we can stand before any situation with peace as Jesus did before Pilate, and we can pray with boldness as the apostles did in Acts 4. Why? Because our lives and the world around us will unfold and take shape in accordance to “what [God’s] power and will [have] decided beforehand should happen.”

Thus, we encourage you every day to pray and bring supplication and intercession before the sovereign Lord always in accordance and submission to His will. Consider what 1 John 5:14 (NIV, emphasis added) tells us in relation to this: “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”

When we pray, we must pray for all things according to His will and good pleasure as we seek to live and walk according to His will. Jesus also directs us to forgive others as He’s forgiven us. It’s His will that we love, treat, and show compassion and grace to others as it’s been shown to us.

So, as we seek to live in accordance with His will and to walk boldly and confidently in His sovereignty, He’ll be faithful to reveal His will to us. Then, as we pray according to His will, we’ll receive what we ask. There’s never anything you could ask for according to your will that will be better, more life-giving, beneficial, and fulfilling than what you ask for and receive according to His will, because as Paul says in Philippians 2:13 (NIV), “it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”

Discussion Question 3: What does it mean to ask according to His will? Why should you pray this way?

We Can Only Have Courage If We Know God Is in Control: In life, there will always be something to worry about or things that will cause anxiety. There will never be a shortage of troubles in this world. However there is nothing that should consume us with anxiety to the point that we fall apart and become utterly consumed by ours cares.

We can experience the kind of confidence in God that frees our minds from the clutches of anxiety and develops in us such a level of dependence on Christ that His peace sweeps over us. The key to experiencing this peace and confidence is prayer . . . it comes by praying in faith with passion and sincerity. And it comes through thanksgiving!

When we thank God for what He’s done, we acknowledge He’s the source of everything we’ve been given. Gratitude, then, put things into perspective—we have because God has given it, not because we earned it on our own. Giving thanks sheds light on our dependence on God and how we can’t do or accomplish anything apart from Him. It’s an attitude we as believers should regularly cultivate during good and bad times.

When we immerse ourselves in prayer instead of our cares, when we genuinely pray for and trust in God’s sovereign will instead of ours and have a sincere, thankful heart, then His Spirit can work in us to free us from worry. As we do this, as we pray “in everything,” He will give us a peace that goes beyond comprehension, a peace we cannot find anywhere else. And that peace will sweep over us; it will comfort our hearts and give us a supernatural confidence and steadiness we never thought possible because it comes through the Spirit of the One who raised Christ from the dead.

Discussion Question 4: Why do you think gratitude is key to overcoming anxiety and walking in faith and boldness?

Discussion Question 5: What practices can you put into place in this season to trust in His sovereignty, practice thanksgiving, and walk in boldness?

This Week: Where is God calling you to step out in obedience? Maybe He’s calling you to switch majors or careers, move to a new city, move across the world as a missionary, start a Bible study, seek counseling, or start a conversation with a coworker, classmate, or neighbor about Jesus. Maybe, like the people of Israel at the beginning of Judges 6, you feel Him inviting you to repent or break free from a stronghold! Whatever it is, go in the strength of Jesus! Go in prayer, obedience, worship, trust, boldness, confidence, faith, and with great expectation! While the call may seem scary, you don’t have to walk in fear because God is with you every step of the way, and He will bless your obedience and do a greater work than you could ever imagine!

A LOOK AHEAD

In our next study, we’ll kick off “Let the Light In,” a special four-week Christmas study.

Additional Resources

About the Author

Danny Saavedra

Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.