Ice Breaker • Watch Video By D Grace of God – from Scammer to Saint. • Click here • How does this demonstrate God’s Grace? • How does this show courage? • Are we the answer to someone’s prayers? • Can you think of times when fear has robbed us from doing God’s will?
Re-cap • Grace sets us free (week 1) • Free from the slavery of trying to earn God’s approval by what we ‘do’. • Grace declares us innocent (week 2) • God has taken all our guilt and through Christ has declared us ‘innocent’ • Grace removes shame (week 3) • God gives us a new identity without shame • Grace brings courage (today)
What is fear? • Fear is a feeling induced by perceived danger or threat which causes a change in metabolic and organ functions and ultimately a change in behaviour, such as fleeing, hiding, or freezing from perceived traumatic events. • Is fear always bad? (See: Proverbs 9:10, P.642) • Discussion in Pairs: List all the things that cause us to be afraid together with the consequences of ‘unhealthy’ fear on our lives.
How did God create us to be? • Did Adam and Eve need to run and hide before they ate the apple? (Genesis 2:25 & 3:10, P.5).To what extent has fear resulted from ‘The Fall’? • How does 1 John 4:18, P.1228 support this? • What did Jesus say in John 10:10, P.1076? • How many times do the words ‘Fear not’ appear in the Bible: 50, 100, 200, 300, 300+? • As Jesus often said this, is it a command? • Is worry therefore a sin? Why? What is the source of unhealthy fears and worries?
The Christian response • Jesus wants to reclaim what the devil has taken from us – that lack of confidence • “For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love and sound judgement.” (2 Timothy 1:7, P.1195) • What power lives in us (Romans 8:11, P.1134; Ephesians 1:18-21, P.1173) • What does 1 John 4:18, P.1228 say about love and fear • Sound judgement means choosing between what 2 things?
Living free from fear • All of us battle unhealthy fears. That is part of being human. • Being courageous requires us to act according to the truth rather than what those fears tell us • Story of Trevor Brown and Joshua 1:9 What plan of action can we adopt to deal with these unhealthy fears?
Strategy to deal with fear • Step 1 – Deal with sin issues in our lives • Unresolved sin issues make us vulnerable to fear. Repent and confess all known sins. • Step 2 – Acknowledge that God is all powerful • Even King David was afraid, and to deal with this he sought the Lord (Psalm 34:1-4, P561) • Step 3 – Work out the lie behind the unhealthy fear • The root of all unhealthy fears is a lie • Step 4 – Renew your mind by stopping to believe this ingrained lie An ingrained lie that we live under is known as a ‘stronghold’. This is how Satan constrains God’s people. What strongholds does Satan hold over us?
Examples of strongholds • Fear of Satan • Fear of Death • Fear of Rejection • Fear of Disapproval • Fear of Failure • Fear of the future • Fear of speaking to people about Jesus • Fear of having committed an unpardonable sin • Fear of Embarrassment • Fear of Marriage
Stronghold Busting 1. (Stage 1) Work out the lie behind the fear 2. (Stage 2) Find as many verses as you can that state the truth 3. (Stage 3) Write a prayer following the formula: • I renounce the lie that…. • I announce the truth that…… 4. (Stage 4) Read the Bible verses and say the prayer / declaration out loud for 40 days
Stronghold Busting Stage 1 - Example • Stronghold = Fear of Disapproval • Lie = I am not good enough (Stage 1) • Effects in my life: • Afraid of people; afraid of stating my convictions; afraid of witnessing for the Gospel; conscious of my appearance; anxious about saying and doing the things that people want me to do (not necessarily the right thing!); vulnerable to abuse? What truths from the Bible do we need to be reminded of?
Stronghold Busting Stage 2 - Example • Stronghold = Fear of Disapproval (Continued) • Truths from the Bible: • You are chosen by God (John 15:16, P.1083) • If God is for us, who or what can be against us (Romans 8:31, P.1135) • Man looks on the outside but God looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7, P.287) • The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? (Psalm 118:6) • We speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts (1 Thessalonians 2:4)
Stronghold Busting Stage 3 - Example • Stronghold = Fear of Disapproval (Continued) Dear Father God I renounce the lie that I am not good enough or unacceptable. I announce the truth that you chose me and I have your seal of approval. Even when others are not pleased with me you take great delight in me and your opinion matters much more. I now choose to please you rather than others and do so in renewed confidence, without fear, as I share the good news with others. AMEN. Click here
Stronghold Busting Stage 4 - Example • Stronghold = Fear of Disapproval (Continued) Dear Father God I renounce the lie that I am not good enough or unacceptable. I announce the truth that you chose me and I have your seal of approval. Make this declaration or say this prayer for 40 days. Why 40 days? Psychologists tell us that it takes around 6 weeks to form or break a habit. If you persevere you will tear the stronghold down.
What is anxiety? • Anxiety is different from fear as it lacks an object or cause. People are anxious because they are uncertain about a specific outcome or the future. Anxiousness about a forthcoming exam or storm can be good as it leads to responsible action being taken • However, if persistent anxiety is a problem in your life, then steps can be taken. Again, God’s will is that we are not overly anxious. What does 1 Peter 5:7, P.1220, say?
Steps to deal with anxiety • Pray (Philippians 4:6, P.1181; and Psalm 139:23-4, P.629) • Resolve any personal or spiritual conflicts (1 Timothy 4:1, P.1192; and Philippians 4:7) • State the problem • Separate facts from assumptions (Proverbs 12:25, P.646) • Determine what you can control • List what is your responsibility • The rest is God’s responsibility (Philippians 4:6-8, P.1181)
Steps to deal with anxiety • Prayer of Reinhold Niebuhr (American Theologian 1892-1971) • “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things that I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” • Later popularized by Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step programmes
Discipleship trainingSteve GreenSession 4 – Grace brings courage!The End!