Lesson One Our Identity in Christ The Search for Meaning
CLASS OBJECTIVE The objective of this class is to gain an understanding of how we were created perfectly in God’s image and see the practical ramifications of “the fall of man” which affect our daily lives. We will discuss the concept of self-talk, how it affects our perception of ourselves, God, and the world around us, and how it impacts cycles of beliefs, thoughts, emotions, and responses. Untrue or negative self-talk needs to be countered by God’s truth.
Made in the Image of God “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.“ male and female He created them.“ Genesis 1:27
We have been created in God ’ s image. we bear His image in 3 ways: 1.Soul – Comprising our mind, will & emotions. 2.Personality – You are uniquely you! 3.Relationships – We are able to initiate, develop, nurture and maintain a relationship with God and others. Above all, we are spirit-beings made in the likeness of God.
Our Basic Spiritual Needs Have you ever asked yourself the following questions? Who am I? Why do I exist? What is the meaning and purpose of life? Does life even have a purpose? I sense there is a reason for all of this but how can I know what it is?
1.Significance: This is met when we know we are important - when we matter to someone. We have purpose and meaning, and we are adequate and able to fulfill our God-given purpose. In other words, we know we have what it takes to be good at something and are able to add value to others in a way that is appreciated. Three basic spiritual needs
2.Security: This is met when we know we are loved, accepted and forgiven. We are convinced that we are loved for who we are, accepted just the way we are, and fully forgiven of any past shortcomings, mistakes, and failures! Three basic spiritual needs
3.Spiritual Purpose: This is met when we are able to love and serve God, and to love and serve others. Our spirits thrive when we are generous and look for ways to be blessing to those around us. We are fulfilling The Great Commandment and The Great Commission.
How the Fall Distorted God ’ s Creation “ Then the Lord God said, ‘ Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil. ” Genesis 3:22a
Remember Our soul is our mind, will and emotions.
Replacing Lies with God ’ s Truth “ Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. ” Romans 5:1-2 We now have peace with God, and access to Him by faith. As we stand in His grace, the image of God within us will begin to be restored! As minister, speaker and author Bill Gothard says, the goal of every believer is “to see and respond to life from God’s perspective.” God’s Word shows us how to do this.
“ Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God‘s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will. ” Romans 12:2 “ Those who are spiritual can evaluate all things… For, ‘ Who can know the Lord’s thoughts? Who knows enough to teach him? ‘ But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ. ” 1 Corinthians 2:15-16
The Implications of Self Talk Our personal perspective - or worldview –Our personal perspective - or worldview – is shaped by our physical, emotional and spiritual needs. is shaped by our physical, emotional and spiritual needs. These partner with our past experiences, informing what we believe to be true.These partner with our past experiences, informing what we believe to be true. There is a direct connection between our beliefs, our thoughts, our feelings and actions.There is a direct connection between our beliefs, our thoughts, our feelings and actions. Contrary to popular opinion, life events do not determine how we feel. How we talk to ourselves about life events determines how we feel.Contrary to popular opinion, life events do not determine how we feel. How we talk to ourselves about life events determines how we feel. The inner dialogue about what goes on around us is shaped by our beliefs.The inner dialogue about what goes on around us is shaped by our beliefs.
The Implications of Self Talk We act the way we feel; we feel the way we think; we think the way we believe. As our beliefs go, so go our thoughts. As our thoughts go, so go our feelings. As our feelings go, so go our actions.
Identifying core beliefs that are inconsistent with biblical truth is the first step in recognizing what Zig Zigler calls “Stinkin’ Thinkin’” and the unhealthy behaviors that follow. True freedom begins by learning how to: 1.Evaluate our thinking 2.Replace false beliefs with the truth 3.Make better choices, which lead to healthier actions. Core Beliefs
Discuss Read Romans 12:2, John 8:31-32, and Ephesians 4:17-25. See if you can identify the connection between beliefs, thoughts and actions. Circle key words and phrases that stand out to you. Share your observations with your group members.
1.Complete the “ Who I Am ” assignment. 2.Reflect: What are the 1 or 2 most meaningful ideas that stood out to you from this lesson? 3.Personal Study: Read the Handouts: “ Search for Identity and Meaning ” and “ Knowing God More Deeply ”. H OMEWORK
Lesson Two The Real You. Living in God’s Reality.
CLASS OBJECTIVE The objective of this class is to refocus the source of our significance, adjust our expectations of the Christian life, and realign our perception of reality to become what God declares is true. As we become fully united with Christ, we obtain the promises and resources God has freely given to those who follow Him. Through God’s Word we are trained and equipped to resist the lies of Satan. We also mature in our faith, our character and our responses to life experiences.
Activity Read through all the Misbelief Markers (Appendix 4) individually. Pick three markers that you identify with. Write down a thought related to each one that comes to your mind. Then use a scripture from either the “Misbelief Scriptures” (Appendix 5) or “My Identity in Christ Affirmation” (Appendix 12) to conquer negative self-talk with God’s Truth.
Union with Christ “ On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. ” ’ John 14:20 “ Jesus said to him, ‘ I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. ’” John 14:6
T HE B IG Q UESTION Have YOU been joined with Christ? “Jesus said to him,‘I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” John 14:6
A Prayer for Salvation Jesus, I confess that I need to be forgiven of my sin, and that You are the only Savior for the world, the only way that I can be forgiven of my sin and it ’ s penalty. I want my life to be “ in You ”, and now know that in order to do so I must repent of my sin and lay down my will to receive Your will. Please come into my heart and life, and teach me to walk in your ways. Thank you for forgiving me of my sin and self- centeredness, and placing Your Spirit within me. Empower me to live out Your plan and purpose for my life. I trust that I am now totally and inseparably joined to You. In Your name, Jesus, I pray. Amen.
This is the Good News! If you prayed to receive Christ as your Savior, you are now “in Christ” and have received the full benefits of being a child of God! You have a new security, a new significance, and a new role all found in Jesus!
The Enemy ’ s Reaction Your picture just went up on a ‘Most Wanted’ poster in hell. The Enemy is upset that you made the decision to unite your life with Jesus. Because he is opposed to God, he is now opposed to you. Remember the enemy is the father of all lies!
Even More Good News You are special and God has chosen you… chosen to dwell with you. “ You belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory… because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world. ” than the spirit who lives in the world. ” 1 John 4:4 It ’ s time to prepare for battle!
Discuss Read Ephesians 6:10-18. Before putting on the armor of God, what must we do? What is the first piece of armor we’re instructed to put on? Who is our battle really against? How many times do you see the words “stand” or “stand firm”?
We ’ re at War! What comes to mind when you hear the statement, “ We're at war? ” Key Truth: Every physical battle ever fought on earth was preceded by, and was the direct result of, a war between opposing beliefs.
There are 3 Enemies waging war against us 1. Satan – “Be careful. Watch out for attacks from the Devil, your great enemy. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victim to devour.” I Peter 5:8
There are 3 Enemies waging war against us 2. The World – Stop loving this evil world and all that it offers you, for when you love the world, you show that you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only the lust for physical pleasure, the lust for everything we see, and pride in our possessions. These are not from the Father. They are from this evil world. And this world is fading away, along with everything it craves. But if you do the will of God, you will live forever. I John 2:15
There are 3 Enemies waging war against us 3. The Flesh – The lies contained within your belief system as reflected in your thoughts and emotions. “I know I am rotten through and through so far as my old sinful nature is concerned. No matter which way I turn, I can't make myself do right. I want to, but I can't. When I want to do good, I don't. And when I try not to do wrong, I do it anyway.” Romans 7:18 (NLT)
God is much more concerned about our character than our comfort… He is more interested in our holiness than our happiness.
We usually base our “happiness” on positive circumstances. Is it realistic to think that we could experience one positive experience after another, while living on a fallen planet with three enemies who are warring against us? No! Is it realistic to expect only positive experiences all the time, every day, for the rest of our lives? No!
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord… “ Jeremiah 29:11-14a
The primary goals of this study are to prepare you to: 1. Recognize the Enemy’s attacks through lies of deception, and 2. Know the Truth that will defeat the Enemy, so you can live the victorious life God has accomplished for you! W RAP -U P
1.Read: “ The Christian’s Scriptural Identity ” (Appendix 7) every day. Look up and read the corresponding scripture verses. Highlight the verses that stand out to you and memorize them. 2.Personal Study: Read the Handout Destroying Mental Strongholds (Appendix 8). H OMEWORK
Lesson Three The Battlefield: Renewing the Mind
CLASS OBJECTIVE The objective of this class is to understand the history of the spiritual battle we now face, and how to victoriously overcome in Jesus’ name. We read in the scripture of Satan’s origin, mankind’s genesis, and the start of our spiritual battle. We uncover Satan’s motivation to destroy us, and the strategy and weapons he uses on the battlefield of our mind. We discover the resources of God’s Truth and the Holy Spirit, which have been given to us to fight this spiritual battle and victoriously overcome in Jesus’ name.
Discuss At your table, take one minute per person to share one way either Satan, the world, or your flesh tried to battle against you this past week. Did you recognize the attack right away? How did you respond?
THE BATTLE FOR THE SOUL OF MAN The Origin of the Battle Before we can proactively engage into spiritual battle, we must first understand where the battle originated and what fuels it. It is not enough to simply acknowledge that a battle exists; we must understand why it exists, what motivates its ongoing persistence, and what role we have within it.
Scene #1:Satan ’ s Creation, Rebellion & Fall “ You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and exquisite in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God. Your clothing was adorned with every precious stone…all beautifully crafted for you and set in the finest gold. They were given to you on the day you were created. I ordained and anointed you as the mighty angelic guardian. You had access to the holy mountain of Go and walked among the stones of fire. “ You were blameless in all you did from the day you were created until the day evil was found in you. Your rich commerce led you to violence, and you sinned. So I banished you in disgrace from the mountain of God. I expelled you, O mighty guardian, from your place among the stones of fire. Your heart was filled with pride because of all your beauty. Your wisdom was corrupted by your love of splendor. So I threw you to the ground and exposed you to the curious gaze of kings. You defiled your sanctuaries with your many sins and your dishonest trade. So I brought fire out from within you, and it consumed you. I reduced you to ashes on the ground in the sight of all who were watching. All who knew you are appalled at your fate. You have come to a terrible end, and you will exist no more. ” Ezekiel 28:12-19 (NLT)
“How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, ‘ I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’ But you are brought down to the realm of the dead, to the depths of the pit.” Isaiah 14:12-15 Scene #1:Satan ’ s Creation, Rebellion & Fall
“Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down - that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.” Revelation 12:7-9 Scene #1:Satan ’ s Creation, Rebellion & Fall
Who was Lucifer Before He Became Satan? Before he became Satan, Ezekiel says Lucifer was the model of perfection. He was a pinnacle of creation. He was exquisitely beautiful, filled with wisdom, and held an exalted angelic role. He was one of the mightiest guardians and had permission to walk in the place where God ruled. He had it all! Yet Lucifer’s vanity, pride, and jealousy of God became his downfall. Upon his rebellion, he and one third of the angels who sided with him were cast down to the earth.
Scene #2: Mankind ’ s Creation “Then God said, ‘ Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,and over all the creatures that move along the ground. ’ So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, ‘ Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.’ ” Genesis 1:26-28
“ Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, ‘ Where are you? ’ ” Genesis 3:8a Scene #2: Mankind ’ s Creation
Who was Mankind before the Fall? Mankind was created in GOD ’ s image, in GOD ’ s very likeness. God gave mankind a significant role of rulership that held purpose and meaning and significance. Lucifer had previously been allowed to walk where God ruled, but in Genesis 3, we see that God walked where man ruled. He came down from Heaven to meet with mankind. He knew them intimately, talked with them, and pursued them. They had a place of high value in God ’ s heart.
Discuss Re-read Genesis 1:26-28. What do you think was going through his mind as he watched Adam and Eve being created in God’s image?What do you think was going through his mind as he watched Adam and Eve being created in God’s image? What do you think he felt as Adam and Eve were given rulership over all created things on the earth (the very place to which he’d been cast down to)?What do you think he felt as Adam and Eve were given rulership over all created things on the earth (the very place to which he’d been cast down to)? What emotions do you think he experienced as he saw God’s blessing upon them?What emotions do you think he experienced as he saw God’s blessing upon them? What thoughts of retribution might be stirring in his mind?What thoughts of retribution might be stirring in his mind?
Scene #3: Mankind ’ s Fall Genesis 3 Verse 1: “Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, ‘ Did God really say, ‘ You must not eat from any tree in the garden?’ ” Verse 4: “ You will not certainly die, ” the serpent said to the woman. ‘ For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ ” Verse 13: “Then the LORD God said to the woman, ‘ What is this you have done? ’ The woman said, ‘ The serpent deceived me, and I ate.’”
Once Lucifer deceived Adam and Eve, he was given the name Satan - which in the Greek means “ accuser ”. He has constantly deceives mankind into sin and then accuses them of that sin before God - who cannot accept or permit sin. Therefore, Satan successfully breached the relationship between God and mankind, causing sin to be the barrier between God and His new beloved creation which had been made in His image. Scene #3: Mankind ’ s Fall
Scene #4: The Result of Sin And the Coming of a Savior “So the LORD God said to the serpent, ‘ Because you have done this, ‘ cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel. ’” Genesis 3:14-15
“Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned…Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man [Christ] the many will be made righteous.” Romans 5:12, 18-19 Scene #4: The Result of Sin And the Coming of a Savior
“Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.” Romans 6:8-13 Scene #4: The Result of Sin And the Coming of a Savior
The Battle for our Mind Key Truth: The Battle for the Soul is fought and won in the mind! Our minds are protected two ways: #1 Our weapon is God’s Truth.
“ …for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me. ” John 18:37 “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. ” John 14:6 "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." John 8:31-32 “ He who the Son sets free is free indeed ” John 8:36
What is Truth? Truth is reality - what God says is. God is and God has spoken. What He thinks and believes defines truth (reality). Anything contrary to what God has stated to be true is therefore false (non-reality). In the mental health field, when someone is significantly out of touch with reality, they are said to be living in insanity. God created everything that is and He alone gets to decide what is true and what is false, what is good and what is evil.
“For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine [truth]. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations…” 2 Timothy 4:3-5 What is Truth?
How can I tell the difference between the truth and a lie? Don't study the lie. Study the truth. God ’ s Word is Truth! What is Truth?
“ Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil ’ s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. ” Ephesians 6:10-17 What is Truth?
“ Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many… ” Deuteronomy 11:18-21 What is Truth?
Filling your life with God ’ s Truth begins with surrendering your: My Mind (intellect). I must embrace the truth that God is God and I am not, and that I need Him to restore me to sanity (bring me in touch with his reality). My Emotions (heart). I must embrace the fact that God came to save me. My Will (soul). I must surrender and choose to enter into and stay engaged in a personal relationship with God through his son Jesus Christ. What is Truth?
The Battle for our Mind Key Truth: The Battle for the Soul is fought and won in the mind! Our minds are protected two ways: #2 Our power is the Holy Spirit.
When each of you repented of your sin and gave your life to Jesus, He came to dwell inside of you through the Holy Spirit. Just as God walked in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve, He now walks with you throughout the details of your life. You now have full access to Him, and power through the Holy Spirit to live God ’ s ways and resist the lies of Satan. You are a new creation, set free from the chains that held you captive to sin.
“ Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God‘s will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will. ” Romans 12:2 #2 Our power is the Holy Spirit.
Becoming a Victorious New Creation Here ’ s how it works: My new beliefs, based on God ’ s truth, begin to reshape my thinking. Those new thoughts begin to generate new emotions and motivation, which lead to Godly choices, and my behavior begins to change.
“ For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. ” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 Becoming a Victorious New Creation
“and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. ” We must listen to our self talk and learn to take our “stinking thing” captive. And then by faith complete the process of renewal with new thoughts new emotions and actions.
They Overcame Satan by the Word of their Testimony Satan, I am a child of God, saved by grace, and redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, chosen before the foundation of the world, and a partaker of the inheritance of the saints in light. I am a member of the chosen generation, the royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people, showing forth the praises of Him who brought us out of darkness into a marvelous light. I am more than a conqueror through Him that loved me. You are a liar and the father of lies, the adversary, the enemy, the accuser.
They Overcame Satan by the Word of their Testimony You are the prince of this world, the prince of darkness, the prince of the powers of the air. You are the tempter, the old serpent, the evil one. You are the ruler of the darkness of this world and the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience. You have been defeated at Calvary, and you are destined for the bottomless pit, and the lake of fire forever and ever. In the name of Jesus I resist and rebuke you, and command you to GO!
D ESTROYING S TRONGHOLDS E XERCISE With the time remaining, begin working through the Destroying Strongholds worksheets. First complete the “ lie ” worksheet, and then complete the “ truth ” worksheet for each misbelief that the Holy Spirit helps you identify.
1.Read My Identity In Christ daily. 2.Personal Study: Continue to work through the Destroying Strongholds worksheets. 3.Begin preparing to write My Story. Think about writing your story as it pertains to what you are learning in this study and how it is impacting you. H OMEWORK
CLASS OBJECTIVE The objective of this class is to define biblical forgiveness, and to understand how the Enemy uses unforgiveness as a powerful weapon to imprison us. We need to open our hearts to the Holy Spirit, allow Him to reveal the people we need to forgive, and then practically demonstrate real forgiveness. As we give and receive forgiveness in a genuine, heartfelt way, we will experience the true emotional and spiritual freedom that Christ achieved for us by the cross.
Discuss Has anyone had any positive experiences this week relating to the truths we have been considering and the action steps you have been taking? Did anyone identify a false belief and successfully take it captive, making it obedient to Christ this week? What was your experience like?
Discuss Confidentiality As a Group Covenant Then, in groups of 3 or 4, take turns reading Matthew 18:1-35. Matthew 18:1-35.
The Matthew 18 Principle Wounded people wound others. Our unwillingness to forgive leads to self-destruction beyond what the perpetrator did.
Defining forgiveness Forgiveness is: A choice we make through a decision of our will, motivated by obedience to God and his command to forgive. (Colossians 3:13)A choice we make through a decision of our will, motivated by obedience to God and his command to forgive. (Colossians 3:13) Letting go of the need for revenge. (Romans 12:19)Letting go of the need for revenge. (Romans 12:19) Releasing negative thoughts of bitterness and resentment.Releasing negative thoughts of bitterness and resentment. (Romans 12:14-18)
Forgiveness is NOT: Pretending an offence never happened.Pretending an offence never happened. Denying the other person ’ s responsibility for hurting you.Denying the other person ’ s responsibility for hurting you. Excusing or justifying the wrong behavior.Excusing or justifying the wrong behavior. Giving permission to continueGiving permission to continue harmful behaviors. Defining forgiveness
“ Not forgiving is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to get sick. ”
The Big Questions Are you holding onto hatred for someone?Are you holding onto hatred for someone? Is a lie holding you hostage due to unhealed wounds, self-centered pride, harbored resentment, jealousy, anger or fear?Is a lie holding you hostage due to unhealed wounds, self-centered pride, harbored resentment, jealousy, anger or fear? Are you ready to turn it over to Jesus and be forgiven? Forgiven for the sinful reactions to their wrongs?Are you ready to turn it over to Jesus and be forgiven? Forgiven for the sinful reactions to their wrongs?
Despite what some people think, God is not looking for a reason to condemn us (John 3:18). We have already condemned ourselves through our sin. He wants to save us from ourselves and from the evil influences of this fallen world. God invites you to… Stop blaming yourself and othersStop blaming yourself and others Make the choice to stop living in reactionMake the choice to stop living in reaction Take your life back (Jesus paid the price for your life already)Take your life back (Jesus paid the price for your life already) Make the choice to forgive those who have hurt youMake the choice to forgive those who have hurt you
“He was hated and rejected by people. He had much pain and suffering. People would not even look at him. He was hated, and we didn't even notice him. But he took our suffering on him and felt our pain for us. We saw his suffering and thought God was punishing him. But he was wounded for the wrong we did; he was crushed for the evil we did. The punishment, which made us well, was given to him, and we are healed because of his wounds. We all have wandered away like sheep; each of us has gone his own way. But the Lord has put on him the punishment for all the evil we have done.” Isaiah 53:3-6
“ If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. ” John 8:36 God does not promise to change your circumstances but He will change how you see and react to it
Discuss “What did the Holy Spirit impress upon you through the truth of this lesson, and what will your next step be? Who would like to share first?”
1.Begin writing your story this week using the “Write My Story ” handout. 2.Read through My Identity in Christ at least once this week. 3.Begin taking a personal moral inventory of your life. 4.In the future, determine to make restitution for each confessed offense, as Jesus directs you. 5.Personal Study: Read Forgiving From The Heart. H OMEWORK
Lesson Five Living in the Spirit: The True Expression of Our Identity
CLASS OBJECTIVE The objective of this class is to understand what it means to “walk in the Holy Spirit,” and to learn practical ways of doing so. As we practice God’s presence in all the details of our lives, we become sensitive to the voice and the promptings of the Holy Spirit. This protects us from being deceived by Satan, restrains us from acting in sinful ways, and enables us to live a life that produces good fruit for God’s Kingdom!
Discuss What is one way you’ve been challenged to forgive this past week? How have you expressed your forgiveness? Did you notice a response from your offender? How can we pray for you?
Putting the Flesh to Death “ Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. ” Colossians 3:5-10
“ We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do - this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God‘s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? ” Romans 7:14-24
You are not a sinner saved by grace; rather, you are a “saint” who is still capable of sinning. It is only by the personal leadership and supernatural power of the Holy Spirit that we are empowered to stop doing the dysfunctional deeds of the flesh. Our responsibility may be summarized in one word – FAITH. We need to trust the Holy Spirit to both reveal what should be changed in our lives, and give us the power to change it. The bottom line is simply that the Holy Spirit’s role and responsibility is to give us both the revelation and power to change. This truth separates Christianity from all other religions. A religious system of ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ cannot save us. If it could, Jesus would not have had to die.
“ I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. ” Galatians 5:16-18
Walking in the Spirit “Walk” is from the original Greek word “peripateo”.“Walk” is from the original Greek word “peripateo”. “Peri” means “around”, suggesting the idea of something that is encircling.“Peri” means “around”, suggesting the idea of something that is encircling. “Pateo” means “to walk”.“Pateo” means “to walk”. This suggests a person who has lived in one region for so long that it has now become his environment, his place of daily activity, the sphere that encircles his existence. We must become intimately familiar with the Scriptures so we can discern when the spirit is speaking to us.
Discuss Read John 15:1-8. Question: According to John 15, what is the result of abiding what is the result of abiding (or remaining) in Christ?
Fruit of the Spirit The Holy Spirit produces the fruit in us and through us, as we remain in him, and as our roots grow deep into Him. Remaining in Jesus means: 1.Doing what God says. 2.Continuing to believe the truth. 3.Loving the community of believers, which is Christ's body.
“ But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. ” Galatians 5:22-23 “ For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. ” 2 Peter 1:5-8 Fruit of the Spirit
Recipe for Producing Fruit: 1.Saturate yourself in God's Word, and obey it. 2.Engage in frequent conversation with Jesus and other believers. 3.Practice the presence of God by noticing what He is doing around you and joining Him in it. Fruit of the Spirit
1.Finish writing Write My Story (Appendix 10) if you haven’t already done so. Prepare to share it with someone you trust. Perhaps you would like to share it with your group next week. 2.Memorize one verse from The Christian’s Scriptural Identity (Appendix 7). 3.Read My Identity In Christ Affirmation (Appendix 12) again. H OMEWORK
Lesson Six Created for Relationship Ministry: Pass It On!
Discuss Briefly share about a time when you did something for someone that had a positive impact on them. How did it make you feel? Take turns reading John 13:34-35, 1 John 4:7-21, and I Peter 2:2 in your group.
Christianity is Relationship – Not Religion Human Love vs. Divine Love (1 John 4:7-21) The primary drive behind human love is, “I want you to love me.” The primary drive behind divine love is, “I want to love you like Jesus loves you.” Human love is self-centered. Divine love is Christ-centered and therefore others-centered.
1.We must be born of God through the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit. We must believe that Jesus died for our sins and receive Him as our personal Savior. 2.We must “know God.” Knowing God in an intimate, personal relationship allows us the freedom to actually love one another in the same way Jesus loves us. Our love for others will spill over from the love we have received from our personal Savior and friend. Christianity is Relationship – Not Religion
We were made by God, and for God. We were created on purpose, for a purpose! Christianity is Relationship – Not Religion
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” 1 John 3:16-18 1 John 3:16-18 Christianity is Relationship – Not Religion
Discuss Share Your Story! Share one or two things that really encouraged you the most throughout this study. What has God done in your life as a result of this study?
My Identity in Christ Affirmation Because of Christ's redemption, I am a new creation of infinite worth. I am deeply loved, I am completely forgiven, I am fully pleasing, I am totally accepted by God. I am absolutely complete in Christ. When my performance reflects my new identity in Christ. That reflection is dynamically unique. There has never been another person like me in the history of mankind, nor will there ever be. God has made me an original, one of a kind, really somebody!
Suggested Next Steps Biblical Counseling – If you need ongoing individual and group recovery counseling. Biblical Counseling – If you need ongoing individual and group recovery counseling. Foundations Life Study – Deepen your understanding of foundational Christian theology Foundations Life Study – Deepen your understanding of foundational Christian theology Truth Therapy – Learning to think with God. Replacing lies with the Truth. The process of the renewing of your mind. Truth Therapy – Learning to think with God. Replacing lies with the Truth. The process of the renewing of your mind.