TEXTS: 1 John 1:1-5, 2:26-27, 4:16-17, 5:13-16
1. The presence of fear does not always equate to an absence of faith. God created us to be fearful of certain attitudes and activities (for our good). The Lord uses fear to protect us but the enemy uses fear to paralyze us.
2. The life, death, resurrection, ascension, and return of Jesus should be the focus of every believer’s life. These truths provide us a lasting and consistent source of joy.
3. The Book of 1 John highlights the seriousness of one sin in particular--hating others. One of the biggest things we wrestle with throughout our lives is keeping our hearts clear of anger, hate, and bitterness towards other people.
4. There are many doctrines that wrongly teach us to pull God down while raising humanity up. Such teachings are heretical and teach people to ignore the holiness of God. We should beware of any doctrines that proclaim it is possible to “blend” Christ with other religious worldviews.
5. Having right relationships with others is a crucial aspect of keeping ourselves from being deceived. The presence and anointing of God will keep us tethered to the truth if we rightly view and interact with the people God has graciously put in our lives.
6. Trusting in Christ alone--which naturally leads us to repentance--takes away our fear of judgment. The wrath and judgment we find ourselves deserving of as sinners was mercifully put on Jesus.
7. Jesus is often more harsh and angry with those who are self-righteous. He spoke to the self-righteous in a very different way than He spoke to those who were broken. It is easy to think that we are always right and that others are always wrong. Assuming such an attitude poisons our hearts and our view of others. We don’t “stone” others for their sin; we pray for them.
8. Living righteously is the best way that we can love and serve others. Personally endeavoring to obey the Word of God benefits others, not just ourselves.
TALK TO EACH OTHER:
1. How does one guard their heart from anger, hate, and bitterness? What should a believer remember and do when they are tempted to let bitterness fill their heart?
2. Can you think of any examples of doctrines that pull God down while raising humanity up? Why are such teachings so dangerous?
3. How does your personal obedience to God’s Word impact others? Why does living righteously help you love others?
4. How does loving and serving others steer you away from deception? Why is community necessary if we desire to guard our hearts from being deceived?
5. How can you discern if the presence of a certain fear is healthy or if it is the enemy trying to paralyze you? What will be the characteristics of each type of fear (healthy and paralyzing)?
TALK TO GOD:
Pray as you feel led concerning the following area(s):
- Keeping our hearts free from hate, bitterness, and anger
- That we would love others by living righteously