Upside/Down – Faith
(Discussion Guide – Week 3)
Icebreaker: Your choice
Today we get to talk about upside-down faith. Our whole world has been confronted with a virus we can not see. We are being asked to take precautions and be on guard against something we can not see. There is a lot of faith being placed in our health professionals and our governmental officials to stop that which we can not see. This concept of battling an enemy we can not see is not a new one to us as Christians. Today, just as every other day, we get to choose where we put our faith – will it be in the form of fear over that which we can’t see and can’t control, OR, will we trust in the One we have not yet seen, but we know has every one of us in His hands and every thing under His control? The coronavirus might be novel, but fear is not. Fear is upside down faith. As Pastor James said on Sunday, “Fear is the distance between God and man.”
1. How do we as Christians have faith when we are surrounded by fear?
First, we remember the promises of God (2Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.” Isaiah 41:10; Deut. 31:8; Psalm 46:1-3…10-11; Philippians 4:6-7; Psalm 56:3-4; Joshua 1:9) Second, we pray those promises (Eph 6:18 – And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” Be alert and pray!
2. What does God call us to do during times of crisis?
Be firm in our faith, loving and strong: (1 Corinthians 16:13-14, “Stay alert, stand firm in the faith, show courage, be strong. Everything you do should be done in love.”) Comfort all those around us just as we have been comforted, (2 Corinthians 1:3-5, “Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles so that we may be able to comfort those experiencing any trouble with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ overflow toward us, so also our comfort through Christ overflows to you.”)
3. As Christians, what should our faith look like for ourselves and to those around us?
First – Stay connected to Jesus- He is the vine just as John 15:5 says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” We can do nothing without Him, so stay connected to Him!
Second, remember that we do not fight against flesh and blood – Ephesians 6:10-12, “10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 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.
Third,towards those around us, Ephesians 4:2-3, “ Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”
Prayer and reading the Bible is what keeps us connected to Jesus. It is a difficult thing to reach out to others with the love of Jesus if we ourselves are gripped with fear, and yet the one thing that those around us need the most when we are surrounded by fear, is hope and comfort. However, because we are connected with The Almighty, we are able to share that hope and comfort with others. We have never before (except 9/11) had so much in common with every single person we meet. We are here for such a time as this – we have so much common ground to share the gospel with those around us, to share the hope we have and the confidence we hold to. Be encouraged and hold tight to the promises of God!
Psalm 18:2, “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”
Psalm 91:1-2 (take time to read this entire chapter and meditate on it when you have time), “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
Psalm 116:1-2 (He hears all of our cries and all of our prayers), “I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live.