Labels

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Freedom in Christ Lesson 3 - Choosing to Believe the Truth

The Bible tells us: “Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Heb 11:6).


Lesson 3 Podcast: Lesson 3 - Choosing to Believe the Truth Podcast

Freedom in Christ Lesson 3: Choosing to Believe the Truth  

Questions before instruction for contemplation : Do you believe that an atheist has more or less faith than a Christian? What about a Hindu or a Muslim? What about someone who “just doesn’t know”?   

 Focus Verse:

Hebrews 11:6 (NKJV)
6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Objective: To understand that everyone lives by faith in something or someone and that faith in God is no more than finding out what is already actually true and choosing to believe and act on it.   

Focus Truth: God is truth. Find out what He said is true and choose to believe it, whether it feels true or not, and your Christian life will be transformed.  

__________________________________________________________________________________

Ephesians 3:16-19 (NKJV)
16  that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height-- 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Zephaniah 3:17 (NKJV) 17 The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing."

 2 Corinthians 3:18 (NKJV) 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Hebrews 12:1-2 (NKJV) 1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Faith Is Simply Believing What Is Already True

 The Bible tells us: “Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Heb 11:6).

Faith is just finding out what is already true and making a choice to believe it

Faith is simply recognizing what is already actually true.

Hebrews 13:7 (ESV) 7 Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. 

Everyone Lives and Operates by Faith 

The Critical Issue Is Who or What We Believe In  

Hebrews 13:8 (ESV)
8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

________________________________________________________________________________

Pause for Thought 1

Questions:

“If you want to know what someone really believes, don’t listen to what they say, but look at what they actually do.” Spend some time thinking about or discussing this thought with others. 

God asks us to believe what the Bible says is true, even when it might not feel true. Share about a time when you chose to override your feelings and acted by faith instead. 

“It takes more faith to believe that there is no God than to believe in God.” What do you think about this statement?   

 __________________________________________________________________________________

M.T. Clark's Testimony: 

As you get to know that God, the object of your faith, really can be trusted with absolutely anything, you will trust Him for bigger and bigger things. But start where you are right now.

Have you ever wondered how Abraham could contemplate sacrificing his son Isaac? He had come to learn through experience that God was loving and could be trusted.

You start with what God has said is true and you choose to believe it. Don’t start with what you feel — you’ll be all over the place! You don’t feel your way into good behavior — you behave your way into good feelings. Your feelings will follow in due course.

I’m not at the Abraham level of faith yet but as I look back I can see that God has deliberately engineered circumstances to build my faith. If I look back to the when I first got saved, for example, I can see that the Lord led me on a journey that increased my faith. I had a lot of problems that I was hoping God would help me with. I found it a frustrating process because I didn’t seem to make much progress at first. I knew Jesus was the answer for my problems, but I didn’t know how. I didn’t know what I should do apart from praying for God to take my problems away and that didn’t seem to change anything.

Of my many problems, I would say the most obvious one was my drinking problem. Unfortunately, although I asked God to instantly take it away from me. It didn’t work that way.  

But One day I was serving in my local church when the pastor made an announcement that they were starting a recovery ministry. I sensed that God was telling me that this new ministry was for me and to put my pride aside and to go to the first meeting.

Odd really — but I took a small step of faith and went. The pastor who ran it actually thought I came to the first meeting to volunteer to help with the ministry because I was a Bible college student and a member of the worship team. But I explained that I wasn’t there to help but to get help.  

That was the start of a radical change in the direction of my life as it turned out — I had no idea at the time. I made it through the program but thought that I still had work to do to truly discover the freedom in Christ that others talked about having.

Later I discovered Neil Anderson’s book the Bondage Breaker and it made a lot of sense. I was intrigued with a process in the back called “The Steps to Freedom in Christ” which claimed to help people resolve personal and spiritual conflicts. Every story in the Bondage Breaker, ends with people being set free by doing the Steps to Freedom in Christ, so when I got to the end, I knew that I wanted to try the Steps for myself.

I prayed through the Steps as instructed and I really felt the chains coming off as I dedicated myself to God’s kingdom and renounced all the bondages of the past.  When I was done I was surprised by the silence I had in my thought life. All the condemning thoughts that I was used to were gone! I had a mental stillness and clarity that I had never really known.  I was free and I knew it.  

Since then I was given the authority over the recovery ministry and decided that our local church community, those who needed recovery or not, would be better served by learning to realize their freedom in Christ. So I started a Community Freedom Ministry under the authority of our local church leadership and with the guidance and training from Dr. Neil Anderson’s Freedom in Christ Ministries. A CFM teaches the freedom message that is based on the word of God and is found in Dr. Anderson’s best-selling books, where we encourage people to claim their freedom as Christians by going through the Steps to Freedom in Christ.      

As I look back at all that I have walked through to come to this point, it really helps my faith. I now know that I never need to manipulate events but can trust God to deliver what He promises. I just need to wait. God has been gracious enough to me to show me clearly that He is real. I think He is ready to do that in all our lives. We simply start where we are and do what He has told us to do no matter how small it seems.

___________________________________________________________________________________

Pause for Thought 2

Questions:

What are some of the ways our faith grows?

In what circumstances or season in your life have you noticed your faith grow the most?

What are some of the ways you have discovered that help you get to know God better?   

___________________________________________________________________________________

Faith is Demonstrated by Actions

James 2:17-18 (ESV) 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.

 No matter what we say, it’s what we do that shows what we really believe.

M. T. Clark's Faith in Action 

When my marriage failed and it became clear that I was to divorce, a lot of things were unpleasant, and the future was uncertain.  When out divorce agreement was finally signed, I realized that the conditions were not in my favor, and I was going to have to figure out a way to pay support and find a new place to live for me and my kids to call home. 

The financial burdens from attorney fees, debt, and support payments made it necessary to get a second job.  I also had to help my teenage children learn to drive, one of which was suffering from diabetes and was in therapy because of the instability in their life caused by both their parent’s divorce and difficulties with a personal relationship with their significant other. In the same time period, the other child saw their dreams of starring in their high school musical and figuring out their future after high school go up in smoke because of the shutdowns and uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Even though I didn’t know what was to become of myself and my children, I put my faith in the Lord and prayed everyday to give me the strength to carry on and to help deliver us from the toxic environment we were living in.   

As I worked two jobs, I encouraged my children the best I could and helped them get their licenses which was really needed because I was so busy with work.  The second job provided much needed income to help me to start a plan to get money for down payment and closing costs for a new house.  My meager planning would have resulted in my being able to begin to look for a house in June of 2020. 

But God, in the 9 months from October 2019 and June of 2020, the Lord strengthen and guided me to trust His still small voice to do things and to make financial moves that I didn’t really understand at the time but ultimately resulted in all my legal fees to being paid, the obligation to pay a portion of my ex’s legal fees to be paid, for all my personal debt to be paid, to provide for enough money for a down payment and closing costs to a new house, along with money to pay for needed repairs and renovations to the new place, along with new furniture for the new place.  

While my plans would have, allowed me to begin looking for a new house in June 2020, God’s plan had me essentially debt free and moving into a new house on the 25th of June, my birthday, in 2020, all during the Covid 19 pandemic.  

Oh by the way, I was also working on my master’s degree in Christian counseling during all this, eventually finishing my master’s thesis in my new home on October 31st, 2020.  I celebrated All Hallows’ Eve, or Reformation Day, knowing the full power of the Lord’s ability to take a seemingly hopeless situation and to turn it around for His glory.

My children and I now have a home that is defined by peace and stability. My one child no longer needs therapy, and both are currently flourishing and are enrolled in college.  

While I don’t know where our futures will take us, I know that I will continue to have faith and trust the Lord to be with us wherever we go.  

So, you can see that the question of how much faith you have is in your hands. It all depends on choosing to believe the truth and putting it into practice. 


If you want to know what you really believe, look at what you do

The outcome of your Christian life is in your hands.

 

The truth is that there’s no one here who can’t become a mature, fruitful disciple. There’s no one here who can’t resist temptation, get out of hopelessness, leave behind negative behavior and past influences and move on. You don’t need some special anointing from God or others. You just need to know what is already true, choose to believe it, and act on it. 

Now, we have another list of truths from the Bible that will help us with this. It’s called The Twenty “Cans” Of Success and I have provided it as a handout. Let’s read it aloud together. 

1.    Why should I say I can’t when the Bible says I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength? (Phil 4:13)

2.    Why should I lack when I know that God shall supply all my needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus?  (Phil 4:19)

3.    Why should I fear when the Bible says God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind? (2 Tim. 1:7)

4.    Why should I lack faith to fulfill my calling knowing that God has allotted to me a measure of faith? (Rom12:3)

5.    Why should I be weak when the Bible says that the Lord is the strength of my life and that I will display strength and take action because I know God?  (PS 27:1)

6.    Why should I allow Satan supremacy over my life when He that is in me is greater than he that is in the world? (1 John 4:4)

7.    Why should I accept defeat when the Bible says that God always leads me in triumph? (2 Cor 2:14)

8.    Why should I lack wisdom when Christ became wisdom to me from God and God gives wisdom to me generously when I ask Him for it? (1 Cor 1:30, James 1:5)

9.    Why should I be depressed when I can recall to mind God’s loving kindness, compassion, and faithfulness and have hope? (Lam 3:21-23)

10. Why should I worry and fret when I can cast all my anxiety on Christ who cares for me? (1 Peter 5:7)

11. Why should I ever be in bondage knowing that, where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom?  (Gal 5:1)

12. Why should I feel condemned when the Bible says I am not condemned because I am in Christ? (Rom 8:1)

13. Why should I feel alone when Jesus said He is with me always and He will never leave me nor forsake me? (Matt 28:20; Heb 13:5)

14. Why should I feel accursed or that I am the victim of bad luck when the Bible says that Christ redeemed me from the curse of the law that I might receive His Spirit?  (Gal 3:13-14)

15. Why should I be discontented when I, like Paul, can learn to be content in all my circumstances? (Phil 4:11)

16. Why should I feel worthless when Christ became sin on my behalf that I might become the righteousness of God in Him? (2 Cor 5:21)

17. Why should I have a persecution complex knowing that nobody can be against me when God is for me?  (Rom 8:31)

18. Why should I be confused when God is the author of peace, and He gives me knowledge through His indwelling Spirit? (1 Cor 2:12; 14:33)

19. Why should I feel like a failure when I am a conqueror in all things through Christ? (Rom 8:37)

20. Why should I let the pressures of life bother me when I can take courage knowing that Jesus has overcome the world and its tribulations? (John 16:33)

We’ll have one more list to share with you later in the course. Keep in mind that there’s nothing magical about reading these lists out. The truth in them will only have an effect on your life to the extent that you decide to believe it. But reading the lists out loud — as soon as you wake up in the morning for several weeks — is a great way to commit yourself to affirm and believe the truth. Many people have said that their lives have been completely transformed just by doing that.

Elijah said: “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God follow Him; but if Baal is God, follow him” (1 Kings 18:21).

Will you take this opportunity to make a new commitment to base your life completely on what God says is true, regardless of your feelings and regardless of the opinions of others?

Reflection

 Objective: To help people grasp the truths in the “20 Cans of Success” list at a deeper level.


Read the 20 Cans of Success. Pause after each one and ask yourself why that truth is or could be particularly meaningful to you.  

Which truth is most significant to you? Write it down and personalize it, for example, “Why should I, MT, say I can’t when the Bible says I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me?  Take time to digest and enjoy this truth, asking God to help you receive it in your spirit.   

_________________________________________________________________________


Witness: 

Think of someone you know who is not yet a Christian. What does the Bible say about why they don’t yet believe see 2 Corinthians 4:4, Romans 10:14-14)? 

Write a prayer you could pray that specifically asks God to do something about the things that are stopping them from believing. Then take God at his word and pray it.

In the Coming Week:

Every Day Read the 20 “Cans” of Success List out loud. Then pick one of the truths that is particularly appropriate to you and make a decision to believer it regardless of your feelings or circumstances. If you can find a way of stepping out in faith some practical way based on that truth, so much better! 

________________________________________________________________________

 Thank You for your interest! 

We pray that you have made Jesus Christ your Lord and Savior of your life and will now choose to believe the Truth of God's Word and live by acting on it. 

No comments:

Post a Comment