Restoring Our Joy Through Prayer

Scripture Passage: 1John 5:14-15

“This is the confidence we have before him: If we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we have asked of him.”

Three truths we need to walk in to experience true joy in prayer.

1. We must ask.

In any relationship that’s healthy there is regular communication. When it comes to prayer - we need to pray. Not talk about it, but engage in it. Nothing of eternal value will happen without prayer..

2. We must ask according to God’s will.

The primary purpose of prayer is to further the Kingdom of God and not our own agenda.

• Is our prayer according to the Word of God?
• Does our prayer glorify God?
• Pray expecting the Holy Spirit to lead us in praying.

3. We must ask in confidence.

The Apostle John says: We can know we have Jesus when we pray according to His will. His promise is that He hears us. We can have confidence it will be done according to His will.

In your group today share your thoughts about prayer, and speak of what changes you might make so that your prayers will be in agreement to His will.

Overcoming Fear

Scripture Passage: 1 John 4:16-18

God doesn’t call us to live in a state of fear. He doesn’t want us to be anxious or oblivious. Instead, He’s called us to be confident and bold!

Three ways we can overcome a life of fear and gain confidence in God’s promises:

1. We Overcome Fear Through the Promise of His Presence
God will never leave you on your own. God will never leave you nor forsake you. That’s good news. Your Heavenly Father is with you right now as you read this.

2. We Overcome Fear Through the Promise of His Provision
God’s love is made complete (literally, brought to maturity), and: ‘because as he is, so also are we in this world (verse 17).’ Because as God is, so are you. You are His family. What belongs to Jesus now belongs to you.

We encourage you to read through these passages on your own or with your family and be reminded that what belongs to Jesus, now belongs to us.

His sorrow is now our sorrow. Phil 3:10
His concerns are now our concerns. Mt. 25:40
His enemies are now our enemies. Jn 15:18
His wisdom is now our wisdom. Jn 16:12
His purpose is now our purpose. Jn 20:21
His authority is now our authority! Mt. 28:18
His future is now our future! Col 3:4
His joy is now our joy. Jn 15:11

3. We Overcome Fear Through the Promise of His Love
“There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. So the one who fears is not complete in love” (vs. 18). God’s love surrounds all our troubles and fears. God’s love is what allows us to boldly and confidently come before Him. We certainly will face troubles in this world, but praise be to God who allows us to draw near to Him and experience His ultimate grace, forgiveness and confidence.

Discussion Questions:
• What about today’s sermon touched you?

• What are some of your fears right now?

• How does God’s presence help you overcome fear?

• Is there any area of your life where you’re not believing God for His provision?

• What Scripture passages from today’s message speak to you the most?

Thank God for His great love for you. Rest in God’s presence, provision and promise of love today.

Red Flags in Relationships

Scripture Passage: 1 John 3:10-18

Today’s passage offers practical advice on how we can cultivate healthy relationships in our lives. This passage also cautions us to watch for how others might be engaged in unhealthy relationship with us.

Red Flags in Relationships

1. When I’m disconnected from God | 1 John 3:10
You can focus on yourself or you can focus on God. The very nature of our faith draws us into relationship. It compels us to love one another because of how God has loved us.
As you move closer to God, you move closer in relationship with others.

2. When I see others as competition | 1 John 3:11-12
Biblical competition is about building up whereas my natural instinct is to eliminate the competition.

• Are you a life-giver or a life-taker?

• One of our habits is to bless. Do you let others know every week, every day that God loves them, that you invest in them?

3. When I settle for words | 1 John 3:13-16
You need to back up your words with actions. My natural instinct is to show reciprocal kindness—you scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours. But my supernatural instinct is to show sacrificial kindness—not worried about what I’ll receive in return.

John talks about agape love which is selfless and kind. Loving is not what you get out of a relationship but what you give.

Discussion Questions

• Am I in healthy relationships with other people? Do my relationships reflect the love of the Father or reflect red flags?

• Have I been loving others in the same way that God loves me?

• Have I received the extraordinary gift of love that God has offered me?

Joy Restored Through Obedience

Scripture Passage: 1 John 2:1-6

We have a shortage of joy in our world. We too often pursue the wrong things in our efforts to have our joy restored. According to the Scriptures, our joy can be restored through obedience. We can experience a deeper sense of joy by recognizing a few counter-cultural Insights on obedience found in 1 John 2:1-6.

1. Joyful Obedience is Rooted in Love
In Christianity, God has said, “I love you so I will save you. Now you obey.” The greatest motivator is doing something because you want to and not because you have to.

• Do you obey God because you want to or because you have to? Is your obedience a joyful response to the goodness of God?

2. Joyful Obedience is Grounded in Knowledge, Not Emotions
Obedience, by nature, is beyond your own emotions. Writer Tim Keller observed, “Obedience is the same thing as discipline. Obedience is a willingness to have your will crossed.”

• Are you willing to choose what God wants instead of what you want? Are you willing to go beyond your own will to embrace His will?

3. Joyful Obedience is a Reminder of My Salvation
Can someone be involved in sin and be saved? Sure! John reminds us that when we do sin God is there for us.

Christian apologist Norm Geisler explains: “If a pig and a lamb fall in the mud, the pig wants to stay there, but the lamb wants to get out. Both a believer and an unbeliever can fall into to the same sin, but a believer cannot stay in it and feel comfortable.”

• Obedience is our ultimate opportunity to express our devotion to our Heavenly Father. What steps can you take to more consistently express your gratitude to God through obedience?

4. Joyful Obedience Moves Toward the Good

The word “remain” (1 John 2:6) is the idea of staying with the Lord — walking by His side. The idea is movement toward God – not that you’re just running away from other stuff. The best way to avoid unwanted decisions and habits is to consistently move in God’s direction and to honor Him through obedience.

You can strive to be able to say “I’m accepted by God because I obey,” and you will always fall short. Or you can say, “I obey because I’m accepted,” and you will seek to honor him out of gratitude.

• Take a moment to thank God for accepting you and determine to draw nearer to Him.

Joy Restored

Scripture Passage: 1 John 1:4-9

John wrote this letter “so that our joy may be complete.” In order to have the fullness of joy God wants for us as believers, we must confess our sin. There is a difference between admitting sin and confessing sin. To confess means we agree with God about the sin.

Following are some points to help us with confession.

A. We are to confess sin continually. The word is in the present tense, meaning we make a continual habit of it.

B. We are to confess sin completely. In order to agree with God about sin, we must be specific about what the sin is in our lives. As we ask God to reveal sin, He brings it into the light.

C. We are to confess sin confidently. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful to forgive our sins” I john 1:9. There is no sin God isn’t able to forgive.

The Gospel produces two things simultaneously in us: humility and confidence. We are worse than we think, but God is better that we’d hoped.

Discussion Starters:
• Do you ask God to convict you of sinful areas in your life? Why or why not?

• Is there any sin you are still feeling guilty for even after confession? What should you do?

• Is it better to confess sins all throughout the day as you notice them, or save them for your quiet time?