A Biblical Study for
Drug and Alcohol Abuse Recovery
“If the Son shall set you free, you shall be free indeed.” John 8:36
ONE STEP TO FREEDOM
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Purpose and Use of the Lessons
Chapter 1: Planning for Victory
Chapter 2: Initial Recovery
Chapter 3: Trials and Temptations
Chapter 4: Forgiveness
Chapter 5: Spiritual Warfare
Chapter 6: The Fruit of the Spirit
Chapter 7: God’s Faithfulness
Chapter 1: Planning for Victory (7 Lessons)
Lesson 1- A Plan for Victory
Lesson 2- Is Alcoholism a Disease?
Lesson 3- Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Is a Sin
Lesson 4- Scripture References for One Step to Freedom
Lesson 5- The Cycle of Sin
Lesson 6- Accountability for Recovery
Lesson 7- Daily Devotions
Chapter 2: Initial Recovery (4 Lessons)
Lesson 1- Man’s Condition and God’s Remedy
Lesson 2- What God Has to Say About Drugs and Alcohol
Lesson 3- Putting Off and Putting On
Lesson 4- God Loves You
Chapter 3: Trials and Temptations (6 Lessons)
Lesson 1- Victory Through Obedience
Lesson 2- Doers of the Word
Lesson 3- Faith Revealed in Works
Lesson 4- Taming the Tongue and Envy
Lesson 5- Pride and Humility
Lesson 6- Perseverance and Prayer
Chapter 4: Forgiveness (4 Lessons)
Lesson 1- Salvation and Forgiveness
Lesson 2- Our Confession
Lesson 3- Turning Away from Sin
Lesson 4- Forgiving Others
Chapter 5: Spiritual Warfare (5 Lessons)
Lesson 1- What Is Spiritual Warfare?
Lesson 2- Tactics of the Enemy
Lesson 3- The Armor of God
Lesson 4- Our Vulnerabilities
Lesson 5- Sharing Our Faith
Chapter 6: The Fruit of the Spirit (8 Lessons)
Lesson 1- Love
Lesson 2- Joy
Lesson 3- Peace
Lesson 4- Patience
Lesson 5- Kindness
Lesson 6- Goodness
Lesson 7- Gentleness
Lesson 8- Self-Control
Chapter 7: God’s Faithfulness (7 Lessons)
Lesson 1- Temptations
Lesson 2- Excuses
Lesson 3- The Word of God
Lesson 4- Building One Another Up
Lesson 5- God Is Our Strength
Lesson 6- I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Lesson 7- Trusting God
One Step to Freedom
This material is considerably helpful to those who wish to start a drug and alcohol recovery ministry based on the principles of Scripture, rather than on the commonly used “Twelve-Step” program based on humanistic philosophy and man’s wisdom.
We believe that this Bible-based One-Step to Freedom drug and alcohol recovery ministry can be more effective and successful because:
1. God’s wisdom, found in the Bible, is greater than man’s wisdom found in psychological theories; and God’s power to deliver men and women from dependency on chemical substances is greater than the weakness of the counsel of men.
2. God’s gospel of Jesus Christ, the Savior, can free men from chemical addiction, every form of bondage, and destructive patterns of behavior that arise from the fleshly, natural, fallen old human nature that exists in
God’s Son, Jesus Christ, delivers a person from the bondage to the flesh, sin, and death. Jesus Christ gives glorious liberty to the sons of God with a new life, as a new creation on earth—and eternal life with God in heaven. Psychology, philosophy, “good ideas” and twelve-step programs cannot compare to the power of God’s word.
We hope and pray that you will use this material that was covered in prayer, and empowered by the Holy Spirit, to bring the mighty truth of God’s Word to needy people in the name and love of Jesus Christ.
Purpose and Use of the Lessons
The purpose of the lessons is more than merely to free chemically-dependent persons from their dependency to drugs or alcohol. It is to bring people into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ, and to help them become true and spiritually healthy disciples of Jesus.
These lessons are intended for use in a drug and alcohol recovery ministry conducted by a Christian church, or church-related Christian ministry, especially by churches affiliated with Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa. The lessons can be used one-on-one with individuals, or in a group setting.
The lessons can form the basis of a program that, with proper oversight, can qualify as acceptable to a court of law, for use with persons the court places on probation after they have been found guilty of a drug or alcohol-related offense. It must be understood by all that such a program is a religion-based program, and that Christian principles are taught.
The Holy Bible is the true syllabus for these lessons. The Bible itself says, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16 NKJV).
No amount of lesson material can free people from dependency, without the help of the Holy Spirit and God’s help in empowering faithful, mature Christians to use God’s Word, the Bible, in ministering the supernatural transformation of lives that comes through faith in Jesus Christ.
The lessons have a logical sequence that builds upon the previous lessons. If the available time and personnel limit the program to covering only part of the material, carefully consider how all the main points of the lessons can be taught. Ideally, all of the material should be used.
It is very important that the ministry pastors, group leaders and helpers understand the principles in the introductory matter:
1. Ministry Goals
2. Presenting the Gospel to the Chemical Abuser
3. Counseling Guidelines
4. Newcomer’s Questionnaire
To be effective, the place of meeting, materials used, and all persons involved in the One Step to Freedom Ministry should be continuously covered in prayer.
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).
Leader Goals for Teaching
1. Teach the Word of God, using the worksheet as a guideline.
2. Study the worksheet, encouraging more scriptural support.
3. Share beforehand with support people, things that God has impressed on you about the night’s study.
4. Try to involve all persons in the group, using questions or encouraging them to read certain Scriptures (ask for volunteers).
5. Talk with the support people after the study.
Support Person Goals
1. Listen to the leader.
2. Observe all responses to the leader. Do people understand the leader?
3. Assist the leader with expounding upon a certain point that someone may not understand.
4. Talk with the leader after the study, briefly discussing how things went. If it is not possible to talk face-to-face, at least converse by telephone or by e-mail.
1. Encourage people to share how they came to Christ.
2. Listen and discern the causes of problems (for example, anger, jealousy, etc.).
3. Watch for times and places where God may have been doing a work in their life (i.e. miraculous escape from drunk driving accident, etc.).
4. Be patient and sensitive as to where to begin sharing with them.
5. Share the simplicity and hope of the Gospel message.
6. Get their names, telephone numbers, and e-mails to encourage them later.
7. Pray with them before the study is finished.
1. Use a prayer list.
2. Write down pray requests for each person in the group.
3. Pray for all newcomers.
4. Pray for every group.
5. Pray for current prominent issues (anti-abortion efforts, revival, etc.), however the Lord leads you.
“For the Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
The purpose of a drug and alcohol counselor is to share the love of Jesus with those who need comfort, encouragement, exhortation, and direction in their walk with the Lord.
Keys to Counseling
1. To minister to someone, you need to listen to find out what his or her needs are.
2. Many people just want someone to listen to them, especially if they have many problems or needs (which is usually the case with someone who is recovering from drug and/or alcohol abuse).
3. Often it takes a while for people to open up and share what is on their hearts.
4. In some cases, a person never does share what is really troubling them. It is important to be sensitive enough to read between the lines of a person’s conversation when necessary.
5. Establish good eye contact, so that whomever you are counseling will know that you are listening and that you care.
6. Be patient when listening, and try not to be distracted.
Use God’s Gifts to Help Others
1. Use God’s Word in love as it applies to the person’s needs.
2. In love, use God’s wisdom and the gift of discernment concerning their needs.
3. In love, pray with the person concerning their needs, seeking direction and, if necessary, possible restoration of things lost from drug and/or alcohol abuse (i.e., spouse, friends, job, property, etc.). Always give thanks for the blessings in the person’s life.
4. In love, feel free to share any insight from your own life (i.e., past experiences in drugs and alcohol, etc.) that relates to their problem. What you share should always encourage them to look to the Lord for their needs. Remember, if it does not build up and edify, it is not of God.
5. In love, if you do not have any insight on a person’s problems, admit it to them and seek additional help from other drug and alcohol ministry leaders. If there still isn’t divine insight, admit it and pray with them concerning their problem.
1. Blameless: Read 1 Timothy 3:8-13
2. Humble: Read 1 Peter 5:1-4
3. Servant: Read Acts 6:2-3
4. Jesus’ disciple: Read Matthew 4:19-20
5. Willing and available: Read Isaiah 6:8
If you love the Lord and it is your desire to be His servant, then you are qualified. The key is to be sensitive to His will for your life. If He is calling you to serve as a counselor in the Drug and Alcohol Ministry, the best thing you can do is to obey Him and serve Him faithfully.
However, if you feel at any time this is not God’s will for you to serve in the Drug and Alcohol Ministry, the wisest thing you can do is to seek additional confirmation through prayer and discussing it with other drug and alcohol leaders. The most important thing is to “seek first the kingdom of God.” If this means moving on to other things, then we must. After all, His will is perfect.
The “Do Not’s” of Counseling
1. Do not contradict God’s Word.
2. Do not quote or use Scripture out of context.
3. Do not argue about the authority of God’s Word.
4. Do not try to second-guess God’s will for someone else’s life.
5. Do not put anyone down.
6. Do not fake answers if you do not have them.
7. Do not try to lord over someone’s life.
In conclusion, the bottom line is that we share the love of Christ with all, and we use God’s Word as the final authority in every circumstance.
Presenting the Gospel to a Chemical Abuser
“And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).
Idolatry, Not Addiction
In our day and age, it seems to be popular to view chemical abusers as victims of a disease or addiction. If this is the case, there is a need for treatment of a disease. The problem with this non-scientific view of chemical abuse is that the abuser is not considered responsible for their actions. Instead, the blame is placed on the “addiction” or the “disease.” However, the Bible calls it a sinful lifestyle in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. At some point, the individual made a conscious choice to “drink” or “use.”
In working with substance abusers, you soon begin to notice that they follow a regular ritual (or pattern) of sin in their daily lives. The drugs or alcohol have become that person’s idol. An idol is anything that is given ultimate priority in a person’s life, other than the God of the Bible. Drugs or alcohol become that ultimate priority. The user lives for the next “high.” They become literally a slave to that substance.
Their entire life is built, in most cases, around allegiance to that substance. Some may steal to get the money to support their habit. Many become acute liars to cover their tracks. The governing principle of a person’s life is their god. Self, drugs, sex, money, and pleasure can all become a governing desire in a person’s life, and thus, their idol. Everybody worships someone or something.
The abuser needs to see that he or she is an idolater, not an “addict.” They are worshiping and serving their desires, rather than the One and only true God, who deserves our worship. We do not deny that sin is habitual and controlling.
Jesus said, “Whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.” So, repentance is needed—not “treatment” of a disease or addiction. For the substance abuser, this involves switching their allegiance from the life-dominating sin (their idol) to the living God. The person turns from the sins that control them, by giving the Holy Spirit control of every area of their life.
In presenting the gospel, it is important to find out as much about the person as you can (Proverbs 18:13, 20:5). What have they been using? How long have they been using or drinking? How often do they use? When do they use—during work hours, weekends, before bedtime, in the morning? Who knows about their habit? How is it affecting their family? How is it affecting their job? What prompted them to start their habit—to get friends, because they enjoyed the highs, for relaxation, because of arguments or bad relationships in the home or at work, because of a lust for power or a lust for money (dealing), etc.?
In this way you begin to get to know the person and their lifestyle. You can begin to find out what is motivating them—what are their idols. You may also discover a multiplicity of other sinful patterns in the person’s life, such as: lying, stealing, adultery, fornication, pornography, uncontrolled outbursts of anger, physical abuse of their spouse, bitterness, etc. This information can be gathered either by one-on-one counseling or by having them fill out a form with these questions on it.
Presenting the Truth
Once you have obtained this information, you can begin to present the truth to that individual. Truth, by its very nature, confronts a person with the reality of their sin and helps the abuser to see the effects of sin upon his/her life. We want them to see that they have become enslaved, not only to the substance, but to sin in general. Their life is revolving around escaping reality into an altered state of consciousness.
They ought to see how the drug is an idol in their life. The way they use the substance—through a “bong,” injection, snorting, smoking or drinking—is the “ritual” of the idol they worship. They may have other idol worship that needs to be dealt with, but we start with the greatest and most obvious one. The obvious truth is that their idol is finite—it cannot save them. No matter how good or right it seems, the end of that path is destruction. Use these helpful Scripture references: Proverbs 14:12, Matthew 7:13-14, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Galatians 5:19-21.
Sometimes it is necessary to use the truth to show the abuser the short-term consequences of following the path they have chosen. We want them to realize that their sin will catch up to them, if it has not already done so. This is using the gospel to persuade sinners (Isaiah 1:18). Paul said, “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men …” (2 Corinthians 5:11).
Allegiance, Not Addiction
Remember that the issue is one of allegiance, not addiction. No matter how strongly the abuser thinks differently, the truth is the truth. This is not to say that a physical, bodily dependence has not occurred, possibly withdrawal symptoms. However, the primary issue is controlling sinful cravings (desires), which need to be broken through repentance. The person’s real need is to turn from their false god (their idol of addiction), and to bow down to Jesus Christ as Lord. Even though worshiping that idol brings temporary pleasure or relief, one day every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess to the lordship of Christ (Philippians 2:10).
The God of Hope
Since our God is the God of hope (Romans 15:13), we encourage freedom from their bondage to sin through Jesus Christ. He said, “Whoever falls on this stone (Jesus Christ) will be broken, but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to pieces” (Matthew 21:44).
It is a matter of personal choice. God wants to break their sinful lifestyle and build a new one from the foundation. He is a jealous God who wants a person’s total devotion (worship). If a person worships God and accepts Jesus as their Savior, He will make that person a new creation, completely doing away with the old. This is the Good News (2 Corinthians 5:17, Acts 26:18).
True repentance (2 Corinthians 7:9-11), as the result of godly sorrow, is always the first issue at the One Step Drug and Alcohol Ministry. We cannot help those who will not turn their allegiance from idols to the living God. We need to emphasize this to the individual at some point. They will not be able to stay in the program on an ongoing basis if they willfully ignore or reject God’s method of total change and repentance.
Chapter 1: Planning for Victory (7 Lessons)
A Plan for Victory
“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57).
Here is a simple program that will help you, as a Christian, to permanently overcome drug and/or alcohol abuse in your life, while helping you to press on in your Christian walk, and enter into all that God has for you.
Repent of your sin. Begin today to make a daily commitment in seeking God’s will for your life (Matthew 6:33, Psalm 18:30).
1. Look at your lifestyle. Make a list of specific ways you are failing God and others. Pray first, and ask the Lord to help you pinpoint these problem areas and overcome them on a daily basis. He will empower you to do so (2 Corinthians 13:5, 1 Corinthians 10:13).
2. Work closely with your drug and alcohol recovery counselors. They are here to help and encourage you in the difficult days of coming off the effects and influences of drugs and/or alcohol in your life (Proverbs 15:22).
3. Avoid associating with any companions who are using drugs and/or alcohol. The Word of God (the Bible) clearly warns, “Do not be deceived, bad company corrupts good habits” (1 Corinthians 15:33, Proverbs 2:10-15).
4. Develop friendships that will build you up in the Lord. Your whole life may need to be restructured, but God’s desire is that you be built up in the knowledge of Him; and this includes good fellowship with other believers (2 Timothy 2:22, Hebrews 10:24-25).
5. Grow in the Lord daily. This includes a meaningful commitment to daily Bible study, prayer, and consistent church attendance. This is how you become strong in the Lord. If you lack desire in these areas, ask the Lord to change your heart (Psalm 119:105, 1 Thessalonians 5:5, Hebrews 10:24-25).
6. Submit to God’s will for your life. As you do so, He will pour out His Holy Spirit into your heart and empower you to overcome the temptation of drugs and/or alcohol. It is in this kind of commitment that God is glorified in our lives, and we begin to truly understand His incredible, perfect love for us and His purpose for creating our lives (Romans 12:1, Galatians 5:16, John 15:5, John 3:16, Ephesians 2:10).
Begin to apply these guidelines today. By the grace of God, you can unhook your drug and/or alcohol habit. It will not be easy, but if you truly trust in Jesus, you will succeed.
Is Alcoholism a Disease?
If alcoholism is a disease:
1. It is the only disease that is contracted by an act of the will.
2. It is the only disease that requires a license to propagate.
3. It is the only disease that is bottled and sold.
4. It is the only disease that requires outlets to spread.
5. It is the only disease that produces revenue for the government.
6. It is the only disease that provokes crime.
7. It is the only disease that is habit forming.
8. It is the only disease that is spread by advertising.
9. It is the only disease for which we are fined for contracting.
10. It is the only disease that brings death on the highways.
11. It is the only disease that requires an age limit to contract.
12. It is the only disease without germ or virus, and there is no corrective medicine.
13. It is the only disease that bars a patient from the kingdom of God (unless there is repentance).
Read and define 1 Corinthians 6:9-10
Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that 1 Cor. 6:9, those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21 NKJV)
Read and define the works of the flesh in Galatians 5:19-21.
Record your answers on a separate sheet of paper.
Outburst of Wrath______________________________
Revelries & the like______________________________
“I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice these things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:21)
Alcoholism and Drug Abuse is a Sin
And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18).
Our world is filled with many different opinions concerning the abuse of drugs and alcohol. The most popular thinking is that those who are drug addicts or alcoholics have a “disease.” However, according to the Word of God (the Bible), drug abuse and alcoholism are not “diseases” but “sins.”
God has warned us about the wisdom and philosophy of man. He said, “Beware lest anyone cheat you through deceit, according to the traditions of men, according to the basic principles of this world, and not according to Christ” (Colossians 2:8). God also said, “Your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:5).
With the philosophy of disease, man tells addicts that they are not responsible for their actions and that they are hopeless. Philosophy says that man can never be cured of their disease, and that they must label themselves as addicts forever.
If it is your belief that such addictions result from disease, please consider the following. What other diseases or destructive processes of the body are self-inflicted and by choice? Is it not true that a substance abuser always has a choice not to partake? There is no question that the body learns to crave abusive substances, but this can be overcome. Even when withdrawal symptoms result, the person always has two choices: to take that temporary fix or to endure the withdrawal symptoms.
Even if you do not believe in the disease philosophy, you may believe that drug and alcohol abuse is some kind of physical addiction that even God cannot help some people overcome. You may think this because even though abusers desperately want to stop, they “cannot.”
The following lessons are written to present a biblical perspective of drug and alcohol abuse and refute that alcoholism or drug abuse is a disease.
First, we must realize that we are all sinners by nature. That is to say, we all fall short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23) or we miss the mark of God’s perfection (Psalm 18:30). Although few of us like to say we are sinners, most of us would agree that we miss the mark of God’s perfection. We deceive ourselves if we say we have no sin (1 John 1:8).
Romans 5:12 says, “Through one man (Adam) sin entered the world, and death (came) through sin … thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.” This Scripture tells us that we inherited our sinful nature from Adam. As Adam’s descendants, we are prone to sin.
God’s Word tells us that we serve this sinful nature by seeking to satisfy our physical desires (Romans 7:25). In Galatians 5:19-21 there is a list of physical desires that are sinful. Three of the listed items are idol worship, sorcery, and drunkenness.
Any or all of these sins can prevent a person from entering the kingdom of God. Let us look at these things, beginning with idol worship or idolatry, and how they relate to the person who abuses drugs.
An idol is anything that takes the place of God in our lives. It is given our priority and attention. This would include anyone other than God who is looked to as a “higher power.” An idol is literally a false god that is served instead of God. Drugs and alcohol are false gods that rule the abuser’s life. Those who begin as willing worshipers become slaves in bondage. Instead of living for their Creator and Savior, they live for their addictions. The Scriptures clearly indicate this as a type of idolatry.
Now let us look at sorcery (witchcraft). The original Greek word that we translate into sorcery is the same word we translate into pharmacy. That word is pharmakia. Pharmakia is translated in these different ways because some of the drugs abused today were abused back in the time of Christ. These mind-altering drugs were used by sorcerers and witches to help them tap into the powers of the demonic realm.
Over 2,000 years ago, there was a definite link between drug abuse and the occult. This is clearly evident today. It is no coincidence that the rise of Satanism over the last 20 years has coincided with the increased abuse of mind-altering drugs in our society. While not all those who abuse mind-altering drugs are into the occult, it is still obvious that there is a definite link between the two. Therefore, one can conclude from common sense that abusing drugs is a sin.
Who is the drug addict or alcoholic? Galatians 5:21 describes this person merely as one who practices such things. According to Webster’s Dictionary, to practice means “to frequent or make a habit of.” Are you practicing idolatry, sorcery, or drunkenness? If you are, God has a better plan for your life. He does not want you to be excluded from His kingdom. He wants you to enter in victoriously, through faith in His Son Jesus Christ.
At this time, please establish for yourself specifically what God’s Word says about the mind-altering effects of drug and alcohol abuse. In most cases, references to alcohol can be applied to drug abuse as well.
Read the following verses and take time to give reflective thought to each verse. Write down in your own words what you think the Scriptures are saying about God’s view.
1 Corinthians 6:9-10
Read Galatians 5:19-20. Self-destruction, violence, woes, sorrows, contentions, unexplainable wounds and perversions in the heart are just some of the results of alcohol and drug abuse which will result in exclusion from God’s kingdom (heaven).
God has exhorted man to be filled with His Holy Spirit rather than to be drunk (Ephesians 5:18). The bottom line is that God knows how destructive these sins are to our bodies, minds, and our family and friends. Most importantly, sin destroys our ability to fellowship with God and to enter into all that He has for each one of us—now and eternally.
God knows that our sinful nature separates us from Him and condemns us to eternal death (Romans 6:23). This is exactly why Jesus Christ died on the cross for all of our sins, once and for all. The Bible tells us that God made Him (Jesus) who knew no sin to become sin on our behalf (2 Corinthians 5:21). God demonstrated His love for us when He punished His perfect, sinless Son in our place (John 3:16).
When Jesus died for our sins, He provided atonement on our behalf (1 John 2:2). That is why Jesus is the only way a person can come to know God (John 14:6). By putting our trust in Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we can enter into God’s kingdom. It is by faith in Jesus and Him only that you can be saved (Acts 16:30-31 and Acts 4:10-12).
In putting our trust in Jesus, we become what Jesus described as “born again” (John 3:3-6). We are born out of the flesh and its sinful ways (such as drugs and alcohol), and born into the family of God (John 1:12-13). The Spirit of God begins to dwell in our lives the moment we unconditionally accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior (John 7:38-39).
The Holy Spirit then empowers the believer to overcome the works of the flesh (sin) and to walk in the ways of the Spirit. When this happens, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control will be evident in our lives (Galatians 5:22-23). This is part of that perfect will God has for each of our lives. However, unless we turn away (repent) from our sin, we will never know the overwhelming joy that comes from a personal relationship with God.
There is one more thing that separates the opinions of man and God concerning drug and alcohol abuse. Most of today’s so-called experts say that if you were once a drug addict or alcoholic, you will always be one. God’s Word settles the truth on this matter. He says, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away. Behold, all things are new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
1. In light of Colossians 2:8 and 1 Corinthians 2:5, explain why biblical counseling is more effective than psychological counseling for drug and alcohol abusers.
2. Would you say that you are perfect? What does this mean in God’s terms? Can you therefore conclude that in God’s eyes you are a sinner? How about in your own eyes? See 1 John 1:8. Write your conclusions below.
3. Do you agree that God’s Holy Spirit, which is promised to those who are His children through faith in Jesus Christ (John 7:38-39), would be more beneficial to you than alcoholic spirits or drugs? (Read Ephesians 5:18, Galatians 5:22-25).
4. What did God do to enable sinners to enter His kingdom? Refer to John 3:16-17.
5. In your own words, how can a man be born again, and what is the result of that new birth? Read John 1:12-13, John 3:6, John 7:38-39 and 2 Corinthians 5:17.
Scripture References for One Step to Freedom
1. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).
2. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins (1 John 4:9-10).
3. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved (John 3:16-17).
4. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus, our Lord (Romans 6:23).
5. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed (John 8:36).
6. “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30). If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame” (Romans 10:9-12).
7. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).
8. Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive … (John 7:37-39).
9. Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light (Matthew 11:28-30).
10. God, be merciful to me a sinner! (Luke 18:13-14).
11. Look on my affliction and my pain, and forgive all my sins (Psalm 25:18).
12. “Lord, save me!” (Matthew 14:30).
The Cycle of Sin
“Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God;’ for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full grown, brings forth death” (James 1:13-15).
The purpose of this chart is to show how we enter into the bondage of sin by personal choice. This will be a help to both the unsaved visitor and the Christian. For the unsaved, it helps them to understand God’s perspective on the nature and development of their problem. They need liberation from this vicious cycle, to which they are bound as slaves (John 8:34). This liberation comes only by personally receiving Christ as master in the place of where sin and self were master leading to destruction.
For the Christian who is living in defeat, it helps him to understand how he is actually yielding to sin’s control. He can learn how to recognize the cycle of sin as it relates to his struggles. As he recognizes the process in his life, he can begin to break it through God’s strength (Philippians 4:13). We will briefly explain each step and support it with Scripture.
1. I am tempted. Satan and his host of wicked spirits initiate the temptation. They have access to our minds to place a thought there. See Genesis 3:1-6, 1 Chronicles 21:1, Matthew 4:1, 16:13-23, John 13:2 and Ephesians 6:11-12.
2. Temptation appeals to my fleshly desires. We are enticed by our own desire to please our flesh. See James 1:14 and Galatians 5:16-17.
3. I begin to entertain thoughts, thus making a choice for sin. These thoughts fuel those desires for the sinful action into flame (adding gasoline to the fire). The Christian must learn to “bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). Jesus said that if you look at a woman to lust for her (entertain lustful thoughts in your mind), you have committed adultery in your heart (Matthew 5:28). Confession and repentance can take place here, which would stop the person from “falling into the act itself.”
4. I am now walking in the direction of sin. The first level of involvement with sin begins (see Psalms 1:1a). I have turned and started walking in the counsel of sin.
5. Conscience warns me that this is wrong. The law of God is still written on the consciences of men, even unsaved men (Romans 2:14-15). This is because though sin has marred the image of God in man, that sense of right and wrong still remains in all men. For the Christian, we have the Holy Spirit to convict us when we begin to stray (Galatians 5:17-18). The wise thing to do is listen and respond God’s way. See 2 Timothy 2:22, 1 Peter 2:11. There is still a way of escape provided by God (1 Corinthians 10:13).
6. I suppress (ignore) what I know to be right. I suppress the truth to pursue my desires. I begin to follow the lie (i.e. “Go ahead, you deserve it”). See Romans 1:19. Whenever I ignore what is right and pursue what is wrong, I start to become “self deceived.” In other words, in my mind I have thought of a way to justify what I am doing. The more I push aside my convictions of right and wrong, the duller I become to responding to those convictions.
Self-deception is what holds so many in their sin. James says, “But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does” (James 1:22-25).
Only when that individual is truly “broken” over their sin can the Holy Spirit show them the real problem, as well as the real solution (confession, repentance and obedience to the Lord). Have you heard the story of the emperor’s new clothes? This is the condition of the person who is self deceived as God sees them—they are naked and think that they are covered. That is why the apostle Paul began with “Do not be deceived” in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.
7. I commit the act of sin. See James 1:15a and Genesis 3:6.
8. I become “desensitized” to right and wrong. It becomes easier to sin the next time I am tempted. See 1 Timothy 4:2.
9. Habit begins. It becomes a part of me or a “second nature.” We all have a “habit capacity.” This can be used for good or bad. See Romans 6:16, 19. This is the second level of involvement with sin. I am now “standing in a path” (see Psalm 1:1b).
10. Desires are given ultimate priority, and they become an idol. Whenever anything in my life is given ultimate priority, it becomes an idol of the heart (Ezekiel 14:7-8). Any desire can become more important in my life than pleasing God.
11. My life becomes enslaved to serving these desires. A pattern of allegiance (or ritual) to the idol sets in. Every worshipper has his ritual. For some, it is turning to the bottle when the going gets tough; for others, it is blowing up in anger when they do not get what they desire.
12. I am locked into a way of life. I have entered the third level of involvement with sin. I am now “seated” in my sin. See Ephesians 4:17-19 and Psalm 1:1c.
13. The life dominated by sin brings bondage, leading to destruction. See Proverbs 13:15b and 14:12.
14. The wages of sin is “DEATH” (separation from God). This refers to both physical death and spiritual death, leading to the judgment of God and spiritually remaining separated from Him for eternity. For the Christian, it brings spiritual deadness and corruption (Galatians 6:7-8). See also Romans 6:23 and James 1:15.
1. What does temptation appeal to?
2. When I entertain sinful thoughts, allowing them to remain in my mind, what am I actually doing?
3. According to Psalms 1:1, what are the three steps toward sin?
4. Is sin an accident, an involuntary action, or a choice?
5. What are the wages of sin?
Accountability for Recovery
“Two are better than one … for if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10).
Is there a person close to you that you can ask to be your accountability partner so you won’t drink, take drugs, or further your addiction? When you first come to the realization that you have an addiction, tell someone close to you. The Bible teaches the wisdom in confessing your sin to another, so that another person can keep you from temptations that will enable your addiction.
“Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed” (James 5:16).
Make sure you choose someone very close to you to be your accountability partner to help you overcome an addiction. Someone you can trust and that loves you—and will be stern enough to hold you accountable. Ask them to put these guidelines in place for you.
1. Give the name and contact of your accountability partner to your Bible study group leader.
Give your Bible study group leader’s name and contact to your accountability partner.
2. Accountability Observations.
“As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend” (Proverbs 27:17).
Make sure your accountability partner is observing you to make sure you have not been using any drugs/alcohol or things related to your addiction—24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Encourage your accountability partner to keep you stable and responsible. Also, make sure they are aware of your present and past associations to make certain you do not contact previous relationships that enabled your addiction.
Tell your accountability partner that there is zero tolerance for your addiction. This is a life-or-death situation—spiritually.
“Now, the works of the flesh are evident … revelries … those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21).
The word “revelry” means late-night partying. Staying out late could be a temptation for you to socialize with people who may be drinking, doing drugs, or partying.
We suggest being home by 10 pm, unless you are working after this time. Why? Staying out later than 10 pm leaves you open to temptation and situations that are not beneficial to overcome your addiction.
Ask your accountability partner to wait up for you and talk to you when you come home at night. Why? To make certain that you have not been drinking, doing drugs, or have been someplace that you shouldn’t.
“A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep, so shall your poverty come on you like a prowler” (Proverbs 6:10-11).
Write out a daily schedule each week and give it to your accountability partner. Why? To keep you accountable to go to work at your job or to continue going to school. Also, to encourage you to go to places and meet with people who will benefit your recovery—and likewise, to discourage you from going to places and meeting with people that will enable your addiction.
5. Bible Study.
“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
Replace the time that you spent practicing your addictions with Bible Study. Grab a church bulletin and note the days and times of the Bible studies that you can attend each week. Getting addicted to Jesus will overcome ANY addiction!
“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed” (Mark 1:35).
This is a guideline for daily devotions to help you improve your prayer life.
It is important that every Christian establish a habit of meeting with the Lord on a daily basis. Many Christians refer to this time as a “daily devotion.” A daily devotion is a specific time during each day that is set apart solely to communicate with God. While it is true that we can communicate with the Lord at any time, it is helpful (and advisable) to set apart a certain amount of time every day for this purpose. Therefore, we would like to give you this step-by-step plan to help you develop consistent and fruitful daily devotions in your own life.
How to Have a Daily Devotion
1. Meet with God. Before you begin, take a few moments silencing your heart and mind before God.
2. Talk to God. This is accomplished through prayer. Four basic elements of prayer are listed as follows. You can remember it by the acronym ACTS: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication.
Adoration This is the purest kind of prayer, because it is all for God; there is nothing in it for you.
Confession Confession comes from the root word meaning “to agree together with.” Apply this to prayer and agree with God. Something happened yesterday that you called a slight exaggeration; God calls it a lie. You call it strong language; God calls it swearing. You call it telling the truth about somebody; God calls it gossip (1 John 1:9).
Thanksgiving Express your gratitude to God. Think of several specific things to thank Him for: your family, your business, your church, your responsibilities—even thank Him for hardships (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
Supplication This means to ask earnestly and humbly and make your petitions known to God. Ask for your needs, and the needs of others. Ask that God’s will for your life, your problems and your goals would take place on a daily basis (1 John 5:14-15).
3. Listen to God. This is accomplished by reading His Word (the Bible) and listening to His voice within your heart. God’s voice will never go against His Word, and will always bring a sense of peace, never confusion (John 14:27, 1 Corinthians 14:33).
4. Understand and apply. Ask God to help you understand His Word and truths that you learn; then, ask God to help you apply them in your life each day (James 1:5).
The following verses will help you to understand what Jesus has for you. Having daily devotions requires reading and praying for the Holy Spirit to give you understanding.
1. Read Luke 9:23. The words, “deny himself” can be translated as selfish ambition. What does this verse tell us? ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
2.What does denying oneself tell you to do? ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
3. From Luke 9:23, “Take up his cross and follow Me” means to shoulder your cross daily. How does one do this? ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
4. Read Matthew 10:38. What understanding does the Holy Spirit give to you?______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
5. Read Matthew 6:19-34. Explain what verses 6:19-20 means to you.
6. According to verse 21, what should your treasure be?
7. What do verses 22-23 reveal about what you see with your eyes?
8. Verse 24 states, “No one can serve two masters.” Why is this necessary to remember in the drug and alcohol ministry?
9. What is your response to Matthew 6:25-34? ______________________________________________________________________________________________________
10. Summarize what you have learned from this Bible devotion. Now do a personal Bible devotion. Read the following verses in Matthew chapter 7 and record what the Holy Spirit is telling you.
Now do a personal Bible devotion.
Read the following verses in Matthew chapter 7, and record with the Holy Spirit is telling you.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
Chapter 2: Initial Recovery (4 Lessons)
Man’s Condition and God’s Remedy
“O’ wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God, through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:24-25a).
In this study we want to understand what the underlying problem of man is and the remedy. If we fail to really understand the nature of the problem, we will misdiagnose the problem. Jeremiah, the prophet, issued a rebuke to the false prophets of his time for overlooking the seriousness of the people’s problems. He wrote, “They have also healed the hurt of my people slightly, saying ‘Peace, peace!’ when there is no peace” (Jeremiah 6:14).
We want to avoid giving superficial help that does not get down to the matters of the heart (see Matthew 15:19 and Jeremiah 17:9).
Self-help groups have an appearance of helpfulness, but in reality they only put a bandaid on a cancerous condition. We need God’s perspective on the origin and nature of our problems, which is given to us in Romans 5:12-21. There, God tells us that we all have a spiritual head. There are only two classes of people as far as God is concerned: those who are “in Adam” and those who are “in Christ.” Let’s look at Adam as our representative, look at our relationship to him, as well as the real need we have as Adam’s descendants. Then let’s look at God’s remedy for all who will receive Jesus Christ.
Our Dilemma “in Adam”
(Read Romans 5:12-14)
This passage deals with the cause of physical death. Death is unnatural; it has not always existed. This really hits home when we experience the loss of a loved one through death. All of us are appointed to die. Death is an intruder. The Bible teaches that it is God’s judgment for sin. Read the actual event that Romans 5 is referring to, recorded in Genesis 2:15-17 and Genesis 3:1-6.
Adam was a perfect man, living in a personal relationship to his Creator. Since real love is not forced, Adam had the choice to remain obedient to God or to pursue “self enlightenment” through the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Upon being tempted by the serpent (the devil in physical form at that moment, 2 Corinthians 11:14), both Adam and his wife, Eve, ate of the forbidden tree.
According to Romans 5, the entire human race was represented in Adam. He was a “type of Him who was to come” (Jesus), in the sense that one person’s action affected all who were related to him. When Adam sinned, it affected every single one of his descendants. “Death spread to all because all sinned.” All of us were in the loins of Adam; therefore his action of disobedience was imputed to our account at conception, before we were even born. All men and women are guilty of Adam’s sin in the garden because Adam is the head (or representative) of the human race.
Adam’s original sin corrupted the entirety of his being. Originally, he was righteous by nature and loved to please God. However, the entirety of his inward person (that is, his nature) was marred by sin. From then on, his natural inclination was toward sin to please his flesh independent of God. All of us as Adam’s descendants have also inherited a corrupt, sinful nature.
In the garden, God-centeredness was replaced with self-centeredness, self-interest, and self-desire. Then death through sin was introduced (Romans 5:12). Now, we all by nature are fully motivated in the direction of what pleases our flesh, instead of being motivated to please God. You have probably heard it said, “If it feels good, do it.” We are motivated to do what suits self first in spite of others and God.
This is our inherited inclination as descendents of Adam. Sin actively works against us from within us. How? The law proves this. How many of us have been told not to do something, and wanted to do it even more? Have you seen the sign that reads “Maximum Speed 65?” When a police car is not present, most of us suit ourselves instead of obeying the law. In addition, we usually have a justification (or excuse) for why the law should not apply to us. According to the Bible, sin controls us, and we cannot escape this control on our own. According to Jesus, we are all slaves to sin (John 8:34).
Not only does sin rule over our lives, but Romans 5:17 says that death reigns (or rules) over our lives because of our relationship to Adam. This refers first to the fear of physical death that we are all familiar with. It also refers to our spiritual deadness where we are unable to relate to God. This is why people’s lives are so bound and broken. Our lives are dead in trespasses and sins. Man was created to reflect the image (or likeness) of God through a loving personal relationship with Him. Instead we are concerned about our own image (self image) and what others think of us.
We seek an identity apart from God on our own—but man is incomplete apart from a personal relationship with God. This is why we experience loneliness, dissatisfaction, an inward emptiness and a fear of death. Everyone who is still related to Adam (unsaved) when they die is bound for eternal destruction. Physical death is not the end; that is why fear is there. The soul (consciousness) of man will exist throughout all of eternity. After this life, there will be no way to change one’s eternal destiny. So death literally rules over those “in Adam” as king. Its rule is inescapable apart from some outside miraculous provision.
Our problem is spiritual in nature. It is wrong to say it is because of my genes, a mental illness, or a disease of any kind. Christians flatly reject such unscientific, speculative notions. Just as Adam, our representative, by nature ran from God in the garden, so also, we, as his descendants, are all by nature runners from God (apart from knowing Jesus). We are skillful at the art of passing the buck.
However, we cannot blame our problems on our circumstances. Some of the following are common excuses: “I had a father who did not love me,” or “I was abused as a child,” or “All of my relatives have been alcoholics so I am too,” or “I come from a dysfunctional family.” Can you think of other similar excuses people use to explain why they are a certain way? It is a part of our “Adam” nature to shift blame. These are all superficial answers to our deeper sinful condition (Genesis 3:12-13).
The Universal Need of Man
What is our need then? What we really need is to be liberated from the rule of sin and death over our lives. We are slaves who need liberation from the power that sin has over our lives. All of us received our earthly life source from Adam, and it was in depravity and deadness. Our need, then, is to get a new life source—not merely to modify behavior.
From that new life source, we need a new nature which is no longer enslaved to sin. One man illustrated it this way: “You can teach a parrot to say, ‘Hello, how are you?’ that is, you can modify his behavior, but no matter how much you modify his behavior (to talk) he is still a parrot.” He cannot have a rational conversation with you like another human being. He would need a change whereby he could receive a human nature in order to relate to other human beings.
In the same way, mere behavior modification is unable to get at my real need. What is meant by “behavior modification” is making changes to my life on my own and for the benefit of my life. Many want to make changes in their lives, yet they still want to rule their own lives. Therefore, they seek to reshape their already sinful lives, or reform them to suit themselves and improve their own circumstances in some way.
Jesus rebuked the religious leaders of His time for this very thing (surface change). He said to them, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees—hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup, but inside it is full of extortion and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup, that the outside of it may be clean also” (Matthew 23:25-26). We need a new work to take place inside of us. We need a new nature, which causes us to desire to love and please the Lord.
The Remedy God Has Provided
God sent His only Son to become the head of a new race outside of Adam’s race. Adam was the head of all who are born after the flesh. As long as Adam is my head, I am still under the power of sin and death. I may be able to “kick the habit,” but I have only dealt with the symptoms. I have not dealt with the root of the problem, which is sin and idolatry. It is only a matter of time before other symptoms arise. I am still bound for eternal destruction. I need to be taken out of the parentage (race) of Adam and born into a new race, and under a new head, which is Jesus Christ.
Just as Adam’s actions affected all who were related to him, so Jesus’ actions affect all who become related to Him. I must be born again by the Spirit. Only Jesus can remake a person into God’s kind of person and give him eternal life. When I am born into this new race under Jesus Christ, His righteousness is imputed to my account in the place of Adam’s sin. I also receive a new nature that causes me to hunger and thirst for righteousness—and gives me the will to live righteously (see 2 Corinthians 5:17).
When you are born again (John 3:2-18), you enter an entirely new dimension of life. Those “in Adam” have never experienced the new life; they are blind. Try to imagine what it would be like if you were born blind. You have never seen colors, people, trees, mountains, the sunset or anything else in your entire life. People try to describe them to you, but you are unable to get the full picture in your mind, having never seen before. That is what it is like to try to describe this new dimension until you have had your eyes opened to see it for yourself.
Who is your head? Are you “in Adam” or “in Christ”? In Adam, you know what it is to be under the power of sin. In Jesus Christ, you can be liberated from that power and be on top of life. The choice is yours.
“For if by the one man’s offense, death reigned through the one, how much more those who receive abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the one Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:l7). Eternal life is not only a quantity of life, but also a quality of life (John 7:37-39). David the psalmist wrote, “O’ taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him” (Psalm 34:8).
No matter how deep your pit is, the grace of God to save and keep you is still deeper (Romans 5:20 and Psalm 40:2).
1. Who are “in Adam” and who are “in Christ”?
2. Is my alcohol or drug problem physical, mental, or spiritual in nature? Explain.
3. When Adam sinned, what happened to his relationship with God?
4. What happened to the physical bodies of Adam and his descendants?
5. What is the remedy for man’s condition?
6. How can one be free from the addiction of drugs or alcohol—or any other sin—forever?
What God Has to Say About Drugs and Alcohol
“Wine is a mocker, strong drink is a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise” (Proverbs 20:1).
You may have tried to quit drinking or drugs before, possibly even several times, but always ended up failing. If you have tried and failed it is because you tried to change in your own strength. Jesus said, “The Spirit indeed is willing but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41). This is why He sent the Helper, the Holy Spirit (John 16:7), to help those who believe in Him to overcome sin and live for Him.
At this time we want to establish more specifically what God has to say to you (in His Word) about drug and alcohol abuse. It is important to understand what God has to say about alcohol and its mind-altering effect. We can (in most cases) make a dual application to drug abuse as well.
Read the following verses about drug and alcohol abuse. Write down in your own words what you think these verses are saying about God’s views concerning alcohol and drugs. Spend some time thinking about these verses and ask God to reveal these truths to you.
2. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 ___________________________________________________
3. Proverbs 20:1 ___________________________________________________
4. Proverbs 23:29-35 ___________________________________________________
5. Galatians 5:19-24 ___________________________________________________
Most of us would agree that drug and alcohol abuse are life-dominating sins, which affect virtually every area of a person’s life. Check off the areas of your life below that you feel have been affected by your abuse of drugs and alcohol:
Spend some time now in your group discussing these areas. Between yourselves, be honest with one another. Jesus said, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).
As a Christian, there is no room for the works of the flesh in our lives (Galatians 5:24). Therefore, we need to walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16). We do this daily by asking God to fill us with His Spirit (Ephesians 5:18) and to guide us and teach us His ways by His Spirit (John 14:26). God wants us to have the fruits of His Spirit manifest in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).
The moment we receive Jesus as our Savior we become part of the family of God. At that moment, God’s Spirit comes and dwells in our hearts (John 7:38-39). When this takes place, we are no longer born of the flesh and its sinful ways, but we are now guided by God’s Spirit in our hearts. God desires that our lives give evidence of the change that has taken place in our hearts—not just by our words, but by our action (James 2:17).
Putting Off and Putting On
Putting Off Putting On
Put Off the Old Man. Ephesians 2:22-23
The Old Man Died with Christ. Romans 6:6
Consider Yourself Dead to Sin. Romans 6:11
Do Not Yield Your Members to Sin. Romans 6:13a
Put On the New Man. Ephesians 4:24 Colossians 3:12-15
The New Man Lives with Christ. Romans 6:8
And Alive to Christ. Romans 6:11
Yield Your Members to God. Romans 6:13a
As men who have been brought from death to life—Romans 6:13
“Put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:22-24).
Through Jesus we are no longer separated from God, and we are no longer facing God’s wrath against our sinful nature. Instead, we now have been reconciled back to God and are able to come into His presence and His kingdom. This gives us peace and joy in Him (Romans 5:1-2, 10:12). God desires that in understanding His love for us, we would trust in His will for us and begin to be obedient to His guidance in our lives.
Remember, God is love (1 John 4:7-8), and His plan for your life is perfect, so you can trust in Him (Psalm 18:30, Psalm 12:6)!
Read 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. In your own words, list four reasons why you should completely stop drinking alcohol and/or abusing drugs.
God wants us to understand that when we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior, He comes and dwells in our hearts. He bought us with a price (His death on the cross). Therefore, it is only reasonable for God to ask and expect us to glorify Him in our bodies.
Habits must not only be broken; they need to be replaced with new ones. Just as it took you a while to develop bad habits like drug and alcohol abuse, it is going to take some time to establish new habits to replace the old ones. The Word of God calls this putting off and putting on. God wants us to replace the old destructive habits with new productive ones.
Read Ephesians 4:17-24.
1. In verse 17, what does God tell us we should no longer do?
2. In verse 18 we see ourselves how we used to be. How is it described?
3. As a Christian, what does God ask us to put off in verse 22?
4. According to verse 23, how do we do this?
5. Looking at verse 24, what two attributes create this new man?
In reading the above verses we can see that God wants to put our old nature (the sinful flesh) out of business. As a Christian, God wants us to go forward in the power of His Spirit, with an obedient heart in the new nature (a child of His walking according to His Spirit). We can be renewed in the Spirit of our minds (verse 23) by disciplining ourselves to study the Bible more often, pray throughout the day, and to be actively involved in the church where we fellowship.
Read 2 Corinthians 5:17.
6. Write in your own words what verse 17 means to you.
It is important that we desire to walk in our new nature. If we put God first in our lives on a daily basis, all the sins of the past will begin to fade away.
7. With biblical insight from these Scriptures, how do you as a Christian view your drug and alcohol problems now? Pray and ask the Lord to reveal your feelings of heart in these matters.
God has spoken and it is clear. He wants us to put off our old man and its sinful way (drugs and alcohol abuse) and put on the new man who is raised victoriously in Christ. He is faithful and He will empower you by His Spirit to do so!
God Loves You
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
God wants us to begin to see things in the spiritual realm. That is why He encourages us to seek the things above (spiritual), rather than the things here on earth (physical). In order for God’s Spirit to work and help you to do this, you need to be disciplined and obedient to God’s will in your life. Our old man does not die easily. The things of this world will pass away, but not the one who does God’s will (1 John 2:17).
If we abide in God’s Word, we will not only completely quit using drugs and/or alcohol, but we will also lose all the desire to use them. It is a struggle, but it is one the Lord will help you win if you are obedient and trust in Him.
Read Joshua 1:8-9.
1. What does God tell us to meditate (think about) day and night (verse 8)?
2. What should we do as a result of meditating on His Word?
3. What does God promise if we meditate on His Word (verse 8)?
4. What does God tell us in verse 9?
5.What kind of strength and confidence should this give us in the face of possible future temptations with drugs and alcohol?
6. Read Matthew 7:21. What warning does Jesus give in this verse?
7. Who does Jesus say will enter the kingdom of heaven?
8. Read Acts 5:29. Why do you think we need to obey God above all others?
9. Read 2 Corinthians 5:9-11. Who must appear before the judgment seat of Christ (verse 10)?
10. In view of this, what should be our aim in life (verse 9)?
God loves you (John 3:16)! You can trust in God. He is not ever going to ask you to do something that is not in your best interest. It is important for you to realize that God is perfect; God is love, and God created you so He could show you His perfect love! All He really desires is that we love Him back (Matthew 22:36-37).
Being obedient to God’s will in our lives is a way we can show God we love Him and thank Him for all that He has done for us. Remember, God desires and empowers you to be completely delivered from the sins of drugs and alcohol abuse. If you look to Him and obey Him, it will happen.
Chapter 3: Trials and Temptations (6 Lessons)
Victory through Obedience
“Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord promised to those who love Him” (James 1:12).
In the next several lessons we are going to study the book of James to help us learn how to study the Bible on our own. The Bible says that the more we read and obey God’s Word, the more victorious we will be over our sinful nature (2 Peter 1:3). We will have deliverance from bondage to drugs and alcohol. There will be a change in the desires of our hearts—desiring God instead of drugs and alcohol.
Here are some important facts concerning James:
This book may be the first inspired writing of the New Testament (45 A.D.)
James, who wrote this letter, is the half brother of Jesus (Galatians 1:19) and was an important leader in the early church in Jerusalem (Acts 15:13). This James is not James the apostle, who was the brother of John (author of Revelation, Gospel of John, etc.) mentioned many times in the gospel and who was martyred by Herod in Acts 12:2.
The theme of James is faith in action. It has a strong Jewish tone as it was written to believers who were mostly Jews at this early time of church history. (Paul’s ministry to the non-Jewish world began approximately two years after this letter.)
The theme of James 1:1-18 deals with trials and temptations. If we look at the original Greek, the word used for trials in verse 2 and temptation in verse 12 is the same. In verse 2 it is used in the context of a beneficial trial that is to build up your Christian character. In verse 12, it is used to describe an unbeneficial trial, one that can bring no good, the trial brought on by your own sins.
When studying the Word of God, it is good to ask questions of the text to get a better understanding.
1. Read James 1:1-4. What is tested when we go through various trials?
2. What should our attitude towards trials be?
3. What do trials produce in our lives?
4. What does patience produce? What excellent insight for all of us to learn from the Bible concerning trials. Can you remember a tough trial that produced patience and Christian maturity in your life? How can this passage help you the next time you are going through a trial?
5. Read James 1:5-8. If we lack wisdom concerning our trials, what should we do?
6. What will God do?
7. How should we ask?
8. If we don’t exhibit faith, what are we exhibiting?
9. What is a doubting person like?
10. If we doubt what God is doing and can do, what are we? Trust God and ask Him for help and wisdom to deal with trials. Don’t doubt, but count it all joy, as these trials will produce maturity in your life.
Read James 1:9-11. The double-minded man is torn between two worlds; but as he pursues this temporal world he will lose everything that he stores up, resulting in humiliation, and will become like withered grass that passes away. The lowly brother who is content with the things of God will get his glory later (see verse 12).
11. Read James 1:12-18. What is the man who endures temptation?
12. What will he eventually receive?
13. Who promises this?
14. How can we apply this wonderful promise when we are tempted to sin?
15. Does God tempt us?
16. How are we tempted?
17. What does desire do once it is conceived?
18. What is the result of sin?
19. Sin has a life cycle that leads to death. Can we as Christians really “get away” with sin?
20. Where does every good gift come from?
21. Why has God brought us forth?
All those who belong to Christ are God’s children and are a different human race. We are new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17) that are to live for God’s righteousness, not man’s sinfulness.
22. Read James 1:19-20. Considering the nature of trials and temptations, what should be our actions?
Enduring trials and temptations is a part of the everyday experiences of true believers. We need to listen more, speak less, and let God be the judge of our lives. We should concentrate on growing in our relationship with God, being steadfast and faithful in trials, and obedient and submissive to Him in the face of temptations.
Further reading: Read James chapter 2.
Doers of the Word
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1:22).
In the previous lesson we looked at how we are to view and respond to trials and temptations. These guidelines were laid out in James 1:1-20. In this lesson, the theme is doing what God’s Word says.
Read James 1:21-22 and answer the following questions:
1. What are we to lay aside?
2. What are we to receive to replace those things?
3. How should we receive it?
4. What is the Word able to do?
5. Once we have received the Word, what should we do?
6. Who is the person who hears and doesn’t follow the Word? God wants us to empty ourselves of worldly influences and attitudes by receiving His Word with the right attitude (humbly), and then doing it.
7. Considering these verses, what should your attitude be towards Bible studies?
8. Read James 1:23-25. What kind of man are you if we hear God’s Word and refuse to do it?
9. But what is the man who does what the Word says?
10. Read James 1:26. Comparing James 1:26 with Matthew 7:19, what does God seem to be teaching us through James?
Note: The word “religion” here refers to outward actions.
11. How is it possible to deceive?
12. What would seem to cause this? (For example, pride, talking too much.)
13. Read James 1:27. What example does James give of “doing” God’s Word?
14. What else are we to do?
Our profession of faith must result in action. It must be strong enough to endure trials joyously and to withstand temptations constantly. This brings glory to God and shows the world what “true” Christians are really like.
15. Read James 2:1-5. This passage deals with a warning about being prejudiced and judgmental in the house of God. What are we not to do in the church?
16. What tends to make us show partiality?
17. If we show partiality, what happens to us?
18. Compare James 2:5 with Matthew 6:19-21, 24 and Matthew 11:1-6. Now read James 2:6-7. Who were the oppressors against the early church?
19. Who most often blasphemed the name of Christ?
20. Do you agree that things are the same today as almost 2,000 years ago? Why do you think so?
If we let worldly thinking influence the church, we lose the love of Christ, for we, like the world, will become partial, prejudiced and judgmental.
21. Read James 2:8. What is the fulfillment of the “royal law”?
22. Compare James 2:8 with Galatians 5:14 and 6:2. Now read James 2:9 and 10. What happens if we do show partiality?
Note: The reference to the Law here is to the Ten Commandments. James is seeking to show that we are all saved by grace; therefore, we should not be judgmental of others.
23. Read James 2:11-13. Verse 12 says to do that which is consistent with Christian love, showing others the same grace God has shown us. How can we do this?
24. James 2:13 tells us that we are to show mercy towards others, not to judge them. Why? See Matthew 7:1-2. How can we apply these verses to our lives practically?
God tells us through James that we are to hear His Word and then do it. Obeying God is the mark of a true believer. The greatest work of doing God’s Word is to love others just as Christ loves us. Loving others unconditionally is fulfilling the royal law of God.
Re-read chapters 1 and 2 of James.
Faith Revealed in Works
“But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?”(James 2:20).
Read James 2:14-16.
At this point in his letter, James launches into a series of rhetorical questions. What three questions does James ask concerning faith and works?
Read James 2:17. If a person’s faith does not result in works, what can be said about their faith?
James is seeking to show here the practical result of being justified before God by our faith in Jesus. (For references concerning our positional standing before God, see Romans 3:28.)
Works of obedience and faithfulness to God reflect our position of justification by faith in a practical outward manifestation. If we truly believe in Jesus, our lives will change and reflect good deeds out of the desires of our hearts and new nature (2 Corinthians 5:17, Ephesians 2:8-10).
1. Read James 2:18. James assumes the position of someone who would argue his previous point (verses 14-17).
2. How does James say he will show his faith?
3. Can we look at our lives and see fruitful works as a result of our faith?
Read James 2:19. Some might argue that there are two gods, one of faith and one of works—but James says no! There is one God who saves by faith that leads us to fruitful works (Ephesians 2:8-10).
4. Who else believes in one God? Does that cause them to believe in Him and serve Him?
5. Would you agree that if someone professes to believe in God but rejects Jesus, and does not serve God, their profession is true?
6. Read James 2:20. What kind of person is one who says he believes but does not change his life?
Read James 2:21-24 and Genesis 15:1-6 and 22:11-14. Notice that Abraham believed God (15:6) and obeyed God (22:2, 10-12). Abraham’s faith was confirmed by his obedience. Notice also that Genesis 22:1 says that God was testing Abraham’s faith.
7. How does this story relate to James 1:1-4?
8. Read James 2:21-24. How was Abraham justified?
9. How was his faith proved?
10. As the result of trusting and obeying God, what was Abraham called?
11. What does the summary of Abraham’s example prove to us? Read James 2:25-26. James uses another Old Testament example (see Joshua 2 and 6:17).
12. What is the body without the Spirit?
13. So, what is faith without works?
God uses James in these passages to teach us that our faith needs to be real. It needs to be powerful enough to change our thinking, our attitude and our actions.
For further reading, read James chapter 3.
Taming the Tongue and Envy
“But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.” (James 3:8-9).
Read James chapter 3:1-12. James discusses the tongue, and warns against the trouble it can cause. First of all, those who teach must guard their tongues, because with one word they could misrepresent God and stumble others. Then James applies the warning to all generally, pointing out how dangerous the tongue is, how hard it is to control, and how mature a person is who can bridle their tongue.
1. Why should someone be sure they are called to teach God’s Word?
2. Who stumbles in many things?
3. What is the man or woman who controls their tongue?
4. Starting in verse 3, James draws for us three illustrations that show us how much our tongue (words) affects our whole being. What are these three illustrations?
5. According to verse 5, what is the tongue and what does it do?
6. In verse 6, what two things is the tongue compared to?
7. James 4:8 says our words can build up or tear down—edify and encourage others or quench and discourage? How do you think you can improve in this area?
8. According to James 3:9, what two things do we do with our tongue?
9. In verses 11 and 12, James again uses illustrations to impress his point upon us. List the three illustrations and their purpose.
The key point in this passage of James’ letter is to emphasize that our profession of faith must carry over into our words. Remember, James is seeking to show that faith without works is dead; and so, in these verses “the works” relate to our words.
10. Read James 3:13-18. God gives His people wisdom and not envy and strife. What do envy and self-seeking lead to?
11. What is this kind of “wisdom”?
Three things work together to pull us away from God and His service: the world, the flesh and the Devil. This corresponds to earthly, sensual and demonic things.
12. According to James 3:17, what are the attributes of godly wisdom?
13. What is the end result of righteousness working in our lives?
We need to ask God for His help in taming the tongue and suppressing our self-seeking nature. If we mind our tongue and sanctify our hearts unto God, we will glorify God with righteous good works, bringing peace to those around us.
Further reading: Read James chapter 4.
Pride and Humility
“But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6).
Read James 4:1-6. In this passage we again find James referring to three elements that war against our souls: the world, the flesh and the Devil.
1. Where do wars and battles come from?
2. When we live for our members (flesh), what happens?
3. Why don’t those who live for themselves get what they ask for?
4. What is friendship with the world? If you are a friend of the world, what are you to God?
5. Who does God resist? To whom does God give grace?
6. Read James 4:7-10. Therefore, what do we need to do in humility (verse 7)?
7. What happens when we resist the Devil? What happens when we draw near to God?
8. What does the double-minded person need to do?
9. What should be the believer’s attitude toward their sin?
10. What do we need to do in true repentance? Read James 4:11-17.
In these verses, God is seeking to show us that we need to assess our own spiritual condition before we start assessing others. There are times to judge and discern within the church, but in this context we are not to judge with a condemning attitude. Also read Matthew 7:1-5 and 1 Corinthians 5:11-13.
James speaks of the boastful pride we have, when we assume we will have another day on earth.
11. To what does James compare our life?
12. What should be our attitude towards the things we do?
13. What is boasting?
14. If we don’t do that which we know we should do, what is it? God wants us to look to Him for guidance in everything (James 4:15). As we do this, we will see that He is the One doing great things in our lives—not ourselves. We need to humble ourselves before God, laying aside our pride and worldly desires with willing and obedient hearts.
Further reading: Read James chapter 5.
Perseverance and Prayer
“You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand” (James 5:8).
Read James 5:1-6.
These verses advise us of the actions and the end result of the rich oppressors in this life. They will weep and howl in eternity (Luke 6:24-26). Let us examine ourselves to be sure we do not partake in the same sins.
Read James 5:7-12.
1. We should not be bitter against those who offend us. What does James tell us?
2. Until when?
3. What is an example of patience?
4. What should we establish in anticipation of Christ’s return?
5. What are we asked not to do—and why?
6. Who are examples of patience and suffering?
7. What does the perseverance of Job teach us?
8. Why do you think there is such a strong emphasis on verse 12? See Exodus 20:7.
Read James 5:13-18.
9. If you are suffering, what should you do?
10. What should you do if you are cheerful?
11. What should you do if you are sick?
Note: Verse 16 teaches us that sickness can be a result of sin (e.g., guilt-related users, alcohol-related diseases, sexual diseases, etc.). Job also teaches us that sickness is not always related to sin (Job 2:3-7).
12. What are we to do for one another?
13. Who has a nature just like ours and he prayed earnestly—and his prayer was answered?
Read James 5:19-20.
14. What do these verses encourage us to do with someone who has made a mistake?
In review, James gives many practical guidelines for a faithful Christian walk. The bottom line is that our faith should affect every aspect of our lives; from our words to our actions, our faith needs to be sincere and committed.
Chapter 4: Forgiveness
Salvation and Forgiveness
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3).
Throughout the Bible there is an underlying theme of forgiveness, beginning with God desiring to forgive sinful men. After a person receives God’s forgiveness (through believing Jesus died on the cross for your sins), God then expects and commands that person to extend this forgiveness to other people who have wronged them.
For people whose lives have involved drug and alcohol abuse, this principle is magnified in its need for practical application. Marriages are destroyed, jobs are lost, families are split, friends become enemies, and enemies become friends. The effects of drugs and alcohol destroy personal lives; yet, through Jesus every alcohol and drug abuser can find forgiveness of their sins. The problem for so many is extending this same forgiveness to other people.
It is hard to forget (and forgive) those who encouraged you in drug and alcohol abuse. It is hard to forgive those who took advantage of you when you were down and out. For some families, healing and restoration never takes place, because the other spouse refuses to forgive the person who destroyed the marriage and/or family through their drug and alcohol abuse. This is the greatest challenge to every Christian: to forgive others as Christ has forgiven us.
Coming to Christ requires humility, and it means saying, “I cannot do it without You, Lord.” The person who receives Jesus has to become, as Jesus said, “poor in spirit.” To be “poor in spirit” means to realize you have no spiritual wealth on your own—that in your own efforts, you could never please God.
Let us see what happened in our lives when we came to Christ.
1. Read Proverbs 16:5. Who is an abomination to the Lord?
2. What is their end result?
3. Read James 4:6. Whom does God resist? To whom does God extend grace? God forgives the humble (poor in spirit), for they seek His forgiveness; but He resists the proud, for they fail to seek it.
4. Read Matthew 11:28-30. Whom did Jesus invite to Himself (verse 28)?
5. What attributes does Jesus desire to teach us (verse 29)?
6. When we come to Christ, what do we find (verse 29)?
7. How does Jesus describe the load He asks believers to carry (verse 30)?
In this passage, we see Jesus offering forgiveness and rest from the labors of our sinful nature. Jesus extends this offer to all who hear His voice. He also reveals to us that after He forgives us, He wants to teach us how to have a forgiving spirit like His, a spirit of gentleness (meekness) and lowliness in heart.
Read Colossians 2:13-14.
8. How did God make us alive to Himself (verse 13)?
9. How many of our previous trespasses (sins) did He forgive (verse 13)?
10. What did Jesus do to our trespasses (verse l4)?
When you came to Christ, God forgave you all the sins of your past life, and gave you rest from its burden and guilt. The key to receiving this forgiveness was your willingness to humble yourself in the sight of the Lord. Once you see yourself as “poor in spirit” in need of God’s grace, it will help you forgive others and pray for them.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4).
As Christians, we would love to live our lives without failing God. This should be our goal; yet, as long as we live in these earthly bodies we will fall short in our service to God. We need to allow God to use us and reveal Himself to others in spite of our sinful nature. He wants to glorify Himself in and through our lives.
Confession of sins is critical to all Christians. When we fail to confess our sins to the Lord, one of two things happens: we begin to think we are without a sinful nature (which results in self-righteousness) or we harden our hearts to the conviction of God’s Holy Spirit (which brings our relationship with God to a standstill).
1. Read 1 John 1:8-10. If we say that we have no sin, whom do we deceive?
2. If we say that we have not sinned, what do we accuse God of being?
3. What happens when we confess our sins?
In 1 John 1:8-10, notice the word “if.” God puts a stipulation on our forgiveness and restoration. That work is based on our confession of our sins. God does not want us to walk around feeling condemned because we’re not sure if we have confessed all of our sins. God is interested in showing us our sin (through conviction and by our confession) so that we can serve Him.
Unconfessed sin can destroy us as Christians. Here are some major reasons why we need to confess our sins.
4. Read Psalm 66:18. What happens with unrepented sin?
5. Read Psalm 38:3-4. What is the result of unconfessed sin?
6. Read Isaiah 43:24. What do our sins become to us—and to others?
Sometimes we are not sure if we have sinned against the Lord. Here are three primary ways God reveals our sins in John 14:26.
7. What does Jesus promise that the Holy Spirit will do for us?
8. The Holy Spirit will teach us our sins and show us how to turn away from them. Read 2 Timothy 3:16 and answer why all Scripture is profitable.
9. According to Hebrews 4:12-13, what does the Word of God do concerning our hearts (verse 12)?
The more we study God’s Word, we become aware of what He desires in our daily lives. His Word also reveals how we have failed God by making our sins clear to us.
10. Read Psalm 139:23-24. Who does the psalmist (David) invite to search his heart for wickedness?
If we seek the Lord through prayer, meditation and fasting, He will be well pleased to show us our sins. All we need to do is ask, and have a willing heart ready to respond to what God shows us.
When we confess our sins, two wonderful things take place. First, God forgives us our sins (1 John 1:9 and Psalm 32:5). Second, God cleanses us from the unrighteousness of our sins (1 John 1:9 and Isaiah 1:18). The result of confession is a release from guilt and we are set free to rejoice in the goodness of the Lord.
Confession of our sins is summed up in this way: God wants to reveal our sins to us. He wants us to mourn over them, confess them to Him, and then turn away from them (repent). God wants to release us from the grip of unconfessed and unrepented sin, so that we can be free to seek His righteousness in our lives.
Turning Away from Sin
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6).
Every day as believers in Christ, we wrestle with controlling our sinful nature. This is why the need for ongoing confession is so important. We need to ask God to show us where we have fallen short in our service to Him.
When we have sinned, not only do we need to confess our sins, but more importantly, we need to turn away from them. True repentance results in a change in our attitude and behavior. It works itself out practically as we turn away from sin and desire to turn to God seeking His righteousness in its place.
1. Read 1 John 2:1-6. As believers in Christ, what happens if we sin (verse 1)?
2. What is Jesus to those who believe in Him (verse 2)?
3. How can we be sure that we know God (verse 3)?
4. What do you become if you claim to know God but don’t obey Him (verse 4)?
5. What is that person lacking (verse 4)?
6. How do we know that we are in Christ (verse 5)?
7. If we claim to know and abide in Jesus, what should we do (verse 6)?
Jesus died for our sins so that we would follow His example and live for Him. He does not forgive our sins so we can go on sinning repetitively over and over, but rather He desires for us to love Him (instead of sin), and serve Him (instead of our sinful nature).
Forgiveness is not a freedom to sin willfully.
8. Read Hebrews 10:26-30. If we receive the knowledge of the truth (Jesus) and continue to sin willfully, what happens (verse 26)?
9. What three things happen when we sin willfully (verse 29)?
Everyone is accountable to God. However, for believers there is an increased accountability. God has saved us and forgiven us of our unrighteousness, having revealed Himself and His will to us. He justifiably expects us to be obedient to His will in our life.
Read Psalm 119:9-11 to help avoid repeating the same sins.
10. How can a young man cleanse his way (verse 9)?
11. How should we seek the Lord (verse 10)?
12. What can we hide in our heart to help us keep from sinning (verse 11)?
The more we study God’s Word and apply it in our lives, the less likely we are to sin against God. Remember, faith comes by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17). As we study God’s Word, He builds us up in our faith.
13. Read 2 Timothy 2:22. From what should we flee?
14. What should we pursue? And with whom?
As believers, we need to avoid the people and the places that would cause us to stumble into sinning. This involves turning away from a sinful lifestyle and developing a godly, Christ-centered lifestyle, where we desire and thirst after His righteousness.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” (Matthew 5:7).
God forgives us of our sins through our faith in Jesus Christ. As God has forgiven us, He wants us to forgive others in the same way.
1. Read Matthew 6:9-15. What is the stipulation for our sins being forgiven?
2. What happens if we do not forgive others (verse 15)?
It is important to note that as Jesus taught the disciples how they should pray, He emphasized forgiveness as the key to our prayers. If we do not forgive others, we are sinning, and our fellowship with God is broken. God’s Word commands us to forgive others and His Holy Spirit gives us the power to do so (Romans 8:11, 14, 16, 26).
3. Read Luke 6:27-37. What are we to do to our enemies (verse 27)?
4. What are we to do to those who hate us (verse 27)?
5. What are we to do to those who curse us (verse 28)?
6. What are we to do to those who use us (verse 28)?
7. How should we treat others (verse 31)?
8. Who are we to love (verse 35)?
9. Why do we need to be merciful (verse 36)?
10. Why is it important for us not to condemn or judge others (verse 37)?
11. Why do we need to forgive (verse 37)?
In this passage, Jesus shows us four practical applications in forgiving others:
1. Love them.
2. Do good things for them.
3. Ask God to bless them.
4. Pray for them.
If we do these four things, God will change our hearts toward those who have wronged us. We will begin to experience a true sense of forgiveness and love for them.
chapter 5: Spiritual Warfare (5 Lessons)
What Is Spiritual Warfare?
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).
In this lesson, we want to clarify what spiritual warfare is and how it relates to those who are overcoming drug and alcohol problems through God’s grace. The following are the most commonly asked questions and answers concerning the subject of spiritual warfare.
1. What is spiritual warfare?
Spiritual warfare is an everyday struggle between the Devil and his fallen angels (demons) against God, His angels, and His people (Christians).
2. Why is there spiritual warfare?
The object of spiritual warfare is to steal, kill, and destroy a human soul eternally (John 10:10, Matthew 10:28). All men will live eternally, either with God in His kingdom (heaven), or with Satan and his fallen angels in the place prepared for them, the lake of fire (hell).
3. Who are involved in spiritual warfare and are aware of it?
God, His angels, Christians, Satan, and Satan’s fallen angels.
4. Who is not aware of spiritual warfare?
Everyone who is not “born again” of God’s Spirit through faith in Jesus Christ. Note: It is possible that a non-believer may hear about spiritual warfare, but unless they were born again, it would make little or no sense to them (1 Corinthians 2:6-16).
5. Can a believer truly love and serve Jesus and not be involved in spiritual warfare?
No! The moment you become a child of God, your life is no longer your own (Ephesians 4:22-24). You become a soldier in the Lord’s army (2 Timothy 2:3).
6. What should a believer’s attitude be toward spiritual warfare?
Positive! Winning souls for the kingdom of God is the number one priority of God. It is also the great commission of all true Christians. God has given you His Spirit so you can understand (1 Timothy 2:4, 2 Peter 3:9 and Matthew 28:18-20).
1. Read 1 John 5:18-19. Whom can the wicked one (Satan) not touch?
2. Who lies under Satan’s sway (control and power)?
3. Read 2 Corinthians 4:3-4. From whom is the gospel hidden or veiled?
4. How is it hidden from them?
5. Why does Satan blind them? (Note: The god of this age is a reference to Satan. There are many false gods, of which Satan is one; but there is only one true God—our Lord!)
6. Read 2 Timothy 2:23-26. What must believers avoid (verse 23)?
7. What must a servant of the Lord do (verse 24)?
8. How are we to correct those who are blinded (verse 25)?
9. Who has taken captive every non-believer (verse 26)?
These are facts. It is by the grace of God that we have escaped the snare of the Devil and have come to the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Praise the Lord for His mercy! As a believer in Christ, it is important to see things as God does.
It is even more important to understand and realize that we are always victorious through Jesus. It is by His grace that we stand. Satan cannot touch us (1 John 5:18). However, Satan can try many different tactics to discourage us and distract us from the plans God has for our lives. This is what we will study in the lessons to come.
“But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one” (2 Thessalonians 3:3).
Tactics of the Enemy
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
In a previous lesson, we examined what spiritual warfare is and its effects. Now we want to take a close look at the tactics and strategies of our enemy and adversary, the Devil. Although it is not a pleasant subject, it is important to understand Satan’s goals and objectives. By doing this, Christians will be better equipped to stand up against his attacks.
Here are Satan’s three primary objectives:
1. To destroy a Christian’s relationship with God.
2. To prevent Christians from sharing Jesus with others who are unsaved.
3. To confuse the unsaved about the things of God.
To Destroy a Christian’s Relationship with God
1. Read 1 Peter 5:8-9. Who is our adversary (verse 8)?
2. What is he seeking (verse 8)?
3. What are we to do (verse 9)?
To Prevent Christians from Sharing the Gospel
In trying to prevent you from sharing Jesus with others, the Devil uses three basic tactics, and all three play on your emotions.
DOUBT. The Devil knows that if he can cause you to (1) doubt your salvation, (2) doubt God’s Word, (3) doubt God’s work in your life, and (4) doubt God’s eternal plan, he can put you on the defensive. The Devil knows that if you doubt in any of these four areas, it is unlikely that you will share Jesus with anyone.
GUILT. If Satan causes you to dwell on your past sins, he becomes a false accuser against you—telling you the lie that God hasn’t really forgiven you. Satan knows that if you are dwelling on your own weaknesses, rather than the power of God’s Spirit in your life, you will feel too guilty to share Jesus with anyone.
UNFORGIVENESS. Finally, Satan knows that if he can create a spirit of unforgiveness towards others, you will become hardhearted and an ineffective witness. The less you can forgive others, the less you will see yourself needing forgiveness from Jesus. This will create self-righteousness and legalism in your life, and will actually turn unsaved people away from Jesus. Of course, there are other tactics, but these are the three primary ones. Read Romans 12:10, 18, and the parable of the unforgiving servant in Matthew 19:21-35.
To Confuse the Unsaved
Satan has been in the business of confusing people for a long time. He is not picky; he will use any method that becomes available. These are his favorites: pride, drugs and alcohol, false religions, cults, humanistic psychology, philosophy and occult miracles. Quite an array of weapons, isn’t it? The Christian has two weapons to fight these lies: the Word of God and prayer. We will study these later.
At this time you need to do something very important.
First, realize that Jesus has already won the victory. Because you are clothed in the righteousness of Jesus, you share in the complete and total victory of Jesus Christ. God’s Word clearly tells us that Satan cannot touch the Christian. The Bible also makes it clear that when we stand on God’s Word (as Jesus did in Matthew 4:1-11) and resist the Devil, the Devil has to flee (James 4:7).
Secondly, ask the Lord to show you how the enemy may be trying to use some of these tactics on you, and on your unsaved family and friends. As you do this, He will surely open your eyes and show you how to pray.
The Armor of God
“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11).
In this lesson we are going to examine the armor of God. The apostle Paul was imprisoned for his faith on numerous occasions. During one of these imprisonments in Rome, a deep spiritual truth was revealed to him by the Holy Spirit. The truth dealt with the armor of God.
Paul noticed that just as the Roman soldiers who guarded him had physical armor, so too the Christian has spiritual armor. We have already seen that God calls all true believers to engage in spiritual warfare. Now let us look at how He has equipped us to do it!
1. Read Ephesians 6:10-13. In whose might and power are we to be strong?
2. How are we to do this (verse 11)? Why?
3. What should we not war against (verse 12)?
4. Against whom do we fight (verse 12)?
5. Considering those we war against, what are we to do and why (verse 13)?
In these four verses, all true believers are strongly exhorted twice to take up the whole armor of God, so that we can stand victoriously against the Devil and his demon army.
Read Ephesians 6:14.
The Belt of Truth
For the Roman soldier, the belt was perhaps the least noticed part of his armor—but the most important. It held the rest of his body armor in place. For Christians, the truth is essential in all that we do. We need to stand in the truth. We need to speak the truth; we need to live the truth. If we stand on the truths in God’s Word, we will experience victory in our lives. If we speak the truth about God, nothing can stop us.
Our world is full of lies, yet in Christ we have found the truth about who we are, why we are here and where we are going. Satan is the father of lies, and when we speak the truth he must flee. (See John 3:19-21, 8:44 and 14:6, for further reference.)
The Breastplate of Righteousness
The breastplate served an essential role in the Roman soldier’s armor in protecting his vital organs—most importantly, his heart. All Christians should keep their hearts protected from the Devil’s wickedness. The Bible tells us that our hearts are prone towards wickedness if left idle and unattended. Therefore, we need to fill our hearts with the righteousness of the Lord.
Also, we need to sanctify our hearts unto God, so that we’re sensitive to hear His voice as He guides us in our daily battles. Studying God’s Word will help us to desire the righteousness of God and reject the wickedness of sin. A righteous heart is a dead end for Satan’s attacks. (See Proverbs 4:23, Psalm 119:11 for further reference).
Read Ephesians 6:15.
Shod Your Feet with the Preparation of the Gospel
Proper footwear is important to any soldier. The Roman soldiers wore sandals that gave them great traction, no matter what the terrain. If we as Christians are going to fight victorious spiritual battles, we need a firm foundation to stand on. The peace of Christ is that foundation.
The Bible tells us that Satan is a destroyer and a murderer. There is no peace in him, or in this world that he has temporary rule over. However, for the true believer there is peace in Christ. Jesus promised to give His followers peace within their hearts no matter what was going on around them in this world. When the peace of Christ rules in us, as true witnesses for the coming kingdom of Christ, we are bright lights giving true hope for real peace in a dark world. (Read Matthew 5:9 and 7:24-27, John 14:27, Romans 16:20, Philippians 4:6-7 for further reference.)
Read Ephesians 6:16.
The Shield of Faith
When Roman soldiers entered into battle they always had a shield. This shield was used primarily to protect them from the fiery arrows the enemy would shoot as they tried to overthrow an enemy city or stronghold.
It is no surprise that the Christian needs a shield of faith to protect him from the fiery darts of the enemy, the Devil. The Devil will attack us with many different kinds of fiery darts: persecution, lies, fears, guilt, doubts, various temptations and many more. These darts tend to be shot at Christians when Christians are on the offensive—tearing down the strongholds of the Devil. If we are idle, he has little reason to attack; but as God uses us, the Devil will attack constantly.
That is why we need our shield of faith. As we go forward in our relationship with Christ, we need faith to trust God and trust what He is doing in our lives. We do not let Satan’s attacks stop us, because he has no power when we walk by faith and not by sight. Putting our trust in God, and having that trust reflected in our lives as a living faith, will assure us of total victory in every spiritual battle. (Read Psalm 37:3, 2 Corinthians 5:7, James 2:20-22 for further reference.)
Read Ephesians 6:17.
The Helmet of Salvation
All soldiers put great emphasis on protecting their heads. Throughout history, a soldier wore a helmet. The Christian wears a spiritual helmet—the helmet of salvation. We need to protect our minds from Satan’s constant onslaught against our thoughts. The Bible clearly teaches that Satan can suggest evil thoughts as he is trying to lead us into sin (see Matthew 4:1-11). However, it is what we do with those thoughts that determine whether we will sin against God or not. That is why we need to submit our thoughts unto the Lord.
If we are constantly thinking about the goodness of God and His great love for us, we will naturally recognize thoughts and suggestions from the Devil when they come our way. It is at that time that we cast out those thoughts, and replace them with joyous thoughts concerning God.
Satan cannot make us sin! He can suggest that we sin, but we decide whether we will submit our minds unto Christ or unto Satan. (Read 2 Corinthians 10:4-5, Philippians 2:5-13, and Colossians 3:2 for further insight.)
The Sword of the Spirit
The Roman soldier’s sword was his weapon against his enemies. For Christians, the Word of God (the Bible) is our primary weapon against our enemy, the Devil. When we speak God’s Word, the Devil has to flee. The truth and glory that is in God’s Word overwhelms the Devil so that he must flee—for he lives in lies and darkness. Jesus gave all believers an excellent example of how we can rebuke all of Satan’s attacks by quoting Scripture (Matthew 4:1-11).
As believers, we need to go forward in spirit and truth. Satan will attack us, so we should force him to retreat by using God’s Word. We do this by standing on the promises in God’s Word, and sharing those truths with those who are unsaved and blinded by the Devil. When we speak God’s Word, the Devil has to flee! (Read Matthew 4:1-11, Acts 4:29-31, and Hebrews 4:12 for further reference.)
Read Ephesians 6:18.
Praying Always in the Spirit
Here is where the Christian soldier stands apart from any worldly soldier. We have what no other army has—the power of prayer. God alone is all-knowing. God alone created us and saved us on the cross at Calvary. He is the final ruling authority. There is no greater power than the Lord God Almighty—and this is whom we serve.
Now, as Christians, we are born-again of God’s Spirit. It is His Spirit who guides us in what we need to pray for. That is why we are told to pray with supplication in the Spirit. The Spirit of God will give us insight into what we need to pray for. We are also urged to be watchful (on the alert), to persevere and to pray for the needs of our brothers and sisters in Christ who fight the same war we do. (Read John 14:12-14, 1 Thessalonians 5:17, and 1 Peter 5:8-9 for additional insight.)
Read 2 Timothy 2:3-4.
1. What must good soldiers of Christ endure (verse 3)?
2. What are we asked not to entangle ourselves with (verse 4)?
If you are a child of God, saved by faith in Jesus Christ, you are not only a citizen in heaven but you are a soldier in the Lord’s army. This is the best army—because Christ has already won the war! Jesus will equip us to fight these spiritual battles. What a blessing and a privilege that the Creator of the universe allows us to be co-workers alongside Him for His kingdom of righteousness.
One final thought. It’s interesting to note that the armor of God has nothing to protect your back. Do you know why? Because God expects us to go forward in spiritual battles. The only reason you would need protection for your back is if you ran away from the battle. And God would never call you to do that.
“For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world” (1 John 2:16).
Having seen that God has given us everything we need to be victorious in our Christian walk, let us examine our most vulnerable areas as Christians in a world influenced and (temporarily) ruled by Satan.
The consistent teaching in the Word of God says that Satan is the temporary ruler of this world. The Bible teaches that when Adam sinned, he forfeited man’s right to rule Earth, and it went over to Satan who had deceived him. Adam’s disobedience brought sin and death, as well as the rule of Satan into this world. Therefore, it is easy to see why our world is so messed up—Satan is the present ruler of it.
Jesus Christ conquered sin and death on the cross. With His physical resurrection He broke the power of sin and death on the lives of those who will believe in Him. He also reclaimed the title deed to this world. Jesus will come to establish the reign of God’s righteous kingdom. It is then that Satan will no longer be allowed to rule. His days are numbered (Romans 16:20, Revelation 20:10).
1. Read 1 John 5:19. What lies under the sway (the power) of Satan?
2. Read John 16:7-11. The Helper in this passage is a reference to the Holy Spirit, and the ruler of this world is a reference to Satan. According to Jesus in verse 11, who has already been judged?
3. Read Ephesians 2:1-2. The prince of the power of the air is a reference to Satan. How did we walk (live our lives) before we were Christians?
We see that Satan has a temporary rule over this world and the lives of those who are in it—except those who belong to God: all true Christians. It is difficult for unsaved people to understand or even believe this. Second Corinthians 4:4 says that the Devil has blinded their minds from the truth.
Since Satan rules this world, the world system is against Jesus—and Christians. Satan uses this world system to tempt Christians away from God trying to destroy them. But remember, this world system will pass away, and only the things done for God’s kingdom will last. That is all the more reason to be faithful in all that God asks us to do.
4. Read 1 John 2:15-17. What are we not to love (verse 15)?
5. What three things influence the behavior of this world (verse 16)?
6. What will pass away (verse 17)?
7. Who abides forever (verse 17)?
Notice the three areas that dictate human behavior: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. Take note, these are the areas of weakness for all people including Christians. When we sin it is because we are enticed in one of these three areas.
8. Read Genesis 3:1-7. Who questioned God’s Word in verse 1?
9. Who called God a liar in verse 4?
10. Who proved to be the liar in verse 5?
In Genesis 3:6 notice the three areas that pulled Adam and Eve into sin. This is how sin began and its curse is still with us today. Like Adam and Eve, we too, are vulnerable to be drawn away by the motives of our flesh, the desires of our eyes and our own pride.
Read Matthew 4:1-11. Satan tempted Jesus to serve His flesh and Jesus rebuked him and stood on the Word of God. Satan also challenged Jesus to exalt Himself (pride), and again Jesus rebuked him with the Word of God. Finally, Satan offered Jesus the kingdoms of the world, which were desirable to the eyes, if He would bow down and worship him. Once again, Jesus stood on the Word of God and rebuked Satan.
It was on this mountain that human history was changed forever. Adam fell into sin by obeying Satan, and thereby condemned the whole human race. Jesus submitted to the Word of God, and by doing so conquered Satan and sin. Praise the Lord for we as Christians share in this victory! So put on the armor of God and be strong in the Lord Jesus. Take up the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, and fight the enemy head-on with the one weapon that can’t be stopped: the Word of God. If we follow the example of Jesus by using God’s Word, we will overcome the temptations of the enemy.
Sharing Our Faith
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15).
Spiritual warfare is real.
All spiritual battles come down to this: sharing your faith in Jesus with those who are blinded from God’s plan of hope for them. Jesus said that we (all true Christians) are to be His witnesses to this dying world. He also said He would give us dynamic power from the Holy Spirit to do so (Acts 1:8). The primary purpose of the Holy Spirit in our lives is to share Jesus with the unsaved.
1. Read 1 Corinthians 16:14. What should be our motive in all that we do?
2. Would you agree that this is essential in sharing your faith?
3. Read 1 Corinthians 13:1-7. In verses 1-3, what is the underlying thought?
4. In verses 4-7 we obtain an insight into what godly love really is. What four things does verse 5 tell us that love doesn’t do?
5. Why would you agree these principles are important for every believer to understand when sharing their faith?
6. Read 1 Peter 3:15. Who are we to sanctify in our hearts?
7. What should you always be ready to do?
8. What kind of attributes should you have? Note: “Meekness” means to be humble in the eyes of the Lord, and “fear” is having reverence for God. God expects us to be prepared to share our faith at any time, in any place. Notice how we are to do this; in love, with humbleness and reverence to God.
9. Read Titus 3:9-11. What is the first thing listed in Titus 3:9 that we are to avoid?
10. Who are we to reject when we are witnessing for Christ (verse 10)? Note: “Divisive” means prone toward argument; “admonition” means warning.
11. Do you think this is good advice when it comes to witnessing? Why?
12. Read 2 Timothy 2:23-26. What does verse 23 tell us?
13. In verses 24-25, describe the servant of the Lord?
14. In verse 25, who grants repentance to the unsaved and gives them understanding? We need to be sensitive to God’s Spirit showing us when there are open doors to share Jesus with those who are perishing. Now let’s consider the work that God does in the hearts of unsaved people.
15. Read John 16:7-11. Note: The Helper here is a reference to the Holy Spirit. According to John 16:8, what three convictions will the Holy Spirit give to everyone in this world?
17. Read Acts 2:47. Who added to the church daily those who were being saved?
Notice: It does not say persuasive men, and it does not say great evangelists—it says the Lord. We share the truth about Jesus, we live the truth and then through prayer we turn the rest of the job over to God.
Is there anyone God is asking you to share the gospel with at this time? If so, ask Him to open a door to share. If not, pray that God would begin to show you how and when to share the gospel with them and He will!
Write down the names of five people whom you would like to share the Gospel with. Refer to this list and remember to pray for them.
“The Lord is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
Chapter 6: The Fruit of the Spirit (8 Lessons)
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love …” (Galatians 5:22a).
Throughout the Bible there are references to the term “bearing fruit,” referring to the evidence of your faith in Christ and your faithfulness to God. Both non-believers and believers alike will observe your profession of faith. It has been said that the greatest evidence for Christianity is Christians themselves. As Christians, we need to bear fruit to glorify our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
The first fruit that proves our faith in Christ is love. In the original Greek, the word for love in Galatians 5:22 is agape. There are two other primary words in the New Testament for love: phileo, which means tender affection; and eros, which means sexual love. A good definition for agape would be divine love. You cannot have agape love without God. Agape is used to describe a love far greater than emotions and physical attraction. Agape is an unconditional love that our perfect loving God has towards us.
Examples of Agape love:
John 3:16—God’s love for us that He gave His only Son to die in our place.
John 15:13—Jesus’ love for us that He laid down His life for us.
Romans 5:5—God gives us His Holy Spirit to live within us.
John 17:26 —Jesus gives us His love to give to others.
Jesus desires for all believers to know and experience the same deep love that He has with His Father (Hebrews l3:8). We have the opportunity to experience this love every day as we wake up with the Holy Spirit in our hearts. To experience the power of this love in our lives every day, we need to seek God first thing in the morning and ask Him to pour out agape love in our hearts so that we can better love Him and those around us.
The greatest evidence that a person is a Christian is a visible agape love in action. It is this kind of love that brings dynamic power to a believer’s life and puts them in a place where God can use them. Pray daily and ask God to pour out this love by His Spirit into your life.
Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a, 13 and write the qualities of agape love.
In John 3:16, how did God the Father show His love for us?
In John 15:13, how did Jesus, God the Son, show His love for us?
According to Romans 5:5, what has God poured into our hearts?
Read John 17:26. What did Jesus ask the Father to give us?
Does Jesus still want us to have divine agape love today? (Read Hebrews 13:8.)
Referring to Luke 11:13, what should we pray for? “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13).
LESSON 2 Joy
“The fruit of the Spirit is … joy” (Galatians 5:22).
Joy is the second fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22. A heartfelt joy in the Lord—regardless of your circumstances—is a strong evidence to others that God has truly transformed your life.
The joy that is the fruit of the Spirit is a much deeper joy than surface emotions that most people associate with the meaning of happiness. All believers experience a feeling of joy at the point of their spiritual rebirth. However, as trials and testings come along, many lose their joy and their desire to serve the Lord (Luke 8:11-13). The joy that is the fruit of the Holy Spirit is constant and peaceable—despite circumstances. God wants us to experience this joy on a daily basis, and has revealed in His Word how we can do so.
Read John 15:9-12. Jesus said that if we love one another, our joy may be full. By abiding in the agape love of God, our joy can endure and overcome all obstacles.
Read 1 Peter 1:3-9. God promises that as we look ahead to our blessed eternal hope and riches in Christ, we can experience the joy that is inexpressible and full of glory, regardless of what trials we may endure.
Read James 1:2. God tells us to count it all joy when we fall into testing and trials—because eventually the outcome or the end will be joyous!
Read Luke 6:22-23. Jesus said to leap for joy when we are persecuted for His name’s sake, because our reward is not in this brief life but in the eternal one that is to follow.
The joy of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22) in our lives is not based upon temporal pleasures. The joy that the Holy Spirit pours into our lives overcomes trials, tests and persecutions. It is a joy that is a direct result of our understanding and abiding in the agape love of God.
Read Acts 16:23-24 and then write how Acts 16:25 can be possible.
What does Jesus tell us to do in John 15:11-12? What is the result?
Examine 1 Peter 1:3-6 and write what God has done for you and why.
According to Luke 6:22, what will men do to those who follow Jesus Christ?
Referring to Luke 6:23, what does Jesus tell us to do when this happens?
When testings and trials come upon us, what should we do? See James 1:2.
“And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation” (Romans 5:11). “The fruit of the Spirit is … peace” (Galatians 5:22).
For most people, peace is an ideal that seems unattainable for themselves or for mankind. As much as man has sought peace, he has failed to truly achieve it. The history of man is full of war and violence, which is the same yesterday and today.
The Bible explains why man cannot have peace. Mankind as a whole has rejected God’s plan for peace. Peace between men can only happen if there is peace between God and man. The only way a person can achieve peace with God is to believe in His Son, “the Prince of Peace,” Jesus Christ.
Read Colossians 1:19-21. As believers, we were once enemies of God because of our wicked ways. Our sins prevented us from having peace with God. As followers of Christ we have received forgiveness for our sins, and have been reconciled to God through the redemptive work of Jesus on the cross.
Read Romans 5:1. Through faith in Christ, we now have peace with God. After we are saved, we need to continue to be at peace with God.
Read Colossians 3:15. God’s peace can rule in our hearts if we are obedient to Him and abide in His will. Many things will challenge the peace of Christians: trials, temptations, afflictions and sin—which all have the potential to rob us of our peace with God.
Read Philippians 4:6-7. Through prayers of thanksgiving and supplication (prayer for our needs) we can trust in God and let His peace rule in our lives. The peace that surpasses all understanding is the peace that God wants us to share with others.
Read Hebrews 12:14. As we have God’s peace ruling in our hearts, we will naturally pursue peace with others.
Read Luke 6:27-28. This passage is the formula for all believers to achieve peace with others. Loving our enemies, doing good to those who hate us, blessing those who curse us, and praying for those who abuse us are the visible actions of the fruit of peace that others can see in our lives.
According to James 4:1, what is the reason we don’t have world peace now?
Would you say that your inner life, before you became a Christian, was filled with peace? Read Galatians 5:19-21 to help you explain your answer.
Read John 14:27 and 16:33. What is the source of real peace?
According to Colossians 1:20-22, why did Jesus die and what was the result?
What does Colossians 3:15 say should rule in our hearts?
What does Philippians 4:6 tell us to do instead of worrying and what will happen? See Philippians 4:7.
“The fruit of the Spirit is … patience” (Galatians 5:22).
The fourth fruit of the Spirit is patience. In some translations the word “longsuffering” is used in place of “patience.” The original Greek word used in Galatians 5:22 is makrothymia which translates as long-term patience—and God’s desire for Christians is to show long-term patience with others—just as God has shown this very makrothymia towards us.
Read 2 Peter 3:1-9. Even as people continue to mock God and the second coming of Jesus Christ, God patiently endures with mankind. He shows longsuffering because He is not willing that anyone should perish (2 Peter 3:9, 1 Timothy 2:3-4). God showed His longsuffering patience toward all of us before we were ever saved. God wants to establish this same longsuffering in our lives.
Read James 1:2-3. God develops long-term patience in our characters by allowing trials in our lives. Trials are tests that produce patience, which will develop Christian maturity.
Read James 5:7-8. We should never forget that Jesus is coming again. His imminent return should motivate us to endure with much patience all that He asks us to do. The Bible encourages us to not grow weary (Galatians 6:9).
Read 1 Timothy 1:16. The longsuffering of Jesus is a pattern for all believers.
Read Ephesians 4:1-3 and Colossians 3:12-13. As followers of Christ, we are commanded by God’s Word to show patience toward others.
Makrothymia patience does not come from human efforts or striving for it. Patience that is the fruit of the Spirit manifests itself when the believer fully trusts in God in every area of their lives. As we submit to God’s will, His Spirit will guide us and we will begin to develop this fruit of patience in our lives toward God and others.
Read Matthew 18:21-22 and compare it to Ephesians 4:1-3. What are your thoughts?
Did God show patience with the Amorites? Read Genesis 15:16 and comment.
Do you think it is possible to show makrothymia patience without the help of the Holy Spirit?
Since God asks Christians to show patience, would you agree that He will give His Holy Spirit to Christians who ask for it? See Luke 11:13.
What does James 1:3 say is tested and what does it accomplish?
In 1 Timothy 1:16, what did Paul obtain from Jesus and what happened?
What kind of heart attitude should we have toward others and why? See Colossians 3:12-13.
“The fruit of the Spirit is … kindness” (Galatians 5:22).
Kindness is the habit of being kind. Kindness can best be described as doing good services or pleasant things for others. Mercy is in many ways synonymous with kindness. Showing mercy towards others is a way to show kindness. Jesus is the great example for us to learn how to show mercy and kindness towards others. If we are going to manifest the fruit of kindness in our lives, we need to be like Jesus.
Read Matthew 14:13-21. Jesus had compassion on the hungry multitude. He showed kindness by providing food for them. He filled their need. Do you feed those around you who are hungry physically—and spiritually?
Read Matthew 19:13-15. Jesus knew the need of spending intimate time with the children, praying for their needs. He showed them kindness when other adults (like His apostles) might have ignored them. Do you spend time encouraging youngsters to follow Christ? Do you pray for them?
Read Mark 7:31-37. As the crowd begged for help, Jesus did what He was able to do. He showed the man kindness and mercy in healing him. Do you do what you can to help the physically handicapped?
Read Luke 18:35-43. The blind man begged for mercy and Jesus showed him love and kindness in granting his plea. Do you show kindness and compassion toward the spiritually blind?
Read John 4:5-26. Jesus showed unusual kindness to the Samaritan woman. She was an adulteress and a despised Samaritan, yet Jesus showed her the way of hope. Do you show kindness to the outcasts of our society?
Kindness is essential for the Christian. In a world that is lacking mercy, we can make a difference for God’s kingdom by showing kindness to those around us.
Do you like it when others are kind to you? What does this imply in terms of Matthew 7:12?
What does Luke 10:27-37 say about kindness to a different ethnic or racial group?
Read Ephesians 2:7 and Titus 3:4; what does this say about God’s acts toward us?
What does 2 Peter 1:5-8 teach us about our attitude toward others?
In Matthew 14:14, how did Jesus feel towards the multitude and what did He do?
Read Matthew 14:15-21 and describe Jesus’ behavior?
In Luke 18:35-42, what did the man say to Jesus and what was His response? LESSON 6 Goodness
“The fruit of the Spirit is … goodness” (Galatians 5:22).
The words “kindness” and “goodness” are closely related in the New Testament, which was translated from the Greek language. Despite their similarities, the apostle Paul lists these two words separately. To better understand why, we need to look at the original Greek word origins.
The word for “kindness” in Galatians 5:22 is chrestotes, which means goodness in action resulting in showing kindness toward others. Chrestotes can be translated into English as either “kindness” or “goodness”—but the Greek word agathosyne is used to describe goodness in Galatians 5:22.
Agathosyne means to desire after good, but not always resulting in acts of kindness. To have the fruit of agathosyne in our lives means to desire to do the right things to please God—desiring His goodness to rule our hearts and minds. In other words, this fruit of goodness is a desire to do what is right with God, no matter what others might say or do. Jesus is an excellent example of agathosyne goodness in the gospel of Matthew.
Read Matthew 21:12-13. Jesus did what was good and right. He cleansed His Father’s temple of the wicked people who were abusing it. Those who were chased out saw the goodness and the righteousness of God in action, even though Jesus was not reflecting kindness towards them.
It is interesting to note that the word agathosyne is used three other times in the New Testament; in each case it is always used in reference to those who are born again through faith in Christ. Doing what is right and good cannot truly take place until God has changed one’s heart.
Read Romans 15:14. Paul was confident that the Roman believers were filled with the goodness of God and in so doing were able to exhort one another.
Read Ephesians 5:8-11. The goodness of the fruit of the Spirit should change our hearts so that we no longer desire to walk in wickedness. Our goodness should be so evident that it exposes the darkness around us.
Read 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12. Paul’s prayer was that the incredible righteous goodness of God would be fulfilled and evident in the believer’s life, resulting in Christ being glorified in us and us in Him.
The first good thing a person does in God’s eyes is to receive His Son as their personal Savior (John 6:29). After a person is saved, God wants to help them do what is good and right in His eyes. Obeying God’s Word will manifest the fruit of goodness in your life!
Would you say you have an absolute standard of good and evil, of right and wrong? Explain your answer.
Read Isaiah 5:20 and comment upon what it says about goodness.
What is the difference, as shown in the Bible, between kindness and goodness?
In Romans 15:14, what does it say about the Roman believers?
According to Ephesians 5:8-10, how should we walk (conduct ourselves) and what should we demonstrate?
What does Paul pray for us to fulfill? See 2 Thessalonians 1:11.
What does John 6:28-29 tell us we must do to be good in God’s eyes? LESSON 7
“The fruit of the Spirit is … gentleness” (Galatians 5:22).
The original Greek word for gentleness in Galatians 5:23 is praotes. This word is also translated meekness and humility, depending upon the context of its use in Scripture. Praotes is not the action of being gentle towards others; it is the mindset and attitude of esteeming others as more important than yourself.
In Matthew 11:29, Jesus is our example of praotes—yet to associate meekness as being weak is incorrect. True meekness is being the servant of others. Jesus said, “He who is the greatest in the kingdom of God is the servant of all” (Matthew 23:11).
Read James 1:21. We are to put away our wicked attitudes and change our mindset to be obedient and faithful to God’s Word.
Read 2 Timothy 2:24-25. Gentleness in verse 24 is the physical action of showing kindness or gentleness. Meekness in verse 25 is praotes. It shows how our attitude needs to be toward the unsaved.
Read Galatians 6:1. When dealing with a sinning brother or sister in Christ, we need to have the praotes attitude towards them, esteeming them above ourselves.
In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7, Luke 6), Jesus taught that his physical actions were governed by the attitude of His heart and mind. In choosing the Greek word praotes for a fruit of the Spirit, Paul is showing us that true gentleness towards others begins in our attitude and thoughts.
Compare Matthew 11:29 with Matthew 20:25-27. Comment on your findings.
Read James 1:21.What should be our attitude for receiving the Word of God?
How is the servant of the Lord to act toward all men? See 2 Timothy 2:24.
What does 2 Timothy 2:24 say in instructing those who oppose the gospel?
Referring to Galatians 6:1, how are we to restore a sinning brother? Why? LESSON 8
“The fruit of the Spirit is … self-control” (Galatians 5:23).
One of the most challenging things a Christian experiences is trying to exercise selfcontrol over their old, sinful nature. God has empowered all true believers with His Holy Spirit so that we can have victory and self-control over that sinful nature we were born with. This means submitting our will unto the will of the Holy Spirit. There are many great stories in the Bible of believers showing self-control over their sinful nature. There are also many tragic examples of those who did not show self-control.
The Bible says in 1 John 2:16 that man is tempted in three areas—the desire of his eyes, the desire of his flesh, and the pride of his heart. The following examples from the Bible apply to all three.
1. Lust for wealth and riches.
Read Genesis 14:14 through 15:1. Abraham exhibited self-control in turning down the riches of Sodom and Gomorrah. He was concerned about stumbling others through receiving the riches, and not giving God glory. God blessed Abraham and told him that his reward was his relationship with God Himself!
Read Joshua 6:18-19, 7:1-5, 7:20-21, and 7:25-26. Achan’s lack of self-control resulted in robbing God of His tithe—the death of 36 innocent Jews and his own death by stoning.
2. Lust for sexual sin.
Read Genesis 39:1-21, 41:38-43. Joseph’s reverence for God’s honor and his desire to be obedient gave him self-control over the desires of his flesh. God rewarded him by filling him with His Spirit, giving him wisdom and discernment above all men and making him ruler over Egypt.
Read Judges 16:1-6, 16:20-21 and 16:25-30. Samson’s lack of self-control cost him his honor, his fellowship with God, his freedom, his eyesight and his life.
3. The pride of life (desire for prominence and worship).
Read Luke 23:32-43. Jesus was willing to die to give us eternal life. He showed selfcontrol in submitting to His Father’s plan of redemption for us. His reward is being seated at the right hand of the Father, as Ruler and Judge over the universe and us!
Read John 11:45-53. The Pharisees’ lack of self-control over their pride is evident. They were willing to kill to keep their place of prominence among men. They wanted Jesus crucified. The cost of their lack of self-control surely was the destruction of the Temple and the death of many people by the Romans in 70 AD (Matthew 23:29-36).
For every Christian, self-control over their sinful nature is mandatory. We need to receive God’s love and respond to it by showing self-control as we walk according to the Spirit and not the flesh.
If the temptation to steal should come, how would remembering the example of Achan in Joshua 7:19-26 be helpful in maintaining self-control?
How can the Holy Spirit help you avoid sin?
What was Joseph’s response in Genesis 39:7-9? How would this example help you if you were ever tempted in a similar way? See 1 Corinthians 10:13.
What if the temptation were not to sexual sin, but to alcohol or drugs? Would 1 Corinthians 10:13 still apply?
What does the Bible say in Proverbs 16:18 about pride?
Read Isaiah 14:12-19 and Ezekiel 28:11-19. These verses allude to Satan’s pride, actually the first sin in the Bible. Does pride seem like a small sin to you?
In Judges 16:20-21, what happened to Samson because of his lack of self-control?
In Matthew 4:8-10, what did Jesus do when He was offered all the kingdoms of the world?
Would you say that it is difficult to exercise self-control over pride? Can a lack of self-control lead to murder? LESSON 1
“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13)
For many people, victory over certain sins seems to be just an unattainable dream. Some people see themselves as helpless without drugs and alcohol, while others see themselves as being too weak to overcome the grasp that drugs and alcohol have on their lives.
To the person who does not know Jesus as their personal Savior, there is reason for despair. There is little hope they can overcome such powers of darkness. However, to the one whose righteousness is in Jesus, there is real hope—for that hope is in Jesus and His power, not in our weak and sinful flesh.
Open your Bible and look at some wonderful promises God has made to each one of us personally.
Read 1 Corinthians 10:13.
What is the common link of all temptations?
Who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able?
What is provided with the temptations we face?
On whose faithfulness is this promise that guarantees absolute victory over sin?
What does this promise mean to you concerning your drug and alcohol problem?
God understands and knows our temptations. Jesus Himself was tempted on many occasions, but never sinned. He can comfort and deliver us when we are tempted.
Read Hebrews 2:17-18. (Note: Starting in verse 17, “He” is in reference to Jesus.)
Why did Jesus have to be made like us?
How can we be sure that Jesus understands our temptations?
Looking ahead to tomorrow, what temptations might you face?
Read James 4:7.
Write in your own words what this verse tells you to do when you are faced with temptations.
Remember, the promises of victory are based on God’s faithfulness!
LESSON 2 Excuses
“And Samuel said, ‘What have you done?’ And Saul said, ‘When I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered together at Michmash, then I said, “The Philistines will now come down on me at Gilgal, and I have not made supplication to the LORD.” Therefore I felt compelled, and offered a burnt offering”’ (1 Samuel 13:11-12).
According to God’s Word, there are no excuses for sinning. In the Bible, we see how God promises victory for all those who trust in Him. This victory is based on God’s faithfulness and His ability to relate to, comfort and rescue all who call upon Him.
Read the biblical example of King Saul’s disobedience, his unacceptable excuses, and the ultimate cost of his not trusting in the Lord’s plan for victory.
Read 1 Samuel 13:5-14. Saul was the first king of Israel (approximately 1,000 BC). Because Saul failed to trust in the Lord, he did things his own way. Saul offered a sacrifice to God, but God had not ordained him to make such a sacrifice. That task was reserved for the prophet Samuel (verse 8-9).
What were Saul’s three excuses? See 1 Samuel 13:11-12.
What was the price Saul paid for his sin and feeble excuses (verse 14)?
What kind of person was God looking for (verse 14)?
Do you think it is necessary for all believers to have a heart after God? Why?
According to 1 Corinthians 10:13, can we excuse our sins because no one else ever went through a temptation like ours? (Note: Our sins can be forgiven, but there is never an excuse for them.)
Read 1 Corinthians 10:1-11. These verses speak about the Jews under the law of Moses, Christians under Roman rule in Corinth, and can be representative of believers today in America.
What common temptations do you personally share with these other believers?
By what promise, according to 1 Corinthians 10:13, can we be sure that we can overcome all temptations?
What did Jesus’ example of life and death show us?
On what power does God expect us to lean for victory? See Ephesians 6:10, 2 Peter 1:3.
It is important to recognize when you are being tempted. When you realize that temptation has come, do what God has asked you to do. Look to Him, and pray for the power of His Spirit to help you overcome it immediately.
Remember, you are no longer bound to the old man. You are “a citizen of God’s kingdom!” (Philippians 3:20).
The Word of God
“It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).
Temptations are a part of life for everyone—but for Christians, they don’t have to control our lives. God has promised us complete victory over all temptation and sin. If we simply trust in His faithfulness, we can be assured of total victory over the temptations to use drugs or alcohol.
Read Matthew 4:1-11.
When Satan tempted Jesus in the weakness and vulnerability of His flesh, how did Jesus defeat the attack? See Matthew 4:2-4.
When Jesus was tempted to be prideful and exalt Himself rather than serve His Father’s will, how did He respond? See Matthew 4:5-7.
Finally, when Jesus was told that He could rule all the kingdoms of the world, how did He respond? See Matthew 4:8-10.
What happened in Matthew 4:11?
For total victory over sin, when Jesus was feeling most vulnerable to the weaknesses of His flesh, He trusted in one thing—the Word of God. God wants us to follow the victorious example of His Son. The Word of God is the assurance of victory when we are tempted. God calls it our weapon in spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:17).
Thinking or quoting Scripture will help us to focus on Jesus and His promises of deliverance from all temptations, rather than focusing on our own understanding and strength when we are tempted.
Read Hebrews 11:32-33. What helps us face our fears and problems?
God calls us to take responsibility for our problems. What else does He want to do for us according to 1 Corinthians 10:13?
According to Matthew 4:4, what key to victory did Jesus give us?
Why does God allow us to go through trials? See 2 Corinthians 1:4.
Referring to 2 Corinthians 12:9, what must the believer demonstrate to this world?
Who receives the glory when our problems are solved by believing and obeying God’s Word?
God is perfect. If we trust Him with our problems and temptations, He will deliver us.
Remember, “We walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).
Building One Another Up
“ … for the equipping of the saints, for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12).
“… from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love” (Ephesians 4:16).
As we grow in Christ, we begin to get a spiritual understanding of God’s faithfulness to us in not allowing us to be tempted beyond what we are able. As we realize that all temptation is common to man, we then understand that we are all in this together.
Therefore, it is important that we encourage one another in our spiritual life with Christ. Jesus said, “Narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:14). We need to build one another up and help each other finish the race God has set before us.
Read Hebrews 10:24-25. In verse 25, “the day” is a reference to the return of Jesus for His people. Who are we to consider in verse 24, and why?
What shouldn’t we forsake?
According to Hebrews 10:25, what should we do for one another?
Read 1 Corinthians 12:25-27. In verse 25, “the body” refers to the church of Jesus Christ. What should not be in the church?
What should we have for one another?
Why should we all suffer and rejoice together?
Why do you think it is so important to encourage one another to overcome the temptations we are all battling?
Read James 5:15 and 16. What can happen to our physical and mental health if we fail to confess our sins?
According to Philippians 4:13, what is the only answer to all the problems in this world?
According to Galatians 6:2, what should be our attitude toward each other?
What does God say about our problems in 1 Corinthians 10:13 and Ephesians 4:16?
By God’s standards, how are we qualified to help others? See 2 Corinthians 1:4.
According to Ephesians 4:16, what will help the church return to doing the work, power and authority that it should have?
It is important to understand that we have never encountered any temptation that is not common to man. We are all in this together. We need to encourage each other to trust in Jesus.
Is there anyone you know who might need a word of godly encouragement today? If so, ask God for sensitivity and encourage them in the love of Christ!
Write their name and a prayer:
God Is Our Strength
“I will love You, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies” (Psalms 18:1-3).
It is important for us to understand God’s plan on how to deliver us from tempting sins—including drug and alcohol abuse. We need to look to God for our strength, not to ourselves, for in doing so we see His faithfulness to deliver. Remember, He hears and delivers all who call upon Him (Romans 10:13).
Read Psalm 18:1-3. According to verse 1, who is our strength? _______________________________________________________________________
What is the Lord to those who believe and trust in Him?
What is the key to being delivered from our enemies?
We have already studied the relationship of alcohol and drug abuse to the forces of the demonic realm. Therefore, would you agree that drugs and alcohol are your enemies?
What then should you do next time you are tempted? What will God do? _______________________________________________________________________
Who is our real hope in times of trouble and our certain hope in time of despair? _______________________________________________________________________
Read Titus 2:13-14. What has God promised and delivered? _______________________________________________________________________
In whom do we realize this redemption? _______________________________________________________________________
What makes God’s promises unique? _______________________________________________________________________
What three words of certainty are found in 1 Corinthians 10:13, 2 Thessalonians 3:3, 2 Timothy 2:13, Hebrews 10:23, and Revelation 1:5?
Why is setting our hopes on man a common cause of past failures?
Though your problems may not disappear right away, what will happen immediately to your attitude toward them when you trust in God?
What should we do with our self-pity, excuses and rationalizations?
Read 1 Peter 5:7 and write it here.
Reading something and understanding it is easy. Believing it and applying it to your life is crucial for victory. If you are sensitive to the Lord and the guiding work of His Spirit, you can and will be delivered, because faithful is He who promised it!
LESSON 6 I Can Do All Things Through Christ
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
Throughout this series we have seen how God allows trials and temptations in our lives to test our faithfulness to Him. His desire is that we would look to Him for deliverance instead of giving excuses for our weaknesses.
Read Exodus chapters 3:1-4:17. What did Moses say when God called him (Exodus 3:4)?
What was God’s response to Moses in Exodus 3:11?
Once again in Exodus 4:1, Moses gave another excuse. What was his fear?
What was God’s answer to this in Exodus 4:2-5?
What was Moses’ third excuse in Exodus 4:10-15?
What was God’s reply to his excuse in Exodus 4:12?
Although Moses had his doubts and excuses (“I cannot”), God patiently and faithfully provided Moses assurance. If you read on in Exodus, you will see that God fulfilled all the promises He made to Moses.
“I cannot” seems to be a common phrase in Christian counseling. What does 1 Corinthians 10:13 and Philippians 4:13 say about this?
In light of 1 Corinthians 10:13 and Philippians 4:13, what does a person who says, “I cannot” actually imply?
Since every Christian is a unique individual, what can be said about the trials that God sends into the Christian’s life?
A Christian is given four provisions through Christ to overcome all temptations and trials.
God’s Holy Spirit
Sanctification through Jesus Christ
Read Ephesians 4:16. What else helps the Christian?
When a Christian quits trying, what is he submitting to?
Do you agree that failing to apply the promises of God in your life is to misrepresent Him before non-believers? Why?
Remember Philippians 4:13: “You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you!”
“God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:9).
“God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
“The Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one” (2 Thessalonians 3:3).
“If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself” (2 Timothy 2:13).
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23).
As you rebuild your life from drug and alcohol abuse, you can now lay a new foundation based upon the promises in God’s Word. As a believer, you will encounter temptations and trials (no one is immune). However, it is God who is faithful and if you trust in Him, He will provide a way of escape so that you will be able to endure.
Read Acts 16:16-40. What horrible acts did the unsaved people of Philippi do to Paul and Silas (See verses 22-23)?
If you were in their situation (verse 24), how would you have reacted?
Do you agree that Paul and Silas were powerful witnesses for Christ to the other prisoners (verse 25)? Why?
Do you think Paul and Silas considered their trial worthwhile when the Philippian jailer and his family were saved? Why? (Read Mark 8:35-36).
What is the bottom line for God’s children when trials and temptations come (1 Corinthians 10:13)?
Read Romans 8:38-39 and write its promise. _______________________________________________________________________
If a believer is discouraged while being tempted, what should he do?
God is faithful and He is the Creator and Savior of your soul. He wants you to put your trust in Him, and when you do so, He will deliver you from every temptation. You have His Word on it!
Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa 3800 South Fairview Street, Santa Ana, CA 92704 firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2001. Revised 2009. No portion of the contents of this book or storage media may be reproduced for the purpose of sale for any amount exceeding production costs. Permission to reproduce portions without change for use in home fellowship Bible studies or Christian church-related ministries for recovery from drug or alcohol dependency is hereby granted.