Peace: How Do We Experience It?

I know what you’re thinking. Answering the questions, “How do we receive peace?” and “How do we experience peace?” seems repetitive, but the two questions require different answers. Receiving peace pertains to acquiring or obtaining peace with God, and the peace of God. Experiencing peace describes the characteristics of peace, and in what kind of circumstances the peace of God is experienced.

Read Isaiah 26:3.

  1. What characteristic of peace is described in this verse?

Read Philippians 4:7.

  1. How is the peace of God described in this passage?
  2. What does “surpasses all understanding” mean?
  3. How does peace “guard” our hearts and minds?

Read 2 Thessalonians 3:16.

  1. Based on this passage, when can we experience the peace of God?
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Peace: How Do We Receive It?

After identifying God as the creator and source of peace, our next step in the quest for peace is seeking an understanding of how to receive the peace of God.

Read Isaiah 26:3-4, Romans 8:6, Philippians 4:6-7, and Romans 5:1:

  1.  According to the Bible, how do we receive the peace of God?
  2. What’s the first step in receiving the peace of God?

Peace: Where Does It Come From?

Peace is painstakingly sought after by most – if not all – individuals. In the face of chaotic and overwhelming schedules and circumstances, we crave the “in-between” moments of peace that provide a breather.  But where does peace come from? That is the question we’ll discuss this week as we seek to understand the Biblical perspective of peace, and here are a couple of questions to ponder…

Based on your experience:

  1. Where does peace come from? How do you find peace?

Read 1 Thessalonians 5:23, Colossians 3:15, and Galatians 5:22-23:

  1. Where does God’s Word teach that peace can be found?

BigStuf 2014 Promo

Need a break from the snow and ice? Exchange thoughts of Snowmageddon for the sandy beaches of Panama City, and take a minute to watch both of the BigStuf 2014 Promo Videos below.  Time to get pumped about growing in knowledge of Jesus Christ and the relevancy of our faith!

Confidence in Christ

Arriving at the end of the letter, the Apostle John begins to summarize all he’s written.  Up to this point in the book of 1 John, we’ve been taught the importance of love in the Christian life, the necessity of faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and the calling for us to walk obediently in God’s commandments.  We know through faith God produces love and obedience in our lives, but are there additional results to faith in Jesus?  John the Apostle answers, “Yes,” and he provides four realities we can be confident in through faith in Jesus.  The assurances of a Christian are: Confidence in eternal life, Confidence in answered prayers, Confidence in obedience to God, and Confidence in Jesus as the only Savior.

Read 1 John 5:13-21.

  1. What is an immediate benefit resulting from being confident in the promise of eternal life?
  2. Is there a characteristic John uses to describe the prayers God answers?
  3. When John says, “Everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning,” what does he mean? Read 1 John 3:9 to help you answer this question.
  4. Why is it important to be confident in Jesus as the only true Savior?

 

Jesus: The Object of Faith

Last week we learned faith is the road to fully experience God’s love, and this week we will discuss the correct object of faith: Jesus. In 1 John 5:5 [one of the verses explored last week] the Apostle John asserts that faith in Jesus is the only way to overcome the world and enter into eternal life by God’s grace. After introducing Jesus as the correct object of our faith, John explains in 1 John 5:6-12 why we can trust in the truth that Jesus is the Son of God and our Lord and Savior.

Read 1 John 5:6-12.

  1. What are the three witness John describes as providing evidence for Jesus being the Son of God? What do they represent?
  2. How is the testimony of God greater than the testimony of man?
  3. What is the testimony of God?
  4. Do we have the testimony of God in us? What does this mean?

Faith: The Grace-Driven Path to Love

The bulk of the Apostle John’s first epistle is devoted to love, the Christ-enabled “key to Christian identiy.” But in 1 John 5:1-5 the Apostle defines faith as the grace-driven road to encountering the love of God, and the medium by which we receive the ability to love our Creator, neighbor, and enemy.

  1. In 1 John 5:1, John writes, “everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of Him.” Why is it important for Christians to love one another? Why do we struggle to love one another?
  2. What do you think John means when he writes in 1 John 5:2, “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey His commandments?” How is our love for other people dependent on God’s love?
  3. What is the “victory” over the world that John describes in 1 John 5:4? How is this victory obtained?

The Importance of Love

In the Book of 1 John, LOVE is one of the main topics frequently discussed.  John the Apostle repeatedly teaches the importance of love because “this commandment we have from [God]: whoever loves God must also love his brother” [1 John 4:21].  It is important to note that John is not teaching new doctrine, but is reinforcing the teaching of Jesus.  In Matthew 22:36-40 Jesus defines the two greatest commandments as “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” and “love your neighbor as yourself.”  If the two greatest commandments involve the act of love, shouldn’t we seek to understand what love is, how we love, and who we love? In various sections of 1 John, the answer to these questions is provided.

Read 1 John 4:7-21.

  1. Is learning about God’s love a one-time event, or a process throughout our lives?
  2. What kind of fear does God’s love cast out? Fear of what?
  3. What is the logical argument John uses 1 John 4:20-21 to show that loving God and loving people go hand in hand?

Now read Matthew 5:43-48.

  1. What is the difference between our definition of love and God’s definition of love?

Returning to the Basics

1 John [not the Gospel of John] is an epistle written by John the Apostle.  The purpose of John’s epistle is to encourage Christians to return to the fundamental truths of the Christian faith.  To summarize, John is calling Christians to profess faith in Jesus that produces an obedience to Jesus’ teachings and a love for God and other believers.

Read 1 John 1, the introduction to John’s letter.

  1. What [or who] is the “word of life” John talks about?
  2. Does 1 John 1:1-4 remind you of another book of the Bible? [Hint: Think about the 1st chapter of one of the Gospels].
  3. What is the difference between “walking in the light” and “walking in darkness?”
  4. How do we make God a liar?

Focusing on Jesus

Over the past six weeks we explored the true identity of Jesus.  The eternal Son of God – God Himself – Jesus humbly died on the cross, offering the perfect sacrifice to God the Father in order to secure the forgiveness of our sins resulting in salvation. Enduring the punishment of sin and then conquering the grave through His resurrection, Jesus is now exalted to the right hand of God the Father, interceding for us, and sends the Holy Spirit to help Christians grow in faith and follow Him.

But what does faith in Jesus produce? We know faith results in conformity to the image of Christ displayed in holy attitudes [fruit of the Spirit] and good works, but why does faith result in these things?

Read Colossians 3:1-14.

  1. In verse 2 Paul says, “Set your minds on things that are above.” What do you think he means? Is this mindset a result of faith?
  2. What do the “old self” and “new self” represent?
  3. Do we “put on the new self” by ourselves?