The Point: We don’t need to fear evil forces when we’re in Christ.
Get Into the Study
Use this story to introduce the importance of discerning truth from lies. This is an alternate way to introduce the session and includes an alternate Question 1.
Facebook is continuing its fight against fake news, having just announced that pages which repeatedly share fake or false news will be banned from advertising on the site. There has been a lot of talk about fake news, recently. As social media and internet media have become dominant sources for news, many have begun to question where to find true, unbiased information.
A concerning trend has been in the rise of fake health news. Fake health articles may even falsely reference Mayo Clinic or John Hopkins as sources, in an attempt to appear credible. As these types of stories spread, people are looking for standards to guide them in distinguishing real news from fake news.
Ask: What has been a fake health story, or false health advice that you’ve seen shared? Why is false health information so dangerous?
Evil forces are real, but we do not need to fear them. Christ is greater. In this session, we will study the standards provided in Scripture for recognizing the truth of God and rejecting the false teaching of Satan.
Nikki Wilbanks is a stay-at-home mom, writer, Bible study leader, and commercial real estate appraiser/investor. She graduated from Pepperdine University, and lives with her husband and two children in Murfreesboro, TN.
Study the Bible
Use the following illustration as an alternate activity during your study of the 1 John 4:4-6 section.
Say: “In the following clip, individuals ages 1-100 (actually 105) were interviewed with one question: What is your greatest fear? ”
Show the video clip, “What’s Your Greatest Fear? 0-100.” The full clip is 2 minutes, 35 seconds, but you can stop it at 1:30 if you’re running short on time.
Use the following questions to launch discussion:
- Which answers were most striking?
- Who did you empathize with the most?
- Given such a diverse sampling of ages, demographics and experiences, what can you discern about humanity in general from the interviews?
- How should Christians think differently than the lost when it comes to identifying and navigating existing fears?
Every fear listed (with maybe a few exceptions) is rooted in one of two universal fears:
- Loss of life (physical death of self or other, not living the life one “should” or “could” have, health problems, struggling daily, etc.)
- Loss of identity (not becoming the person I should have, dementia, being forgotten, losing all they love, etc.)
These two baseline fears begin from the assumptions that a.) Jesus is not who He claimed to be and b.) Heaven is not what He claimed it was.
Daily meditation on the person and work of Christ and the eternity that awaits every believer diffuses the crippling power of all fears. In loss of life in any measure, the Christian hopes because they have life eternal where every tear is wiped away (Revelation 21:6). In loss of identity, the Christian clings to their worth as an image-bearer of God, fully and personally known by the Savior who made a way. Our lives and identities are untouched by the powers of this world.
As Christians, we have nothing to fear.
Emily Jennings (Master of Arts, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary 2009) serves and lives in the greater Atlanta area. She is wife to Brian and mom to three wonderful boys. She teaches the Bible to 8th grade girls at First Baptist Church Woodstock and you can find her on Twitter and Instagram: @emilyejenn
Study the Bible (ACTIVITY)
[This idea supports the group plan in the King James Version Leader Guide.]
To emphasize The Point, distribute postcards or bookmarks with 1 John 4:4b printed on them. Allow volunteers to describe how they have seen the truth of this verse in their lives. Lead group members to read the verse aloud several times. Encourage participants to keep their postcards or bookmarks where they will see them several times this week.
What decisions do you make on a daily basis which are rooted in fear?
What phobia would a close friend or spouse say that you have?
What is one fear you’ve overcome, and how did you beat it?
1 John 4:1-3
How would you describe someone who lives a life of discernment?
What are some realities about Christ that help you discern truth?
What are some signs that a spirit is not from God?
1 John 4:4-6
What are some of the practical results of God’s spirit working inside you?
What does Christ living in you look like in practical terms?
How has Christ demonstrated that He is greater than Satan?
Share the following with your group members as either a devotional before the group study or as a follow-up devotional:
Here’s a brief five-minute teaching video about this session: The Dark Side, Session 4.