"The overcoming of fear—that is what we are proclaiming here. The Bible, the gospel, Christ, the church, the faith—all are one great battle cry against fear in the lives of human beings. Fear is, somehow or other, the archenemy itself. It crouches in people’s hearts. It hollows out their insides, until their resistance and strength are spent and they suddenly break down. Fear secretly gnaws and eats away at all the ties that bind a person to God and to others, and when in a time of need that person reaches for those ties and clings to them, they break and the individual sinks back into himself or herself, helpless and despairing, while hell rejoices." (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, January 15, 1933)
"6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, 7 casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you." (1 Peter 5:6-7, ESV)
Freedom from Fear
2 Timothy 1:3-7
3 I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. 4 As I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy. 5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. 6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, 7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:3-7, ESV)
"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!" (Psalm 111:10, ESV)
"Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him! (Psalm 33:8, ESV)
"Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." (Isaiah 41:10, ESV)
We often fear when facing difficult circumstances!
We often fear when dealing with mean spirited people!
"In God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?" (Psalm 56:11)
We often fear when facing financial stress!
"Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; 10 then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine." (Proverbs 3:9-10, ESV)
We often fear when thinking about our future!
"Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." (Matthew 6:34, ESV)
"The remarkable thing about God is that when you fear God, you fear nothing else, whereas if you do not fear God, you fear everything else." (Oswald Chambers, 1874-1917)
Week 8 – Freedom from Fear
In my time at CrossPointe, since we were 13 people in Pastor David’s living room, I have learned so much and grown in countless ways. But one thing among all of them stands out and it is something that I use daily. It is something that Pastor David said from the pulpit, “We can either recoil in fear or respond in faith”. Today in Life Group we will learn about someone whose whole life, and not just part of it, was characterized by responding in faith, not recoiling in fear. Faith often requires that we push past initial fears and uncertainties. To begin today’s study, let’s take some time to be truly vulnerable and transparent. Share with your group a time when you were faced with fear and uncertainties. Were you able to respond in faith? What did you learn by going through that situation?
Today’s passage will be from the book of Esther. But, there is some context that we need to understand from ch. 1-3 before studying chapter 4.The story starts in Ch. 1 where the current Persian Queen, Vashti, refuses to dance naked before the King and his men. Having embarrassed the king she is then jettisoned from the community. Ch.2 - A new Queen was needed, so the next thing we see is the equivalent of a beauty pageant. Esther wins the favor of the King and is chosen as 1 of 8 women to stay palace to undergo beauty treatments. Funny thing...the King didn’t know that Esther was a Jew. Her Uncle Mordecai, who had adopted her when she was young and orphaned, asked her not to reveal her people or heritage to the King. Ch. 3 introduces us to a plot to a manipulative plot to destroy the Jews. Now we are ready to begin studying Ch. 4.
Read Esther 4 as a group Faithful to her People – The Jews
1. How in verses 4:8-17 do we see Esther remain faithful to her people...the Jews?
2. What is so important about Esther 2:10 and 20? How do they magnify Esther’s faithfulness to her people?
3. How does Esther 4:13 illustrate Esther’s faithfulness to her people?
4. Not only was Esther faithful “TO” her people...but how, in this passage, did she inspire faith “IN” her people?
She had them gathered so that they could fast and pray to GOD for her as she went before the king to ask for their safety(v16). She facilitated corporate prayer among her people! She encouraged and set a precedent of going to GOD first! This is something that someone of faith does--not someone characterized by fear!
Imagine the faith that was instilled in them when they found out that they indeed were being saved just as they had prayed!
Faithful to her GOD
5. How in v14-17 do we see Esther being faithful to GOD?
6. How does Esther display faithfulness in GOD’s sovereignty in v14-17?
Esther had a lot to fear in this situation. In going before the King without being summoned she could be killed. In showing concern for the Jews, she could expose herself as a Jew, which would place her on the list to be killed. Her people and her Uncle were counting on her, as she was their only advocate...that is a lot of pressure! As a group, take note of v14 which shows Mordecai exhorting Esther to trust in GOD’s Sovereignty in the face of fears. He tells her to have faith in GOD’s plan...this may be the reason that GOD has orchestrated all of the events of your life...to place you in a position to be an advocate for the Jews, GOD’s people! Esther’s response in v16 is one of faithful submission and obedience to GOD, despite her fears! Also, notice that Esther’s response of faith followed an extended period of time with GOD, through both fasting and praying! Do you want to increase your ability to respond in faith...then spend time with GOD in prayer/fasting.