Unit 4 Key 2 – For the Mentor


UNIT IV Key 2                                            FAITH

Purpose of this Key:

  1. Learn to avoid deceptive teachings, such as prosperity theology.
  2. Realize that the Christian walk is not an easy pathway through life.
  3. Realize that even when things go badly, Jesus is in the middle with us.
  4. Learn to focus one’s faith on Christ, not on circumstances.
  5. Learn not to judge others who are experiencing trials and tests.
  6. Understand how trials, tests, and temptations build our faith as we struggle through them with Jesus.

Proverbs 17:3

Common responses:

1) The Lord uses hardship to test our hearts.

2) Trials reveal whether our faith is in ourselves or in God.

3) We need to depend on God and remain faithful.

4) Trials expose our hidden sins so they can be confessed and forgiven.

Points to emphasize:

1) If we are living a surrendered life, we accept the ways in which God tests us.

2) Faith grows through difficult circumstances and seeing God show His power on our behalf.

3) We learn from situations that stretch us: we become more loving as we struggle to love difficult people, we learn greater patience from frustrating situations, etc.

4) God promises to bless us if we obey Him in difficult circumstances (Matthew 5:3-12).

5) We will be tested all our lives until we come before our Lord in Heaven (I John 3:2 & II Corinthians 3:18).

Proverbs 1:10

Common responses:

1) We should not give in when someone tries to convince us to sin.

2) We need to listen to the Word of God and not to other people.

3) We should choose our friends carefully.

4) We need to prepare ourselves ahead of time for people who try to tempt us.

Points to emphasize:

1) This is a good verse to memorize and remember when others try to tempt us.

2) We need faith in God’s mercy so we can resist the world’s temptations.

3) We need to listen to the Holy Spirit, Who speaks through the Word of God.

Proverbs 2:1-5

Common responses:

1)  Our highest priority should be to learn God’s wisdom and to understand His Word.

2) God will provide the knowledge we need to accomplish His goals for us.

3) Wisdom helps us avoid pitfalls and draws us closer to God.

4) We need to pray for guidance as we study the Word.

5) Godly wisdom must be actively sought; it will not just happen to us.

6) To know Christ is to know wisdom (I Corinthians 1:30).

Points to emphasize:

1) Real wisdom begins when we realize that we are sinners in need of God’s forgiveness, and that Christ has made full satisfaction for all our sins.

2) Real wisdom realizes that we are unable to earn God’s favor by our clean living and good works.

3) God will help us gain wisdom if asked. His wisdom is brought to us from outside of ourselves, by the Holy Spirit, Who works through the Word of God.  

Luke 17:11-19

Common responses:

1) We should give glory to God for His blessings.

2) We all have things in our lives of which we need to be cleansed.

3) The leper was healed because of his faith, not because of his works.

4) We show gratitude by obedience.

5) Genuine faith leads to obedience.

Points to emphasize:

1) The other nine lepers were only obeying Jesus’ orders. They were healed “as they were going”, in response their acts of obedience.

2) They were obeying the Law of Moses, which made provision for lepers to prove they had been healed (Leviticus 14). After a lengthy ceremony, they would be pronounced clean.

3) The Samaritan was not bound by the Law of Moses.

4) The Samaritan was focused on Jesus Himself, not the Law. He was healed because of his faith, not by keeping the Law.

5) Jesus did not retract the healing He had given the other nine, but the Samaritan did receive an additional blessing. He had a conversation alone with Jesus.

6) For 2000 years, his gratitude has witnessed to millions.

7) Jesus did not need their thanks and gratitude; they needed to give thanks and gratitude for their own benefit.

8) Just a few years later, the Apostles would find Samaritan audiences eager to hear the Gospel, perhaps from the Samaritan witnesses who had gone before them (Acts 8:5-25 & John 4).

I Thessalonians 5:14-24

Common responses:

1) We need to crowd out sin from our lives by filling ourselves with what is good.

2) We need to reflect Jesus to the world.

3) We need to apply these guidelines to our lives.

4) These verses describe the sanctified life, a life wholly given over to God.

Points to emphasize:

1) This is a good passage to use as an aid to self-examination and repentance, along with I Corinthians 13, Galatians 5:22-23, & Colossians 3:12-15).

2) There is no limit on how much we can obey this passage.

3) If we are continuously focused on Jesus, there is no room left for sins of deeds, words, thoughts, attitudes, fantasies, secret agendas, hidden motivations, pride, self-deception, and self-will.

4) These verses show us how to live a life of continuous inner worship.

Titus 2:11-14

Common responses:

1) We should reject worldly desires and live like Jesus.

2) Because of our faith His mercy, our goal should be to let God transform us however He wants to.

3) God will enable us to be self-controlled through the Holy Spirit.

4) We need to remember that Jesus will come back some day.

Points to emphasize:

1) Only the indwelling Christ can motivate us to live His way.

2) We want to be purged of sin to be prepared for His return.

3) The more we are purged of sin, the more zealous we are for good deeds.

4) We want others to receive the same mercy we have received.

5) Christianity is counter-cultural.

6) Verse 14 is a good one to memorize.

1. Have you ever been angry with God for not making your life better, or have you ever blamed Him for bad things that happened? Please explain your answer.

Common responses:

1) Some were angry when a loved one died.

2) Some were angry because they were abused as children.

3) Some were angry at God because they were ssa/ma/tx.

4) Some were angry because life did not turn out the way they had expected or hoped.

Points to emphasize:

1) So often, we project onto God the characteristics we saw in the parent with whom we had trouble when growing up.

2) In reality, He is the gracious Atonement on the cross and the Good Shepherd looking for lost sheep. It is hard to be angry at Him dying on the cross for our sins.

3) God does not cause people to die; death was never His original intention, and death is a consequence of the Fall. He sent Jesus to give us eternal life.

4) Empathize with the pain. It is normal to feel sad when a loved one dies.

5) Many have difficulty accepting that God did not intervene during episodes of abuse. On the cross, Jesus identified with our pain; the more we identify with the suffering Christ, the more easily we can forgive the abusers.

6) God has a way of restoring the balance if we will accept His plan. God has ways of compensating us for that which others will not give us. He will re-configure the plan for our lives if other people refuse to obey His will.

7) God only does good things for us, especially paying a great Ransom on our behalf. Please see Job 33:19-28.

8) In our pain, we need to lean hard on God and watch for Him to give a greater gifting.

2. What is wrong with that attitude?

Common responses:

1) Answers will vary. Many have good insights.

2) Romans 8:28 tells us all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.

3) Jesus suffered on the cross for our sins.

4) Some realize they brought their troubles upon themselves.

Points to emphasize:

1) Affirm any Biblical insights.

2) God is trying to redeem and deliver us.

3) He wants to help us clean up the messes that were caused by our sins or the sins of others.

4) In a fallen world, bad things happen. Jesus is in the middle of the pain with us.

5) Jesus is the Shepherd looking for lost sheep (Luke 15:3-7), the Rabbi standing between the adulterous woman and the stones of the Pharisees (John 8:3-11), and the Atonement on the cross Who could hear a plea for mercy even in His own agony (Luke 23:40-43).

3. Can you think of times when God sent you blessings that you had not expected, which surprised you?

Common responses:

1) Answers will vary.

2) Some give examples of another person helping them in time of need.

3) Some were protected in bad situations.

4) Some mentioned helpful books coming to them at just the right time.

Points to emphasize:

1) Encourage thanks and praise to God.

2) God knows what we need and when we need it. His timing is always perfect.

3) The longer we walk with the Lord, the more such blessings we accumulate.

4. How do you know when your faith has grown?

Common responses:

1) Hope and love replace doubt and anger.

2) They trust Jesus more in various circumstances.

3) They ask for more from God and see more answered prayer.

4) They see themselves becoming more obedient to God’s will.

5) They are happier and more at peace.

6) They take their cares and worries to Jesus.

7) They have more love for the Word have gained more insights from it.

Points to emphasize:

1) Affirm any Biblical insights.

2) Encourage thanks and praise to God.

3) Refer to Ephesians 3:20. God will give us more than we can imagine.

4) Encourage them to journal a list of answered prayers that they can re-read later.

5) Affirm that true faith leads to obedience.

5. How has your growth of faith changed your attitudes?

Common responses:

1) Some feel less depression, anxiety, and anger.

2) Many feel less drawn to ssa/ma/tx.

3) Many describe themselves as being more patient and kind and having a more positive attitude towards themselves and others.

4) Some notice themselves being helpful and kind even to people they do not like.

5) They feel closer to God, trust themselves more to His care, and are willing to wait on His timing.

6) Many feel more in control of their lives and less stressed.

Points to emphasize:

1) Affirm any Biblical insights.

2) Assure them that God has even more to give, as long as we continue to confess our sins, forgive others, surrender self-will, and live transparently before Him. He never stops working on us, and He always has more to give.

3) Refer to Ephesians 6:16. The shield of faith provides protection from attacks from the enemy of our souls.

4) When we believe without seeing (John 20:29 & II Corinthians 5:7), faith eventually becomes sight (Hebrews 11:1 & 13).

6. What do you learn about spiritual warfare in the following passages?

Titus 1:15-16

Common responses:

1) If our souls are not pure, our minds and consciences will not be pure.

2) Small slips into sin will lead to bigger slips into sin.

3) We need to show our faith by our lives.

4) We cannot profess to know God and continue in open sin.

Points to emphasize:

1) Different people are tempted by different things.

2) Some feel free to do things that might be a temptation and a stumbling block to another.

3) Romans 14 and I Corinthians 8 tell us not to use our freedom if it might cause another to stumble.

4) We need to be honest with God about our secret agendas and hidden motivations.

5) There is no shame in avoiding situations that might be tempting.

6) The more purged of sin we are, the more spiritual power can be entrusted to us.

7) God will give us an assignment, the gifts to carry it out, and the spiritual authority to back it up.

8) When ex-ssa/ma/tx Christians go to bars or pride parades to witness, they need to be careful they have the right motives, work in pairs or even trios, and remain alert to what triggers temptation.

Proverbs 12:1

Common responses:

1) We gain wisdom when we accept godly reproof.

2) Reproof hurts our egos, but it is God’s way of teaching us.

3) We should appreciate constructive criticism.

4) If we ignore the conviction of the Holy Spirit, we are opening the door to the devil.

Points to emphasize:

1) Wisdom brings us blessings, so accepting reproof is worth the pain.  

2) People who feel hidden guilt over their sins will become defensive when reproved.

3) The assurance of God’s forgiveness makes us receptive to godly reproof.

4) The people who are best at giving reproof are those who can take it themselves. They sincerely want to help, not “score points” at the expense of others. They give reproof in ways that build us up instead of tearing us down.

5) Good leaders are humble, bad leaders are prideful.

6) If we love to be taught, the Holy Spirit is glad to help.

Proverbs 16:3

Common responses:

1) If our thoughts are pure and based on God’s Word, we will do good works.

2) We can begin each day asking God to show us His will for the day.

3) If we are totally committed to doing God’s will, we cannot fail.

4) There is no room for selfishness or self-will in this verse.

Points to emphasize:

1) When our will is aligned with God’s will, we can assume the results will be fruitful.

2) When things seem to be going wrong, they might not be going wrong from God’s point of view. Even when four days late, He was still right on time (John 11:17, 21-23, & 43-44).

3) If our will is aligned with God’s will, He can do more through us (Matthew 25:21 & 23).

4) If we make self-willed plans and then demand that God give them His stamp of approval, we cannot expect His blessing.

5) This verse calls for total surrender and leaves no room for manipulating God to do our will.

6) If we begin the day by asking God to show us His will, we will have unexpected surprises that are Divine appointments.

2 Peter 1:3

Common responses:

1) The knowledge of God gives us everything we need pertaining to life and godliness.

2) God knows how to make us complete and whole.

3) If we pursue the knowledge of God, He can entrust us with spiritual power.

4) We have been given everything we need; we just need to live it out (Philippians 2:12-13) so God can take pleasure in our obedience.

Points to emphasize:

1) God will give us the gifts to enhance our calling.

2) He will give us wisdom to overcome temptation.

3) He will give us insights into forgiving those who hurt us.

4) He will expose the lies of the devil that have deceived us.

5) If we are called to witness, He will give us the right words.

6) He will give us as much as we will accept.

Romans 8:26

Common responses:

1) The Holy Spirit translates our prayers and makes them perfect, even when we do not know what to say.

2) The Holy Spirit will pray on our behalf about our hidden issues.

3) We can run to God with all our weaknesses.

4) We do not need to be afraid to pray or to worry that we have not prayed rightly.

Points to emphasize:

1) Our own sinful nature interferes with our prayers and hinders us in ways we do not realize.

2) Our prayers are controlled by our minds, which unconsciously censor our prayers.

3) The Holy Spirit translates and perfects our prayers on our behalf.

4) This verse reassures us that we can pray in total confidence.

5) We can learn Spirit-directed prayer, praying about people and situations as we feel directed. We never pray alone.

7. On a scale of 1-10, how victorious have you been lately? Please explain your answer.

Common responses:

1) Most are doing well.

2) Some still struggle with fantasies and masturbation.

3) Some are only slightly tempted by ssa/ma/tx, but are more concerned with sins of words or thoughts.

4) Some have come under conviction of sins that did not used to concern them.

Points to emphasize:

1) Encourage thanks and praise to God for any victory gained.

2) If the number is high because they have had very little temptation lately, encourage thanks and praise to God.  

3) If the number is high because they have had to fight much temptation and were successful, encourage thanks and praise to God.

4) More tests will likely be put in their way, but future tests should not spoil their enjoyment of the victories they have had so far.

5) Avoid criticizing a low number. Try to find out the reason for it. Ask about their thoughts, attitudes, stressful situations, how they are using their time, or if anything unexpected has happened.

6) If they sin less frequently than before, assure them that God has been working in their lives. Encourage progress, not perfection.

7) If they slipped into sin but noticed that the feelings were not as strong, that is a sign of God at work in their lives. Encourage them to confess it, accept God’s forgiveness, and get back on track.

8) If they feel worse after sinning than they used to, that is a sign that God has made their consciences more responsive to His will. They can be thankful for their awakened consciences; they used to be dead in their sins (Ephesians 2:1).

9) Remind them that I John 1:9 and Romans 8:1 always apply.

10) Encourage them to retrace their steps and ask the Holy Spirit to give them insight into    what weakness led to the fall.

11) Encourage them to confess sins of thoughts (Romans 12:2) in order to more easily avoid sins of words and deeds.

12) Continue to encourage them to use memorized Scripture to block tempting and negative thoughts. Encourage use of the Emergency Prayer.

13) If they view themselves as making very little progress, keep their focus on God’s mercy rather than their own failures. Punishing themselves with guilt accomplishes nothing; Jesus took the punishment on their behalf.

14) New Christians do not always understand the difference between temptation and actual          sin. Some give themselves a low number, but while the temptation was great, they may not have fallen into sin. Explain the difference to them.

15)  If they have not had temptation in a long while, they might need to be aware that

       the devil does not give up easily and may be preparing a major attack. This possibility should not prevent them from enjoying their progress now. Overcomers commonly experience a     major attack of temptation before getting the final victory over a besetting sin. If they withstand a big temptation, which can go on for days or weeks, they will usually find themselves that much stronger once it is over. Encourage them to pray for rescue immediately when tempted.

8. Did you use any memorized Scripture to battle temptation lately? What was the result?

Common responses:

  1. Answers will vary.
  2. By now, most have learned to use the Word effectively against temptation.                       
  3. Most are using the Word against sins of deeds. Some are still learning to use it against

      sins of words and thoughts.

Points to emphasize:

1) Affirm any Biblical response.

9. How is your spiritual life in general, how are your private devotions, and how are things at your church/fellowship group?

Common responses:

1) Answers will vary.

2) Most report that things are going well.

3) A few are beginning to emerge as leaders in their church/fellowship group.

Points to emphasize:

1) Encourage thanks and praise to God for whatever is going well.

2) Explore what is not going well and try to help them find out why.

3) Counsel based on your knowledge, experience, and what you have learned from working with this person.

Plan of Action:

1) Affirm any Biblical responses.

2) Give lots of encouragement and reassurance.

Additional points:

1) No matter how much victory one gains over ssa/ma/tx temptations, one might always have lingering attractions.

2) Overcomers who have made much progress sometimes wonder why they still have these temptations.

3) One reason is that we are visually cued to respond sexually, which applies to males more than females.

4) Any sin to which we have once given over our flesh will remain a weakness.

5) Whatever sin in our lives we have recovered from, we should always be aware of the possibility of being triggered again, and we should stay on our guard against temptation.

6) We are prideful if we believe that we can never be tempted again or that we will never slip in a moment of weakness.

7) All our experiences in life are encoded in the neurons of our brains, and those memories of sin are still in the proteins of our brains even if we do not dwell on them or have not thought of them in years.

8) Those memories can be triggered unexpectedly.

9) The good news is that our brains can grow new associations, filling our minds with the knowledge of God.

10) When a sudden temptation comes, we can go instantly into prayer. When prayer becomes an automatic reflex against temptation, we experience the blessing of our minds being peaceful and orderly.

11) This is why we need to be in prayer frequently and focused on Christ.