EVIL HATES YOU
During this series, God Likes You, we’ve been working through a letter in the New Testament written to a church in an ancient city called Ephesus. Despite the passing of time, this church is much like Gateway. The people came from different ethnic and religious backgrounds. They had been involved in all sorts of struggles, addictions, and challenges, but they were learning that when your identity is rooted in Jesus we overcome. Our identity is that we are created for a loving relationship with the God. Yes, God loves you, but even more, He genuinely likes who you are, who He created you to be. He knows you, accepts you, wants to do life with you. But, there’s another part to the story that explains why it’s not so easy—evil hates you.
Work through the following questions and Scriptures on your own, and get together with your running partner, life group, or friends and family to talk through what you are learning.
1. Have you ever been told a lie by someone who truly believed it? How did that experience play out? How did you respond? Or, have you ever believed a lie? What did you do once you discovered that it was a lie? How did it affect the people around you?
2. In the message, the premise was stated that at the root of all evil is a lie. How have you seen that play out in the world around you? Or maybe in history?
3. Read Ephesians 6:10-12. Paul expresses that our battle is not against each other, but against evil powers in the world. How should that change your perspective within your community, at work, or at home?
4. Read John 3:19 and John 8:12. Darkness is the absence of light. In the same way, evil can be seen as the absence of God, who is love. How can walking in the light of Jesus dispel the lies that cause people to perform evil acts?
5. Read Ephesians 5:3-13. It’s easy to be drawn into practices that cause you to walk in darkness, to believe a lie that it’s not really a big deal, it’s not hurting anyone, or it’s “just the way I am.” Can you share a time when you experienced this or witnessed it happen with someone close to you? How did this affect relationships?
6. Read Ephesians 6:13-17. So, what can we do to expose the lies of evil? In the message, examples were given using the different parts of spiritual armor that Paul describes in his letter to the Ephesian church. Discuss how each part of armor can be used to confront a lie you have heard others say about you or you’ve told yourself that has kept you in darkness. How can you use this spiritual armor to stand in the light of God’s truth for you?
Ephesians 6:10-12 – Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (NIV)
John 3:19 – This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. (NIV)
John 8:12 – When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (NIV)
Ephesians 5:3-13 – But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater —has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. (NIV)
Ephesians 6:13-17 – Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (NIV)
SPIRITUAL OUTCOMES— gatewaychurch.com/spiritual_outcomes/confession/