DURING THE STORMS OF CHANGE:
“Hold Fast Our Confidence”!
Adult Bible Study Fall Quarter 1997
Lesson Four: “CONFIDENCE IN GOD!”
1. Transparency 4/1 “BACK TO THE FUTURE: PHARAOH'S IMPIOUS
INTERROGATION” (Exodus 5:2). The amazing language of the Egyptian Monarch
expresses the prevailing attitude of our society -- “WHO is God?” Pharaoh's
profane paganism is much too common in our day. Believers are constantly
battered with such cynicism. This attitude has a way of undermining our
confidence. Notice the similarities between Moses and modern believers:
a. Met by ignorance. Pharaoh knew nothing
about God; or, if
he did know something, he saw God as being inferior to
himself! Such an attitude is present in our day. Many are willfully ignorant
of God. This ignorance is boastfully expressed by a rejection of God's
morality, the perverse use of God's Holy Name, and the inhumane treatment
of others. The sequel of Pharaoh's history should warn modern minds --
there is great reason to tremble before the Almighty God!
b. Met by deep profanity. Pharaoh had a
very loose concept
of Deity. The Monarch regarded himself as more important
than God and he wished all to have the same regard for him. He became
insolent, opposed the authority of God, refused the commands of the Almighty.
Such attitudes are prevalent in our day. Many have a similar regard for
God -- they regard Him with contempt; imagine they are free from His dominion;
and, zealously scorn His followers.
c. Met by unwarranted pride. Pharaoh speaks
as though he
was the supreme Monarch and no one rivaled his grandeur
or could defeat his power. This pride led him to an arrogant defiance
of Jehovah God and exposed him to imminent peril. This man is a type of
many in our day, whose pride brings them into open hostility with God's
will and renders them antagonistic to His servants.
2. This lesson develops our understanding regarding
that besets our nation. Not only is confusion rampant
because modern minds have been infected by the world's philosophy and the
Bible has been rejected as our authority in life, but the very concept
of an all-powerful, sovereign God to whom we are accountable has been rejected.
“This confusion and disorientation on a national and cultural level is
showing itself in the church in the form of doctrinal change due to relaxed
convictions that God is real” (Miller, 423). When one combines the factors
discussed in our first three lessons, it is easy to understand why the
concept of an omnipotent Sovereign would be rejected by modern minds. Brainstorm
ideas on the prevailing concept society has about God. It will quickly
be observed that the modern mind conceives of God more like a doting “Grandfather”
than a responsible “Father.” Why is God thus viewed? Transparency 4/2 “How
Does The Modern World View God?”
3. Transparency 4/3 “Confidence In God Brings Calm!” Because
modern man has rejected the biblical sovereignty of Jehovah
God, he finds chaos in life. Those who KNOW the biblical sovereignty of
God possess a confidence that results in a wonderful calm:
a. Paul in the Roman prison (2 Ti 1:12-14).
4. Transparency 4/4 “Confidence In God Shaken!” Even though
b. Elijah when outnumbered by false prophets (1
c. Jonathan and his armor bearer (1 Sa 13:6ff).
d. David as he faced Goliath (1 Sa 17:34ff).
e. Job as he contemplated human suffering (Job 42:2).
f. Believers surrounded with tribulations (Ro 8).
g. There are numerous statements that instill unshakable
confidence in the care, existence, and reign of the Almighty God (cf. Gn
18:14; Mt 19:26; 1 Sa 2:6-10; Ps 46).
great calm is possible, it does not exist. Why? The contributing
factors of lessons 1-3 are evidenced by the following manifestations of
irreligious attitudes toward God. When believers are bombarded with
these, their bold confidence, in the power of an Almighty God, begins to
weaken. Some eventually give up any confidence in God. They do not return
to the world, but they no longer enjoy the blessed assurance that is theirs
by faith in Christ. Consequently they live a miserable existence! What
factors erode confidence in God’s power?
a. Surrounded by those who PROFANE God!
5. Whenever the believer is surrounded by these four factors,
1) Cf. Ex 20:7; Lv 18:21; 19:12; 20:3; 21:6;
22:2,32; Dt 5:11; Ps 139:20; Pr 30:9; Is 59:5; Ro 2:24; Rv 16:9;
b. Surrounded by those who DISHONOR God.
2) “Profane” -- Refers to that which is permitted to be
trodden; to become common; unhallowed. Thus God is treated in such a casual
manner that all distinction of Him as “holy” is erased. Man views God in
such a way that He is “trivialized” and comes to be viewed in an insignificant
3) How has/does modern society “trivialize” God
and thus erase all concepts of the Divine holiness from . . .
a) Our society? What behaviors will
be tolerated/encouraged? How will restraints be encouraged?
4) What can be done to correct this “profane” attitude?
b) The church? What attitudes toward religious
issues will be seen? What behaviors will become visible? How will restraints/discipline
be taught? How is this trivialization explained by Titus 1:16?
1) Cf. Ex 20:7; Dt 5:11; 28:58; Ps 111:9; Micah
4:5; 1 Ti 6:1.
c. Surrounded by those who PRESUMPTUOUSLY SIN against
2) The irreverence of modern society has lessened the
respect of man for God.
a) Irreverence from those in the world. When
Christians are surrounded by those whose talk and behavior dishonors God,
they become timid and their confidence vanishes!
b) Irreverence from those in the church.
One expects the worldling to act dishonorable toward God. Witnessing their
blasphemy is often discouraging to believers (cf Jere 12:1ff). However,
an even greater discouragement comes when God is dishonored by one claiming
to be His disciple!
1) Cf. 2 Ti 1:15; 2:16-19; 4:10; Tit 1:10; Hb
2) What are some ways that modern believers bring
dishonor upon God? Explain why their action is a dishonor to God. How do
these actions impact the confidence of other Christians?
1) Ps 73:1-16; Neh 9:28-31; Pr 1:24-27;
29:1; Eccl 8:11; Mt 24:48-51.
2) There is a flagrant act of sin identified as
“sinning with a high hand.” (Cf. Num 15:30). In sporting events the
greatest penalties are given to those committing “flagrant fouls” -- the
contestants are treated harshly because they KNOW better. The impact of
the flagrant act is telling upon all others. Such is certainly true in
spiritual matters -- the believers’ confidence is shaken when fellow brethren
flagrantly refuse God (cf. Philip 3:18-19; Hb 10:21-27; 3 Jn 9; etc.).
d. Surrounded by those who DENY GOD.
1) Ro 1:18-31
2) When Christians constantly hear the existence
of God questioned they are tempted to lose heart. Many feel unprepared
to respond to these antagonists and this lack of confidence in their beliefs
leads to a practice of “timid Christianity” (a.k.a. “Silence”). The appropriate
response for Christians -- 1 Pt 3:15; 2 Ti 1:7-8; 1 Co 15:58).
3) Another way by which one can deny God -- failing
to live according to God’s directions (cf Tit 1:16). Many know that God’s
existence cannot be denied but they do deny His sovereignty. They thus
opt to live a life of “practical atheism.” They offer lip service but fail
to offer heart service (cf. Mt 15:7-9).
a) How is this lip service rationalized?
b) How can a Christian live in a “practical
denial” of God’s sovereignty?
her confidence begins to weaken. If left surrounded by
these four fiendish factors, the believer eventually gives in to Satan
and live a life of compromised faith filled with bitter regret and cynicism.
Ultimately all religious devotion is mechanical and one loses all sensitivity
to God, becoming as spiritually dull as they were prior to their conversion
(cf Ep 4:19). In a practical analysis, those who lose confidence in God’s
sovereign power see these four consequences: Transparency 4/5 “Awful Consequences!”
a. Their Faith is ruined. Having lost confidence
in God, to whom, or what, are they to turn? If they cannot
believe in God, they are left to believe in themselves.
6. TRANSPARENCY 4/7 “Pertinent Questions Regarding My Confi-
dence In God” Once one realizes the awesome sovereignty of God there
will be an awakening to these questions:
b. Their Devotion is compromised. The Christian
who does not
look to God as the Almighty Sovereign, will certainly
feel no compulsion to serve God in self-surrender. There will be a degree
of faith demonstrated, but not the full surrender that the universal Sovereign
deserves. This compromised devotion will impact fellow brethren in a negative
c. Their Holiness is blemished. If God is not the
universal Sovereign and there are other objects equal to, or even greater
than He, why should Christians discipline themselves to keep unspotted
from the world? Why should Christians live in ways that draw the ire and
ridicule of others?
d. Their Example is worthless. If the believer loses
God’s sovereign reign, then pluralism is the only option.
Why should s/he live the lifestyle required by God when other “religious”
ways offer a more convenient and relaxed lifestyle?
e. In response to this impending calamity, believers
so that confidence in God is restored. What should believers
do so they will not lose confidence in God and fall into calamity? TRANSPARENCY
4/6 “What Should We Do?”
1) RENEW our Faith in God! Study and KNOW
that God exists;
learn to answer all who ask questions; establish your
beliefs upon a sound system that can be explained! (2 Ti 2:15). Remember
that the proper philosophy begins with logic and reason that “explains”
beliefs. Those who attempt to base beliefs upon “feelings” (the second
level) will fail.
2) REVIVE our devotion to God’s will! Daily life
is hard and often discouraging. Those who strive to obey God but face repeated
setbacks in life, often lessen their devotion. Believers must fuel the
spirit of devoted service when confronted with the world’s discouragements
(cf. Ac 4:13-20; 5:27-42).
3) RESTORE steadfastness in our resolve to follow
our confidence in God’s Sovereignty is certain, our steadfastness
to His will can be seen. The world’s tribulations strive to undermine this
confident trust, but nothing on earth can displace Jehovah God’s plan (cf
1 Co 15:58).
4) REVERE God’s sovereignty in all of life. We
must realize that
God is indeed the Ruler of this world (including “my”
life’s choices). I therefore have no option except that I will submit to
His will and obey it from my heart. This may require me to make some difficult
choices. However if God is indeed the universal Sovereign I really have
no choice in the matter! (Cf. Da 4:34-37).
a. Why was I timid about God’s vindication
of His saints? Why did
I fear that God’s disciples would be overwhelmed by the
world? (Cf. Rv 6:9-11; Ro 8:37-39). The believer should possess a strong
confidence because of God’s character!
b. What aspects of God’s character offer the greatest
foundation to my confidence? List some of the traits of the Almighty God
that offer assurance. (Cf. Dt 32).
c. Why have I not realized that God’s character
should have an impact upon these aspects of daily living .
1) . . . Regarding the practice of sin?
Can I continue practicing sin?
2) . . . Regarding my obedience to His commands?
Can I not obey God and be “excused”?
3) . . . Regarding my eternal security? Can I trust
in the Almighty God to save my soul or must I do it myself?
d. Have I sought to introduce this majestic
God to the world? Do
I succumb to the temptation to present a “cultural God,”
a “manageable Deity” instead of the Awesome Sovereign of the Scriptures?
What “kind of God” have I really communicated to my friends?
e. Do I now realize that only a firm confidence
in God will offer me joy in life? Am I willing to allow this
confidence in the Almighty God impact my life in regard to
. . .
1) Personal holiness and conviction of
the Truth (Jn 7:17).
2) Family training and priorities (Dt 6:4-6).
3) Rendering righteous judgment instead of timid
silence (Jn 7:24).
4) An example and influence for God that tells
others I have denied Self and am willing to follow God fully (Lk 9:23-26).
7. TRANSPARENCY 4/8 “Confidence In God” Christians
must develop an unshakable confidence in the Almighty God. Without this
the believer will give up and go back into the world’s turmoil (cf. Hb
6:9-19). This blessed confidence is anchored in our convictions that God
. . .
a. DOES exist -- He IS real and does care
for mankind! (Ac 17:24-28)
b. FOLLOWS righteousness and all He does is governed
by the right standard! (Ps 48:10; 97:2).
c. EXPECTS man to follow righteousness and will
inspect to see if man is obeying His will! (Num 14:24).
d. RESTORES the erring and fully forgives all repented
sins! (Ps 103:8-13).
e. Note: When Christians are confident in these
summary matters, they will find the joyful comfort that only the Almighty
God can offer. Let no one be led into doubt but let all find a blessed
Back To The Future!
Pharaoh’s Impious Interrogation!
How does the modern world view God?
Confidence In God Brings Calm!
Paul (2 Ti 1:12ff)
Elijah (1 Ki 18:21ff)
Jonathan (1 Sa 13:6ff)
David (1 Sa 17:34ff)
Job (Job 42:2)
Believers (Ro 8)
Confidence In God Shaken!
Confidence in God is shaken when Christians are surrounded
by . . .
FAITH is ruined!
DEVOTION is compromised!
HOLINESS is blemished!
EXAMPLE is worthless!
What Shall We Do?
Pertinent Questions Regarding My Confidence In God~~
HAVE I succumbed?
Do I realize joy?
Confidence In God!
Blessed confidence is anchored in convictions that God
. . .
Ps 48:10; 97:2
RESTORES! (Ps 103:8-13)
Copyright 1999 by John
L. Kachelman Jr. may be reproducted for non-commercial purposes at no cost