"FAITH IS THE VICTORY!" In Overcoming Grief INTRODUCTION 1. Jesus promised to provide an "abundant life" when He said: "...I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." (Jn 10:10 ) 2. We have already seen how Jesus provides that abundant life by helping us to overcome many things we face in this world, such as: a. Sin, anxiety, boredom, and depression b. Despair, discontent, and fear -- That is why I am persuaded that "Faith Is The Victory!", as expressed in 1 Jn 5:4-5 3. Before we conclude this series, I wish to illustrate the victory of faith in Jesus in dealing with two more problems we often face: grief and loneliness [In this lesson we shall consider the subject of "grief", beginning with...] I. UNDERSTANDING GRIEF A. GRIEF DEFINED... 1. According to the American Heritage dictionary: "Deep mental anguish, as that arising from bereavement" 2. Synonyms include: sorrow, sadness, mournfulness, gloom 3. The feeling of grief can often be like the feeling of fear, as observed by C. S. Lewis: "No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear." (A Grief Observed) B. NOT ALL GRIEF IS WRONG... 1. Jesus manifested grief when He saw how others were grieved over the loss of a loved one - Jn 11:32-35 2. Paul wrote of "a continual grief" that he had in his heart - Ro 9:1-2 ; cf. 10:1 3. Having grief and expressing it is an important part of overcoming traumatic experiences such as the loss of a loved one 4. Paul and the Ephesian elders expressed their grief as they bid him a sad farewell - Ac 20:36-38 C. GRIEF CAN BECOME A PROBLEM... 1. When it makes one useless for any service a. E.g., when one's grief sends them into extended isolation b. E.g., when one's grief makes them unable to comfort others in their grief 2. When it begins to produce a psychosomatic illness a. Many physical illnesses are either caused or made worse by emotional distress b. Grief is certainly one kind of emotional distress that can take its toll on the body [So while there is a place for grief in the life and heart of a Christian, it is imperative that grief not take control of our lives. With the help of faith in Jesus, that need not happen...] II. FAITH IN JESUS HELPS US TO OVERCOME GRIEF A. JESUS PROVIDES COMFORT TO THE GRIEVING SOUL... 1. As previously noted, Jesus certainly understands our grief a. While in the flesh, He experienced grief - Jn 11:35 b. Indeed, He became flesh to be better suited to come to our aid - He 2:17-18 2. He therefore taught His disciples how to find comfort when troubled a. To believe in Him - Jn 14:1-3 b. To keep His commandments, that we might abide in His love - Jn 15:10-11 c. To pray, that we may have joy and peace - Jn 16:24 ,33; cf. Ph 4:6-7 3. He also provides comfort with the promise of our resurrection - cf. 1 Th 4:13-17 B. JESUS PROVIDES A FAMILY TO HELP BEAR OUR GRIEF... 1. Those who believe in Jesus and do His will are part of a family - cf. Mt 13:46-50 a. That family is the family of God, the church - 1 Ti 3:15 ; cf. 5:1-2 b. In which we have "a hundredfold" brothers, sisters, mothers, etc. - Mk 10:29-30 c. In which we are to 2. As a family, we can bear one another's grief a. By weeping with those who weep - Ro 12:15 b. By sharing in each other's sufferings - 1 Co 12:25-26 c. By comforting one another with the comfort we each receive from God - 2 Co 1:3-5 3. Sadly, many do not take advantage of this blessing of a family a. E.g., those who think they can get what they need watching religious programs b. E.g., those who may "belong to a church", but never become involved -- And so when their grief comes, they must often bear it alone CONCLUSION 1. Jesus certainly did not intend for us to bear our grief alone... a. He taught us how to have lasting joy and peace, even in the midst of grief b. He died and rose from the dead, that our grief even in death might be temporary c. He now intercedes as our High Priest, to comfort us in our times of grief d. He built His church to be a family, so we can receive comfort in times of grief 2. For one to enjoy such blessings, it requires faith in Jesus... a. Faith in Jesus to believe what He taught b. Faith in Jesus to believe what He did c. Faith in Jesus to obey what He commanded that we might abide in His love d. Faith in Jesus to become an integral part of His "church family" So if we wish to overcome grief through Jesus Christ, then "Faith Is The Victory!"