Category: New Believers

Foundations Lesson 5: The Holy Ghost

Foundations Lesson 5: The Holy Ghost

The Holy Spirit is a Person

In Greek, personal pronouns are used – He, Him, etc. Greek (parakletos) – “One called alongside to help”, Helper, Comforter, Counselor.

The Holy Spirit possesses attributes of personhood

Intellect. Romans 8:26: … the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Intercession requires intellect.

Emotions. Ephesians 4:30: And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God.

A Will. Luke 2:26: And it had been revealed unto him by the Holy Spirit, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. To actively reveal something is an act of the will.

The Holy Spirit does things only a Person can do:

  • teaches and helps us to remember John 14:26
  • calls men to service (He speaks) Acts 13:2
  • convicts us of sin John 16:8
  • leads Romans 8:13,14
  • authors 2 Peter 1:19-21

being a Person, He can be affected by our actions or attitudes.

  • We can lie to Him            Acts 5:1-3
  • We can grieve Him          Ephesians 4:30
  • We can quench Him        1 Thessalonians 5:19
  • We can insult Him           Hebrews 10:29
  • We can resist Him            Acts 7:51
  • We can blaspheme Him   Mark 3:28-29
  • We are convicted by Him  John 16:7-11

The Holy Spirit is God Himself

In possessing the same essential qualities that Jesus does, He possesses all of the attributes of God:

Omnipresent                                  Psalms 139:7-10

Omnipotent                                   Luke 1:35

Omniscient                                    John 14:26; 16:12-13 1 Cor 2:10-11

Eternal                                           Hebrews 9:14

Holy                                     Romans 1:4

Creator                                          Gen 1:2, Job 33:4; Ps 104:30,

He is called God                                              Acts 5:3-4,  2 Cor 3:3, 17

fills                                                         Acts 4:8,  Eph 5:18

empowers  (epi)                                      Rom 8:13,  Gal 5:17,  Zech 4:6,

Acts 1:8

teaches                                                             John 14:26,  John 16:13,  Neh 9:20,

1 John 2:27

 

edifies                                                              Acts 9:31

He does not call attention to Himself and is ever present to glorify and testify of the Lord Jesus Christ.

John 16:13-14: However, when He, the Spirit of Truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth. For He shall not speak of Himself, but whatever He hears, He shall speak. And He will announce to you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will receive of Mine and will announce it to you.

The Spirit of God is active today, convicting the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment.

John 16:8: And when that One comes, He will convict the world concerning sin, and concerning righteousness, and concerning judgment.

He regenerates

John 3:6-7: That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, You must be born again.

Seals Believers

Ephesians 4:30: And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you are sealed until the day of redemption.

and sets the believer apart to a holy life.

Galatians 5:16: I say, then, Walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the lusts of flesh.

At the moment of salvation, each believer is baptized with the Spirit into the body of Christ

1 Corinthians 12:13: For also by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free, even all were made to drink into one Spirit.

To quote Dr. Stanley, at the moment of your salvation, you got all of the Holy Spirit that you are ever going to get.

and at the same moment is permanently indwelt by the Spirit.

John 14:16-17: And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, so that He may be with you forever, the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive because it does not see Him nor know Him. But you know Him, for He dwells with you and shall be in you.

 

At salvation the Holy Spirit sovereignly imparts at least one spiritual gift to every believer for the purpose of edifying and equipping the body of Christ.

1 Corinthians 12:7-8: And to each hath been given the manifestation of the Spirit for profit; for to one through the Spirit hath been given a word of wisdom, and to another a word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit.

As to the charismata (grace gifts/gifts of the Spirit)

The Gift of the Spirit is the Holy Spirit himself, and He is to be desired more than the Grace Gifts which He in His wise counsel bestows upon individual members of the Church to enable them properly to fulfill their function as members of the body of Christ. The gifts of the Spirit, although not always identifiable with natural abilities, function through them for the edification of the whole Church. These gifts are to be exercised in love under the administration of the Lord of the Church, not through human volition. The relative value of the gifts of the Spirit is to be tested by their usefulness in the Church and not by the ecstasy produced in the ones receiving them.

The purpose is to edify the whole Church

Problem (especially for Charismatics):  lack of knowledge of the Person of the Holy Spirit and the proper exercise of His gifts.

The gifts are ALWAYS to focus the believer on Jesus never to focus on the believer himself.

He gifts us by His sovereign will…and takes into account our unique personalities

Gifts complement each other, never compete with each other

The Cessation of the Sign Gifts

The biblical record shows that miracles occurred during particular periods for the specific purpose of authenticating a new message from God.

Moses was enabled to perform miracles to authenticate his ministry before Pharaoh (Exodus 4:1-8). Elijah was given miracles to authenticate his ministry before Ahab (1 Kings 17:118:24). The apostles were given miracles to authenticate their ministry before Israel (Acts 4:1016).

Jesus’ ministry was also marked by miracles, which the Apostle John calls “signs” (John 2:11). John’s point is that the miracles were proofs of the authenticity of Jesus’ message.

After Jesus’ resurrection, as the Church was being established and the New Testament was being written, the apostles demonstrated “signs” such as tongues and the power to heal. “Tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not” (1 Corinthians 14:22), a verse that plainly says the gift was never intended to edify the church.

As the “Gift of Tongues” seems to be the most common gift sought today, we will focus on it for our arguments

Evidence from Scripture

Is there biblical or theological evidence that tongues have ceased? Yes.

First, the gift of tongues was a miraculous, revelatory gift, and the age of miracles and, especially, revelation ended with the apostles. The last recorded miracles in the New Testament occurred around A.D. 58, with the healings on the island of Malta (Acts 28:7-10). From A.D. 58 to 96, when John finished the book of Revelation, no miracle is recorded. Miracle gifts like tongues and healing are mentioned only in 1 Corinthians, an early epistle and possibly one of the first penned by the Apostle Paul. Two later epistles, Ephesians and Romans, both discuss gifts of the Spirit at length—but no mention is made of the miraculous gifts.

By that time miracles were already looked on as something in the past (Heb. 2:3-4). Apostolic authority and the apostolic message needed no further confirmation. Before the first century ended, the entire New Testament had been written and was circulating through the churches.

John MacArthur makes an excellent point and adds a powerful question:

Charismatic believers insist that none of the gifts have ceased and non-charismatics insist that tongues have already ceased. Who is right and what is the implication?

By the time the apostolic age ended with the death of the Apostle John, the signs that identified the apostles had already become moot (cf. 2 Cor. 12:12).

Secondly, tongues were intended as a sign to unbelieving Israel (1 Cor. 14:21-22; cf. Is. 28:11-12). They signified that God had begun a new work that encompassed the Gentiles. The Lord would now speak to all nations in all languages. The barriers were down. And so the gift of languages symbolized not only the curse of God on a disobedient nation, but also the blessing of God on the whole world. (Here, in a sense, God reversed, or rather superceded, for a time, what He did at the Tower of Babel by confusing humanity’s languages.)

Tongues were therefore a sign of transition between the Old and New Covenants. With the establishment of the church, a new day had dawned for the people of God. God would speak in all languages. But once the period of transition was past, the sign would no longer be necessary.

Third, the gift of tongues was inferior to other gifts. It was given primarily as a sign (1 Cor. 14:22) and was also easily misused to edify self (1 Cor. 14:4). Case in point, the number of people who foolishly claim that all believers should expect this gift, or the even more dangerous teaching that one cannot truly be saved if He does not speak in tongues. The church meets for the edification of the body, not self-gratification or personal experience-seeking. Therefore, tongues had limited usefulness in the church, and so it was never intended to be a permanent gift.

Evidence from History

The evidence of history indicates that tongues have ceased. It is significant that tongues are mentioned only in the earliest books of the New Testament. Paul wrote at least twelve epistles after 1 Corinthians and never mentioned tongues again. Peter never mentioned tongues; James never mentioned tongues; John never mentioned tongues; neither did Jude. Tongues appeared only briefly in Acts and 1 Corinthians as the new message of the gospel was being spread. But once the church was established, tongues were gone. They stopped. The later books of the New Testament do not mention tongues again, and neither did anyone in the post-apostolic age.

Chrysostom and Augustine—the greatest theologians of the eastern and western churches—considered tongues obsolete. Writing in the fourth century, Chrysostom stated categorically that tongues had ceased by his time and described the gift as an obscure practice. Augustine referred to tongues as a sign that was adapted to the apostolic age. In fact, during the first five hundred years of the church, the only people who claimed to have spoken in tongues were followers of Montanus, who was branded as a heretic.

The Apostle Paul predicted that the gift of tongues would cease (1 Corinthians 13:8). To repeat and reinforce the point, here are six proofs {gotquestions.org} that it has already ceased:

1) The apostles, through whom tongues came, were unique in the history of the church. Once their ministry was accomplished, the need for authenticating signs ceased to exist.

2) The miracle (or sign) gifts are only mentioned in the earliest epistles, such as 1 Corinthians. Later books, such as Ephesians and Romans, contain detailed passages on the gifts of the Spirit, but the miracle gifts are not mentioned, although Romans does mention the gift of prophecy. The Greek word translated “prophecy” means “speaking forth” and does not necessarily include prediction of the future.

3) The gift of tongues was a sign to unbelieving Israel that God’s salvation was now available to other nations. See 1 Corinthians 14:21-22 and Isaiah 28:11-12.

4) Tongues was an inferior gift to prophecy (preaching). Preaching the Word of God edifies (builds up/trains/molds) believers, whereas tongues does not. Believers are told to seek prophesying over speaking in tongues (1 Corinthians 14:1-3).

5) History indicates that tongues did cease. Tongues are not mentioned at all by the Post-Apostolic Fathers. Other writers such as Justin Martyr, Origen, Chrysostom, and Augustine considered tongues something that happened only in the earliest days of the Church.

6) Current observation confirms that the miracle of tongues has ceased. If the gift were still available today, there would be no need for missionaries to attend language school. Missionaries would be able to travel to any country and speak any language fluently, just as the apostles were able to speak in Acts 2. As for the miracle gift of healing, we see in Scripture that healing was associated with the ministry of Jesus and the apostles (Luke 9:1-2). And we see that as the era of the apostles drew to a close, healing, like tongues, became less frequent. The Apostle Paul, who raised Eutychus from the dead (Acts 20:9-12), did not heal Epaphroditus (Philippians 2:25-27), Trophimus (2 Timothy 4:20), Timothy (1 Timothy 5:23), or even himself (2 Corinthians 12:7-9). The reasons for Paul’s “failures to heal” are 1) the gift was never intended to make every Christian well, but to authenticate apostleship; and 2) the authority of the apostles had been sufficiently proved, making further miracles unnecessary.

EQUALITY OF THE THREE PERSONS

We’ve studied Father, Son and Holy Spirit. One more of our claims needs to be addressed; that of the equality of the three:

“[God] is infinite and perfect, eternally existing in three equal persons.”

In what sense are they equal? They are all equally endowed with all of the attributes of Personhood and Deity. Matthew 28:19: Therefore go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Unity of the One Being of Father, Son and Holy Spirit

Accordingly, therefore, there is that in the Father which constitutes him the Father and not the Son; there is that in the Son which constitutes Him the Son and not the Father; and there is that in the Holy Spirit which constitutes Him the Holy Spirit and not either the Father or the Son. Wherefore the Father is the Begetter, the Son is the Begotten, and the Holy Spirit is the one proceeding from the Father and the Son. Therefore, because these three persons in the Godhead are in a state of unity, there is but one Lord God Almighty and His name one.

John 1:18, John 15:26, John 17:11, John 17:21,  Zechariah 14:9

Identity and Cooperation in the Godhead

The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are never identical as to Person; nor confused as to relation; nor divided in respect to the Godhead; nor opposed as to cooperation. The Son is in the Father and the Father is in the Son as to relationship. The Son is with the Father and the Father is with the Son, as to fellowship. The Father is not from the Son, but the Son is from the Father, as to authority. The Holy Spirit is from the Father and the Son proceeding, as to nature, relationship, cooperation and authority. Hence, neither Person in the Godhead either exists or works separately or independently of the others. (John 5:17-30, John 5:32, John 5:37, John 8:17,18)

Foundations 4: The Divine Son

Foundations 4: The Divine Son

The earliest Creeds/Statements of Faith of the Church teach a belief in the Trinity. In this week’s lesson, we are looking at the 2nd Person of the Trinity. Prior to the Incarnation, His identity was shrouded in the mystery of the Godhead. Since the Incarnation, we now refer to Him by the Name by which He was known on Earth, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ, the second person of the Trinity, possesses all the attributes of the Godhead, and in/because of these He is coequal, consubstantial, and coeternal with the Father (John 10:3014:9).

  • He is eternal (John 1:1-3 with 1 John 1:1-4, John 1:15, John 8:58, John 17:5, 24, Hebrews 1:11)
  • He is omnipresent (John 3:13, Matthew 18:20, Ephesians 1:23)
  • He is omniscient (John 16:30, John 21:17, Colossians 2:3, John 4:29, Luke 6:8)
  • He is omnipotent (John 5:19, Hebrews 1:2-3, Matthew 28:18)
  • He is immutable (Hebrews 1:12, Hebrews 13:8)
  • Creator and Sustainer (John 1:3, Colossians 1:15-17, Hebrews 1:3, 10 Psalm 33:6
  • Jesus Christ has the prerogatives of God (Matthew 9:2, 6; Luke 7:47- John 5:25-29 John 6:39, John 11:25-26 John 5:22

 

Jesus names Himself as God and explains I AM in John’s Gospel (Exodus 3:14)

  • the Bread of Life (6:35, 41)
  • the Light of the world (8:12)
  • the Good Shepherd (10:11, 14)
  • the Door (10:7, 9)
  • the Way the Truth and the Life (14:6)
  • the Resurrection and the Life (11:25-26)
  • the True Vine (15:1)
  • John 8:24
  • John8:58

Eternal Sonship (gotquestions.org)

The doctrine of eternal Sonship simply affirms that the second Person of the triune Godhead has eternally existed as the Son. In other words, there was never a time when He was not the Son of God, and there has always been a Father/Son relationship within the Godhead. This doctrine recognizes that the idea of Sonship is not merely a title or role that Christ assumed at some specific point in history, but that it is the essential identity of the second Person of the Godhead. According to this doctrine, Christ is and always has been the Son of God.

Yes, the eternal Sonship is biblical and is a view that is widely held among Christians and has been throughout church history. It is important, however, to remember when discussing the doctrine of eternal Sonship that there are evangelical Christians on both sides of this debate. This is not to say that this is not an important doctrine, because it is; it simply acknowledges the fact that there are orthodox or evangelical Christians that hold or have held both views. Those that deny the doctrine of eternal Sonship are not denying the triune nature of God or the deity or eternality of Christ, and those that embrace the eternal Sonship of Christ are not inferring that Jesus Christ was anything less than fully God.

Throughout church history the doctrine of eternal Sonship has been widely held, with most Christians believing that Jesus existed as God’s eternal Son before creation. It is affirmed in the Nicene Creed (325 A.D.) which states: “We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.” It was also later reaffirmed in the fifth century in the Athanasian Creed.

There is considerable biblical evidence to support the eternal Sonship of Christ. First of all, there are many passages that clearly identify that it was “the Son” who created all things (Colossians 1:13-16Hebrews 1:2), thereby strongly implying that Christ was the Son of God at the time of creation. When one considers these passages, it seems clear that the most normal and natural meaning of the passages is that at the time of creation Jesus was the Son of God, the second Person of the Triune Godhead, thus supporting the doctrine of eternal Sonship.

Second, there are numerous verses that speak of God the Father sending the Son into the world to redeem sinful man (John 20:21Galatians 4:41 John 4:141 John 4:10) and giving His Son as a sacrifice for sin (John 3:16). Clearly implied in all the passages that deal with the Father sending/giving the Son is the fact that He was the Son before He was sent into the world. This is even more clearly seen in Galatians 4:4-6, where the term “sent forth” is used both of the Son and the Spirit. Just as the Holy Spirit did not become the Holy Spirit when He was sent to empower the believers at Pentecost, neither did the Son become the Son at the moment of His incarnation. All three Persons of the Triune Godhead have existed for all eternity, and their names reveal who they are, not simply what their title or function is.

Third, 1 John 3:8 speaks of the appearance or manifestation of the Son of God: “the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” The verb “to make manifest” or “appeared” means to make visible or to bring to light something that was previously hidden. The idea communicated in this verse is not that the second Person of the trinity became the Son of God, but that the already existing Son of God was made manifest or appeared in order to fulfill God’s predetermined purpose. This idea is also seen in other verses such as John 11:27 and 1 John 5:20.

Fourth, Hebrews 13:8 teaches that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever.” This verse, again, seems to support the doctrine of eternal Sonship. The fact that Jesus’ divine nature is unchanging would seem to indicate that He was always the Son of God because that is an essential part of His Person. At the incarnation Jesus took on human flesh, but His divine nature did not change, nor did His relationship with the Father. This same truth is also implied in John 20:31, where we see John’s purpose in writing his gospel was so that we might “believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.” It does not say that He became the Son of God but that He is the Son of God. The fact that Jesus was and is the Son of God is an essential aspect of Who He is and His work in redemption.

Finally, one of the strongest evidences for the eternal Sonship of Christ is the triune nature of God and the eternal relationship that exists among the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Particularly important is the unique Father/Son relationship that can only be understood from the aspect of Christ’s eternal Sonship. This relationship is key to understanding the full measure of God’s love for those whom He redeems through the blood of Christ. The fact that God the Father took His Son, the very Son He loved from before the foundation of the world, and sent Him to be a sacrifice for our sins is an amazing act of grace and love that is best understood from the doctrine of eternal Sonship.

One verse that speaks of the eternal relationship between the Father and Son is John 16:28. “I came forth from the Father, and have come into the world; I am leaving the world again, and going to the Father.” Implied in this verse is again the fact that the Father/Son relationship between God the Father and God the Son is one that always has and always will exist. At His incarnation the Son “came from the Father” in the same sense as upon His resurrection He returned “to the Father.” Implied in this verse is the fact that if Jesus was the Son after the resurrection, then He was also the Son prior to His incarnation. Other verses that support the eternal Sonship of Christ would include John 17:5 and John 17:24, which speak of the Father’s love for the Son from “before the foundation of the world.”

After one considers the many arguments for the doctrine of eternal Sonship, it should become clear that this is indeed a biblical doctrine that finds much support in Scripture. However, that is not to imply that arguments cannot be made against the doctrine as well, or that all Christians will agree to this doctrine. While it has been the view of the majority of Christian commentators throughout history, there have been several prominent Christians on the other side of the issue as well.

The term, “son of God,” occurs more than 40 times in the Bible, all of them in the New Testament. The phrase is found in the KJV in Dan. 3:25, but the Hebrew word of God is actually in the plural so it should read, “son of the gods.” So, what do we find when we examine the phrase in the New Testament?

  • Jesus Christ is the Son of God, ( 26:63, Mark 1:1, John 20:31, Heb. 4:14).
  • Unclean spirits would fall down before Jesus and say, “You are the Son of God,” (Mark 3:11).
  • “ . . . the holy offspring shall be called the Son of God,” (Luke 1:35).
  • Adam is said to be the son of God (Luke 3:38).
  • Those who hear the voice of the Son of God shall live (John 5:25).
  • Paul had faith in the Son of God ( 2:20).
  • Son of God has no beginning or end ( 7:3).
  • The Son of God appeared to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8).
  • Believe in the Son of God so that you may have eternal life (1 John 5:13).

We can see that the term refers to the majesty, position, and power of Jesus who is holy (Luke 1:35), associated with salvation (John 5:25) and that we are to have faith in the Son of God (Gal. 2:20) so as to have eternal life (1 John 5:13) and that He has no beginning or end (Heb. 7:3).

The only exception to this flow of exultation is Luke 3:38 when it says Adam was the “Son of God,” but here the context is a genealogy, and we know that Adam was the first man created by God.

Furthermore, in reference to Jesus, the term, “Son of God,” does not mean that Jesus is the literal offspring of God as if God had some form of sexual relations with Mary to produce Jesus. God is spirit (John 4:24), and spirit does not have flesh and bones (Luke 24:39), so God the Father is not the literal father of Jesus.

Jesus can be both God and the Son of God because the terms don’t mean the same thing. When we say that Jesus is God (John 1:114Colossians 2:9Hebrews 1:8), we are saying that Jesus possesses the divine nature (as well as a human nature, see hypostatic union). But the term, “Son of God,” does not mean that Jesus is not God. Think about it. If the term, “Son of God,” meant that Jesus is not God, then does the term, “Son of Man,” mean that Jesus is not a man? Of course not. Likewise, if the term, “Son of Man,” means that Jesus is a man, then does it not imply that when it says that Jesus is the “Son of God,” that He is God? We ought not look at the ancient words found in Scripture and judge them by modern thinking.

“For this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God,” (John 5:18).

As you can see in this verse, Jesus was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal to God. Therefore, the term, Son of God, is a designation of the equality with God when it is a reference to Christ.

Those that deny the doctrine of eternal Sonship would instead hold to a view that is often referred to as the Incarnational Sonship, which teaches that while Christ preexisted, He was not always the Son of God. Those that hold this view believe Christ became the Son of God at some point in history, with the most common view being that Christ became the Son at His incarnation. However, there are others who believe Christ did not become the Son until sometime after His incarnation, such as at His baptism, His resurrection, or His exaltation. It is important to realize that those who deny the eternal Sonship of Christ still recognize and affirm His deity and His eternality.

Those who hold this view see the Sonship of Christ as not being an essential part of Who He is, but instead see it as simply being a role or a title or function that Christ assumed at His incarnation. They also teach that the Father became the Father at the time of the incarnation. Throughout history many conservative Christians have denied the doctrine of eternal Sonship. Some examples would include Ralph Wardlaw, Adam Clarke, Albert Barnes, Finis J. Dake, Walter Martin, and at one time John MacArthur. It is important to note, however, that several years ago John MacArthur changed his position on this doctrine and he now affirms the doctrine of eternal Sonship.

One of the verses commonly used to support Incarnational Sonship is Hebrews 1:5, which appears to speak of God the Father’s begetting of God the Son as an event that takes place at a specific point in time: “Thou art My Son, Today I have begotten Thee. And again. I will be a Father to Him. And He shall be a Son to Me.” Those who hold to the doctrine of incarnational Sonship point out two important aspects of this verse. 1—that “begetting” normally speaks of a person’s origin, and 2—that a Son is normally subordinate to his father. They reject the doctrine of eternal Sonship in an attempt to preserve the perfect equality and eternality of the Persons of the Triune Godhead. In order to do so, they must conclude that “Son” is simply a title or function that Christ took on at His incarnation and that “Sonship” refers to the voluntary submission that Christ took to the Father at His incarnation (Philippians 2:5-8John 5:19).

Some of the problems with the Incarnational Sonship of Christ are that this teaching confuses or destroys the internal relationships that exist within the Trinity, because if the Son is not eternally begotten by the Father, then neither did the Spirit eternally proceed from the Father through the Son. Also, if there is no Son prior to the incarnation, then there is no Father either; and yet throughout the Old Testament we see God being referred to as the Father of Israel. Instead of having a triune God eternally existing in three distinct Persons with three distinct names, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, those who hold to the doctrine of incarnational Sonship end up with a nameless Trinity prior to the incarnation, and we would be forced to say that God has chosen not to reveal Himself as He truly is, but only as He was to become. In other words, instead of actually revealing who He is, the Triune God instead chose to reveal Himself by the titles He would assume or the roles that He would take on and not who He really is. This is dangerously close to modalism and could easily lead to false teachings about the nature of God. One of the weaknesses of the doctrine of incarnational Sonship is that the basic relationships existing among the members of the Trinity are confused and diminished. Taken to its logical conclusion, denying the eternal Sonship of Christ reduces the Trinity from the relationship of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to simply Number One, Number Two and Number Three Persons—with the numbers themselves being an arbitrary designation, destroying the God-given order and relationship that exists among the Persons of the Trinity.

God the Father created “the heavens and the earth and all that is in them” according to His own will, through His Son, Jesus Christ, by whom all things continue in existence and in operations (John 1:3Colossians 1:15-17Hebrews 1:2).

The 2nd Person of the Trinity as the God-man

  • In the incarnation (God becoming man) Christ surrendered/laid aside His prerogatives as God but nothing of the divine essence, either in degree or kind, instead subordinating Himself to the will of God the Father and accepting the limitations of humanity. In His incarnation, the eternally existing second person of the Trinity accepted all the essential characteristics of humanity and so became the God-man (Philippians 2:5-8Colossians 2:9).
  • Jesus Christ represents, perfectly, humanity and deity in indivisible oneness (Micah 5:2John 5:2314:9, 10Colossians 2:9).

         The Definition of the Council of Chalcedon (451 A.D)

Therefore, following the holy fathers, we all with one accord teach men to acknowledge one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, at once complete in Godhead and complete in manhood, truly God and truly man, consisting also of a reasonable soul and body; of one substance with the Father as regards his Godhead, and at the same time of one substance with us as regards his manhood; like us in all respects, apart from sin; as regards his Godhead, begotten of the Father before the ages, but yet as regards his manhood begotten, for us men and for our salvation, of Mary the Virgin, the God-bearer; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, recognized in two natures, without confusion, without change, without division, without separation; the distinction of natures being in no way annulled by the union, but rather the characteristics of each nature being preserved and coming together to form one person and subsistence, not as parted or separated into two persons, but one and the same Son and Only-begotten God the Word, Lord Jesus Christ; even as the prophets from earliest times spoke of him, and our Lord Jesus Christ himself taught us, and the creed of the fathers has handed down to us.

The Scriptures teach:

Why did God the Son become man?  Why did He subject Himself to His creatures and allow Himself to be humiliated?

  1. to fulfill God’s promises

Isaiah 9:6, Isaiah 7:14, Micah 5:2, Daniel 9:26

  1. to reveal the Father to man

God had been revealed as Creator and Lord…

now He is revealed to be Father, completing the revelation

  1. to become a faithful High Priest

a sinless High Priest to represent man

Hebrews 2:17-18, Hebrews 5:1-3, Hebrews 7:25-27

  1. to put away/put an end to sin

Hebrews 9:26, Mark 10:45, 1 John 3:5

Lev 16:20-22, John 1:29, Isaiah 53:6, 2 Corinthians 5:21

  1. to destroy the works of Satan

1 John 3:8, Hebrews 2:14-15, John 12:31

  1. to give us an example of holy living

1 Peter 2:21, 1 John 2:6 (saved then follow)

Awesome events with the incarnation of God the Son

  1. He emptied Himself

The humiliation of Christ began in His attitude  (Phil 2:6)

Showing us the necessity of an attitude of humility

His divine glory was veiled, but not surrendered  (Matt 17:1)

He voluntarily restricted His attributes of Deity in keeping with                   His purpose to live among men and all their limitations

i.e.  He remained “in the form of God” as He accepted also the                            nature of a servant

 

  1. He was made in the likeness of man

Flesh that was subject to weakness, pain, temptation, incredible limitations so that God could dwell among us (John 1:14)

but He did not take on man’s sinful nature  (Rom 8:3)

He did not exchange natures, He took an additional nature

During His time on Earth, The Lord Jesus Christ accomplished our redemption through the shedding of His blood and sacrificial death on the cross and that His death was voluntary, vicarious, substitutionary, propitiatory, and redemptive (John 10:15Romans 3:24, 255:81Peter 2:24). In the future, we will look at both of the major views on the Atonement, the traditional Reformed view known as Penal Substitutionary Atonement, and view known as Christus Victor. The two are often seen, needlessly, as being in opposition to each other. Both, however, are accurate portrayals of the Atonement.

On the basis of the efficacy of the death of our Lord Jesus Christ, the believing sinner is freed from the punishment, the penalty, the power, and one day the very presence of sin; and that he is declared righteous, given eternal life, and adopted into the family of God (Romasn 3:255:8, 92Corinthians 5:14, 151Peter 2:243:18). {This is the Penal Substitutionary Atonement}

Our justification is made sure by His literal, physical resurrection from the dead and the fact that He is now ascended to the right hand of the Father, where He mediates as our Advocate and High-Priest (Matthew 28:6Luke 24:38, 39Acts 2:30, 31Romans 4:258:34Hebrews 7:259:241 John 2:1).

In the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave, God confirmed the deity of His Son and gave proof that God has accepted the atoning work of Christ on the cross. Jesus’ bodily resurrection is also the guarantee of a future resurrection life for all believers (John 5:26-2914:19Romans 4:256:5-101 Corinthians 15:2023).

In the Resurrection to come, Jesus Christ will return to receive the church, which is His body, unto Himself at the Rapture and, after the Tribulation, returning with His church in glory, will establish His millennial kingdom on earth (Acts 1:9-111 Thessalonians 4:13-18Revelation 20).

The Lord Jesus Christ is the one through whom God will judge all mankind (John 5:22, 23):

  1. Believers (1 Corinthians 3:10-15;2 Corinthians 5:10);
  2. Living inhabitants of the earth at His glorious return (Matthew 25:31-46); and
  3. Unbelieving dead at the Great White Throne (Revelation 20:11-15).

As the mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5), the head of His body the church (Ephesians 1:225:23Colossians 1:18), and the coming universal King who will reign on the throne of David (Isaiah 9:6, 7Ezekiel 37:24-28Luke 1:31-33), He is the final judge of all who fail to place their trust in Him as Lord and Savior (Matthew 25:14-46Acts 17:30, 31).

Foundations 3: The Majesty on High (God the Father)

Foundations 3: The Majesty on High (God the Father)

Introductory remarks

God the Father is the first person of the Trinity. (Deuteronomy 32:6, Psalm 68:5, Isaiah 64:8 Malachi 2:10 Matthew 6:9; 7:11; 23:9, Romans 8:15, 1 Corinthians 8:6 Ephesians 4:6 Hebrews 12:9, 1 Peter 1:17) That is to say that He is first in priority and first in authority. Since all three Persons have existed forever, the Father does not precede either the Son or Holy Spirit as to time or origination. All three have always existed in union with One another. God the Father orders and disposes all things according to His own purposes and grace (Ps 145:8, 91Co 8:6), which have God’s glory as their end.  He is the Creator of all things (Ge 1:1-31Eph 3:9). God the Father is truly our Redeemer in that He saves from sin all those who come to Him through Jesus Christ. (More on that later)

(We are endeavoring to provide the Classic Orthodox Protestant view of the Person of God)
Lesson Outline:

 

  1. Review: How do we know about God?
  2. General Revelation
  3. The natural world reveals God (Acts 14:15-17; Rom.1:19-23)
  4. Human Conscience testifies to the existence God (Rom.2:14-16)
  5. Special Revelation
  6. Miracles reveal God.
  7. God extends natural laws (Josh.10:12-14 – sun stood still)
  8. God supercedes natural laws (2 Kings 6 – axehead floated)
  9. Fulfilled prophecy reveals God.
  • T. (Is.43:28-45; Ezra 1:1-4 – Cyrus predicted)
  • T. (Micah 5:2; Matt.2:1 – birthplace of Christ)
  • Jesus Christ Himself reveals God. (Heb.1:1; John 1:18)
  • Scripture as a whole reveals God.

 

  1. Review: Can we prove God’s existence?
  2. The Bible assumes God’s existence rather than attempting to prove it (Gen.1:1).
  3. The natural world demands God’s existence (Ps.19; Is.40:26; Acts 14:17; Rom.1:19).
  4. Argumentation/Logical Conclusions to answer the skeptics and doubters
  5. Argument from Cosmology – How could there be anything if there wasn’t a Cause (God) who was Uncaused (Romans 1:20)? Quoting Dr. Sproul, “IF THERE EVER WAS A TIME WHEN ABSOLUTELY NOTHING EXISTED, ALL THERE COULD POSSIBLY BE NOW IS NOTHING.”
  6. Argument from Teleology – The mathematical precision and obvious intelligence in Nature demands a designer of infinitely superior intellect. (God – Psalm 19:1-6)?
  7. Moral argument –If there is no one to give a Law, who then is the arbiter of right and wrong? (God – Romans 2:14,15; James 4:12)?
  8. Ontological argument – Where do people get the idea of a Perfect Being (God) except from God Himself (Act 17:27; Romans 1:19)?

 

III. Can we describe or explain God? How do we do so? God has many perfect characteristics (attributes). Attributes are the characteristics that define the essence of the Godhead

  1. Incommunicable attributes (characteristics belonging only to God).
  2. Self-existence (Exodus 3:14, John 5:26).
  3. Immutability (Psalm 102:25-27; Ex.3:14; James 1:17) – God does not change His essence or plan. He can never be wiser, more holy, more just, more merciful, more truthful. Neither can God be any less of any of those as any change would make Him less than God. His plans and His purposes never change (Ps 33:11)
  4. Infinity
  5. Eternality – Infinite in time (Ps.90:2)
  6. Omnipresence – Infinite in space (Ps.139:7-11) Present everywhere at once (Jeremiah 23:23-24) Yet transcends His creation and as such He is always able to help us, His creatures (Ps 46:1, Matt 28:20) He is inescapable (Ps 139:7-10, 17)
  7. Holiness – The absence of evil and presence of purity (Lev.11:44; John 17:11; 1 John 1:5)
  8. Holy: God is separate from and exalted above all of His creatures God is free from all defilement, absolutely pure) Isaiah 6:3. Holiness is the foremost attribute of God – the attribute by which He especially wants to be known.God’s Throne is established upon His holiness, thereby regulating His love, power, and will

 

By God’s holiness we know:

  • There is great chasm between God and the sinner (Is 59:1-2 Hab 1:13)

 

  • Man must approach God through the merits of another if he is to be able to approach Him at all because man does not possess nor can he ever acquire the sinlessness necessary for access to God (Rom 5:1-2, 6-8, Eph 2:1-9, 18, Heb 10:19-20)
  • We must approach God with humility, awe and reverence (Heb 12:28)
  1. Righteous and just

God has instituted a moral government in the world, imposed just laws on His creatures, and attached sanctions for disobedience. God cannot make a law, establish a penalty, and then not follow through when the law is disobeyed. Punishment must be given, either personally or vicariously. The purpose of punishment is to maintain justice (Is 53:10, Psalm 145:17)

  1. God has communicable attributes (characteristics found in a limited degree in man).
  2. Intellect
  3. Omniscience – God knows all things actual and potential. The Bible does not explain this but does assume it as fact (Ps.139:16; Matt. 11:21).
  4. All-wise – God acts upon His knowledge to always do what is infinitely best (Rom.11:33-36).
  5. Attributes of Emotion
  6. God is Love – God is incomprehensibly active for our good (1 John 4:8).
  7. Mercy – concern, compassion (James 5:11)
  8. Long suffering – self-restrained when provoked (2 Peter 3:9,15)
  9. God is just – God is perfectly righteous and exact in His dealings with man (Ps.19:9).
  • Grace- (Definition and comments from Wayne Kinde.) A special characteristic of God involving many of His major loving characteristics
  • OT uses chesed and chen. There are multiple different ways that these are translated in the OT. Examples: love, mercy, compassion, tenderheartedness, kindness, grace, favor, etc.
  • Septuagint (Greek OT/LXX) renderings of charis and what Hebrew words were used for this very generic and bland Greek word. This will, again, show a huge diversity in the usage (FAR beyond, “unmerited favor”).
  • In the Hellenistic period (maybe best between 200BC-0BC). How was it used extensively prior the the NT writings. There you will see quite again a wide variety of usages, from love, mercy, peace, compassion, and favor.
  • In the NT, what is the overacrching sense of the word based on the above and each context.

The point: looking at the historical data from #1-#4 above, I conclude that the word “grace” demonstrates a major character of the Trinity regarding many of the major loving characteristics. Thus, it is by this grace (His amazing love, compassion, mercy, tenderheartedness, etc.) that we are saved (Eph 2:8).

Another of my teachers puts it this way: Grace is God’s goodness manifested toward the guilty undeserving, to those deserving His justice instead 

  1. Will
  2. Omnipotence (Job 42:2) God is able to do anything He wills. He will not do anything against His nature (sin) and He cannot do anything that is logically self-contradictory. Because God can only do what is in harmony with His nature He cannot
    • lie (Titus 1:2)
    • repent from evil (Num 23:19)
    • deny Himself (2 Tim 2:13)
    • be tempted to sin (James 1:13)
  3. Sovereignty (2 Chron.29:11,12) As the only absolute and omnipotent ruler in the universe, He is sovereign in creation, providence, and redemption (Ps 103:19Ro 11:36). He has decreed for His own glory all things that come to pass (Eph 1:11). He continually upholds, directs, and governs all creatures and events (1Ch 29:11). In His sovereignty He is neither author nor approver of sin (Hab 1:13), nor does He abridge the accountability of moral, intelligent creatures (1Pe 1:17). He has graciously chosen from eternity past those whom He would have as His own (Eph 1:4-6);
  4. God as Father

His fatherhood involves both His position within the Trinity and His relationship with mankind.

  1. As Creator He is Father to all men (Eph 4:6),
  2. Spiritual Father only to believers (Ro 8:142Co 6:18).

He adopts as His own all those who come to Him; and He becomes, upon adoption, Father to His own (Jn 1:12Ro 8:15Gal 4:5Heb 12:5-9).

Foundations 2: YHWH, the One True God

Foundations 2: YHWH, the One True God

From the outset, the Bible Assumes the Existence of God. Throughout the Scripture we see the assumption of the existence of God and the fact that He predates all things and is without cause. The Bible never attempts to prove the existence of God; it simply assumes He is.

  • Genesis 1:1
  • John 1:1
  • Psalm 19:1
  • Psalm 90:2

God reveals His Name as I AM (Exodus 3:14). In Hebrew it is Ehyeh Aser Ehyeh. This can be translated as I am who I am, I will be what I will be, or even I am because I am. Though Biblical Hebrew does not have verb tenses, the English translation of the Name is in the Present Continuous Tense. This is an allusion to the fact that God is unbound by time.

The Bible defines God by what He is and what He does

  • El, Elim, Elohim, Eloah: deity (Genesis 1:1)
  • Adonai: my Lord (as of a servant to a master)
  • El-Elyon: the most high (Psalm 78:35)
  • El-Shaddai: Almighty God (Genesis 17:1)
  • YHWH (believed to be pronounced yah way but may also be pronounced as yah who vah hence the germaninc Jehovah as being the personal name of God): the personal name of God. This is the 2nd Person Derivative of the I AM WHO I AM name “to be, the one who causes to be, self-existent one” (Exodus 3:14)
  • YHWH-Jireh: the Lord will provide (Genesis 22:14)
  • YHWH-Rophe: the Lord that heals (Exodus 15:26)
  • YHWH-Nissi: the Lord our banner/protection  (Exodus 17:15)
  • YHWH-Shalom: the Lord our peace  (Judges 6:24)
  • YHWH-Raah: the Lord my Shepherd  (Psalm 23:1)
  • YHWH-Tsidkenu: the Lord our righteousness (Jeremiah 23:6)
  • YHWH-Shammah: the Lord is present  (Ezekiel 48:35)
  • YHWH Sabaoth-The Lord of hosts (Psalm 89:6-8,  James 5:4)
  • YHWH Mekkodishkim- The Lord who makes us holy/sanctifies (Exodus 31:130)
  • El HaNe’eman- The Faithful God: (Deuteronomy 7:9).
  • El HaGadol- The Great God: (Deuteronomy 10:17).
  • El HaKadosh- The Holy God: (Isaiah 5:16).
  • El Yisrael- The God Of Israel: (Psalm 68:35).
  • El HaShamayim- The God Of The Heavens: (Psalm 136:26).
  • El De’ot- The God Of Knowledge: (1 Samuel 2:3).
  • El Emet- The God Of Truth: (Psalm 31:6).
  • El Yeshuati- The God Of My Salvation: (Isaiah 12:2).
  • El Elyon- The Most High God: (Genesis 14:18).
  • Immanu El- God Is With Us: (Isaiah 7:14).
  • El Olam- The God Of Eternity (Genesis 21:33).
  • El Echad- The One God: (Malachi 2:10). “
  • Elah Yerush’lem- God of Jerusalem: (Ezra 7:19).
  • Elah Yisrael- God of Israel: (Ezra 5:1).
  • Elah Sh’maya- God of Heaven: (Ezra 7:23).
  • Elah Sh’maya V’Arah- God of Heaven and Earth: (Ezra 5:11).

Is there evidence for the existence of God outside of the Bible? Romans 1 points out that creation declares the glory of God. We also have the conscience, a moral compass so to speak that is built into every person.

The Trinity (This is an essential doctrine, meaning that the Church Fathers considered this a salvation issue)

The Lord God has revealed Himself as embodying relationship and association in that He exists as Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

  • Deuteronomy 6:4
  • Isaiah 43:10,11
  • Matthew 28:19
  • Luke 3:22

The terms “Trinity” and “persons” as related to God are not found in the Scriptures, but they are words in harmony with Scripture. These terms convey to others our understanding of the doctrine of Christ respecting the Being of God; He is distinguished from “gods many and lords many.” We therefore may speak of Lord our God who is One Lord, as a trinity or as one Being of three persons, and still be absolutely scriptural.

  • Matthew 28:19
  • 2 Corinthians 13:14
  • John 14:16-17

Distinction of Persons and Relationship in the Trinity
Jesus taught a distinction of Persons in the Godhead, which He expressed in specific terms of relationship, as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We need to point out that this distinction and relationship, as to its mode, is inscrutable and incomprehensible, because it is never fully explained. This is, indeed, one of the great mysteries of the Christian Faith.

  • Luke 1:35
  • 1 Corinthians 1:24
  • Matthew 11:25-27
  • Matthew 28:19
  • 2 Corinthians 13:14
  • 1 John 1:3-4

Unity of the One Being of Father, Son and Holy Spirit
There is that in the Father which constitutes Him as the Father and not the Son; there is that in the Son which constitutes Him the Son and not the Father; and there is that in the Holy Spirit which constitutes Him the Holy Spirit and not either the Father or the Son.

  • John 1:18
  • John 15:26
  • John 17:11
  • John 17:21
  • Zechariah 14:9

Identity and Cooperation in the Godhead
The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are never identical as to Person; nor confused as to relation; nor divided in respect to being God; nor opposed as to cooperation. The Son is in the Father and the Father is in the Son as to relationship. The Son is with the Father and the Father is with the Son, as to fellowship. The Father is not from the Son, but the Son is from the Father, as to authority. The Holy Spirit is from the Father and the Son proceeding, as to nature, relationship, cooperation and authority. Therefore no Person in the Godhead either exists or works separately or independently of the others.

  • John 5:17-30
  • John 5:32
  • John 5:37
  • John 8:17,18

Did the Church Fathers Believe in the Trinity? Yes. (as a reminder, when we refer to the “Catholic” Faith we do not mean the Roman Catholic Church; we mean the church universal). It was not without issue though. Two teachings arose quickly that were determined to be heretical by the Council of Nicaea, Arianism and Sabellianism. Interestingly enough to major groups exist today that continue to teach these heresies.

Arianism

The modern version of Arianism is also known as Jehovah’s Witnesses though Mormonism is also very Arian in its Christology.

Arianism developed around 320 in Alexandria, Egypt, and concerning the person of Christ and is named after Arius of Alexandria. This teaching was condemned by the First Council of Nicaea.

Arianism misunderstands references to Jesus’ being tired (John 4:6) and not knowing the date of His return (Matthew 24:36). Yes, it is difficult to understand how God could be tired and/or not know something, but relegating Jesus to a created being is not the answer. Jesus was fully God, but He was also fully human. Jesus did not become a human being until the incarnation. Therefore, Jesus’ limitations as a human being have no impact on His divine nature or eternality.

A second major misinterpretation in Arianism is the meaning of “firstborn” (Romans 8:29Colossians 1:15-20). Arians understand “firstborn” in these verses to mean that Jesus was “born” or “created” as the first act of creation. This is not the case. Jesus Himself proclaimed His self-existence and eternality (John 8:5810:30). John 1:1-2 tells us that Jesus was “in the beginning with God.” In Bible times, the firstborn son of a family was held in great honor (Genesis 49:3Exodus 11:534:19Numbers 3:40Psalm 89:27Jeremiah 31:9). It is in this sense that Jesus is God’s firstborn. Jesus is the preeminent member of God’s family. Jesus is the anointed one, the “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).

After nearly a century of debate at various early church councils, the Christian church officially denounced Arianism as a false doctrine. Since that time, Arianism has never been accepted as a viable doctrine of the Christian faith.  As we said, earlier, Arianism has not died, however. It is alive and well today and we at Exploring the Truth will vigorously oppose it until Christ returns to vindicate His Name.

Sabellianism (gotquestions.org)

One of the most hotly debated theological issues in the early Christian church was the doctrine of the Trinity. How do God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit relate to one another? How can there only be one God, but three Persons? All of the various early heresies resulted from individuals overemphasizing or underemphasizing various aspects of the Godhead. Ultimately, all of these false views result from attempts by finite human beings to fully understand an infinite God (Romans 11:33-36). Sabellianism, Modalism, and Monarchianism are just three of the numerous false views and are very similar in nature.

Monarchianism had two primary forms, Dynamic Monarchianism and Modalistic Monarchianism. Dynamic Monarchianism is the view that Jesus was not in His nature God. It is the view that God existed in Jesus, just as God exists in all of us, but that God existed in Jesus in a particularly powerful way. Jesus was God because God inhabited Him. Modalistic Monarchianism, also known as Modalism, is the view that God variously manifested Himself as the Father (primarily in the Old Testament), other times as the Son (primarily from Jesus’ conception to His ascension), and other times as the Holy Spirit (primarily after Jesus’ ascension into heaven). Modalistic Monarchianism / Modalism teaches that God has simply revealed Himself in three different modes, and that He is not three Persons, as the Bible asserts. Modalistic Monarchianism / Modalism is also known as Sabellianism, named after Sabellius, an influential early proponent of the view. Yet another aspect of Modalistic Monarchianism / Modalism / Sabellianism is Patripassianism, which is the view that it was God the Father who became incarnate, suffered, died, and was resurrected. Patripassianism essentially teaches that God the Father became His own Son.

Sabellianism, Modalism, Monarchianism (dynamic and modalistic), and Patripassianism are all unbiblical understandings of the relationship between the Persons of the Trinity. It is impossible for us as finite human beings to fully understand an infinite God. The Bible presents God as one God, but then speaks of three Persons—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. How these two truths harmonize is inconceivable to the human mind. When we attempt to define the indefinable (God), we will always fail to varying degrees. Dynamic Monarchianism fails in that it does not recognize the true deity of Jesus Christ. Modalistic Monarchianism / Modalism / Sabellianism / Patripassianism fails because it does not recognize God as three distinct Persons.

Ecumenical Creeds answered the heretics:

The Apostles Creed

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, the Maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:

Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried;

He descended into hell.

The third day He arose again from the dead;

He ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy catholic church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting.

Amen.

Nicene Creed

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.

Who, for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.

And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life; who proceeds from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets.

And I believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

The Definition of Chalcedon

Therefore, following the holy fathers, we all with one accord teach men to acknowledge one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, at once complete in Godhead and complete in manhood, truly God and truly man, consisting also of a reasonable soul and body; of one substance with the Father as regards his Godhead, and at the same time of one substance with us as regards his manhood; like us in all respects, apart from sin; as regards his Godhead, begotten of the Father before the ages, but yet as regards his manhood begotten, for us men and for our salvation, of Mary the Virgin, the God-bearer; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, recognized in two natures, without confusion, without change, without division, without separation; the distinction of natures being in no way annulled by the union, but rather the characteristics of each nature being preserved and coming together to form one person and subsistence, not as parted or separated into two persons, but one and the same Son and Only-begotten God the Word, Lord Jesus Christ; even as the prophets from earliest times spoke of him, and our Lord Jesus Christ himself taught us, and the creed of the fathers has handed down to us.

The Athanasian Creed

Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic faith. Which faith except everyone do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly. And the catholic faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity, neither confounding the persons, nor dividing the substance.

For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit. But the godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, is all one, the glory equal, the majesty co-eternal.

Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Spirit. The Father uncreated, the Son uncreated, and the Holy Spirit uncreated. The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Spirit incomprehensible.

The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Spirit eternal. And yet they are not three eternals, but one Eternal.

As also there are not three incomprehensibles, nor three uncreated, but one Uncreated, and one Incomprehensible. So likewise the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty, and the Holy Spirit Almighty. And yet they are not three almighties, but one Almighty.

So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God. And yet they are not three gods, but one God.

So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Spirit Lord. And yet not three lords, but one Lord.

For as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge each Person by Himself to be both God and Lord, so we are also forbidden by the catholic religion to say that there are three gods or three lords.

The Father is made of none, neither created, nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone, not made, nor created, but begotten. The Holy Spirit is of the Father, neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.

So there is one Father, not three fathers; one Son, not three sons; one Holy Spirit, not three holy spirits.

And in the Trinity none is before or after another; none is greater or less than another, but all three Persons are co-eternal together and co-equal. So that in all things, as is aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshipped.

He therefore that will be saved must think thus of the Trinity.

Furthermore, it is necessary to everlasting salvation that he also believe rightly the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. For the right faith is, that we believe and confess, that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and man; God, of the substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and man of the substance of his mother, born in the world; perfect God and perfect man, of a rational soul and human flesh subsisting. Equal to the Father, as touching His godhead; and inferior to the Father, as touching His manhood; who, although He is God and man, yet he is not two, but one Christ; one, not by conversion of the godhead into flesh but by taking of the manhood into God; one altogether; not by confusion of substance, but by unity of person. For as the rational soul and flesh is one man, so God and man is one Christ; who suffered for our salvation, descended into hell, rose again the third day from the dead. He ascended into heaven, He sits at the right hand of the Father, God Almighty, from whence He will come to judge the quick and the dead. At His coming all men will rise again with their bodies and shall give account for their own works. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting; and they that have done evil into everlasting fire.

This is the catholic faith, which except a man believe faithfully, he cannot be saved.

Foundations Lesson One: The Bible

Foundations Lesson One: The Bible

The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired (theopneustos/God-breathed) and is God’s revelation of Himself to man.

It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. Having God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its content, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy. It reveals the principles by which God judges us, and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried. All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation. Special note: anything which purports itself to be Scripture or equal thereto but does not give Christ His proper glory is not Scripture but is actually not more than blasphemous trash. 

In the original autographs (manuscripts) we say that the Bible is

  1. Inspired (God-breathed/authored)
  2. Inerrant (no errors, no contradictions)
  3. Infallible (cannot fail)

Special Note: The Bible stands alone as our authority. We submit to its authority because it is Divinely Inspired. There are no additional testaments etc needed.

As part of the Doctrine of the Bible, we teach the verbal, plenary inspiration of Scripture. When we say that we mean that every word of the Scripture is inspired by the Holy Spirit. Every word that is found in the original autographs is there because God wills for it to be so. When we say plenary, we mean that each portion of the Bible is fully authoritative. Both the Old Testament and the New Testament are equally inspired and therefore of value to the Christian.

If you remember the Emmaus Road Experience (Luke 24:13-35), you will remember that Jesus began with Moses and the Prophets and interpreted all things in the Scriptures concerning Himself. Moses and the Prophets is a euphemistic way of referring to the Old Testament.

What does the Bible say about the Bible?

2 Timothy 3:16-17 is where we get the idea that the Bible is God-breathed and profitable for

  • Doctrine
  • Reproof
  • Correction
  • Instruction in righteousness
  • 2 Peter 1:19-21
  • 1 Peter 1:23-25
  • Ps 19:7-12
  • Luke 21:33
  • Hebrews 4:12
  • Romans 1:16
  • John 1:1-4, 14
  • Hebrews 1:1-13
  • Titus 1:2

Overview

  • The Bible contains 66 books: 39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament written by over 40 “authors” over 1800 years
  • The books are divided into chapters and verses for reference and navigation.
  • The Old Testament was written in the Hebrew language.
  • The New Testament was written in the Greek language.
  • Our English Bible is a translation from these original languages.

Sections:

There are 2 Ways to order the canonical books

“Normal” English Bible reflecting Greek/Western thought and style:

  1. The Pentateuch/Law: Genesis through Deuteronomy
  2. History: Joshua through Esther
  3. Poetry and Wisdom: Job through The Song of Solomon
  4. Prophets: Isaiah through Malachi
  5. Gospels: Matthew through John
  6. History: Acts of the Holy Spirit
  7. Epistles/Letters: Romans through Philemon
  8. The “Catholic/General” Epistles: Hebrews through Jude
  9. The Apocalypse: Revelation

Jewish Bible

TaNaKH and B’rit Hadashah

TaNaKH is Torah (Teaching) Nevi’im (Prophets) and K’tuvim (Writings)

  • Not essential to salvation but interesting as this is the Bible Jesus and the Apostles used

In TaNaKH order the Books are as follows:

Torah

  • B’resheet (Genesis)
  • Sh’mot (Exodus)
  • Vayikra (Leviticus)
  • B’midbar (Numbers but literally, Wanderings)
  • D’varim (Deuteronomy)

Nevi’im Rishonim (Early Prophets)

  • Y’hoshua (Joshua)
  • Shof’tim (Judges)
  • Sh’mu’el Alef (1 Samuel)
  • Sh’mu’el Bet (2 Samuel)
  • M’lakhim Alef (1 Kings)
  • M’lakhim Bet (2 Kings)

Nevi’im Acharonim (Later Prophets)

  • Yesha’yahu (Isaiah)
  • Yiremeyahu (Jeremiah)
  • Yechezk’el
  • Shinem-‘asar (the 12. In Hebrew Scripture these comprise a single book)
  • Hoshea (Hosea)
  • Yo’el (Joel)
  • ‘Amos (Amos)
  • Ovadyah (Obadiah)
  • Yonah (Jonah)
  • Mikha (Micah)
  • Nachum (Nahum)
  • Havakuk (Habakkuk
  • Tz’fanyah (Zephaniah)
  • Hagai (Haggai)
  • Z’kharyah (Zechariah)
  • Mal’akhi (Malachai)

K’tuvim (Writings)

  • Tehillim (Psalms)
  • Mishlei (Proverbs)
  • Iyov (Job)
  • The 5 Megillot (Scrolls)
  • Shir-Hashirim (Song of Songs)
  • Rut (Ruth)
  • Eikhah (Lamentations)
  • Kohelet (Ecclesiastes)
  • Ester (Esther)
  • Dani’el (Daniel)
  • Ezra-Nechemyah (Ezra-Nehemiah)
  • Divrei-Ha Yamim Alef (1 Chronicles)
  • Divrei-Ha Yahim Bet (2 Chronicles)

B’rit Chadeshah would be our normal New Testament

Like other forms of literature, there are types of Scripture

  • Historical Narrative: narrative that lays foundation for future things
  • Poetical: song-like, worshipful or proverbial
  • Prophetical: can be the Word describing future events but more importantly, authoritative communication on behalf of the Lord God. At times, the Prophetic can be polemical in nature, such as when denouncing false prophets.
  • Instructional: practical application of Scripture

Interpreting the Bible

Each passage of Scripture only has 1 correct interpretation, but how do we arrive at that? Start by reading like any other book. No that wasn’t a blasphemous statement…

5 Principles for Interpretation

  1. Literal Principle: We interpret the Bible according to the normal rules of language. We are not looking for some secret “super spiritual” meaning. Normal people wrote using normal language. Metaphors, similes, analogies, etc. These all follow the normal rules just as they would anywhere else. Figures of speech are normal language.  Symbolism is normal language.  But allegory is secret, hidden meaning that is not contained in the normal language.  There are no allegories in the Bible.  There are no allegories, whatsoever, in the Bible, it is normal language, it means exactly what it appears to mean.There is no deeper meaning, there’s no hidden meaning, there’s no secret meaning, there’s no spiritualized meaning.  Yes, there are prophetic passages where there are analogies; these are illustrations.  You read Zechariah, Daniel, Ezekiel, Isaiah,  and in the book of Revelation you see images…those images are conveying a reality. They are conveying a reality in a symbolic way.  Even Jesus used differing types of language. Case in point: parables. Parables were fictional stories conveying actual truth.
  1. Historical Principle: culture, geography, politics, religion, the thinking of the people, the perspectives, the world view, what’s going on at the time, how the people think…all of that is informing you on the historical context. (I won’t make many product endorsements but the Bible Background Commentary from InterVarsity Press is an outstanding resource for this.)
  2. Grammatical Principle(Quoting John MacArthur)“This is to take a look at the language and the syntax and lexicography of a passage…the words, the way they’re arranged, the prepositions, the pronouns, the antecedents. And you can do that in your English Bible.  You do it as a matter of course anything.  You interpret, you do that as a matter of course.  What do the words mean?  What does the antecedent of this? What is the preposition telling me?  To what does this pronoun refer?  To whom does it refer?  So it’s a grammatical thing.  We break that into word studies, studies of actual words, syntax which is how the words are connected with each other.”
  3. Synthesis Principle: The Reformers used the expression Scriptrua Scripturum Intepretatur or in English, the Scripture interprets the Scripture. Two of my dear friends like to refer to the New Testament as a commentary on the Old Testament and it certainly is. Example: Sermon on the Mount is expository treatment of many OT Laws
  4. Practical Principle What are the implications of the text? What is the truth that was delivered and what do I do with it?

Choosing Your Bible

  1. Choose a Bible that is as literal as possible but still easy to understand. Ideally, you want to use an essentially literal (form-based/word for word) translation. I use three, primarily: The New American Standard Bible (of which the 1977 edition is the most literal English edition made), The English Standard Version (primarily for teaching because of its global availability) and the Holman Christian Standard Bible. Other English versions that would be very literal are the King James Version, New King James Version. Many will ask if a thought for thought/dynamic equivalence translation is ok and what they mean is, “is it acceptable to use the NIV or NLT Versions, or perhaps something similar?” Yes. It may have some deficiencies as but you will still be able to have successful study. English versions in this category are the New Living Translation, New International Version, New English Translation, Revised English Bible. Paraphrases like the Message and the Voice should be avoided at all cost. We are not looking for opinion on what the text says.
  2. Choose a Bible that is designed for study. If you are able, you should get a wide margin Bible. As you study the Holy Spirit will bring things to mind that you will want to remember for a long time and a wide margin is an excellent choice here. A Bible with cross references is also an excellent choice, especially where the synthesis principle comes in. The references will be a guide to using the Bible to interpret itself. Some will come with commentary pre-included. This is ok but you really ought to put in the labor for your own study.
  3. Most importantly, get the same translation that your primary pastor uses. (You may listen to many teachers but you need to use the version that is read in the pulpit where you attend church. You will find that it helps you understand better because you will have cohesion with the members of your church and will be able to discuss the text.

Beloved, the Bible is the Foundation of our faith because without it we would not know Christ. It is the single most important investment that you will make.

Until next time, Ahava v’Shalom (love and peace)

Master Outline 15: Witnessing

Master Outline 15: Witnessing

Outline Fifteen: Witnessing

“How To Witness Effectively”

 

One day as Jesus walked by the sea of Galilee He saw two men, Simon, called Peter and Andrew, his brother. They were fisherman. “And He said to them, ‘Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men’” (Matt. 4:19).  Soul winners are made, not born. Therefore, to be an effective witness, you must be taught, trained, and motivated by the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

Jesus took three years to teach and train His disciples in the art of soul winning. After His resurrection He instructed them to stay in Jerusalem and, “wait for what the Father had promised” (Acts 1:4-8). When the disciples asked Jesus if the time had come for Him to restore the kingdom of Israel, He answered, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses…”

 

On the day of Pentecost, the hundred and twenty received power to witness; and any believer who will acquire the know-how can be an effective soul winner.

 

He can know that he and the Holy Spirit are a witnessing team. Peter said, “And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him” (Acts 5:32 32).  Therefore, when you witness remember that “your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you (1 Cor. 6:19).

 

When you witness, trust the Holy Spirit to do three things:

(1)   Illuminate the mind of the unbeliever. All lost souls are in spiritual darkness (2 Cor. 4:3, 4).

(2)   Stir the heart of the unbeliever. As Peter preached Christ the listeners, “were pierced to the heart” (Acts 2:37).

(3)   Move the will of the unbeliever.

 

The prodigal returned home when he came to his senses and said, “I will get up and go to my father” (Luke 15:18).

 

You may be up-to-date in all modern techniques and technologies of soul winning and able to quote the necessary Scriptures without a flaw; but if you do not evangelize in the power of the Holy Spirit, your soul winning efforts will be ineffective. Approach this last Master Outline Study with an open heart and receptive mind, willing to be made fishers of men.

 

1)              The Importance of Witnessing (Rom. 10:13-17).  13)For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”  14) How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?  15)  And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!”  16)  But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?”  17) So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

 

Notes: … for “Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved” (Rom. 10:13). Do not lift this text out of context. There are three questions in verse 14 that must be considered along with verse 13, they are:

First question, “How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed?” The answer is, the lost cannot call on the Lord to be saved until they believe:

 

(1)      “That Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,

(2)      And that He was buried,

(3)     And that He was raised on the third day according to Scriptures” (1 Cor. 15:1-4).

 

Second question, “And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard?” The answer is, the lost cannot believe in Him until they hear the good news of salvation.

 

(1)      The eunuch had to hear to believe (Acts 8:26-39).

(2)      Paul had to hear to believe (Acts 9:1-18).

(3)      Cornelius had to hear to believe (Acts 10:1-48).

(4)      The Philippian jailer had to hear to believe (Acts 16:25-40).

 

Third question, “And how shall they hear without a preacher (witness)?” The answer is, they cannot hear the good news of salvation without a witness.

 

(1)      Three thousand were saved at Pentecost because the 120 witnessed.

(2)      The eunuch was saved because Philip witnessed.

(3)      Paul was saved because Stephen witnessed (Acts 7:54-60) and Jesus the God-man witnessed, and Ananias witnessed (Acts 9:1-18).

(4)      Cornelius and his household were saved because Peter witnessed.

(5)      The Philippian jailer and his household were saved because Paul and Silas witnessed.

(6)      You were saved because someone witnessed to you!

 

According to the word of God, the lost cannot be saved without a witness. They must have a witness to hear, they must hear to believe, they must believe to call, and they must call to be saved. But they cannot call until they believe and they cannot believe until they hear and they cannot hear without a witness.  “So faith (saving faith) comes from hearing” (Rom. 10:17).  We are not born with saving faith; it comes only when we hear the gospel. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that every born again child of God obey the great commission to evangelize, to go with the gospel.

 

2)              The Qualifications of a Witness (Col. 2:6, 7)  6) -As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, 7) rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.

 

Notes: A qualified witness is one who is:

(1)      Established in the faith. To be established in the faith is to be rooted and grounded in God’s Word. Peter said, “But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence” (1 Pet. 3:15).    

 

The fifteen Master Outline studies in this Bible study were prepared to help establish you in the faith. Study them, carry your Bible with you and take advantage of every opportunity to ponder a portion of one of the great doctrines. They will give you a foundation on which to build a strong faith (2 Tim. 3:16, 17).    

(2)      Saved and knows it. I know that I am saved because God tells me so in His Word and God cannot lie.

 

We have the:

(a)  Witness of the Spirit (Rom. 8:16).

(b) The witness of the Word (1 John 5:13).

(c)  The witness of faith “The one whobelieves in the Son of God has the witness in himself” (1 John 5:9, 10).

 

(3)      Separated. Paul said that he was “set apart for the gospel of God” (Rom. 1:1-16).

(a)  A holy desire to share spiritual gifts (verse 11).

(b) A holy purpose to bear fruit (verse 13).

(c)  A holy obligation to pay a spiritual debt (verse 14).

(d) A holy eagerness to share the gospel (verse 15).

(e)  A holy boldness to exalt the cross (verse 16).

 

To be separated unto the gospel is to share the Good News with the lost (see Master Outline #11, Section #3).

 

(4)      Filled with the Holy Spirit. “Be filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18).  We are commanded to be filled with the Holy Spirit (see Master Outline #11, Section #4). Evidence of the Spirit-filled life as seen in the early Christians:

(a)  They spoke the word of God with boldness (Acts 4:31).

(b) They witnessed with great power (Acts 4:33).

(c)  They witnessed with great grace (Acts 4:33)

(d) They shared their wealth (Acts 4:34-37).

(e)  They worshiped in unity (Acts 2:42-47).

(f)   They suffered persecution (Acts 8:1-4).

(g) They glorified in tribulations (Rom. 5:3).

(h) They sang in prison (Acts 16:25).

(i)   They loved and prayed for their executioners (Acts 7:54-60).

(j)   They rejoiced to suffer shame for His name (Acts 5:41).

 

They were accused of:

 

(1)      Filling Jerusalem with the gospel (Acts 5:28).

(2)      Upsetting the world (Acts 17:6).

 

The 120 Spirit-filled Christians witnessed on the day of Pentecost and the people were:

 

(1)   Bewildered, that is, they were mentally arrested (Acts 2:6).

(2)   Amazed, that is, they were mentally frustrated (Acts 2:7).

(3)   Marveling, that is, they stood in mental awe (Acts 2:7).

(4)   Mocking, that is, some mentally reacted (Acts 2:13).

(5)   Inquiring, that is, some mentally acted (Acts 2:37).

 

The gospel proclaimed in the power of the Holy Spirit will motivate the hearer to act or react.

On the day to Pentecost three thousand acted as evidenced by repentance and baptism, while others reacted mocking. No one, but no one, ignored the witness of those Spirit-filled believers!

 

3)             The Approach (John 1:40-42).  40) One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41)  He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated, the Christ).42)  And he brought him to Jesus. Now when Jesus looked at him, He said, “You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas” (which is translated, A Stone).

 

Notes: There are two ways to approach the prospect.

The first is:

 

(1)   The direct approach. This approach can be used when witnessing to:

(a)  A relative. Andrew used the direct approach to bring his brother Simon Peter to Christ (John 1:40-42).

(b) A friend. Phillip the apostle used the direct approach to bring Nathanael to Jesus (John 1:45, 46).

(c) The concerned. Jesus used the direct approach to win Nicodemus (John 3:1-21).

(d) The seeker. Paul and Silas used the direct approach to lead the Philippian jailer to Jesus (Acts 16:19-34).

 

The second is:

 

(2) The indirect approach. This can be used when witnessing to:

(a)  A stranger. Jesus used the indirect approach to witness to the Samaritan woman (John 4:7-26).

(b) The religious. Phillip the evangelist used the indirect approach to lead the Ethiopian eunuch to Christ (Acts 8:26-39).

 

The method in either case will vary according to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Whether you use the direct or the indirect approach, be sure to follow through until you have presented God’s plan of salvation and invited them to accept Christ as their personal Savior.

 

4)              The Follow-Through (Matt. 13:3-8 and 18-23).  3 Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: “Behold, a sower went out to sow. 4) “And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. 5) “Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth.  6) “But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away.  7)  “And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them.  8)  “But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.  18)  “Therefore hear the parable of the sower: 19) “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside.  20)  “But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21) “yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.  22)  “Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.  23)  “But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”

 

Notes: The parable of the sower illustrates the importance of the follow-through. Only one fourth of the soil was ready for the seed, so only one fourth of the seed brought forth fruit. Jesus explains the parable in (Matt. 13:18-23), and we learn that:

(1)   The sower is the witness.

(2)   The seed is the word of God.

(3)   The soil is the heart.

 

We also learn that there are four types of hearts. They are:

4)              The hard heart; this is the wayside soil, fertile but hard.

5)              The shallow heart; this is the stoney soil, fertile but depthless.

6)              The worldly heart; this is the thorny soil, fertile but possessed.

7)              The understanding heart: this is good soil, fertile and prepared.

 

The lesson here is a simple one if we expect the seed, the word of God, to bear fruit, the heart must be made ready. The hard heart must be broken; the shallow heart must be given depth; the worldly heart must be taught that the things of this world are temporal (Mark 8:36, 37).   This requires time, work, and patience.

 

5)              How to Share God’s Plan of Salvation (Acts 4:12).  12) Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

 

Notes: There are seven simple steps to take in sharing God’s plan of salvation:

(1)   Share your personal experience of salvation. Don’t give your life story. It should not take more that a few minutes to tell how the Lord saved you. As you come to the close of your testimony, bring out your Bible and say, “May I share with you God’s plan of salvation that changed my life?”

(2)   Now share fact number one, “It is a fact that God loves you.” Read (John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  17 “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.) and the study notes with them. When you come to the close of the study notes, say something like this: “Will you now admit that God loves you?” Lead them to admit it, if you can. This will get them involved in the plan of salvation.

(3)   Now share fact number two, “It is a fact that you are a sinner.” Read (Rom. 3:23   For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,) and the study notes with them. When you come to the close of the study notes, ask them to admit that they are a lost sinner. When they admit that they are a lost sinner, say something like this, “Isn’t it wonderful? God loves you even though you are a sinner!”

(4)   Now share fact number three, “It is a fact that you are now dead in sin.” Read (Rom. 7:23   But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.) and the study notes with them. When you come to the close of the study notes, ask them to admit that they are dead in sin. When they admit that they are dead in sin, say something like this, “Isn’t it great? Even though you are a lost sinner, dead in sin, God loves you!”

(5)   Now share fact number four, “It is a fact that Christ died for you.” Read (Rom. 5:6 For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.) and the study notes with them. When you come to the close of the study notes, ask them to admit that Christ died on Calvary for them. When they admit that Christ died for them, say something like this, “Isn’t it wonderful? Isn’t it great that God loves you so much that He died on Calvary bearing your sins?”

(6)   Now share fact number five, “It is a fact that you can be saved by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.” Read (Acts 16:30, 31   And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”  31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”) and the study notes with them.

(7)   Now share fact number six. Lead them to call upon the name of the Lord in prayer: for “Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved!” Read (Rom. 10:13  For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”).

 

When you come to the close of the study notes, be ready to ask them to accept, by faith, Christ as their personal Savior!

 

6)              How to Give the Invitation (Rev. 22:17) 17)  And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires let him take the water of life freely.

 

Notes: To give the invitation is to invite the person witnessed to, to, by faith, accept the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.  After reading the above verse (Rev. 22:17) you can simply say something like this:

 

“Will you kneel with me in prayer as I ask the Lord to save you, right here and now?” (Don’t wait for them to get on their knees; you lead the way.  If they will not kneel with you, don’t force it.  Pray a short prayer that the Lord will convict them of sin and bring them to repentance. Get up and make an appointment to return for another witness session).

 

If they kneel with you, ask them to accept Him now, by faith, by praying with you (repeating after you) the following prayer:  “Lord Jesus, I know You love me, because You died on the cross bearing my sins. Thank You, Lord, for revealing to me my lost, sinful condition. I confess that I am a sinner, dead in sin, and cannot save myself. I do now, by faith, gladly accept You as my personal Savior, and thank You, Lord, for eternal salvation. Amen!”

When you have finished leading them in the prayer, stand up, shake their hand, or preferably give them a hug (Christians are big on hugging!) and say something like this, “Welcome aboard! Upon the authority of God’s Word you are now a child of God!”

 

7)              How to Follow Up (Read: Acts 2:41-47) 41) Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them42) ¶ And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43)  Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. 44) Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, 45) and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.  46)  So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart,47)  praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.

 

Notes: When you have led a soul to Christ your responsibility does not end. You have a spiritual baby, and that baby needs help if it is to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. There are some things that you can do to help the new Christian to grow spiritually.

(1)           If they don’t already have one, give them an “Open Bible” (we prefer the New American Standard “Open” Bible) which is simply a Bible that contains a good study guide (like the one that this entire study has come out of), a Biblical Cyclopedia, a Concordance and a lot of other very useful and fascinating study aids. Thomas Nelson also publishes “The Christian Life New Testament” which contains this bible study. This is a small new testament that you can carry in your pocket.

(2)           Lead them to a New Testament church. (Invite them to yours!)

a.     Take them to church and sit with them.

b.     When the invitation is given by your Pastor, ask them to go with you to make their public profession of faith in Christ (Matt. 10:32“Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.).

c.     Arrange with your Pastor to get them baptized as soon as possible.

i.     Start them out right:

ii.     Point out that we have a “Now Salvation”.

iii.     Stress the fact that they need to obey the Lord in all things.

iv.     Teach them how to pray effectively on a daily basis.

v.     Teach them to read and study their Bible on a daily basis.

 

(3)           Explain the Master Outline system of study that we have been using.

a.     Show them how the Outlines work.

b.     Be sure to show them how to look up each Scripture reference when they are studying.

c.     Help them through the Master Study Outlines. By the time that they have reached Outline #15, they should be in a church, and have a solid doctrinal foundation on which to continue to grow spiritually.

 

(4)           Encourage them to evangelize and to witness. “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so” (Ps. 107:2 OT).

 

At this juncture, the new Christian should be fully prepared to “go with the gospel!”

You have accomplished a great thing! Now, don’t rest on your laurels, go find another lost soul!

Master Outline 14: Salvation

Master Outline 14: Salvation

Outline Fourteen: Salvation

GOD’S PLAN OF SALVATION

 

There are seven facts revealed in God’s plan of salvation, and as you study them, keep in mind that this is God’s plan-not man’s-it is God’s. There is no other plan that can save your lost soul and make you a child of God (Acts 4:12).

 

All roads may lead to Rome, but all religions do not lead to God and salvation. There is only one way, and that is God’s way; and God’s way is a person, and that person is His Son the Lord Jesus Christ (John 14:6).

 

God’s salvation is threefold: First, Christ appeared on this earth to save you from the penalty of sin, by putting away your sin by the sacrifice of Himself on the Cross (Heb. 9:26). Second, He appeared in heaven, in the presence of God, after His resurrection, to save you from the power of sin (Heb. 9:24 and 1 John 2:1, 2).  Third, He will appear again on this earth, the second time, as “Lord of lords and King of kings” to save you from the very presence of sin (Heb. 9:28).  Now come to the seven facts of salvation with an open mind and a receptive heart, that God may bring salvation to your soul!

 

1)              It is a fact that God loves you (John 3:16) 16) For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Notes: It is an eternal fact the God loves you with and everlasting love that cannot be fathomed; it is so boundless that it can only be known by faith.

The little word “so” in John 3:16 is most expressive. It gives you some concept of the magnitude of God’s love. God so loved you, that He gave His only begotten Son, to be made sin for you, that you might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Cor. 5:21).

Jesus Christ was made that which God hates: sin-that you might become that which God loves: righteousness. Because God so loves you, you can exchange your sins for His righteousness. Could you ask for greater evidence of love? Calvary is proof that God loves, and longs to save you.

Before going to the next fact, admit to yourself that: “God loves me!”

 

2)              It is a fact that you are a sinner (Rom. 3:23).  23) For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

 

Notes: What is sin?

        Sin is lawlessness (1 John 3:4).

        Sin is unbelief; it calls God a liar (1 John 5:10).

        Sin is active rebellion against God (1 Sam. 15:23 OT).

        Sin is passive rebellion against God (Is. 1:2 OT).

        All unrighteousness is sin (1 John 5:17).

 

God, who cannot lie, said: “All have sinned.” “All” includes you! You have sinned against God by thought, word, and deed. You have committed sins of commission and sins of omission. In the sight of God, you are a lost sinner.

 

Before going to the next fact, admit to yourself that: “I am a lost sinner, because I have sinned.”

 

3)              It is s fact that you are now dead in sin (Rom. 6:23) 23) For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

Notes: You have already confessed and admitted that you are a sinner. Now God would have you know that “… the wages of sin is death.” You are dead in sin until you accept Christ as personal Savior. The Apostle Paul said, “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1).  To be saved is to be made spiritually alive in Christ.

What is death?

 

(1)   Death is spiritual separation. Your sins have separated you from God; you are dead in your sins.

(2)   Death is physical separation. It separated the spirit and soul from the body.

(3)   Death is eternal separation. If you remain lost in your sins, you will stand before God at the great white throne judgment. And there your sins will separate you from the mercy of God forever; this is Hades (Rev. 20:11-15).

 

You know that God loves you, and that you are a sinner-dead in sins. Before going to the next fact, admit to yourself: “I am dead in sins.”

 

4)              It is a fact that Christ died for you (Rom. 5:6-8 ) 6) For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7) For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. 8) But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

 

Notes: He died for those who are unlike God; this includes you! “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8).

“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21)

Knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like sliver or gold …but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ” (1 Pet. 1:18, 19).

 

For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit” (1 Cor. 15:3).

 

“Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures” (1 Cor. 15:3).

 

In light of these wonderful Scriptures, will you now thank God for His great love in sending His Son to bear your sins in His own body on the cross, and admit to yourself that: “Christ died on Calvary for me!”

 

5)              It is a fact that you can be saved by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 16:30, 31) 30)  And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31) So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

 

Notes: The Philippian jailor asked Paul and Silas: “Sirs, what must I do to be Saved?” The answer was quick in response, and positive in content: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved, you and your household.” Paul and Silas preached the gospel to the jailer and those in his house; they believed and were saved.

 

What is this gospel that saves when believed?

 

First, it is: “that Christ died for your sins.”

Second, it is: “that He was buried.”

 

Third, it is: “that He was raised on the third day” (1 Cor. 15:3, 4).

 

Jesus Christ the God-man died for you, was buried for you, and rose form the dead for you; and is now at the right hand of the Father interceding for you (1 John 2:1).

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Rom. 1:16). The gospel is the power of God for salvation only when you believe. Your faith in Jesus Christ releases the power of God that saves your soul.

 

The man born blind received physical sight by a miracle; but, spiritual sight came when Jesus asked, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered, “Lord, I believe” (John 9:35-38).  Salvation came to Thomas when he believed and confessed, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:24-29).

 

When you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved (Rom. 10:9, 10).

 

Accept Him now by faith, and pray this prayer: “Lord Jesus, I know You love me, because You died on the cross bearing my sins. Thank You, Lord, for revealing to me my lost, sinful condition. I confess that I am a sinner, dead in sin, and cannot save myself. I do now by faith, gladly accept You as my personal Savior, and thank You, Lord, for eternal salvation. Amen!”

 

6)             It is a fact that you can be saved and know it (1 John 5:10-13) 10) He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son. 11) And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12) He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. 13) These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.

 

Notes: “… that you may know that you have eternal life… “(1 John 5:13). Upon the authority of God’s Word, you can be saved and know it. Your faith in God’s infallible Word is your assurance of salvation. “He who believes in the Son has (present tense) eternal life” (John 3:36).

 

The Bible is a book of certainties. It strengthens convictions, and establishes beliefs. God would have you know:

 

(1)   That you are now a child of God (1 John 3:2).

(2)   That you have been made the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Cor. 5:21 and Rom. 10:1-4).

(3)   That you are now a new creature in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17).

(4)   That you are now a son and heir of God (Gal. 4:7). Could you have greater assurance than is found in God’s infallible Word? “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matt. 24:35).

 

7)              It is a fact that you are now a child of God and you are to obey Him (Acts 5:29) 29) But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men.

 

Notes: “We must obey God rather than man” (Acts 5:29). You now belong to Jesus Christ. He is your Lord and Master, and “no one can serve two masters” (Matt. 6:24). Determine now to obey your Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, in all things:

 

(1) Unite with a New Testament church. “And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47).

(2) Follow Him in the ordinance of baptism (Acts 2:41).

(3) Join a Sunday school class (Bible Study), and study the Word with God’s children (2 Tim. 2:25).

(4) Attend the worship services of your church (Heb. 10:25).  You need the preaching of God’s Word and Christian fellowship.

(5) Be a faithful steward (1 Cor. 4:2).  All that you are and have belong to God. “… you are not your own. For you are bought with a price …” (1 Cor. 6:19, 20).  As a faithful steward, you pay God His tithe (Mal. 3:10 OT). The tithe is one-tenth of your income, and it is the Lord’s (Lev. 27:30 OT).

(6) Make time in your daily life to pray and read God’s word, that you may grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Master Outline 13: The New Birth

Master Outline 13: The New Birth

Outline Thirteen: New Birth

THE NEW BIRTH

 

It is of the utmost importance that we have a clear understanding of what Jesus meant when, speaking with Nicodemus, He said, “You must be born again”. The new birth is a spiritual birth. It is as much a birth as the natural birth; it is not just a figure of speech. The first birth is of the seed of man. The second birth is of the seed of God (1 Pet. 1:23). Therefore, you cannot become a child of God by joining the church, any more than a monkey could become a man by joining the human race. He may act like a man, dress like a man, and try to live like a man… but he would still be a monkey. Now, if by some miracle, the monkey could be born again of the seed of man, then… and only then, could he become a man. The only way to become a child of God is to be “born again” (John 3:3); not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and abiding word of God”. What is the new birth?

  • • The new birth is a new creation (2 Cor, 5:17).

The new birth is a spiritual resurrection (Eph. 2:1-9).

  • • The new birth is regeneration (Titus 3:5).
  • • The new birth is partaking of the divine nature of God (2 Pet. 1:4).

The new birth is receiving Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, by faith (John 1:12)

 

The new birth is being made the “righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21).

 

The new birth is compulsory if you are to become a child of God: “You must be born again”.

 

1)    Jesus and The Two Births (John 3:1-8 ) 1) There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.  2) This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” 3) Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4) Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5) Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6) That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  7) Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’  8) The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

 

Notes: In John 3:1-8, we see Jesus and Nicodemus face to face-Jesus the Son of God, and Nicodemus the son of natural man.  Nicodemus was a very religious man, but he was not a child of God. What a shock it must have been to learn that his religion was not enough! It never is.  He came to Jesus, addressing Him saying, “You have come from God as a teacher”. Jesus knew Nicodemus , as He knows all men (John 2:24, 25), and Jesus knew that he needed more than a teacher-he needed a Savior. He needed more than religion-he needed regeneration. He needed more than Law-he needed life. Jesus began by going right to the point when He said, “You must be born again.” Nicodemus asked, “How can a man be born when he is old?” Then Jesus pointed out the dissimilarity in the two births: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh” (the flesh will never change); and “That which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (the Spirit will never change (John 3:6).

 

First, let us take a brief look at the flesh birth:

(1)   It produces an old sinful nature (Ps. 51:5 OT).

(2)   It produces a perishable nature (1 Pet. 1:23).

(3)   It produces an old nature under the sentence of death (Rom 6:23).

(4)   It produces an old nature that makes every unsaved person a child of the devil (1 John 3:10).

 

Second, let us say a word about the new birth:

(1)   It produces a sinless nature (1 John 3:9).

(2)   It produces a nature that can not sin (1 John 3:9).

(3)   It produces a righteous nature (2 Cor. 5:21).

(4)   It produces a divine nature (2 Pet. 1:4).

Every born again person has two natures: The old from the old birth, and the new from the new birth. By the old birth, we are children of the flesh; by the new the new birth, we are children of God. This is why, “You must be born again.”

 

2)    The New Birth Issues a New Sinless Nature (1 John 3:9) 9)Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.

 

Notes: This is one of the most misunderstood verses in the Bible. Do not try to understand it in the light of personal experience. Keep in mind that the above verse is speaking of the new nature-not the old nature-because the old nature is not born from God. The old nature is born of fallen man and is depraved. The new nature is born of God and is holy.

 

First, let us see what the verse says about the new nature:

(1)   The new nature does not commit sin, because it is the product of the seed (sperm) of God.

(2)   The new nature cannot sin, because it is the divine nature of God (2 Pet. 1:4) and since God cannot sin, the new nature that issues from His holy seed cannot sin.

 

Second, let us see what the Bible says about the old nature:

(1)   The old nature does sin any time you let it sin (Rom. 6:12). As a child of God, you will keep under the old nature (1 Cor. 9:27) by not yielding to the desire of the flesh; or the old nature will keep you under, and you will live a defeated Christian life (Rom 6:13).

(2)   There is nothing good in the old nature (Rom. 7:18).  The power to live a righteous life cannot be found in the old nature; it can be found only in the new (Gal. 2:20).

 

If you have been “born again”, you have two natures-the old and the new-and you are walking according to one of the two. Examine your Christian walk in the light of God’s Word (Rom. 8:5, 6).

 

3)    The New Birth is Imperishable (1 Pet. 1:23) 23) Having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever.

 

Notes: In the above verse (23) we have two seeds, two births, and two natures.

 

(1) The corruptible seed issues a corruptible nature (Rom. 1:23). The seed of man became depraved in the seed of Adam when he sinned in the garden of Eden (Gen. 3:6-10 OT).  Corruptible man can produce only corruptible seed (Matt. 7:18).  “All have sinned…” (Rom 3:23) because all are born in sin (Ps. 51:5 OT).  You are not a sinner because you sin-you sin because you are a sinner.

(2) The incorruptible seed issues an incorruptible nature (2 Pet. 1:4).   You cannot corrupt that which is incorruptible; therefore, the incorruptible seed of God issues a new nature that cannot be corrupted at any time, or in any way. The new birth produces the life of Christ, and this life is made living in man by the indwelling Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:8-10).

 

The seed of man is corruptible; the birth of man is natural. Therefore, the nature of man is sinful. The seed of God is incorruptible; the new birth is spiritual. Therefore, the new nature is sinless.

 

4)    The New Birth-Its Means (Read: John 3:14-18 ) 18 ) And as “Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; 15) that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. 16) For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  17) For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 18) He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

 

Notes: “Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness” (Num. 21:5-9 OT).  He lifted up the serpent for a sinful, disobedient people. When anyone was bitten by a serpent, he had a choice: He could humble himself and by a simple act of faith look and live (Is. 45:22 OT); or he could refuse to look on the serpent of bronze and die.

 

“Even so must the Son of Man be lifted up.” Just as the serpent in the wilderness was the only means for the healing of Israel, so the death of Jesus Christ is the only means for the new birth. And the only way to appropriate the regenerating power of God is by faith in the vicarious death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 15:1-4).

 

The sinner must come to Christ by faith, believing:

(1) That Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures (Is. 53:1-12 OT –

and Zech. 13:6 OT).

(2) And that He was buried. This is the proof of His death. He was in the grave three days and nights.

(3) And that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures. This is the gospel that saves-but it is powerless to save until the sinner believes it (Rom. 1:16).

 

The means of the new birth is found in that:

(1) “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son”-to be the only means of the new birth (John 3:16).

(2) Jesus Christ gladly came into the world to become the only means of the new birth (John 12:27 – and John 17:1-5).

(3) The Holy Spirit came into the world on the day of Pentecost to convince men of their need of the new birth (John 16:7-11).  A personal faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the only means of the new birth.

 

5)    The New Birth: Its Threefold Proof (1 John 5:1) 1) Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God; and whoever loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him.

 

Notes: Every “born again” child of God has the threefold proof of the new birth-proof that he is a child of God. This threefold proof is: first, inward proof; second, outgoing proof; and third, outward proof.

(1)    “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God” (1 John 5:1). Your faith in Christ-that He is God-is personal evidence that you are a child of God (1 John 5:10-13). This is inward proof of the new birth.

(2)   “Everyone who loves is born of God” (1 John 4:7-11).  We are to love our fellow man with the love of God. This we are not capable of doing in the flesh; we must let God love man through us (Rom. 5:5).  This is outgoing proof of the new birth.

(3)   “Everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him” (1 John 2:29).  If you are born of God, you will make a practice of doing right at all times and at all cost (2 Cor. 5:17).  This is outward proof of the new birth.

 

If you do not have the threefold proof of the new birth, now is the time to get on you knees and accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior-by faith in His Vicarious death, burial, and resurrection!

Master Outline Number 12: Repentance

Master Outline Number 12: Repentance

Outline Twelve: Repentance

REPENTANCE

 

“He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper. But, he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion” (Prov. 28:13 OT).

 

God desires “truth in the innermost being” (Ps. 51:6 OT). And commands all men everywhere to repent (Acts 17:30). The sinner must repent before he can become the recipient of salvation by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8, 9). The saved must practice repentance if he is to enjoy unbroken fellowship with God (Job 42:1-6 OT). Someone said, “I repented before I understood the meaning of the word, but since then, as a Christian, I have repented many times.”

 

Repentance is granted by God (Acts 5:31 and Acts 11:18). “The kindness of God leads you to repentance” (Rom. 2:4). The kindness of God is not merited; therefore, the result of His kindness which is repentance is a gift. This gift of repentance is an inward change produced by the convicting power of the Holy Spirit as the Word of God is proclaimed (Acts 2:37, 38; and John 16:7,11). The results, “repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21); faith that Christ died for our sins; and that He was buried and that He rose from the dead (1 Cor. 15:1-4)

 

Repentance qualifies a man for salvation, but it takes a faith in Christ to acquire it. True repentance is always coupled with faith. It is impossible to have saving faith and not repent. “Repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ” are essential and inseparable in salvation.

 

Faith without repentance is the ultimate of hypocrisy and repentance without faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ is sheer folly.

 

1.     Repentance Defined (Read: 2 Pet. 3:9): 9) The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward *us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

 

Notes: First, let us see that repentance is not:

 

(1) Sorrow. “Sorrow that is according to the will of God produces repentance without regret, leading to salvation” (2 Cor. 7:9, 10). Godly sorrow is a guilty feeling that leads to repentance, but it is not repentance.

 

(2) Penance. Penance is an act on the part of the guilty to render payment for sin. It is to make an effort, in some way, to atone for wrongs done against God of man. God calls all men to repentance, not to do penance.

 

(a) Jesus did not say, do penance and believe the gospel. He said, “Repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15).

 

(b) Peter did not say, do penance and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ. He said, “Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of you sins” (Acts 2:38).

 

(c) Paul did not say, God is declaring all men everywhere to do penance. He said, “God is now declaring to men that all everywhere should repent” (Acts 17:30) If penance is repentance, then salvation is not the gift of God, and we are not saved by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8, 9)

 

(3) Reformation. Reformation is a change brought about by the efforts of man for self-glory (Matt. 12:43-45). It is a turning away from known sin, or giving up bad habit, or trying to overhaul the old nature, or turning over a new leaf, or making restitution. Judas reformed but it did not save him and neither can it save you (Matt. 27:3-5)

 

Second, let us see what repentance is:

 

(1) A change. The change is always evidenced in three elements.

(a) The intellectual element, a change of mind.

(b) The emotional element, a change of heart.

(c) The volitional element, a change of will.

 

(2) The parable of the prodigal is a perfect illustration of repentance. He had a change of mind, a change of heart, and a change of will (Luke 15:11-32)

(a) The intellectual element, “He came to his senses.”

(b) The emotional element, “I have sinned.”

(c) The volitional element, “I will get up and go to my father.”

 

Repentance is a change. The prodigal had a change of mind; and his change of mind effected a change of heart; and his change of heart effected a change of will. No one is ever saved until he wills to be (Rev. 22:17). Repentance is change of mind, of heart, and of will.

 

2.     Repentance Preached (Read: Mark 1:1-4) 1) the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. 2) As it is written in *the Prophets: “Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way before You.” 3) “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight.’”4) John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.

 

Notes: Repentance was preached in the Old Testament before the birth of Christ, and during the life and during the life and ministry of Christ. It was preached on the day of Pentecost, and in the Book of Acts after Pentecost. It is taught in the Epistles and the Book of Revelation. It is a doctrine to be preached and practiced in all dispensations.

 

(1) John the Baptist preached repentance.

(a) He preached the baptism of repentance (Luke 3:3)

(b) He preached. “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 3:2) He was “THE VOICE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS, ‘MAKE READY THE WAY OF THE LORD’” (Matt. 3:3) John’s preaching of repentance exalted Christ, denounced sin, warned of judgment, and it cost him his head.

 

(2) Jesus preached repentance.

(a) He preached, “Repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:14, 15). He went about doing mighty works and calling sinners to repent and to have faith in the good news of God.

(b) His preaching of repentance was an ultimatum, repent or perish (Luke 13:1-5). Salvation by grace is for the repentant soul, and judgment, without mercy, for those who resist!

(3) Peter preached repentance.

(a) At Pentecost he preached, “Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins” (Acts 2:38).

(b) In his second Epistle he preached that, the Lord “… is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9). Every soul that goes to hell goes against the will of God.

(4) Paul preached repentance.

(a) He preached that God ” is now declaring to men that all everywhere should repent” (Acts 17:30). This message was given on Mars’ Hill to the intelligentsia of Athens. The results were three-fold: First, some mocked; second, some procrastinated; third, some believed (Acts 17:32-34).

 

3.     Repentance From Dead Works (Read: Heb. 6:1) 1) Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God.

 

Notes: What does the writer of Hebrews mean by, “repentance from dead works”? First, we need to see the other two categories of works. They are:

 

(1) Good works (Matt. 5:16). Only saved souls can do good works and please God. Of the lost, He said, “There is no one who does good, not even one” (Ps. 14:1-3 OT). The believer is not to hide his good works, but lit them be seen to the glory of the heavenly Father. Mary of Bethany anointed the head and feet of Jesus with precious perfume while He sat at the table of Simon the leper. Some of the disciples called her deed an extravagant waste, But Jesus said, “She has done a good deed to Me… She has done what she could” (Mark 14:3-9). Like Mary, we are to do all we can to the glory of God, not in order to be saved, but because we are saved, having no other motive. This is the way to do good works.

 

(2) Evil deeds (Col. 1:20, 21). Evil deeds are deeds done by the unregenerate, natural man ( 1 Cor. 2:14).). He walks according to this world system. He is motivated by the “prince of the power of the air (Satan)”. His talk is filled with the lust of the flesh and he lives to gratify the desires of the flesh and the natural mind, He is a child of wrath and his works are wicked because he is dead in sin (Eph. 2:1-3).

 

(3) Dead works (Heb. 6:1). Dead works could be called religious works. They are done by the religious for the purpose of meriting eternal life. It is legalistic effort to keep the moral and ceremonial laws of God for the purpose of winning God’s favor and be saved by works (Eph. 2:8, 9). Paul said, “because by works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight” (Rom. 3:20).

Dead works are performed by the religious, “For not knowing about God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God” (Rom. 10:1-4).

 

Paul is a good illustration of repentance from dead works. He clearly stated the he had “no confidence in the flesh”; then he lists his dead works of which he had to repent (Phil. 3:1-9). When he compared this righteousness which is by dead works of the law, with the righteousness of Christ which is by faith, he counted the former but rubbish. He knew the meaning of “repentance from dead works”.

 

4.     Repentance and God (Read: Heb. 7:21) 21) for they have become priests without an oath, but He with an oath by Him who said to Him: “The Lord has sworn and will not relent, ‘You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek’”

 

Notes: “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent” (Num. 23:19 OT). Yet the Bible tells us that He does repent (Gen. 6:5-7 OT). This is not a contradiction. It is paradoxical, but not contradictory.

 

God makes two covenants with man.

The first is unconditional. When He makes and unconditional covenant, He never repents (change His mind [Ps. 110:4 OT]). He made such a covenant with Israel (Rom. 11:25-36).

 

The second is conditional. The Lord said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever because he also is flesh; nevertheless, his days shall be one hundred and twenty years” (Gen. 6:3 OT). In the days of Noah, God gave the human race a 120 years to repent. Only Noah and his family repented and “found favor in the eyes of the Lord: (Gen. 6:8 OT). They met God’s condition and were not judged with the rest of the human race who refused to repent. “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is patient toward you,NOT WISHING FOR ANY TO PERISH BUT FOR ALL TO COME TO REPENTANCE” (2 Pet. 3:9). It is clear that God wills to save all lost souls. He is “not wishing for any to perish”. To be saved the lost must meet His condition, “repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21). Now if a man does not repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, God will repent. He will change and judge that man. In love He bestows grace; but, if salvation by grace is rejected, in justice He terminates it. In this way God repents.

 

5.     Repentance, Impossible to Renew (Read: Heb. 6:4-6) 4) For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5) and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6) if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.

 

Notes: The key that unlocks the mystery to this difficult portion of Scripture is the word, “impossible” in verse 4. The writer is saying, that the person who so sins will find it impossible to repent again.

 

First, let us see what the writer does not mean. He does not mean a backslidden Christian. Simon Peter backslid (Matt. 26:69-75), repented (John 21:3-17), and was restored to fellowship with the Lord. King David sinned (2 Sam. 11:1-27 OT), repented (Ps. 51:1-19 OT), and was restored to fellowship with the Lord (2 Sam. 12:13 OT). Any backslidden Christian can repent and be restored to fellowship with God.

 

Second, let us see what the writer does mean. Hebrews 6:4-6 is proof that being religious is not enough to save you. They professed, but did not possess eternal life. In outward appearance they would be called Christians. But Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord’, will enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 7:21-23).

Esau so sinned against the Lord when he sold his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of stew (Gen. 25:27-34 OT). Later he tried to repent, but found it impossible to do so. The Scripture says, “He found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears” (Heb. 12:16, 17).

 

At the great white throne judgment where only the wicked dead are judged (Rev. 20:11-15), they too, will try to repent but will find it impossible.

 

6.     Repentance, The Importance of (Read: Acts 17:30): 30) “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent

 

Notes: Repentance is so important that God commands that “all everywhere should repent” (Acts 17:30).

 

(1) The lost are to repent. Jesus said, “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Matt. 9:13). Again, He said, “Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” Luke 13:3-5).

 

(2) Backsliders are to repent. Paul said, “I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance” (2 Cor. 7:9). There were fleshly Christians in the church at Corinth. In Paul’s first letter to them he called upon the church to discipline the guilty. In his second letter he rejoices because the guilty repented.

 

(3) Local churches are to repent. In the Book of Revelation (Rev. 2-3), our Lord sent seven letters to seven local churches. He called upon five of the seven to repent.

 

The church at Ephesus was to repent because she had left her first love.

The church at Pergamos was to repent because she permitted the doctrine of Balaam to be taught, and to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit acts of immorality.

 

The church at Thyatira was to repent because she tolerated Jezebel to teach and lead God’s servants to commit acts of immorality.

 

The church at Sardis was to repent because she was a dying congregation.

 

The church at Laodicea was to repent because she taught she was rich and did not need anything. In her opinion, she had arrived. She did not know that she was neither hot nor cold, but lukewarm and God was ready to spit her out of His mouth.

The Lord called upon these five churches to repent or else He would remove their candlestick and they would cease to be a light in darkness.

The lost are to repent or perish.

 

The backslider is to repent or be disciplined.

The local church is to repent or lose its effectiveness in a world lost in sin.

 

7.     Repentance, The Evidence of (Read: Acts 26:19, 20):  19) Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, 20) but, declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance.

 

Notes: The evidence of repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ is seen in:

(1) The repentance of unbelieving Thomas (John 20:24-29). Thomas would not believe that Christ had been raised from the dead until he saw the risen Savior and was given the opportunity to touch His nail-pierced hands and put his hand into His wounded side. Thomas repented, believed, and made his great confession of faith. “My Lord and My God!”

(2) Three thousand changed their minds, hearts, and wills on the day of Pentecost and immediately gave evidence of repentance (Acts 2:41-47).

(3) Saul of Tarsus experienced repentance when he met Jesus on the Damascus road and gave evidence of repentance (Acts 9:1-22).

 

(4) Cornelius, his family, and friends repented when they heard the gospel preached by Simon Peter, and evidence of repentance followed (Acts 10:24-48).

 

(5) The Philippian jailer and his house repented when witnessed to by Paul and Silas; the evidence of repentance followed (Acts 16:26-34).

Repentance is a change of the mind, the heart, and the will. The proof of repentance is:

(a) Turning from “transgressions” (Exek. 18:30 OT).

(b) turning to God (Acts 26:19, 20).

(c) followed by good deeds (Acts 26:19, 20).

Master Outline 11: Life

Master Outline 11: Life

Outline Eleven: Life

THE ABUNDANT LIFE

 

“… I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly” (John 10:10)  The only way into eternal life is through faith in Jesus Christ as personal Savior (John 3:15) But do not stop here; to have eternal life is great-but there is more. Christ came that you might have life abundantly.  All believers have life, but not all have abundant life.  You are living beneath your privilege if you are a believer and not enjoying the abundant life

For life to be abundant, it must have abundant resources, and the only unlimited source of life is in the person Jesus Christ, the son of God (John 14:6) To possess this fuller life, the believer must abide in Him (John 15:1-5). Dynamic, abundant living is not for just a few, it is God’s norm for all believers. It is spiritual life in depth, and without it, the Christian life becomes inane and meaningless.

 

If you do not have abundant life within you, you will soon yield to the carnal (fleshly) life around you (1 Cor. 3:1-4) The carnal life is circumstance-controlled; the abundant  life is Holy Spirit-controlled.  The carnal Christian life leads to defeat; the abundant life leads to victory in Christ.  Man seems to know everything about life except how to live it abundantly.  From this moment on, determine not to be satisfied  with anything less than God’s best: living life abundantly.

 

1.    The Abundant Life is a Yielded Life Rom. 6:10-13 (10) Forthe death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. (11) Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.  (12) Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. (13) And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.

Notes: How to live the abundant life is no secret; it is revealed in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  “For the death that He died, He died to sin, once for all; but the life He lives, He lives to God” (above verse 10).  Faith that saves identifies you with Christ in His death-this is eternal life.  Faith that yields identifies you with Christ in His resurrection-this is abundant life (Col. 3:1-4)

(1) It is one thing to have eternal life by faith. It is quite another thing to have abundant life by faith.

(2) It is one thing for you to “… become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21);  it is another thing for you to realize His righteous life is in you (1 John 3:7).

(3) It is one thing for you to live in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17);  It is another thing for Christ to live His life through you (Col. 1:27).

In the above verse (verse 13),  the believer has a choice. He may yield to God by faith and enjoy abundant life or he may yield to sin and endure a defeated life (Rev. 3:1).  God would have you know the power of a yielded life; it will lift you above circumstances that circumvent abundant living.  The abundant life begins when you yield to Him as Master, allowing Him to live His life through you by faith.

 

2.    The Abundant Life is a Service Life (Rom. 12:1, 2) 1) I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2)And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

 

NotesTo live abundantly, you must serve the Lord Jesus Christ, who Himself became our example. He served all the way to Calvary, and there He was the obedient servant,” …obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (Phil. 2:7, 8 )

In the verses 1 and 2 the believer is urged to take the necessary steps for abundant living.

 

(1) You are to “present“. This is volitional surrender to the perfect will of God, even though you may not know God’s perfect will for your life; it is, on your part, an act of faith (John 7:17

(2) You are to “present your bodies“. God must control and use the whole man. “And may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ.” Your whole man was redeemed on the cross and sanctified (set apart for service) (1 Thess. 5:23).

(3) You are to “… present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God which is your reasonable service.” This is exemplified in the life of the Apostle Paul; he was a “living sacrifice”. In life, he was “a servant of Christ Jesus” (Rom. 1:1). In battle, he was a warrior (Eph. 6:10-18). In the will of God, he was a “prisoner of Christ Jesus” (Eph. 3:1). These words were spoken from a Roman prison; he never referred to himself as a prisoner of Rome. To the Apostle, prison was a part of the perfect will of God. With this conviction, he lived abundantly (Phil. 1:12) In death, he was victorious (2 Tim. 4:7, 8).

You have been “transformed”, changed by the power of God, and no longer “conformed to this world” but now you can be conformed to the “good and acceptable and perfect” will of God, and live abundantly!

3.    The Abundant Life is a Separated Life. Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God.

Notes: Separation is both positive and negative. You are to be “… set apart for the gospel of God”, this is positive (Rom. 1:1). You are to come out from anything that is contrary to the perfect will of God (2 Cor. 6:17) this is negative.

To be separated means to be sanctified (set apart) for salvation and service.

 

(1) The word of God has the power to separate the believer from sin (John 17:17) and (Ps. 119:11 OT)

(2) God the Father has the power to separate the believer to the “… coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess. 5:23).

(3) God the Son has the power to separate the believer to righteousness, “… having no spot or wrinkle (Eph. 5:24-27)

(4) God the Holy Spirit has the power to separate the believer unto salvation and service (2 Thess. 2:13)

Without being separated, you can have relationship with God; but, you cannot have fellowship with Him. You may be united to Him in Calvary, but separated from Him in sin (Is. 59:1,2 OT). Without separation, you can have influence without power, movement without achievement; you may try, but not trust; serve, but not succeed; war, but not win. Without separation to God from sin, your whole Christian life will be “wood, hay, straw”. The abundant life is made possible by death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and made a reality by being separated to Him.

4.    The Abundant Life is a Spirit Filled Life. (Eph. 5:18-20) 18 )And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19) speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20) giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Notes: The Holy Spirit indwells every believer. You may be immature, weak and imperfect; but, if you have been “born again” of the Spirit (John 3:3-7) He dwells in you (1 Cor. 6:19 and Rom. 8:9). It is one thing for you to have the Holy Spirit dwelling in you, but does the Holy Spirit have you, that He may fill you with abundant life? The abundant life is not found in environment or circumstances, or in the things you may possess. It is found in the infilling of the Holy Spirit. “But filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18 ) is a command. You may be filled many, many times (Acts 2:4 and Acts 4:31) The apostles that were filled in Acts chapter 2, were filled again in Acts chapter 4. To be filled with the Holy Spirit is to be: Spirit-possessed, Spirit-empowered, Spirit-led and Spirit-controlled (Acts 8:26-40).

 

(1) You are filled with the Spirit that you might have joy(Eph. 5:19, 20).

 

(2) You are filled with the Spirit for service (Acts 6:3 and Acts 11:22-24).

 

(3) You are filled with the Spirit for power to be a witness(Acts 1:8 and Acts 2:4-7).

 

(4) You are filled with the Spirit for the hour of persecution(Acts 7:54-60).

 

(5) You are filled with the Spirit that you may “walk by the Spirit (Gal. 5:16-26).

 

(6) You are filled with the Spirit that you may be led by the Spirit (Rom. 8:14).

How can you be filled with the Holy Spirit? First, You must desire Him to fill you. Second, you must ask Him to fill you. Third, you must believe that He does fill you (John 4:14 and John 7:37, 38).

5.    The Abundant Life is a Mature Life (2 Pet. 3:18 ) 18 ) but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Notes: “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 3:18). The scriptures reveal four stages of spiritual growth in the Christian life:

(1) The baby stage (1 Cor. 3:1-4) A baby thinks only of self; and, if denied the things desired, it will raise a rumpus. It seeks its own; its feelings are easily hurt and it is often jealous. A baby lives to be served-it never serves. It drinks milk, and cannot eat strong meat. It cries, but never sings. It tries to talk, but never makes sense. These infant characteristics are so prominent in the lives of many church members. They have been born into the family of God, but have failed to develop spiritually. They are spiritual babies-carnal Christians.

(2) The little child stage (1 John 2:12) Some Christians grow to be little children spiritually, but stop there. Here are some of the characteristics of children: they are often untruthful, envious, and cruel. If rebuked, they become martyrs; if crossed, they are resentful and often make a scene. They are talebearers, repeating everything they hear (in adults, it is called gossip). They are given to emotional outbursts, and are easily puffed up. They love praise, and will accept it from any source. They seek only the things that appeal to self. Are you a spiritual child?

 

(3) The young man stage (1 John 2:13) Spiritual growth to that of a young man is not reached by many. He is strong and virile and is well able to overcome his enemy. He has a vision for the future and the faith and courage to tackle it. He is preparing for his productive years. You, too, can become a young man spiritually by doing “away with childish things” (1 Cor. 13:11)

 

(4) The father stage (1 John 2:13) This stage of spiritual development can be reached by all, but so few ever attain it. The spiritual father has peace with God (Rom. 5:1) He knows the peace of God (Phil. 4:7). He rejoices in his spiritual children (1 Thess. 2:19 and 1 Tim. 1:2) He has learned contentment under all circumstances (Phil. 4:11) He knows the only source of true strength (Phil. 4:13) He does not brood over the past, but looks to the future (Phil. 3:13, 14) He knows that all things work together in his life for his eternal good (Rom. 8:28 ) He enjoys abundant life now and will enjoy it in the life to come (Eph. 2:7)

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