Tag: Christian Basics

Who is Jesus Christ?

Who is Jesus Christ?

This post was originally featured with the American Association of Christian Counselors and is excerpted from the Soul Care Bible.
Author: ED HINDSON
(John 1:29)
Jesus is the primary figure of the Bible. The Old Testament promises His coming; the New Testament describes His arrival on the scene of humanity that changed the course of history. One cannot read the New Testament without being confronted by Jesus. His person is overwhelming. His character is irresistibly attractive. His teachings are life-changing. But many still ask: Is He simply to be admired, or is He to be worshiped? Is He a good man, or is He God?
The more closely we examine the person, character, and claims of Jesus, the more we are compelled to see that He was more than just a man. Jesus was born in obscurity, raised in poverty, and crucified in ignominy. Yet, His life transformed the world. His ministry was characterized by preaching the good news of God’s grace to fallen humanity.
The name Jesus means “Savior”; Christ means “Messiah.” Technically, He is Jesus, the Christ. The Bible emphasizes that He is the promised Messiah of the Old Testament who was born of a virgin and miraculously entered the human race as God in the flesh (Matt. 1:23; John 1:14).
More than anything else, Jesus brings hope to people’s hopelessness. He is depicted as the Word of God (John 1:1), the Light of the World (John 1:7-9), the Lamb of God (John 1:29), and the Son of God (John 1:49). He meets us at our greatest points of need and offers us God’s salvation, love, and grace.
HIS DEITY AND HUMANITY
The Gospels paint four portraits of Jesus. Together, they give us a full picture of the person of Christ. Each focuses on a specific aspect of the same individual. Matthew pictures Him as the King of the Jews. Mark portrays Him as the Servant of the Lord. Luke displays Him as the Son of Man. John shows Him as the Son of God. By combining these portraits, we see the various facets of this incredible person-royalty, ministry, humanity, and deity-all in one.
John’s Gospel in particular is woven around seven miracles, seven messages, and seven declarations of Jesus. The central statement being Jesus’ declaration: “Before Abraham was, I AM” (John 8:58). His listeners immediately took this to be a claim of deity. Jesus was connecting Himself to the “I AM” declaration of God in Exodus 3:14. Around this central concept, John uses seven other “I am” statements by Jesus to give us a series of word pictures of the Savior:
“I am the bread of life” (John 6:35) “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12) “I am the door of the sheep” (John 10:7) “I am the good shepherd” (John 10:11) “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25) “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6) “I am the true vine” (John 15:1)
The Gospel writers give us a picture of the most incredible man who ever lived. He healed the sick, raised the dead, fed the hungry, and loved the outcasts. His miracles were amazing. His teachings were brilliant. His insights into human nature were remarkable. Like a diamond, reflecting various streams of color and brilliance, Jesus shines as a perfect and complete picture of God. He looked like a man, but He talked like God. He lived among people, but He also lived above them. Indeed, in Him, God “became flesh” (John 1:14).
HIS IRRESISTIBLE APPEAL
Jesus is the epitome of divine love, sufficient grace, and eternal hope. No one will ever love us like He loves us. No one will ever care for us like He cares. Ultimately, He died on the Cross for our sins (1 Cor. 15:1-4). The good news of the gospel compels us to believe that He died for us personally. He calls upon us to trust His death as a sufficient payment for our sins.
Faith is the act of believing that activates our commitment to Jesus Christ as our personal Savior. It is the key that personalizes our relationship to Him. Saving faith means that we believe Jesus died for our sins and offers us the gift of eternal life.
All we have to do is believe it! Such an act of faith receives the free gift of this grace, believes this offer to be sincere, and trusts Him to keep His promises-forever.
Charles Spurgeon, the great British preacher, said it best over a century ago when he wrote: “You may study, look, and meditate, but Jesus is a greater Savior than you think Him to be, even when your thoughts are at their highest.” Jesus Christ is more willing to love us, accept us, help us, and forgive us than we ourselves are. It is no wonder they call Him the Savior!
Jesus came so that we might know God personally. He suffered and died for our sins so that they might be “paid in full” (John 19:30; 1 Pet. 2:21-24). Then He rose from the dead to offer us the gift of eternal life (John 10:28). We can have that gift by receiving His gracious offer by faith. Believing in Jesus is an act of trust by which we affirm that what He did for us on the Cross is enough. On that basis, the Bible promises: “Whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved” (Rom. 10:13).

NLT Christian Basics Bible Review

NLT Christian Basics Bible Review

 

 

NLT Christian Basics Bible Review

As I am preparing to step into a Senior Pastor role, I find myself looking at resources for the disciples who come to church and today I would like to introduce you to one of the two Bibles newly saved disciples will be offered, the NLT Christian Basics Bible. (Disclaimer: unlike other review Bibles, this was not sent by Tyndale nor was a review solicited; this is completely on my own.)

First, some information from the publisher:

New to the Bible? The Christian Basics Bible is for you! It can be difficult for readers who are new to Scripture to explore the Bible’s teachings and to understand how Christian beliefs are established in its pages. The Christian Basics Bible is filled with features designed to help readers-especially those new to the Bible-connect biblical teachings to Christian beliefs and to see how those beliefs apply to their lives. By delivering the right amount of both information and application, the Christian Basics Bible can become the catalyst that helps you to live a vibrant Christian life guided by God’s Word.

Product Information

Format: Imitation Leather
Number of Pages: 1700
Vendor: Tyndale House
Publication Date: 2017
ISBN: 1496413571
ISBN-13: 9781496413574
References: Cross References

Initial Thoughts:

I was rather surprised with the Christian Basics Bible; my original expectation was something geared more toward teens or perhaps children and I was not expecting much theology. I half expected the Christian Basics Bible would just call out the major stories that most people would already be familiar with. Instead, you actually get Theology, and good Theology at that.

Translation Choice:

The editors chose the NLT and they could not have made a better choice. The NLT is translated using English at an early middle school level, approximately 6th-7th grades. The “Meaning Based” or “Thought-for-Thought” approach is what gives NLT its broad appeal; if you did not know it, outside the United States, NLT is in a statistical tie with the NIV for the dominant English Translation and I find that it is perfect for someone who has English as a second language.

Front Matter:

First up, we are given a Read This First Article. This article is a brief overview of the Christian Basics Bible and a guide to using it.

Becoming a Christian

This article provides a guide to how to become a Christian and begin a life of discipleship. The article discusses the need for a savior, the need to repent, and how to do so. There is a sample prayer provided to help the new disciple in confessing sin and yielding to the Lordship of Christ.

Now That You Are a Christian

Following on the Becoming a Christian article, this article guides new disciples through the beginning stages of the process of becoming a disciple of Jesus. The article references several topical articles located throughout the Bible that will provide guidance in starting that relationship.

What is the Bible

This is the longest of the three articles. It covers Bible history, the major sections of the Bible, and the languages of the Bible. The article also covers the overall message of the Bible as well as its priority in the life of a believer.

A Timeline of the Bible

This is an estimated chronology of when the events in the Bible happened. It is fairly self explanatory.

Main Study Helps

Book Introductions

Like any good study Bible, each book comes with its own introduction. Each introduction has a 1-paragraph summary of the book. The What’s It All About section provides an overview of the book and where it fits in the overarching story of redemption. The What Does It Mean for Us section gives us a glimpse of how the truths of each book applies to our lives today. Lastly, the Overview Section provides a brief outline of the book.

Topical Articles

Interspersed throughout the Bible are topical articles related to what it means to be a Christian. Each article concludes with a reference to another article that is related to the topic being studied. Topical exegesis isn’t my favorite way to study the Bible but when you are trying to learn theology for the first time it is a very helpful way to begin.

Back Matter:

Reading Plans

Plan 1 takes 28 days and gives an introduction to the Bible. Plan 2 will take approximately 180 days and provides a panoramic picture of the Bible. There is not a Plan 3 but that isn’t a drawback. By the time a new disciple completes plans 1&2, there should be enough familiarity with the truth of Scripture to be able to decide what is desired to be studied next and select an appropriate study plan.

Basic Truths of the Christian Faith

At first glance, you would think this is a concordance, but you would be mistaken. This is a topical guide to the major subjects a Christian would be expected to deal with in their life. There is an introduction to the topic followed by an expository outline to the reader through the topic.

Glossary

There is a brief glossary which helps readers to understand the terms that Christians commonly use.

Visual Overview of the Bible

Lastly, there is a visual overview of the Bible. These are 14 full color maps and charts to help you visualize what you are reading about and make the Bible come alive.

Final Thoughts

This is not what I had expected and I am delighted by that fact. I have spent almost a month on reviewing the materials offered and I am well pleased. The theology is basic enough that a reader would have a solid foundation after following the 200 days of readings recommended in the reading plans but it will also provide a jumping in point for deeper discussion of theology.

This is one of two Bibles that we will be providing at Abounding Grace Baptist Church for those who are new disciples, the other being the Swindoll Study Bible and we will choose which one to give based on how much, if any, the new disciple already knows about the Bible. I highly recommend the NLT Christian Basics Bible.

 

 

The Unfolding Revelation of Jesus

The Unfolding Revelation of Jesus

The whole of the Bible is the story of Jesus: Our Savior, Healer, Baptizer in the Holy Spirit, and soon coming King. The following is how each book presents Jesus and the verse associated with each presentation.

Genesis

  • Seed of the woman (Genesis 3:15)
  • Shiloh (Genesis 49:10)

Exodus

  • Passover Lamb (Exodus 12:3)

Leviticus

  • Anointed High Priest (Leviticus 8:7-12)

Numbers

  • The lifted up healer {Bronze serpent} (Numbers 21:8-9; )
  • Star of Jacob (Numbers 24:17)
  • Scepter of Israel (Numbers 24:17)

Deuteronomy

  • Future Prophet Like Moses (Deuteronomy 18:15)
  • The great Rock (Deuteronomy 32:4)

Joshua

  • Captain of the Lord’s army/Lord of the Hosts (Joshua 5:14)

Judges

  • Angel of the LORD (Judges 2:1)

Ruth

  • Kinsman redeemer

1 Samuel

  • The great judge (1 Samuel 2:10)

2 Samuel

  • Son of David (2 Samuel 7:12-13)

1 Kings

  • Lord God of Israel (1 Kings 8:15, 25)

2 Kings

  • Lord of the cherubim (2 Kings 19:15)

1 Chronicles

  • God of our salvation (1 Chronicles 16:35)

2 Chronicles

  • God of our ancestors (2 Chronicles 20:6)

Ezra

  • Lord of heaven and earth (Ezra 1:2)

Nehemiah

  • Covenant-keeping God (Nehemiah 1:5)

Esther

  • God of providence

Job

  • Risen and returning Redeemer (Job 19:25)

Psalms

  • Anointed Son (Psalm 2:2, 12)
  • Holy One (Psalm 16:10)
  • Good Shepherd (Psalm 23:1)
  • King of glory (Psalm 24:7-10)

Proverbs

  • Wisdom of God/Embodiment of wisdom (Proverbs 8)
  • Architect at Creation (Proverbs 8:30)

Ecclesiastes

  • The one above the sun

Song of Songs

  • Fairest among 10,000 (Song 5:10)
  • Altogether lovely (Song 5:16)
  • Our Beloved (Song 6:3)
  • Him who our soul loves (Song 3:4)

Isaiah

  • Virgin-born Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14)
  • Wonderful Counselor (Isaiah 9:6)
  • Mighty God (Isaiah 9:6)
  • Everlasting Father (Isaiah 9:6)
  • Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6)
  • Servant (Isaiah 52:13)
  • Man of sorrows (Isaiah 53:3)

Jeremiah

  • The Lord our righteousness (Jeremiah 23:6; Jeremiah 33:16)

Lamentations

  • Faithful and compassionate (Lamentations 3:22-23, 31-33)

Ezekiel

  • The tender shoot (Ezekiel 17:22)
  • The one who has the right to judge (Ezekiel 21:27)

Daniel

  • The rock (Daniel 2:34)
  • One like a divine being (or like “the Son of God”) (Daniel 3:25)
  • One like the Son of Man (Daniel 7:13)

Hosea

  • King of the resurrection (Hosea 13:10-14)

Joel

  • God of the battle (Joel 2:11; Joel 3:2, 9-17)
  • Giver of the Spirit (Joel 2:28-32)

Amos

  • Lord God Almighty (Amos 4:13)
  • Plumb line (Amos 7:7-9)

Obadiah

  • Destroyer of the proud (Obadiah 1:8, 15)

Jonah

  • Risen prophet (Jonah 2:10)
  • God of the second chance (Jonah 3:1-2)
  • Long-suffering one (Jonah 4:9-11)

Micah

  • God of Israel (Micah 4:1-5)
  • Born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2)
  • God who pardons (Micah 7:18-20)

Nahum

  • Avenging God (Nahum 1:2)
  • Bringer of good tidings (Nahum 1:15)

Habakkuk

  • Eternal (Habakkuk 1:12)
  • Pure (Habakkuk 1:13)
  • Glorious (Habakkuk 2:14)

Zephaniah

  • King of Israel (Zephaniah 3:15)

Haggai

  • Desire of all nations (Haggai 2:7)

Zechariah

  • My Servant (Zechariah 3:8)
  • The Branch (Zechariah 3:8)
  • Builder of the Temple (Zechariah 6:12-13)
  • King of triumphal entry (Zechariah 9:9)
  • Pierced one (Zechariah 12:10)
  • King of the earth (Zechariah 14:9)

Malachi

  • Sun of Righteousness (Malachi 4:2)

New Testament

Matthew

  • King of the Jews (Matthew 2:2; Matthew 27:37)

Mark

  • Servant (Mark 9:35; Mark 10:43-44)

Luke

  • Perfect man, Son of Man (Luke 2:40, 52; Luke 9:22, 58; Luke 22:48)

John

  • Ever Living God (John 1:1-5; John 20:28, 31)

Acts

  • Ascended Lord (Acts 1:9)

Romans

  • The Lord, our righteousness (Romans 10:4)

1 Corinthians

  • Our resurrection (1 Cor. 15)

2 Corinthians

  • God of all comfort (2 Cor. 1:3)

Galatians

  • Redeemer of those under the law (Galatians 4:4-5)

Ephesians

  • Head of the church (Ephesians 1:22; Ephesians 2:19-20)
  • Giver of gifts (Ephesians 4:7-16)

Philippians

  • Supplier of every need (Philippians 1:19; Philippians 4:19)
  • Obedient servant (Philippians 2:5-8)

Colossians

  • Fullness of the Godhead (Colossians 1:9; Colossians. 2:9-10)

1 Thessalonians

  • The coming Christ (1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11)

2 Thessalonians

  • The all-consuming Christ (2 Thessalonians 2:8)

1 Timothy

  • Savior of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15; 1 Timothy 3:16)

2 Timothy

  • Author of Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
  • Righteous and rewarding judge (2 Timothy 4:8)

Titus

  • Our great God and Savior (Titus 1:3; Titus 2:10, 13; Titus 3:4)

Philemon

  • Payer of our debt

Hebrews

  • Appointed heir of all things (Hebrews 1:2, 4)
  • Greater than prophets or angels (Hebrews 1:4; Hebrews 3:3)

James

  • Ever-present God (James 4:8)
  • Coming One (James 5:7-8)
  • Great Physician (James 5:15)

1 Peter

  • Spotless Lamb (1 Peter 1:19)
  • Great example (1 Peter 2:21-24)
  • Lord of glory (1 Peter 3:22)
  • Chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5:4)

2 Peter

  • Beloved Son (2 Peter 1:17)

1 John

  • Word of life (1 John 1:1)
  • Advocate (1 John 2:1-2)
  • Sacrifice (1 John 4:10)
  • Son of God (1 John 3:8; 1 John 4:15; 1 John 5:5)

2 John

  • Son of the Father (2 John 1:3)

3 John

  • The truth (3 John 1:4, 8)

Jude

  • Preserver and only wise God (Jude 1:1, 25)

Revelation

  • Alpha and Omega (Rev. 1:8)
  • Lion of Judah (Rev. 5:5)
  • Root of David (Rev. 5:5)
  • King of Kings (Rev. 19:16)
  • Lord of lords (Rev. 19:16)
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 10: Faith

Master Outline 10: Faith

Outline Ten: Faith

FAITH

 

“The just shall live by faith.” This declaration of he Christian’s principle of life is found four times in the Bible: Hab. 2:1-5 (OT); Rom. 1:17; Gal. 3:10, 11; and Heb. 10:38. In Habakkuk, we see the difference between the lives of the unjust and the just. The unjust are puffed up and live by their own self-sufficiency. But the just live by faith – their confidence is in God. To them, faith is more than a philosophy of life; it is the very principle of life (Hab. 2:4 OT). The just shall live his whole life by faith. He saved by faith (Acts 16:31); he is kept by faith (1 Pet. 1:7); and he lives by faith (Gal. 2:20). His faith shall be tried many times and in many ways (1 Pet. 1:7), but faith will always be vindicated, because it is more than equal to any occasion. Faith knows how to wait on the Lord (IS 40:31 OT), and it is always victorious (1 John 5:4)

 

Faith defies reason; it moves mountains (Mitt. 17:14-21). Faith does not always face facts; it never gives up (Heb. 11:32-39). Faith says, “God is working out His perfect will in my life, and I can wait, endure, and suffer.” Faith does not make anything easy, but it does make all things possible.

 

 

1       What is Faith? By Faith We Understand (Heb. 11:1-3) 1Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  2) For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. 3) By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.

 

Notes:  “Now faith is the substance [title deed] of things hoped for …” Your faith is your title deed to eternal life. Just as a title deed is evidence of real estate, so you faith evidence or your eternal estate in God (2 Cor. 4:18).

 

(1)  Faith is taking God at His word and asking no questions (Heb. 11:8).

(2)  Faith is knowing that “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Rom.8:28). Faith does not believe that all things are good, or that all things work well.  It does believe that all things (good or bad) work together for good to them that love God.

(3)  Faith has two sides.  One side has to do with the intellect. It is an intellectual conviction that Jesus Christ is God.  The other side has to do with the will. It is a volitional surrender of the will to Jesus Christ as Master.  This is seen when Thomas believed and confessed, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28).  “My Lord” this was volitional surrender; “My God” this was intellectual conviction. Together you have saving faith (John 20:31). Saving faith is an intellectual conviction that Jesus is God, and a volitional surrender to Him as Lord (Master) of you life. By faith, the mind trusts in God; the heart responds to the love of God; the will submits to the commands of God; and the life obeys in the service of God.

(4)  Faith is paradoxical. It goes beyond reason. It believes without understanding “why.”  It sings in prison (Acts 16:25). It glories in tribulations (Rom. 5:3). It chooses to suffer afflictions (Heb. 11:25). It accepts all things as a part of God’s will (Phil. 1:12)

You are not born with this faith. It comes by hearing the Word of God (Rom. 10:17). This is why we are commanded to preach the gospel to every creature, that they may hear and believe (Rom. 10:13, 14).

 

2       The Importance of Faith (Eph. 6:16) 16) … above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one

 

Notes:  The shield of faith is a vital part of the Christian’s armor.  You are to put on the “whole armor of God” because the Christian life is a warfare, a spiritual conflict. As Paul names the different parts of the Christian’s armor, he comes to the shield and emphasizes its importance by saying, “Above all, taking the shield of faith…”

 

For with the shield of faith, nothing can hurt you; “… in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Rom. 8:37)

 

The importance of faith is seen in that:

 

(1)  You can not be saved without faith (John 3:36

(2)  You cannot live victoriously over the world without faith 1 John 5:4)

(3)  You cannot please God without faith (Heb. 11:6)

(4)  You cannot pray without faith (James 1:6)

(5)  You cannot have peace with God without faith (Rom. 5:1)

(6)  You cannot have joy without faith (1 Pet. 1:8 )

(7)  You are justified by faith and not by works (Gal. 2:16)

(8 )  You live by faith Gal. 2:20)

(9)  You are made righteous by faith (Rom. 14:1-4)

(10)                  Christ dwells in your heart by faith (Eph. 3:17)

(11)                  The Holy Spirit is received by faith (Gal. 3:2)

(12)                  “Whatever is not from faith is sin” (Rom. 14:23)

 

Faith is important because it honors God, and God always honors faith.

 

3      Little Faith (Matt. 14:28-33) 28And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water. 29) So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. 30) But he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord save me!” 31) And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32) And when they got into the boat the wind ceased. 33) Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

 

NotesAt this stage in the spiritual growth of Peter, he was a man of “little faith.” However, after Pentecost, he became a spiritual giant.  Let us take of good look at his “little faith” and profit from it.  Jesus, walking on the water in the midst of a storm, came to His distressed disciples. Peter asked to come to Jesus on the water. He must have thrilled at the thought of doing the impossible. Jesus said, “Come.”

 

(1)  Peter did the impossible thing: He walked on the water, by faith.

(2)  Next, Peter did the conceivable thing: He saw the storm and had a second thought – he doubted. For a moment, he lost sight of Jesus. He may have turned and started back to the boat (Luke 9:12).

(3)  Now Peter did the natural thing: He feared destruction. Doubt always breeds fear.

(4)  Then Peter did the expected thing: He began to sink – he failed.

(5)  Now Peter did the right thing: He prayed – “Lord save me!” Immediately Jesus stretched forth His hand and caught him. Once more Peter made contact with Jesus by faith.

(6)  Again Peter did the impossible thing: He walked on the water with Jesus to the boat. In this lesson, we see the success and failure of “little faith.”

 

Now, let us recap the steps that led to failure. Peter started by faith and walked on water. Then he saw the storm and had second thoughts that lead to doubt, that produced fear, that caused him to turn back, that brought about failure.

 

You need a faith that is bigger than the elements that would drag you down to defeat.  You can have big faith “prayer and fasting” (Matt. 17:20-21) and by feeding your faith on the Word of God (Rom 10:17). You can have mountain high faith.

 

4.      Three Kinds of Faith (John 11:21-44) 21) Now Martha said to Jesus “Lord if you had been here my brother would not have died. 22) “But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.” 23) Jesus said to here, “Your brother will rise again.” 24) Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” 25) Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26) “And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” 27) She said to Him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” 28) And when she had said these things, she went her way and secretly called Mary her sister, saying, “The Teacher has come and is calling for you.” 29) As soon as she heard that she arose quickly and came to Him. 30) Now Jesus had not yet come into the town, but was in the place where Martha met Him. 31) Then Jews who were with here in the house, and comforting her, when they saw that Mary rose up quickly and went out, followed her, saying, “She is going to the tomb to weep there.” 32) Then, when Mary came where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33) When Jesus therefore saw here weeping, and the Jews who came with her, also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit, and was troubled, 34) and said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” 35) Jesus wept. 36) And so the Jews were saying, “Behold how He loved him!”37) But some said, “Could not this man, who opened the eyes of him who was blind, have kept this man also from dying?” 38) Jesus therefore again being deeply moved within, came to the tomb.  Now it was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. 39) Jesus said, “Remove the stone.” Martha, the sister of the deceased, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there will be stench, for he has been dead four days.” 40) Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you, if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” 41) And so they removed the stone.  And Jesus raised His eyes, and said, “Father, I thank Thee that Thou heardest Me. 42) And I knew that Thou hearest Me always; but because of the people standing around I said it, that they may believe that “Thou didst send Me.” 43) And when He said these things, He cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth.” 44) He who had died came forth, bound hand and foot with wrappings; and his face was wrapped around with a cloth.  Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”                     .

 

NotesIn this chapter, we see the faith of Martha in connection with the resurrection of her brother Lazarus. Now Lazarus fell ill, and Martha and her sister Mary sent for Jesus to come and heal him. Jesus delayed His coming until Lazarus was dead and in the tomb for tomb for four days. Then He came to raise him from the dead, and found the limited, fundamental faith of Martha His only obstacle.

 

(1) Martha’s faith was limited. She said, “Lord if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” The death of Lazarus meant the end of Martha’s faith. She believed that Jesus had the power raise her brother up from the sick bed, but not from the dead. Her limited faith restricted the power of Christ. Limited faith is controlled by circumstances, and motivated by fear of failure.

 

(2) Martha’s faith was fundamental. Jesus said, “Your brother shall rise again.” These words were spoken to kindle hope and faith in Martha; but, she said, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Martha declared here fundamental faith in a great truth, but that is not enough. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life.” Jesus was saying that He had all power over life and death. Then He asked, “Do you believe this?” Martha evaded the question by stating her fundamental faith in here creed, to the living, all powerful Christ. Her faith limited the power of Christ, and “Jesus wept.” Jesus wept when He came to raise Lazarus from the dead and found limited, fundamental only.

 

(3) At last, unlimited faith came to Martha when she consented to have the stone moved from the grave.  When Jesus first ordered the stone taken from the grave, Martha objected in unbelief. Then Jesus, challenging her to believe, said, “Did I not say to you, if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” Martha believed and waited to see the glory of God, and she was not disappointed. We often here that”seeing is believing,” but this is not so.  You believe and then see. Faith comes before sight. Now Martha’s faith no longer limited the power of Christ.  She consented to have the stone moved from the tomb and Jesus “cried out with a Lord voice, “Lazarus, come forth,”” and Lazarus was raised up. Don’t be satisfied with limited, fundamental faith only, when you can have unlimited faith that pleases God and reveals his glory.

 

 

5       The Hall of Faith (Heb. 11:32-39) 32) And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon,  Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, 33) who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, 34) quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35) Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, in order that they might obtain a better resurrection, 36) and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment.  37) They were stoned, they sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated 38) (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground. 39) And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, [40) because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they should not be made perfect.

 

Notes:  This chapter is call the “Hall of Faith.” You need to come here often and linger long, that your faith may become strong in the Lord; for in this Scripture we get a view of the history if Israel and the church, as it is written by faith, in the blood of the saints.

 

They worshiped by faith as Abel. They walked by faith as Enoch. They worked by faith as Noah. They lived by faith as Abraham. They governed by faith Israel.  They fought by faith Joshua. They conquered by faith as Gideon. They subdued kingdoms by faith as David.  They closed the mouths of lions by faith as Daniel. They walked through the fire by faith as the three Hebrew children. They suffered by faith as Paul. They died by faith as Stephen, the first Christian martyr.

 

By faith they were patient in suffering, courageous in battle, made strong out of weakness and were victorious in defeat. They were more than conquerors by faith. It is only by faith in the all-powerful Christ that you can be superior to circumstances and victorious over all the evil forces that would destroy you. “Fixing our eyes on Jesus the author and perfecter of faith.” The faith of the saints inspires us, but we look to Jesus as our example of faith.

Master Outline 9: Prayer

Master Outline 9: Prayer

Outline Nine: Prayer

PRAYER

Prayer is as old as man, as universal as religion is, and as instinctive as breathing (Gen. 4:26 OT). All men of all faiths practice it in some form. Prayer springs from the heart with a need – a need greater than man’s ability to encounter. Prayer is man’s acknowledgement of a being higher than he is.

Most men try to pray, yet so few know how. There are two kinds of prayers: the prayer that does not reach God and the prayer that does reach God. This is illustrated by our Lord in the parable of the Pharisee and the publican (Luke 18:9-14). Both men went to the same place, at the same time, for the same purpose – to pray.

The Pharisee prayed in his religious pride, expecting God to answer because he thought himself worthy. He informed God of his own goodness, that he was better than others were. He boasted of his good works. He said, “I fast; I gave.” This is the kind of prayer that does not reach God. It is self-righteous prayer.

 

Now look at the publican and his prayer. He came to God in great humility, conscious of his unworthiness, confessing himself a sinner, and begging for mercy. This is the kind of prayer that does reach God. This is righteous prayer.

 

It is a rare privilege to pray; because it brings you into close fellowship with God, admitting your need for Him and your utter dependence upon Him.

 

1        What is Prayer Keep Asking, Seeking, Knocking (Matt. 7:7-11) 7) “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 ) “For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks, finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 9) “Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10) “Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11) “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will you Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!

 

Notes:  Prayer is asking and receiving; it is talking with God. It is making your request known to Him in faith. The above Scripture is so simple on the surface that we are in danger of failing to recognize its immensity. Our Lord instructs the believer to ask, see, and knock; because these three works cover the whole spectrum of prayer.

 

(1)   Prayer is asking and receiving. When you know the will of God regarding a need, whether it is material or spiritual, you can ask and receive. This is prayer according to the revealed will of God (1 John 5:14, 15)

(2)   Prayer is seeking and finding. When you do not know the will of God regarding a need, whether it b e material or spiritual, then you are to seek His will in prayer concerning this need until you find it. This is prayer for knowledge of the unrevealed will of God in a specific need (Col. 3:1; also Jer. 29:12, 13 OT)

(3)   Prayer is knocking and opening. When you know the will of God, and yet you find a closed door, you are to knock, and keep knocking until God opens the door. This is tenacious prayer – prayer for mountain-moving faith. Knocking prayer perseveres until the impossible becomes the possible this is miracle-working prayer (Matt 17:14-21). All things are possible when you ask, seek, and knock

 

2        Why Pray? The Parable of the Persistent Widow (Luke 18:1) 1) Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to prayer and not lose heart.

 

Notes:  Pray:

 

(1)   Because Jesus said, “Men always ought to pray” (above verse 1).Prayer is imperative. You are commanded to pray (Matt. 26:41).

(2)   Because prayer is the only way to get things from God.  “You do not have because you do not ask” (James 4:2).

(3)   Because there is joy in prayer (John 16:24)

(4)   Because prayer will save you out of all your troubles (Ps 34 OT).

(5)   Because prayer can unlock the treasure chest of God’s wisdom (James 1:5).

(6)   Because prayer is a channel of power (Jer. 33:3 OT).

(7)   Because it is a sin not to  pray (1 Sam. 12:33 OT)

(8 )   Because sinners can be saved when they prayer in faith (Rom. 10:13, 14).

(9)   Because Jesus, while here in the flesh, prayed often to the Father.Now if Jesus, the Son of God, needed to pray, then we should “pray without ceasing” (1 Thes. 5:17)

 

3        How to Pray (Matt. 6:9-13) 9) “In this manner, therefore, pray; 10) Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. 11) Give us this day or daily bread. 12) And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. 13) And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and glory forever. Amen.

 

Notes:  “In this manner, therefore pray.” Our Lord gave this as a model prayer after one of His disciples said unto Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples” (Luke 11:1).

 

(1)   We are to pray to our Father in heaven” (verse 9), because He is all-wise, all-loving, and all-powerful. We are also instructed to pray in the name of Jesus (John 14:13, 14) depending on the meditative influence of the Holy Spirit.

(2)   We are to pray for His will to be done in everything.

(3)   We are to pray for the coming of the Kingdom (Matt. 25:31-46).

(4)   We are to pray for our daily necessities.

(5)   We are to pray for forgiveness and are to practice forgiving others.

(6)   We are to pray for the leading of the Lord and for deliverance from evil.

(7)   We are to pray in faith, for “without faith it is impossible to please Him” (Heb. 11:5, 5).

This model prayer is brief, to the point, and not repetitious. It is the perfect prayer.

 

4.       Where to Pray Peter Freed from Prison (Acts 12:5) 5). Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church.

 

NotesThere was a remarkable change in the prayer life of the disciples after the resurrection of Jesus, and it is noted again after Pentecost. Before the death of Jesus, the disciples slept while Jesus prayed in the Garden (Matt. 26:36-46). But, after His death and resurrection:

 

(1) They assembled in the upper room, waiting for the coming of the Holy Spirit and they prayed. We should always pray when assembled with believers (Acts 1:13, 14)

(2) They prayed as they went from house to house (Acts 2:42-47)

(3) They prayed in the church when Peter was in prison (verses 5-19)

(4) Paul and Silas prayed in prison (Acts 16:25). Here we see Christians praying in the presence of unbelievers, but not to be heard of them. Never pray to please others present; pray only to please God.

(5) The most important place to pray is any place where you can be alone with God (Matt. 6:6)

(6) We are instructed to pray in all places at all times (1 Tim. 2:8).

 

It is great joy to be able to talk with God, any time, any place, under any condition, and to know that He will hear and answer.

 

 

5        Hindrances to Prayer A Word to Husbands (1 Peter 3:7) 7) Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.

 

Notes:  When prayers are not answered, you should examine yourself in the light of God’s Word. If you find anything not pleasing to God, confess it, believing God for forgiveness that you prayers may be answered (1 John 1:9)

 

(1)   An unharmonious relationship between husband and wife will hinder prayer (verses 1-7).

(2)   Selfishness will hinder prayer (James 4:3).

(3)   An unforgiving spirit will hinder prayer (Matt. 5:22-24). Many Christians go without answers to prayer because they have wronged others, or have been wronged and have failed to humble themselves and seek reconciliation.

(4)   Unbelief will hinder prayer (James 1:6, 7 and Heb. 11:6)

(5)   Known sin in the heart will hinder prayer (Is. 59:2 OT also Ps 66:18 OT).

 

When you pray, go to God in all humility. Ask Him to reveal anything in your life that is not pleasing to Him. Then judge it; confess it, calling it by name and forsake it. Pray in all simplicity and earnestness, believing, and God will hear and answer.

 

6        Does God Answer All Prayers? (John 15:7) 7). ”If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.

 

Notes:  The Bible is filled with answered prayers from Genesis to Revelation. You are command to pray, and God has promised to answer (Jer. 33:3 OT). In the above Scripture, there are two requirements for answers to prayer. First you are to abide in Him; that is, to continue in Him. It means to remain in His perfect will at all cost (Rom. 12:1, 2). Second, His words are to abide in you; they are to become a vital part of you life. You are to be filled with and guided by His words (Col. 3:16, 17). Meet these two requirements, and your prayers will be answered.

 

(1)      The answer is sometimes immediate. Peter walked on the water to go to Jesus, and as he began to sink, he prayed, “Lord, save me!” The answer was immediate (Matt. 14:22-31)

(2)      The answer is sometimes delayed. The delay is according to His will (Rom. 8:28). The resurrection of Lazarus is a good example of delayed answer to prayer. Lazarus was sick. Mary and Martha sent for Jesus to come and heal him. But Jesus delayed coming until Lazarus was dead and in the tomb for four days. Then He came and raised Lazarus for the dead. The answer was delayed – but not denied (John 11:1-44).

(3)      The answer is sometimes “no.” When God answers with a “no,” He always accompanies the answer with peace (Phil. 4:6, 7) and grace (2 Cor. 12:7-10).

(4)      The answer is sometimes different from what you expect. You pray for perseverance and God sends tribulation – because “tribulation produces perseverance” (Rom. 5:3). God answers all your prayers – not according to your wishes, but according to His perfect will.

Master Outline Number 8: the Church

Master Outline Number 8: the Church

Outline Eight: The Church

THE CHURCH

 

Jesus said, “I will build My church” (ecclesia) (Matt. 16:18). The word “ecclesia” in the New Testament is used to designate any assembly whether it be political (Acts 19:39), Christian (Eph. 1:22, 23), or national (Acts 7:38).  It means a called-out assembly or congregation.  God called Israel out of Egypt; they congregated in the wilderness; they were, “the church in the wilderness.”  Today, God calls the saved out of the world to congregate in worship.  This is the church in the world, in it, but not of it.

 

Unlike the church in the wilderness, the Church that Jesus is building will never cease.  He said, “The gates of Hades shall not over power it.”  His Church is not synonymous with Christendom.  It is in Christendom in the same way in which it is in the world, in it, but not of it.  Christendom is made up of those who profess to be Christians, but they know not Christ as a personal Savior (Matt. 7:21 – 23, also, 2 Tim 3:5 and Titus 1:16).  Only blood-washed, born again, Spirit-baptized believers constitute the church that Jesus is building.  It is called a;

  1. 1. Mystery – Eph 3:3-10
  2. 2. Body – 1 Cor. 12:12-31
  3. 3. Building – Eph. 2:10 – 22
  4. 4. Bride – 2 Cor. 11:2

 

1        The Church: Its Foundation (Matt. 16:13-18 ) – Peter’s Confession of Christ– 13) Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He beganasking His disciples, saying, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” 14) And they said, “some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” 15) He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”  16) And Simon Peter answered and said “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”  17) And Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.  18 ) “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and gates of Hades shall not overpower it…”

 

Notes:  “Upon this rock I will build My church.”  Leading up to this declaration He asked His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is? They answered naming some of the prophets.  Then He said to them, “But who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of he living God” (Matt. 16:16).  In verse thirteen Jesus spoke of Himself as the “Son of Man.”  Now Peter speaks of Him as the “Son of the living God.”  Jesus blessed Peter and said that this great truth came from God the Father.  Again He said to Peter, “You are Peter, (Petros, a little rock) and upon this rock (Petra, a big rock) I will build My church.”  Jesus did not say that He would build His church upon Peter, but upon Himself, the Rock of Ages.

 

Simon Peter called Jesus the “living stone,” the precious “corner stone,” a “stone of stumbling,” and a “rock of offense.”  He spoke of all believers, including himself, as “living stones.”  Christ is the foundation and believers are the building stones (1 Pet. 2:1-10)

 

Paul speaks of Christ as the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets (Eph. 2:19-22).  He also said, “For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”  (1 Cor. 3:11) Although the church was a mystery in he Old Testament, yet Isaiah said, “thus says the Lord GOD,  ‘Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, a costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed’” (Is. 28:16).  Christ is the sure foundation of His church and all believers are little building stones built into a holy temple in the Lord.

 

2        The Church: Its Head (Col. 1:18 ) 18 ) He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; so that He Himself might come to have first place in everything.

 

Notes:  “He is also head of the body, the church.”  Christ is the foundation, cornerstone, and head of His Church.  He is head of the local church, and He is head of the church in its all-inclusive sense, including all born again, blood-washed Spirit-baptized believers in heaven and earth.

 

The church is more than a religious organization; it is an organism, with Christ as the living head.  It is alive with the life of Christ made living in each member (1 Cor. 12:1-31).  Let us examine briefly the church and observe its role as the body of Christ:

1)     The members of the body are given spiritual gifts according to the will of the Holy Spirit (verses 1-11).

2)     The unity of the body is seen in its many members with different operations all related and coordinated under one Head (verse 12).

3)     All are baptized by one Spirit into one body (verse 13).

a)     There is one Holy Spirit.

b)     There is one Holy Spirit baptism.

c)     There is one body (the church).

 

This is the church in its broadest sense.  You cannot join this church.  The only way to become a member of His body is to be spiritually born (John 3:1-7) and baptized into it by the Holy Spirit.

4)     The members differ one from the other, yet they function as one in the will of God (verses 14-18 )

5)     The least or weakest member is necessary for the proper function of the whole body (verses 22, 23).

6)     If one member suffers, the whole body suffers; if one is honored, all are honored (verse 26).

7)     The members are to desire the greater spiritual gifts and minister in love (verse 31).

 

The Lord Jesus Christ has never delegated His authority to anyone, whether he be pope, pastor, deacon, or the majority of the congregation. He is “head over all things to the church” (Eph. 1:22), the only absolute and final authority.

 

3        The Church: Its Organization (Titus 1:4, 5) 4) … to Titus, my true child in a common faith:  Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.  5) For this reason I left you in Crete, that you might set in order what remains, and appoint elders in every city as I directed you, …

 

Notes: There is scriptural evidence of some organization in the local church from its inception.  It was a definite and permanent organized congregation, but not as we know it today.

 

Paul left Titus in Crete to organize the believers into local church bodies and to “set in order what remains, and appoint elders in every city” (verse 5).

 

The local New Testament church is a microcosm of the complete body of Christ in heaven and earth.  The word “church” is used over one hundred times in the New Testament, and the great majority of the references refer to the local congregation.

 

Organization in the local church is seen in:

1)     Its Officers:  He gave to the church “apostles” (this refers to the twelve; there are no apostles in the church today), “profits” (we have no prophets and have not had since the last book of the New Testament was written), “evangelists” (the evangelist will serve the church until Jesus comes,), and “pastors and teachers” (Eph. 4:11:11, 12).  Pastors and teachers are local ministers; the apostles, prophets and evangelist are ministers at large.

 

Another officer is the deacon.  His qualifications are set forth in 1 Timothy (Tim. 3:8-13).  Deacons are never called a board in the Scriptures.  They are not to run the church; they are ordained to assist the pastor by ministering to the saints (Acts 6:1-7).

2)     Its Membership records:  The church must have kept records of its members.  The Book of Acts tells us that there were about 120 in the upper room.  The account (Acts 1:15-26) reads like the average local church business meeting. Simon Peter is the pastor; he takes the lead and gives direction in choosing one to take the place of Judas.  “And they drew lots,” and Matthias was chosen to be an apostle.  On the day of Pentecost about 3,000 were added to the body of Christ by Holy Spirit baptism (1 Cor. 12:13) and the local church in Jerusalem by water baptism (Acts 2:41).  Again the records show another 5,000 added (Acts 4:4).  The Scriptures tell us that “the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47).

3)     Its Ordinances:

a)     Baptism (baptize means to immerse).  The Lord commands the believer to be baptized.  This is the believer’s first opportunity to obey his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  In the early church no one ever questioned water baptism; they obeyed (Matt. 28:18-20 and Rom. 6:1-4). Baptism does not save.  It is a picture of you faith in His death, burial, and resurrection.  It is faith in Christ that saves (John 3:36) and the Ordinance of Baptism that identifies the believer with the risen Savior.

b)     The Lords Supper.  There is no saving power in the Lords Supper. It is a memorial.  The bread is symbolical of His broken body and the wine of His shed blood for the remission of our sins.  Baptism identifies the believer with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection;  and the Lords Supper is a memorial to be observed by the believer to “proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes” (1 Cor. 11:23-34)

 

4        The Church: It’s Discipline (Matt. 18:15-17) 15) “And if your brother sins, go and reprove him in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. 16) “But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed.  17) “And if he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as Gentile and a tax-gatherer.

 

Notes:  This is the most difficult and necessary function of the local assembly and its importance cannot be exaggerated.  “Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough? Clean out the old leaven” (1 Cor. 5:6, 7).  Leaven in the Scripture is always a type of evil. The church is to clean out any evil in its membership.  The motive for disciplining a brother is love (1 John 4:7-11).  The goal is to restore him to fellowship with his Lord and the church.

 

“If you brother sins …”

1)     The first step is to be taken by the one sinned against.  He is to go to his brother alone, not seeking revenge or self-justification, “if he listens to you, you have won a brother.”

2)     If he does not repent, the second step is to take one or two believers and go to him again.

3)     If he will not hear the two or three, the third step is taking it to the church.

 

A good example of church discipline is reported in Paul’s letters to the church at Corinth.  He used strong words calling upon the church to discipline a member for fornication.  He wrote, “Remove the wicked man from among yourselves” (1 Cor. 5:1-13). In his second letter to the Corinthian church we learn that the man repented and was restored to the fellowship of God’s people.  Now Paul writes, “forgive and comfort him … reaffirm your love for him” (2 Cor. 2:3-11).  The attitude of the church toward a repenting brother should always be that of forgiveness in love.

 

5        The Church: Its Worship and Work (Matt 28:16-20) 16) But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated. 17) And when they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful. 18 ) And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19) “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20) teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

 

Notes:  First, the church: its worship.  “When they say Him they worshiped Him” (verse 17).  To worship is to bow down in awe; to pay divine honors to God in humble, reverent homage.  There are three essentials in worship, they are

1)     Faith, “the people believed … then they bowed low and worshiped” (Ex. 4:31).

2)     Spirit, “those who worship Him must worship in spirit (John 4:23, 24) Spiritual worship is worship directed by the indwelling Holy Spirit (Phil. 3:3).

3)     Truth, “those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24).Jesus Christ is truth, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).  Therefore, there can be no pretense or hypocrisy in true worship.  The parable of the Pharisee and the publican illustrates true worship (Luke 18:9-14).  The publican worshiped in truth and he went home justified.  The Pharisee worshiped in religious pride and he went home rejected.

Second, the church: its work.  “For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you” (1 Thess. 1:8).  The church in Thessalonica did the work of the Lord so well that the apostles did not have to evangelize Macedonia and Achaia.  The church shared its faith with the lost and after all that is the main work of the church. This is how that, “this took place for two years … all who lived in Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks” (Acts 19:8-10).  All of Asia did not journey to Ephesus to hear Paul.  It is evident that the believers went everywhere sharing the gospel. The work of the church is to go with the gospel because:

1)     The church is commissioned to work (verses 18-20).

2)     The church is to work with Christ (2 Cor. 6:1), and the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:32).

3)     The church is to work with Christ in His field (the world) (Matt. 13:36-43); and Mark 16:15).

4)     The need for the church to work is great (John 4:35).

5)     The time for the church to work is now (2 Cor. 6:2).

6)     The church is to work until Jesus comes to judge the works of the saints (2 Cor. 5:10).

7)     The church will be rewarded for its works (1 Cor. 3:9-15).  God’s program for the local church is, come and worship, and go and work(witness) (Acts 8:1-4)

 

6        The Church: Its Power (Acts 1:8 ) 8 ) “…but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

 

Notes:  On the day of Pentecost the church received power to evangelize the world.  When the hundred and twenty came down from the upper room, they came in the dynamics of the Holy Spirit.  It was a spiritual “repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21).  Some were empowered for special service, but all received power to witness.

 

The real power of the church is not found in:

1)     Modern buildings or unique methods of preaching and teaching.

2)     Its great wealth or how that wealth is used.

3)     The church’s prominence or popularity.  The Laodicean church was the first bragging congregation, (Rev. 3:14-22) but not the last.

 

They said, “We are rich.”  God said they were poor.

They said, “We are wealthy.” God said they were wretched.

They said, “We do not need anything.” God said they need everything.

They said, “We are busy in the church.” God said they were miserable.

They said, “We have a vision.”  God said they were blind.

They said, “We are clothed in fine garments.” God said they were naked.

They said, “We are satisfied.” God said they make Him sick.

 

You can always recognize a Holy Spirit-powered church.  The evidence is obvious; they have power to:

1)     Evangelize: They share their faith with the lost and souls are saved. Evangelism is the only way to make full proof of your ministry (2 Tim. 4:5).  When a church is not involved in winning souls, it grieves the Holy Spirit and is void of power…

2)     Reproduce: Souls are born into the family of God by the “imperishable” seed which is the word of God (1 Pet. 1:23).  The Spirit-filled believer sows the seed; this is evangelism.  The Holy Spirit hovers over the seed, convicting and leading the lost to repentance.  This is the spiritual birth.

3)     Change: people (Acts 2:37-41); places (Acts 5:28); and things (Matt. 17:20, 21).

4)     Turn the world upside down (Acts 17:6)

 

This is the power that filled the upper room congregation on the day of Pentecost.  That power is with the believer today in the person of the Holy Spirit.  He is the power of the church.

 

7        The Church: Its Future (1 Thess. 4:16, 17) 16) for the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with a voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first. 17) Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord.

 

Notes:  The true Church of Jesus Christ has a glorious, victorious future in the world, in the air, in the kingdom and in eternity; it cannot fail.  “The gates of Hades shall not overpower it” (Matt. 16:18).

 

1)     The future of the church in the world.  At Pentecost the Holy Spirit set the course for the church as it journeys from the upper room to the Rapture. It is to:

a)     Wage war (Eph. 6:10).

b)     Run a race (Heb. 12:1, 2)

c)     Work in love (1 Cor. 3:9)

The Church of Jesus Christ will emerge triumphant for, “we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us” (Rom.8:35-39).  The church cannot fail because Christ is its Head, the Holy Spirit is its power, and the Word of God is its guide.

2)     The future of the church in the air. We shall be caught up.  Caught up:

a)     In our imperishable, glorified bodies (1 Cor. 15:42-44)

b)     To meet the Lord in the heavens and for the great majority of the church we will see Him in His resurrected body for the first time (1 John 3:2)

c)     That our deeds may be judged at the judgment seat of Christ (2 Cor. 5:10). This is the bema judgment.

d)     That we may be rewarded or suffer loss of reward (1 Cor 3:11-15)

3)     The future of the church in the kingdom.

a)     The twelve apostles will sit on thrones and judge the twelve tribes of Israel (Matt. 19:28).

b)     All who overcome the evils of Christendom (Laodicea) will sit with Christ on His Kingdom Throne (Rev. 3:21)

c)     We shall reign with Him a thousand years (Rev. 20:4-6).

4)     The future of the church in eternity.  After the kingdom reign of one thousand years there will be “a new heaven and a new earth” Rev.21:1).  The earth will be restored to its original, created state (Gen 1:1 OT).  God’s earthly people Israel will inherit the new earth (Ex. 32:13 OT).

 

The church. His bride will remain in His presence forever.  If in His human form He is in the new heaven or the new earth, we will be with Him, to see Him, to serve Him, and to worship Him.  He will continue to bestow upon His bride the riches of His eternal grace (Eph. 2:6, 7).  Even in our perfect, glorified bodies it will take eternity (time without end) to begin to comprehend the greatness of His grace.