Tag: New Christians

Introducing the Bible

Introducing the Bible

The Bible is not one book, but a collection of writings by people from many and varied backgrounds: king, priest, shepherd, tent maker, farmer, doctor, tax collector, wine taster, fisherman, prophet, prince, and more. Each writer was guided by the Holy Spirit of God, yet the individuality and character of each one is still evident. All in all, more than 40 authors were commissioned by the Holy Spirit to pen the words of Holy Scripture.

 

It is all one story however, a perfectly unified telling of the story of the Scarlet Thread of Redemption, the story about God, who loves his creation so much that he himself paid the price that would restore humanity to fellowship with God. The Old Testament looks forward to, and the New Testament centers on, the life, death and resurrection of God’s Son, Jesus Christ. In part, it is our story- we are the Redeemed, the object of God’s love and mercy, so the Bible is our story- the story of our reconciliation to God.

 

The purpose of the Bible is to show us who God is, what God is like and what He has done. As we read its words, we understand more of what God, in His love, requires from us. Paul said, in his Epistle to the Romans, that the Gospel is the power of God for salvation (Romans 1:16) and that is both experientially and factually borne out. As we read the very words of Scripture, we find them transforming our thoughts which, in turn, transforms our behavior. We begin to think the way Christ thinks and act the way He acts

 

The Bible was written centuries ago over a long period of time by many different people from all walks of life, in a setting different from our own. It can seem difficult to understand and, admittedly, it will require work-disciplined work- to understand the message of the Scripture. When we study a portion of Scripture, we should consider the following questions”

 

  • What is the type of writing/literary genre?
  • What was the context of the writing?
  • What was the Authorial Intent?/Why was the passage written
  • What does the passage say to me? What does God expect me to do after reading the passage?

 

We will discover the joy of reading the Bible

if we read while dependent on the Holy Spirit to help us understand it if we sincerely want to know more about God and his ways if we prayerfully read it to discover its message, rather than primarily as literature or for information if we allow our reading to lead us to worship God through prayer and praise and apply what we have learnt, with God’s help, to our daily life

 

When reading a portion of Scripture, there are some “Do nots” we must not ever

 

  • take a verse or one part of Scripture out of its context
  • create an opinion based only on one verse or portion – this is the error of cults and those who want to twist the meaning for their own ends
  • Spiritualize/allegorize the meaning of the text. It means what it says
  • think of it as anything other than the word of God.

 

The Scriptures were written by real people in many real situations, under the Holy Spirit’s inspiration. It is alive, powerful, and able to impact our thoughts and lives for years to come (Hebrews 4:12)

 

A final thought: when you are new to the Bible, the translation you choose should be very easy to read and understand but still communicate the message of Scripture to you. There are three translations I recommend for new disciples:

 

  • Christian Standard Bible (Holman Bibles)
  • New Living Translation (Tyndale House Publishers)
  • New International Version (Biblica, Zondervan Publishers)

 

Which one to choose is entirely up to you- the best translation of the Bible is the one you can read and understand.

New Testament Overview*

New Testament Overview*

Matthew: Written to a Jewish audience, this Gospel links the Old and New Testaments. It presents Jesus as the Messiah and King promised in the Old Testament. Matthew emphasizes Jesus’ authority and power.

Mark: Mark probably had pragmatic Roman readers in mind. His Gospel stresses action and gives a straightforward, blow-by-blow account of Jesus’ work on earth.

Luke: A doctor, Luke was also a fine writer. His Gospel provides many details of human interest, especially in Jesus’ treatment of the poor and needy. A joyful tone characterizes Luke’s book.

John: John has a different, more reflective style than the other Gospels. Its author selected seven signs that pointed to Jesus as the Son of God and wove together everything else to underscore that point.

Acts: Acts tells what happened to Jesus’ followers after he left them. Peter and Paul soon emerged as leaders of the rapidly spreading church.

Romans: Written for a sophisticated audience, Romans sets forth theology in a logical, organized form.

1 Corinthians: A very practical book, 1 Corinthians takes up the problems of a tumultuous church in Corinth: marriage, factions, immorality, public worship and lawsuits.

2 Corinthians: Paul wrote this follow-up letter to defend himself against a rebellion led by certain false apostles.

Galatians: A short version of the message of Romans, this book addresses legalism. It shows how Christ came to bring freedom, not bondage to a set of laws.

Ephesians: Although written in jail, this letter is Paul’s most optimistic and encouraging. It tells of the advantages a believer has in Christ.

Philippians: The church at Philippi ranked among Paul’s favorites. This friendly letter stresses that joy can be found in any situation.

Colossians: Written to oppose certain cults, Colossians tells how faith in Christ is complete. Nothing needs to be added to what Christ did.

1 Thessalonians: Composed early in Paul’s ministry, this letter gives a capsule history of one church, as well as Paul’s direct advice about specific problems.

2 Thessalonians: Stronger in tone than his first letter to the Thessalonians, the sequel goes over the same topics, especially the church’s questions about Christ’s second coming.

1 Timothy: As Paul neared the end of his life, he chose young men such as Timothy to carry on his work. His two letters to Timothy form a leadership manual for a young pastor.

2 Timothy: Written just before Paul’s death, 2 Timothy offers Paul’s final words to his young assistant.

Titus: Titus was left in Crete, a notoriously difficult place to nurture a church. Paul’s letter gave practical advice on how to go about it.

Philemon: Paul urged Philemon, owner of a runaway slave, Onesimus, to forgive his slave and accept him back as a brother in Christ.

Hebrews: No one knows who wrote Hebrews, but it probably first went to Christians in danger of slipping back into their old, rule-bound religion. It interprets the Old Testament, explaining many Jewish practices as symbols that prepared the way for Christ.

James: James, a man of action, emphasized the right kind of behavior for a believer. Someone who calls himself or herself a Christian ought to act like it, James believed, and his letter spells out the specifics.

1 Peter: Early Christians often met violent opposition, and Peter’s letter comforted and encouraged Christians who were being persecuted for their faith.

2 Peter: In contrast to Peter’s first letter, this one focused on problems that sprang up from the inside. It warns against false teachers.

1 John: John could fill simple words, such as light, love and life, with deep meaning, and in this letter he elegantly explains basic truths about the Christian life.

2 John: Warning against false teachers, John counseled churches on how to respond to them.

3 John: Balancing 2 John, this companion letter mentions the need to be hospitable to true teachers.

Jude: Jude gave a brief but fiery exposé of heretics.

Revelation: A book of visions and symbols, Revelation is the only New Testament book that concentrates on prophecy. It completes the story, begun in Genesis, of the cosmic battle between good and evil being waged on earth. It ends with a picture of a new heaven and new earth.

 

*This overview is from

The NRSV Student Bible

c.1994, 1996 by Zondervan

used by permission

NLT Wayfinding Bible: A Pastoral Use Case

NLT Wayfinding Bible: A Pastoral Use Case

wayfinding Bible

Instead of simply  providing a review of the NLT Wayfinding Bible, and focusing on the physical book, I want to talk to you about how I, as a pastor, use the Wayfinding Bible.

(Disclaimer: Tyndale provided this Bible free in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a positive review.)

First, here is the website for the Wayfinding Bible: http://www.wayfindingbible.com

The Problem: Many Christians want to read the Bible but get bogged down and lost along the way.

The Solution: The NLT Wayfinding Bible.

The NLT Wayfinding Bible offers 3-unique reading plans and several supplemental readings. Here are the three reading plans

FLYOVER ROUTE
: 50 of the most important events in the bible that tell one big story.

DIRECT ROUTE
: 200 readings to develop a full understanding without getting bogged down in any one place.

SCENIC ROUTE
: 400 readings to explore new territory, discovering the depth and richness of God’s word.

Our Use Case:

At Abounding Grace Baptist Church, I use the Wayfinding Bible on a weekly basis for my congregation.

Scenic Route: The Scenic Route guides the Bible Train, which is our Family Worship Guide. Every Monday, I send out the Bible Train Guide which includes the Scenic Route readings, discussion questions, and some introductory remarks for the weekly readings.

Side Trips: The 25 Topical Side Trips become Quick Scripture Reference Guides (QSRG). Each QSRG provides ready reference material for believers. There are additional guides beyond these but these are integral to our discipleship process.

Flyover Route and Direct Route: The flyover and direct routes comprise the first and second level of our 1 on 1 ministry. 1 on 1 is our discipleship process for members at Abounding Grace. We use these readings to lay a solid foundation of understanding for the new disciple and then build doctrinally from there.

General Thoughts and Recommendation:

Few of the Bibles that I have reviewed have been as useful to me as a pastor. The Wayfinding Bible joins two other Tyndale Bibles in my tool belt for discipleship, the Christian Basics Bible and the Swindoll Study Bible. The Wayfinding Bible makes reading more interactive and enjoyable, both of which are critical. The Bible impacts our lives when we understand it and internalize it; it should also be a joy to read.

The Wayfinding Bible is an incredible tool to have because of how customizable it is. There are a number of ways you can start the readings and you can do them corporately or individually or both like we do at Abounding Grace. Tyndale’s motto is “the Truth made clear” and I think this particular edition of the NLT hits it out of the park for making the Truth clear. It does not stop there, though. It lets you make the Truth yours by helping you to internalize it and pass it on to others.

If you want to help a new Christian to grow, this has to be the Bible you give them. Then sit back and watch the Bible and the Holy Spirit working in concert, the disciple will never be the same again.

 

Apostle’s Creed (Our Essential Creed)

Apostle’s Creed (Our Essential Creed)

Below, you will find the foundational statement of faith of all Reformed Christians. Officially codified in AD 390, this is a concise statement on the essentials of Christian Orthodoxy.

 

I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth:

And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord:

Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary:

Suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead and buried: He descended into hell:

The third day he rose again from the dead:

He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty:

From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead:

I believe in the Holy Ghost:

I believe in the holy catholic church: the communion of saints:

The forgiveness of sins:

The resurrection of the body:

And the life everlasting. Amen.

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)
Baptist Distinctives

Baptist Distinctives

WHAT ARE THE EIGHT BAPTIST DISTINCTIVES?

These teachings may be remembered by associating them with the letters that form the word “BAPTISTS.”

Biblical Authority

The Bible is the final authority in all matters of belief and practice because the Bible is inspired by God and bears the absolute authority of God Himself. Whatever the Bible affirms, Baptists accept as true. No human opinion or decree of any church group can override the Bible. Even creeds and confessions of faith, which attempt to articulate the theology of Scripture, do not carry Scripture’s inherent authority.

2 Timothy 3:15–17; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Peter 1:20, 21

Autonomy of the Local Church

The local church is an independent body accountable to the Lord Jesus Christ, the head of the church. All human authority for governing the local church resides within the local church itself. Thus the church is autonomous, or self-governing. No religious hierarchy outside the local church may dictate a church’s beliefs or practices. Autonomy does not mean isolation. A Baptist church may fellowship with other churches around mutual interests and in an associational tie, but a Baptist church cannot be a “member” of any other body.

Colossians 1:18; 2 Corinthians 8:1–5, 19, 23

Priesthood of the Believer

“Priest” is defined as “one authorized to perform the sacred rites of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and God.” Every believer today is a priest of God and may enter into His presence in prayer directly through our Great High Priest, Jesus Christ. No other mediator is needed between God and people. As priests, we can study God’s Word, pray for others, and offer spiritual worship to God. We all have equal access to God—whether we are a preacher or not.

1 Peter 2:5, 9; Revelation 5:9, 10

Two Ordinances

The local church should practice two ordinances: (1) baptism of believers by immersion in water, identifying the individual with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection, and (2) the Lord’s Supper, or communion, commemorating His death for our sins.

Matthew 28:19, 20; 1 Corinthians 11:23–32

Individual Soul Liberty

Every individual, whether a believer or an unbeliever, has the liberty to choose what he believes is right in the religious realm. No one should be forced to assent to any belief against his will. Baptists have always opposed religious persecution. However, this liberty does not exempt one from responsibility to the Word of God or from accountability to God Himself.

Romans 14:5, 12; 2 Corinthians 4:2; Titus 1:9


S
aved, Baptized Church Membership

Local church membership is restricted to individuals who give a believable testimony of personal faith in Christ and have publicly identified themselves with Him in believer’s baptism. When the members of a local church are believers, a oneness in Christ exists, and the members can endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Acts 2:41–47; 1 Corinthians 12:12; 2 Corinthians 6:14; Ephesians 4:3

Two Offices

The Bible mandates only two offices in the church–pastor and deacon. The three terms—“pastor,” “elder,” and “bishop,” or “overseer”—all refer to the same office. The two offices of pastor and deacon exist within the local church, not as a hierarchy outside or over the local church.

1 Timothy 3:1–13; Acts 20:17–38; Philippians 1:1

Separation of Church and State

God established both the church and the civil government, and He gave each its own distinct sphere of operation. The government’s purposes are outlined in Romans 13:1–7 and the church’s purposes in Matthew 28:19 and 20. Neither should control the other, nor should there be an alliance between the two. Christians in a free society can properly influence government toward righteousness, which is not the same as a denomination or group of churches controlling the government.

Matthew 22:15–22; Acts 5:17–29

Foundations Lesson 5: The Holy Ghost

Foundations Lesson 5: The Holy Ghost

The Holy Spirit is a Person

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

The Holy Spirit possesses attributes of personhood

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

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

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

The Holy Spirit does things only a Person can do:

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

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

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

The Holy Spirit is God Himself

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

Omnipresent                                  Psalms 139:7-10

Omnipotent                                   Luke 1:35

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

Eternal                                           Hebrews 9:14

Holy                                     Romans 1:4

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

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

fills                                                         Acts 4:8,  Eph 5:18

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

Acts 1:8

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

1 John 2:27

 

edifies                                                              Acts 9:31

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

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

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

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

He regenerates

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

Seals Believers

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

and sets the believer apart to a holy life.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

The purpose is to edify the whole Church

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

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

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

Gifts complement each other, never compete with each other

The Cessation of the Sign Gifts

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

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

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

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

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

Evidence from Scripture

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Evidence from History

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

EQUALITY OF THE THREE PERSONS

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

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

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

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

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

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

Identity and Cooperation in the Godhead

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

Master Outline 13: The New Birth

Master Outline 13: The New Birth

Outline Thirteen: New Birth

THE NEW BIRTH

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

The sinner must come to Christ by faith, believing:

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

and Zech. 13:6 OT).

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

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

 

The means of the new birth is found in that:

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

Master Outline Number 12: Repentance

Master Outline Number 12: Repentance

Outline Twelve: Repentance

REPENTANCE

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Second, let us see what repentance is:

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

(1) John the Baptist preached repentance.

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

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

 

(2) Jesus preached repentance.

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

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

(3) Peter preached repentance.

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

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

(4) Paul preached repentance.

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

God makes two covenants with man.

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

The lost are to repent or perish.

 

The backslider is to repent or be disciplined.

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Master Outline 11: Life

Master Outline 11: Life

Outline Eleven: Life

THE ABUNDANT LIFE

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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