The central teaching device as far as the materials are concerned are the worksheets. These have been put together in a way that becomes self-instructional and you can learn from them on your own. Absolutely correct answers to every question, or filling in blanks with exact wording is not crucial. Because of this, there is no answer manual. The discipler and disciple can adequately work out the responses that will be appropriate. The sessions as outlined in the module of material, if followed weekly as assigned, will take a person about a eighteen months to finish. It is unlikely, however, that it will proceed with no interruptions.
Purpose: This session purposes to speak of the need of the world and the responsibility that is ours to take the gospel to the uttermost regions of our globe.
1. The disciple will understand the nature of the spiritual need of a world without Christ.
2. The disciple will understand that we share responsibility for getting the gospel to those in the uttermost parts of the earth.
3. The disciple will see that world evangelization is the will of the Father for us.
4. The disciple will sense the urgency in getting the gospel to the world.
For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How are they to call on one they have not believed in? And how are they to believe in one they have not heard of? And how are they to hear without someone preaching to them?
1. Mutual sharing and prayer time.
2. Discuss worksheet and questions.
3. Discuss new terms.
4. Share Scripture memory.
The thrust of this ministry has been both toward building a believer, as well as helping a believer learn how to become a servant, a disciple, and a worker.
This discussion is one in which we have considered the world as the field. We are part of the world and we have a responsibility to bring the world the message, without which people perish.
We will approach this by looking at the motives for reaching out to the world.
I. Motives based upon external factors, from the consideration of the unreached people themselves.
A. Their temporal needs. Among the unreached peoples there is poverty, toil, ignorance, and physical suffering.
B. Their moral condition. Many are characterized by degrading habits, moral corruption, slavery and polygamy.
C. Spiritual condition, Psalm 115:4-8. This is the paramount claim.
1. They are lost, Psalm 9:17; Ephesians 2:12.
2. They are responsible, Romans 2:12.
3. A two-fold witness is possessed by all the lost, Romans 1:19-20.
4. Salvation is through Christ alone, Romans 10:14-17; Acts 4:12.
D. Abundant opportunities abound among the unreached peoples. They can be and are being reached.
II. Motives that spring from our consideration of Jesus Christ, and our relationship with Him.
A. Obedience, Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:27; John 20:21; Acts 1:8.
1. The Word of God is supreme, Psalm 138:2.
2. Obedience is the pledge of our love, John 14:21.
1. His grace and privileges bestowed upon us.
2. Am I essentially different from them?
3. I should do for the heathen what I would expect them to do for me if I were in their place and they in mine.
C. The heart of God desires that all be saved.
1. God's motive in saving us was love, John 3:16.
2. Behind God's command is His desire to reach the whole world, John 3:16-17.
D. Love for Christ, 2 Corinthians 5:14.
1. The measure of our sense of missionary responsibility is the sense of our evaluation of Christ.
2. Any man who prays "Thy will be done" is either a missionary or a hypocrite.
This study is about the need and condition of the world in which we live. The scope of this ministry had been originally that of evangelizing the islands of Hawaii. The work continues in Hawaii, but presently we reside in California, so this state became the new focal point. We have groups discipling in Northern California, and hope to be in every state in the United States. Some of the materials have gone to Africa, and Asia.
These small beginnings are but the initial thrusts we plan to make. The field is the world! The Church has had some 2,000 years to evangelize the world, and still there is much work to do. We go to our lovely places of worship and listen to sermons on "love" and "faith" and still the world is dying...going to hell! We sit in our comfortable lounges and speculate about the sermon when literally millions are dying of hunger.
We will not have an entire section on missions. In a sense, the whole discipling ministry is missions. But we want you to see the need of the world. In the western United States, we sit on the periphery of the Far East. Millions come to this land every year. They brush against us, do business with us, drive our automobiles, and eat at our tables. Most of them are without Christ and serve other gods. What are we doing to help make Christ known to them?
Let's look at the countries that are heavily populated and without Christ. In order to do this, you will need to have available a world atlas.
List the population and chief religions of the following countries:
Looking at this list of major areas (certainly not all inclusive), how many Christians would you estimate live within the boundaries of these countries?
What are the compelling motives that would lead us to seek to share the Gospel with these billions of people?
What does Proverbs 29:18 say?
After writing the general area of need as seen in this verse, let's look at some of the specific teachings. The passage indicates that where there is no__________, the people ____________ ______ ___________________. What kind of revelation do these people lack? What are some results that might come from casting off restraint that seem to characterize the lost?
Surely the moral conditions of heathen worlds is pathetic. Polygamy and slavery are just two examples of those conditions. Wherever the Gospel has been taken, there has been an elevation in the status of humans. This is a compelling reason to carry the Gospel to the world.
Another reason is perhaps related to the lack of the Good News of Jesus Christ. Certainly not all countries in ignorance lack technology. Japan has developed aggressively and has a relatively high standard of living. But much of the world where Christ is not known is a world of great physical need. There is need to share our knowledge with those who are ignorant. We need to teach them how to grow their food, to develop efficient ways to meet their need. We need to introduce modern medical help to teeming millions who suffer and do not have such help available. And then, there are the children, those who have never known what it is to have enough food in their stomachs. They die of starvation by the thousands every day. For this reason, we help meet their _______needs. But the most pressing need of all is the _______________need of the lost, Psalm 115:4-8. What do the following passages say about their spiritual condition?
These verses seem enough to convince us that the Name of Jesus is the only Name that can bring salvation. But there are those who would argue concerning those who have never heard. There are those who argue from the nature of God that He is a God of love and would not condemn someone who has never heard. Let's look at verses that might help us with this dilemma and give us the thrust we need to carry the Gospel to others. What does John 3:18 tell us concerning one's being free from condemnation?
Somehow it seems that the only criteria involved in not being condemned is faith in the Son of God. How does this faith come? Romans 10:17
The argument from the love of God also needs to be addressed. Our God is a God of love. What is the greatest demonstration of that love? John 3:16-17.
Read carefully Galatians 3:21-22. What do these verses seem to tell us is central in the discussion at this point in the session?
Surely the love of God, as great as it is, was not enough to save a heathen, who has never heard, without the love gift, the Sacrificial Lamb. But would it be fair to judge one who has never heard? This is a question that comes up all too often. And it is difficult to answer in a way that pleases all men's understanding.
One fact is true. If the heathen are not lost because they have never heard, it would be better that they never hear. Most do not receive the message when they do hear. If hearing were the central factor that condemns, then we should shut down all mission activity and let them go on in unbelief. Listen to the Scripture, however. What does John 3:18 say is the central issue?
Scripture says the lost have two witnesses. Let's look at these. Psalm 19:1-6 speaks of a universal witness that goes out to all the world. What is this witness?
How would this witness speak to men who have never heard of God or Jesus?
See also Romans 1:19-20. What witness is spoken of in these verses?
Now read the story of Cornelius, Acts 10. What does this account say concerning the unbeliever who lives up to the light he has?
There are other motives for attempting to reach those who have never heard. The following verses speak of these. Read the verses carefully and list these additional motives for sharing the Gospel with the world.
1. Psalm 138:2b, and Acts 1:8
2. John 14:21
3. 2 Corinthians 5:14
It is our prayer that as you have done this worksheet, you have begun to see the critical condition of the lost, and that you will commit to our Lord to do something about it.
1. If you were to strategize concerning how to win the world to Christ, what kind of plan would you come up with? In the space that follows, see if you can outline a plan that would reasonably accomplish total evangelism.
2. Some argue that it would be unfair for God to send the heathen to hell. This is, of course, an argument from the imperfect thinking of humans. How could you answer biblically the question, "Will those who have never heard the Gospel be lost forever?"
3. What witnesses are possessed by every man?
4. Of all the needs of those who have never heard the Gospel, which is the most pressing?
5. React to these statements:
"The measure of our sense of missionary responsibility is the sense of our evaluation of Christ."
"Any man who prays 'Thy will be done' is either a missionary or hypocrite."
Do you have a willingness before God to be used anywhere, to do anything He asks? Write your prayer below.
Purpose: The purpose of this session is to acquaint you with the major approaches to the idea of the existence of God or gods. A large block of the world’s population holds views unlike those of Christians. An added purpose of this session is to make clear some of the approaches to the Christian faith that may differ from ours.
1. You will understand the differences among non-Christian world views.
Be careful not to allow anyone to captivate you through an empty, deceitful philosophy that is according to human traditions and the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him all the fullness of deity lives in bodily form, and you have been filled in him, who is the head over every ruler and authority.
1. Mutual sharing and prayer.
2. Discuss the topic.
3. Discuss new terms.
4. Mutual review of memory work.
As we begin this session, let’s consider the family structure. As Christians, we are a family, and as a family, there is a _____________ and we are His _______________. Thus these are parallels between the family of God and our earthly families. We have been _______ _______ , John 3:7. This experience of being born from above puts me into a new relationship with God, the __________and we are members of the true ___________, which is a unique organism that is Christ’s ____________, Ephesians 5:30. This is not an organization as some have said, but a living _____________ which causes us to be one. I am uniquely related to all others in the organism. Then one might ask, “why so many other beliefs, and why so many denominations?” After all, doesn’t the Scripture teach that we are all one? 1 Corinthians 12:12,13. If this is true, why then are there so many churches and religions? This section of your manual will attempt to deal with this question.
A major difference between Christianity and other systems of thought is the difference between world views. You have come to a theistic group if you are a Christian. Theism is a major world view. Christian theism holds that there is only one God who is supreme, and He has made all things. He has made man _____ _______ _______ _____________,Genesis 1:26-27. He is desperately _____________about men. This concern has brought Him to a place where He constantly looks after those He has made. So great is His concern that He has revealed Himself to us in two particular ways — The ________________, 2 Timothy 3:16, and His only ________, Jesus Christ, John 3:16. Jesus was virgin born and is the most full revelation we will ever have of God, John 1:18. God is infinite in all of His attributes, the central of which is His holiness. He is pure ____________John 4:24, and His holiness is the source of His love and mercy. The values of Christians spring from the revelation He has given us. It would be helpful to know that Muslims and Jews are theistic as well. Protestants and Catholics hold the same theistic world view, although there are considerable differences in their belief systems.
A second world-view is close to Theism, although it is dreadfully lacking in truth about the Father. This view believes that God is the Creator, but having made man, He is disinterested. The view is known as Deism. Deism basically believes that God made the universe, got it going, and left it to be on its own. No prayers are ever answered, and Jesus was only a man. The Unitarian Church is an example of Deism. This system of belief attracts very few and the world-view is basically dead.
Although not a formal organization, the next group of beliefs are called Atheism. The augment “a” means none. This system teaches that God doesn’t exist. There is no God. There are therefore no values except those developed within a person, and all values are relative and situational. Materialism ( from Darwinism), which teaches that the world came into being by chance, is atheistic. Man is alone in this world.
A good summary of the values of Humanism, which is closely related to atheism, is presented in the Humanistic Manifesto by Kurtz:
1. The universe is self-existent and was never created by anyone.
2. Man, a part of the universe, has emerged as a result of continuous process.
3. Man is totally on his own. There is no superpower to help him. We must do for what we need. There is no other.
4. Situational ethics comprise the teaching regarding values. Human experience is the important thing.
5. Freedom and human dignity are absolute values. Each individual has a right to die with dignity even if it by his own choice through suicide.
What does Scripture say about God’s existence? And about God being dead?
1. Malachi 3:6
2. Hebrews 7:25
Atheists say that the world is eternal and uncreated. Concerning the argument from cause and effect, they ask, “what caused the first cause?”
What arguments are valid with the atheists? Genesis 1:1-2; Hebrews 1:1-3.
Why is it important to always use Scripture when talking with an atheist or those of any other false world view?
A world view that has gained worldwide prominence is Pantheism. This is the approach to God that says He is impersonal. God is simply the sum total of the world and the world is God. He is the trees, the mountains, the ocean and even the storms. God is nature and since man is part of nature, we are gods. Hindus and Buddhists are pantheistic. Churches or religious groups that follow this world-view are Christian Science, the Unity society, the Church of Religious Science and the Theosophical Society, as well as some others. Since God is the universe, one would pray to the universe. What would make this approach to God and His nature erroneous? See Malachi 3:6.
The ethics of the New Age, a popular form of pantheism can be summarized as follows:
1. The development of one’s self.
2. Working with nature’s resources.
3. Being self-reliant but cooperative.
4. Being nonviolent.
New Age philosophy has gone into the public schools and has infiltrated much of our society. Avoiding bad “karma” is a goal of those in the New Age movement. The saying “what goes around comes around” is New Age thinking.
Yet another world view is polytheism. Polytheism is the belief that there are many gods, none of which are supreme. Outstanding examples of polytheism are the early Hawaiians. There is within the early Hawaiian culture the belief in a god of volcanoes (Pele), the god of the sea, and many other gods. In polytheism, the gods wage warfare with each other to determine who is supreme.
A “church” with a polytheistic world view is Mormonism. Mormons believe that every good Mormon male will become a god in his own right. Space is filled with the unborn spirits from celestial marriages waiting for physical bodies to enter and be born. The Polytheistic thinking of each good Mormon is that he can become a god in his own universe. Mormonism is dealt with separately in this manual, so we will not discuss what is unscriptural about it at this point.
This is a world view that teaches there is a God but He is not infinite. He needs man to help Him accomplish what he wants to do. He created the world but He was unable to keep sin from entering His creation. This system does not view God as all powerful. The teachings of finite Godism creep insidiously into the beliefs of many evangelical Christians.
We hope the above discussions have been sufficiently helpful to give you a somewhat broader orientation to the religious world.
As you learn more about the false teachings of this world, make it your habit to thank God often that He has made Himself known to you and called you to the Truth.
Purpose: It is the purpose of this session to acquaint the disciple with a cultish group that has a theistic orientation.
1. The disciple will understand the nature and working of a cult.
2. The disciple will understand some elementary things about Jehovah’s Witnesses and how their beliefs differ from biblical Christianity.
3. The disciple will learn some of the ways Jehovah’s Witnesses proselytize.
4. The disciple will learn some approaches that can be used to reach Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Absolutely not! Let God be proven true, and every human being shown up as a liar.
1. Mutual accountability, sharing and prayer.
2. Discuss the questions.
3. Discuss new terms.
4. Share Scripture memory.
There will be three cults that we consider in this section. A definition or description of a cult might be helpful. Although there is no universally adopted definition, there are characteristics of cults that are worth mentioning as we begin this study.
Cults talk about new revelations from God. Often these revelations come in order to justify teachings (often new to them), and therefore there is a denial of the sole authority of Scripture. Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and The Unity Organization are examples of cults. Grace as a means of salvation is denied, as is the uniqueness of Jesus as the second person of the godhead.
There are sociological differences that characterize cultish groups. It is common for cults to engage in proselytizing and practice deception in their use or misuse of terms. Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the International Church of Christ are examples of those who proselytize vigorously.
A third characteristic involves authoritarian aspects of cultish groups. They are dogmatic, close-minded, and generally are separatists. Brainwashing takes place in these systems.
Many other things prevail such as immorality and physical abuse. Although we will not deal with the group known as “The Children of God,” David Koresh’s group, or the Way, immorality has persisted in these groups as well as many of today’s cults.
It is important to identify the worldview of each of the groups we consider. One of the few things that can be said for Jehovah’s Witnesses is that they believe in One God who is supreme in the universe. They are therefore monotheistic. Theists teach that there is One God and He is supreme. He is always referred to as Jehovah. They are quite different from Mormons who are polytheists (believing in many gods), or Unity people who are pantheists (nature is god).
In the middle 1800's a group of Christians sold their worldly goods and ascended up a mountain to wait for the coming of the Lord. When they were mistaken and He didn’t come, one part of the group became Seventh Day Adventists and the other was the group of people from which the “witnesses” came. The latter group didn’t make much of an impact during the late nineteenth century. This changed, however, after “Pastor Russell” experienced a great turn of events. Russell was not a pastor, but because he was often involved in Bible studies, some called him “pastor.” He was a shoe salesman. One night someone came into his store and announced the impending death of a very wealthy man. The dying man was apparently frightened, and thought he was going to suffer eternity in hell. “Pastor Russell” quickly quieted his fears by telling him there was no such place. The man experienced such comfort that he gave his entire fortune to Russell before he died, and hence the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. This organization has contributed abundantly to the growth of the cult. The early name of this group was the Millennial Dawnists. They believe that Christ returned in the spirit and is in the world today. They are now known as the Jehovah’s Witnesses (hereafter referred to as JW’s).
This group practices mind control. They deny all but themselves any place in the world to come with God. They are basically unwilling to listen to the interpretation of Scripture by anyone outside the movement.
II. Major Errors in Jehovah’s Witness’ Teaching
A. Concerning God - His name is Jehovah and only He is from ever lasting to everlasting. They refuse to recognize his other names or attributes.
B. Concerning Christ - He is God’s only Son, and He was the first of all God’s creation. Of course, this is not true. What does John 1:1 say? JW’s translate this “the Word was a god” rather than God. What is the teaching of Colossians 1:15-18?
He was called God by whom? Hebrews 1:8
What did Paul say in Rom. 9:5? If all things were created by Him, how could He be a created being?
In their system, the JW’s claim that Christ was not raised in a physical body, but in a spiritual body. Yet the “spiritual” body could be touched, looked like a man and ate as men ate. See John 21:13 ____________________ and Acts 1:9__________________. He was raised in a physical body, and sits in heaven today at Jehovah’s right hand.
C. Concerning the Holy Spirit and the Trinity - JW’s believe that the Holy Spirit is the “invisible active force of Almighty God” which moves upon men to do God’s will. As such He is not a person and inasmuch as Jesus is a man, a created being, there is no trinity. Biblical teaching gives reasons to believe He is a person and that He is God.
See what He does, and how Scripture speaks of Him:
Eph. 4:30. He can be _______________, therefore He must be a ______________. How can one grieve an influence?
John 16:18. How could this be any other than a person?
Acts 5 - (the story of Ananias and Sapphira)- How does this story speak of the personality and deity of the Holy Spirit? Can someone lie to an influence?
JW’s deny the Trinity. How does Matthew 28:19 teach this doctrine?
D. Sin and The Sin of Adam
According to the JW’s, sin is falling short of God’s command and mark of perfection. Adam forfeited his perfect human life and Jesus came to restore the human perfection. Jesus did not forfeit His life for others. All from Adam are borne in sin, including Jesus. That which is redeemed and brought back is perfect human life.
According to Scripture, all men have missed the mark of God’s perfection. Write Romans 3:23.
Christ paid for all my sin when He died, 1 Peter 2:24.
See also Hebrews 10:10-14, and 1 Peter 3:18. What do these passages teach us?
JW’s teach that only 144,000 will enjoy heaven. Others who are dedicated to God and are faithful in their works will live on the new earth. This will be a reward for their lives in living and surviving Armageddon.
Scripture teaches that salvation is by _____________ through faith, plus_________ since it is a ___________, Ephesians 2:8-9.
JW’s teach that all who reject their “kingdom message” will be destroyed. There is no hell where the wicked are punished forever. Neither is there consciousness after death. (See reading on “soul sleeping” in the appendix.)
Scripture teaches that souls will exist forever. Punishment for not receiving Jesus is to have the __________ of God _________on them, John 3:36. It would certainly not be stated this way if people only ceased to exist.
1. How do the doctrines of JW’s compare with those of Evangelical Christians?
2. What seems to be the best approach when you are confronted with a JW who comes to your door?
3. See if you can formulate a statement that you can use when approached by someone from this cult.
4. What is very important when you are talking with JW’s as far as their eternal fate is concerned?
5. As far as you can see, what are the major differences attitude-wise between a JW and the average Christian?
6. What do JW’s believe about the return of Christ?
Is it possible for a JW to have eternal life?
7. A young believing evangelical is dating a JW young lady. They are in love. Both are tenacious about their faith but the hormones are overwhelming. They finally are married and consummate their relationship. What problems will they likely face? What biblical commands have they broken?
In this session, we have spoken briefly of (1) the nature of a cult, (2) the origin of Jehovah’s Witnesses and the history of their beginnings, and (3) the major errors of their belief system.
JW’s are a cult, a modern day version of an ancient heresy in the early Church. These teachings find their beginning with Arius, who was condemned by the church for rejecting the deity of Christ.
Their major errors are their denial of the deity of Jesus, the personality of the Holy Spirit, their utter rejection of salvation by grace, and their tiered levels of life in eternity. Some of their idiosyncrasies include not saluting the flag, not serving in military service, and not being allowed to receive a blood transfusion.
This rapidly growing cult uses door to door methods as well as street corner activities to get their literature into the hands of primarily untaught Christians of various denominations. Most of those reached are the result of proselytizing those who already have some kind of belief in God.
Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society is the JW’s publishing house. The New World Translation of the Bible is their translation of the Bible.
Because of their system of works and their beliefs about God and the denial of the trinity, which are held to meticulously, we have no fellowship with them. We should, however, seek to win them to Christ.
1. Martin, Walter — The Kingdom of the Cults, Bethany House, 1985. Pg. 38-125
2. Christianity, Cults and Religions — Rose Publishing
Purpose: The purpose of this session is to acquaint the disciple with the unique, rapidly growing group called Mormons, or “Latter Day Saints.” We desire that you know something of what this group teaches and how to talk with them.
1. The disciple will know something of the beginning of this group.
2. The disciple will understand the major differences between Mormonism and evangelical Christianity.
3. The disciple will understand ways of talking with them and helping them know the true gospel.
4. The disciple will recognize their teachings that are given in disguise.
But even if we (or an angel from heaven) should preach a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be condemned to hell!
1. Mutual sharing, accountability, and prayer.
2. Discuss new terms.
3. Discuss this material.
4. Sharing of Scripture memory.
Inasmuch as Mormonism is a rapidly growing cult in the world, and since many of their teachings are deceptive and seem to be related to Scripture and historic Christianity, we want to include something about them with the hope that what we say will enable you to know how to deal with them. As with Jehovah’s Witnesses, you should not try to engage them in discussion unless you know the fundamentals of our beliefs. As with Jehovah’s Witnesses, the way of Mormonism leads to eternal death.
Mormonism springs from a fraudulent beginning and a totally different world view from Evangelicals and even Jehovah’s Witnesses. Their beginnings are fabricated and are held in much doubt. Their founder was known to be a liar. Their teachings are contrary both to natural history and the teaching of the Word of God. The Bible is not rejected, but is considered to be translated incorrectly. The world view of Mormonism is polytheism — many gods. Beside the Scriptures, the Book of Mormon, The Pearl of Great Price, and The Doctrine and Covenants are accepted as inspired. Mormonism is aggressive; young men donate time to make new Mormons before they go into a life career. They are busy knocking on doors as are the Jehovah’s Witnesses. They emphasize family life and being at home together. These and other points will be discussed in the material that follows.
We will speak first of the world view of Mormons. From the teachings of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young and their secret beliefs not talked about openly, Mormons believe in many gods. They can therefore be correctly called ___________________. We normally think of a polytheist as someone in the jungle who is uncivilized, or of early Hawaiians who had a god of volcanoes, the sea, the rain, and everything else. Mormons are as a rule well educated and civilized, but they are polytheists.
Their beginnings are built upon a lie. Joseph Smith claimed that the angel Moroni came to him in a dream showing him where golden plates were buried and he found them near Palmyra, New York. They were supposedly written in “reformed Egyptian” which is a language that has no record of existence anywhere. The Book of Mormon came from the golden plates, and they were never seen by anyone but Joseph Smith. He claimed to have translated them perfectly; however, there have been hundreds of corrections to the original translation. It was not the book translated in perfection as is claimed.
One theory of the origin of the sect of Mormonism that seems most likely is as follows. In the early 19th century, there was much speculation about the early settlers of the North American continent. Many speculative stories were written. Samuel Spaulding, a Presbyterian minister, wrote a novel about early America and gave it to a publisher to look over and give his assessment regarding its worth to be published. It was not accepted for publication and Mr. Spaulding left it at the publishers feeling it was not worth anything. Enter Joseph Smith and Samuel Rigdon. They were known to come and rummage around this old print shop, and they came upon this manuscript. Rigdon was an excommunicated Church of Christ pastor and the reputation of Joseph Smith was well known in the area. Somehow, they saw in this an opportunity to connect and gather a following. One will note doctrines related to the Church of Christ in Mormon theology, such as an emphasis upon works and the necessity of baptism for salvation (which is quite different than the Evangelical perspective). These men went to England and gathered a thousand followers from among untaught Baptists and when they returned to America, the Mormon church began. The original Spaulding writings are in the library of Oberlin University.
I. Mormons claim to believe that God is the eternal Father with Jesus Christ, his son, and the Holy Ghost. These three cannot, however, be construed as one. There are three gods separate in personality, united in purpose, and perfect in their perfections.
God is a progressive being, a man just as we are men. He has a body of flesh just as we have bodies of flesh. He is developing continually and was once a child as we were children. This, of course, is not what the Scriptures teach. God is spirit and has never been seen. See John 4:24 where it says ____________________________________________________ and that He is ___________________, James 1:17. God’s changelessness is also taught in the Old Testament in what way? Malachi 3:6. So according to Mormonism, God does not have the attribute of omnipresence since He has flesh and bones.
Concerning Jesus, His father was Elohim, who is a lesser god than Jehovah. See how the Scriptures contradict this belief? Luke 1:26-38. The Holy Spirit is the impersonal influence of deity. He is like electricity. How is this contradicted in Scripture? Eph. 4:30, John 14:26.
What can the Holy Spirit do that teaches His personhood?
Concerning salvation, Mormonism is a system of works and is contra-dicted by scores of verses that teach salvation is by grace through faith. The apostle Paul was especially clear when he talked of works and declared a curse on any whose teaching is other than grace. What does he say in:
Gal. 1:8, 11
II. Mormon theology teaches...
A. Salvation by works.
B. God is really a man who has progressed significantly and we can become gods also.
C. Marriage in the world to come.
D. There is no such thing as eternal punishment.
E. Salvation for those already dead can be obtained through proxy baptism.
F. Spirits from celestial marriages that are made in a Mormon temple are circling the earth waiting for bodies they might enter and begin their quest to become gods.
G. Three supposed levels of heaven - celestial, telestial, and terrestrial.
H. Multiple marriage partners for men is biblical although it is prohibited by man today (in most societies), see Ephesians 5:31.
I. That the book of Mormon is the most carefully translated book and it is true.
III. The Book of Mormon is not true for the following reasons.
A. Its supposed history is preposterous—See 2 Nephi 5:5,6,28.
How could two great nations grow from 28 people in a period of 30 years?
The mighty cities of the Nephites and Jaredites, Ether 9:23, and Alma 50:15. There are at least 38 names of cities and not one of these has ever been found in South or Central America.
B. There is no archeological evidence that “Reformed Egyptian” ever existed as a language.
IV. The Book of Mormon does not meet the tests of canonicity. See the session on Bibliology.
A quote from the head of the religion department of Brigham Young University concerning the book of Mormon is as follows:
“No one could possibly be saved and reject it…
if false, no one could possibly be saved and accept it.”
A quote from Dr. Ross T. Christenson, a Mormon anthropologist, says:
“The statement that the Book of Mormon has already been proved by archeological evidence is misleading.” (Or a lie?)
V. Finally, the Mormon church says that “revelation” is the cornerstone of the church. But what did Jesus say about this? Matt. 16:18, Eph. 2:20.
In conclusion, it is important to emphasize the grace of God and the need for Scriptural new birth. It is important to stay with the Scripture and what it says. Mormon missionaries are trained to follow a set pattern in their proselytizing. Be sure you emphasize the true gospel. Stay with the Scriptures. It will bring forth its fruit even though this may not happen right away.
This has been a cursory study to acquaint you with some of the teachings of Mormonism. This system fits well the category of a cult. It beginnings are very questionable and its teachings are contrary to the teaching of the Scriptures. Mormons, unlike Jehovah’s Witnesses, are friendly and will relate with the idea of winning you to their beliefs. They have been quite successful reaching untaught Baptists. Their first converts in the British Isles were a group of baptistic people.
They believe that God is a man like we are who became the “God” He is through bearing earthly children. Every man (every good Mormon) can become a god in his own right and have his own universe. Therefore, celestial marriage is appropriate and will continue beyond physical death where spirits will continue to be born and seek earthly bodies to perpetuate their “godhood.”
Baptism is part of the necessary scheme in one’s salvation and there are arrangements made through genealogical research to baptize people for the dead “in proxy.” Why do we call them a cult? Because they teach that they have all the truth and deny salvation by grace, and because they have unscriptural writings in addition to the Bible. They teach salvation only in Mormon context.
The Maze of Mormonism by Walter Martin, Regal Books.
Purpose: The purpose of this session is to help you become acquainted with how the New Age philosophy of pantheism translates itself into religious circles.
1. The disciple will understand the differences pantheism brings when compared with theistic beliefs.
2. The disciple will understand how pantheism translates into cultish practices.
3. The disciple will understand the inner workings of religious bodies of this particular world view.
God is spirit, and the people who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.
1. Mutual accountability and prayer.
2. Discuss materials related to the session
3. Review questions.
4. Discuss new terms.
5. Mutual sharing of Scripture memory.
We have looked at cultish teachings that concern theistic world views (Jehovah’s Witnesses), and polytheistic world-views (Mormons). Now we will consider a body of people who meet and follow a Pantheistic world-view. This is the Unity Society. They are not a church.
A review at this time would be appropriate. Theism is belief that there is _________ God. Polytheists believe in ________ __________. Pantheism is the idea that God is everything and everything is God. As a result, every person is god and has the god-principle in himself.
The Unity organization was founded by Mr. and Mrs. Charles Fillmore in 1889. Myrtle Fillmore became a convert of “Christian Science” and Charles Fillmore had interests in spiritism and the occult. The idea of the “Unity” organization came from a “marriage” of these two ways of thinking. It has increased somewhat phenomenally and is still managed by members of the Fillmore family who have survived the years.
The Unity society prefers not to be called a denomination, but that’s what they have grown into. They much prefer to be seen as an educational society and have published great quantities of materials. The Fillmores worked to produce an organization that eclectically drew the major themes of all religions and merged them into one group of teachings. They ordain leaders who have passed the prescribed sets of information that are furnished by their headquarters.
Unity is philosophically monistic. This is saying that “all that is emanates from a single source — God.” In reality, however, much of their teaching is pantheistic. Although they believe that sin and sickness are real, they promote healing through spiritual means. They use many biblical terms and much of their vocabulary is consistent with Christianity. Most of their teachings, however, are from the occult so they do not find acceptance as a Christian denomination among Christians.
God is not a being separate from self. God is really the emanation of the soul of a self conscious person — a principle. There is no difference between God and Creation. They are one and the same. From your knowledge in Scripture, how would you describe this error?
Jesus is Principle revealed in creative plan. Jesus was the name of a certain man while Christ was the manifestation of Jesus. There is no basic difference between Jesus and any other man who was born into this world.
While Jesus was potentially perfect and expressed that perfection, we are potentially perfect and have not expressed it.
From your studies, what have you learned about Jesus that would refute this teaching?
See also Galatians 4:4 and John 1:1-3.
The Holy Spirit is that desire in every man that prompts him toward holiness and oneness with the divine mind. He is not a person at all.
From your knowledge of Scripture, what is there that refutes this doctrine?
See also John 14:26 and 16:13.
There is no qualitative difference between God and man. As relating to Jesus, there is a “Christ” spirit in every man. This is the logical teaching that emanates from Unity’s statement about God.
From your knowledge of the Scripture, how would you refute this teaching? See Genesis 1:26-28.
Unity insists that sin, sickness and poverty are real, but in reality, these concepts are denied and are handled through denial.
What have you learned from your studies that makes sin very, very real?
Romans 3:23; James 2:10.
Unity teaches reincarnation, that through the continued state of reincarnation one will reach the state of becoming a Christ. This is teaching from the Hindu religion and is part of the Far Eastern influence. Salvation is reached when the person experiences a true spiritual body.
What have you learned that would refute this teaching?
If one is a follower of these ideas, he will pray to the universe.
What have you learned from your studies that refutes this?
It is difficult to know just how many people ascribe to these teachings. It is estimated that at least 6,000,000 people have been touched by unity teachings and perhaps 1,000,000 ascribe to their teachings.
This is a brief summary of the teaching of the Unity Society. Do not confuse this group with Unitarians, who are Deists. Their beliefs are quite different.
1. What are your feelings about the idea that we have lived in successive generations with other lives?
2. What are the major points of difference between the Unity Society and evangelical Christianity?
3. What are the major arguments against reincarnation?
4. What would be the effect on the morals of a man if he always got another chance?
If reincarnation were a fact, how would that affect our future hope?
Purpose: The purpose of this session is to introduce the importance of Christian Doctrine.
1. The disciple will come to appreciate the study of doctrine for theChristian life and the Church.
2. The disciple will understand the nature and categories of systematic Theology.
3. The disciple will be able to distinguish doctrines that are central to the Christian faith from those on which Christians may differ and that some are worth dying for.
4. The disciple will understand the necessity of the doctrines in Scripture for living a holy life.
Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty but associate with the lowly. Do not be conceited.
1. Mutual accountability and prayer.
2. Discuss theological terms and concepts.
3. Discuss the study of materials.
4. Discuss new items.
5. Mutual sharing of Scripture memory.
In previous sessions, we reviewed some of the major competitors to Christianity, particularly their views and why they cannot properly be called “Christians.” Some of these other religions have “holy” writings. Some have their own deities. A world-view will come with its own set of core beliefs, ways of knowing, and a set of behaviors that make them unique.
What, then, are the characteristics of Christianity which comes from a ___________ world-view? What is unique about Christian faith that sets it apart from other belief systems? To define Christianity and understand how it is unique from all other belief systems is a major element of the theological task.
A second element of theology is to differentiate primary from secondary doctrines. Even Paul spelled out what was most important in his preaching.
“For I deliver to you as of first importance, what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures , and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.”
1 Corinthians 15:3-5
But first, we must define doctrine. Many Christians (and non-Christians) have preconceived ideas about the term without ever investigating it. These ideas are often negative, reflecting a long history on the part of the church to emphasize “correct theology” as more important than the Bible, obedience to God, or sometimes, even God Himself.
As a result, theology has encountered hard times in recent decades, making Paul’s warning in 2 Timothy 4:3 an increasing reality: the creation of false doctrine for the purpose of satisfying personal desires.
What, then, is “doctrine?”
Doctrine is truth revealed from Scripture regarding God, His ways, and His purposes. D____________, then, comes from the Bible itself. Doctrine is what the Scriptures tell us about God and the things of God. Although nature portrays His existence and His attributes, we receive clarity in Scripture concerning His teaching.
Someone has said that everyone is a theologian. Although very few Christians have actually written down what they believe in a systematic manner, it is nonetheless true that every Christian has a belief system. Although belief systems are usually unconscious, they form the structure by which people make sense of their world. They help us decide what is right and what is wrong; they govern our relationships and interpret our experiences.
Theology is not an option. We all have governing belief systems, whether we want to or not. The question becomes for us: how will we “take charge” of our beliefs and thereby grow and develop in the Christian life? Will our beliefs be formed primarily from experience, from the teaching of authority figures, or from the Word of God?
Although doctrine come to us from the Word, it is not usually revealed to us in a tidy package of definitive statements. For example, a great deal of the Bible has come to us in the form of narrative literature or stories. They tell us about what God has done more than they define Him or His attributes.
Therefore, through the history of the church, Christians have divided the Scriptures into categories. These theological categories, while themselves not derived directly from Scripture, allow us to speak and think about God in ways the human mind can grasp more easily.
The upcoming sessions will deal with each of these theological categories in turn. You have already been introduced to some of them, such as the doctrine of sin in session 11.
When we arrange doctrines into categories, we call them systematic theology. Such an arrangement is useful for the categorization of biblical doctrine for the human mind. However, a theological system also allows us to observe the interrelationship between doctrines.
For example, before we can understand salvation (Soteriology), we must understand the nature of sin (Hamartiology). Knowing the depths of our sinful state helps us to more fully understand and appreciate our salvation in Jesus Christ. Paul discusses this relationship in Ephesians 2:1-10.
In addition, since Jesus Christ was the God-man, we can begin to glimpse through the person of Jesus what humanity was intended to be (Anthropology). Our obedience to Christ is founded in our identification with him, particularly in His death and resurrection (Christology). The apostle Paul discusses this in Romans 6:1-10.
Not everything revealed in Scripture is of equal importance to the Christian. As one grows in the Christian life, it will be important to differentiate between doctrines that are of primary importance and those that are secondary in nature. Some are worth dying for while others are not.
Tragically, Christians are sometimes divided over doctrines that may be important, but not absolutely necessary. This creates rifts in the body of Christ. Just as tragic, Christians often fail to stand up for what is most important, capitulating to views that may actually be in opposition to true Christianity.
While we will not be able to describe all such views in this section, the hierarchy on the following page will give examples of primary doctrines and those that are of less importance.
Many wonder why it is important to believe certain things about God and Christ. They believe that “mere facts” about God are sterile things, and that our relationship with God is all that counts. Life is more important than facts, relationship more important than doctrine.
Our assertion is that doctrine is a vital element of the Christian life. It cannot be separated from our relationship with God, any more than what we know about people can be separated from our relationship with them.
In Christianity, there is a definite link between believing correct doctrine and living rightly before God. The biblical view of doctrine is that one lives what he believes, and thus an understanding of God and his ways are indispensable to the Christian life. Theology and life are intimately connected.
In his epistle to the Colossians, the apostle Paul gave an example of the application of doctrine to life. The church at Colossae was embracing a kind of false teaching, as we know from reading Paul’s letter to them. The false teaching was not in the form of “getting their facts wrong” about God so much as it was in the form of living in ways inconsistent with the gospel. Colossians 2:16-23 refers to some of these ways. What are they?
The believers of Colossae had apparently embraced a combination of elements of Judaism, angel worship, and asceticism. False humility and “spirituality” in an unbiblical sense seem to have been the root attitudes that supported such forms of religious expression.
What was Paul’s response to the Colossians when he heard what was happening in their church? He could have simply told them to stop certain practices and to change their attitude. To be sure, he did tell them to change their ways; chapter 3 in particular is full of ethical instruction. However, the particular situation at Colossae required a deeper understanding of the Christian faith, especially an understanding of the identity of Christ.
Paul’s teaching about Jesus Christ was necessary in order to lay a foundation for correcting the Colossians’ behavior. As we will see, Paul’s doctrine of Christ was crucial for addressing the situation at this church. What are the important elements of Paul’s Christology from Colossians 1:15-20?
Why would Paul write to the Colossian church regarding correct belief in the nature of Christ? What does the supremacy of Christ in the universe—His deity, His authority, and His ultimate reconciliation of the universe to God—have to do with the situation of false worship in Colossae? (Colossians 2:6-8)
The Colossians’ false Christology had much to do with their false worship. In these verses, Paul begins his discussion of the Colossians’ particular problems with an exhortation to continue living in the faith, along with a distinction between Christ and the “basic principles of this world” that were the foundation of the church’s problem.
Verses 9-15 of Chapter 2 go on to describe the relationship between Christ and the Christian. Building on the idea of the supremacy of Christ that he began in Chapter 1, Paul discusses the relevance of Christ’s high position to salvation and to the Christian life. What are the links between Christ and the believer in this passage?
Now that he has identified the Person of Christ with the life of the Christian, Paul is ready to address the specific issues that are disrupting the Colossian church. We have already discovered the elements of false worship that Paul describes in Colossians 2:16-23. However, as you read the passage again, how does Paul relate the supremacy of Christ to specific issues of church life?
Our life and worship have their roots ultimately in our concept of God and Christ. That is, right living is founded on right doctrine, while a failure to grasp sound doctrine can have profound effects on the Christian life and the church.
1. It has been said that “everyone is a theologian.” What are some of the unconscious assumptions that guide the spiritual life of most Christians?
2. Not every doctrine is of equal importance. What issue(s) has caused a church division that was not a primary doctrine?
3. Think! What are some beliefs you hold for which you would suffer martyrdom?
What are some beliefs you hold for which you would not suffer martyrdom?
4. What practices in the Christian life or in the church might be affected by how one thinks about God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, or the nature of humanity and sin?
Purpose: A great deficit in Christian maturity is the simple fact that Christians don’t know doctrine. It is the purpose of these sessions under the heading of the doctrine of God to help you understand the fundamentals of doctrine. The beginning session is one that deals with the knowledge of God.
1. The disciple will learn that God is Spirit.
2. The disciple will learn that God is absolute in His being.
3. The disciple will understand that God has personality .
4. The disciple will see that God’s basic attribute is holiness and from this holiness flows His love, mercy and grace.
Listen, Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! You must love the Lord your God with your whole mind, your whole being, and all your strength.
1. Discuss personal difficulties and sharing of prayer requests.
2. Discuss the topic, worksheet and questions.
3. Discuss new terms.
4. Mutual sharing of Scripture memory. Review memory work from previous sessions.
Theology is a system of the study of God and all that pertains to Him. The study of theology proper is a study of the existence and nature of God. Our study will be brief and will seek to acquaint you with basic concepts concerning the existence of God and His nature. It is not, of course, a complete study of His Person. Such a study would take enough books to fill the universe. But it is possible to know God and know about Him, and that is what this study is about.
I. The Existence of God
There are both natural and biblical approaches to the existence of God. Let's look first at some of the natural arguments. Read the verses that are listed and see if you can see what the argument for existence is.
A. Psalm 19:1
This verse teaches that ________________ shows us that God exists. We can therefore argue that since something exists, it must therefore have a ______________. The universe is an effect, which requires an adequate ______________ .
This is an argument from ______________ and ________________. It is called the cosmological argument.
B. Romans 1:18-20
As we look at the universe, we see systematic things about it that show more than simple cause and effect. See if you can identify from the verses above what this is. For instance what is "in" man?
What has God shown man?
A book has been written called Eternity in Their Hearts. This book, written by a missionary, suggests that all humanity possesses the knowledge of God in some form.
Genesis 1:27 says that God created man ____ _______ _______ ___________. Since man has a sense of what is moral—what is right and wrong, and because man is made in the image of God, it must be that God also must be moral and intelligent. These two arguments, teleological (divine purpose) and anthropological (from the nature of man), are arguments for His existence.
C. Let it be understood that the Scriptures both assume and argue the existence of God. But they do not set out to prove it.
II. The Nature of God
Definition: An attribute is something that makes God who He is. Some attributes are uniquely God’s and cannot be shared with other beings. Others, such as love can be possessed by humans. Let's look at some of the attributes of God.
A. Tri-personal Existence. What does this mean? "There is only one God Who in His unity, expresses Himself tri-personally as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Each member of the Godhead is coequal and one in sub-stance, but separate in subsistence."
B. Scriptural teaching.
1. From the Old Testament, there are intimations of this truth. Look at Genesis 1:1,2,26; and Isaiah 6:8. What are these?
2. Then from the New Testament, look up these verses and see how the tri-personal existence of God is taught.
a. John 6:27; Ephesians 4:6. How do these verses teach the deity of the Father?
b. Acts 5:3-4. Which person do these verses teach is God?
c. Hebrews 1:8; Romans 9:5. What do these verses lend to our understanding of the tri-personal existence of God?
d. What is taught in Matthew 28:19 about this subject?
C. God is not a man as we are men (as Mormons teach). The references in Scripture to eyes, arms, back, etc., are anthropomorphisms: words that are used to help human understanding, 2 Chronicles 7:14-16.
D. God is ___________________ , John 4:24. A basic quality of spirit life is seen in Luke 24:39.
What does this passage say about "spirit existence?"
III. The Classification of Attributes of God
For the purposes of this study, we have already said that an attribute is a characteristic of God. Some attributes are absolutes, meaning that they are attributable to Him and Him alone. None of these attributes are attributed to Satan, angels, or other created beings. Relative attributes, on the other hand, are shared to some extent with other beings. The following are attributes that are taught in Scripture.
A. Absolute attributes are those that cannot be communicated. These are characteristic of His very nature. An incommunicable ______________ is one that is related to the central nature of God. It involves Who He is.
1. God is_____________________, Psalm 90:2. What does this mean in your thinking?
2. God is ____________________, James 1:17. How is this to be harmonized with Genesis 6:6?
What personal implications for people is involved in this attribute of God?
3. God is ____________________, Psalm 139:7-12. What practical value is there for me in this truth?
4. Matthew 11:21 and 1 John 3:20 tell us that God is __________________. How is this truth helpful to me?
5. God is_________________, Revelation 19:6. This truth about the nature of God assures us that God is , 2 Chronicles 16:9.
B. Relative or personal attributes. Some of these are found in a limited or relative sense in man. But again, in an absolute sense, they are known only in God's character.
1. Central in the character of God is ________________, 1 John 1:5. What does Habakkuk 1:13, Leviticus 20:26 and 1 Peter 1:1 say that supports this truth?
All else that God is to us as His creatures must be consistent with absolute________________________. How is this illustrated in Romans 3:26 and 1 John 3:3?
2. Another relative attribute of God is ____________, Acts 17:31. What does Romans 2:11 say to elaborate this attribute?
Of what does this assure us? see 1 Corinthians 4:2-5.
3. Yet another characteristic of God is _____________________, Ephesians 2:4,5. Jeremiah 31:3 is an Old Testament verse that assures us of _____________.
4. John 14:6 records the statement that He is the way, the ___________ and the life. Romans 3:4 says that God is ____________ . What comfort is found for us in this reality?
List in order the attributes of God that we have considered in this session.
Which of these attributes of God is difficult for you to understand ? Why?
1. How are the attributes of God different from man's characteristics?
2. What, if anything, did Christ give up when He became a man?
3. What, if anything, did this do to the Trinity or triune existence of God?
4. React to this statement: "God is three Persons in one."
5. What comfort do you receive in the understanding that God is omnipresent?
6. If God is spirit, why does the Scripture refer to His eyes, arms, back, etc.?
7. What evidences exist for belief in a personal God?
Jehovah is our Creator who desires to have an intimate relationship with us. From this day, make a personal relationship with Him the chief goal of your life.
Purpose: It is the purpose of this session to understand the Scriptural teaching regarding the person of Christ.
1. The disciple will understand that Jesus was truly human.
2. The disciple will understand more clearly the deity of Jesus and who He truly is.
3. The disciple will see the unique nature of Christ as a human and yet He is God.
4. The disciple will understand the significance of the doctrine of Christ and its impact upon us as Christians.
In other words, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting people’s trespasses against them, and he has given us the message of reconciliation. Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making His plea through us. We plead with you on Christ’s behalf, “Be reconciled to God!” God made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we would become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5:19-21
1. Mutual sharing and a time of prayer.
2. Share Scripture memory verses.
3. Discuss the doctrine of Christ.
4. Discuss the questions for review.
Christianity differs from other world religions in that Jesus Christ is absolutely central in the Christian religion. If Buddha, Mohammed, or Zoroaster were removed from the religions associated with them, their entire doctrines would remain intact. But if you remove Jesus from Christianity, nothing in the way of its doctrine remains.
Central in the understanding of Jesus is the doctrine called "hypostatic union". Hypostatic union is a theological term used in describing the unique personality makeup of Jesus. He was truly man and truly God. But in reality, the previous statement is an inadequate way to describe Him. Let's look at some of the approaches to describing His person that are inadequate and untrue.
1. Jesus’ person contained both deity and humanity. This is only partially true. Think about this and indicate why it is not true.
2. Jesus was one-half God and one-half man. What is wrong with this description of His personality?
3. Jesus was mostly God and a little bit man. Write your thoughts and what you know about Scripture in response to this statement.
4. Jesus was a man as we are men. He was no different from us, except that He attained a high level of morality and mission. React to this statement.
5. Jesus was God and really not a man at all. What is wrong with this statement?
Each of these statements contains error and does not truly represent the Person of Jesus accurately. Before we look at Scripture which accurately portrays Him, we will make a statement which has been the position of Christian theologians through the centuries as they speak of His nature and personality.
Jesus can accurately be described as being "as much God as if He'd never been man, and as much man as if He'd never been God, and yet both in vital union, the God-man."
Look up the following verses and write after each one how it teaches the humanity of Jesus.
1. Matthew 1:18
2. John 1:14
How does this verse teach the pre-existence of Jesus?
3. Luke 2:40, 46, 52
4. Matthew 4:2; John 19:28
5. 1 Timothy 2:5
What is He called in this verse that speaks of His humanity?
6. 1 John 1:1
7. Hebrews 1:3
By deity, we mean that Jesus was truly God. Look at the following verses and write how each one teaches that Jesus was truly God.
1. John 1:1
2. Hebrews 1:8
3. John 20:28
4. Romans 9:5
5. John 8:58
6. Titus 2:13
7. Revelation 22:13, 16; compare Revelation 1:8
8. John 5:23, 24
Remember the definition of an attribute from the study on the doctrine of God. See if you can find from the following verses the attributes of deity that are ascribed to the Lord Jesus.
1. John 1:1
2. John 1:4
3. Hebrews 13:8
4. Matthew 28:18
5. John 16:30
6. Matthew 18:20; Ephesians 1:23
7. Hebrews 1:3
What can we conclude from these verses?
What difference do these truths make in your life?
See if you can identify things Jesus did, does, or will do that are actually the works of God alone.
1. John 1:3; Colossians 1:16-18;
Compare Genesis 1:1
2. Mark 2:5-10; Psalm 51:4
3. John 5:22; Matthew 25:31-46
4. John 6:39-40; 11:25
What significance is there for us today in the reality that Jesus Christ is God?
The meaning of the word "kenosis" is "to empty". Christ emptied Himself of something when He became a man. In the light of this study , and in consideration of John 5:19 and Hebrews 9:14, of what did He empty Himself?
Remembering our study on spirituality early in this ministry, what practical example is there for us from the kenosis?
I. The Purpose of His Death
A. There are many prevalent unscriptural views of the death of Christ. Some of them are as follows:
1. Jesus died a martyr.
2. Jesus died as an example to show us how to die.
3. Jesus died to show us the love of God for us.
4. The death of Jesus was an accident.
B. Some of these may have appeal to people today, but none of them express the true meaning and purpose of the death of Jesus. His death was for the following purposes.
1. He died as a _________________________ for our sins, Romans 3:25. What does this mean?
2. Find the purpose of His death in Isaiah 53:6 and 2 Corinthians 5:21. When one takes the place of another, he is called a _____________. Israel’s sins were confessed over the head of a scapegoat which became the_____________________________________________ sin bearing ____________. Substitution was also taught through the sacrificial system.
3. In 1 Peter 3:18, and 1 Timothy 2:6, Christ’s death is referred to as a ________________________. This language is usually involved in the payment of a price when something is held captive. In think-ing through a ransom in relation to His death, see Romans 7:14. Who was purchased from whom?
4. Yet another reason for His death is seen in Romans 5:10 and 2 Corinthians 5:18, 19. What was this?_________________________ Remember in our study of the Bridge we spoke of reconciliation. Who is reconciled as a result of the death of Jesus? What does this mean? See Romans 8:7.
5. In the space provided below, write some of the reasons you feel the death of Christ to have been an absolute necessity.
II. For Whom Did He Die?
A. John 1:29; 1 Timothy 2:6. What do these verses do with the idea of a limited atonement?
B. What does Hebrews 2:9 teach us about the inclusive aspects of His sacrifice?
Although the effects of Christ's death touch all men, this verse teaches us that Christ died for each of us personally.
C. What kind of men did Christ die for in particular? Romans 5:6-10; and 1 Timothy 1:15.
What kind of sinners would be excluded from the benefits of Calvary according to this verse?
D. The effects of His death will be realized by? 1 Timothy 4:10.
E. One last effect of the death of Christ is found in Romans 8:19-23. See if you can understand this and write your answer.
Lastly, we will see some of the truths related to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. See if you can find these in the following verses.
I. John 14:2
II. Hebrews 9:24
III. Christ's resurrection assures us of:
A. Hebrews 4:14-16
B. 2 Corinthians 5:1-8
C. Romans 4:25
The resurrection of Jesus is a fact, historically, and it is an absolute necessity if our hope is to be a valid hope, 1 Corinthians 15:14. He rose from the dead in a body just as He had died, Luke 24:39. This is denied by Jehovah’s Witnesses and others. We must ever keep the truth of the resurrection before us as an historical reality.
1. Why was it important that Jesus be the God-man?
2. What indications are present that He was truly human as we are human?
3. How would you prove from Scripture that He was truly God?
4. Jesus will forever be the God-man. What event during His time on earth assured His perpetual nature as the God-man? Why?
5. Why is the resurrection of vital importance to believers today?
6. What was the nature of Christ's physical being following the resurrection?
7. What vital truth does Romans 4:25 teach us?
Purpose: The purpose of this session is to introduce the disciple to the biblical doctrine of the Holy Spirit, and to see clearly what the ministry of the Spirit is in his life.
1. The disciple will understand that he is indwelt by the Holy Spirit.
2. The disciple will understand that the Holy Spirit is a person related to the godhead—He is God.
3. The disciple will understand that his relationship with the Holy Spirit is crucial for his superior walk in this present time.
4. The disciple will learn to make full use of His presence day by day.
But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. For he will not speak on his own authority, but will speak whatever he hears, and will tell you what is to come.
1. Sharing, prayer, and mutual accountability..
2. Discuss sessions materials and questions.
3. Explain new terms.
This is a study of the Holy Spirit and His work in the world today. It is not intended to be exhaustive, but rather a simple overview that will stimulate further study and discussion.
There is no area of theology where there is more confusion than areas involving the Holy Spirit. And in like manner, there are no areas where there is greater need for understanding. This is the age of the Holy Spirit. Without His intervention in the world, there is nothing that we could do to bring the world to the Savior. Without Him, we could not teach effectively, nor could we understand spiritual things. He is the One who works in us to bring us to completion. He is our guide. He is the Paraclete, the Comforter. And it is He who keeps back the full working of the "mystery of iniquity" 2 Thessalonians 2: 6,7.
This is a study of _________________ or the doctrine of the _________ ____________. Pneuma means both “spirit” and “wind”. Because of this word, the Holy Spirit is often depersonalized. Therefore, we will first consider the personality of the Holy Spirit.
I. The Importance of This Consideration
Great bodies of people do not believe in the personality of the Holy Spirit. Jehovah’s Witnesses deny His personality, as do Unitarian Universalists. Indeed, many evangelicals do not think of Him as a very real Person. To not see and understand Him as a very real Person is to lose the ministry available to us today and open the door to many kinds of error.
II. Why the Confusion?
A. Names and symbols given to Him can seem impersonal. See if you can find some of these in the following verses.
1 John 2:20
Many of these names and symbols are more difficult to relate to personality than other designations might be.
B. The word for "Spirit" is neuter in Greek. As we have stated earlier in this study, the word translated “spirit” is the word pneuma which means “wind”. In the King James Version of the Bible, the neuter pronoun "itself" was used in Romans 8:16. This was a negative influence to our understanding of the Spirit for centuries.
III. How Is His Personality Taught?
Unless the personality of the Holy Spirit is established, the doctrine of tri-personal existence is impossible. But if He is seen in Scripture to be personal, and coequal with God, then it is desperately important to know this and honor Him with the honor that is due Him. Otherwise, this person is relegated to mere influence and non-personhood.
A. As we look at Scripture, we see certain names attributed to Him. Look up the following verses and see names ascribed to Him. Fill in the blanks with these names.
John 14:16; 16:7
What is there about this word that assures us that He is a Person?
Most counselors we know are those to whom we could ascribe per____________. What does a counselor do that no influence could do? 1 John 2:1 says that when we sin, we have an __________ _______ _______ ________________. This phrase is the same word from the original that is used in John 14:16 and it refers to Christ. Christ is a ___________ and we have no doubt about that. The personality of the __________ _____________ is taught by the names used for Him.
B. The personality of the Holy Spirit is taught by the use of personal pro-nouns. Read John 16:7,8,13-15 again. Count how many times the masculine pronoun "He" is used in relation to the Holy Spirit and put the answer in this blank. ________ This is the Greek masculine pro-noun ekeinos which means "that One, He". Note that the same word is used in relation to Jesus in 1 John 2:6; 3:3, 5, 7, 16. This is especially remarkable because the word for spirit is pneuma and this is a neuter noun. This is contrary to the ordinary usage of Greek. But it is necessary because the Holy Spirit is a Person and the masculine pro-noun is therefore necessary.
C. Personal characteristics are ascribed to the Holy Spirit. In 1 Corinthians 2:10, 11, the Holy Spirit is seen as ________________________and this could be ascribed only to personality. Romans 8:27 says the Holy Spirit has a ___________ and ____________________ for us. These are certainly designations of per __________________.
D. A fourth way personality is seen in the Holy Spirit is through the personal acts that are ascribed to Him. There are certain things only a person can do. Some of these are found in the following verses. See if you can find them for yourself.
Looking at these verses, how do they teach the personality of the Holy Spirit?
E. And finally, look at some of the things we can do to the Holy Spirit. Ask yourself the question: can these things be done to an influence?
Ephesians 4:30_____________________________________________ The reality is, one cannot grieve an influence. Further, we can only grieve those who love us. Therefore, ______________ , which is another characteristic of persons, is also further support of His personality.
Acts 5:3-4 says He can be _______ ________ . Can we do this to a mere influence? _______________ Hebrews 10:29 ______________________I dare you to try to insult a mere influence!
Look at Matthew 12:31,32. What can we do to Him that denotes personality?
Surely these verses teach that the Holy Spirit is a divine Person. That He possesses the characteristics of what we call personality. He is not simply an influence!
How do the following verses teach the deity of the Holy Spirit?
Acts 5:4. Here He is called ___________.
2 Corinthians 3:18. He is here called __________.
Hebrews 9:14 gives to Him what attribute?
1 Corinthians 2:10,11? These are characteristics that can be attributed only to God.
I. His Work in the World
The Holy Spirit may be regarded as the Executive of the Godhead. He is God, actively involved in the world and with humanity. Job 33:4 says that the Holy Spirit ________________________________________________________. With respect to the world and men, John 16:8-11 declares Him to be One who _______________________________________________________
It is His work to _____________________ about Jesus, John 15:26.
II. His Work in Believers
It is the Holy Spirit Who brings each of us to _______________ through His quickening power. John 6:63 says the Spirit gives _____________. 1 Corinthians 6:19 says the Holy Spirit dwells __________ ___________.
What significance does this have for you?
What truth is taught in Romans 8:9?
1 Corinthians 12:13 says the Holy Spirit puts us or _____________ us into the Body of Christ. This makes us members of the mystical Body of Christ, as well as members one of another.
Ephesians 1:13,14, and 4:30 say that the Holy Spirit ___________ us until the day of ___________________________. He becomes the signet of divine ownership by the Father. He has promised to _____________________, Philippians 1:6.
The seal stands for two things: ownership and likeness.
Ephesians 5:18 says that He __________ us. This is the same thing as controlling us or _______________ us, Romans 8:14. It is His divine purpose to control the believer every moment of his earthly walk.
He is also in us to set us _____________, Romans 8:2. We yet have our sinful natures, but the Holy Spirit is in us to give us victory over __________, Galatians 5:17.
He also anoints the believer. His anointing is for at least two particular things.
1 John 2:27
I. By Believers
How do we commit this sin today?
How do we commit this sin today?
1 Thessalonians 5:19
How do we commit this sin today?
II. By Unbelievers.
What is this sin?
What is this sin?
Who commits this sin today?
The Holy Spirit is the member of the Godhead we are the most involved with today. He is in the world to make Christ known, and to control us. He makes Christ known when He controls us and produces ________________ in us, Galatians 5:22-23.
1. What is wrong with the idea of desiring to "get more of the Spirit"?
2. React to this statement. "What the church needs today is continual fillings of the Holy Spirit."
3. React to this statement. "Mary has been baptized by the Holy Spirit. This will bring her whole life into perspective and she is set for life."
4. What ministry of the Holy Spirit applies to each of the following situations?
a. Jerry is having a hard time in his Bible Study.
b. Paul's witnessing seems futile.
c. There is serious division in a church I know.
d. Darrell doesn't seem to know that he has been born again.
e. Burt has an opportunity for a job that involves a major move in his location, church, and profession.
f. Carroll has a long-time struggle with a personal problem involving the "flesh".
See if you can trust the Holy Spirit in another Christian. What can this do for you?
Purpose: It is the purpose of this session to show how the Bible came together and to demonstrate its uniqueness.
1. You will understand how the books of the Bible were chosen from among many writings.
2. You will learn the criteria used to select books for the canon of Scripture.
3. You will see the patience of the early believers in accepting New Testament writings.
4. You will see something of the uniqueness of Scripture.
For no prophecy was ever borne of human impulse; rather, men carried along by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.
2 Peter 1:21
1. Mutual sharing and prayer.
2. Discuss the subject matter of this session.
3. Discuss new terms.
4. Discuss summary questions.
5. Discuss different translations of Scripture, and which is most practical for the disciple.
Christians have a bias toward the written Word of God. We believe the Bible and the message it has for us today. This is because it has proven its authenticity to those who live by it, because of its very nature and because of the claims it makes for itself. This study will include some of the ways God has revealed Himself, attitudes men have toward the Scriptures, how books of the Bible (39 Old Testament and 27 New Testament) were gathered into a single book with 66 books, and why understanding these things is perhaps the most important area of study we will undertake. Surely if we did not have the Bible, we would only speculate about God and His creation. If there were no Bible, and we only saw nature and the message which it speaks, we would not have an adequate revelation of Jehovah. We would be left with only human reason, science, and the speculations of men which are not enough to bring us to God, We would have no knowledge of the sacrifice of His Son. We would have nothing to teach us how to live or die.
The word “Bible” comes from the Greek word biblion which means book. The original writings were prepared on papyrus, which was a plant that was cut into strips and dried.
The word “Scriptures" comes from the Greek word graphe which means writings. The idea of “Scripture” saying something is presented to us in the Bible, and is equivalent to God speaking.
From your earlier analysis of Psalm 119, (session 15) see how many different ways the Scriptures are referred to.
How does Jehovah regard His Word?
2 Corinthians 3:14
List any other terms you might be aware of in your own study of the Word of God
I. Neo-orthodoxy - This system of thinking puts Christ above the written word and says the Bible only becomes authoritative when it speaks to the individual. This system of thought teaches the Bible is not the Word of God but only contains the Word of God.
II. Romanism - This is the Catholic position. The “church” is the final authority on what the Bible says and the channel of revelation. Since the Bible is the product of the church, only the church can be the final authority concerning what the Scriptures say. Tradition is also a source of revelation. What does Galatians 1:14; and 2 Thessalonians 2:15; 3:6 say about traditions?
III. Mysticism - The Bible is incomplete. Other revelations have been given which are equally true. Why do we say the Seventh-Day Adventists hold this position?
What about Mormonism?
How is “Christian Science” guilty of this error?
A false mysticism is found even in some Evangelical circles. Some hold that God actually speaks to them and the words are authoritative. There are those who want to divorce their spouses contrary to Scripture, and the claim is that there is a “word from God” on that issue. Sometimes such words are concerning divorce when one simply will not follow the Scriptures. Hear this! God never leads or speaks to one contrary to His written word. He simply does not do that.
There is also a “true mysticism” in the experience of Christians. This is taught in John 14:26 and 16:13. To what does this refer?
How does the Holy Spirit work in this framework?
What sin against the Holy Spirit is committed when one is disobedient to His leading, 1 Thessalonians 5:19?
IV. Evangelicals (The Conservative Protestant position). See 2 Timothy 3:16, Psalm 119:89 and see if you can state the position of Evangelicals.
From these passages we understand that the Bible is infallible and inerrant as the Word of God (as it came originally) and is sufficient for all matters of faith and practice.
It is important for the reader to understand that even as one has a right to testify for himself, so it is important for us to hear what this book and its writers say.
See 1 Corinthians 14:37. As Paul is speaking, what does he say concerning his words?
See also 1 Thessalonians 2:13. John spoke of His words as being authoritative. What does 1 John 4:6 say was equal to rejecting God’s Word?
What statement in the Old Testament used over and over again would be significant to this issue? See Jeremiah 1:11 as an example.
This way of looking at Scripture is called internal evidence. Another way of looking at the Scriptures is from the outside looking in. Whereas we have just completed talking about internal evidences, we will now look briefly at external evidences, or things about the Bible that make it unique. These are external evidences.
The Scriptures are the special revelation of God to mankind. What is God like - what are His characteristics? God’s central attribute is __________, Habakkuk 1:13. Yet He is characterized by love, mercy and ______________, Titus 2:11. The Bible also speaks of the true condition of mankind which is ________________________________________Isaiah 53:6.
The Scriptures also contain prophetic utterances that speak of the future and what is to come and as well as what has already been fulfilled, cf. the book of Daniel; Matthew 24-25; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17.
The Scriptures present issues related to morality and living in the present world. We are to ____ ______ ____ ______ ________ Ephesians 4:30, and be ________ ______ ______ __________ Ephesians 6:10,11 to be able to live lives that are adequate for Christ.
Hebrews 1:1-2 tells us how God spoke to man by _____________. First He spoke, then He took upon Himself the form of a ___________ and revealed to us all that God is, John 14:8-9. He who has seen Jesus has seen all that the Father is. God has spoken in other ways as well. During other times, He used dreams, visions, the appearances of angels; and in the Old Testament, He used prophets, i.e. Jeremiah, Isaiah, Micah, Hosea and others.
Christians contend that the Bible is the Word of God. 2 Timothy 3:16 says “All Scripture is inspired by God.” The word in the original is only found in this one passage of Scripture in all of Koine Greek.
The meaning of inspiration is “God-breathed.” God literally “breathed it out.”
What is the value, then, of Scripture? 2 Timothy 3:16 says it has value for _________________, ____________________, __________________.
The ultimate purpose is found in vs. 17. What is that?
It is as if the wind took the ship, so the Holy Spirit took men used by God and “carried them along” so they would speak the Word of God, 2 Peter 1:20,21.
What is biblical “inspiration”? I would like to quote Ryrie and his definition. “God superintended the human authors of the Bible so that they composed and recorded without error His message to mankind in the words of their original writings.”
When I stand at a distance and look at the Scripture, what are some of its characteristics that make it unique? How is it different from all other books in the world? The consideration of these seven external evidences is one that involves this valid approach. Taken individually, each by itself is not a sufficient argument declaring uniqueness. But together, these become a bundle of unbreakable arguments that testify to the authenticity of Scripture and its authority in our lives. This is a brief session in Christian apologetics.
The Bible is the oldest book or thing most of us have ever possessed. The book of Job, the oldest book in the Bible, is at least 4,000 years old. Revelation is the most recent book. It is approximately 1,900 years old. The Bible, therefore, is a least 1,900 years old in its completed form. It has survived all attempts of men and nature to destroy it. The Roman emperor Diocletian ordered all Bibles destroyed and decreed death for anyone who yet had copies of the Scripture in his possession. When Constantine was “converted,” he asked for Bibles. Within 24 hours, at least 25 copies of the complete Scriptures were delivered to him. These were handwritten. What would you feel about a man who had been crucified, drowned, stoned and yet lived? Would he not be considered a superhuman? The Bible has survived even more. It is the most hated and most loved book in the universe. Surely its unique ability to survive sets it apart as different!
Scientific text books 100 years old are a curiosity. A medical journal about one hundred and fifty years old prescribed the following treatment for cataracts. “ Take one totally black cat. Burn it to ashes and sprinkle the ashes in the eye. This will eliminate the film that grows over the eye.” Even 10 years old, they are out of date. Yet the Bible is up to date in whatever area it touches or addresses. Its medical laws are contemporary, Leviticus 13:45-46. The teaching concerning life and the blood is modern, Leviticus 17:11. The use of antiseptics is advocated, Luke 10:34. And the Bible speaks of the “circle of the earth,” and is up to date astronomically when in Job we read of “Arcturus and her sons.”
It is one book, but in reality, it is a library. The Bible was written over a period of about 2,000 years by 44 authors, on every known subject of literature plus one, prophecy. In Scripture you can find any kind of literature. It contains history, mystery, and romance. It is said that Ben Franklin attended a meeting of literary giants in Paris where each person was to tell the greatest love story he had ever heard. One by one, men told their stories. When it came Ben Franklin’s time, he told the story of Ruth and Boaz. The listeners were spellbound as he related the magnificent story. When he had finished, they all applauded. And one asked Franklin where he had ever found such a story. “Why,” he said, “in the Bible which you all reject!”
Although there were 44 authors who wrote 66 books on at least 50 different subjects, and although these men were scholars, shepherds, kings, fishermen, medical doctors, tax collectors, teachers and statesmen, and although few of these men knew each other, there is perfect agreement. Old and New Testaments complement each other. The New is in the Old concealed— the Old is in the New revealed.
The Bible is a history of redemption. The coming One, the One Who came, and the One Who is coming again. Redemption is the crimson thread that runs throughout the Scriptures. The story begins in Genesis 3:15. It is elaborated through typology, the sacrificial system, the tabernacle, prophetic teaching, and finally He is here (the Gospels). And the Epistles become the ultimate elaboration of His life and all that it means.
Jeremiah 23:29. Wherever the Scripture has gone and has an impact, it changes lives, upgrades cultures, and elevates the status of women. Compare the cultures of the United States and China — England and India. Which are the oldest? The most modern? John Paton, missionary to the New Hebrides, evangelized those islands bringing savages to civilization. It is stated that when American servicemen landed in these islands during World War 2, they found the natives with Bibles. Some of the natives were ridiculed. One old tribesman said, "If it were not for these Bibles, we would have you in the pot."
The Bible is not only the best book to live by, it is the only book to die by, 2 Timothy 3:16, 2 Peter 2:21. When men are about to die, it is unlikely they would call for the reading of Shakespeare or Poe. But the Bible takes away the fear of death like no other book.
How the Books of the New Testament Became Accepted as Scripture.
In order to help you understand this material, you should first be familiar with the terminology related to this area. "Canon" means "measuring rod." It is a word used in relation to the criteria or standards which certain writings must reach in order to be part of the Scriptures. "Canon" also is used in relation to the complete collection of Scriptures that have met the standards or judgments of the church and are considered sacred. "Canonicity" is an adjective describing a state of being acceptable in the "canon."
When I am talking, therefore, about measures that test the acceptability of any writing to be included in Scripture, I speak of its __ __ __ __ __ icity. This demonstrates that a book of the Scriptures has met certain ____________. And these standards assure its acceptance into the total _____________ of inspired Scriptures. We want to understand how all the books that are part of the New Testament were accepted and to know what the various standards were, as determined by the early church.
Perhaps it would be reasonable to say that there was an overriding principle in the consideration of the total subject of canonicity. See if you can find that guiding principle yourself. Read John 16:13 and write the answer in the following space.
Surely the church could trust the Lord Jesus and this promise to direct them.
The first test of canonicity was divine authorship. Is the book inspired? Was it given by God through men, or did it come from men and their efforts alone? (This, of course, would be a subjective judgment, but it nonetheless had to involve the universal agreement in the body of those considered worthy of making such a judgment.)
This consideration, then, is relative to the book being inspired, which means ___________ _________________ (See the meaning of inspiration from earlier in this session). "God-breathed" is the literal meaning of what ________________ is. And to be considered for a place in the _____________ of Scripture, agreement had to be reached concerning it being ________ -given, rather than man-given. The overriding characteristic of the writing must be that it came from _______.
The first test we have looked at is the test of divine ________________. Now we will look at the test of human authorship. This consideration is not one that simply asks "was it edited or written by a human." Obviously some man would be involved in its writing. But the kind of person who wrote it is the central issue in this test of canonicity.
What type of person would the early church feel should be considered as one through whom the Spirit of God would speak? See if you can choose from among the following which would be considered possible writers.
_____1. Those who were very bright—the highly educated in philosophy and religion.
_____2. Men who were not so bright because God desires to choose foolish things to use.
_____3. Those who actually saw Jesus and experienced a relationship with Him during their lifetime.
_____4. Those who were considered spokesmen by the early church, persons who truly knew God.
_____5. Any person through whom the Spirit of God might speak.
In the space provided, summarize the problems with the criteria above that you do not choose, and talk a bit about the one you feel is the right answer.
Let's look at these criteria and see which we might decide upon as one used by the early church as a test of canonicity.
The first concerns the educated and very bright. That God does and did use men who were bright is readily evident. Paul the apostle was an educated rabbi. But this was not true of Peter and James. They were simple and ordinary men.
The second can be reversed as an argument. Not all writers of the New Testament books were unlearned men. Paul is certainly an exception and he was very bright. Luke was a physician and would be considered an intelligent man.
The third criterion, seeing Jesus and experiencing a relationship with Him, was apparently not a test of genuine authorship because Paul and Luke apparently never knew Him personally.
The fourth criteria is the answer that is correct. Each writer or author must be a recognized spokesman or key person in the family of God by the early church.
The fifth criteria is a problem and perhaps the most difficult of all. Anyone can claim to speak by the Spirit of God. And surely if one is speaking by the Spirit of God, He needs to be listened to. But making that evaluation of someone who is not considered a likely author by the early church would be a difficult thing. This could not be a test of canonicity.
The two tests we have considered to this point, therefore, are the test of ______________________ , and whether or not one was considered a _______________ for God by the early church.
The third test relates to authenticity. By authentic is meant that something is true. When we speak of the canon of Scripture including the criterion of truthfulness of material, we are speaking of auth _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ or simply that the material is ________________. Included in the need for truthfulness or ______________ is the need for true historical accuracy. This relates to the historicity of the record. Is it a record of things that actually happened? This was one of the criteria for canonicity and relates to a particular book being trustworthy and accurate and therefore included in the ___________________.
Particular interest in an extra-Scriptural writing in relation to this test might be in the Book of Mormon in which there are all kinds of historical errors and statements which in no way could be true. Therefore, the Book of Mormon could not meet the tests of ________________.
The fourth test of canonicity is that of genuineness. Did it truly come from the author whose name it bears? Are there legitimate reasons to doubt that the stated author truly wrote the book? If there were such reasons, the _________________ of the book would be in doubt. One book creating a problem for the early church was the book of Hebrews. The problem with this book was that it has no stated author. In this case, it was ultimately decided that even though there was no author, the material was such that Scripture would be incomplete without it. Therefore, it was included in the canon and is part of our Bible today.
The fifth test of canonicity is that which relates to testimony. Testimony involves the witness of the Jewish and early Christian church, as well as the later Christian church. It was important that it be included in the ancient versions of the Bible. Books that did not have universal ________________ of the early and later church were not considered _ _ _ _ _ ical. The Apocrypha was one such collection of books that did not have universal ____________ of the early church, although it was included in the Septuagint (the first translation of the Old Testament into Greek). It is also interesting to note that the Apocrypha was not included in the Catholic Bible until 1546 at the Council of Trent. This inclusion was for the purpose of stemming the tide of the Reformation which had made great inroads into Catholicism.
The final test of canonicity was its ability to edify. This word means to "build up" or to bless. It is apparent that every part of the Bible is not equally edifying. But if a writing had no value relating to edification, it was not considered a part of the ________________ of Scripture. It simply was not canon _ _ _ _ . To edify means to ____________or to _________________ .
See if you can find what the following verses say about the Scriptures themselves.
1 Corinthians 14:37
2 Peter 3:2
2 Peter 3:15,16
The early church knew by 150 A.D. which books were inspired. The canon remained open, however, until 397 A.D. For nearly 250 years the common witness of the Spirit was to the 27 books comprising our present New Testament. The same Lord by whom they were ___________ - ______________, had led to their placement into the ________________ of the Scriptures.
1. Admit: Open your entire being. Study lovingly. Let the Word be God's voice to direct and encourage you.
2. Submit: Let the truth of Scripture grip you and govern you. Let plain declarations be an end to all controversy in your life. Follow Scripture explicitly.
3. Commit: Grip truth by hiding it in your heart. Let it be an anchor to your soul in times of temptation and other kinds of trial.
4. Transmit: Don't be a pool--be a stream. Share the Scriptures you have. Make every truth tenfold your own by passing it on. It will be fitted into your lips, Proverbs 22:17-21.
And remember, we are to look for faithful men, not those necessarily who are enthusiastic, 2 Timothy 2:2 !!!
I. Progressive Natural Insight —Natural
In this type of inspiration, there is no intrusion on God's part in communicating with man.
Problems: This view of inspiration opens the door for rejection of the miraculous and any supernatural revelation.
II. Illumination—the writers rather than the writings were inspired. The
Bible contains the Word of God rather than is the Word of God.
Problems: There is no truth communicated beyond the understanding of the writers.
III. Inspired Concepts—God gave concepts through inspiration and allowed men to write them down in their own words.
Problems: There is no safeguard against error.
IV. Partial Inspiration—The doctrine and moral truths are inspired. History and other areas beyond doctrine are not necessarily correct.
Problems: Man has become the critic as to what is inspired. Scripture says "all Scripture is given by inspiration of God."
V. Dictation or Mechanical—Men were passive instruments and their personalities were not involved at all.
Problems: Different styles cannot be accounted for--the medical language of Luke and the sophisticated Greek of Paul as opposed to Peter's style.
VI. Plenary Verbal—The Scripture is fully and equally inspired. There are statements in Scripture which are not true, such as John 7:52 and John 9:31. These are accurate recordings of statements that were not true. The writers were directed in the use of words, yet their own personalities and choice of words were used.
Inspiration is closed. There is nothing to be added or taken away, Revelation 22:18,19. 2 Peter 1:21 says, "For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit."
This is a section we deal with the nature of the uniqueness of the Bible. The Scripture claims uniqueness for itself . What do the following verses say about the method involved in Scripture's coming into existence?
1. 2 Timothy 3:16
2. 2 Peter 1:21
3. 1 Corinthians 14:37
4. Psalm 119:89
5. Matthew 5:18
On the basis of what you have found in these verses, how would you describe in your own words the Scripture's uniqueness?
Definition: 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us that all Scripture is "God-breathed." The word "God-breathed" speaks of the unique inspiration of Scripture. These words are not associated with any other writing known to man. We can rightfully say that Scripture is _____________ or _________ - ______________. The nature of this inspiration is a question among men today. We want to help you be acquainted with the discussion related to this and also help you see the evangelical position today.
I. The first approach we will consider is called natural or progressive natural insight. This is in reality no special kind of inspiration at all. It puts the Scripture on the same basis as other books that can be helpful such as those written by Robert Schuller, Sigmund Freud, or Charles Swindoll. The problem is that this concept gives no assurance of accuracy and puts the Scriptures on the same level as any other writing. It also opens the door to the rejection of the miraculous.
This approach is called __________________ or __________________ _________________ ___________________.
II. The second approach is called illumination. In this approach, it is merely the person writing who is inspired rather than the writing itself. The Holy Spirit has no part in the guiding of the writers but leaves men to write as they are illuminated. The problem with this theory is that there is no truth communicated beyond the understanding of the human instruments who are doing the writing. With your understanding of the word "God-breathed," why is it impossible that this theory would be the method of communication of the Scripture?
This approach says the ___________ rather than the _________________ is inspired and is called _________________.
III. The third approach discussed in this session is called inspired concepts. In this approach, God gave the concepts to men through inspiration and allowed them to write in their own words. In other words, to illustrate, God inspired the concept of blood atonement and allowed men to formulate the doctrine in their own minds. He inspired the truth of justification and allowed Paul to state it in his own words. What problems can you see in this approach to inspiration? Put your ideas in your own words.
What inconsistency is taught by this theory when we consider Matthew 5:18?
This approach is called ________________ __________________ .
IV. Another approach is partial inspiration. This approach is an attempt to decide which parts of Scripture are inspired and which are not. Generally, historical and scientific areas are considered non-inspired, while doctrine and moral truth are considered to bear the mark of inspiration if this approach is held. Large chunks of Scripture from the Old Testament, creation accounts, miraculous accounts in both the Old and New Testaments, the early history of mankind, etc., are relegated to the areas of folklore and common literature. These are arbitrary decisions of men who decide what is inspired and what is not. What problems do you see in approaching inspiration in this way?
What does 2 Timothy 3:16 say that contradicts this theory?
This is called the ____________ ______________ theory.
V. A fifth approach is called dictation or mechanical. In this framework of thinking, Scripture is given through the Holy Spirit and the totality of Scripture is included and is equally inspired. However, the writers were passive instruments—like keys on a piano—without any personality or part in the writing. This theory is held by some evangelicals and fundamentalists. There are obvious problems with this form of inspiration.
A. The style of writing varies from writer to writer (Peter with Paul).
B. The style of the writer varies when different situations exist. Compare Romans and Galatians.
C. The terminology of writers often relates to their occupations. Luke was a medical doctor and uses medical terms throughout his writings, whereas no other writer uses such terms with equal frequency. To pay no attention to these things and claim that every word is inspired is usually called ________________ or mechanical inspiration.
VI. The final concept of inspiration, and one that is held by most evangelicals today is called plenary verbal. The term means that the Scriptures are wholly and equally inspired. The Holy Spirit guarded the writings of those who wrote the Scriptures, but allowed them to write in their own personalities and styles of writing. Plenary verbal inspiration allows for statements in Scripture which are not true, such as John 7:52 and John 9:31.
The Scriptures contain an accurate account of statements made that may not have been true as in the above situations.
This concept is called ___________ ___________ because ________________________________ .
It allows for what aspects of humanness?
How can the nature of Scripture impact my life uniquely? What effect can Scripture have on a life because of its unique nature?
It is the very living Word of God. It transforms lives.
1. What are some of the current errors in thinking concerning the Scriptures?
2. A mystical approach to words from God abounds. What are some of the ways this approach is seen in our society today?
3. What things are unique about the writing of the Scriptures?
4. What is the meaning of the word “inspiration?’
5. Review the external evidence for inspiration of Scripture, and write then in your own words.
6. What is the meaning of “canonicity,” “canon,” etc.?
This has been a session that stresses the uniqueness of the Scriptures as opposed to all other writings — sacred or secular. By Scripture is meant the Bible, which stands with a solitary uniqueness among all the writings in literature anywhere in the world.
The Scripture is “God-breathed” which is the meaning of the word “inspiration.” This session has been for the purpose of acquainting you with the method of inspiration held by evangelicals in most places in the world. Other types of inspiration are discussed and illustrated. It is important to know that plenary verbal inspiration is generally held as the type of biblical inspiration which has brought man the Scriptures. This allows for the personalities of men to be involved, but guards the transmission of the words so that we will have the message God desired us to have. It also allows for correct rendering of statements men made that were not true. In some places in Scripture, therefore, there are some statements that are not true — statements made by men and recorded accurately as they were stated.
Learn each point of the external evidences of inspiration well, using a pencil to illustrate each argument for the uniqueness of Scripture. Break a single pencil. That is relatively easy. Then put seven pencils each representing a uniqueness of Scripture together and see how much harder they are to break as a group or pencils. Share this with someone and continue to do this until you are effective and know each point or argument well.
Purpose: To help the disciple know basic things about who man is and what his afflictions are.
1. The disciple will understand what Scripture teaches about the original state of man.
2. The disciple will understand the fall of man in the Garden of Eden.
3. The disciple will understand the effect of this fall on the human race.
4. The disciple will understand what Godâ€™s purposes are for man today.
God created humankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them.
1. Mutual sharing and prayer
2. Discuss the worksheet and questions.
3. Discuss any new terms.
4. Mutual sharing of memory verse.
This is a brief study of the doctrine of man. "Anthropos" is the Greek word for man. The Biblical study of man therefore is called ______________ . In anthropology we will consider the nature of man, his origin, and the results of his fall through Adam.
When we look at Scripture and what it records in relation to the beginning of man, we find that man was made in the ______________ and ________________ of God, Genesis 1:26. Let's look at the meaning of these two words. Image means shadow or outline of a figure, while likeness has to do with resemblance. Yet the way this translates into reality for our understanding is not as easy as it might seem. Even the theologians are not in agreement about the nature of the meaning of "image and likeness" and how this is true of man. Let's look at some verses in Scripture that will possibly shed light on this area of truth.
Ephesians 4:23,24 tell us that man is created to be like God in ______________ and __________________. Colossians 3:10 tells us that the new man is being _________________ to a true ____________________ according to the ________________of the one who created him. That man was given intellectual faculties is seen in the fact that God asked man to do what? Genesis 2:19,20 _______________________________________________. Man also had the ability, not only to discern evil, but to___________________________, Genesis 2:15-17. What similar experience did Christ, the last Adam, endure? Matthew 4.
He was successful in resisting sin, though Adam was not. In the image of God, man had the power to be tempted and the ability to resist sin. In summary, man was made in the _______________ and ______________ of God. This consisted of God's intellectual, moral, and spiritual characteristics. We need to remember that while man, from one side of his nature, is linked to creation as a mammal, he is a creature of much higher order and more splendid nature. He is in the image and likeness of God.
Perhaps a word needs to be added because of the common interpretation and propagation of a theory by the Mormon organization today. Being created in the "image and likeness of God" does not denote physical likeness on the part of God. John 4:24 states clearly that God is _______________. A spirit does not have flesh and bones. Deuteronomy 4:15 implies what?
Then how can we explain the references to God that have to do with His "eyes", His "arm", and His "back"? These are called "anthropomorphisms", which are simply ways of referring to aspects of Him in human terms that make understanding Him more simple.
I. The biblical narrative is found in Genesis 3. Read this account carefully several times. How do you see this story â€” literally, allegorically, or mythically? Write a few sentences and explain your position as clearly as you can, as well as why you reject the alternative positions you have excluded.
A. Read Genesis 3:5 and see if you can put in your own words what Satan said.
B. Neither Adam nor Eve were sinners. There was no sin principle in either of them. Where did sin come from?
C. 1 Timothy 2:14 tells us that the sins of Adam and Eve differed. In what way was this true and what are your feelings about what happened, according to this verse?
D. Genesis 3 gives us many of the results of sin. See how many of these you can find, and discuss their implications in life today.
I. Romans 5:12 says that through ________ __________'s sin, death came to ______ _______ because when Adam sinned, all _________________. This means that I sinned in ____________ when he sinned. I am therefore born a______________ and sin because I am a ______________.
There may be a difference in the degree, but not in the fact of sin. Romans 3:23 says we all have ______________ and _________ ________ of the glory of God. There is organic unity in the human race. We bear after our kind. Adam was a sinner and he was our human father. As such, then, all of us who are related to the race through him are____________________.
II. Romans 3:19 and John 3:36 tell us that the entire world is ______________ and that the wrath of God abides upon whom? ________________________
III. Many in the world would say that all men are the sons and daughters of God. There are lines of a hymn that read, "Dear Lord and Father of mankind..." Since God is the Father of all through creation, perhaps there is some truth, in a sense, to those lines. But John 8:44 and 1 John 5:19 tell us that those who are not the children of God through faith in Jesus, are in reality children of ____________________________________.
IV. The totality of the nature of man is affected by sin. See the following verses and what they teach with respect to this.
A. Understanding is ______________________, Ephesians 4:18.
B. The ability to do good is ______________________ , Romans 7:18.
C. The heart is _____________________, Jeremiah 17:9,10.
D. Minds and consciences are __________________, Titus 1:15.
Looking at these truths about the nature of man, what can be said for him in his ability to stand before God in his own righteousness?
All of creation itself seems to be reeling under the effects of sin. See Romans 8:19-22. How does this teach that creation has felt the effects of the sin of mankind?
1. Man has been made in the image of God. The fall greatly marred that image. Where is natural man in his understanding of God and who He is?
2. Man is pictured as "dead in trespasses and sins". How can a dead man come to life and believe in Jesus?
3. What is the dilemma of the man who has never experienced the new birth and attempts with his old nature to be a "good man"?
4. In regeneration, what does God do as far as the old nature is concerned? For example, does He remake the old nature, eliminate forever the old nature, create an entirely new nature?
Purpose: It is the purpose of this study to acquaint the disciple with various aspects of sin that would help him with questions often posed by our society today.
1. The disciple will understand truths about the origin of sin.
2. The disciple will see more clearly the fact of sin in the human race.
3. The consequences of sin will be clearly understood.
4. The disciple will understand that sin has permeated the entire human race.
For the one who obeys the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it.
1. Mutual accountability and prayer.
2. Sharing of memory work.
3. Discuss the study materials.
4. Discuss review questions.
5. Discuss any new terms.
One of the chief questions posed by the human mind is, “where did sin come from?” That evil is in the world is not debatable. Every day there are threats and killings and sorrow that seem to fill our lives at every juncture.
This session is set apart for a discussion of sin and its impact upon the human race as we experience it.
We will discuss the beginnings of sin, its reality in the world, what happens because of sin, and its universality. We will also speak of its ultimate banishment from the earth and universe.
The origin of sin is not totally clear. There seems to have been a revolt against God before the world began. In Isaiah 14:12-17, there are words that are believed to relate to Satan sometime before the world was made. In reading this account, the statement _____ __________ occurs five times. That seems to be the essence of sin in its beginning. When we compare 2 Peter 2:4, we see that ___________ sinned having kept not their first estate. We don’t know for sure exactly what that was. There also seems to be a period of time between Genesis 1:1 and verse 2. Some have said that the translation should read, “the earth became void...” They suggest that the earth became void as a result of angelic rebellion, possibly because the angels aspired to a higher place than their creation allowed.
Having accepted the reality that sin is in the universe, how did the sinfulness of humanity come about? We find the account of this in Genesis 3. Read this account and see if you can answer the following questions.
1. Who was the primary person involved in the fall of Adam and Eve?
2. What was his appearance like?
3. Who did he approach?
Why do you think the approach to Eve was made rather than Adam?
4. What was the nature of the temptation?
5. How was Satan’s appeal to Eve similar to the account in Isaiah 14?
6. What was the result of the fall as indicated in Romans 5:12?
What was the result of the fall to Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:14-24?
So what is in the human race today that speaks of sin? See Psalm 51:5; 58:3; Genesis 8:21
There are several ways we know that sin is in the universe We will consider nature, law, the human heart, and divine revelation.
I. Look at the contrasts that exist in nature, such as every rose having thorns. There is an awesome howl in every storm, the shriek of a captured animal, the minor key in all of nature and the shifting of the earth that shakes and causes the death of many of us who inhabit the earth.
We know that sin has affected creation because of Romans 8:19-22. How does this passage speak of the effect of sin in creation?
From this passage, is anything tied to our ultimate redemption that involves creation? Discuss this subject briefly.
II. How does the law give the knowledge of sin, Romans 3:20?
“Law” refers to the commandments given by the Father in the Old Testament.
A. James 2:10
B. Romans 7:10
C. Romans 7:7
III. Man confesses that he is a sinner. What do the following verses say about man’s own confession?
A. The prodigal son, Luke 15:21
B. King David, 2 Samuel 19:20
C. Achan, Joshua 7:20
These are but a few men who confessed their sin. Surely you and I would acknowledge the same.
IV. The very presence of Christ and the knowledge of the Father speak eloquently of the reality of sin. When an awareness of the Father and the presence of Christ are experienced, this brings a new awareness of the sinfulness of man. How was this described in the following verses?
A. Luke 5:8
B. Job 42:4-6
C. 1 Timothy 1:15
There is no goodness we can claim before a righteous God.
Lest any misunderstand, it is important to state what sin truly is. There is no better Scriptural statement than that which we find in Romans 3:23. Most feel that sin is only capital crimes such as murder, adultery, kidnapping, etc. The above verse in Romans indicates that sin is to miss the mark. What does Scripture say in Galatians 3:10 about keeping the Law? “Cursed is__________________ who does not abide by _________ things written in the Book of the Law, to perform them.”
The Father requires absolute perfection. Who is able to meet that standard? “But,” one might say, “I have come fairly close.” Years ago I heard Donald Barnhouse give this illustration. In the state of California (before Alaska became a state) there is the lowest and highest elevations in the Untied States: Death Valley, and Mount Whitney. He compared lives of men to these. Some live lives of brokenness and debauchery which he compared to Death Valley. Most live in areas such as the San Joaquin Valley. They fudge on their income taxes, exceed the speed limit and occasionally shoplift. Yet they manage to stay out of jail. Then there are those with higher morals, who do their best to keep the law and have good family relationships. Perhaps they are even regular attendees at some church. Then there are those who are high moral people who become noticed by many: Billy Graham, Mother Teresa and a few others, who give their lives for the sake of mankind. These people seem apart from most and could be compared to Mount Whitney. But you could no more easily reach the moon from the top of Mount Whitney than you could from Death Valley.
In the same way, we have all fallen short of the glory of God — we have missed the mark of _______________. We miss it through negligence, unfaithfulness, crossing the boundaries set by God, and by ________________ _______________, James 4:17. Every thing we should do and don’t do is sin!
It is impossible to escape sin and its effects. I become a sinner through whose sin? Romans 5:12 _________________________________________ Because I sinned when Adam sinned in the garden of Eden, I cannot be anything but a sinner. I sinned in Adam. What is the result of Adam’s sin in my life?______________ What does death mean in this instance? ___________________________ We might well say that because of the actions of Adam, we are all condemned to sin and death. What has our “last Adam” done that provides a refuge from this? I Corinthians 15:45.
Perhaps it would be good at this point to review the meanings and types of death spoken of in Scripture, and in Session 2. It would also be helpful for you to review the truths taught in Romans 3:10-23.
1. How is the sin of angels and humans different?
2. What are some of the effects of sin in nature as we see them today?
3. How much sin must a person commit to be condemned?
4. Describe sin from the standpoint of neglect as compared to disobedience.
5. Discuss some of the general ways we see the consequences of sin in the world today.
Purpose: The purpose of this session is to introduce the disciple to the biblical doctrine of salvation.
1. The disciple will understand more clearly how Christ has made provision for all mankind to be saved.
2. The disciple will understand more clearly the nature of regeneration.
3. The disciple will understand more clearly the nature of adoption.
4. The place of repentance will be understood more clearly.
He saved us not by works of righteousness that we have done but on the basis of his mercy, through the washing of the new birth and the renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us in full measure through Jesus Christ our Savior.
1. Sharing and mutual prayer .
2. Share memory verses.
3. Discuss questions.
4. Review new terms.
This is a study of various aspects of the doctrine of salvation. It is not intended to be a complete study, but rather a general overview of the broader doctrines related to our salvation in Christ our Lord.
The study will be built around significant doctrines related to the overall subject of salvation. Salvation as spoken of here is salvation from the effects of sin. The basic meaning of the word salvation is deliverance. Please keep this in mind. There are many things we need to be __________________ from. In relation to sin, there is the penalty, the power and the presence of sin. In this sense, salvation can be conceived of as past, present and future if we see it in its total context. P____________ relates to the past, P_________ relates to the present, and P_____________ relates to the future. There are basic doctrines we have considered that have to do with each of these aspects of salvation. See if you can relate each of the basic doctrines already considered to these three aspects of salvation.
1. Justification relates to _________________________ of sin.
2. Sanctification relates to _________________________ of sin.
3. Glorification relates to _________________________ of sin.
In reality, salvation can only be understood clearly when it is understood in terms of its global aspects, including all that the Gospel and Calvary have provided for us.
The first aspect of salvation we will consider is basic to the entire doctrine. It is the doctrine of regeneration.
This doctrine has to do with the main aspect of our entry into the family of God. Without it, there is no admission into that favored place or position we have come to know in relation to God.
The basic meaning of regeneration is found in John 3:3. Jesus said that it is necessary for a man to be _________ __________ if he is to enter into the kingdom of God. This is spoken of as the ___________ birth. When regeneration takes place, one experiences new _____________. Regeneration is the door of entry into eternal life. One who does not experience regeneration does not experience life. Regeneration is new _________ , Ephesians 2:1.
I. The Nature of Regeneration
It is important to understand the nature of this birth or regeneration. Consider for a moment the following things which are not regeneration.
A. Baptism is not regeneration. Jesus did not baptize, yet He came to seek and to ___________, Luke 19:10. The references to water in various places in the Gospels often refers to the Word of God. In Ephesians 5:26 we see that the washing of water is through the ____________. James 1:18 tells us that He gave us birth through the ____________ of _____________.
B. Reformation is not regeneration. The new birth is not taking a new step forward or reforming one’s behavior. It is not a psychological experience. Such a position sees the death of Christ as having no value in helping man deal effectively with his problem of sin. Regeneration by reformation is nothing more than "salvation by works."
II. The Means of Regeneration
The following verses of Scripture carry aspects of truth related to the means of regeneration. See if you can identify these varied aspects from your understanding of the passages of Scripture.
A. In John 1:13 we are told that regeneration comes about in what way?
With whom did it begin?
See also Titus 3:5, 6 and John 3:5. Now see if you can think through the part each Person of the Godhead played in our salvation.
1. The Father
2. The Son
3. The Holy Spirit
B. What is man's part in the entire picture? John 1:12.
Where do good works fit into the picture? Ephesians 2:10
Repentance is a doctrine that relates to salvation. It is a doctrine that is often misunderstood and confused with sorrow and feeling contrite. It is good to look at the basic meaning of the word as far as its original meaning in the mother language is concerned. The word repentance (metanoia) has the meaning "change of mind". Simple sorrow or contrition does not constitute repentance.
I. The Emphasis on Repentance
Look up the following verses that concern the central message of repentance. What do they say?
2 Peter 3:9
Looking at these verses and realizing the basic meaning, what do these verses teach us about the desires of the Father for mankind?
II. How is Repentance Demonstrated?
We have seen that repentance begins with a change of ______________ about one's behavior. This is basic because how I think has a great deal to do with how I _____________ , and actions are usually the result of my thinking. Some of the behaviors that will follow true repentance are seen in the following verses: see if you can determine what they are.
Acts 26:18 and 1 Thessalonians 1:9 tell us that it is not enough to turn away from sin, but that repentance includes what?
And the results will include what? Luke 15:7,10 and Acts 3:19.
It is not easy to separate all of the aspects of salvation. Perhaps repentance and belief are so closely knit that they are inseparable for most of us. But if belief is true belief, it will include repentance.
We do not, as a rule, separate faith from everything else that is involved in salvation.. Yet it is good to look at the nature of this means of salvation and the method of living a life of rest once we have entered into eternal life.
Throughout these studies we have emphasized the necessity of faith in Christ and His work for us as the means of salvation. Let's look carefully at the meaning and usage of the word “faith.”
I. In Relation to Salvation
Ephesians 2:8,9 tell us that _________________ comes by faith. And where does faith come from______________________________________ The word faith and gift are tied together in the original language. Faith is a gift from__________. The great doctrine of _____________________________ is related to faith, Romans 5:1. Galatians 3:26 associates faith with__________________, and Acts 26:18 says that our ____________________ is through faith.
Finally, faith _______________ us by God's power until the full revelation of salvation is made known at His return, 1 Peter 1:5.
II. In Relation to His Promises
Our Father has given us promises to claim throughout His Word. The method of relating to them is through faith. Hebrews 11:1 has an interesting truth possibly related to this subject. It says, "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." The Greek word "hupostasis" occurs in this context and has been translated in various ways. A recent discovery in archeology found a box in an ancient tomb containing title deeds. Across the top of the box was written the word "hupostasis". Could it be that faith is the title deed to what we hope for? Now look at the following verses in relation to faith, promises, and prayer.
What does 1 John 5:14,15 teach us?
What will be the result of wavering in one's faith? See James 1:6.
Finally, we should note that it is not just faith that is significant. In fact faith by itself is useless. It is absurd! One can have great faith and be nowhere. The object of our faith must be considered absolutely paramount. One has said that faith may be weak and full of defects. But when the object is God, it has no defects. Let's remember, therefore, that it is not the quality of the faith, but the object of the faith that is most important.
The final aspect of salvation that we will consider is that pertaining to our adoption as sons. John 1:12 tells us that when we receive Jesus, we become _____________ of God. Through adoption, the believer who is already a child becomes a son with full standing. Galatians 4:1-7 tells us that while we were children, we were no different from____________. For this reason, God has brought about our adoption which makes us _________________with full standing. Certainly our sonship and all that it entails should elevate us above the standing of a slave. The term adoption is Pauline rather than from John. It is a Roman word that has the meaning of "the placing of a son". It is a legal term.
I. The Timing of Adoption
Ephesians 1:4,5 tells us that our adoption as sons actually took place at what distant point?
It was conceived in the mind of God as were all other aspects of our salvation.
What do John 1:12,13; 1 John 3:2 and Romans 8:15 tell us about our new relationship?
Romans 8:23 tells us that we are “waiting ______________________________ ______________________,” when the full benefits of adoption will take place.
II. Benefits of the Adoption of Sons
In the following verses, some of the benefits of adoption are given. See if you can find them and list them.
1 John 3:1
2 Corinthians 1:4
1 Peter 1:3-5
Justification and sanctification have been dealt with in previous sessions and will be omitted from the doctrine of salvation and its considerations.
1. A seminary professor shocks his Christian audience when he stands and prays, "Lord, help us all to be saved this coming week." What, if anything, is wrong with this statement included in this prayer?
Be sure you can justify your answer!
2. Which is correct and why? Which are incorrect, and why?
a. Regeneration is being "reborn". One experiences "rebirth".
b. Regeneration is "reformation". God helps a person rejuvenate his life and clean up the mess.
c. Regeneration is getting a new chance. The past is wiped out and God is willing to evaluate our behavior only from this point onward.
d. Regeneration is the "new birth", and being born again is an experience in which God puts within us a totally new creation.
e. "God helps those who help themselves."
3. What place does sorrow have in repentance?
There is a difference between sorrow and "godly" sorrow, as used in the Bible in relation to repentance. Sorrow may be for any number of reasons. Perhaps I am sorry because my sin was exposed...because of the things that have happened to me...because others have discovered my sin. Or because of natural reaping that has taken place in relation to the sowing. "Godly" sorrow, on the other hand, is sorrow that relates to disobedience to the Father and a breaking of my commitment as a servant of Him. It is "godly" sorrow that leads to repentance.
Suggested reading: Psalm 51
Write a short paper that illustrates each of the parts of God’s salvation as it relates to your experience. This should included things related to your standing as well as your continuing state.
Purpose: The grace of God is the central theme in Soteriology —the doctrine of salvation. Although it is fathomless in its scope, we need not apologize for our lack of understanding. None of us will ever fully understand the grace of God. Indeed, the New Testament pictures us moving through all eternity continually learning of His grace. This part of soteriology is given to looking at grace, that characteristic of God most evident in His relationship with us. It is our desire that we move toward an appreciation of this wonderful truth, although our movement is just a beginning.
1. The disciple will have a better understanding of grace.
2. The disciple will understand that in knowing God’s grace, he should exemplify it in his way of life.
3. The disciple will understand that grace is involved in all of God’s dealings with man.
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all people. 12 It trains us to reject godless ways and worldly desires and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age.
1. Mutual prayer and sharing.
2. Share memory work.
3. Discuss session and questions.
4. Discuss new terms.
This session involves the method of God’s work with men. Grace is a word that means a gift. A gift is something that becomes ours without doing anything for it. It is also a way of living and the under girding of all that we have in relation to our Father. We do not deserve what we have in grace. We are sinners who are totally displeasing to God, and we deserve God’s judgment. His love has made provision for us to enjoy eternal life (which deals with quality as well as quantity or length of time.) Free grace cannot be understood by us sinners. We can, however, experience it fully in relationship with the Father. The material that follows makes this somewhat more clear, although it merely brushes lightly this great truth from Scripture. It is the deepest and broadest consideration in all of theology. It is our hope you will understand it more fully.
As we read the Scriptures, we are brought to a place of utter inability to comprehend the greatness and wonder of God our Father. He is indeed the One who is terrible—awesome in His wondrous being, full and rich in love and from that love comes grace. His grace is evident throughout the Scriptures. Perhaps through this study of grace itself, you can be better acquainted with the fullness of Him Who is our Creator and Savior.
First we will try to define grace. It is a word in the New Testament that means “a gift.” A gift is something we receive with no payback. We give nothing for a gift, we need only to receive it. Therefore, it is totally free. I do not work for it, nor do I work to keep it. It is unmerited favor. It is everything for nothing to those who do not deserve anything. Another description is an acrostic — God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.
Look up the following passages from the Old Testament and see how His grace was demonstrated.
Genesis 6:5-8; 7:6, 7, 12
Genesis 15:1, 6
1 Samuel 9
Lamentations 3:22, 23
These passages and records of things that happened in the past surely pictures God as a God of love and grace.
There are many ways one can speak of “grace.” “Common grace...irresistible grace...saving grace...sovereign grace...” It is a common word in our vocabulary as Christians. We have experienced this grace though certainly not in its fullest. Most of us have only sipped a little, paid lip service to it, and in fact find the subject of “grace” somewhat basic.
In reality, we all are deficient in our understanding of grace. We must begin to grasp it, however, if we are to really know God as He is. Spurgeon has said that “Grace is a wondrous abyss, none can measure its breadth...or depth.” It is infinite as are all of His attributes. We only begin to understand it when we grasp the truths that grace presupposes.
1. Man is morally broken - Rom. 3:23 says that I have ________ and am continually ___________ ____________ of the _________ _____ _______. This means that I have nothing to offer Him, although He has made me in His __________, Genesis. 1:27. He made me for fellowship with Him, but I have spoken __________ from my birth, Psalms 58:3. We may compare ourselves with others, but with God I am morally corrupt and at the most, have only human goodnesses to present Him, Isaiah 64:6. These are like “plugs of dung!” They are of no value whatsoever. I can in no way please Him by my efforts.
2. The holiness of God demands _______________, Galatians. 3:10, James 2:10. This is beyond us, and as “good as we are” it is never enough. This is scarcely ever considered in our day of modern thinking. In society today, we tend to compare ourselves with others. This is spiritual suicide! God says, “all have _______ ________. Together ________ _________ ________ ________. There is _________ ________ _________ ________. There is __________ _________ _________, Romans 3: 12. We are spiritually impotent and cannot mend our relationship with Him.
3. God is totally free to do whatever He wishes. He does not tailor His actions to men and their whims. We may think God owes us something, but He owes us nothing. Rom. 9:18 teaches us what?_______________________ _____________________________________________________________We would all deserve to be in hell if God gave us what we deserved. No one has ever deserved anything but this. So we come to the next aspect of God’s grace: election.
Grace is the source of all that salvation brings. It is the fountainhead of salvation and therefore is not dependent on anything. Grace is involved in the foreknowledge of God and His movement in awakening us. The following poem expresses this so wonderfully.
The Lord Our Righteousness
I was once a stranger to grace and to God,
I knew not my danger, and felt not my load;
Though friends spoke with rapture of Christ on the tree,
Jehovah-Tsidkenu was nothing to me.
I oft read with pleasure, to soothe or engage,
Isaiah’s wild measure and John’s simple page;
But e’en when they pictured the blood-sprinkled tree
Jehovah-Tsidkenu seemed nothing to me.
Like tears from the daughters of Zion that roll,
I wept when the waters went over His soul;
Yet thought not that my sins had nailed to the tree
Jehovah-Tsidkenu — ‘Twas nothing to me.
When free grace awoke me, by light from on high,
Then legal fears shook me, I trembled to die;
No refuge, no safety in self could I see —
Jehovah - Tsidkenu my Saviour must be.
My terrors all vanished, before that sweet name;
My guilty fears banished, with boldness I came
To drink at the fountain, life-giving and free -
Jehovah - Tsidkenu is all things to me.
Jehovah-Tsidkenu! My treasure and boast,
Jehovah - Tsidkenu! I ne’er can be lost;
In this I shall conquer by flood and by field-
My cable, my anchor, my breastplate and shield!
Even treading the valley, the shadow of death,
This “watchword” shall rally my faltering breath;
For while from life’s fever, my God sets me free,
Jehovah-Tsidkenu my death-song shall be..
Robert Murray M’Cheyne 1834
And so it was with us all. God knew what He was doing and He elected us to His salvation by His grace, not because of anything He knew we would do, but because of what He would do to, in, and through us!
Grace is involved in the pursuit of God. He is the shepherd seeking lost sheep. He prepared my heart after dealing with me for many years. He pursued me through many long corridors of time and circumstances. He manipulated my days and arranged things so I would be convicted and turn. All of this was from His grace.
Grace is also pardoning grace. We are moved from the status of one on death row to that of an heir and joint-heir of a fabulous inheritance. Samuel Davies wrote, “Who is a pardoning God like thee? Or who has grace so rich and free?” Because of grace, I am forgiven!
Grace will bring me safely home. It is persevering grace. Grace that causes me to want to walk with Him. When He calls, we come running. And we continue to run. That old hymn, “Amazing Grace,” says, “Through many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come, ‘Tis grace has brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.” Because of grace, I will persevere to the end.
Finally, grace is always saving grace which has to do with how I live. We are saved from the penalty of sin, from the power of sin, and ultimately from the presence of sin. We need to live lives characterized by grace which has saved us and made us whole. Can we receive the unlovely and have “graceful” lives? Acts 11:23 says the grace of God can be ________________. How could this be? What is there to see?
Find what is said about grace in the following passages?
1. John. 1:14
2. Acts 4:33
3. Romans 3:24
4. Romans 5:20
5. 2 Corinthians 8:9
6. 2 Corinthians 12:9
7. Ephesians 2:8,9
8. Colossians 4:6
9. Titus 2:11-13
10. Titus 3:7
11. James 4:6
1. If you were God, what would you do differently with respect to the salvation of humanity?
2. In your own words, summarize what grace has done for you.
3. In what ways can we do what God has asked us to do and live lives of grace in this world?
4. How would the “grace of God” truly make our lives different in this world?
This has been a beginning study of the grace of God. Grace is contrary to the thinking of humans. If salvation were left to our genius, we would work out a system of works which would always be inadequate. This is because we would be unable to make any system satisfactory to God. We are utterly unholy in God’s sight.
God’s grace is demonstrated in His electing me, pursuing me, pardoning me, and saving me on a daily basis. Grace can only be experienced when I am helpless and entangled in the vice-like grip of sin’s power. Where sin abounds, however, grace does much more abound. I am today a joint-heir of all that the Father has because His grace has brought me to Himself and made me His child. This grace teaches me to deny self and with God’s (the Holy Spirit’s) help, live life that is characterized by grace.
Purpose: It is the purpose of this session to bring clarity to the mind of a disciple regarding the existence and work of spirit beings in the world.
1. The disciple will understand that there are myriads of angel spirit beings in existence today.
2. The disciple will understand what these beings do and where they come from.
3. The disciple will understand the origin and work of Satan as he mobilized evil forces against the plan of God and Christians in the world.
4. The disciple will understand the very special work angels to for us today.
But to which of the angels has he ever said, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet“? Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to serve those who will inherit salvation?
1. Mutual prayer and sharing.
2. Share Scripture memory.
3. Discuss worksheet and questions.
4. Go over new terms.
This is a difficult study for most people to consider. Because so much superstition surrounds ideas concerning angels and Satan, many simply avoid the subject altogether. We do not feel this is correct.
Angels are “_________________ __________________”, Hebrews 1:14. They have a ministry in the world and elsewhere today. Satan is our “__________________”, 1 Peter 5:8. It is good to know our enemies if we are to effectively resist them and overcome.
The purpose of this session is to help the participant come to a better understanding of a world that we do not see...a world that nonetheless exists. We will become aware of the reality that man is not the highest form of God's created creatures.
We also note that simply because men scoff at the existence of spirit-beings does not mean that they do not exist. Since we believe in the deity of Jesus and the authenticity of Scripture, we also accept the reality of the existence of these beings.
That angels exist is surely taught in the Word of God. Look up the following verses and see how they teach this doctrine.
In Matthew 18:10, Jesus was speaking of little children. In the course of what He said, He referred to angels that seem to minister especially to little children and that they ___________________________________________________________. These we often refer to as “_________________” angels. In reference to His coming, He stated that the angels’ wisdom concerning that event was similar to man's wisdom in that they __________________________________________ _______________________, Mark 13:32. See also Matthew 26:53 and Matthew 13:41. These verses seem to imply what?
Other verses that attest to the reality of angels include the following verses. See if you can tell how they testify to this reality.
2 Peter 2:11
The preceding verses are given to demonstrate that the Scripture teaches the existence of angels. Next it is important to determine some things about their nature. Some of these characteristics are included below.
Colossians 1:16 tells us that angels are _____________ beings. They were created as _____________, are angels today, and will forever be _____________ . They cannot be the spirits of departed humans, nor are they glorified human beings.
Another truth regarding angels is that which pertains to their essence or being. Hebrews 1:14 tells us that angels are sent to serve or sent to those who are heirs of salvation. What ways do you believe angels have served or ministered to you?
Angels seem to have great _______________ , 2 Peter 2:11, and are apparently more powerful than _____________. See some of the powerful things angels have done in the past.
In the future, an angel will do what mighty deed? Revelation 20:1-3. Their power is delegated. They are mighty, but not almighty. There also seems to be an order of angels, with _____________ the _____________ at least one of the highest, Jude 9.
That there was a fall that angels experienced, even as man fell, seems to be taught in the Scripture. What do the following verses state about such an event? Describe what seems to have happened from your understanding of these verses.
2 Peter 2:4
The time of this fall, or when it took place, is uncertain. Certainly it was before the fall of man in Genesis. Some feel that it happened between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. The earth became _________________ and empty! What could have caused this to happen? There was certainly a great catastrophe of some kind that took place at this point. Other Scriptures speak of the fall specifically and give us some understanding concerning how sin entered the creation of God. Read carefully Isaiah 14:12-20. What is Satan called in vs. 12?
How would you describe his sin? vs. 13,14.
Some angels seem to be bound and in prison for their sin. Others seem to be free and are commonly associated with the term “demons or familiar spirits.” Their works are seen in the following verses:
These are certainly not exhaustive. Satan and his hosts are cunning and are bent on deceiving the world and thwarting the plan of God and the works of His children.
I. They have a heavenly ministry, Revelation 5:11,12
II. Their earthly ministry:
a. Acts 8:26
b. Acts 12:5-11
c. Acts 27:21-26
d. Luke 15:10
e. Matthew 4:11
f. Acts 5:19
g. Luke 16:22
Angels are servants of believers today!
The existence of Satan is clearly taught in the Scripture. In Matthew 13: 19, 39, He is called _______ __________ _______, and the ___________. In John 13:2, he is called the_____________. We have already seen that Satan probably was an angel of high and great power who fell because of pride. In 2 Corinthians 11:14, he is called an ________ __________ ____________. It is important to know that he is not a creature with forked tail and smoke coming out of his nose. He probably was originally the most beautiful of all creatures made by God.
The fact that Jesus spoke about Satan can only be explained in one of three ways.
A. Jesus accommodated His language to fit the superstition of His day. But if this is true, then what of His own reliability and sincerity?
B. Jesus believed as people believed in His day, and supported the superstitions with his own belief. But then what of His omniscience?
C. The doctrine is true. Satan is a spirit person and he exists.
I. The Personality of Satan
In the following verses, how is the personality of Satan taught?
A. Matthew 4:1-11
B. 1 John 3:8
C. John 14:30
He is one of the sources of temptation today.
II. The Place of Satan in the World
A. Ephesians 2:2
B. 2 Corinthians 4:4
C. Hebrews 2:14
III. His Names
A. 1 Peter 5:8
B. John 8:44 . The word "devil" is the word "diabolos" which is a term of slander from two words: "dia" which means into, and "ballo" which means to throw.
C. Matthew 13:19 . This title suggests that Satan is not only wicked, but he is the source of much wickedness in the world.
D. Matthew 4:3. What does Genesis 3:1 teach us about his strategy as tempter?
Some of his strategies can be seen when he tempts, Matthew 4:1-11; by the use of right things in the wrong way; and through impressing his followers by signs and wonders, 2 Thessalonians 2:9,10.
What does 1 Peter 5:8, 9 tell us to do?
What is the end of Satan? Revelation 20:10
1. Write briefly about Satan and compare his characteristics with divine attributes.
How does this effect his ability to tempt man?
2. Over what, in particular, does Satan rule today?
3. What effect does your study of the doctrine of angels have upon you?
4. What is a "familiar spirit"? (you may have to research this KJV term)
( see Merrill Unger’s book on demonology)
5. How do you feel about the idea that there is a demon behind every problem man has today (demon of depression, demon of lust, etc.)?
Purpose: The purpose of this session is to acquaint the disciple with the major teachings related to things that are yet to come.
1. The disciple will understand the meaning of the term, “The day of the Lord.”
2. The disciple will grasp truths concerning the resurrection of the dead.
3. The disciple will have an understanding of truths related to the millennial reign of Christ.
4. The disciple will have a cursory understanding of the judgments.
Then the angel said to me, “These words are reliable and true. The Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must happen soon.” (Look! I am coming soon! Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy expressed in this book.)
1. Sharing and prayer.
2. Discuss the material.
3. Develop a prophetic map.
4. Discuss new terms.
5. Questions for review and discussion.
This is a study of systematic theology as it pertains to the doctrines relating to the end of the age. It is important to note that this is a rather controversial area among evangelicals. The following ideas pertain to the author's particular bias. You need not feel that you must accept these concepts in their entirety if you can Scripturally justify your own point of view. But you must develop some framework for approaching Scripture and the issues involving the Second Coming of Christ. The following is a suggested framework to help you begin to think through issues surrounding this event that is so often spoken of in the Old and New Testament.
It is also important to know that theology or doctrine becomes a topical approach to great themes taught in the Scripture, so we will intentionally not go verse by verse, but rather theme by theme.
I. The Second Coming of Jesus Christ (to earth).
All eschatology centers around this theme, that Christ is going to return to earth in the same way He left it.
A. This was promised at His Ascension, Acts 1:8-12.
How did He return to heaven?
2. From the Mount of Olives.
3. In human form.
4. In a cloud that received Him.
It is important to understand that His return is to be visible and in a body such as we have that can be touched, seen, and recognized. It will not be in spirit form.
B. Promised by Jesus Himself, John 14:1-3.
Jesus promised that if He went away, He would surely come again and receive us. This certainly cannot be fulfilled through the coming of the Holy Spirit, as some would tell us.
C. The epistles speak of it, 1 Thessalonians 4:16,17; 2 Peter 3:10; Jude 14,15; and 1 John 2:28.
D. Revelation gives a grand picture of the event, 19:11-15.
II. What is Associated with the Second Coming of Christ?
A. The resurrection of the dead in Christ—the FIRST resurrection. 1 Thessalonians 4:16,17; 1 Corinthians 15:51-58. Revelation 20:6.
The nature of the resurrection of the body is such that bodies will bear resemblances to earthly bodies, except for their perfection. They will be glorified bodies, never able to die again, bodies free from the infirmities brought about in our earthly bodies because of sin.
Mortal bodies will give way to immortal, corruptible bodies will give way to incorruptible. And at this point, our sanctification will be complete, and we will be glorified. For those who are alive at His coming, there will be instantaneous change that will take place the moment we see Him, 1 John 3:2.
How is His Second Coming referred to in practical ways, or how can I view His return? 1 John 2:29, (a purifying hope) and Titus 2:13, 1 John 3:3 (a blessed hope).
B. The Judgments
It is important to differentiate judgments in Scripture. Romans 8:1 tells us that there is no condemnation (judgment) for those in Christ Jesus. What does this mean? Simply that Christ has paid the penalty for my sin, and that is a question that is settled forever as far as the sin question is concerned. I need NEVER fear the penalty for sin in my life. Christ has paid that once for all!
"Payment God does not twice demand,
First at my bleeding surety’s hand
And then again at mine,"
But there are judgments that will take place at the coming of the Lord. This brief section seeks to delineate these judgments and help you understand them.
1. The Bema, 2 Corinthians 5:10
The Bema or judgment seat of Christ is a believer’s award seat. Only those who have positional relationship with Christ will be there. The word Bema is used because of the nature of this time of evaluation. The Bema was the award seat at the Corinthian games. No one was ever punished at the Bema for failure to achieve. However, those who did achieve would come to the Bema and receive their ivy wreaths for a job well done, a race well run. In the same manner, every believer will appear before the Bema in order to sift and separate from his life that which was worthwhile and that which was worthless. 1 Corinthians 3-4 deals in more detail with the Bema.
a. Results of the Bema:
We will receive distinction which we will carry with us for all eternity. These are called crowns elsewhere.
b. The Time of the Bema:
The Bema will take place immediately upon the return of Christ when we are caught up in the air to meet the Lord.
2. The Judgment of Living Nations, Matthew 25:31-4
This is a judgment that will determine which nations and people living on earth will go into the millennium when Christ sets up His kingdom to reign over the earth. The criteria for this judgment seems to be the treatment of the Jews (His brethren) in various ways during the tribulation. The time of the Judgment of Living Nations will be when the Lord Jesus returns with His Church to set up His kingdom over the earth at the end of the great tribulation.
3. The Judgment of Israel and the unbelieving world at the end of the Church Age. The Great Tribulation —the time of Jacob's Trouble
4. The Judgment of the Great White Throne, Revelation 20:11-15. This is the final judgment of humans who have lived on the earth.
It is a judgment of "the dead". It is not a general judgment of believers and unbelievers. Resurrected saints will have reigned with Christ for 1,000 years and are in their glorified bodies. Why a judgment for the lost? It is a judgment of all who have desired to stand in their own righteousness in refusing the righteousness of Christ. Their bodies are possibly "the books" and are raised because the record of their deeds are in their bodies. This judgment takes place at the end of the millennium and at the end of all time. Eternity follows.
5. The Judgment of Fallen Angels, Jude 6; 2 Peter 2:4
There is no indication of the time of this judgment, although one might expect that it takes place at the end of all things, and some- where around the time of the Great White Throne.
The foregoing are judgments that relate to things in the future. It is important to "rightly divide the Word of Truth" with respect to these. All judgments are not the same. It is also important to fix forever in our minds that believers are exempt from any future judgment!
III. When is Christ Coming?
This is an important question. The return of Christ has seemed to be considered imminent throughout all of the Church Age. That is, there has never been a group of people in time that couldn't feel that the Lord could come at any time. That is as true today as it has ever been. But Scripture has some specific things to say about the time of His return and we will try to summarize these things for you.
A. No one knows the day nor the hour, Matthew 24:36-42. From time to time there are those who predict the coming of the Lord and ultimately are embarrassed. One of the greatest efforts to decide on the date was involved in the origin of the Seventh Day Adventist Church in the 1800's.
B. The Second Coming of Christ seems to be associated with the completion of the "Mystery of Iniquity," 2 Thessalonians 2:1-8.
C. The full working of the "Mystery of Iniquity" is held back by ONE Who hinders. This One may very well be the Holy Spirit Who is in the Church. Since He is promised to the Church until the very end, He cannot be taken out of the way without the Church also being taken out of the way. This will signal the first phase of the return of the Lord.
This is the last of several studies in Bible doctrine. We are providing these as part of the materials for our discipleship ministry because we want to be sure you are well-grounded with ability to handle the Scriptures with increasing effectiveness. Let's first clarify terms. The word "theology" means "the study of God". The word in the original Greek for God is the word "theos". Therefore, the study of God is called ________________ . There are many areas in theology. One of these, is called "eschatology". This is the study of "last things," or things that relate to the end time. It is called eschatology because the word in Greek for last is "eschatos". Therefore, eschatology is the study of __________ things. Perhaps this is a new word for you. _________________ is the study of last things.
It is important to understand that theology is a study of great topics of major Bible themes. Because of this, we will not be studying verse by verse necessarily. Rather, we will consider the themes taught in the Scripture and attempt to gather together Biblical data that relate to these.
Most teaching concerning eschatology, or _________ things, centers around aspects of the Second Coming of Christ. That Christ will return to earth and rule on the earth is a stated fact of Scripture. Look up the following verses and complete the statements about the teaching concerning the Second Coming of Christ.
1. Acts 1:8-12. Read this passage carefully and answer the following questions.
a. How do we know that Jesus ascended visibly from the earth and what cues in this passage speak of his visible return?
b. What form did Jesus have as He ascended into heaven?
c. Who do the men in white apparel seem to be?
d. What did these two men say about the return of Christ?
This is crucial inasmuch as Jehovah’s Witnesses and others say that the Lord Jesus has already returned to earth in secret.
2. John 14:1-3. Read this passage carefully and notice that Jesus Himself promised to return. What did He say He would go away and do?
a. Where are these places?
b. What does He say He will do upon returning?
c. Why is this important to you?
d. Some say this was fulfilled when the Holy Spirit came on the day of Pentecost. Why could this not be true? Look at the verse carefully and answer.
3. 1 Thessalonians 4:16,17. Again, read the verse carefully before you answer the questions. What about this verse indicates that it is a very personal return of Christ to earth?
a. What is to accompany the return of Christ?
b. What is going to happen when Christ returns?
c. Who are the "dead" in Christ? cf. Rev. 20:4, 5.
d. Who are those who are "alive and remain"?
e. What will happen to us at that very moment? 1 Corinthians 15:51-54
f. This is the first phase of the Second Coming of Christ and the "first" resurrection. What is involved at the second resurrection? Revelation 20:12
An event included in the "first resurrection" —the translation of the Church —is often called “the rapture.” The "Day of the Lord" is another term that you might become familiar with. This term does not refer to an actual day, but rather to a period of time that begins with the "rapture" of the Church and ends with the judgment of the "Great White Throne."
4. Jude 14,15. Jude speaks of the coming of Christ with "ten thousands of His saints." To whom does this statement regarding His saints refer? cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:14.
According to the statement in Jude, what will happen when the Lord returns?
5. 1 John 2:28. What should be the result of the anticipation of the coming of the Lord?
How does this come about?
6. Revelation 19:11-16. This is something of an elaborated description of what the return of the Lord will be like as seen by dwellers on earth. How do we know that this describes the Savior?
7. What kinds of things will happen at the coming of the Lord?
a. 1 John 3:2
b. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
c. 1 Corinthians 15:51-57
8. What should be our response to the truths set forth in these verses?
1 Corinthians 15:58
9. It is at this point in time that "glorification" becomes a reality. What do you remember from previous studies about the meaning of this term?
(See "positional truth"- session 6).
10. In 1 Corinthians 15: 51-57 who are the mortal? What is immortality? (or imperishable) What is meant by the term "corruptible"? (or perishable)
11. In relation to our early studies in basic theology, to what basic major doc trine is "glorification" linked strongly?
Associated with the coming or return of Christ are several specific judgments. Basically, the important consideration is that for us who are in Christ Jesus, there is no more Romans 8:1. What does this mean to you?
The simple reality is that Jesus paid the full penalty for our sins. As a result of this, we need never again fear judgment for sin. But there are judgments that take place at the coming of the Lord and we will attempt in this section of the study to look at some of these. We as Christians will have involvement in some of them, but not in others.
The word "Bema" refers to the award seat at the Olympic-like games at Corinth. No one was ever punished at the Bema for not achieving. Those who run in the Olympics who do not finish with at least a bronze metal are not punished because of their failure to place with the winners. In the same sense, to not run well in this race in the Christian life is to suffer loss, but it is not to be punished. All punishment for sin is gone with Calvary covering it all with total sufficiency.
1. First let's understand that this judgment seat is a place for the sorting out of works that are of value as opposed to those that have no value. Criteria involved seem to be twofold. But first, look again at 2 Corinthians 5:10. What is the purpose for the Bema?
Please note that the word translated "bad" is not the word that would relate to evil, but conveys the idea of "worthless", (kakos).
1 Corinthians 3:10 says what will be involved? _______________________ And vs. 13 of the same chapter tells us quality is one of the important measures of our work. Because of this, Paul tells us to not _____________ _______________, 1 Corinthians 4:5, because _____________________________________, and he is speaking of the Judgment Seat of Christ, or the B________.
3. What can be inferred by the pronoun "we" in 2 Corinthians 5:10?
4. The result of this discrimination of our works is far-reaching. From the following verses, see if you can determine how far-reaching this will really be.
1 Corinthians 15:40-42b
1 Corinthians 3:12-15
5. Look at the two passages below and try to see what two classes of works could possibly be referred to in the Corinthian passage.
a. Galatians 5:22-23
b. Isaiah 64:6
These look just alike, and it is only possible for deity to sort them out. Therefore, there is a need for a judgment. Why is there a "fear" related to these? 2 Corinthians 5:10-11
1. What event will take place before this judgment? vs. 31
2. Who will be judged at this judgment?
3. Who are the sheep and the goats?
4. What seems to be the chief issue involved in this judgment? i.e., what constitutes the behavior that categorizes one as a sheep and the other as a goat? vs. 37-45
5. Who are "His brethren"?
6. The time that has just preceded this great event is the tribulation period when great trouble will overtake the entire earth. The passage states that the criteria for entry into the Kingdom reign with Christ is "how the brethren were treated" by the Gentile nations on earth. It is obvious that no one is truly saved by any other means than faith in Jesus, Ephesians 2:8, 9.
Apparently trouble will be so great and issues so clear during the Great Tribulation, that those who truly know the Lord will also treat the Jews, God's chosen people, with respect, and they will also care for them. What will be the results of this judgment? vs. 46
cf. John 5:24.
1. At what point in time does this judgment seem to take place? vs. 5, 11-13
2. Where have the resurrected saints of the first resurrection been before this judgment?
3. What are some of the results of this judgment? vs. 12
4. Out of what were those raised judged? vs. 12
5. What are the books mentioned? vs. 12, 15
6. What suggests the finality of this judgment? vs. 14, 15
Who are the participants of this judgment?
Why do they need to be judged?
See Matthew 24:36-42, and 2 Thessalonians 2:1-8. Then answer this question in your own words. When will Christ return?
1. What is missing in the life of a Christian who does not hold to the imminent return of Christ to earth?
2. Elaborate on the unique meanings that are found in the phrase: "The Day of the Lord."
3. List several things that will take place when the Lord returns to earth.
4. During the earthly reign of Christ, what will be the situation with Satan in the world, and how will this affect the problem of sin in the human race?
5. What problems are confronted when Scripture is interpreted as teaching only one general judgment at the end of time?
6. What aspect of eschatology gives you the most hope and comfort?
7. What aspect brings you the most difficulty or unrest?
Purpose: There is no better way to discover what God is like than to look at His names. In the names considered in this material, we seek to understand how He cares for us.
1. You will understand how God provides for our needs.
2. You will understand and learn to trust Him to make bitter things sweet.
3. You will learn to lean on Him and trust Him when the battle seems more than you can handle.
The Lord is good - indeed, he is a fortress in time of distress, and he protects those who seek refuge in him.
1. Mutual prayer and accountability.
2. Share Scripture memory.
3. Discuss questions.
4. Discuss any new terms.
1. Read the text carefully and answer the following questions.
a. What was the setting for the revelation of this name of God?
b. What made this especially difficult for Abraham? See Genesis 15:1-6; Genesis 21:1-6; Romans 4:18-22.
c. Did Abraham really think he was going to have to take the life of his son Isaac? Genesis 22:5; Hebrews 11:17-19
d. How was this story something like the story of Jesus and the offering of Calvary? See Genesis 22:2, 5, 6-9.
The Revelation of the Name Jehovah-Jireh, Genesis 22:12-14. The meaning of this name is The Lord Who Provides. The name is literally, The Lord Who Sees, or The Lord Who Will See To It. This is what we long for when we have a need that is personal and special; One who will see to our needs and provide for us. This is what Jehovah-Jireh means; the Lord Who will see to it that my every need is met. One Who knows my need because He sees. One Who is able to meet my need in just the right time as He did for Abraham, and One Who can meet it fully. For Abraham, it was the ram caught in the thicket that was offered in Isaac's place. For us it is whatever we need.
2. Look up the sample verses and see the bountiful provision the Father has made for you and me. Write the meaning of each verse.
a. Matthew 6:25-34
b. Philippians 4:19
c. Psalm 37:4
d. Psalm 37:25
e. Romans 8:37
f. Ephesians 1:3
The name Jehovah-Jireh is a name that is crucial for us today as we seek to know the Father. It is a name that assures us that our Heavenly Father is able to provide any need we have. Trust Him for that!
1. Read the text carefully and answer the following questions.
a. What was the occasion for the revelation of this name of God?
b. What exhilarating experience did Israel just have? Exodus 14:21-31
c. What in our lives today can be likened to the bitter waters of Marah?
List two or three "bitter" experiences you have endured recently.
d. The common way to approach a difficulty or stress in our life is the same way that the Isrealites approached their stress, Exodus 15:24. Also see Job 2: 9. How do you usually approach difficulty that seems cruel to you?
2. The Revelation of the Name, Jehovah-Rapha, Exodus 15:25.
Please note that the solution to this problem of bitter water was not one from the mind of Moses. It was rather from the Lord Himself.
The Lord showed Moses a _________________.
The tree made the difference in the taste of the water. When we think of the many bitter experiences of life, what tree has made a difference? __________________________________ Surely in the light of Calvary, the "tree makes a difference," the bitter problems of life can become sweet. Exodus 15:26 gives us the revelation of the name. God says in the last part of the verse, "...I the Lord Am Your Healer." Literally, I am Jehovah-Rapha, the Lord Who makes bitter things sweet.
3. The name Jehovah-Rapha is a name that speaks to us and our need today. We live in a stressful world and society. Every day new problems confront us and we bend under the load of seemingly unsolvable problems. How can Jehovah-Rapha bring healing to a sick world. List some of the ways you already know that make this a reality for you.
4. Now look up the following verses and see if you can add anything to your list of practical ways to handle bitterness.
a. Romans 8:28-29
When will ultimate healing take place?
Remember that God lives in eternity, and we in time. We are often in a hurry. God is never in a hurry. But the bitterness in our life will someday be made sweet. We have that promise.
b. Hebrews 12:10-11
How does "bitter chastisement" become sweet?
This suggests that I need to view ___________________ in a positive way. It produces a ________________ of _________________ and _____________.
c. And what is the factor that makes a difference in the life of a child of God as compared with one who has not chosen the Savior? See John 1:12
A tree provided by God made the difference. Christ on Calvary!
Jehovah-Rapha means, "I am the Lord _______ ___________ ."
4. What difference is this going to make in your life?
1. Read the text carefully and answer the following questions.
a. What were the circumstances involved in the revealing of this name to Israel?
b. The Amalekites were a perpetual sore in the side of Israel. In this story, what parallel can you draw to contemporary Christian life concerning these people? To what in the Christian life can they be compared?
c. To consider this question further, see Galatians 5:17. What do we war against continually according to this passage?
See also Romans 7:21-24. What warfare is described in this passage
2. What led to victory for Israel over the Amalekites? Exodus 17:11-13
See also Ephesians 6:18 and 1 Thessalonians 5:17. What do these verses add to your thinking?
The victory of Israel obviously depended upon Moses continually standing before God and not being weary in his praying. What in the story suggested that prayer was involved? vs. 11-12
What other strategies do you have in not giving way to the carnal nature in your life?
3. The Revelation of the Name Jehovah-Nissi; The Lord Our Banner, Exodus 17:15-16. This name has to do with warfare. In this instance, the warfare involved God's very own. Our Father is willing to wage warfare on our behalf. One area of great battle has to do with our carnal nature. List areas involving your carnal nature that are the most difficult for you to deal with.
The Lord Our Banner desires to give us victory. Read Romans 8 and learn of the victory that is ours over our carnal nature.
Read through your journal and review your experiences. See how Jehovah has met your needs and how He lives up to all of your expectations.
Purpose: It is the purpose of this session to help the disciple understand the many aspects of God’s nature and characteristics that are revealed in His names. It is important to remember that no one name could convey adequately all the fullness of what or whom God is.
1. The disciple will understand more fully the righteousness of God with respect to His dealings with men.
2. The disciple will understand and be able to see how all things are under Jehovah’s suzerainty.
3. The disciple will experience greater peace and assurance because of the Father’s nature.
4. The disciple will develop a greater understanding of the wonder and might of the Sovereign of the universe.
To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write the following: “This is the solemn pronouncement of the Holy One, the True One, who holds the key of David, who opens doors no one can shut, and shuts doors no one can open: ‘I know your deeds.’
1. Mutual prayer and accountability
2. Discuss the worksheet.
3. Discuss the questions
4. Discuss new terms.
5. Share Scripture memory.
This is perhaps the most familiar chapter in the Old Testament. The Psalm is a short Psalm...only six verses. But it is filled with words that elaborate on the central statement in which this compound name is included: vs. 1, "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want." Perhaps it is as the little boy said when he misread it, "The Lord is my shepherd, I don't want anything else."
This is only one of the three Psalms that are the Shepherd Psalms. Psalm 22 is the Psalm of the Good Shepherd, laying down His life for His sheep. Psalm 24 is the Psalm of the Chief Shepherd, Who is coming again. And this Psalm is the Psalm of the Great Shepherd Who cares so intensely for His sheep.
Read Psalm 23 several times and write down all of the ways He promises to care for you.
What are some ways people can be likened to sheep?
Isaiah 53:6; 1 Peter 2:25.
Numbers 27:17. What does the previous verse imply about sheep?
Now read John 10 and see how the Lord Jesus—Jehovah-Rohi—becomes the perfect Shepherd of the sheep. Fill in the blanks that speak of His ministry.
He speaks, and the sheep __________________ his voice, vs. 3. When they hear his voice, they _____________ Him, vs. 27. This speaks of an intimate relationship with Him. They know the shepherd so well, they will _______ ________ a stranger whose voice they do not know, vs. 4,5. In the sheepfold, there is but one gate. _________________is the gate by which the sheep enter. The Good Shepherd is willing to _____ ______ _____ ______ for His sheep, vs. 11. He is able through this to provide life so that they might_______ _____ ________ _____________, vs. 10. This life can also be called ____________ _________ , vs. 28. They will never _______________. How is His ultimate protection of the sheep shown? vs. 28-30.
Compare this with Romans 8:38-39. What great biblical truth do these verses (John 10:27-29 and Romans 8:38-39) teach?
What does John 10:16 teach about His shepherding work and the unity of His flock?
What evidences of the shepherding work of Christ are in your life today?
"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for you are with me." Psalm 23:4
"Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me
all the days of my life."
There are several other compound names of Jehovah. These are exemplary of additional ways the Lord Jehovah relates to us as His children. We would encourage you to study these on your own. The more fully we know Him, the more fully we can love and serve Him.
"God is our Refuge and Strength,
A very present help in trouble."
Read the entire text of Judges 6, and describe in your own words the setting in which this revelation of the name of Jehovah became known to man.
1. What kind of person was Gideon? vs. 12
Something God says always makes the difference. What was this in vs. 16?
What does this say to us today—to you and me as we think of being used by God to serve Him?
See 1 Corinthians 1:27. How did God further demonstrate His ability to do great and mighty things through that which was weak? See Judges 7:2-8.
2. What was Gideon's response to this revelation of God's presence and His desire to deliver Israel? Judges 7:16-22.
How did the Midianites respond to all of this? Judges 7:22.
3. The revelation of the Name of the Lord, Judges 6:24. What is the name of the Lord as revealed in this story? ______ ________ ____ _________. Shalom is introduced as a name given in relation to Jehovah. Jehovah-Shalom is the name; literally the "Lord is Peace." This is a name that speaks in practical ways of the effect of knowing Jehovah God in our lives in very personal ways.
One of the many problems encountered in living in our world today is the problem of anxiety. Most major disorders of our minds are those related in some way to anxiety. Let's look at some of the promises given to us today by Jehovah-Shalom.
Isaiah 32:17 tells us that the work of righteousness will be ______________ and the service of righteousness, ______________ and ________________ forever. We are encouraged to___________________________________, Philippians 4:6. When we seem to be confronted with anxiety-producing things, we are to ____ ____ _______ ____ ______ ________ to God. What promise is ours when we do this? vs. 7.
This seems to imply that I should never be anxious. In reality, it is saying that I need never let anxiety control me. Anxiety is a God-given human emotion. We had better be anxious about some things!
1 Peter 5:7 tells me I am to_______________________________________ because He cares. How do we do this? Psalm 55:22.
Look up these additional verses and see how they contribute to our sense of peace in this world.
Isaiah 41:10 tells us not to fear for what reason?
4. What practical steps can you take to make Jehovah-Shalom a reality in your life today?
We now come to the name Jehovah-Tsidkenu — a name that is more obscure to the average Bible student, but nevertheless so very crucial in our understanding of all that God has done for us. The name is found in Jeremiah 23:5-6. A “righteous branch” is promised to Israel; One who someday will be king over Israel. His name is to be Jehovah-Tsidkenu or Jehovah our Righteousness.
Israel had been carried into captivity, and now the same was to happen to Judah. It would seem that the promises of God would never be fulfilled. Such was not to be the case, however, and Jeremiah speaks of the day when a righteous king would return and set up His righteous kingdom and reign and do judgment on the earth.
Consider the meaning of the word “tsedek.” The name Jehovah-Tsidkenu draws its meaning from this word. Some say the word has within it the meaning of “stiff” or “straight.” It is a word that is used in relation to God’s dealing with men. Though difficult to translate, it has to do with such things as justification, righteousness, and acquittal. When coupled with the name “Jehovah,” it means that all He does is ever and only righteous. He is the sole source of all that is righteous and good.
This has great implications for us. First, how can I stand before One who is always perfect in all holiness and righteousness? I am a hopeless sinner! Thinking of some of our early studies in this ministry, when and how is this possible? How can I, a sinner completely stained by evil, ever think I could stand before a holy God? What would be necessary for this?
It is Jehovah-Tsidkenu who covers me with His righteousness that provides a shelter for me in His presence. I stand before Him both innocent and righteous, and this is assured by His _____________ and _________________, Romans 4:25.
Secondly, how does this aspect of “Who He is” affect the life I live today? Perhaps the question could be better asked, What does this have to do with the life I live in this world with regard to “being good” and my appearance at the Bema?
This name is one that applies to Jesus as well as to the Father. He is our Jehovah-Tsidkenu. How does Peter describe Christ on the day of Pentecost? See Acts 3:14.
1. What great attribute of the Father and the Lord Jesus are alluded to in the name Jehovah-Tsidkenu?
2. This question is to be answered in a very personal way. What does “Jehovah-Tsidkenu” mean to you with respect to your security during the twenty-first century? Answer in the light of your preparation for living, supporting a family, your life goal, your ultimate death and the legacy you will leave after this life is over.
3.Considering your thoughtful answers to this question. What changes are you about to make in your ultimate life goals?
Again, when you journal, record things that go on in your life that could be applicable to these three compound names of Jehovah.
See if you can share these concepts with a friend. Most people who know anything at all about the Bible will have some knowledge of Psalm 23. Knowing God can be more complete when these names are understood.
Purpose: The purpose of this session is to review and bring into sharper focus the materials taught in the section on Bible doctrine.
1. The disciple will find that the review of this material will fix it more firmly into his mind.
2. The disciple will be able to talk about issues in this section more freely because of the review.
3. The disciple will understand the interconnectedness of the doctrines discussed in this session.
Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that everyone will see your progress.
1 Timothy 4:15
1. Mutual accountability and prayer.
2. Discuss the questions.
3. Share memory verses.
4. Discuss new terms.
1. Discuss two biblical arguments for the existence of God as fully as possible.
2. The Scripture states that God made man in His own image. What does this mean?
3. How do Mormons see the nature of God differently than evangelical Christians?
What is the essential nature of God?
4. How is the truth of the triune nature of God (the Trinity) taught in the Scriptures?
5. What is an attribute when the term is applied to God?
6. God is omnipresent (everywhere and fully present at any time). In what way does this demonstrate His superiority over Satan in the practical events of our lives?
7. Which attribute of the Father is most central? Discuss this attribute in relation to other attributes of God.
8. What is the difference between a relative and an absolute attribute of God? See if you can name or illustrate some of each.
9. We speak of the hypostatic union of Christ’s nature. What does this mean?
10. How would you defend the deity of Christ when talking to a “Jehovah’s Witness”?
11. Name some Scriptural evidences of the pre-existence of Jesus.
12. What was the relationship of Jesus and the creation of all the worlds?
13. Watchtower teachings say that Jesus was the first of all created beings. He was then the creator of everything else. This is an error, of course. How would you refute this teaching?
14. What does the teaching of the “kenosis” say about Jesus?
15. How would you demonstrate the deity of Christ? Discuss this adequately.
16. React to this statement. “The death of Jesus Christ was both tragic and marvelous.”
17. What is the meaning of the word “propitiation” as it relates to Jesus Christ?
18. React to the following statement. “God is reconciled to all men everywhere because of the death of Jesus. Now, the only reason men are condemned is not because of their sin, but because of their unbelief.”
19. Some teach the necessity of the efficiency of the atonement and therefore teach that it is limited (it is only for the elect). What do you think about this teaching?
20. In what way is the resurrection of Jesus a central factor in God’s redemptive dealings with mankind?
21. For what reason is the gender of the Holy Spirit often confused (this refers to failing to understand that He is a person)?
22. Discuss some ways the personality of the Holy Spirit is taught in Scripture.
23. What is wrong with the concept of “getting more of the Spirit”?
24. What are some of the chief ministries of the Holy Spirit?
25. In our studies of the Holy Spirit, we stated that the Holy Spirit is the member of the Godhead we are most likely to deal with in this present day. How is this true?
26. What is the difference between “human goodnesses” and the “fruit of the Spirit”?
27. What work of the Holy Spirit assures the safe-keeping of a believer?
28. What are the chief sins committed against the Holy Spirit by a believer? By an unbeliever?
29. What is an anthropomorphism?
30. How did the sin of Eve differ from the sin of Adam?
31. Discuss the more global effects of sin in the world.
32. In what way does Adam’s sin make us sinners?
33. Discuss salvation in its past, present, and future senses.
34. What is the meaning of the word “salvation” in its general sense?
35. What is the basic meaning of the word “regeneration” and how does it happen?
36. We believe the Bible teaches salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. How can this be harmonized with the emphasis on works in the book of James?
37. What are the implicit meanings of the word “repentance”?
38. To what does adoption relate?
39. React to this statement. “Repentance must have sorrow connected with it. Whenever one is sorry, repentance is assured”.
40. What part do angels play in the spreading of the Gospel?
41. React to this statement. “Whenever a believer dies, he or she becomes an angel.”
42. In a general sense, what role do angels play in the Father’s dealings with Christians today?
43. Discuss Satan’s role in the temptation of a person to sin (on a daily basis).
44. As “the god of this age,” what things is Satan most likely to be related to?
45. React to this statement. “The demon of depression is behind the depressive episodes of Christians today. If one is a Christian and depressed, he is a victim of Satan’s work.”
46. Discuss some of the things associated with the second coming of Christ to earth.
47. What is the “secret power of lawlessness” mentioned by Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:7?
48. Elaborate on some of the happenings at the return of Christ.
49. What is the “Bema”?
50. What are some of the chief values to Christians of the compound names of Jehovah?
51. Is it possible for a Jehovah’s Witness to be saved? How about a Mormon? Or perhaps even a follower of the Unity organization?
52. What is the basic difference between Calvinism and Arminianism?
53. What is the Arian heresy?
54. Why are those other than Theistic in their world-views not able to be true Christians?
Purpose: The purpose of this final formal session is to share tools that will be helpful in providing continued assistance to your disciple and your family tree.
1. The disciple will understand that his work is not finished.
2. The disciple will understand how he can provide continued assistance to those in his family tree.
3. The disciple will learn something about group dynamics.
4. The disciple will come to understand principles of spiritual leadership.
I have no greater joy than this: to hear that my children are living according to the truth. Dear friend, you demonstrate faithfulness by whatever you do for the brothers (even though they are strangers).
3 John 4-5
1. Mutual accountability and prayer.
2. Discuss the session material.
3. Discussion questions.
4. Set up plans for continued follow-up, growth and care for your family tree and spiritual genealogy.
We have been meeting for much longer than a year. If things have gone as planned, you are now working with another in discipleship and possibly have a disciple who is beginning with someone as well. We remember that our studies have suggested that we work toward total evangelization through the process of multiplication. It is therefore necessary that we work toward some stated goals for giving continual help and encouragement to those in our spiritual genealogies. Each maturing disciple needs to develop a style of handling his “oikos” with efficiency that there be no failure in this process, and that total evangelization of the area and even the world will take place.
I. Consider your work as just begun. You have actually finished the first stage of a lifelong commitment. What has our Lord saved us and left us in the world to do? Matthew 28:19-20
We are called ____________________, 2 Corinthians 5:20, and this calling never ends until we are with the Lord. This should be my passion and my goal. It is the purpose for which the Father has left me in the world. What do ambassadors do?
Whom do we represent?
What is our message to a lost world ?
II. Develop ways to ensure the perpetuation of your ministry. You can add to the things that we suggest, but whatever you do, and however it is, make a commitment to do those things.
Some examples of this are seen in Scripture in the case of Paul the apostle. See 1 Thessalonians 2:5-10. List the things that were involved in Paul’s care for them that would be crucial in the care of your own genealogy.
Vs. 8 (two things)
Vs. 9, 10
There is much from the life of Paul that we can learn about caring for those we have discipled.
I. We need to “set the pace” in our personal lives. Water never runs higher than its source. This means that I must do what I want my family genealogy to do. It is important that I set an example for them—to keep ahead of them. See Luke 6:40. Someone has said, “We have no choice in having an impact on those around us, but we do have a choice on the kind of impact we provide.”
A. I will continue my Scripture memory work.
B. I will keep the vision of total evangelism in my awareness.
C. I will give time to reading, studying and personal growth.
D. I will continue to “bring forth fruit” and see that it remains, John 15:16.
E. I will remember my commitment to the goals of discipleship.
II. My prayer life is always a resource for growth and fellowship with God.
A. I will pray for people in my spiritual genealogy.
B. I will remember others who are doing this type of evangelism.
C. I will pray for the world.
D. Praying from a list from which I record answers is best.
III. Knowing that my genealogy needs encouragement, I should meet with them periodically and offer encouragement for their continuation in the ministry.
A. Meet in a group. There can be group encouragement for each one. Give each disciple your phone number to call if they need help.
B. As your group grows, you can assume responsibility for five generations. Each discipler should develop groups for his genealogy.
C. Learn something of group dynamics and run your group in such a way that difficulties that emerge can be handled effectively.
D. Meet every six weeks. Let this time be a time of free discussion and problem solving. Have an occasional breakfast meeting.
E. Decide to not be content with someone failing. Work with them. Give your telephone number to others as well as initiating calls for follow-up. Write letters or e-mail. Look for ways to bring encouragement and continuation in the matter of total evangelization.
In summary, don’t let your genealogy have breaks. Encourage your people to witness and win the lost. These become appropriate candidates for discipleship and you can help them “catch the vision.”
The group is for mutual help and encouragement. Group members should listen intently, reflect feelings and ask open-ended questions. Above all, catch the vision. Continue to share the task of reaching your area, your nation, and the world.
“And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.” Acts 20:32
1. Name some things you have learned in “Lifestyle Discipleship” that have enabled you to experience life-change.
2. By continuing as a discipler, you have developed a way to lay up pleasing service for eternity. Write on the ways this is true.
3. Continuing your life as a discipler who is multiplying service rather than simply serving God through tasks, can bring joy (3 John 4). Write a statement that concerns this aspect of a disciple-making ministry.
4. Looking back over your discipleship ministry, what has been your greatest joy?
5. List two profound things you have learned during this ministry and speak of how they have and/or will change your life.
Summary and Key Concepts
1. Every disciple should be an example for others to imitate. This is not an option. It is a command from Scripture. Every disciple should become an authentic Christ-like individual whose life is worthy of emulation.
2. It is of utmost importance that we walk in the Spirit and become wise. This will make our own walk unique in a way that enables greater usefulness.
3. If we “keep in step with the Spirit” and develop maturity, we will bring forth the “fruit of the Spirit” and those we win as we reproduce ourselves through discipleship.
4. It is right to have a correct concept of who we are...not thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought to think, but thinking realistically...children of God who are uniquely gifted and in the world to carry on the service of the King.