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Biblical Foundations

 

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“We bring the Seminary to YOU!”

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Biblical Foundations

Book #1

Chaplain Mark Stevens, Th.D. , CPRP

[email protected]

Suite 160

440A Whitehorse Pike

Atco, NJ 08004

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“With all thy getting get an understanding”

New Jersey Institute of Theological Studies

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NJITS

New Jersey Institute of Theological Studies

Suite 160

440A Whitehorse Pike

Atco, NJ 08004

 

CORRESPONDENCE SCHOOL OF BIBLICAL STUDIES

 

ACCELERATED BIBLICAL TRAINING SERIES

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The Correspondence School of Ministry is a new spiritual, educational training track of the New Jersey Institute of Theological Studies. This condensed, correspondence format will allow many of the basic courses of NJITS to be offered in a time frame better suited to the demands and time constraints of busy adults; particularly many of whom are already actively involved in ministry.

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COORESPONDANCE format

The Correspondence Manual is to be read and the test at the end of the lesson book is to be taken and mailed back to the School for grading. The test can be taken with an open Bible. Some answers to the questions are NOT found in the manual but require the taker to study the scriptures for the answer.

Challenging studies

The goal of this course is to challenge the student to study the Word with intensity and diligence. There will be other study books coming out in the near future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Affordable and bible based

Practical, anointed, and insightful spiritual training at an extremely reasonable amount.

The total cost for the manual and the certificate is $50.00

The material is packed with Bible based doctrine that will enable you’re the student to be the man or woman of God you need to be. This is NOT a replacement for the training you SHOULD receive in your local church BUT it WILL enhance it greatly.

The Dean of the New Jersey Institute of Theological Studies

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Scriptures from King James Version

New American Standard

And The NIV

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Mark H. Stevens, ThD

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New Jersey Institute of Theological Studies

Jan.2004

Suite 160

440A Whitehorse Pike

Atco, NJ 08004

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All right reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or copied in any form or otherwise by any means, except for brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews, without permission from the publisher of the author.

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Cover: Theocentric Graphics

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CHAPTER ONE – Basic Biblical Theology (Page 5)

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CHAPTER TWO – The Doctrines of Salvation and Baptism (Page 27)

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CHAPTER THREE – Evangelism (Page 50)

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CHAPTER FOUR – The Holy Spirit (Page 94)

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Chart – Timeline of Old Testament History

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Final examination

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Chapter One

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BASIC BIBLICAL THEOLOGY

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Where did God come from?

     We can only partially comprehend the notion of God’s existence.  To do so, we must use human concepts to speak of God:  “without beginning or end”; “eternal”; “infinite”, etc.   The Bible says that He has always existed:  “ . . . even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God” (Psalm 90:2).  And, “Your throne is established from of old; Thou art from everlasting” (Psalm 93:2).  Quite simply, God has no beginning and no end.  So, where did God come from?  He didn’t.  He always was.

    Also, physics has shown that time is a property that is the result of the existence of matter.  Time exists when matter exists.  Time has even been called the fourth dimension.  But God is not matter.  In fact, God created matter.  He created the universe.  So, time began when God created the universe.  Before that, God was simply existing and time had no meaning (except conceptually), no relation to Him.  Therefore, to ask where God came from is to ask a question that cannot really be applied to God in the first place.  Because time has no meaning with God in relation to who He is, eternity is also not something that can be absolutely related to God.  God is even beyond eternity.       Eternity is a term that we finite creatures use to express the concept of something that has no end -- and/or no beginning.  Since God has no beginning or end, He has no beginning.  This is because He is outside of time. 

Who is God?

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God Is One – Deut. 6:4; 1 Cor. 8:4

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p<{color:#f0f;}. God Is Truth -Psalm 117:2; Jer. 10:10

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p<{color:#f0f;}. God is Light – 1 John 1:5

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p<{color:#f0f;}. God is Love – 1 John 4:8,16

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p<{color:#f0f;}. God Is Infinite – Jer. 23:24; Psalm 147:5

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p<{color:#f0f;}. God is All Knowing – 1 John 3:20

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p<{color:#f0f;}. God is Everywhere – Psalm 139:7-12

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p<{color:#f0f;}. God is All Powerful – Jer. 32:17,27

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p<{color:#f0f;}. God is Unequaled – [+ Isaiah 40:13-25+]

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p<{color:#f0f;}. God Is Perfect – 1 Kings 8:27; Psalm 139

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p<{color:#f0f;}. God Is A Most Pure Spirit – John 4:24

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p<{color:#f0f;}. God Is Invisible – 1 Tim. 1:17

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p<{color:#f0f;}. God Does Not Have A Human Body – Luke 24:39; Deut. 4:15-16

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p<{color:#f0f;}. God Does Not Change – Num. 23:19; Mal. 3:6; James 1:17

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p<{color:#f0f;}. God Is Without Limit – 1 Kings 8:27; Jer. 23:23-24

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p<{color:#f0f;}. God Is Eternal – Psalm 90:2; 1 Tim. 1:17

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p<{color:#f0f;}. God Is Incomprehensible – Rom. 11:33; Psalm 145:3

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p<{color:#f0f;}. God Is The Almighty One – Rev. 1:8, 4:8

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p<{color:#f0f;}. God Is Most Wise – Rom. 16:27; Jude 25

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p<{color:#f0f;}. God Is Most Holy – Isaiah 6:3; Rev. 4:8

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p<{color:#f0f;}. God Is Most Free – Psalm 115:3

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p<{color:#f0f;}. God Is Most Absolute – Isaiah 44:6; Acts 17:24-25

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p<{color:#f0f;}. God Works According To His Will – Eph. 1:11; Rom. 8:28

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p<{color:#f0f;}. God Receives Glory – Rom. 8:36; Rev. 4:11

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p<{color:#f0f;}. God Is Most Loving – 1 John 4:8-10

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p<{color:#f0f;}. God Is Gracious – Exodus 33:19; 1 Pet. 2:3

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p<{color:#f0f;}. God Is Merciful – Exodus 34:6; Psalm 67:1; James 5:11

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p<{color:#f0f;}. God Is Long-suffering – Psalm 86:15; 2 Pet. 3:15

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p<{color:#f0f;}. God Abounds In Goodness – Psalm 31:19; 52:1; Rom. 11:22

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p<{color:#f0f;}. God Is Forgiving – Dan. 9:9; Eph. 1:7; Psalm 86:5

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p<{color:#f0f;}. God Rewards Those Who Seek Him – Heb. 11:6

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p<{color:#f0f;}. God Is Just In All His Judgments – Neh. 9:32-33; 2 Thess. 1:6

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p<{color:#f0f;}. God Hates Sin – Psalm 5:5-6; Hab. 1:13

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p<{color:#f0f;}. God Is the Creator – [+ Isaiah 40:12+],22,26

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p<{color:#f0f;}. God Is Shepherd – Gen. 49:24

What is the Trinity?

     The word “trinity” is a term used to denote the Christian doctrine that God exists as a unity of three distinct persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Each of the persons is distinct from the other, yet related in essence.  Each is divine in nature, but each is not the totality of the Godhead.  Each has a will, loves, and says “I”, and “You” when speaking.  The Father is not the same person as the Son who is not the same person as the Holy Spirit who is not the same person as the Father.  Each is divine, yet there are not three gods, but one God.  There are three persons individual subsistences, or persons.  The word “subsistence” means something that has a real existence. The word “person” denotes individuality and self awareness.  The Trinity is three of these, though the latter term has become the dominant one used to describe the individual aspects of God known as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. 
p.       Included in the doctrine of the Trinity is a strict monotheism which is the teaching that there exists in all the universe a single being known as God who is self-existent and unchangeable (Isaiah 43:10; 44:6,8).  Therefore, it is important to note that the doctrine of the trinity is not polytheistic as some of its critics proclaim.  Trinitarianism is monotheistic by definition and those who claim it is polytheistic demonstrate a lack of understanding of what it really is.

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The Trinity

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p)))<{color:#f0f;}. God is three persons

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p)))<{color:#f0f;}. Each person is divine

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p)))<{color:#f0f;}. There is only one God.

      Many theologians admit that the term “person” is not a perfect word to describe the three individual aspects/foci found in God.   When we normally use the word person, we understand it to mean physical individuals who exist as separate beings from other individuals.  But in God there are not three entities, nor three beings.  God, is a trinity of persons consisting of one substance and one essence.  God is numerically one. Yet, within the single divine essence are three individual subsistences that we call persons.

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Each of the three persons is completely divine in nature though each is not the totality of the Godhead.

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p<{color:#000;}. Each of the three persons is not the other two persons.

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p<{color:#f0f;}. Each of the three persons is related to the other two, but are distinct from them.

     The word “trinity” is not found in the Bible. But this does not mean that the concept is not taught there. The word “bible” is not found in the Bible either, but we use it anyway. Likewise, the words “omniscience,” which means “all knowing,” “omnipotence,” which means “all powerful,” and “omnipresence,” which means “present everywhere,” are not found in the Bible either. But we use these words to describe the attributes of God.  So, to say that the Trinity isn’t true because the word isn’t in the Bible is an invalid argument.

Is there subordination in the Trinity?

      There is, apparently, a subordination within the Trinity in regard to order but not substance or essence.  We can see that the Father is first, the Son is second, and the Holy Spirit is third. The Father is not begotten, but the Son is (John 3:16). The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father (John 5:26).  The Father sent the Son (1 John 4:10).  The Son and the Father send the Holy Spirit (John 14:26; 15:26).  The Father creates (Isaiah 44:24), the Son redeems (Gal. 3:13), and the Holy Spirit sanctifies (Rom. 15:16).

    Critics of the Trinity will see this subordination as proof that the Trinity is false. They reason that if Jesus were truly God, then He would be completely equal to God the Father in all areas and would not, therefore, be subordinate to the Father in any way.  But this objection is not logical.  If we look at the analogy of the king and in the servant we certainly would not say that the servant was not human because he was sent.  Being sent does not negate sameness in essence. Therefore, the fact that the Son is sent does not mean that He is not divine any more than when my wife sends me to get bread, I am not human.

Is this confusing?

     Another important point about the Trinity is that it can be a difficult concept to grasp.  But this does not necessitate an argument against its validity.  On the contrary, the fact that it is difficult is an argument for its truth.  The Bible is the self revelation of an infinite God.  Therefore, we are bound to encounter concepts which are difficult to understand -- especially when dealing with an incomprehensible God who exists in all places at all times.  So, when we view descriptions and attributes of God manifested in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, we discover that a completely comprehensible and understandable explanation of God's essence and nature is not possible.  What we have, however, done is derive from the Scripture the truths that we can grasp and combine them into the doctrine we call The Trinity.  The Trinity is, to a large extent, a mystery.  After all, we are dealing with God Himself.  
p.     It is the way of the cults to reduce biblical truth to make God comprehensible and understandable by their minds.  To this end, they subject God’s word to their own reasoning and end in error.    The following verses are often used to demonstrate that in the doctrine of the Trinity is indeed biblical.

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Matt. 28:18, Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,

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p<{color:#f0f;}. 1 Cor. 12:4-6, Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. ^5^And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. ^6^And there are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons.

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p<{color:#f0f;}. 2 Cor. 13:14, The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.

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p<{color:#f0f;}. Eph. 4:4-7, There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; ^5^one Lord, one faith, one baptism, ^6^one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. ^7^But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

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p<{color:#f0f;}. 1 Pet. 1:2, “according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, that you may obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in fullest measure.”

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p<{color:#f0f;}. Jude 20-21, “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith; praying in the Holy Spirit; ^21^keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.”

  The doctrine of the Trinity has often caused confusion among Christians.  Some people have mistakenly seen the Trinity as a Triad.   What is the difference?
p.     In contrast to the trinity, a Triad is three separate gods.   Each is a god.  Therefore, in the doctrine of the triad, the Father is a god, the Son is a god, and the Holy Spirit is a god.  This is not the doctrine of the Trinity and it is not biblical. 
p.      The Jehovah’s Witness organization very often misrepresents the Trinity doctrine by replacing it with the Triad teaching.  They often are taught that Trinitarians believe in three gods.  This is not true. 

[*     An Illustration*]

[*    *] Basically, the universe consists of three elements: Time, Space, and Matter. Each of these is comprised of three ‘components.’

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p<{color:#f0f;}. Past
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p<{color:#f0f;}. Present
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p<{color:#f0f;}. Future
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    With time, for example, the past is distinct from the present, which is distinct from the future. Each is simultaneous. Yet, they are not three ‘times,’ but one. That is, they all share the same nature: time
p.      With matter, solid is not the same as liquid, which is not the same as gas, which is not the same as solid. Yet, they are not three ‘matters,’ but one. That is, they all share the same nature: matter.
p.      Note that there are three sets of threes. In other words, there is a trinity of trinities. If we were to look at the universe and notice these qualities within it, is it fair to say that these are the fingerprints of God upon His creation? I think so. Not only is this simply an observation, but it is also a good source for an analogy of the Trinity.

Is God’s nature changed by Jesus being divine and human?

     

     The Christian doctrine concerning Jesus’ two natures is called the hypostatic union.  It is the teaching that the Divine Word of God (John 1:1) “became flesh and dwelt among us,” (John 1:14).  Therefore, Jesus is both divine and human in one person (Col. 2:9); He has two natures:  human and divine.  But some who oppose the Trinity and Jesus’ incarnation (the Divine Word becoming a man), say that if Jesus is God in flesh this must mean that God’s nature changed because God added a human nature to His divine nature.  This would violate Malachi 3:6 which says that God does not change.  But, the union of the two natures of Jesus in one person does not constitute a change in the nature of God.

    Furthermore, within the union of the two natures in the one person of Christ, the divine nature is still divine and the human nature is still human.  One is not altered by the presence of the other anymore than my spirit in me is altered in nature by its indwelling a physical body.  Likewise, the divine Word is not altered by indwelling human flesh.
p.     Finally, the doctrine of the Trinity is that God is three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  This does not mean three gods.  There is only one God.  The Trinitarian nature of God is not altered by the union of the Word with humanity since it was the divine Word that humbled Himself to become a man (John 1:1,14; Phil. 2:5-8), not the Father or the Holy Spirit.  Therefore, by definition the Trinity is unaffected by the union of the Word with humanity in the incarnation of Jesus. 

Three Gods or One?

 
p.     The problem with this criticism is that it denies the very nature of the doctrine. First of all, Trinitarianism by definition denies that there is more than one God.  It is clearly monotheistic in spite of what the critics want to claim.      Second, there is a word used to describe a unity of three separate gods.  It is the word "triad."  A triad is not a trinity.  A triad is three separate gods -- as in Mormonism.  A Trinity is one God in three persons.  A triad is polytheistic.  A trinity is monotheistic.
p.     Theologians admit that the word “person” is not the perfect word to use because it carries with it the idea of individuals who are different beings.  This is what we are familiar with and this is one of the problems with using the term “person” when describing the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  But this is what we must use when we see that when the Bible speaks of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, each are called God, each speak, and each have a will. They exhibit attributes of personhood.  In describing what we observe, we are forced to use words that we are familiar with. “Person” is just such a word.  But it does not necessitate here that each person is an individual being.  
p.     And fourth, trinities are known and accepted by people as observed in nature.  By analogy we see that creation itself is Trinitarian. Time is past, present, and future. There are not three times. Each part of the whole of time is by nature time yet there are not three times but one.  Likewise, space is height, width, and depth.  Matter is solid, liquid, and gas.  The Bible says that God’s invisible attributes are made known in creation

Rom. 1:20: “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made.”

     When the critics of Trinitarianism say it really teaches three gods, they demonstrate their lack of understanding of the doctrine and they either purposefully or mistakenly confuse it with something it is not.  Trinitarianism denies and opposes the idea that there is more than one God.  It is by definition, monotheistic.

 

The word Trinity [is not in the Bible
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     Some critics of the Trinity doctrine claim that since the word “trinity” is not found in the Bible, it isn’t true. Furthermore, some assert that if God wanted us to believe in the Trinity He would have stated the doctrine clearly.

    Second, there are many biblical concepts that people believe in that are not found in the Bible. For example, the word “bible” is not found in the Bible, but we use it anyway. Likewise, the words “omniscience,” which means “all knowing,” “omnipotence,” which means “all powerful,” and “omnipresence,” which means “present everywhere,” are not found in the Bible either.  But we use these words to describe the attributes of God.
p.     Following are other words that the Bible does not use but the concepts are mentioned.

Atheism is the teaching that there is no God. “The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God” (Psalm 14:1). 

Divinity which means divine quality or godlike character.  Yet, we speak of the godlike quality of the Lord God.  See Psalm 139.

Incarnation which means the word (God) who became flesh.  Yet, this is definitely taught in the Bible (John 1:1,14).

Monotheism is the teaching that there is only one God (Isaiah 43:10; 44:8).

Rapture is the teaching that the Christians who are alive when Jesus returns will be caught up to meet Him in the air (1 Thess. 4:16-18).

     So, to say that the Trinity isn’t true because the word isn’t in the Bible is an invalid argument.  Furthermore, to say that if God wanted us to believe in the Trinity He would have clearly taught it in scripture, is also an invalid argument.  Something does not have to be clearly formulated in the Bible to be valid.  Not all things taught in the Bible are perfectly clear. Take a look at the book of Revelation. It contains many things that are cryptic that must be interpreted after examining all of the Bible.  Even then, there are disagreements as to what some things mean.  Yet, we know that the truths there are true whether or not we discover them.  
p.     Nevertheless, there are scriptures that demonstrate a Trinitarian aspect.

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Matt. 28:18, Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,

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p<{color:#f0f;}. 2 Cor. 13:14, The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.

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p<{color:#f0f;}. Eph. 4:4-7, There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; ^5^one Lord, one faith, one baptism, ^6^one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. ^7^But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

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p<{color:#f0f;}. Jude 20-21, “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith; praying in the Holy Spirit; ^21^keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.”
p.     

If Jesus is God, then who did He pray to?

     This is a very common question and the answer is found in understanding the Trinity and the incarnation of Jesus.

    A close analogy of the Trinity can be found by looking at the concept of time. Time is past, present, and future. There are three “aspects” or “parts” of time. This does not mean that there are three “times,” but only one. Each is separate, in a sense, yet each shares the same nature, or essence. In a similar way, the Trinity is three separate persons who share the same nature.

The Incarnation

     The doctrine of the incarnation in Christian teaching is that Jesus, who is the second person of the Trinity, added to himself human nature and became a man.

         Jesus is completely human, but He also has a divine nature.

<>.
p={color:#f0f;}. MAN
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     As a man, Jesus needed to pray. When He was praying he was not praying to Himself, but to God the Father.

Is Jesus the same person as the Father?

     No, Jesus is not the same person as the Father.  In the doctrine of the Trinity there are three persons in the Godhead:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  We use the term “person” to describe each of the three because each displays attributes of personhood.  Each has a will, speaks, loves, is self aware, and is aware of others.  Yet, the Bible teaches that there is only one God (Isaiah 43:10; 44:6,8; 45:5,14,18,21,22).  Therefore, the person of the Son is not the same person as the Father.  They speak to each other and have their own wills.

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p<{color:#f0f;}. Matt. 3:17, “and behold, a voice out of the heavens, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.’”

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p<{color:#f0f;}. Luke 22:42, “Father, if Thou art willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Thine be done.” 

     There are, however, Oneness Pentecostal groups who claim that there is only one person in the Godhead:  Jesus.  They erringly state that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are all the same person, only different in manifestation.  This is an error.

    The  correct doctrine is that there is only one God who is three persons:  The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Each is not the same person as the other.  Yet, there are not three gods, only one.

What did Jesus come to do?

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  To reveal the Father (Matt. 11:27[*)*]

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p<{color:#f0f;}. “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”

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p<{color:#f0f;}.   To be a ransom for many (Matt. 20:28[*)*]

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p<{color:#f0f;}. “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

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p<{color:#f0f;}.   To serve (Matt. 20:28[*)*]

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p<{color:#f0f;}. “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

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p<{color:#f0f;}.   To save the world (John 3:17; Luke 19:10[*)*]

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p<{color:#f0f;}. “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

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p<{color:#f0f;}.   To preach the good news of the kingdom of God (Luke 4:43[*)*]

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p<{color:#f0f;}. “But he said, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.”

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p<{color:#f0f;}.   To bring division (Luke 12:51[*)*]

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p<{color:#f0f;}. “Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division.”

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p<{color:#f0f;}.   To do the will of the Father (John 6:38[*)*]

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p<{color:#f0f;}. “For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.”

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p<{color:#f0f;}.   To give the Father’s words (John 17:8[*)*]

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p<{color:#f0f;}. “For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me.”

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p<{color:#f0f;}.   To testify to the truth (John 18:37[*)*]

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p<{color:#f0f;}. “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

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p<{color:#f0f;}.   To die and destroy Satan’s power (Heb. 2:14[*)*]

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p<{color:#f0f;}. [_ "Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death -- that is, the devil." _]

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p<{color:#f0f;}.   To destroy the devil’s works (1 John 3:8[*)*]

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p<{color:#f0f;}. “He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.”

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p<{color:#f0f;}.   To fulfill the Law and the Prophets (Matt. 5:17[*)*]

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p<{color:#f0f;}. “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”

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p<{color:#f0f;}.   To give life (John 10:10,28[*)*]

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p<{color:#f0f;}. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full…I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.”

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p<{color:#f0f;}.   To taste death for everyone (Heb. 2:9[*)*]

**
p<{color:#f0f;}. “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.”

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p<{color:#f0f;}.   To become a high priest (Heb. 2:17[*)*]

**
p<{color:#f0f;}. “For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.”

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p<{color:#f0f;}.   To atone for sin (Heb. 2:17

[*)*]

#
**

“For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.”

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p<{color:#f0f;}.   To proclaim freedom for believers (Luke 4:18[*)*]

**
p<{color:#f0f;}. “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed.”

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p<{color:#f0f;}.   To proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor (Luke 4:19[*)*]

**
p<{color:#f0f;}. “to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

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p<{color:#f0f;}.   To bring judgment (John 9:39[*)*]

**
p<{color:#f0f;}. “Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”

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p<{color:#f0f;}.   To take away sin (1 John 3:5[*)*]

**
p<{color:#f0f;}. “But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin.”

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p<{color:#f0f;}. [*  To preach*]

(*][*Mark 1:38[*)*]

#
**

[_ "Jesus replied, 'Let us go somewhere else -- to the nearby villages -- so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.'" _]

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p<{color:#f0f;}. [*  To call sinners*]

(*][*Mark 2:17[*)*]

#
**

“On hearing this, Jesus said to them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.’”

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p<{color:#f0f;}. [*  To know who is true*]

(*][*1 John 5:20[*)*]

*

[_ "We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true -- even in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life." _]

Essential Doctrines of Christianity 

      The Bible itself reveals those doctrines that are essential to the Christian faith. They are 1) the Deity of Christ, 2) Salvation by Grace, and 3) Resurrection of Christ, and 4) the gospel. These are the doctrines the Bible says are necessary. Though there are many other important doctrines, these four are the only ones that are declared by Scripture to be essential. A non-regenerate person, or a cultist (i.e., Mormon or Jehovah’s Witness), will deny one or more of these essential doctrines.  Please note that there are other derivative doctrines of scripture that become necessary also, the Trinity being one.

#

The Deity of Christ

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p<{color:#f0f;}. Jesus is God in flesh (John 8:58 with Exodus 3:14). See also John 1:1,14; 10:30-33; 20:28; Col. 2:9; Phil. 2:5-8; Heb. 1:8

###
p<{color:#f0f;}. 1 John 4:2-3: “This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.”

####
p<{color:#f0f;}. The above verse needs to be cross referenced with John 1:1,14 (also written by John) where he states that the Word was God and the Word became flesh.

####
p<{color:#f0f;}. 1 John 4:2-3 is saying that if you deny that Jesus is God in flesh then you are of the spirit of Antichrist.

###
p<{color:#f0f;}. John 8:24, “I said, therefore, to you, that you will die in your sins. For if you do not believe that I am, you will die in your sins.”

###
p<{color:#f0f;}. Jesus said here that if you do not believe “that I am” you will die in your sins. In Greek I am is ‘ego eimi,’ which means ‘I am.’ These are the same words used in John 8:58 where Jesus says “…before Abraham was, I am.” He was claiming the divine title by quoting Exodus 3:14 in the Greek Septuagint. (The Septuagint was the Hebrew Old Testament translated into Greek.)

##
p<{color:#f0f;}. Jesus is the proper object of faith

###
p<{color:#f0f;}. It is not simply enough to have faith. Faith is only as valid as what it is put in. You must put your faith in the proper object. Cults have false objects of faith; therefore, their faith is useless—no matter how sincere they are.

###
p<{color:#f0f;}. If you put your faith in a vacuum cleaner, then you will be in a lot of trouble on the day of judgment. You might have great faith, but so what?  It is in something that can’t save you.

##
p<{color:#f0f;}. The Doctrine of the deity of Christ includes:

###
p<{color:#f0f;}. The Trinity – There is one God who exists in three persons: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They are all coeternal, and of the same nature.

###
p<{color:#f0f;}. Monotheism – There is only one God in all existence (Isaiah 43:10; 44:6,8; 45:5,14,18,21,22; 46:9; 47:8). Mormons believe that many gods exist though they serve and worship only one. Therefore, they are polytheists which excludes them from the camp of Christianity.

##
p<{color:#f0f;}. The Hypostatic Union – That Jesus is both God and man.

###
p<{color:#f0f;}. The sufficiency of the sacrifice of Christ – The sacrifice of Christ is completely sufficient to pay for the sins of the world

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p<{color:#f0f;}. As God – Jesus must be God to be able to offer a sacrifice of value greater than that of a mere man.

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p<{color:#f0f;}. He had to die for the sins of the world (1 John 2:2). Only God could do that.

###
p<{color:#f0f;}. As man – Jesus must be man to be able to be a sacrifice for man.

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p<{color:#f0f;}. As a man He can be the mediator between God and man (1 Tim. 2:5).

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p<{color:#000;}. Salvation by Grace

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p<{color:#f0f;}. [_ "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith -- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God -- not by works, so that no one can boast" _] (Eph. 2:8-9, NIV).

##
p<{color:#f0f;}. “You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace” (Gal. 5:4).

###
p<{color:#f0f;}. This verse and its context plainly teach that if you believe that you are saved by faith and works then you are not saved at all. This is a common error in the cults. Because they have a false Jesus, they have a false doctrine of salvation. (Read Rom. 3-5 and Gal. 3-5). 

###
p<{color:#f0f;}. you cannot add to the work of God. Gal. 2:21 says, “I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” (NIV)

##
p<{color:#f0f;}. “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin” (Rom. 3:20).

###
p<{color:#f0f;}. “However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness” (Rom. 4:5).

###
p<{color:#f0f;}. “Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law” (Gal. 3:21).

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p<{color:#f0f;}. The Resurrection of Christ

##
p<{color:#f0f;}. “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith” (1 Cor. 15:14). “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins” (1 Cor. 15:17).

##
p<{color:#f0f;}. To deny the physical resurrection is to deny Jesus’ work, sacrifice, and our resurrection.

##
p<{color:#f0f;}. These verses clearly state that if you say that Jesus did not rise from the dead (in the same body He died in -- John 2:19-21), then your faith is useless.

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p<{color:#000;}. The Gospel

##
p<{color:#f0f;}. “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!” (Gal. 1:8-9, NIV).

Verses 8 and 9 here in Galatians are a self declarative statement that you must believe the gospel.  The gospel message which in its entirety is that Jesus is God in flesh, who died for sins, rose from the dead, and freely gives the gift of eternal life to those who believe.

#
##

Furthermore, it would not be possible to present the gospel properly without declaring that Jesus is God in flesh per John 1:1,14; 10:30-33; 20:28; Col. 2:9; Phil. 2:5-8; Heb. 1:8.

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p<{color:#f0f;}. 1 Cor. 15:1-4 defines what the gospel is: “Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (NIV).

Within these verses are the essentials: Christ is God in flesh (John 1:1,14; 10:30-33; 20:28; Col. 2:9); Salvation is received by faith (John 1:12; Rom. 10:9-10), therefore it is by grace; and the resurrection is mentioned in verse 4.  Therefore, this gospel message automatically includes the essentials.

Christian Doctrine

      The following is an outline of basic Christian Doctrine. It’s brief, accurate, and informative. As with any venture into learning you must first begin with the basics. The basics are the foundation of your Christian life. If you learn what is here, you will be well informed and knowledgeable. All you need to do is get grounded in the fundamentals and from there cultivate your Christian walk: “Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity” (Heb. 6:1). A building is only as strong as its foundation.

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The Bible

##
p<{color:#f0f;}. The Bible consists of 66 books: 39 in the OT and 27 in the new. (Note: 3 × 9 = 27).

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p<{color:#f0f;}. The OT has 23,214 verses. The NT has 7,959 verses.

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p<{color:#f0f;}. The Bible took about 1600 years to write.

###
p<{color:#f0f;}. It was written in three languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek) by about 40 authors and is internally consistent throughout.

###
p<{color:#f0f;}. It was written on three continents:  Africa, Asia, and Europe.

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p<{color:#f0f;}. It was written by a variety of people:  prophets, priest, cupbearer, a king, judges, fishermen, etc.

##
p<{color:#f0f;}. The first translation of the English Bible was initiated by John Wycliffe and completed by John Purvey in A.D. 1388.

##
p<{color:#f0f;}. The first American edition of the Bible was perhaps published some time before A.D. 1752.

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p<{color:#f0f;}. The Bible has been translated in part or in whole as of 1964 in over 1,200 different languages or dialects.

##
p<{color:#f0f;}. The Bible was divided into chapters by Stephen Langton about A.D. 1228.

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p<{color:#f0f;}. The Old Testament was divided into verses by R. Nathan in A.D. 1448 and the New Testament by Robert Stephanus in A.D. 1551.

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p<{color:#f0f;}. Old Testament -- a total of 39 books and has 5 main divisions:

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p<{color:#f0f;}. Pentateuch (Genesis to Deuteronomy), Historical (Joshua to Esther), Poetic (Job to Song of Solomon), Major Prophets (Isaiah to Daniel), Minor Prophets (Hosea to Malachi).

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p<{color:#f0f;}. New Testament -- a total of 27 books and has 4 main divisions

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p<{color:#f0f;}. Gospels (Matthew to John), History (Acts), Epistles (Romans to Jude), Prophetic (Revelation).

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p<{color:#f0f;}. Reliability of the biblical documents.

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p<{color:#f0f;}. The Bible is 98½ percent textually pure. This means that through all the copying of the Biblical manuscripts of the entire Bible, only 1½% has any question about it. Nothing in all of the ancient writings of the entire world even approaches the accuracy of transmission found in the biblical documents.

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p<{color:#f0f;}. The 1½ percent that is in question does not affect doctrine. The areas of interest are called variants and they consist mainly in variations of wording and spelling.

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p<{color:#f0f;}. The OT does not have as many supporting manuscripts as the NT but it is, nevertheless, remarkably reliable.

####
p<{color:#f0f;}. The Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Hebrew OT done around 250 B.C., attests to the reliability and consistency of the OT when it is compared to existing Hebrew manuscripts.

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p<{color:#f0f;}. The Dead Sea Scrolls discovered in 1947 also verify the reliability of the OT manuscripts.

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p<{color:#f0f;}. The Dead Sea Scrolls were ancient documents that were hidden in a cave in Israel about 2000 years ago. The scrolls contained many OT books, one of them being Isaiah.

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p<{color:#f0f;}. Before the Dead Sea scrolls, the earliest existing manuscript of the OT was dated around 900 A.D. called the Masoretic Text. The Scrolls contained OT documents 1000 years earlier. A comparison between the manuscripts revealed an incredible accuracy of transmission through copying, so much so that critics were silenced.

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p<{color:#f0f;}. The NT has over 5000 supporting Greek manuscripts existing today with another 20,000 manuscripts in other languages. Some of the manuscript evidence dates to within 100 years of the original writing. There is less than a 1% textual variation in the NT manuscripts.

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p<{color:#f0f;}. Estimated time of writing of the NT documents

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p<{color:#f0f;}. Paul’s Letters, 50-66 A.D.

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p<{color:#f0f;}. Matthew, 70-80 A.D.

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p<{color:#f0f;}. Mark, 50-65 A.D.

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p<{color:#f0f;}. Luke, early 60’s

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p<{color:#f0f;}. John, 80-100 A.D.

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p<{color:#f0f;}. Revelation 96 A.D.

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p<{color:#f0f;}. Some of the supporting manuscripts of the NT are:

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p<{color:#f0f;}. John Rylands MS written around 130 A.D., the oldest existing fragment of the NT

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p<{color:#f0f;}. Bodmer Papyrus II (150-200 A.D.)

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p<{color:#f0f;}. Chester Beatty Papyri (200 A.D.), contains major portions of the NT

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p<{color:#f0f;}. Codex Vaticanus (325-350 A.D.), contains nearly all the Bible.

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p<{color:#f0f;}. Codex Sinaiticus (350 A.D.), contains almost all the NT and over half of the OT

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p<{color:#f0f;}. No other ancient writing can boast of having copies so close to the original time of writing. With the Bible, the difference is about 50 years. With Plato and Aristotle, for example, the difference is measure in hundreds of years.

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p<{color:#f0f;}. Prophecy and mathematical odds of fulfillment.

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p<{color:#f0f;}. The odds of Jesus fulfilling 48 of the 61 major prophecies concerning Him are 1 in 10157; that is a one with 157 zeros behind it.

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p<{color:#f0f;}. By comparison, the estimated number of electrons in the entire known universe is about 1079; that is a one with 79 zeros behind it.

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p<{color:#f0f;}. Inspiration and Inerrancy – The Bible is inspired by God. Inspiration means that God, through the Holy Spirit, caused the writers of the Bible to write the accurate and authoritative revelation of God. It is God breathed (2 Tim. 3:16) through the instrumentation of the apostles and prophets (2 Pet. 1:21).

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p<{color:#f0f;}. It is without error in the original manuscripts and absolutely reliable and true in all areas it addresses.

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p<{color:#f0f;}. Every true Christian accepts the inspiration and authority of the Bible.

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p<{color:#f0f;}. Scientific Accuracies in the Bible.

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p<{color:#f0f;}. The spherical shape of the earth (Isaiah 40:22).

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p<{color:#f0f;}. The earth is suspended in nothing (Job. 26:7).

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p<{color:#f0f;}. The stars are innumerable (Gen. 15:5).

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p<{color:#f0f;}. The existence of valleys in the seas (2 Sam. 22:16).

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p<{color:#f0f;}. The existence of springs and fountains in the sea (Gen. 7:11; 8:2; Prov. 8:28).

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p<{color:#f0f;}. The existence of water paths (ocean currents) in the seas (Psalm 8:8).

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p<{color:#f0f;}. The water cycle (Job. 26:8; 36:27-28; 37:16; 38:25-27; Psalm 135:7; Ecc. 1:6-7).

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p<{color:#f0f;}. The fact that all living things reproduce after their own kind (Gen. 1:21; 6:19).

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p<{color:#f0f;}. The nature of health, sanitation, and sickness (Gen. 17:9-14; Lev. 12-14).

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p<{color:#f0f;}. The concept of entropy, that energy is running down (Psalm 102:26).

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p<{color:#000;}. God

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p<{color:#f0f;}. God is the only Supreme Being. He is Holy (Rev. 4:8), Eternal (Isaiah 57:15), Omnipotent (Jer. 32:17,27), Omnipresent (Psalm 119:7-12), Omniscient (1 John 3:20); etc.

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p<{color:#f0f;}. He is Love (1 John 4:8,16); Light (1 John 1:5); Spirit (John 4:24); Truth (Psalm 117:2); Creator (Isaiah 40:12,22,26), etc.

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p<{color:#f0f;}. He is to be worshiped (Gen. 24:26; Exodus 4:31; [+ 2 Chron. 29:28+]; 1 Cor. 14:25; Rev. 7:11).

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p<{color:#f0f;}. He is to be served (Matt. 4:10; 1 Cor. 6:19; Phil. 3:7; 1 Thess. 1:9; Heb. 9:14).

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p<{color:#f0f;}. He is to be proclaimed (Matt. 28:19f.; John 14:15f.; Acts 1:8)

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p<{color:#f0f;}. “To worship God is to serve and proclaim Him; to serve God is to proclaim and worship Him; to proclaim God is to worship and serve Him.”

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p<{color:#f0f;}. The name of God is Jehovah, or Yahweh. It is comprised of the four Hebrew consonants . The precise pronunciation of God’s name has been lost. In Exodus 3:14 God proclaims His name to be “I AM.” “God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” (NIV)

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p<{color:#f0f;}. God is a Trinity – One God who exists simultaneously in three persons. Each is coequal, copowerful, and coeternal with the other. Each person, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is not the other. Without either there is no God; all comprise the one God.

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p<{color:#f0f;}. The Doctrine of the Trinity is opposed to:

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p<{color:#f0f;}. Modal Monarchianism, also known as Jesus Only – There is one person in the Godhead who took three consecutive forms or modes. First there was the Father who then became the Son who then became the Holy Spirit.

Present groups are the United Pentecostal and United Apostolic churches. This doctrine is incorrect. It denies the true doctrine of the Trinity.

Dynamic Monarchianism – Only one person in the Godhead, the Father. Jesus and the Holy Spirit are not God.

Present groups are the Jehovah’s Witnesses, World Wide Church of God, Christadelphianism, and The Way International. This doctrine is incorrect. It denies the Trinity, the deity of Christ, and the deity of the Holy Spirit.

Tritheism – the teaching that the godhead is three separate gods: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Christianity is monotheistic – Only one God in existence, anywhere, anytime. See Isaiah [+ Isaiah 43:10+]; 44:6,8; 45:5,14,18,21,22; 46:9; 47:8; John 17:3; 1 Cor. 8:5-6; Gal. 4:8-9 for verses that teach monotheism.

Christianity is opposed to:

Polytheism – Belief in many Gods.

#

Monolatry – Belief in more than one God but serve and worship only one, i.e. Mormonism.

#
p((<>.

##
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p<{color:#f0f;}. Henotheism – Belief in one God without denying the existence of others.

##
p<{color:#f0f;}. Pantheism – This is an identification of the universe with God.  God is the universe.  God is creation.

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p<{color:#f0f;}. Panentheism – The belief that God is in the universe. It differs with pantheism which states that God is the universe and all that it comprises.

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p<{color:#f0f;}. Deism – God exists, but is not involved in the world.

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p<{color:#f0f;}. Theism – God exists, and is involved in the world.

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p<{color:#000;}. Creation

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p<{color:#f0f;}. God created the physical and spiritual universe out of nothing (Gen. 1:1f; Psalm 33:6; John 1:3; Rom. 4:17; 1 Cor. 1:28).

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p<{color:#f0f;}. He did not make the world out of part of Himself.

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p<{color:#f0f;}. He did not make the world out of a substance called “nothing.”

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p<{color:#f0f;}. Specifically it was Jesus, the firstborn (Col. 1:15), second person of the Trinity, who created all things (Col. 1:16-17; [+ Isaiah 44:24+]).

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p<{color:#f0f;}. Because God created all things, He is before all things and beyond all things. Therefore, the entire universe is under His control.

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p<{color:#f0f;}. Because God created all things, He is able to provide for His creation through the means of His creation, i.e. weather, rain, plants, animals, sunshine, etc.

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p<{color:#f0f;}. Opinions on the duration of creation differ. Some say six days; others say six long periods.

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p<{color:#f0f;}. Man

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p<{color:#f0f;}. Creation of man

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p<{color:#f0f;}. Man is not only the crown of creation, but also the object of God’s special care.

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p<{color:#f0f;}. Man was originally made pure, without sin.

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p<{color:#f0f;}. “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Gen. 1:26-27; see also, 2:7,21-23).

“Let us make man…” is a disclosure of the divine counsel before the creation of man, “us” being the Trinitarian counsel. See also Gen. 11:7.

Man was created different than the animals. He had the breath of life breathed into him from God (Gen. 2:7). The animals did not. Also Man was given dominion over the animals. Man can know God, worship Him, and love Him. Animals cannot.

Is Man made of two or three “parts”?

Dichotomy is a term which signifies a division into 2 parts: Body and Soul. The words “spirit” and “soul” are often used interchangeably.

“Mary said: ‘My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,’” (Luke 1:46-47).

“My soul yearns for you in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for you…,” (Isaiah 26:9).

For the term “Body and Soul” see Matt. 6:25; 10:28.

For the term “Body and Spirit” see 1 Cor. 5:3,51.

Trichotomy is a term which signifies a division into 3 parts: Body, Soul, and Spirit.

“May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess. 5:23).

“For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart,” (Heb. 4:12).

There is no official orthodox position on the number of parts of man.

The Origin of the soul

Traducianism: “The souls of men are propagated along with the bodies by generation, and are therefore transmitted to the children by the parents.” (Berkhoff, Systematic Theology. p. 197.)

Creationism: “The soul is a creation of God, owing its origin to a direct creative act.” (Berkhoff, p. 199).

Except for Adam, the Bible makes no clear remark regarding the origin of the soul.

Man was created in the image of God.

This means that Man has moral and intellectual abilities similar to God though not as perfect and vast.

“God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness…’” (Gen. 1:26).

“…and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator” (Col. 3:10).

Man is above the animals in “rational ability, moral awareness, pursuit of beauty, use of language, and spiritual awareness.”

Man before the Fall.

The Law of God was written in their hearts. Adam and Eve were without sin and “endued with knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness after God’s own image, with the ability to keep the Law of God.” (Westminster Confession of Faith, 4:2.)

In this state man had free and unhindered access to God. This is exemplified in the account in Gen. 3:8 where God was walking in the Garden.

Man, the Fall, and its effects

Adam and Eve rebelled against God and sinned by eating the forbidden fruit.

“Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned” (Rom. 5:12, NIV).

What was their sin?

They listened to Satan and ate of the fruit that was forbidden by God (Gen. 3:1-13).

What was the consequence of their sin?

Death (Rom. 6:23) and separation from God’s presence (Isaiah 59:2)

Transmission of the sin nature to their (and our) children (Psalm 51:5).

Creation also fell (Gen. 3:17; Rom. 8:22).

How did their sin affect God?

They became unfit for the presence of God (Isaiah 59:2).

They became unable to do God’s will (Rom. 6:16; 7:14).

They became subject to the curse of the Law and death (Deut. 27:26; Rom. 6:23).

Original Sin – The doctrine that we inherit our sin natures from Adam (Rom. 5:12-21).

Adam was the Federal Head of all humanity; that is, he represented all people in the Garden of Eden.

“For as in Adam all die…” (1 Cor. 15:22).

The phrase “in Adam” indicates our relation to Adam, that he represented us in the garden. In the same way, our being “in Christ” indicates our relation to Jesus, that He represent us on the cross (Rom. 5:18; 6:11; 8:1; 1 Cor. 1:2; 15:22; 2 Cor. 5:19).

Our sin with Adam: “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned” (Rom. 5:12). See also Rom. 5:18; 1 Cor. 15:22.

Man after Death and before the resurrection.

The intermediate state

This is the condition of the soul between the death of the body and the resurrection.

There is little spoken of it in the Bible, but it is a state of consciousness (2 Cor. 5:5-8; Luke 16:19-31).

We are self aware and, apparently, with the Lord (Phil. 1:21-23).

For the righteous this is a time of blessedness and joy (Luke 16:19-31).

For the unrighteous this is a time of suffering (Luke 16:19-31) as is exemplified in the account of Lazarus and the rich man.

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Chapter Two

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THE DOCTRINE OF BAPTISM

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1-INTRODUCTION

The word “baptize” appears in the Bible 9 times.

The word “baptized” appears in the Bible 61 times.
The word “baptizest” appears in the Bible 1 time.
The word “baptizeth” appears in the Bible 2 times.
The word “baptizing” appears in the Bible 4 times.
This totals 77 times.
In addition, there are many other verses related to being baptized in which these actual words do not appear.

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2-CONFUSION REGARDING BAPTISM

Some churches today believe a person does not have to be baptized, while others believe it is required for salvation. Some baptize by total immersion, and others believe this is not necessary. The answer lies not in a denomination, not in the traditions of men, but in God’s Word only. Jesus warned us that the traditions of men make God’s Word of none effect. In other words, Jesus was saying, the traditions that you are doing are not from God’s Word, but are only of men; and being only of men, you are sending people to hell by your traditions.

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3-THE AUTHORITY MUST BE GOD’S WORD

The authority we stand on MUST always be the Bible. The authority we stand on must not be made up of stories we create from events of the Bible, but solely upon the Bible itself. It is only by the Word that we shall be judged; not by man’s opinion of what they think the Word indicates because of this or that event. Satan is the originator of causing people to say that God’s Word does not mean exactly what it says. Eve believed Satan’s word over God’s, and fell into sin. God had said she would surely die if she ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Satan first caused doubt in her mind, and then told her directly she would not surely die by eating of the fruit. Then Satan put her in a position that her own emotions prompted her to eat of the fruit of the tree. She sinned by disobeying God’s Word.

There are many excellent preachers today that have fallen into the traditions of men and unknowingly have not been teaching God’s Word exactly as Jesus and the apostles taught.
There are even some that speak or fight against water baptism or water baptism by immersion. There are some that speak against being baptized a second time, yet they themselves, if they would travel to Israel and have the chance to be baptized in the Jordan River, may run to be baptized a second or even a third time.

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[4-THERE IS NO GRACE WITHOUT BELIEVING ON JESUS
THERE IS NO GRACE WITHOUT REPENTANCE]

Is there grace without baptism?

5-FAITH DOES NOT SAVE, IF TRUE REPENTANCE DOES NOT TAKE PLACE

In Eph 2:8 we are told, FOR BY GRACE ARE YE SAVED THROUGH FAITH; AND THAT NOT OF YOURSELVES: IT IS THE GIFT OF GOD.

Gal 3:2-RECEIVED YE THE SPIRIT BY THE WORKS OF THE LAW, OR BY THE HEARING OF FAITH?
Gal 3:14-THAT THE BLESSING OF ABRAHAM MIGHT COME ON THE GENTILES THROUGH JESUS CHRIST; THAT WE MIGHT RECEIVE THE PROMISE OF THE SPIRIT THROUGH FAITH.
Eph 3:17-THAT CHRIST MAY DWELL IN YOUR HEARTS BY FAITH.
We are saved by faith. Does this mean we are saved by faith without repentance? Not at all. We must repent of our sins, or there is no salvation. For it is written, EXCEPT YE REPENT, YE SHALL ALL LIKEWISE PERISH-Lk 13:3. Does this mean that we are saved by grace through faith only, and we never need to confess Jesus publicly? Not at all, we should confess that Jesus is (the only Hope) of our salvation to everyone that asks us. If we are ashamed of Jesus, He will be ashamed of us at the judgment. So we may ask, “What about baptism?”

6-BAPTISM IS BY FULL IMMERSION

The word baptism in the New Testament is bap-tid-zo and bap-tis-mos. These words mean “fully wet;” technique of the ordinance of Christ; to wash away; to immerse or dip under water. Jesus was baptized fully wet. The disciples were baptized fully wet. It is safe to say, if you have not been baptized by full immersion, you have not been baptized by the technique of the ordinance of Christ. In baptism, we are identifying with Christ’s death and resurrection.

Note the words in Ro 6:4-THEREFORE WE ARE BURIED WITH HIM BY BAPTISM INTO DEATH: THAT LIKE AS CHRIST WAS RAISED UP FROM THE DEAD BY THE GLORY OF THE FATHER, EVEN SO WE ALSO SHOULD WALK IN NEWNESS OF LIFE.
Note the words: “BURIED WITH HIM BY BAPTISM,” or “BURIED…BY BAPTISM.” Most preachers would agree that baptism and water go hand in hand. The word “water” may also be correctly substituted in place of the word “baptism.” Note the meaning that comes forth when read this way: “buried…by water.” The word “by” indicates the method whereby we identify with Christ. How? – by baptism.
Col 2:12 gives us an almost identical wording. BURIED WITH HIM IN BAPTISM, WHEREIN ALSO YE ARE RISEN WITH HIM THROUGH THE FAITH OF THE OPERATION OF GOD, WHO HATH RAISED HIM FROM THE DEAD.
Note the words: “BURIED…IN BAPTISM” or “buried…in water.” Biblical baptism is by being buried in the water. In other words, baptism is by going into the water and then being immersed. The word “in” distinguishes the point in time that we are identifying with Christ. When?—in baptism.
Sprinkling baptism is no baptism at all. It is Satan’s counterfeit. Every time water baptism was done in the New Testament, it was done by immersion. There is no other way.

7-BAPTISM IS TO BE DONE IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER, AND OF THE SON, AND OF THE HOLY GHOST

Not only are you under commandment to be baptized, but Jesus said these words as He was about to go to be with His Father. Mt 28:19,20-GO YE THEREFORE, AND TEACH ALL NATIONS, BAPTIZING THEM IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER, AND OF THE SON, AND OF THE HOLY GHOST: TEACHING THEM TO OBSERVE (obey) ALL THINGS WHATSOEVER I HAVE COMMANDED YOU.

By this commandment from Jesus to be baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, the believer is identifying with the Triune God. FOR THERE ARE THREE THAT BEAR RECORD IN HEAVEN, THE FATHER, THE WORD (Jesus), AND THE HOLY GHOST: AND THESE THREE ARE ONE (or united in one accord)-1 Jn 5:7.
In these last days, many new doctrines have come along. One of them is the false doctrine that there is no Trinity. This false doctrine proclaims there are not three Persons of the Trinity. This cult can sometimes be identified in that they baptize in the name of Jesus only. Beware. Do not be led away with the error of these new doctrines that are springing up in this blind, Laodicean church age. More information regarding this false doctrine and the Trinity is available in the message “the Trinity.”

8-BAPTISM IS A COMMANDMENT FOR THOSE WHO BELIEVE

In Acts 22:16 we read-AND NOW WHY TARRIEST THOU? ARISE, AND BE BAPTIZED, AND WASH AWAY THY SINS, CALLING ON THE NAME OF THE LORD. Here it is clear, that water baptism after believing on Jesus is a commandment.

Jesus began His earthly ministry by being baptized. Mt 3:13-15-THEN COMETH JESUS FROM GALILEE TO JORDAN UNTO JOHN, TO BE BAPTIZED OF HIM. BUT JOHN FORBADE HIM, SAYING, I HAVE NEED TO BE BAPTIZED OF THEE, AND COMEST THOU TO ME? AND JESUS ANSWERING SAID UNTO HIM, SUFFER IT TO BE SO NOW: FOR THUS IT BECOMETH US TO FULFILL ALL RIGHTEOUSNESS. Note, John the Baptist made the statement, “I HAVE NEED TO BE BAPTIZED.” All who believe on Jesus have a need to be baptized by full immersion in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
We see in Acts 16:30-33 that as soon as they believed, HE TOOK THEM THE SAME HOUR OF THE NIGHTAND WAS BAPTIZED. You are not to be baptized unless you believe on Jesus and repent; but as soon as you do, you are to be baptized.
The Bible tells us of Saul (also known as Paul) in Acts 9:18-HE RECEIVED SIGHT FORTHWITH, AND AROSE, AND WAS BAPTIZED. He did not delay, but got baptized as soon as he was able.
We see a great baptism in Acts 2:41 as-THEY THAT GLADLY RECEIVED HIS WORD WERE BAPTIZED: AND THE SAME DAY THERE WERE ADDED UNTO THEM ABOUT THREE THOUSAND SOULS. Again, we note there was no delay. Once they believed, they got baptized.

God’s Word gives us the example of Philip and the eunuch. Philip would only baptize him if he confessed he believed on Jesus with all his heart. Some people believe on Jesus with a head knowledge, but faith or trust is not present. Believing with all your heart is necessary before water baptism means anything.

Acts 8:35-38-THEN PHILIP OPENED HIS MOUTH, AND BEGAN AT THE SAME SCRIPTURE, AND PREACHED UNTO HIM JESUS.
AND AS THEY WENT ON THEIR WAY, THEY CAME UNTO A CERTAIN WATER: AND THE EUNUCH SAID, SEE, HERE IS WATER; WHAT DOTH HINDER (or prevents) ME TO BE BAPTIZED? He was asking, what was preventing him from being baptized.
AND PHILIP SAID, IF THOU BELIEVEST WITH ALL THINE HEART, THOU MAYEST. Philip shows clearly, believing with all his heart was an absolute necessity before he would allow him to be baptized. AND HE ANSWERED AND SAID, I BELIEVE THAT JESUS CHRIST IS THE SON OF GOD.
AND HE COMMANDED THE CHARIOT TO STAND STILL: AND THEY WENT DOWN BOTH INTO THE WATER, BOTH PHILIP AND THE EUNUCH; AND HE BAPTIZED HIM. AND WHEN THEY WERE COME UP OUT OF THE WATER…HE WENT ON HIS WAY REJOICING. We see the words WENT DOWN BOTH INTO THE WATER, and COME UP OUT, clearly depict immersion baptism. Again, it may be noted there was no delay. The eunuch believed and immediately baptism followed.
Many people go to be baptized, but they have so little knowledge of the Bible and of Jesus that they cannot understand or believe on Jesus with all their heart. In some countries, people may gather in great numbers to be baptized; yet when each one is questioned, “Who is Jesus?”, many do not know Who He really is. To many, He is nothing more than a name and a person they sing about. They have no saving knowledge or faith. They are not ready for baptism.
Mk 16:16-HE THAT BELIEVETH AND IS BAPTIZED SHALL BE SAVED; BUT HE THAT BELIEVETH NOT SHALL BE DAMNED. Note, “BELIEVING” must be in place before water baptism is done; and “believing” is to be WITH ALL THINE HEART. A person cannot believe on or be baptized into One in whom they know nothing about. Many preachers and elders wrongly baptize these people without ever discerning if they believe on Jesus and understand who He is, and what He did.

9-WE ARE COMMANDED TO BE BAPTIZED, BUT REPENTANCE MUST COME FIRST

God’s Word tells us we are saved by grace through faith, yet we are under commandment to be baptized; as we read Peter’s words in Acts 2:38-REPENT, AND BE BAPTIZED EVERY ONE OF YOU. This verse is addressing people who after having heard God’s Word, believe on Jesus, and are under conviction for their sins. They now want to know what to do. The people are told first to repent. Then following repentance, baptism is to take place. Also note the verse tells us that EVERY ONE is to do this.

John the Baptist was baptizing by full immersion in the water. The disciples of Jesus baptized when they were with Him. After Jesus went to be with His Father, they continued to baptize believers. As we should see from God’s Word, a person was not considered a follower of Christ, if they would not get baptized after believing.
True faith in Jesus and true repentance should lead to being baptized in accordance with the Scriptures. A wrong attitude may lead a person to argue and contend with the Scriptures.

10-INFANT BAPTISM FORBIDDEN

The Bible commands that all men should repent. The baptism of John is called the baptism of repentance in Acts 13:24,and 19:4.

The Scripture tells us in Mt 3:6-AND WERE BAPTIZED OF HIM IN JORDAN, CONFESSING THEIR SINS. Verse 8-BRING FORTH THEREFORE FRUITS MEET FOR REPENTANCE. Infant or baby baptism, or any baptism that is done prior to the person believing on Jesus and repenting, is contrary to God’s Word and of no meaning. A baby or a very young child cannot be baptized according to God’s Word, as we read, Acts 8:36,37-WHAT DOTH HINDER (or prevents) ME TO BE BAPTIZED? Philip had preached unto him Jesus and it appears also about baptism. The eunuch wanted to be baptized, but Philip refused unless one condition was met. Look at Philip’s reply. AND PHILIP SAID, IF THOU BELIEVEST WITH ALL THINE HEART, THOU MAYEST. The eunuch then said in verse 37-I BELIEVE THAT JESUS CHRIST IS THE SON OF GOD. The Scriptures are clear.
A baby cannot repent. A baby cannot believe. A baby is not to be baptized. Baby baptism means nothing. It is a deception created by the adversary.

11-JESUS PLACED GREAT IMPORTANCE ON WATER BAPTISM

We seem to have a picture that the disciples of Jesus spent much time baptizing, as we read in Jn 4:1,2-WHEN THEREFORE THE LORD KNEW HOW THE PHARISEES HAD HEARD THAT JESUS MADE AND BAPTIZED MORE DISCIPLES THAN JOHN, (THOUGH JESUS HIMSELF BAPTIZED NOT, BUT HIS DISCIPLES). This shows the importance Jesus placed on baptism.

12-WATER BAPTISM IS A COMMANDMENT ALSO FOR THOSE THAT HAVE RECEIVED THE BAPTISM OF THE HOLY GHOST

Baptism is a command for every person. Those in Acts 10:45-48, that had received the gift of speaking in tongues were also commanded to be baptized in water; as we read-AND HE COMMANDED THEM TO BE BAPTIZED IN THE NAME OF THE LORD. Note the word “commanded.” In Acts 2:38, we are told, REPENT, AND BE BAPTIZED EVERY ONE OF YOU. Will you receive God’s Word with a good and honest heart?

13-CONFUSION IS NOT FROM GOD

It is written, GOD IS NOT THE AUTHOR OF CONFUSION-1 Cor 14:33.

There are many religions and traditions that contradict God’s Word. It was the same in the days of Jesus. Do not place your hope in a religion, but place it in the Bible. Do not follow stories that some people tell, which may cause you to err from the truth.
Some say that you do not have to be baptized, because the prisoner that hung on the cross next to Jesus was not baptized. We note the command to be baptized, given in Mk 16:16 and Acts 2:38 and others, came after Jesus rose from the dead. The prisoner died before Jesus rose from the grave. How could he have been baptized into the death and resurrection of Jesus, when Jesus had not yet been buried or risen from the dead? He also died before the Holy Ghost was given. It is written: THE HOLY GHOST WAS NOT YET GIVEN-Jn 7:39; ref 20:22.
Some say that Paul was not sent to baptize, and this is true; but his followers did the baptizing. Some might say because Mk 16:16 does not repeat the word baptize in the second part of the verse that it means it is not mandatory. Let’s read Mk 16:16-HE THAT BELIEVETH AND IS BAPTIZED SHALL BE SAVED; BUT HE THAT BELIEVETH NOT SHALL BE DAMNED. Some have asked why Jesus did not say, “He that believeth not and is baptized not?” The answer is, because we are baptized into the death and resurrection of Jesus. You cannot be baptized into One in whom you do not believe. Thus, to say HE THAT BELIEVETH NOT, “and is baptized not” would be incorrect. For if you do not believe on Jesus, it is not possible to be baptized into His death and resurrection. Therefore, if a person does not believe, no biblical baptism exists.
Some churches, such as the Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist, Lutheran, Episcopal, and others, traditionally say that sprinkling baptism is OK. The Scriptures very clearly show their understanding of the Bible is wrong, and what they do is wrong.
[Some would say that water baptism is symbolic only; thus, it is not necessary. It is far more than symbolic as the Scriptures are showing us. This is why Satan fights so hard against baptism. This is why Satan tries to cause so much confusion about water baptism and is succeeding.
**]Some say that water baptism is not necessary as it is a form of works. The next heading should cover this topic.
Satan is a liar. Do not let him deceive you. Obey God’s Word.

14-IS WATER BAPTISM NECESSARY? WHAT IS WATER BAPTISM’S RELATIONSHIP TO SALVATION, IF ANY?

We have already seen that believing on Jesus is an absolute essential for salvation.

We have already seen that repentance is an absolute essential for salvation.
Now the question, “What about water baptism?”
There is much debate on this subject.
One of the main subjects to be considered in this discussion is that salvation is through faith in Jesus Christ apart from all works. This statement is absolutely [true.
**]It is written, Eph 2:8,9-FOR BY GRACE ARE YE SAVED THROUGH FAITH; AND THAT NOT OF YOURSELVES: IT IS THE GIFT OF GOD: NOT OF WORKS, LEST ANY MAN SHOULD BOAST.
Now the questions arise: “Is calling on the name of the Lord classified as works?” “Is repentance classified as works?” “Is water baptism classified as works?”
The answer to all three of these questions is no. No where in the Bible is calling on Jesus, repentance, water baptism, or reading the Bible classified as a form of works. Those that relate these things to works or the works of the Law appear to be greatly misled.
One might say that repentance can certainly be very hard work, or very difficult. There are certain things or areas in each of our lives where the flesh does not want to repent, but never does the Bible classify repentance as works.
It is the same for baptism. Water baptism is a command for all that repent and believe. It is not classified as “works.”
Hearing or reading the Bible might be considered as work or a chore by some, yet it is never classified as “works” in relation to working or earning your way into heaven. We need to hear and read God’s Word to learn more about God. Faith comes by hearing God’s Word.
However, it needs to be emphasized again—water baptism prior to repenting and believing on Jesus means absolutely nothing at all.

15-DOES THE BIBLE SAY—BY REJECTING WATER BAPTISM, WE HAVE REJECTED JESUS?

One might ask the question, “Does the Bible actually say we have rejected Jesus by refusing to be baptized by water?” The answer to this question is YES.

It is written, Lk 7:29,30-AND ALL THE PEOPLE THAT HEARD HIM, AND THE PUBLICANS, JUSTIFIED GOD (or acknowledged God’s justice, or God’s way was right), BEING BAPTIZED WITH THE BAPTISM OF JOHN. BUT THE PHARISEES AND LAWYERS REJECTED THE COUNSEL OF GOD (or God’s purpose or God’s plan) AGAINST THEMSELVES, BEING NOT BAPTIZED OF HIM (or by not letting themselves be immersed by him-JNT).
Let us look at this verse more closely.
The first part clearly states that ALL THE PEOPLEACKNOWLEDGED…GOD’S WAY WAS RIGHT (NIV) BEING BAPTIZED WITH THE BAPTISM OF JOHN-KJV.
The second part clearly states, THE PHARISEES AND LAWYERS REJECTED THE COUNSEL OF GOD. What is the “counsel of God?” It is the Word. It is God’s Word. It is the Bible. What is God’s Word? The Bible clearly tells us in Jn 1:1 and 1:14 that Jesus is the Word.
Thus, the verse very clearly states, that the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the Word, which is Jesus. They rejected God.
The next question arises, “How did they reject Jesus?” The verse clearly states, by BEING NOT BAPTIZED.
Note carefully—JUSTIFIED GOD (or acknowledged God’s way was right), BEING BAPTIZED. REJECTED…Jesus…BEING NOT BAPTIZED.
By their refusal to be baptized by going into the water, they rejected Jesus. They rejected God. They REJECTED God’s Word…BEING NOT BAPTIZED.

Lk 18:17-VERILY I SAY UNTO YOU, WHOSOEVER SHALL NOT RECEIVE THE KINGDOM OF GOD (or we might say, God’s Word) AS A LITTLE CHILD SHALL IN NO WISE ENTER THEREIN.

This would definitely appear to make it necessary to be baptized, by being immersed in the water, after repentance and believing on Jesus.

16-WHY ARE WE TO GET BAPTIZED?

We read in Ro 6:3-6,8-KNOW YE NOT, THAT SO MANY OF US AS WERE BAPTIZED INTO JESUS CHRIST WERE BAPTIZED INTO HIS DEATH? THEREFORE WE ARE BURIED WITH HIM BY BAPTISM INTO DEATH: THAT LIKE AS CHRIST WAS RAISED UP FROM THE DEAD BY THE GLORY OF THE FATHER, EVEN SO WE ALSO SHOULD WALK IN NEWNESS OF LIFE (born-again). FOR IF (please note the word “if”) WE HAVE BEEN PLANTED TOGETHER IN THE LIKENESS OF HIS DEATH, WE SHALL BE ALSO IN THE LIKENESS OF HIS RESURRECTION. Note the words, IF…PLANTED TOGETHER. How are we planted together with Him? It says, BURIED WITH HIM BY BAPTISM. If we have not been buried with Him through baptism, how can we expect to be in the likeness of His resurrection? KNOWING THIS, THAT OUR OLD MAN IS CRUCIFIED WITH HIM (as Jesus went into the grave, we go into the water), THAT THE BODY OF SIN MIGHT BE DESTROYED….NOW IF WE BE DEAD WITH CHRIST (this is through being buried with Him in baptism, by going into the water), WE BELIEVE THAT WE SHALL ALSO LIVE WITH HIM.

Please note Acts 2:38 again—REPENT, AND BE BAPTIZED EVERY ONE. Note, the word repent precedes baptism. The verse goes on, IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST. We are baptized into the death and resurrection of Jesus; thus, we must believe first. The verse goes on, FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS (Jesus took our sins upon Him); AND YE SHALL RECEIVE THE GIFT OF THE HOLY GHOST. The Holy Ghost descended and lighted upon Jesus like a dove as He went up out of the water.
Ro 6:9-11-KNOWING THAT CHRIST BEING RAISED FROM THE DEAD DIETH NO MORE; DEATH HATH NO MORE DOMINION OVER HIM.
FOR IN THAT HE DIED, HE DIED UNTO SIN ONCE: BUT IN THAT HE LIVETH, HE LIVETH UNTO GOD.
LIKEWISE RECKON YE ALSO YOURSELVES TO BE DEAD INDEED UNTO SIN, BUT ALIVE UNTO GOD THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD.

What might be a good definition of being “born-again?” It might be said that being born-again involves putting off the old man, and putting on the new man: our “old man is crucified;” we “are dead with Christ;” and we begin to walk in the newness of life.

These things are exactly what Romans 6:3-11 has told us occurs in relation to being baptized.

Note the following items from Romans chapter six and other verses.

17-WERE BAPTIZED INTO JESUS CHRIST (Ro 6:3)

WERE BAPTIZED INTO HIS DEATH-Ro 6:3

#
p<{color:#f0f;}. ARE BURIED WITH HIM BY BAPTISM-Ro 6:4

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p<{color:#f0f;}. IF WE HAVE BEEN PLANTED TOGETHER IN THE LIKENESS OF HIS DEATH-Ro 6:5

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p<{color:#f0f;}. OUR OLD MAN IS CRUCIFIED-Ro 6:6

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p<{color:#f0f;}. THE BODY OF SIN MIGHT BE DESTROYED-Ro 6:6

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p<{color:#f0f;}. IF WE BE DEAD WITH CHRIST-Ro 6:8

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p<{color:#f0f;}. DIED UNTO SIN-Ro 6:10

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p<{color:#f0f;}. WASH AWAY THY SINS-Acts 22:16

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p<{color:#f0f;}. TO FULFILL ALL RIGHTEOUSNESS-Mt 3:15

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p<{color:#f0f;}. THE BAPTISM OF (or as a result of) REPENTANCE-Mk 1:4
All of these above things are related to water baptism, but they also relate to being born-again.

18-THE RESULTS AFTER WATER BAPTISM SHOULD BE: (IF WE BELIEVE ON JESUS AND HAVE REPENTED)

#
p<{color:#f0f;}. WE…SHOULD WALK IN NEWNESS OF LIFE-Ro 6:4

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p<{color:#f0f;}. WE SHALL BE…IN THE LIKENESS OF HIS RESURRECTION-Ro 6:5

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p<{color:#f0f;}. HENCEFORTH WE SHOULD NOT SERVE SIN-Ro 6:6

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p<{color:#f0f;}. IS FREED FROM SIN-Ro 6:7 (under grace, sin no longer has authority over us unless we yield to it)

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p<{color:#f0f;}. WE BELIEVE THAT WE SHALL ALSO LIVE WITH HIM-Ro 6:8

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p<{color:#f0f;}. DEATH HATH NO MORE DOMINION OVER HIM-Ro 6:9

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p<{color:#f0f;}. LIVETH UNTO GOD-Ro 6:10

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p<{color:#f0f;}. RECKON (or consider)…YOURSELVES TO BE DEAD…UNTO SIN-Ro 6:11

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p<{color:#f0f;}. We are ALIVE UNTO GOD THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD-Ro 6:11

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p<{color:#f0f;}. EVEN BAPTISM DOTH ALSO NOW SAVE US (NOT THE PUTTING AWAY OF THE FILTH OF THE FLESH, BUT THE ANSWER OF A GOOD CONSCIENCE TOWARD GOD,) BY THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST-1 Pe 3:21

Very clearly, these Scriptures are showing us the relationship of baptism to being born-again. Once again, it must be emphasized that water baptism means absolutely nothing if a person does not have faith in Jesus Christ and has not repented of their sins.

Twice the word “if” appears in these verses (Ro 6:5,8). In other words, “if” a person has not been baptized then none of these things are in place.
He has not been planted together in the likeness of the death of Jesus. The old man has not been crucified, neither is reckoned to be dead unto to sin.
If a person has not been baptized after believing and repenting, then he is not walking in the newness of life after baptism as stated in Ro 6:4.
Jesus paid our sin debt in full at Calvary.
Our salvation was completely and totally accomplished at the cross and by His resurrection. Without Jesus, there is absolutely no salvation. Apart from Jesus, we are dead in our sins.
Jesus sacrificed Himself to put away our sins-ref Heb 9:26.
Jesus was offered to bear the sins of many-ref Heb 9:28.
Jesus bore our sins in His body-ref 1 Pe 2:24.
He died for our sins-ref 1 Cor 15:3.
His blood was shed for the remission of sins-ref Mt 26:28.
We are washed from our sins in His blood-ref Rev 1:5.
We are cleansed from all sin by the blood-ref 1 Jn 1:7.
We are saved by His life-Ro 5:10; and saved through Him-ref Ro 5:9.
As a result of what Jesus did, we having believed on Jesus as our only possible hope of salvation; and having by faith responded to His call by repenting of our sins, we are then to obey God by being baptized afterward as He commanded. Once we come out of the water we should be dead unto sin and alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Henceforth, we should not serve sin. We should walk in newness of life by the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit.
In Acts 22:16 we read-AND NOW WHY TARRIEST THOU? ARISE, AND BE BAPTIZED, AND WASH AWAY THY SINS, CALLING ON THE NAME OF THE LORD.
Thus, now the two questions are answered, 1. “When are our sins washed away?” What conclusion do you draw from the Scriptures? 2. “What washes away our sins?” The answer is faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
When are we born again? How do you understand the Scriptures? If both faith in Jesus Christ (we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith-Gal 3:14) and repenting of our sins have taken place, could it be when we come out of the water of baptism? Could it be as Acts 2:38 tells us: REPENT, AND BE BAPTIZED EVERY ONE OF YOU…AND YE SHALL RECEIVE THE GIFT OF THE HOLY GHOST?

It is written, FOR THUS IT BECOMETH US TO FULFILL ALL RIGHTEOUSNESS-Mt 3:15.

We note the words for John’s baptism (being baptized by water) was the “baptism of repentance” or baptism as a result of repentance. True water baptism is a result of believing on Jesus. True baptism is a result of repentance.

It is written, Mk 1:4-JOHN DID BAPTIZE IN THE WILDERNESS, AND PREACH THE BAPTISM OF (or as a result of) REPENTANCE FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS.

Lk 3:3-AND HE CAME INTO ALL THE COUNTRY ABOUT JORDAN, PREACHING THE BAPTISM OF (or as a result of) REPENTANCE FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS.
Acts 13:24-WHEN JOHN HAD FIRST PREACHED BEFORE HIS COMING THE BAPTISM OF (or as a result of) REPENTANCE TO ALL THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL.
Acts 19:4-THEN SAID PAUL, JOHN VERILY BAPTIZED WITH THE BAPTISM OF (or as a result of) REPENTANCE.

Once we say a sinner’s prayer, we may appear to be saved, but are we?
Once we believe on Jesus, we may appear to be saved, but are we?
Once we have repented, we may appear to be saved, but are we?
Many preachers throughout the world would answer yes to these questions.
There are Scriptures that could lead a person to believe that only saying a prayer will save us.
There are Scriptures that could lead a person to believe that only believing will save us.
There are Scriptures that could lead a person to believe that only repenting will save us.
There are Scriptures that could lead a person to believe that only being baptized will save us.
There is even a Scripture that could lead us to believe that only hoping will save us. It is written, Ro 8:24-WE ARE SAVED BY HOPE.
Yet do the Scriptures show us that a person may be biblically born-again at the time of coming out of the water of water baptism by immersion, but only IF a person has repented and only IF a person has put their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ of the Bible?
This needs to be stressed, for many cults believe and attempt to portray that Jesus is not the Messiah come in the flesh. They believe that He is not Deity. They say and believe that Jesus is something that is not in accordance with God’s Word.
Jesus Christ is THE WORD. JESUS CHRIST IS COME IN THE FLESH. Jesus Christ is LORD. FOR BY HIM (and for Him) WERE ALL THINGS CREATED. Jesus Christ is KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

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19-THE EVIDENCE OF SALVATION IS FRUIT

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But even then, whether or not a person is truly converted cannot be determined until the evidence of his fruit comes forth. For it is written, WHEREFORE BY THEIR FRUITS YE SHALL KNOW THEM-Mt 7:20.

Nevertheless, be not deceived. Satan’s ministers look like the ministers of righteousness-ref 2 Cor 11:15 and deceive many. They look like they are of God, but they are not. Many Pharisees and religious leaders in the days of Jesus looked like they were of God, and many people thought they were; but Jesus clearly showed they were not saved.
Yes, a person may believe on Jesus. He may repent. He may call on the name of the Lord. He may thereafter go forth and witness, and through the WORD, others may come to Jesus. Yet, the Scriptures have shown us, if believing, repentance, and faith are in place, that at the time of coming out of the water, we should be born-again. The Scriptures have also shown us clearly that by rejecting water baptism, we reject God’s Word which is Jesus.

20-WHEN DOES A PERSON RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT?

Mt 3:16,17-AND JESUS, WHEN HE WAS BAPTIZED, WENT UP STRAIGHTWAY OUT OF THE WATER: AND, LO, THE HEAVENS WERE OPENED UNTO HIM, AND HE SAW THE SPIRIT OF GOD DESCENDING LIKE A DOVE, AND LIGHTING UPON HIM: AND LO A VOICE FROM HEAVEN, SAYING, THIS IS MY BELOVED SON, IN WHOM I AM WELL PLEASED. The Holy Ghost descended upon Jesus in bodily form like a dove, when He came up out of the water after baptism. The Lord chose this event, water baptism, to illustrate when the Holy Ghost is given.

This is in harmony with Acts 2:38. REPENT AND BE BAPTIZED EVERY ONE OF YOU…AND YE SHALL RECEIVE THE GIFT OF THE HOLY GHOST. Note what it did not say. It did not say one would receive the gift of the Holy Ghost upon repenting. Rather, two things are mentioned together. First repenting, and then baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost would be received.
In Gal 3:2 we read-RECEIVED YE THE SPIRIT BY…FAITH? The Holy Spirit is received and dwells in us by faith. Thus, “when” we are baptized, if we do not have faith in Jesus Christ, water baptism means absolutely nothing. The Holy Spirit cannot be received, if faith is not present. We cannot be baptized into Jesus Christ, if we do not believe in Jesus Christ.
When does Acts 2:38 say we receive the Holy Spirit? It is when we repent and are baptized. When does Mk 16:16 say we are saved? It is written, HE THAT BELIEVETH AND IS BAPTIZED SHALL BE SAVED; BUT HE THAT BELIEVETH NOT SHALL BE DAMNED.
The Scriptures seem clear that, biblically, we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost at the time we come out of the water from being baptized.
We are biblically born-again when we come out of the water. Our sins are washed away at the time we come out of the water.
In 2 Kings chapter 5, when Naaman the leper was told by the prophet Elisha to dip in the Jordan River seven times and he would be healed of his leprosy; there was no special power in the water to heal. Rather, it was his obedience to what the Lord had said to do. And so it is with water baptism. There is no power in the water or in the act by itself; but we receive the Holy Spirit at baptism by our faith (trust-grounded obedience) in the operation (or working) of God.

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21-SAVED BY WATER: BAPTISM DOTH ALSO NOW SAVE US

Now that the Bible has shown us both how to be baptized and why, the following Scriptures should be more easily understood.

The Bible tells us in 1 Pe 3:20,21-THE LONG-SUFFERING OF GOD WAITED IN THE DAYS OF NOAH, WHILE THE ARK WAS A PREPARING, WHEREIN FEW, THAT IS, EIGHT SOULS WERE SAVED BY WATER. THE LIKE FIGURE WHEREUNTO EVEN BAPTISM DOTH ALSO NOW SAVE US (NOT* *THE PUTTING AWAY OF THE FILTH OF THE FLESH, BUT THE ANSWER OF A GOOD CONSCIENCE TOWARD GOD,) BY THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST. Some people might tell you this verse does not mean quite what it says. The Bible warns us about being led astray through people’s error. Let us take God’s Word exactly as it is written, and believe it. Beware. Remember, baptism apart from first believing on Jesus and repentance means absolutely nothing.

It is written, 1 Jn 5:8-AND THERE ARE THREE THAT BEAR WITNESS IN EARTH, THE SPIRIT, AND THE WATER, AND THE BLOOD: AND THESE THREE AGREE IN ONE. The Spirit is that which God gives. You must have His Spirit, or you are none of His. The water is the water of baptism that you are under commandment to do after you believe on the name of Jesus. The blood is that which Jesus shed for you at Calvary, which redeems you through your faith. These three bear witness as a testimony in earth. There are also other opinions as to what the water represents among some institutions.

22-CAN OR SHOULD A PERSON BE BAPTIZED A SECOND TIME?

There are some that speak in hostility against being baptized a second time, yet they themselves, if they travel to Israel and have the chance to be baptized in the Jordan River may run to be baptized a second time or even a third time.

If a person was baptized by sprinkling, he was never baptized according to God’s Word. Yes, he needs to get baptized God’s way.
If a person was baptized before repentance, then he was not baptized according to God’s Word. Yes, he needs to get baptized God’s way.
If a person was baptized as a baby, then he was not baptized according to God’s Word. Yes, he needs to get baptized God’s way.
If a person was baptized before believing on Jesus, he was not baptized according to God’s Word. Yes, he needs to get baptized God’s way.
If a person was baptized

#
p<{color:#f0f;}. by a cult,

#
p<{color:#f0f;}. or by any church or organization that does not believe that Jesus Christ is the Word, Who became flesh,

#
p<{color:#f0f;}. or by any that does not believe in the three Persons of the Trinity,

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p<{color:#f0f;}. or by any who believe that salvation is by works rather than by grace through faith alone; yes, that person needs to get baptized God’s way.

If a person was baptized correctly, however, afterward loses his faith in Jesus; if he later repents and returns to Jesus, he needs to again be baptized correctly. It is written, BY FAITH YE STAND-2 Cor 1:24. Should our faith be overthrown, and we depart from the faith, then we are no longer standing by faith. In such cases, yes, we have need to be baptized, if we repent and return to faith in Jesus.

If a person was baptized correctly, but he went back into intentional, willful wickedness, such as sex outside of marriage, fornication, or total rebellion against God; yes, he needs to be rebaptized. It is written, Ezek 3:20-AGAIN, WHEN A RIGHTEOUS MAN DOTH TURN FROM HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND COMMIT INIQUITY,…HE SHALL DIE IN HIS SIN, AND HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS WHICH HE HATH DONE SHALL NOT BE REMEMBERED. If he was baptized (baptism, which is to fulfill all righteousness-ref Mt 3:15), it shall not be remembered.
Ezek 18:21-22-BUT IF THE WICKED WILL TURN FROM ALL HIS SINS THAT HE HATH COMMITTED,…AND DO THAT WHICH IS LAWFUL AND RIGHT, HE SHALL SURELY LIVE, HE SHALL NOT DIE.
ALL HIS TRANSGRESSIONS THAT HE HATH COMMITTED, THEY SHALL NOT BE MENTIONED UNTO HIM:…HE SHALL LIVE.
Again in Ezek 18:24-we see the same thing. When a person turns FROM HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND COMMITTETH INIQUITY, AND DOETH ACCORDING TO ALL THE ABOMINATIONS THAT THE WICKED MAN DOETH, SHALL HE LIVE? ALL HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS THAT HE HATH DONE SHALL NOT BE MENTIONED. The only righteousness we have is Jesus. When a person turns from Jesus, all his righteousness shall not be remembered. This includes water baptism.
Ezek 18:25-YET YE SAY, THE WAY OF THE LORD IS NOT EQUAL. HEAR NOW, O HOUSE OF ISRAEL; IS NOT MY WAY EQUAL? ARE NOT YOUR WAYS UNEQUAL?
Ezek 18:27,28-AGAIN, WHEN THE WICKED MAN TURNETH AWAY FROM HIS WICKEDNESS THAT HE HATH COMMITTED, AND DOETH THAT WHICH IS LAWFUL AND RIGHT, HE SHALL SAVE HIS SOUL ALIVE.
BECAUSE HE CONSIDERETH, AND TURNETH AWAY FROM ALL HIS TRANSGRESSIONS THAT HE HATH COMMITTED, HE SHALL SURELY LIVE, HE SHALL NOT DIE.
This is again repeated in Ezek 33:13,14,16-20. These subjects are dealt with in much more depth under the topic, CAN SALVATION BE LOST?

23-TO CONSIDER

It is a very common thing among people in this blind generation to make a comment such as, “I saved ten people” or “ten people got saved when I led them in a sinner’s prayer.” This statement is neither correct or biblical as the Scriptures have clearly shown us.

The correct way to say it, is the truth of what actually happened. “I led ten people in a sinner’s prayer.” Many people say a sinner’s prayer because it just seems like the right thing to do, or because of fear, or some other feeling; but there is no faith, no repentance, and no water baptism. To say, ten people got saved, would not be true. Sometimes these statements are made to impress people. We need to be careful of what we say.

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24-BAPTISM IS NOT

Though many denominations have their own traditions, baptism is not a ceremony for membership into a certain church or denomination. Biblical baptism involves being baptized into Christ; putting on Christ. We identify with Christ. We become part of His body. As it is written, AND HE (Jesus) IS THE HEAD OF THE BODY, THE CHURCH-Col 1:18; and again, THE CHURCH, WHICH IS HIS BODY-Eph 1:22,23.

25-THE CONCLUSION

The Scriptures clearly show that we are saved by faith in Jesus Christ, apart from all works.

The Bible does not classify a sinner’s prayer, repentance, confessing Jesus, hearing and reading God’s Word, and water baptism as a form of works. Water baptism is a command to fulfill all righteousness, and as the answer of a good conscience toward God by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Biblical baptism is to be done by full immersion in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. In the Bible, water baptism, confessing one’s sins, and calling on the name of the Lord were interwoven in Mt 3:6 and Acts 22:16.
Sprinkling baptism and infant baptism are counterfeits. They are actually no baptism at all.
Water baptism is a commandment; however, water baptism before a person repents and before a person believes with all their heart on Jesus, is no baptism at all. Water baptism comes as a result of repenting and believing on Jesus. If a person went into adultery, fornication, any sex outside of marriage, or total rebellion against God after water baptism; it may be a good indication that true repentance before water baptism was false. Thus, the water baptism meant nothing.

Some people may want to be baptized just for the sake of being baptized; yet there is no evidence of repentance or saving knowledge of Jesus from God’s Word in the person to produce faith. This is not biblical. The baptism has no meaning.

A person is not to be baptized, if they do not believe on Jesus with all their heart and repent first.
The Bible clearly shows that a person does reject God’s Word (or Jesus), if they are not baptized.
The Scriptures clearly indicate that a person may be born-again when they come up out of the water, if they truly believe on Jesus with all their heart and have repented. They come out into the newness of life.
The Scriptures appear to show that a person receives the Holy Ghost upon coming out of the water of baptism, but only if believing and repentance precede baptism.
The Bible also tells us that baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
And we are told, THERE ARE THREE THAT BEAR WITNESS IN EARTH, THE SPIRIT, AND THE WATER, AND THE BLOOD: AND THESE THREE AGREE IN ONE.
The Bible also gives us very clear indications regarding water baptism: when it can and if it should be done again.
And finally, it is written, in Gal 3:27-FOR AS MANY OF YOU AS HAVE BEEN BAPTIZED INTO CHRIST HAVE PUT ON CHRIST. How do we put on Christ? Note, it does not say baptized, but baptized “into Christ.”

26-THE FINAL PROOF

The final proof or evidence of salvation is a person’s fruit after repenting, believing on Jesus, and water baptism.

 

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Chapter Three

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EVANGELISM

 

Why Should We Witness?

      Have you ever asked yourself, “Why should I witness?” Several reasons should come to mind. First, because Jesus commands you to: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,” (Matt. 28:19). Also, Ezek. 3:11 says, “and go to the exiles, to the sons of your people, and speak to them and tell them, whether they listen or not…”
p.      Third, witness because it is a wise thing to do. Prov. 11:30 says, “…he who is wise wins souls.” Now, I know I am not a very wise person. But, since God says I’ll be wise to win souls, or try to, then great, let me at it. I want to be wise in God’s sight.
p.      Fifth, witness because it pleases God and brings glory to His name.
p.      The angels of heaven rejoice greatly when anyone passes from judgment into salvation (Luke 15:10). Shouldn’t we as Christians rejoice too? Shouldn’t we weep over the lost? Shouldn’t we ask the Lord of the field to send laborers into His harvest (Luke 10:2)? Certainly! The salvation of others is the goal of your efforts. The love of God is your motive. Is there anything greater? So, give. It is time for the church to MOBILIZE and go outside of the “safety” of the four walls! If we are as filled with the Holy Ghost as we say we are we should WITNESS!

 

 

“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15).

    Without a proper foundation, buildings don’t stand, civilizations don’t last, and Christians don’t witness well. The foundation I am talking about is the foundation of basic Christian doctrine. Do you know what the Trinity is? How many natures does Jesus have, one or two? Are we saved by grace through faith or by grace and works? For what purpose did Jesus die? Did He rise from the dead? If so, why?
p.      Perhaps you do not believe that knowing doctrine is important. Maybe you think that we should just tell people about Jesus and let them choose to accept Him or not. Unfortunately, witnessing isn’t always that simple. Knowing what and why you believe is essential. For example, if someone says he wants to receive Jesus as Savior but doesn’t believe that He is God in flesh, is that important? If someone says that the Trinity is not biblical, what would you say? Is the Holy Spirit a force or God? Doctrine is important because it defines who you put your trust in. It is not simply that you have faith, it’s who you put your faith in.

What are you called to do?

      You are called by God to accurately know His word, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15).

     You are called by God to search the scriptures daily, “Now these were more noble minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11).

How good is your foundation?

     Are you like the people in that church? Are you weak in your basic Christian foundation? Can you defend the Trinity biblically? Can you show someone in the Bible that Jesus is God in flesh or that salvation is by faith only and not by our works? Do you know if Jesus rose from the dead in the same body He died in or was it a different spiritual body? These questions are crucial and you need to have the correct answers. Do you?
p.     

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three Important Verses in Witnessing

“So shall My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11).

     If you only study one page on this section on evangelism, this page is it. Why? Because here is where you will learn three of the most important verses of evangelism: [+ Isaiah 55:11+]; Rom. 1:16; and John 12:32.

Isaiah 55:11

      [+ Isaiah 55:11+] says, “So shall My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.” God’s word is unique. It was by His word (speech) that God created, “God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light” (Gen. 1:3). “By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the Word of God…” (Heb. 11:3). Jesus is called the Word, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God… and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…” (John 1:1,14).

     Jesus forgave sins by speaking, “And seeing their faith, He said, ‘Friend, your sins are forgiven you’” (Luke 5:20). He raised the dead by speaking, “Lazarus, come forth” (John 11:43). He calmed the wind and sea with words, “Then He arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and it became perfectly calm” (Matt. 8:26). He cast out demons by speech, “And He said to them, ‘Begone!’ And they came out…” (Matt. 8:32). He healed by speech, “And He stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, ‘I am willing; be cleansed.’ And immediately his leprosy was cleansed” (Matt. 8:3,13). God’s words are powerful.
p.      The Word (the Bible) is described as having many qualities:
p.

table=. =. |=.
p>{color:#f0f;}. It is inspired: |=.
p<{color:#f0f;}. “All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16).

| =. |=. p>{color:#f0f;}. It is truth: |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. “The sum of Thy word is truth” (Psalm 119:151). | =. |=. p>{color:#000;}. It makes free: |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. “…If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). | =. |=. p>{color:#f0f;}. It produces faith: |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ” (Rom. 10:17) | =. |=. p>{color:#000;}. It judges: |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Heb. 4:12). |

     The Word of God is a mighty weapon. That is why you should memorize!

Romans 1:16

      Rom. 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” What is the Gospel? 1 Cor. 15:1-4 says it is the sacrificial death and physical resurrection of Jesus for sins. It is the powerful message of salvation to sinners. If you know that the Word of God will accomplish what God wants it to and if you know that the gospel has power to save, then it should ease your mind to know that in witnessing you are using two very powerful weapons: God’s Word and God’s Gospel. The Word of God is the Bible. The Gospel of God is His revelation or redemption.

John 12:32

     John 12:32, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.” Here Jesus speaks specifically about His crucifixion. It is He who draws to Himself all who are to be saved. When you present the gospel (1 Cor. 15:1-4), the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus for sins, Jesus draws the sinner to Himself. He does the work, not you.

    As a Christian, you are to witness with truth, honesty, and integrity. As the Lord provides the opportunity, you should respond in a humble and gentle spirit (2 Tim. 2:24). And in that, you should point people to Jesus. It is He alone who saves.

     If you know that God’s Word will accomplish what God desires, that the gospel is powerful to save, and that it is Jesus who draws all men to Himself, then you should realize that the responsibility of salvation does not rest on you, but on God. You are the teacher, the deliverer of good news. “How shall they believe in Him who they have not heard?” (Rom. 10:14). You help them hear!
p.      These three verses should help you to gain confidence. You witness; God saves. You plant the seeds; God waters. He uses you. It is His Word that accomplishes salvation. It is His gospel that is powerful. It is His Son Jesus who draws. You witness in power when you witness with the Word of God.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Salvation is God’s work

“Salvation belongs to the Lord” (Psalm 3:8).

     The Bible has a phrase that describes the non-Christian. It is ‘natural man’. In 1 Cor. 2:14 Paul says, “But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.”
p.      When Jesus’ disciples asked Him who can be saved, He replied, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matt. 19:26). That is why salvation rests in God alone by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8-9).       About now you are probably wondering what this has to do with witnessing. Why do you need to know all this? I am glad you asked. It is helpful to know because you must realize it is God who saves people. Specifically, it is the Holy Spirit who convicts the sinner of sin -- not you. “And He [the Holy Spirit], when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment” (John 16:8).
p.      Remember, the gospel is preached after sin is made known. Because the sinner cannot come to God on his own, he must be convicted of his sin, and thus be made aware of his need for salvation. The conviction of sin is beyond our control. It is the work of the Holy Spirit (John 16:8).

Prayer is essential in witnessing

      It is, then, vital that you pray and request God to convict as well as save. Prayer is an essential part of witnessing. When you witness you must pray. Then you are free to spread the gospel as effectively as you want and to trust God to give the increase (1 Cor. 3:6-7). Ask Him to send the Holy Spirit; ask Him to convict the world of sin. The work of the Holy Spirit is essential in salvation.

The Holy Spirit

      The Holy Spirit works in two types of people during witnessing: the saved and the unsaved. In the saved, He dwells within (Rom. 8:11), teaches (John 14:26), anoints (1 John 2:27), guides (John 16:13), and sanctifies (1 Pet. 1:2). Without the Holy Spirit we would be like ships without rudders, unable to live as Christians and certainly unable to witness effectively.

     Since the natural man is separated from God because of his sin (Isaiah 59:2), the Holy Spirit uses the Scriptures (that you quote) to convict him of his sinfulness, convince him of his need for salvation, and convert him through the Word. When a natural man (or woman) is aware of his sinful condition then the gospel message of deliverance from sin is preached and becomes effectual.

Sin

      Sin does two things: it offends God and it kills man. How? It offends God because it is His law we break. It kills us because of the nature of Law. Have you ever heard of a law without a punishment? A law without a punishment is only a slogan. Since God is just and laws have punishments, then God must punish the lawbreaker. But that is not the end of the story. God is also merciful and gracious. His justice fell upon Himself -- on the cross. His mercy falls upon us -- by grace through faith.

Justice, Mercy, and Grace

      Imbedded in the relationship of Law and Gospel are the concepts of justice, mercy, and grace. One of the best ways you can show the difference between them is to use illustrations that show their differences and relationships. For example, Justice is getting what we deserve. Mercy is not getting what we deserve. Grace is getting what we don’t deserve.

     Let’s change it a little. I sneak over to your house and steal your bike. You catch me. But you don’t send me to jail. Instead, you tell me to forget about it. The penalty, jail, is not met. That is mercy. I did not get what I deserved.
p.      Justice, which demands payment, does not meet the requirement of mercy, which seeks forgiveness. Mercy does not meet the requirement of justice. Grace meets both.

The Lamp Analogy1

      Let’s say I am at your house or apartment with my wife. We are talking about church and in my zeal I accidentally knock over your lamp. Now, this lamp is special. A dear friend gave it to you and it has great sentimental value, and besides, you need a light in your room. After a moment or two you realize that the damage is done and decide to forgive. You say to me, “That is alright, Matt. I forgive you for breaking the lamp, but give me ten dollars.”
p.      Let’s say that instead of asking me for ten dollars you turn to my wife and say, “Matt broke my lamp. You give me ten dollars for it.”
p.      But, we have a problem. The lamp needs to be replaced. In true forgiveness, then, who pays for its replacement? (Think about this a bit before you go on to read the answer.) Who pays? You do! You’re the only one left. Remember, if you’ve forgiven me the debt, how can you demand payment?
p.      When we sin, who do we sin against? God. Who forgives? God. Who pays? God! Did you get that? God pays! How does He do that? Simple. 2000 years ago on a hill outside the city of Jerusalem He bore our sins in His body and died on the cross (1 Pet. 2:24). He took our punishment: “Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried… He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him…” (Isaiah 53:4-5).
p.      Even though we are unworthy of salvation, even though we are unworthy of God’s love, even though we are unworthy of mercy, even though we are worthy of wrath, God saved us. He did so not because of who we are, but because of who He is, not because of what we do, but because of what He did. God is love (1 John 4:16). God is holy (1 Peter 1:16). God is good (Psalm 34:8). We could never fathom the depths of His purity and kindness (Rom. 11:33). We could never, through our own efforts, attain Him. There is only one thing left for us. We must worship Him, love Him, and serve Him. He alone is worthy. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

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1.  I do not remember where I read the lamp analogy, but I have been using it for many years. Someone contacted me and mentioned that it was used by Josh McDowell. If that is the case then he received the credit for the analogy.

 

How to Memorize Scripture

      Many people don’t think they can memorize their way out of a new shopping mall let alone remember a verse in the Bible. I’ve spoken with dozens of people about Scripture memorization who say the same thing: “I have a terrible memory.” My answer to them is, “Nonsense!” Everyone memorizes all the time. You’ve learned to speak, haven’t you? You’ve memorized thousands of do’s and don’t‘s in life, right? You know your social security number, your phone number, your address, how many brothers, sisters, or children you have, how to get to work and what to do when you get there. The problem is not that people can’t memorize, it’s that they won’t memorize.

      The Bible is the foundation for witnessing and you must memorize verses to be able to use it -- this applies to your devotional life as well as witnessing. One serious problem I've found is that most people have memorized fewer than seven verses. The average Jehovah's Witness has committed many more to memory and, given the opportunity, could make the average Christian feel about as knowledgeable as banana bread. What I would like to do is help you memorize better.

Four easy steps to memorization

      There are four easy steps to Scripture memorization. Let’s use 1 Peter. 2:24 as an example: “and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by his wounds you were healed” (NASB).

Step 1: Location

      The first step is to memorize the location, not the verse. The reason for this is if you forget the verse, but you’ve memorized the location, you can always go look it up.

     First, memorize the location: “1 Peter 2:24.” Say “1 Peter 2:24” over and over again. Don’t worry about what it says at first, just memorize the location. Make sure that when you say 1 Peter 2:24 it flows smoothly off your lips. Say 1 Peter 2:24 emphasizing different syllables. Say 1 Peter 2:24, or 1 Peter 2:24 or 1 Peter 2:24 or even 1 Peter 2:24. But say 1 Peter 2:24 enough times that when you say 1 Peter 2:24, it is as natural as breathing.

Step 2: Gist

      The second step is to learn the gist of what the verse is. In this case it is very simple, “Jesus bore our sins in His body on the cross.” Say, “Jesus bore our sins in His body on the cross” in different ways. Say, “Jesus bore our sins in His body on the cross,” or “Jesus bore our sins in His body on the cross,” and “Jesus bore our sins in His body on the cross,” etc. But say “Jesus bore our sins in His body on the cross” enough times that when you say, “Jesus bore our sins in His body on the cross,” it is as natural as saying 1 Peter. 2:24. (Kind of repetitive, isn’t it?)

Step 3: Association

      The third part is more fun. This is where you associate the two together. Say, “1 Peter 2:24 is Jesus bore our sins in His body on the cross. Jesus bore our sins in His body on the cross is 1 Peter 2:24. 1 Peter 2:24 is Jesus bore our sins in His body on the cross…” Say this over and over again, about ten times. In no time, if you do this, you will memorize.

    This association part is important because it helps you to think of one part whenever you think of the other. For example, if someone asked you “Where does it say that Jesus bore our sin in his body?”, you’d immediately reply with “1 Peter. 2:24.” It works.

Step 4: A piece of paper

      The fourth and final part is to take a piece of lined paper, 8 1/2” by 11”, and draw a vertical line about one inch from the left hand side.

     Write the verse location in the left column on your paper and on the right side simply write the verse. Do this with each verse you want to remember. Fold it up, put it in your pocket or purse, and carry it with you everywhere you go. When you forget a verse or its location simply pull out the paper and refresh your memory. In no time at all, you’ll have over one hundred verses committed to memory.

      Memorization is like exercise. The more you do it, the easier it gets; the less you do the harder it gets. So do it. If you follow this procedure your mind will become like a sponge, you’ll end up memorizing all sorts of stuff with the greatest of ease, like how many socks are in your drawer, everything that is in your refrigerator, and even where your car keys are.

     And one more thing. You will be amazed at how the Lord uses what you’ve memorized.

 

 

The Importance of Prayer in Evangelism

“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest” (Matt. 9:37-38).

      Prayer is essential in the Christian’s life. Without it your witness will be far less effective and you will be far more vulnerable to the enemy. When you witness, you need the blessing and support of the Lord. You need to be in fellowship with Him. Prayer makes this all possible.

     When you witness you plant the seeds of the Gospel, but it is God who causes the growth (1 Cor. 3:6-7). In prayer you ask God to give that growth. In prayer you ask God to convict the unrepentant of their sin and by that awaken in them the need for salvation. In prayer you, “…let your requests be made known to God” (Phil. 4:6). Think back to your own conversion. Were there people praying and requesting your salvation?
p.      Another reason to pray is that you can actually influence God with your prayers. If you are doubtful then look at 2 Kings 20:1-7. King Hezekiah was told by the prophet Amoz that he should set his house in order because he was surely going to die (v. 1). Hezekiah prayed earnestly (v. 2,3). The Lord heard his prayers and said, “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; behold, I will heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of the LORD. And I will add fifteen years to your life” (v. 5).
p.      Hezekiah’s prayer made a difference. That is why you, as a Christian, can be an effective witness, because you have influence with God and because you can ask God to save. Prayer is a vital part of witnessing.

What should you pray for?

      Pray for more people to witness. Jesus specifically asked you to pray to the Father and ask Him to send workers into the field (Matt. 9:37-38). What is the field? It is the world of sinners. Who are the workers? They are people like you. Jesus wants people to find salvation and enjoy eternal fellowship with Him. He wants you to preach the Gospel. He has given the command “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…” (Matt. 28:19). Your witness for God may or may not be verbal. But either way, you need to pray and ask God to give you strength, love, and insight.

     Pray for the desire to witness. Pray this regularly and watch the Lord change you and give you a desire to reach out and tell people about Jesus. God will grant your prayers and joy will fill your heart as you fulfill the command of God by witnessing.
p.      Pray to the Lord to bind Satan and his angels. There is a hierarchy of demons seeking to hinder your witness and steal the seeds of the Gospel that you plant. You cannot fight spirits with reason or flesh and blood, but you can ask the Lord to fight. With prayer you can assault the camp of the enemy and weaken his false kingdom. Prayer is a mighty tool, a powerful tool. You need it if you are going to witness.
p.      Pray for your needs. Do you have a close walk with God? Do you need a deeper fellowship with Him? Do you have sins you need to confess and forsake? If so, then pray. Enjoy your privilege of coming to the Creator of the universe who meets your every need. He loves you. He wants to hear from you and He wants you to make your needs known to Him. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Phil. 4:6).

Hindrances to prayer

      Prayer is important for many reasons, especially for witnessing. But prayer can be hindered. So that your prayers and witnessing might be as affective as possible, a discussion of the hindrances of prayer is necessary. Do any of the following apply to you?
p.      Selfishness hinders prayer. “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures” (James 4:3). Examine yourself. Make sure your prayers are not motivated by selfish desires. If you find that selfishness is a factor then confess it and repent.
p.      Pride hinders prayer. Jesus spoke of the Pharisee and the tax-gatherer who both were praying. The Pharisee boasted about himself while the tax-gatherer asked for mercy from God. Jesus said in Luke 18:14 regarding the tax-gatherer, “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other.” Jesus shows us that pride is sin and that it hinders prayer (James 4:6). Have the same attitude that Jesus had in heaven in His full glory as He had on Earth as a man. He was humble. If you are prideful, confess it as sin, repent, and continue in humility.
p.      A poor husband and wife relationship hinders prayer. This may seem a little out of place here, but it isn’t. A proper relationship with your spouse is very important. If there are problems because of selfishness, pride, argument, anger, unforgiveness, or any of the other multitudinous obstacles that can develop in marriage, then your prayers will be hindered. How are you doing with your mate? Are you witnessing while there is anger between you two? In Matt. 5:23-24 Jesus said, “If therefore you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar, and go your way; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.” Are you reconciled to your wife or husband (for that matter, anyone you know with whom there is strife) before you offer sacrifices of witnessing and prayer to the Lord? If not, then be reconciled, so your prayers won’t be hindered. 1 Pet. 3:7 says, “You husbands likewise, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with a weaker vessel, since she is a woman; and grant her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that you prayers may not be hindered.”

Prayer is a privilege

      Prayer is a privilege. It is a powerful tool. Without it you will be a foolish worker in the fields of the dead. Pray and ask the Lord of the harvest to raise the dead to life. Bend your knees in fellowship with your Lord. Let Him wash you in His presence and fill you with the Holy Spirit. Prayer is where you meet Him. Prayer is where you are shaped. Pray.

 

The Do’s and Don’ts of Witnessing

“Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned, as it were, with salt, so that you may know how you should respond to each person” (Col. 4:5-6).

      Like most things in life, witnessing has guidelines. Following is a list of 20 Do’s and 12 Don’t‘s. They should aid you while witnessing and help prevent serious errors. If, however, you choose to ignore them, witnessing will be difficult and awkward.

Do’s

1. Do Pray.

2. Do speak to please God.
3. Do read your Bible.
4. Do start with a positive witness for Christ.
5. Do keep things simple.
6. Do share your salvation experience with them.
7. Do know what you believe.
8. Do have a genuine love.
9. Do be simple and define your terms.
10. Do memorize appropriate Scriptures if possible.
11. Do be ready to learn from the people you witness to.
12. Do be patient and gentle.
13. Do listen attentively.
14. Do answer their questions.
15. Do ask questions.
16. Do let him save face.
17. Do bring him, if possible, to a decision about Jesus.
18. Do encourage him to study the Bible by itself.
19. Do use Scripture in context.
20. Do remember that greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4).

Don’ts

1. Don’t attack directly or make fun of someone.

2. Don’t jump from one subject to another.
3. Don’t expect too much from him.
4. Don’t have a spiritual chip on your shoulder.
5. Don’t lose patience.
6. Don’t come on too strong.
7. Don’t debate peripheral issues or doctrines.
8. Don’t get sidetracked defending your denomination.
9. Don’t be uptight.
10. Don’t assume.
11. Don’t argue.
12. Don’t speak too fast or unclearly.

     I hope these do’s and don’t‘s have brought to your attention areas that would improve your witnessing. If some of them have struck you as being particularly applicable then I would suggest you think them over and in prayer ask God to work on your heart and teach you the right way to witness. He will bless you. All you need is to trust Him and go witness.

 

 

Is Baptism Necessary for Salvation?

      One of the most nagging questions in Christianity is whether or not baptism is necessary for salvation. The answer is a simple, “No.” But you might ask, “If the answer is no, then why are there verses that say things like ‘. . .baptism that now saves you . . . ‘ (1 Pet. 3:21, NIV) and ‘ . . . Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins . . .” (Acts 2:38, NIV)? This is an honest question and it needs a competent answer. But, before I tackle this I need to lay a foundation of proper theology, then I’ll address some of those verses that are commonly used to support the idea that baptism is necessary for salvation.

God Works Covenantal

      First, you need to understand that God works covenantal. A covenant is a pact or agreement between two or more parties. The New Testament and Old Testaments are New and Old Covenants. The word “testament” comes from the Latin testamentum which means covenant. So, the Bible is a covenant document. If you don’t understand covenant you cannot understand, in totality, the issue of baptism because baptism is a covenant sign.

     If you fail to understand that God works covenantally and that He uses signs as manifestations of his covenants (rainbow, circumcision, communion, etc.) then you will not be able to understand where baptism fits in God’s covenant system.
p.      The Covenant of Grace is the covenant between God and Man where God promises to Man eternal life. It is based upon the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross and the condition is faith in Jesus Christ. As the Communion Supper replaced Passover, baptism, in like manner, replaces circumcision. “They represent the same spiritual blessings that were symbolized by circumcision and Passover in the old dispensation” (Berkhoff, Lewis, Systematic Theology, 1988, p. 620.).
p.      Circumcision was the initiatory rite into the Abrahamic covenant; it did not save. A covenant is a pact or agreement between two or more parties and that is exactly what the Abrahamic covenant was. God said to Abraham, “I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you” (Genesis 17:7, NIV). God later instructed Abraham to circumcise not only every adult male, but also 8 day old male infants as a sign of the covenant (Gen. 17:9-13). If the children were not circumcised, they were not considered to be under the promissory Abrahamic covenant. This is why Moses’ wife circumcised her son and threw the foreskin at Moses’ feet. (Ex. 4:24-25). She knew the importance of the covenant between God and her children. But at the same time we must understand that circumcision did not guarantee salvation to all who received it. It was a rite meant only for the people of God, who were born into the family of God (who were then the Jews).       An important question here is how is it possible for an infant to be entered into a covenant with God. There could be a lot of answers given but the point remains: it was done; infants were entered into a covenant relationship with God -- through their parents.
p.      If you understand that baptism is a covenant sign, then you can see that it is a representation of the reality of Christ circumcising our hearts (Rom. 2:29; Col. 2:11-12). It is our outward proclamation of the inward spiritual blessing of regeneration. It comes after faith which is a gift of God (Rom. 12:3) and the work of God (John 6:28).
p.      Third, the Bible says that it is the gospel that saves. “By this gospel you are saved…” (1 Cor. 15:2). Also, Rom. 1:16 says, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.

What is the Gospel?

      It is clearly the gospel that saves us. But what exactly is the gospel? That too is revealed to us in the Bible. It is found in 1 Cor. 15:1-4: “Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” The gospel is defined as the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus for our sins. Baptism is not mentioned here.

     Additionally, in Acts, Peter was preaching the gospel, people got saved, and then they were baptized. Acts 10:44-46 says, “While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter said, ‘Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.’ So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days” (NIV). These people were saved. The gift of the Holy Spirit was on the Gentiles and they were speaking in tongues. This is significant because tongues is a gift given to believers, see 1 Cor. 14:1-5. Also, unbelievers don’t praise God. They can’t because praise to the true God is a deep spiritual matter that is foreign to the unsaved (1 Cor. 2:14). Therefore, the ones in Acts 10 who are speaking in tongues and praising God are definitely saved and they are saved before they are baptized. This simply isn’t an exception. It is a reality.

Let’s Suppose…

      Another way of making this clear is to use an illustration. Let’s suppose that a person, under the conviction of the Holy Spirit (John 16:8), believed in Jesus as his savior (Rom. 10:9-10; Titus 2:13), and has received Christ (John 1:12) as Savior. Is that person saved? Of course he is. Let’s further suppose that this person confesses his sinfulness, cries out in repentance to the Lord, and receives Jesus as Savior and then walks across the street to get baptized at a local church. In the middle of the road he gets hit by a car and is killed. Does he go to heaven or hell? If he goes to heaven then baptism isn’t necessary for salvation. If He goes to hell, then trusting in Jesus, by faith, isn’t enough for salvation. Doesn’t that go against the Scriptures that say that salvation is a free gift (Rom. 6:23) received by faith (Eph. 2:8-9)?
p.      All right, so this sounds reasonable. But still, what about those verses that seem to say that baptism is part of salvation? I’ll address those now. But, because this subject can become quite lengthy, in fact, sufficient for a book in itself, I’ll only address a few verses and then only briefly.

John 3:5, “Jesus answered, ‘I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.’
p.      It is my opinion that the water spoken of here means the water of the womb referring to the natural birth process. Jesus said in verse three that Nicodemus needed to be born “again.” This meant that he had been born once—through his mother. Nicodemus responds with a statement about how he can’t enter again into his mother’s womb to be born. Then Jesus says that he must be born of water and the Spirit. Then in verse 6 He says that “flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit..” The context seems to be discussing the contrast between the natural and the spiritual birth. Water, therefore, could easily be interpreted there to mean the natural birth process.
p.      I would like to add that there are scholars who agree with the position and some who do not. Some believe that the water refers to the Word of God, the Bible, and others claim it means the Holy Spirit. You decide for yourself.

Acts 2:38, “Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.‘”
p.      This verse is a tough one. It seems to say that baptism is part of salvation. But we know, from other scriptures that it isn’t, lest there be a contradiction. What is going on here is simply that repentance and forgiveness of sins are connected. In the Greek, “repent” is in the plural and so is “your” of “your sins.” They are meant to be understood as being related to each other. It is like saying, “All of you repent, each of you get baptized, and all of you will receive forgiveness.” Repentance is a mark of salvation because it is granted by God (2 Tim. 2:25) and is given to believers only. In this context, only the regenerated, repentant person is to be baptized. Baptism is the manifestation of the repentance, that gift from God, that is the sign of the circumcised heart. That is why it says, repent and get baptized.

1 Pet. 3:21, “[_ and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also -- not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. _]”
p.      What does baptism correspond to? Is it the flood? Or, is it the ark? What was it that saved Noah and his family? Was it the water or the ark? Obviously, it was the Ark. Noah built and entered the ark by faith and was saved (Heb. 11:7). The flood waters destroyed the ungodly. Peter, when referring to the flood waters, refers to them as the means of destruction of the ungodly (2 Pet. 2:5; 3:6). It was the Ark that saved. Noah entered the ark by faith. Baptism here, in my opinion, refers to the Ark, not the waters. That is why the rest of the verse says, “not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God” which is consistent with what Paul said in Col. 2:11-12 where He equates baptism with being circumcised of heart.

Acts 22:16, “And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.”
p.      Is the washing away of sins done by baptism, the representation of the circumcised heart (Col. 2:11-12) which means you are already saved, or is it by the blood of Christ (Heb. 9:14; Rom. 5:9; Eph. 1:7)? Obviously it is the blood of Jesus and the washing here refers to the calling on Jesus’ name.

Rom. 6:4, “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
p.      Because the believer is so closely united to Christ it is said that the symbol of baptism is our death, burial, and resurrection. Obviously we did not die—unless, of course, it is a figurative usage.

Titus 3:5, “he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.
p.      The washing of rebirth can only be that washing of the blood of Christ that cleanses us. It is not the symbol that saves, but the reality. The reality is the blood of Christ.

Gal. 3:27, “for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
p.      This is speaking of the believer’s union with Christ. It is an identification with, a joining to, a proclamation of loyalty to, etc. In 1 Cor. 10:2 the Israelites were baptized into Moses. That means they were closely identified with him and his purpose. The same thing is meant here.

    Conclusion:
p.      One last thought: If someone maintains that baptism is necessary for salvation, is he adding a work, his own, to the finished work of Christ? If the answer is yes, then that person would be in terrible risk of not being saved. If the answer is no, then why is baptism maintained as being necessary the same way as the Jews maintained that works were necessary?

 

Essential Doctrines of Christianity 

      The Bible itself reveals those doctrines that are essential to the Christian faith. They are 1) the Deity of Christ, 2) Salvation by Grace, and 3) Resurrection of Christ, and 4) the gospel. These are the doctrines the Bible says are necessary. Though there are many other important doctrines, these four are the only ones that are declared by Scripture to be essential. A non-regenerate person, or a cultist (i.e., Mormon or Jehovah’s Witness), will deny one or more of these essential doctrines.  Please note that there are other derivative doctrines of scripture that become necessary also, the Trinity being one.

The Deity of Christ

Jesus is God in flesh (John 8:58 with Exodus 3:14). See also John 1:1,14; 10:30-33; 20:28; Col. 2:9; Phil. 2:5-8; Heb. 1:8

1 John 4:2-3: “This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.”

The above verse needs to be cross referenced with John 1:1,14 (also written by John) where he states that the Word was God and the Word became flesh.

1 John 4:2-3 is saying that if you deny that Jesus is God in flesh then you are of the spirit of Antichrist.

John 8:24, “I said, therefore, to you, that you will die in your sins. For if you do not believe that I am, you will die in your sins.”

Jesus said here that if you do not believe “that I am” you will die in your sins. In Greek I am is ‘ego eimi,’ which means ‘I am.’ These are the same words used in John 8:58 where Jesus says “…before Abraham was, I am.” He was claiming the divine title by quoting Exodus 3:14 in the Greek Septuagint. (The Septuagint was the Hebrew Old Testament translated into Greek.)

Jesus is the proper object of faith

It is not simply enough to have faith. Faith is only as valid as what it is put in. You must put your faith in the proper object. Cults have false objects of faith; therefore, their faith is useless—no matter how sincere they are.

If you put your faith in a vacuum cleaner, then you will be in a lot of trouble on the day of judgment. You might have great faith, but so what?  It is in something that can’t save you.

The Doctrine of the deity of Christ includes:

The Trinity – There is one God who exists in three persons: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They are all coeternal, and of the same nature.

Monotheism – There is only one God in all existence (Isaiah 43:10; 44:6,8; 45:5,14,18,21,22; 46:9; 47:8). Mormons believe that many gods exist though they serve and worship only one. Therefore, they are polytheists which excludes them from the camp of Christianity.

The Hypostatic Union – That Jesus is both God and man.

The sufficiency of the sacrifice of Christ – The sacrifice of Christ is completely sufficient to pay for the sins of the world

As God – Jesus must be God to be able to offer a sacrifice of value greater than that of a mere man.

He had to die for the sins of the world (1 John 2:2). Only God could do that.

As man – Jesus must be man to be able to be a sacrifice for man.

As a man He can be the mediator between God and man (1 Tim. 2:5).

Salvation by Grace

[_ "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith -- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God -- not by works, so that no one can boast" _] (Eph. 2:8-9, NIV).

“You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace” (Gal. 5:4).

This verse and its context plainly teach that if you believe that you are saved by faith and works then you are not saved at all. This is a common error in the cults. Because they have a false Jesus, they have a false doctrine of salvation. (Read [+ Rom. 3+]-5 and Gal. 3-5). 

you cannot add to the work of God. Gal. 2:21 says, “I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” (NIV)

“Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin” (Rom. 3:20).

“However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness” (Rom. 4:5).

“Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law” (Gal. 3:21).

The Resurrection of Christ

“And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith” (1 Cor. 15:14). “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins” (1 Cor. 15:17).

To deny the physical resurrection is to deny Jesus’ work, sacrifice, and our resurrection.

These verses clearly state that if you say that Jesus did not rise from the dead (in the same body He died in -- John 2:19-21), then your faith is useless.

The Gospel

“But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!” (Gal. 1:8-9, NIV).

Verses 8 and 9 here in Galatians are a self declarative statement that you must believe the gospel.  The gospel message which in its entirety is that Jesus is God in flesh, who died for sins, rose from the dead, and freely gives the gift of eternal life to those who believe.

Furthermore, it would not be possible to present the gospel properly without declaring that Jesus is God in flesh per John 1:1,14; 10:30-33; 20:28; Col. 2:9; Phil. 2:5-8; Heb. 1:8.

1 Cor. 15:1-4 defines what the gospel is: “Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (NIV).

Within these verses are the essentials: Christ is God in flesh (John 1:1,14; 10:30-33; 20:28; Col. 2:9); Salvation is received by faith (John 1:12; Rom. 10:9-10), therefore it is by grace; and the resurrection is mentioned in verse 4.  Therefore, this gospel message automatically includes the essentials.

 

 

Justification and Sanctification: What is the Difference?

     Understanding the difference between justification and sanctification can be as important as understanding the difference between salvation and damnation. Rightly dividing between the two is of crucial importance. When you understand what they are, you can then draw a line in the sand and say, “This is what saves. This is not what saves.”
p.     Sanctification, on the other hand, involves the work of the person. But it is still God working in the believer to produce more of a godly character and life in the person who has already been justified (Phil. 2:13). Sanctification is not instantaneous because it is not the work of God alone. The justified person is actively involved in submitting to God’s will, resisting sin, seeking holiness, and working to be more godly (Gal. 5:22-23). Significantly, sanctification has no bearing on justification. That is, even if we don’t live a perfect life, we are still justified.
p.     Where justification is a legal declaration that is instantaneous, sanctification is a process. Where justification comes from outside of us, from God, sanctification comes from God within us by the work of the Holy Spirit in accordance with the Bible. In other words, we contribute to sanctification through our efforts. In contrast, we do not contribute to our justification through our efforts.

Does this mean that those justified by grace can sin as much as they want?

     Romans 6:1-2 says, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer in it?”
p.     1 Thess. 4:7 says, “God has called us not for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification.”
p.     The Scriptures teach us that we are to live holy lives and avoid sin (Col. 1:5-11). Just because we are saved and eternally justified before God (John 10:28), that is no excuse to continue in the sin from which we were saved. Of course, we all sin (1 John 1:8). But the war between the saved and his sin is continuous (Rom. 7:14-20) and it won’t be until the return of Jesus that we will be delivered from this body of death (Rom. 7:24). To continually seek sin and use God’s grace to excuse it later is to trample the blood of Christ underfoot (Heb. 10:29) and to reveal the person’s true sinful, unsaved nature (1 John 2:4; 2:19). (Other verses worth checking out are: Heb. 12:14; 1 Pet. 1:14-16; and 1 Pet. 2:21-22.)

What the cults do with justification and sanctification

     The cults consistently blur the meanings of the two terms and misapply the truths taught in God’s word. The result is a theology of works righteousness, of earning their salvation which only leads to damnation. This is because by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified (Gal. 2:16). Man cannot contribute to his salvation (Gal. 5:1-8). Because man is sinful even his best deeds are stained and filthy before God (Isaiah 64:6). Therefore, making a person right before God can only be God’s work (Gal. 2:20).

    Typically, in cult theologies, a person is not justified (declared righteous in God’s eyes) until the final day of judgment when his works are weighed and a reward is given or he is found worthy of his place with God. Thus, a person with this errant theology can not claim 1 John 5:13 as their own which says, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may believe on the name of the Son of God.”
p.     People in cults don’t understand the difference between justification and sanctification. Therefore, they must depend upon a cooperative effort with God to have their sins forgiven which is, essentially, combining the filthy works of man (Isaiah 64:6) with the holy work of God. They don’t mix. They can’t. Hence, salvation is by grace through faith, alone. To believe anything else is to miss salvation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Verses showing justification by faith.

         Justification is the legal act where God declares the sinner to be innocent of his or her sins. It is not that the sinner is now sinless, but that he is “declared” sinless.  This declaration of righteousness is being justified before God.  This justification is based on the shed blood of Jesus, “…having now been justified by His blood…” (Rom. 5:9) where Jesus was crucified, died, was buried, and rose again (1 Cor. 15:1-4).  God imputes (reckons to our account) the righteousness of Christ.  At the same time our sins were imputed to Christ when he was on the cross.  That is why it says in 1 Pet. 2:24, [“and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.” _] Also, 2 Cor. 5:21 says, [“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” _] Additionally, we are justified by faith (Rom. 5:1) apart from works of the Law (Rom. 3:28). 
p.     To be saved means that God has delivered us (saved us) from His righteous wrathful judgment due us because of our sins against Him. It means that we will not be judged for our sins and be sentenced to eternal damnation.  To be saved means that we are justified before God.  Only Christians are saved.  Only Christians are justified.  The issue at hand is whether or not this salvation, this justification, is attained by faith or by faith and something else. 
p.     

John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.”

Rom. 3:22, “even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction.”

Rom. 3:24, “being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;”

Rom. 3:26, “for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”

Rom. 3:28-30, “For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law. ^29^Or is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, ^30^since indeed God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith is one.”

Rom. 4:3, “For what does the Scripture say? “And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.”

Rom. 4:5, “But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness,”

Rom. 4:11, “And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while still uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all those who believe, though they are uncircumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to them also,”

Rom. 4:16, “Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all.”

Rom. 5:1, “therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,”

Rom. 5:9“Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.”

Rom. 9:30, “What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith.”

Rom. 9:33, “just as it is written, “Behold, I lay in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense, And he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.”

Rom. 10:4, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”

Rom. 10:9-10, “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; 10 for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”

Rom. 11:6, “But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.”

Gal. 2:16, “nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified.”

Gal. 2:21, “I do not nullify the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.”

Gal.3:5-6, “Does He then, who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? ^6^Even so Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.”

Gal. 3:8, “And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “All the nations shall be blessed in you.”

Gal. 3:14, “in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”

Gal. 3:22, “But the Scripture has shut up all men under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.”

Gal. 3:24, “Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, that we may be justified by faith.”

Eph. 1:13, “In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise.”

Eph. 2:8, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.”

Phil. 3:9, “and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith.”

1 Tim. 1:16, “And yet for this reason I found mercy, in order that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience, as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.”

James 2:24, not by faith alone

     The scriptures clearly teach that we are saved (justified) by faith in Christ and what He has done on the cross.  This faith alone saves us.  However, we cannot stop here without addressing what James says in James 2:24, “You see that a man is justified by works, and not by faith alone.”
p.     There is no contradiction.  All you need to do is look at the context.  James chapter 2 has 26 verses: Verses 1-7 instruct us to not show favoritism. Verses 8-13 are comments on the Law. Verses 14-26 are about the relationship between faith and works.  
p.      In brief, James is examining two kinds of faith: one that leads to godly works and one that does not. One is true, and the other is false. One is dead, the other alive; hence, “Faith without works is dead,” (James 2:20).  
p.     Also, notice that James actually quotes the same verse that Paul uses to support the teaching of justification by faith in Rom. 4:3James 2:23 says, “and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, ‘and Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.’” If James was trying to teach a contradictory doctrine of faith and works than the other New Testament writers, then he would not have used Abraham as an example.

Conclusion

     Justification is by faith.  True faith results in regeneration of the sinner which, in turn, results in good works.  But it is not these works that earn our place with God nor keep it.  Jesus accomplished that on the cross.  All that we need, we have in Jesus.  All we need to do to be saved, to be justified, is to truly believe in what God has done for us in Jesus on the cross.  This true belief with justification before God and regeneration in the new believer, results in good works.

Chapter Four

HOW THE HOLY SPIRIT HELPS US

When we receive Jesus into our lives, the Holy Spirit comes and resides in our hearts as a guest – a guest who is with us forever (John 14:16-17 and Ephesians 1:13, 14), available to help us when we face difficulties. He fulfils this ministry in a number of ways. We have an advantage over the Old Covenant saints in that they didn’t have the Holy Spirit as a constant companion. Only Judges, Priest, Prophets, and King were “anointed” for service, but not born of the Spirit as we are through the work of Jesus Christ on Calvary. We have both the fruit of the Spirit (God’s character) and the Gifts of the Spirit (God’s power) available to us through faith in Jesus Christ. (See John 14:26 and John 15:26). God will fill anyone that is thirsty for His presence! I don’t care what denomination you are with, Jesus wants to fill you with His Spirit! Being Spirit-filled means being SPIRIT CONTROLLED!

 

This handbook was created for Christians that want study the Holy Spirit without being intimidated or ashamed to ask questions in Bible Study. I have found there are two topics in scripture that people run from, The Book of Revelations and The Holy Spirit! Put on your seat belts and get ready to learn the truth of scripture. How does the Holy Spirit help us? So often believer act like the Holy Spirit is too mysterious to study or understand. Or they act like just saying “I am spirit-filled” is enough!

 

1. The Holy Spirit testifies of our relationship with God

‘‘Those who obey his commands live in Him and He in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us’‘ 1 John 3:24 (see also 4:13; Galatians 4:6).

When we were born into God’s family as His sons, the Holy Spirit came and fused with our spirit in an everlasting relationship. Now the Holy Spirit ‘‘testifies with our spirit” (Romans 8:16) concerning our new relationship with God. Even when we go through difficult times, we still have God’s Spirit as a ‘‘guarantee’‘ (Ephesians 1:14). The Holy Spirit gives us the confidence that we belong to the Father based on His love.

‘‘This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything” 1 John 3:19-20.

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2. The Holy Spirit teaches

‘‘But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” John 14:26.

God has sent into our hearts His very own Spirit – the Spirit who ‘‘knows everything’‘ (1 John 3:20; Hebrews 4:13) and who “searches all things, EVEN THE DEEP THINGS OF GOD’‘ (1 Corinthians 2:10). Thus the Holy Spirit helps us by teaching us – and in times of spiritual attack, He helps us recall parts of His own Word, making it alive to our hearts (see Luke 12:11-12; Nehemiah 9:20). God NEVER wants us to be taken unaware by demonic doctrines, so The Holy Spirit leads us in accordance with His Word!

‘‘This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit… ‘1 Corinthians 2:13 (read also verses 9-16; 1 John 2:27).

3. The Holy Spirit guides

‘’… Because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God” Romans 8: 14.

As an expression of the Father’s loving heart, the Holy Spirit is ever present to help God’s children follow the right path. The Book of Acts gives many accounts of, the direct guidance’s of the Holy Spirit (see 10:19-20; 13:2; 16:6). Whenever we are faced with a decision that we can’t handle by ourselves, we can ask for help from the Holy Spirit – for He is in us to express the mind of Christ so that we can fulfill the will of God.

‘‘O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you . . . Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it’ ‘’ Isaiah 30: 19,21 (see also 42:16; 48:17).

4. The Holy Spirit helps us live a life pleasing to God

‘‘So l say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature . . . Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit’‘ Galatians 5:16-17,25.

The Holy Spirit gives us the ability to live a righteous life. If we strive to do this in our own strength, we will fail – but with the Spirit’s help, backed by the full legal work of the Cross, we have a God-given formula for success. This success is described as the ‘‘fruit’‘ of the Holy Spirit’s own character, and that fruit can begin to grow in our lives only when the Holy Spirit is allowed to express Himself.

‘‘But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law” Galatians 5:22-23.

5. The Holy Spirit helps us in prayer

‘‘In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weaknesses. We do not know what we ought to pray, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express” Romans 8:26.

Because of our human limitations, we often don’t know exactly how to pray, but the Holy Spirit knows exactly what needs to be expressed. When we lean on the Holy Spirit in prayer, we can have full confidence that our prayer will be answered – because we are in teamwork with God Himself!

“And the Father who knows all hearts knows, of course, what the Spirit is saying as he pleads for us in harmony with God’s own will’‘ Romans 8:27 (TLB).

6. The Holy Spirit gives power to witness

‘‘But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses . . . to the ends of the earth’‘ Acts 1:8.

The Holy Spirit is not only our power to live the Christian life, but is the power to tell others about the Good News of what God has done for us! God has given us a Commission (Matthew 28:18-19) that is far too big for us to fulfill in our own strength, but when we allow the Holy Spirit to demonstrate His power through us, we are enabled to fulfill the call.

‘’ . . . And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly . . . With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was with them all’‘ Acts 4: 31,33 (see also 1 Thessalonians 1:5).

7. The Holy Spirit gives life

‘‘And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you’‘ Romans 8:11.

The Holy Spirit works on every level of our lives. He has brought life to our:

SPIRIT

‘‘Jesus answered, ‘I tell you the truth, unless a man is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit’‘ John 3:5-6.

SOUL: MIND, EMOTIONS AND CHARACTER

‘‘And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” 2 Corinthians 3:18.

And now the marvelous truth is that the Holy Spirit is also the agent for bringing life and dynamic power into our physical bodies. We can look to the Holy Spirit for physical strength when we have to face situations that would normally wear us down (see Ephesians 3:16; John 6:63).

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus, throughout all generations for ever and ever! Amen’‘ Ephesians 3:20-21.

The Holy Spirit’s work is not limited solely to the believer; He is also very much at work in the world, and His ministry is fulfilled in five ways:

THE FRUIT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

‘‘But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law’‘ Galatians 5:22-23 (see also Romans 7:4; Ephesians 5:9; Philippians 1:11; Colossians 1:10; James 3:17).

All the fruits mentioned in this verse are NOT just the natural products of circumstances around us. Even when things are going wrong, the life of the Holy Spirit inside can well up in an overflowing expression of these fruits (see John 7:38-39).

THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS LOVE

Love is the giving of you for the good of another. The greatest expression of love is found in the Lord. John 3: 16 says, ‘‘For God so loved the world that he gave. ‘’ The fruit of love is an expression through the Holy Spirit of God’s own nature of love, and the quality of that love is described beautifully in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7:

‘‘Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, and it is not easily angered. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres’‘ (see also v.1-8; John 13:34-35; 1 John 4:7-21).

THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS JOY

‘‘If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love… I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete’‘ John 15:10-11.

The joy that comes from the Holy Spirit is not dependent on happy situations, but on the character of God. People in the world are searching for happiness, but the answer is found only in the supernatural joy of the Holy Spirit (see Nehemiah 8:10; Psalm 16: 11; 132: 16; Isaiah 12:3; 35; 10; Romans 14:17; Philippians 4:4).

THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS PEACE

Peace is that quality which everyone desires but only the child of God can truly experience. It is the peace of God Himself – ‘‘the God of peace’‘ (Romans 15:33) – that has been given to us, and is designed to operate even in times of turmoil (see John 14:27).

‘‘And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus’‘ Philippians 4:7 (see Colossians 3:15).

THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS PATIENCE

“ . . . Being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience . . . ‘’ Colossians 1:11.

Patience is that ability given by the Holy Spirit to wait with confidence for the result promised by God. It is not a passive emotion, but is in actual fact an expression of faith and of the inner strength that comes by the Spirit. The fruit of patience comes when we begin to see things the way God sees them (2 Peter 3:8-9; see also Ephesians 4:2).

THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS KINDNESS

This fruit is expressed in the loving acceptance of those around us. An attitude of intolerance leads to broken relationship. The word "kindness" comes from the same root word that "kindred" comes from- and points to a quality of relationship similar to that found in a close-knit, loving family.

‘‘Be kind and, compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you’‘ Ephesians 4:32.

THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS GOODNESS

‘‘The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart . . . For out of the overflow of the heart his mouth speaks” Luke 6:45 (see also Ephesians 5:8-10).

Goodness, as a fruit of the Spirit, is that purity of heart which produces virtuous behavior. The child of God has received, through the Holy Spirit, a new heart (Hebrews 8:10). The fruit of goodness in our daily dealings with people can be maintained by keeping our heart pure before God.

THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS FAITHFULNESS

Faithfulness is one of the most important aspects to Christian life. It begins in our relationship with God, and then overflows into our relationship with others. God is absolutely faithful (Psalm 36:5; 1 Corinthians 1:9; 2 Timothy 2:13), and it is His desire that through the Spirit that faithfulness will become a part of our character also.

‘‘They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings – and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers’‘ Revelation 17:14.

THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS GENTLENESS

The two men renowned most for the fruit of gentleness were the Lord Jesus and Moses (see Numbers 12:3; 1 Peter 2:21-23). Both were great deliverers – Moses for the nation of Israel, and Jesus for the whole world. This shows that gentleness is not weakness but CONTROLLED STRENGTH. The world’s attitude toward strength is to aggressively defend yourself, but real strength is found in a gentle spirit – an attitude of being able to receive a wrong without fighting back and demanding your rights.

‘‘Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls’‘ Matthew 11:29 (see also Psalm 37:11).

THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS SELF-CONTROL

‘‘Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control’‘ Proverbs 25:28.

This is the fulfillment fruit of the Spirit because it is the evidence of a Spirit-controlled life. The Holy Spirit’s ministry is to help us regain the control we lost to Satan and sin, so that we might live the way that God created us for.

‘‘For those who are according to the flesh and controlled by its unholy desires, set their minds on and pursue those things which gratify the flesh. But those who are according to the Spirit and controlled by the desires of the Spirit, set their minds on and seek those things which gratify the Holy Spirit” Romans 8:5 (Amp) (see also Galatians 5:16-17;Titus 2:11-13).

“The righteous . . . planted in the house of the Lord . . . will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, ‘The Lord is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him’” Psalm 92:12-15.

‘‘Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, l do not want you to be ignorant” 1 Corinthians 12:1.

The Apostle Paul placed an immense amount importance on the operation of ‘‘spiritual gifts’‘ endowed by the Holy Spirit, and so we will be looking at this vital part of the Holy Spirit’s ministry, through the individual believer, to the Church and to the world. Our first step is to see the gifts of the Spirit in their setting.

 

 

THE BODY OF CHRIST and GIFTS

‘‘The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body . . . and we were all given the one Spirit to drink’‘ 1 Corinthians 12:12-13 (see also Romans 12:4-6).

All believers are part of the Body of Christ – the Church (Ephesians 1:22-23), and ‘‘God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be’‘ (1 Corinthians 12: 18). Christ is the Head of the Body, and God’s design is that ‘‘from him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, AS EACH PART DOES ITS WORK” (Ephesians 4:16).

That means that, for this to happen, every believer must have a part to play, and it is with in this framework that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are revealed. The Body of Christ is the physical expression of Christ on earth, and just as the FRUIT of the Spirit is the expression of Christ’s character to the world, so now the GIFTS of the Spirit are the expression, through the Holy Spirit, of Christ’s power and will. These gifts are not given for ourselves, but so that others in the Body may be built up and encouraged, and as a witness to the world.

SPIRITUAL GIFTS

‘‘There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men’‘ 1 Corinthians 12:4-6.

There are nine gifts of the Spirit actually mentioned in the Bible, and God has distributed them evenly amongst different members of the Body, so that each member is dependent on the other. The gifts are not natural talents, but supernatural – given by the Holy Spirit for a specific purpose.

“Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit THE MESSAGE OF WISDOM, to another THE MESSAGE OF KNOWLEDGE by means of the same Spirit, to another FAITH by the same Spirit, to another GIFTS OF HEALING by that one Spirit, to another MIRACULOUS POWERS, to another PROPHECY, to another THE ABILITY TO DISTINGUISH BETWEEN SPIRITS, to another THE ABILITY TO SPEAK IN DIFFERENT KINDS OF TONGUES, and to still another THE INTERPRETATION OF TONGUES. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each man, just as he determines” 1 Corinthians 12: 7-11.

The gifts fall naturally into three categories:

GIFTS OF REVELATION

These gifts embrace the message of wisdom, the message of knowledge, and the ability to distinguish between different spirits – all three involve special revelation knowledge straight from the Holy Spirit. The revelation gifts are often used when we minister and win souls. Remember Jesus and the woman at the well? He was able to see into this woman’s life and tell her things only she knew. This knowledge enabled Jesus to convince her HE was the Messiah.

GIFTS OF POWER

The gifts of power include faith, gifts of healing and miraculous powers – they are an expression through the Holy Spirit of the power and earthly ministry of Jesus. Remember Philip the Deacon? He walked in the power gifts, he healed the sick and cast out devils (Mark 16:20). Nothing activates the Gifts of the Spirit like SOUL-WINNING!

GIFTS OF DIVINE COMMUNICATION

These three gifts include prophecy, the ability to speak in different kinds of tongues, and the interpretation of those tongues – these are all divinely inspired by the Holy Spirit and are an expression of Christ’s will and direction.

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THE ENEMY’S PLAYGROUND

The three chapters of 1 Corinthians 12-14 are totally devoted to a proper understanding of spiritual gifts. In chapter 12, the Apostle Paul defines the gifts, and places them in the context of the Body of Christ. Then chapters 13 and 14 are respectively devoted to:

BALANCE

''And now I will show you the most excellent way. If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, l am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, l am nothing'' 1 Corinthians 12:31 -13:2 (read also verses 8-13).

Spiritual gifts, says Paul, are nothing without love – for that is their whole reason for existence. The church in Corinth was moving in the area of spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 1:7), but had obviously become unbalanced in its understanding of the use of those gifts, and this needed to be corrected. In 1 Corinthians 14:1, Paul encourages the Corinthians to “follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts . . .”

ORDER

“For you can all prophecy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. For God is not a God of disorder, but of peace . . . Therefore, my brothers, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way’‘ 1 Corinthians 14:31-33,39-40.

The Corinthian church had obviously got into areas of difficulty with those misusing the gifts. We must understand that when we enter the realm of spiritual gifts we enter the arena of the supernatural – where the enemy also works. For this reason it is important for the gifts to operate under the covering of experienced ministries – those mature in the gifts themselves – for leadership is a God-given safeguard in the Body against the misuse of gifts.

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THE BASIS OF OPERATION (The Bottom Line)

‘‘What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. ALL OF THESE MUST BE DONE FOR THE STRENGTHENING OF THE CHURCH“ 1 Corinthians 14:26 (see also Colossians 3:16).

The reason for the gifts given by the Holy Spirit and the basis for their operation must be to build the Body of Christ up in love, so that all may grow into a deeper relationship with the Lord. And so, for this reason, it is the Holy Spirit’s desire that we:

“ . . . Eagerly desire the greater gifts . . . ‘’ 1 Corinthians 12:31.

Gifts of Revelation

1. The Message of wisdom

‘‘Keeping close watch on him, they sent spies, who pretended to be honest. They hoped to catch Jesus in something he said so that they might hand him over to the power and authority of the governor. So the spies questioned him, ‘Teacher, we know that you speak and‚ teach what is right, and that you do not show partiality but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?’ He saw through their duplicity and said to them, ‘Show me a denarius. Whose portrait and inscription are on it?’ ‘Caesar’s,’ they replied. He said to them, ‘Then give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.’ They were unable to trap him in what he had said there in public. And astonished by his answer, they became silent’‘ Luke 20: 20-26.

Jesus Himself, the source of all revelation, provides the best examples of the message of wisdom (see Luke 4:1-13; 10:25-37; 20:19-39; John 8:3-11). The message of wisdom operates in circumstances where we may be faced with a problem that we don’t know the solution to. The Holy Spirit can prompt our hearts, and suddenly we find ourselves with a wise answer. This gift is particularly useful in counseling or witnessing to others.

‘‘If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault; and it will be given to him . . . the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere” James 1:5; 3:17.

2. The Message of Knowledge

“When Jesus saw Nathaniel approaching, he said of him, ‘Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false.’ ‘How do you know me?’ Nathaniel asked. Jesus answered, ‘I saw you while you were still under the fig-tree before Philip called you’ ‘’ John 1:47-48.

The Holy Spirit inspires the message of knowledge, like the message of wisdom. It is not natural, acquired learning, but a bit of knowledge that could not have been received by any other means than supernaturally. Once again, this is a gift of the Spirit which can help when we talk to others about the Lord – we can ask the Lord to isolate for us the key-problem in their lives so that we can speak right to the heart (see Matthew 9:1-8; 17:27; John 4:18; Acts 9:11-12; 2 Kings 6:8-12). God is all knowing – He has a complete knowledge of things past, present and future (Psalm 147:5; Hebrews 4:13) – and in the operation of a message of knowledge, the Holy Spirit gives the believer a portion of specific knowledge straight from the Throne of God.

‘’ . . . That they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in who are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge’‘ Colossians 2: 2-3.

3. The Ability to distinguish between Spirits

‘‘From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day raised to life. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. ‘Never, Lord!’ he said. ‘This shall never happen to you!’ Jesus turned and said to Peter, ‘Out of my sight, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men’ ‘’ Matthew 16:21-23.

This gift is the God-given ability to identify the difference between good or evil spirits, between right and wrong attitudes of the heart, and between the Holy Spirit’s work and that of the spirit of Satan (see Matthew 23:13-36; Luke 9:51-56; Acts 5:3; 8:9-24). The gift of distinguishing between spirits comes into crucial use when on the outside it is impossible to tell whether something that is said is from God or from the enemy (see Acts 16:16-18). Like the first two gifts of revelation, this gift can be used particularly in witnessing and counseling, and is designed to help us perceive the spiritual powers and forces we are dealing with (see also 1 John 4:1-3,6; 1 Corinthians 12:3).

The Gifts of Power

1. The Gift of Faith

The gift of faith is NOT saving faith – the faith we put in Jesus when we are born again. Nor is it the daily trust we place in God’s character when we need His help. It is a dynamic, direct inspiration from the Holy Spirit related to the boldness which many Old Testament heroes experienced and which the early Church was birthed in (see Joshua 10:12-13; 1 Kings 17:1; 2 Kings 1: 1-15; Daniel 6:16-23; Mark 4:35-41; Acts 3:2-7; 27:22-25).

“ . . . I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you’ ‘’ Matthew 17: 20.

2. The Gifts of Healing

This gift is one of the “signs and wonders” gifts, which confirms for the world the reality of the Gospel, and is an extension of the ministry of Jesus when He was upon the earth. It is one of the ways that the Holy Spirit “bears witness” that Jesus is alive (see Acts 5:32) (see also Matthew 4:23-24; 11:4-5; John 9:6-7; Acts 3:6; 5:14-15; 8:5-8; 10:38).

Jesus promised of the believer:

‘‘I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father” John 14:12.

3. The Gift of Miraculous Power

The Bible is full of miracles, displaying God’s power over all circumstances of life. The gift of miracles involves a special endowment of the creative power of the Holy Spirit over natural laws for a specific time and purpose, and can include everything from miraculous provision to the casting out of evil spirits (see Exodus 7:10; 10:21-22; 1 Kings 18:31-39; 2 Kings 2:13-14; 4:1-7; Matthew 8:23-27; 17:27; Mark 6:41-51;John 2:1-11;Acts 8:39-40; 19:11-12).

‘‘And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well’‘ Mark 16:17-18.

In all these gifts, because it is “the same Spirit’‘ working them, there is considerable overlap and dependence on other gifts. There are special ministries that the Lord has endowed specifically with one gift or another, but it is the Holy Spirit’s desire that every believer operate in some or all of His gifts when the need arises.

 

The Greater Gifts

That there is far more teaching in the Word of God on these three gifts than on all the rest put together. This is because they are vitally important for the building up of:

The individual believer (tongues) (1 Corinthians 14:4). The Body of Christ (prophecy, and tongues with interpretation) (1 Corinthians 14:4-5).

The Gift of Prophecy

Prophecy is a gift straight from the Holy Spirit, and comes from the Greek word meaning ‘‘to bring forth”. It can be a message of encouragement from the Lord, a word of direction or warning, or even a message telling about something that will happen in the near future (see Luke 1:46,67; Acts 11:27-30; 21:10-11; 1 Corinthians 14:3).

Safeguards

“Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said’‘ 1 Corinthians 14:29 (read also verse 32).

There are different realms of prophecy requiring different measures of safeguard. There is prophesying which:

Strengthens, encourages and comforts (1 Corinthians 14:3). Brings direction to a person’s life (1 Timothy 1:18; 4:14). Foretells future events (Acts 11: 27-30; 21: 10-11). Reveals sin and brings a warning from God (1 Corinthians 14:24-25).

With each of the four realms of prophecy there is a lesser or greater need for ‘‘weighing carefully what is said’‘ by experienced ministries. ‘‘For we know in part and we prophesy in part’‘, Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:9 (read also verses 10-12), and so there is needed the gift of distinguishing between spirits. The very first principle for judging a prophecy is whether or not it is based on the Word of God (see 2 Peter 1:19). The reason for these safeguards is because there is such a thing as a false prophet (1 John 4:1-3,6).

All may prophesy

Paul encourages a desire for the ‘‘greater gifts’‘ (1 Corinthians 12:31) – of which he puts the gift of prophecy at the top of the list because it builds up the Body (14:1,12). In the realm of encouragement and building up the Body, Paul says:

“For you can ALL prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged . . . Therefore, my brothers, be eager to prophesy . . . ‘’ (1 Corinthians 14:31,39; see also verses 24-25; Acts 19:6; Romans 12:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:20).

The Gift of Tongues

‘‘I would like every one of you to speak in tongues . . . I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you’‘ 1 Corinthians 14:5,18.

Tongues (and its accompanying gift of interpretation) is the only gift not operating in the Old Testament – although it is foretold in Deuteronomy 28:49 and Isaiah 28:11 (see 1 Corinthians 14:21). It acts as one of the signs of the accompanying presence of the Holy Spirit (Mark 16:17; Acts 2:4), and is specifically designed by the Lord for the building up of the believer:

“He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself . . . “ 1 Corinthians 14:4.

According to 1 Corinthians 13:1, the gift of tongues appears to fall into two main classifications:

The Tongues of Men

These tongues are natural languages that the Holy Spirit can supernaturally enable a believer to speak.

“All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them . . . a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. Utterly amazed, they asked, ‘Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs – we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!’ “ Acts 2:4,6-11.

The Tongues of Angels

These tongues are not the natural languages of men, but heavenly languages. As opposed to the tongues of men, the purpose of these tongues is for the edification of the believer as his spirit communicates with God’s Spirit (see 1 Corinthians 14:14-18).

“For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit” 1 Corinthians 14:2.

Some sections of the Body do not fully understand the gift of tongues, but the Scripture clearly says: “ . . . do not forbid speaking in tongues” (1 Corinthians 14:39), provided things are done in an orderly way (verse 40).

The Gift of Interpretation of Tongues

Tongues, by themselves, only build up the believer who is speaking, not the rest of the Body, but the gift of interpretation takes a message in tongues and makes it intelligible for other believers. It elevates the gift of tongues from individual edification to Body-edification, so that everyone can be encouraged and built up by what is said. The gift of tongues CAN be used in the church when it comes to individual or corporate worship, because worship is simply between the individual believer and God. But when it comes to a message to the Body, then ‘‘the man who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret what he says” (1 Corinthians 14:13).

‘‘He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but I would rather you prophesy. He who prophesies is greater than one who speaks in tongues, UNLESS HE INTERPRETS, so that the church may be edified” 1 Corinthians 14:4-5 (see also verses 6-19).

Those who exercise in the gifts must remember that the giving of those gifts by the Holy Spirit is for the purpose of building up the lives of God’s people in a framework of love and concern for one another.

“Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy… Since you are eager to have spiritual gifts, try to excel in gifts that build up the church“1 Corinthians 14:1,12.

The Promise of the Father

Right throughout the Old Testament, the Bible reveals one major problem in man that God continually came up against:

‘‘The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure . . . ‘’ Jeremiah 17: 9.

In all his dealings with mankind, people would inevitably rebel against God, and through Jeremiah and many of the other prophets. God identified the root cause of this as the heart of man – his nature of sin. But God also gave a special promise that would remedy the problem forever:

‘‘I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees . . . ‘’ Ezekiel 36,26-27.

God’s Power Within

‘‘I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high’‘ Luke 24:49.

When the Holy Spirit was outpoured on the Church, He fulfilled every detail of the Father’s promise in Ezekiel 36. The Spirit’s infinite power was given to the believer so that he could live a life pleasing to God. This Spirit does by:

1. Setting Us Free from Sin’s Power

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death’‘ Romans 8:1-2.

2. Making Us Clean in God’s Sight

‘’ . . . He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life’ ‘ Titus 3: 5-7 (see also 2 Corinthians 5:21; 2 Thessalonians 2:13).

3. Giving Us Instant Access to the Father

‘‘For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit” Ephesians 2:18 (see also Hebrews 4:16).

4. Empowering Us

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being . . . that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God . . . who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us’‘ Ephesians 3:16,19-20 (see also 1:19-20; Colossians 1:10-11; 2 Timothy 1:7).

Now, with the Holy Spirit living inside, the believer has ALL power – out of the treasure house of God’s vast “riches’‘ – to live the way God wants him to live (2 Corinthians 4:7). But there is also something required of the believer to do: We are encouraged to APPROPRIATE what the Holy Spirit has given us.

‘‘You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God IN TRUE RIGHTEOUSNESS AND HOLINESS” Ephesians 4:22-24 (see also Romans 12:2).

Walking in the Spirit

‘‘So l say, live by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature . . . ‘’ Galatians 5:16-17.

We have been given the Holy Spirit, but He is only released to do His work in our lives as we allow Him to. We are not only to “receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22), but are to ‘‘walk in the Spirit’‘ (Galatians 5:25, KJV) – to live under His canopy and allow Him to have full influence over our daily lives. This ‘‘walk” in the Spirit is also described as:

1. Walking in the Light

‘‘If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from every sin’‘ 1 John 1: 6-7 (see also Ephesians 5:8-10).

2. Walking in Love

‘‘Therefore be imitators of God . . . And walk in love . . . as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us . . . “ Ephesians 5: 1-2 (Amp).

3. Walking in Faith

“For we walk by faith . . . not by sight or appearance’‘ 2 Corinthians 5:7 (Amp).

‘‘Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of the sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace” Romans 8:5-6 (read also verses 7-8; Galatians 6:8).

The Holy Spirit works in the believer by prompting and encouraging him toward the kind of life He wants him to live (1 Thessalonians 2:12; 4:1-8). If we respond, the Holy Spirit is released to do a work of change in our lives, so that we grow to be more like Him (2 Corinthians 3:18). If, however, a person deliberately chooses to resist the Spirit’s prompting, he can, in successive stages, end up:

Grieving the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30).

Quenching the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19).

Insulting the Holy Spirit (Hebrews 10:29).

God said in Genesis 6:3: “My Spirit will not contend with man for ever . . . “, and if, after continual pleading on the Holy Spirit’s part, a person still refuses Him, He will then ‘‘give him over’‘ to what he really wants (Romans 1:24,26,28; 1 Corinthians 5:5; 1 Timothy 1:20 – in the hope that he will eventually ‘‘come to his senses’‘ and return to the Lord (read Luke 15:11-32; 2 Timothy 2:26).

‘‘For the grace of God . . . teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives . . . to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good’‘ Titus 2:11-12,14.

Life in the Spirit

The Holy Spirit birthed us into a new life in God, and now it is the Spirit who helps us live that life. As we live in Him we experience the “life and peace’‘ (Romans 8:6) that we were created for, and it is as we walk under his covering that the fruits of the Spirit, as well as His gifts, begin to operate. The secret to the Christian life is found in the Holy Spirit, for He is:

“ . . . able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence with out fault and with great joy . . . ‘’ Jude 24.

What is speaking in tongues?

Definitions: Tongues: “ecstatic, usually unintelligible utterance accompanying religious excitation” Ecstasy: “a state of overwhelming emotion; especially: rapturous delight” (both from Webster’s Dictionary)

Speaking in tongues is a unique way of communicating with God, and edifying oneself and/or others (1 Corinthians 14:4-5). It is most often used in prayer and worship.

Tongues and interpretation are gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:28, 1 Corinthians 12:4-11).

Tongues speak to God through “mysteries” of the spirit (1 Corinthians 14:2). Similarly, praying in tongues is praying with the spirit and singing in tongues is singing in the spirit. The natural man will not understand these manifestations unless interpretation is given (1 Corinthians 14:2,14).

Why speak in tongues?

We receive edification needed for spiritual warfare (1 Corinthians 14:4). Tongues are like “spiritual battery charging”. Spiritual warfare often weakens faith and hope, and tongues can help rebuild them. Paul spoke more in tongues than many Christians did (1 Corinthians 14:18), and it is likely that he used tongues to edify himself during his many tribulations and trials (2 Corinthians 11:22-31).

The effectiveness of our intercessory prayer is increased: When we don’t know how to pray, tongues directly engages the intercession of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:26).

Our communication and worship of God is carried to a deeper spiritual level (1 Corinthians 14:2)

It is an opportunity to yield ourselves to God in humility. Speaking in tongues surrenders our human desire for control and understanding to God.

Points about tongues and interpretation:

1 Corinthians 14 is a key reference chapter for tongues. See 1 Corinthians 12-13 for helpful information on all the gifts of the Spirit.

Tongues may take the form of an unknown (1 Corinthians 14:2 , 2 Corinthians 12:2-6) or known language (Acts 2:8-12)

As with all Spirit’s gifts, tongues and interpretation should be grounded in love (1 Corinthians 13:1,4-7)

Tongues should be exercised in a peaceful, organized manner, not in confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33)

A person speaking in tongues should pray that he may interpret (1 Corinthians 14:13)

Tongues in a worship service are best done with interpretation, so that all people present are edified (1 Corinthians 14:26-28). Paul explained that there should be two or at most three people speaking in turn; one person (at least) should interpret; if there is no one to interpret, the speaker should keep silent, speaking to himself and God (1 Corinthians 14:27-28).

People should not ascribe tongues or other works of the Spirit to the work of Satan (Matthew 12:22-32), nor should they forbid speaking in tongues (1 Corinthians 14:39).

The Apostle Paul’s comments on tongues[*:*] Paul wrote the majority of Bible’s guidance on tongues. Paul mentioned in 1 Corinthians 14:18 that he spoke in tongues more than any of the Corinthians. He also witnessed a form of tongues (“inexpressible words” NKJV) during a miraculous revelation in heaven (2 Corinthians 12:2-6). His comments provide expert guidance on the subject:

Paul desired that all the Corinthian Christians would have spoken in tongues (1 Corinthians 14:5).

People who spoke in tongues should pray for interpretation of the tongues (1 Corinthians 14:14)

Paul found it best to engage his mind when he prayed or sang with the spirit in case interpretation might be given (1 Corinthians 14:15).

For group gatherings, he preferred to speak in plain language so that all present could be edified (1 Corinthians 14:19).

Examples of tongues in the early church[*:*] The accounts of speaking in tongues in the New Testament coincide with special moves of the Holy Spirit, when the believers received a “filling” of the Holy Spirit:

Acts 2:1-13 – Jews at Pentecost are filled with the Spirit and speak in tongues

Acts 10:45-47 -- Gentiles receive the Spirit at Cornelius’ house and speak in tongues

Acts 19:5-7 – Ephesians Christians filled with the Spirit and speak in tongues

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What if I don’t want to pray in tongues? It is not mandatory that every Christian speaks in tongues! And his/her salvation certainly does not depend on it. God will not force His gifts on anyone, as He is gentle and patient. If you don’t feel comfortable praying in tongues, then don’t! You can still pray effectively with confidence that God will hear and intercede in your prayers.

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Pray in the Spirit

“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints” Ephesians 6:18 NKJV

Why pray in the Spirit?

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|<>. p<{color:#f0f;}. Allows God to search the depths of your spirit and soul. (I Cor. 14:4) | <>. |<>. p<{color:#f0f;}.   |<>. p<{color:#f0f;}. Builds faith (Jude 20,21) Allows Holy Spirit to pray God’s perfect will for you. (Romans 8:26-28) Helps you be a more effective intercessor. (Romans 8:27) Helps you overcome the weaknesses of the flesh (Romans 8:26-28) | <>. |<>. p<{color:#f0f;}.   |<>. p<{color:#f0f;}. It is a Spiritual Gift (I Cor. 12) | <>. |<>. p<{color:#f0f;}.   |<>. p<{color:#f0f;}. Aids you in worship (I Cor. 12) | <>. |<>. p<{color:#f0f;}.  
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p<{color:#f0f;}. Encourages you (Jude 20,21)

How it works: The Bible tells us that God’s Spirit intercedes for us when we pray. God perfects, directs and projects our prayers to the areas where they are needed:

In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should. But the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groaning too deep for words and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. Romans 8:26-27 NIV

How to pray in the Spirit: Paul’s command to the Ephesians “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit” (6:18) captures the “how to” part for us. The definition of supplication is “asking for humbly or earnestly, as by praying” . Every time we go to God, we should be doing so earnestly in humility, inviting the Holy Spirit to work in the situation as God wills. It is really that simple. God’s Spirit does the difficult part from there by deciding the best course of action and doing it according to God’s will (Romans 8:26-27). He may let us know what He is doing and He may not, as many of God’s ways are “too deep for words.” If a thundering voice acknowledged the receipt of our prayer every time we prayed, we might not be as attuned to the other forms of confirmation and guidance that God uses. God can use many ways to speak to us. Some ways God speaks include a clear quiet voice in our mind, a “knowing,” a situation, a word from another person, a Bible scripture, a vision, a trance and yes, even an audible voice. No matter how God chooses to work with us, we can have faith that we will hear Him and recognize His voice if we are abiding in Him (John 10:4).

What about “speaking in tongues?” Speaking in tongues is a gift of the Holy Spirit that can add new dimensions to one’s prayer, worship and ministry in the church. Some people refer to tongues as a special “prayer language.” Tongues can be an integral part of praying in the Spirit.

When to Pray: Always! (2 Timothy 1:3, 2 Thessalonians 1:11) Getting into the habit of constant prayer is a difficult thing to do. It must be consistently practiced and requires a change in control of life. Prayer is an acknowledgement that “I am not in control and that I need God to intervene.” This attitude opens the door for communication with God, who can direct and apply my prayers in ways far beyond my own understanding and imagination.

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Time Line of Old Testament History

table=. =. |=\2.
p={color:#000;}. Old Testament 10,000 BCE – 800 BCE | =. |=.
p<{color:#f0f;}. 10,000 – 8000 |=.
p<{color:#f0f;}. The Natufian culture appeared in modern-day Israel – some of the first known human settlements in the world.

| =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. 8000 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. Agriculture began in Near East as people started using “digging sticks” to plant the seeds of wild grasses which would eventually become the domesticated wheat we know today. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. c. 6750 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. Pigs are domesticated in modern Iraq. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. 6500 – 6300 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. Wheel was invented by Sumerians who lived in the Tigris-Euphrates river basin. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. c. 6000 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. Chickens were domesticated in southern Asia. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. 5508 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. Year of Creation, as calculated in seventh-century CE Constantinople and used by [+ Eastern Orthodox Church+] until 18th century CE. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. 5490 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. Year of Creation, as calculated by Syrian Christians. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. c. 5000 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. The earliest known cities were founded as increasing numbers of people began to gather in villages scattered around the Fertile Crescent. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. 4004 (October 23) |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. Date of Creation, as calculated by Irish theologian [+ James Ussher+] in 1650 CE. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. c. 4000 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. Horses were domesticated. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. c. 4000 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. Sumerians in southern Mesopotamia developed the boat for water transportation. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. 3760 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. Year of Creation, as calculated by the [+ Hebrews+] and used since the 15th century CE. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. 3641 (February 10) |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. Date of Creation, as calculated by the Mayans. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. 3500 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. Sumerian society developed in the Tigris-Euphrates river basin. The Sumerians made use of many agricultural advances, such as domestic animals to pull plows, irrigated desert, drained marshlands and more in order to create a large, cosmopolitan civilization. The increased output of food allowed for the further development of a “leisure class” that did not have to work for food, allowing them to become priests, artists, merchants, scholars, etc. The Sumerians also developed oar-powered ships, animal-drawn wheeled chariots and other, similar vehicles, bronze objects, and the written cuneiform alphabet. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. c. 3400 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. Early form of hieroglyphic writing started being used in Egypt. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. 3100 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. The first Egyptian Dynasty united the southern and northern kingdoms under the rule of Menes, founder of the city of Memphis which would become the center of his authority. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. c. 3000 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. First human settlements were established on the site of modern-day Athens. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. c. 3000 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. Stonehenge was built in England. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. c. 2980- 2950 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. Life of Imhotep, famed Egyptian physician. He was worshiped as a medical demigod in ancient Egypt because of his work on medical methods for treating diseases rather than simply religious methods. Imhotep was also responsible for the construction of the pyramid of Zoser (the Step Pyramid at Sakkara), the first large stone structure in the entire world. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. c. 2800 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. Egyptians began wearing wedding rings, believing that the circular bands symbolized eternity. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. 2613 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. The Great Pyramid of Cheops at Giza was constructed by Cheops, son of the founder of Egypt’s 4th Dynasty, Snefru. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. c. 2600 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. The first recorded seagoing voyage carried Egyptian sailors to Phoenicia in search of cedarwood. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. c. 2600 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. Chinese began cultivation of silkworms. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. 2560 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. Great Sphinx at Giza, a 189-foot long monument to King Khafra (Khafre), the third king of the 4th Dynasty, was carved. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. 2500 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. Sumerian cuneiform script was simplified from an earlier version consisting of thousands of ideograms. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. 2350 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. Sargon I founded the Akkadian empire, which ruled Mesopotamia for the next couple of centuries. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. 2349 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. The Great Flood occurred (according to fundamentalist sources). | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. 2247 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. The Tower of Babel was constructed (according to fundamentalist sources). | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. 2200 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. Indo-European invaders, speaking the earliest forms of Greek, entered the mainland of Greece, and the Mycenaean Civilization (named after the leading Greek city on the peninsula from 1600-1200 BCE) emerged. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. 2100 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. Ziggurat of Ur was built by Sumerian king Ur-Nammu. Sumerians called it temen, from which the later word temple was derived. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. 2000 – 1500 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. Minoan Civilization (named after the Cretan ruler Minos) reached its height with its central power in Knossos on the island of Crete. This culture may have been more female-oriented and peaceful than others at the time. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. c. 2000-1700 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. Abraham left Ur in Chaldea (according to traditional sources). This is often called the age of the “patriarchs” (Abraham, [+ Isaac+] and [+ Jacob+]). | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. c. 2000 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. Domestic bathroom plumbing appeared in Crete. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. c. 2000 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. Babylonians replaced Sumerians as the dominant power in the Middle East, creating a decimal system notation. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. c. 1800 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. Babylonians are believed to have initiated the custom of the handshake. It began with grasping the hand of a statue of the god Marduk in order to receive his power symbolically and it later came to symbolize good will. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. c. 1792-1750 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. [+ Hammurabi+] ruled Babylon and created his famous legal code. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. 1750 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. The Babylonians began using windmills to pump water for irrigation. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. 1700 – 1500 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. Possible dates for when Joseph could have been in Egypt. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. 1660 – 1550 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. The Hyksos, a Semitic tribe, invaded Egypt and dominated the Nile Delta for about a century. The Hyksos were successful because they were superior archers and rode horses and chariots at the same time. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. c. 1650 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. Cult of Yahweh, earliest form of Judaism, may have been created by [+ Abraham+] and carried on by his sons. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. 1568 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. The Hyksos, a semitic tribe which had dominated the Nile Delta, was finally driven out by Egyptian leader Ahmose I, who then founded the 16th Dynasty. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}.   |=. p<{color:#f0f;}.   | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. 1523 – 1027 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. Shang Dynasty in China. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. 1491 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. Date of the [+ Exodus+] of the Hebrews out of Egypt. (according to fundamentalist sources) | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. 1491 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. Ten Commandments were received. (according to fundamentalist sources) | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. c. 1479 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. Egyptian armies under Pharaoh Tuthmosis III defeated a confederation of Palestinian states and captured a fortress on the hill of Meggido. Christian theology predicts a final battle between good and evil on this spot (Armageddon = Hill of Megiddo). The first use of the title “Pharaoh,” which means “Great House,” is found here applied to Tuthmosis. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. 1470 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. A massive volcanic eruption at Thera destroyed the Minoan civilization on Crete. Because of huge waves rising up to 160 feet, the water levels along the eastern shores of the Mediterranean at first dropped, but then the Egyptian cost was flooded by large amounts of seawater, resulting in famine due to the loss of arable farmland. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. 1451 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. Hebrews arrive in Canaan (according to traditional sources) | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. 1400 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. Iron Age began in Asia Minor when methods for smelting iron ore were developed | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. 1400 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. Mycenaean Civilization replaced Minoan Civilization after the destruction of Knossos. Bronze weapons, war-scenes on art, Cyclopean defense walls, and the fact that male warriors were buried with their weapons provide evidence for the claim that the Mycenaeans were militaristic. The horse-drawn chariot emerged around this time and the Mycenaeans would dominate the Aegean world for about 200 years. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. 1349-1334 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. Amenhotep IV, aka [+ Akhenaten+], ruled Egypt and developed the first recorded strict monotheism. He was succeeded by his nine-year-old son Tutankhamen, who eliminated his religious reforms | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. 1300 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. In Babylon they developed a new alphabetic script which was a further simplification of the cuneiform writing. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. 1305 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. Accession of Ramses II, the Great, of Egypt to pharaoh. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. c. 1250 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. Possible date of the [+ Exodus+] of the Hebrews out of Egypt. (according to modern scholars) | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. 1232 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. Israelites of some sort were definitely in Canaan – Ramses II’s son Merneptah defeated them in battle. They were not necessarily the same Israelites as those who left in the Exodus – they might have been from earlier emigrations. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. 1200-1020 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. Period of the [+ Judges+] in Israel. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. 1200 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. Gilgamesh epic, recorded in cuneiform script, is the first known such written legend. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. 1193 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. Traditional date set for the city of Troy being destroyed by besieging Greek armies. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. 1146 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. [+ Nebuchadrezzar I+] reigned as King of Babylon for 23 years. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. 1141 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. According to biblical accounts in [+ Samuel+], Israelite armies suffered massive losses to the Philistines. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. 1050 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. Philistines conquered Israel. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. 1027 – 771 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. Zhou Dynasty in China. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. 1020 – 922 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. Period of the United Kingdom of Jews. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. 1020 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. Samuel, last of the Israelite Judges, anointed Saul as the first King of Israel. Saul led a successful rebellion against Philistines. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. c. 1000 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. Earliest Old Testament documents were created from older and highly developed oral tradition. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. 1000 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. Saul was killed at the Battle of Gilboa and was succeeded by David, first as King of Judah and then later as King of Israel. David later captured Jerusalem and made it his capital. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. c. 1000-950 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. Biography of David may have been composed, eventually becoming a written narrative of David’s life later included in I and II [+ Samuel+] and IKings. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. c. 1000 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. Iberians invaded the region of modern Spain, giving the Iberian Peninsula its name. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. 961 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. David died and was succeeded by his son, [+ Solomon+]. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. 953 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. Dedication of the Temple of Jerusalem, built by Solomon. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. c. 950 – 900 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. Composition of the “Yahwistic” (J) document, one of the four major sources believed to have been the basis of the [+ Pentateuch+] (Books of Moses): Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. 922 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. Death of Solomon, who was succeeded by his son, Rehoboam. Rebellion against Rehoboam was led by Jeroboam, leading to a split of the kingdom into [+ two halves+]: Judah in the south under Rehoboam and Israel in the north under Jeroboam. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. c. 900 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. Assyrian war chariots were equipped with metal tires (copper or bronze) for greater durability. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. 884 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. Ashurnasirpal II, Assyrian king, began a 24-year reign during which he defeated Babylon and ensured Assyrian dominance throughout the Near East. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. 854 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. Ahab of Israel joined with Ben Hadad of Damascus and Irkhuleni of Hamath in an allied army to halt Shalmaneser III. Egypt and Jehoshaphat of Judah lent support, but the alliance failed to stop the onslaught. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. c. 850 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. Traditional date for the probable composition of Homer’s epic poems The Illiad and The Odyssey. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. c. 850 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. Traditional date for when Elijah lived and prophecized. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. c. 850 – 800 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. Composition of the “Elohistic” (E) document, another major source of the Pentateuch. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. 842 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. Jehu, an Israelite soldier, led a rebellion against Jehoram, Ahab’s son, and founded a new dynasty in Israel. By the next year, however, he was paying tribute to the Assyrian leaders. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. 814 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. Phoenicians founded Carthage (literally: “New Town”) near their North African colony of Utica. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. 801 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. Indians began to venerate cows and dairy products. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. 800 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. Increase in trade and the establishment of governmental defense fortifications allowed for the emergence of Greek city-states from tribal communities. These grew up around marketplaces and included Athens, Thebes and Megara on the Greek mainland. The Greek city-states were considered the most famous units of Greek political life to develop in this society. | =. |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. 800 – 500 |=. p<{color:#f0f;}. This period, often referred to as the Archaic period, marked the developments of literature and the arts, politics, philosophy and science. The Peloponnesian city of Corinth, Sparta and cities along the coast of the Aegean Sea flourished. For the most part, the Greek city-states were similar in their political evolution, with the exception of Sparta’s elite dictatorship.

Most began their political histories as monarchies, evolved to oligarchies, were overthrown during the age of the tyrants (650-500 BCE) and eventually established democracies in the sixth and fifth centuries. Of the Greek city-states, Athens and Sparta were the two most important. |

Continue reading about Biblical history with the second timeline about the Old Testament: [+ 800 BCE – Year 0+].

The Final Examination

FINAL EXAMINATION

All Biblical quotations have been taken from the KJV

 

1. The Ten Commandments are recorded in which two books?

a. Genesis and Numbers

b. Exodus and Numbers

c. Exodus and Deuteronomy

d. Numbers and Deuteronomy

 

2. When Moses asked for a successor, who was named?

a. Aaron the brother of Moses

b. Caleb the son of Jephunneh

c. Eleazar the priest

d. Joshua son of Nun

 

3. By what means were the Israelites guided through the wilderness after they left Egypt?

a. Jethro and his family

b. Moses’ knowledge of the area

c. The pillars of cloud and of fire

d. The reconnaissance of the twelve spies

 

4. Abraham was called by God to go out of what place?

a. Arabia

b. Canaan

c. Egypt

d. Haran

 

5. When Abram and Sarai went to Egypt, he asked her to say she was his sister. What resulted?

a. Abraham repented and tried to change Sarai’s course.

b. Pharaoh married Sarai, and she bore a son.

c. Pharaoh was glad because Sarai was very beautiful, and he asked Abraham to oversee his estates.

d. The Lord afflicted Pharaoh, and Abraham departed with great wealth.

 

6. When Abraham divided the land with him, what land did Lot choose?

a. the hill country

b. the plain of the Jordan

c. the Negev

d. the plain of Esdraelon

 

7. According to Deuteronomy, what will be the result of God’s blessings toward Israel?

a. faithfulness

b. prosperity

c. purity

d. righteousness

 

8. Who was the child of Hagar and Abraham?

a. Dinah

b. Esau

c. Isaac

d. Ishmael

 

9. When God told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, what did Abraham do?

a. He cursed the day of his birth.

b. He pleaded for God to relent.

c. He sacrificed his younger son instead.

d. He took Isaac to the land of Moriah.

 

10. Whose story involved the following: the city of Nahor, a water jar, and Isaac?

a. Hagar’s

b. Leah’s

c. Rebekah’s

d. Sarah’s

 

11. Which of these events is not from the life of Abraham?

a. the defeat of a coalition of kings

b. the promise of a son in old age

c. the “sacrifice” of Isaac

d. working seven years for a wife

 

12. Which person does NOT appear in the stories about Abraham?

a. Isaac

b. Ishmael

c. Joseph

d. Melchizedek

 

13. To which tribe did Moses belong?

a. Dan

b. Judah

c. Levi

d. Simeon

 

14. Who sang, “Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; horse and rider he has thrown into the sea?

a. Aaron

b. Balaam

c. Joshua

d. Miriam

 

15. Israelite law demanded scrupulous care in the treatment of the blood of slain animals. What reason for this is given in Leviticus?

a. Blood is holy

b. Blood is inedible

c. Blood is life

d. Blood is the choicest part of the animal

 

16. When John’s Gospel says, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness…,” to what story in Numbers is it referring?

a. The destruction of a pagan idol

b. The divine protection of Moses

c. The healing of the Israelites from serpent bites

d. Moses’ rod

 

17. Who asked her husband to take a concubine and later demanded that he cast the concubine out?

a. Leah

b. Lot’s wife

c. Rachel

d. Sarah

 

18. Where did Joshua send two men as spies?

a. Gilgal

b. Jericho

c. Lebanon

d. Shittim

 

19. Which of the following was a judge?

a. Deborah

b. Miriam

c. Naomi

d. Ruth

 

20. What were Shamgar, Gideon, and Jephthah?

a. Judges

b. Priests

c. Princes

d. Singers

 

21. Who said to Nathan the prophet, “See now, I am living in a house of cedar, but the ark of God stays in a tent”?

a. David

b. Hezekiah

c. Saul

d. Solomon

 

22. The boy Samuel served God under which of the following leaders?

a. Eli

b. Hophni

c. Phineas

d. Saul

 

23. The commands “Bring me a sword” and “Divide in two” occur in a story that illustrates which of the following?

a. Abner’s desire for revenge

b. Benaiah’s loyalty to Solomon

c. Joab’s blood-thirstiness

d. Solomon’s wisdom

 

24. What was Nehemiah’s role in Susa?

a. ambassador from Judah

b. cupbearer to the king

c. eunuch

d. scribe of the Lord

 

25. Who said, “Sun, stand still at Gibeon”?

a. Elisha

b. Jephthat

c. Joshua

d. Moses

 

26. Where does the following quotation appear: “Choose this day whom you will serve…but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord”?

a. Exodus 15

b. Numbers 6

c. Deuteronomy 6

d. Joshua 24

 

27. Why was Gideon’s fighting force reduced to 300 men before they fought the Midianites?

a. Gideon could not count on the allegiance of his men

b. God did not want Israel to be able to say that “my own hand has delivered me.”

c. The Midianite army was very small.

d. The rest of Gideon’s army had fled away.

 

28. Who brought down the house in Gaza?

a. Deborah

b. Ehud

c. Gideon

d. Samson

 

29. Which heir to the throne of David was supported by Nathan and Zadok?

a. Absalom

b. Adonijah

c. Jeroboam

d. Solomon

 

30. King Hiram was most closely associated with which of the following?

a. Babylon

b. Israel

c. Judah

d. Tyre

 

31. Which two prophets proclaimed that in the future “[T]he mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest of the mountains… [and]

people shall stream to it”?

a. Amos and Hosea

b. Haggai and Zechariah

c. Hosea and Jeremiah

d. Micah and Isaiah

 

32. When some of the people exiled to Babylon returned to Jerusalem during the Persian period, who urged them to rebuild the temple?

a. Haggai

b. Jonah

c. Malachi

d. Micah

 

33. In Isaiah 7, what is Ahaz’s response to the Lord’s demand to ask for a sign “deep as Sheol or high as heaven”?

a. To challenge Isaiah

b. To refuse to ask for a sign

c. To request a sign

d. To walk away in anger

 

34. Which prophet was thrown overboard by shipmates in order to calm a stormy sea?

a. Jeremiah

b. Ezekiel

c. Hosea

d. Jonah

 

35. Which prophet was in prison during the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem?

a. Isaiah

b. Jeremiah

c. Hosea

d. Joel

 

36. “. . . yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors” is a quotation from which book?

a. Isaiah

b. Jeremiah

c. Ezekiel

d. Amos

 

37. Who said: “As I was among the exiles by the river Chebar, the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God.”

a. Isaiah

b. Ezekiel

c. Daniel

d. Amos

 

38. “For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength” is found in

which book?

a. Isaiah

b. Ezekiel

c. Daniel

d. Jonah

 

39. Which prophet was in Judah at the time of the fall of Jerusalem?

a. Amos

b. Isaiah

c. Jeremiah

d. Ezekiel

 

40. Which prophet was brought in a vision to Jerusalem during the exile?

a. Amos

b. Isaiah

c. Jeremiah

d. Ezekiel

 

41. “Woe is me, my mother, that you ever bore me, a man of strife and contention to the whole land” was said by whom?

a. Jeremiah

b. Ezekiel

c. Hosea

d. Amos

 

42. “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped” is found in which of the following?

a. Isaiah

b. Lamentations

c. Daniel

d. Amos

 

43. When did Ezekiel’s visions occur?

a. Before the Babylonian invasion

b. During the Babylonian exile

c. Immediately following the fall of Samaria and the northern kingdom

d. Shortly after Solomon’s death, when the kingdom was divided

 

44. Which book contains the following: “As I watched in the night visions, I saw one like a human being coming with the clouds of heaven. And he came to

the Ancient One and was presented before him”?

a. Ezekiel

b. Daniel

c. Hosea

d. Amos

 

45. This quotation appears in which prophetic book: “Then the Lord said, ‘Name him Loammi, for you are not my people and I am not your God.’”?

a. Amos

b. Ezekiel

c. Hosea

d. Jonah

 

46. What interpretation is given to Ezekiel’s vision of the valley filled with dry bones?

a. A new covenant will be written on the heart.

b. The exiles will be brought back to the land.

c. The armies led by Gog will be totally destroyed.

d. This is the valley of decision.

 

47. Amos prophesied during the reign of which king of Israel?

a. David

b. Jeroboam II

c. Manasseh

d. Solomon

 

48. “If our God, whom we serve, is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire and out of your hand, O kind, let him deliver us” is found in what book?

a. Esther

b. Ezekiel

c. Daniel

d. Joel

 

49. Which of the following completes the quotation from Proverbs: “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word…”?

a. “…accomplishes much.”

b. “…captures attention.”

c. “…enjoys obedience.”

d. “…stirs up anger.”

 

50. Which theme characterizes Psalm 91?

a. God’s law

b. The establishment of covenant

c. The folly of human sin

d. The power and protection of God

 

51. Which two female figures appear in the book of Proverbs?

a. Wisdom and the “loose woman”

b. Wisdom and Righteousness

c. Zion and Righteousness

d. Zion and Babylon

 

52. God answers out of the whirlwind in response to which individual?

a. David

b. Job

c. Lemuel

d. Solomon

 

53. “Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations” is found in which book?

a. Job

b. Psalms

c. Ecclesiastes

d. Lamentations

 

54. “My child, keep your father’s commandment, and do not forsake your mother’s teaching” is found in which book?

a. Job

b. Proverbs

c. Ecclesiastes

d. Song of Solomon

 

55. “One day the heavenly beings came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them.” In which book are these words written?

a. Job

b. Psalms

c. Proverbs

d. Ecclesiastes

 

56. Which saying does NOT appear in the book of Ecclesiastes?

a. “Vanity of vanities! All is vanity.”

b. “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.”

c. “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?”

d. “It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting.”

 

57. “How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity!” is found in which book?

a. Job

b. Psalms

c. Proverbs

d. Ecclesiastes

 

58. Which subject is NOT discussed in the book of Proverbs?

a. Behavior toward fools

b. Behavior in the temple

c. Behavior in the king’s house

d. Behavior toward the poor

 

59. Who was the passerby forced to carry Jesus’ cross?

a. Caiaphas of Jerusalem

b. Joseph of Arimathea

c. Lazarus of Bethany

d. Simon of Cyrene

 

60. Where was Jesus baptized?

a. In the Dead Sea

b. In the Jordan River

c. In the Mediterranean Sea

d. In the Sea of Galilee

 

61. Which two of Jesus’ disciples were sons of Zebedee?

a. James and John

b. Peter and John

c. Simon and Andrew

d. Simon and James

 

62. What is the major theme in John 10?

a. Jesus as bread of life

b. Jesus as good shepherd

c. Jesus as Son of Man

d. Jesus as true vine

 

63. In what town or city did Jesus grow up?

a. Bethlehem

b. Capernaum

c. Jerusalem

d. Nazareth

 

64. In which Gospels are the beatitudes found?

a. Matthew and Luke

b. Mark and Luke

c. Mark and John

d. Luke and John

 

65. According to the Gospel of John, why was the Gospel written?

a. So that “you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.”

b. So that “your joy may be complete.”

c. To present “an account of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham.”

d. To set down “an orderly account…so that you may know the truth concerning the things about which you have been instructed.”

 

66. Which title appears most frequently in Mark?

a. Son of David

b. Messiah

c. Son of God

d. Son of Man

 

67. Who, upon dying, was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham?

a. John the Baptist

b. Lazarus

c. Sarah

d. Simon Peter

 

68. Which of these figures is NOT an element in Jesus’ parables of the kingdom?

a. A grain of mustard seed

b. A pearl of great value

c. Yeast

d. Living water

 

69. Who said: “I have not come to bring peace, but a sword?

a. Herod

b. Jesus

c. John the Baptist

d. Pilate

 

70. The Gospel according to Matthew contains:

a. “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church.”

b. “…baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

c. “When the Son of Man comes…he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.”

d. All of the above

 

71. To whom did Jesus address this statement: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me”?

a. Inner circle of disciples

b. John the Baptist

c. Synagogue audience

d. The Sanhedrin

 

72. Which of the following phrases continues the story beginning with the words: “And a woman in the city, who was a sinner…” (Luke 7:37)?

a. “began to bathe his feet with her tears.”

b. “begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter.”

c. “came up behind him and touched the fringe of his cloak.”

d. “put in two small copper coins.”

 

73. In the Gospel of John, when did Jesus say, “Father the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you”?

a. After his baptism by John the Baptist

b. After his farewell discourses with his disciples

c. After his trial before Pilate

d. On his way to Golgotha

 

74. What was Thomas’s response when Jesus offered to let him touch his hands and side?

a. “My Lord and my God.”

b. “Our Lord and Savior.”

c. “You are the Christ, the Son of God.”

d. “You are the King of Israel.”

 

75. Stories about Mary and Martha appear in which two Gospels?

a. John and Matthew

b. Matthew and Luke

c. Mark and John

d. John and Luke

 

76. Which of Paul’s letters maintains that “the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night”?

a. Romans

b. Ephesians

c. Colossians

d. 1 Thessalonians

 

77. In Galatians, what does Paul claim is the source of his gospel?

a. A revelation of Jesus Christ

b. An event on the Damascus road

c. Personal reflection

d. The apostles in Jerusalem

 

78. When Paul responds to the problem created by some Christians who ate meat that had been offered to idols, offending the consciences of others, what does

he advise?

a. That both sides ignore the problem since it was unimportant

b. That both sides pray for guidance

c. That the meat-eaters refrain from eating meat for the sake of weaker brothers and sisters

d. That the meat-eaters ignore the complaints of their weaker brothers and sisters

 

79. Paul writes, “Do not be overcome by evil, but…”

a. “be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.”

b. “become all things to all people.”

c. “overcome evil with good.”

d. “overcome the evil one.”

 

80. Where does Paul cite these words as being “of first importance”: “that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried,

and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures”?

a. 1 Corinthians

b. Galatians

c. Philippians

d. Colossians

 

81. Fill in the blank: "Since, then, we have such a hope, we act with great boldness, not like Moses, who put _________ to keep the people of Israel

from gazing at the end of the glory that was being set aside.”

a. a veil over his face

b. blindness in the eyes of his people

c. boundaries about the mountain

d. his staff to the rock

 

82. Which of these themes may be said to be characteristic of Ephesians?

a. Defense of Paul’s authority

b. Dissension in the church

c. Explanation of the Second Coming

d. Unity in Christ

 

83. The epistle to the Colossians describes Christ as which of the following?

a. The first-born from the dead

b. The first-born of all creation

c. The image of the invisible God

d. All of these

 

84. Which of the following concerns does 1Timothy address at length?

a. Children

b. Drunkards

c. The rich

d. Widows

 

85. In which letter does Paul say that “the greatest of these is love”?

a. Galatians

b. 1 Corinthians

c. Romans

d. 2 Corinthians

 

86. In which letter does Paul maintain that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”?

a. Romans

b. 1 Corinthians

c. 2 Corinthians

d. Galatians

 

87. In which letter does Paul maintain, “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus”?

a. Philippians

b. Galatians

c. Romans

d. Ephesians

 

88. What issue does Peter’s vision address prior to his visit to Cornelius in Caesarea?

a. Gentiles receiving the word of God

b. The stoning of Stephen

c. The appointment of a new disciple

d. The preaching of the Gospel

 

89. In the first chapter of Acts, what words complete Jesus’ commission to the apostles: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon

you: and …”?

a. lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”

b. peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.”

c. this is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”

d. you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

 

90. Paul’s argument in Romans regarding the advantage of Jews over Gentiles emphasizes which of the following?

a. That they are circumcised

b. That they are entrusted with the oracles of God

c. That they are judged by the law

d. That they are justified by works

 

91. The example of Melchizedek is used by the author of Hebrews in discussing what?

a. Christian tithing

b. Jesus’ death as a sacrifice

c. The messiahship of Jesus

d. The priesthood of Jesus

 

92. In which letter is the following question central? “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can

faith save you?”

a. Galatians

b. Ephesians

c. Hebrews

d. James

 

93. According to 1 Peter, what is the appropriate response when one suffers as a Christian?

a. To endure

b. To pray

c. To rejoice

d. To boast in one’s suffering

 

94. Which of the following New Testament books warns: “Children, it is the last

hour! As you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists

have come. From this we know that it is the last hour”?

a. 1 John

b. Revelation

c. James

d. Hebrews

 

95. In the book of Revelation, what does John say will happen to the souls of

those who have been beheaded for their testimony to Jesus and for the word

of God?

a. They will be caught up in the clouds

b. They will wash their robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb.

c. They will come to life and reign with Christ a thousand years.

d. They will hunger and thirst no more.

 

96. According to Hebrews, why is Jesus able to sympathize with our weakness?

a. Because he has been tested as we are

b. Because he was poor as some of us are

c. Because he was rejected as we are

d. Because he was born in human likeness

 

97. To whom is the book of Revelation addressed?

a. Seven churches in Asia

b. The church in Jerusalem

c. The church in Rome

d. The Roman emperor

 

98. In what way does the book of Hebrews describe faith?

a. “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

b. “Since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ….”

c. “So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.”

d. “…that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.”

 

99. Which of the following completes this quotation from Revelation: “And I saw

the holy city, the new Jerusalem…”?

a. “all the nations shall stream to it, many peoples shall come.”

b. “coming down out of heaven from God.”

c. “exalted among the nations, exalted in the earth.”

d. “founded upon the rock of our salvation.”

 

100. Hebrews describes which of the following as “living, and active, sharper than

any two-edged sword”?

a. The tongue of a woman

b. The word of God

c. The wiles of the devil

d. The truth of Christ

 

 


Biblical Foundations

This is a Handbook on Basic Biblical Doctrine, The handbook is FREE, however if you take the 100 question test in the back of the book and mail it in with $50 you will receive a certificate of completion. The Correspondence School of Ministry is a new spiritual, educational training track of the New Jersey Institute of Theological Studies. This condensed, correspondence format will allow many of the basic courses of NJITS to be offered in a time frame better suited to the demands and time constraints of busy adults; particularly many of whom are already actively involved in ministry.

  • ISBN: 9781370030408
  • Author: Mark Stevens
  • Published: 2017-09-29 16:35:24
  • Words: 43360
Biblical Foundations Biblical Foundations