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Chapter 1
Time before Christ came to Earth

Creation and Fall

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light" (Genesis 1:1-3). While John 1:1-3 states, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made." The only thing man knows about the beginning is what God has chosen to reveal to him. Theories of "learned men" are unproven and often contrary to what has been revealed.

The last day of creation as recorded in Genesis 1:26-27 is "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." This creation was different from all His other creations as man was made in God's likeness, in His image. Man is not an exact copy of God. Man was created flesh and blood while God is spirit.

God put man in the midst of the rest of creation to rule over and have dominion over it. He told the man to work it and take care of it. "The LORD God commanded the man, 'You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.'" (Gen 2:16-17)

The Devil took on the form of a serpent to tempt Eve, lying to her. "When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it." (Gen 3:6)

James defines the temptation process: "but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death." (James 1:14-15)

To Eve the fruit was pleasing to the eye and desirable to make her wise but disobedience has consequences. In this case the consequence was immediate. However, in some situations sin may not be found out until the judgment when one faces God. They were removed from paradise to a land of toil and pain. God said to the serpent "'Because you have done this, cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.' To the woman he said, 'I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.' To Adam he said, 'Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, 'You must not eat of it', 'Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow, you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.'" (Gens 3:14-19)

With this sin both Adam and Eve were separated from God and in need of being reunited with Him. This reconciliation would require a perfect sacrifice for their sin of disobedience.

Questions

1. The only instruction God gave to Adam was not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
True _____ False _____

2. Adam, consequently all mankind, was created

  1. ___ exactly like God.
  2. ___ like all other animals that breathed air.
  3. ___ in the likeness of God.

3. Eve did not understand that she should not eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
True _____ False _____

4. Adam and Eve sinned because

  1. ___ they ate the forbidden fruit because they were starving.
  2. ___ the devil in the form of a serpent forced them to eat the forbidden fruit.
  3. ___ they disobeyed God by yielding to temptation and eating the forbidden fruit.

5. Since Eve ate of the forbidden fruit, Adam had no choice as God had made Eve for him.
True _____ False _____

Early Man

Adam and Eve
Eve, knowing that God commanded them not to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, yielded to her desires, ate of the fruit and gave some to Adam and he also ate. The devil in the form of a serpent had enticed them to sin. This action of disobedience resulted in them being expelled from paradise, the Garden of Eden, and suffering other consequences of their sin. The consequences were separation from God, pain and death.

Their greatest pain may have been when one son, Cain, killed another son, Abel. Sin was present before the murder as Cain's heart was not pure and godly. Both Cain and Able offered sacrifices to God. But Cain became angry because Abel's offering to God was accepted and his was rejected.

Cain and Abel

In Hebrews 11:4 we read that Abel's offering was by faith. Now faith is based upon knowledge and love. So, Abel's action and attitude pleased God whereas Cain's did not. God said of Cain's offering "if you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it." (Genesis 4:7)

Therefore, it appears the object Cain offered was not acceptable or his attitude was unacceptable or both. He may have not offered the best he had, he may have offered something not authorized or he offered exactly what was required but with an attitude other than love of God. Whatever the situation, God was not pleased and Cain knew why. As punishment, the earth would not yield fruits for him and he would become a restless wanderer.

Noah

God told Noah what he must do to save the righteous people from perishing in the impending flood. No doubt these instructions appeared to be unusual but very explicit. Noah may have even questioned how a boat made only from one kind of wood exactly so long, wide and high with only one window and door could possibly save him and his family. However, he began building immediately warning others of the consequences of their rebellious and sinful lifestyle. In Hebrews 11:7 we read "By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith."

Summary

So far in only six chapters of the first book of the Bible we have seen three situations where people disobeyed God's commandments, substituting their own desires; one disobeyed because it was pleasing to the eye and something to be desired to make them wise, one disobeyed by presenting an offering, an act of worship, that was not pleasing to God and one group disobeyed as the thoughts and intent of their mind was evil continually. God was displeased in every case, judging their actions against his standard, his Word. A righteous God, their creator, established the consequences He considered appropriate for their action.

Questions

1. Cain's offering was not acceptable because

  1. ___ it was a grain offering rather than an animal offering
  2. ___ Cain was not obedient thus sinned with his offering
  3. ____ he kept the best for himself
  4. ____ is not revealed

2. Noah followed God's plan exactly and did not substitute his own opinion for God's.
True ____ False ____

3. Noah's faith was based upon

  1. ____ his feelings about what God wanted.
  2. ____ someone else's opinion of what God wanted.
  3. ____ knowledge of what God said He wanted.

4. God is displeased when those created in His likeness disobey.
True ____ False____

5. There are no consequences for rebelling and disobeying God.
True _____ False _____

Their Choice

Noah was a righteous man who obeyed God. By faith he built an ark saving mankind from annihilation. After the ark was completed Noah and his family entered the ark and God caused the animals that breathed air to come into the ark. After God closed the door He opened the fountains of the deep and the windows of heaven to flood the earth. After days and months, the waters abated. Then Noah, his family and the animals came out of the ark.

Noah immediately built an altar, offered a sacrifice and worshipped God. This offering pleased God "The LORD smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: 'Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done. As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.' … God also gave some instructions or commands." (Genesis 8:21-22; 9:3-7)

  • Everything that lives and moves will be food for you
  • Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything,
  • But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it.
  • And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each man, too, I will demandan accounting for the lifeof his fellow man.
  • Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man.
  • As for you, be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it.

God then established a covenant with Noah and every living creature.

Sin knocked at the door again as Ham showed disrespect for his father whereupon he was cursed to become a slave to his brothers.

In Romans 1:28-32 "Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them."

Note the parallel in Noah's time and our situation:

  1. The people were sinful and we are sinners - Romans 3:23 "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."
  2. They were about to die and we may also - John 8:24a "I told you that you would die in your sins."
  3. Noah was told what to do to save the righteous and so have we -John 8:24b "if you do not believe that I [Jesus} am [the Christ, the Son of God], you will indeed die in your sins."
  4. All the people of Noah's time had a choice to make and we also have a choice - 2 Corinthians 6:2b "I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation."

Questions

1. Noah was considered righteous because he built an ark and saved mankind.
True _____ False _____

2. When is an acceptable time for one's salvation?

  1. ___ After one has sown their wild oats.
  2. ___ When time pressures are not so great
  3. ___ There is no time like the present.

3. What happens when people refuse to retain God in their knowledge?

  1. ___ It is never too late to accept God's call.
  2. ___ Time will mellow the heart creating a desire for knowledge of Him.
  3. ___ God gives them over to their desires.

4. Following Noah's worship to God, God promised to never again destroy all living creatures by water.
True _____ False _____

5. Those who do not believe Jesus is the Christ will die in their sins
True _____ False _____

God's Promises

Years following the temptation of Adam and Eve and their yielding to their desires rather than obeying God, two hundred ninety years following the flood and hundreds of years before God gave Moses the Commandments on Stone, Terah became the father of Abram. After becoming an adult, God made a promise to Abram. "The LORD had said to Abram, 'Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.'" (Genesis 12:1-3) God changed Abram's name to Abraham when He established His covenant with him. So, Abraham left his home and went to Canaan.

In Hebrews 11 we read, "By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God." (Vs. 8-10) It should be clear that God's promise to Abraham was to all mankind rather than to one nation.

Abraham and Sarah, his wife, were childless even though God had promised they would have many descendants. They became impatient for God to fulfill his promise of a son. Using human reason, they took matters into their own hands. Their impatient action caused great conflicts later between Ishmael's descendants, Abraham's first born by Sarah's handmaid, and those of Isaac, Abraham's and Sarah's son of promise. God waited until it was physically impossible for Abraham and Sarah to have a child so when they did have one there would be no doubt that it was a direct result of God's promise and their faith. (Hebrews 11:11-12)

Abraham became the father of many nations and known as the father of the faithful, but he was not without sin. He lied on more than one occasion. When confronted by God he repented and put his faith and trust in Him. It is through descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that a savior would come into the world to redeem the obedient faithful.

"When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, 'I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless. I will confirm my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers'." (Genesis 17:1-2) The covenant was sealed by Abraham's obedience to God's command to circumcise all males. This was before they had any children and hundreds of years before the Law was given to Moses. About a year later Isaac was born and Abraham circumcised him on the eighth day according to the covenant.

Later, when Isaac was older, God commanded Abraham to offer Isaac as a burnt offering sacrifice. This was a test of Abraham's faith. Abraham reasoned that since God gave him Isaac when it was physically impossible for him and Sarah to have a son then He could bring Isaac back from the dead in order to fulfill his promise.

What is so significant about this relationship between God and Abraham? First and foremost, God requires obedient faithfulness. Through Abraham's faith God's promise to provide a way for man to be reconciled to Him was initiated. It would not be realized until years later when Jesus of Nazareth, through complete obedient faithfulness, would offer himself as the atoning sacrifice for man's sins. It was through Isaac, the son of promise, not Ishmael his first born, that the covenant would be continued as Jesus was a descendant of Isaac through David.

It was God's promise that through Abraham all peoples of the earth would be blessed. Therefore, there is no way mankind can earn his reconciliation. It is a promise and matter of attitude, faith and obedience to Jesus, the Christ, His Word, the Message of Reconciliation.

It should not be so amazing that God blesses the faithful obedient and disinherits the rebellious disobedient.

Questions

1. God's promise to Abraham that his descendant would bless all mankind was given

  1. ___ following the giving of the Ten Commandants.
  2. ___ at the time Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice to God.
  3. ___ while with his father, Terah, and prior to going to Canaan.

2. God's covenant with Abraham was based upon Abraham's willingness to put his trust in God.
True _____ False _____

3. God spared Isaac's physical life because of Abraham's faith and obedience.
True _____ False _____

4. Abraham was referred to as the father of the faithful because he trusted God.
True _____ False _____

5. God is faithful in keeping His promises.
True _____ False _____

Grievous Sin

Because of problems between herdsmen of Abraham and Lot, his nephew, Abraham allowed Lot to choose his land and Abraham would take another area. Lot chose the better area near the city of Sodom.

"And the LORD said, 'Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grave, I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry against it that has come to Me; and if not, I will know.'" (Genesis 18:20-21) Before God sent angels to destroy Sodom, He revealed His plans to Abraham who pleaded with God to save Sodom because of righteous people living there. But there were so few. So, God's angels in the form of men appeared at evening entering the city of Sodom. When Lot saw these visitors, he insisted they enter his house under his protection.

The wickedness of Sodom is clearly seen in the following; "Now before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both old and young, all the people from every quarter, surrounded the house. And they called to Lot and said to him, 'Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may know them carnally.' So, Lot went out to them through the doorway, shut the door behind him, and said, "Please, my brethren, do not do so wickedly! 'See now, I have two daughters who have not known a man; please, let me bring them out to you, and you may do to them as you wish; only do nothing to these men, since this is the reason they have come under the shadow of my roof.' And they said, 'Stand back!' Then they said, 'This one came in to stay here, and he keeps acting as a judge; now we will deal worse with you than with them.' So, they pressed hard against the man Lot, and came near to break down the door. But the angels reached out their hands and pulled Lot into the house with them, and shut the door." (Genesis 19:4-10)

The angels explained to Lot the purpose of their mission so "When the morning dawned, the angels urged Lot to hurry, saying, 'Arise, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be consumed in the punishment of the city.'" ... "'Hurry, escape there. For I cannot do anything until you arrive there.' The sun had risen upon the earth when Lot entered Zoar. Then the LORD rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah from the LORD out of the heavens. So, He overthrew those cities, all the plain, all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground." (Genesis 19:15, 23-25)

God removed Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden because of disobedience, destroyed by water all people because of the wickedness of man and the evil intent of his heart (mind) except Noah, his family and selected animals. Now He destroyed Sodom by fire because of grievous wickedness. It should be evident that disobedience and wickedness is not tolerated by God and those who practice such will also be destroyed unless they turn from their wickedness and obey the will of God.

Questions

1. What sin was so great that God decided to destroy Sodom?

  1. ___ Abortion
  2. ___ Devil worship
  3. ___ Homosexuality

2. Lot chose the land east of Jordan because

  1. ___ he desired the city life of Sodom and Gomorrah.
  2. ___ he and Abraham as they constantly argued.
  3. ___ the land appeared to be the better land.
  4. ___ The Bible does not say.

3. Disobedience to God caused problems

  1. ___ in the Garden of Eden.
  2. ___ with the people in Noah's time.
  3. ___ in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.
  4. ___ all the above.

4. The destruction of the area around Sodom and Gomorrah only affected the men who attempted to defile the men [angels] visiting Lot.
True _____ False _____

5. Abraham pleaded with God to save the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah because of righteous people living in these cities.
True _____ False _____

Slavery

God called Abraham while he was living in Ur of the Chaldees to go to a far country. He had no place to call home; only a promise that his descendants would one day have a home. Abraham's descendants would ultimately become Egyptian slaves. God through Moses delivered them from slavery to go to the land of their inheritance, the land where Abraham wandered. This is very similar to our short stay here on earth amid wickedness being slaves to sin. God through Christ will deliver us from slavery of sin to a home in Heaven.

Their journey into that far country, Egypt, began with a cowardly act by Jacob's sons to a younger brother, Joseph, when they sold him to a band of Ishmaelites, descendants of Abraham's first-born son. They sold him as a common slave and then deceived Jacob into believing Joseph had been killed by a wild animal. Remember, Jacob had also deceived his father in order to receive a blessing. Joseph remained faithful to God and God used him in his plan to create a mighty nation from Abraham's descendants. This would occur after years of slavery among a people who worshipped created things rather than Almighty God.

After four hundred years in Egypt Moses was born. His parents defied Pharaoh's edicts to kill the baby and they hid him. They acted righteously by their willingness to disobey Pharaoh's command rather than disobey God's. "By faith Moses' parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king's edict." (Hebrews 11:23) Moses was found by Pharaoh's daughter who had compassion on him. Moses' sister summoned her mother and "Pharaoh's daughter said to her, 'Take this baby and nurse him for me, and I will pay you.' So the woman took the baby and nursed him. When the child grew older, she took him to Pharaoh's daughter and he became her son. She named him Moses, saying, 'I drew him out of the water.'" (Exodus 2:9-10)

In Hebrews 11: 24-27 we read "By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh's daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king's anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible." After being trained in all the ways of the Egyptians for forty years, God trained Moses another forty years as a herdsman before calling him to lead Abraham's descendants from the bondage of slavery to the land promised long ago to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Because of these former slaves' lack of faith and obedience, it took forty years before they were ready to obey and claim their promised land. Even though this land was given to them by God's grace they had to fight God's enemies to inhabit it.

Today mankind is under the bondage of sin. We are freed from the bondage of sin by the blood of Christ. It takes continued obedience and faithfulness for us to reach Heaven, our promised land, while always fighting the enemies of God.

Questions

1. Moses was born a slave but became grandson of Pharaoh, ruler of Egypt.
True _____ False _____

2. Moses chose not to continue being Pharaoh's grandson

  1. ___ because Pharaoh was partial to other grandchildren
  2. ___ because Pharaoh mistreated Moses birth family.
  3. ___ by his faith in Jehovah God.

3. Since God gave Canaan to former Egyptian slaves, they were not required to do anything to receive their Land of Promise.
True _____ False _____

4. People who are slaves to sin today are not required to do anything to inherit Heaven, the spiritual Promised Land.
True _____ False _____

5. God trained Moses 40 years in Egypt and 40 years as a herdsman before appointing him to lead the Children of Israel out of Egyptian slavery.
True _____ False _____

Deliverance

At the appropriate time Moses' mother took Moses to Pharaoh's daughter. "Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action. When Moses was forty years old, he decided to visit his fellow Israelites. He saw one of them being mistreated by an Egyptian, so he went to his defense and avenged him by killing the Egyptian. Moses thought that his own people would realize that God was using him to rescue them, but they did not." (Acts 7:22-26)

In fear resulting from his rash action he fled from Pharaoh, going to the land of Midian. He humbled himself as a shepherd for forty years, after which God was ready for him to deliver the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob from the bondage of physical slavery, a symbol of our slavery to sin. God gave Pharaoh and the Egyptians ten opportunities to choose obedience over destruction. Pharaoh appeared to recognize God's power but with each passing opportunity it was easier for him to refuse. After the death of his first born he told the Israelites to leave. But he changed his mind and pursued them to bring them back to slavery.

It was at the Red Sea that the Israelites had to make a choice to obey God or return to slavery. It was also there that Pharaoh and his army were buried in the waters of the sea. A new nation, freed from slavery, arose on the other side. This is also like our flight from sin. At the cross of Christ, we must make a decision and bury our sinful master in the waters of baptism in order to arise as a new creation. Paul stated in Romans 6:3-7 "Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 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. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin- because anyone who has died has been freed from sin."

They did not enter into Canaan immediately as their faith was weak. They rejected the report of Joshua and Caleb who trusted in God.

Consequently, they wandered in the wilderness, near their promised land, for forty years, never entering the Promised Land. It wasn't until all males over twenty died (except Joshua and Caleb) that they would be allowed to enter the Promised Land. Moses was prohibited, by God from leading them into Canaan. Instead it was Joshua, Moses' faithful aide. Once they put their faith in God and obeyed him, they were allowed to enter their Promised Land. We too must have obedient faith and be reconciled to God to enter our Promised Land, Heaven.

Questions

1. In attempting to deliver Israel from oppression, Moses attempted to take matters into his own hands rather than waiting upon God.
True _____ False _____

2. God did not give Pharaoh the choice to escape death and destruction.
True _____ False _____

3. Faith in God allowed the Children of Israel to pass through the waters of the Red Sea to become free from bondage and arrive upon the other shore a new nation.
True _____ False _____

4. Upon first reaching the Land of Promise, the children of Israel put their faith in

  1. ___ the report of Joshua and Caleb with God's guidance.
  2. ___ their own ability.

5. Moses was permitted to

  1. ___ lead the Israelites into the Land of Promise.
  2. ___ enter the promised land but told Joshua to lead.
  3. ___ see but not enter the Land of Promise.

Tables of Stone Covenant

God performed many miracles of blessing upon the Israelites, the most prominent being the leading of millions of slaves toward a land promised years before to Abraham.

Three months after they departed Egypt and around four hundred years after God's promise to Abraham they camped at Sinai. Here God appeared, delivering to Moses his commandments. "The Lord said to Moses, 'Come up to me on the mountain and stay here, and I will give you the tablets of stone, with the law and commands I have written for their instruction'." (Exodus 24:12) We refer to them as the Ten Commandments and they are listed below. (Exodus 20:3-17)

  • "You shall have no other gods before me."
  • "You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You < shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, butshowing love to a thousand [generations] of those who love me and keep my commandments."
  • "You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
  • "Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore, the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy."
  • "Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you."
  • "You shall not murder."
  • "You shall not commit adultery."
  • "You shall not steal."
  • "You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor."
  • "You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor."

Read them again and notice that they are laws, rules, regulations, things to do and things not to do. Did you find any statement of forgiveness or faith? No! Did you notice that only one or two dealt with man's heart, mind or attitude? No! This covenant was designed to bring us to Christ, and as stated in Hebrews, is replaced by a new one, a covenant that forgives wickedness. "For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another. But God found fault with the people and said: 'The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord.'" (Hebrews 8:7-9 quoting Jeremiah 31:31)

"'This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.'" (Hebrews 8:10-12)

"By calling this covenant 'new,' he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear." (Hebrews 8:13)

When Jesus came, he preached a message of repentance, a message of God's grace and of faith, love and reconciliation. His mission was "to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work." (John 4:34) He opened the way for forgiveness of sin by willingly giving his life as the atoning sacrifice for OUR sins, to all who believe on Him and who "wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted." (Romans 6:17)

"Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. So, the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law." (Galatians 3:23-25)

"And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross." (Colossians 2:13-14)

God's love and mercy provided the perfect blood sacrifice in His Son. Christ's death established the "new covenant", providing for forgiveness of sins and freedom from sin to all who obey the call to repentance and obedience. (Read Hebrews 9:16-28.)

So, "Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!" (James 2:12-13)

Questions

1. God called Moses upon the mountain to give him the Ten Commandments for the

  1. ___ Gentiles and Israelites [Jews].
  2. ___ Children of Israel forever.
  3. ___ Israelites until replaced by another and better covenant.

2. The Ten Commandments, the Law, was a tutor or custodian to bring mankind unto faith.
True _____ False _____

3. Some of the Ten Commandments could be kept outwardly even though they were not kept inwardly in the mind and heart.
True _____ False _____

4. The Law of Moses provided for salvation, forgiveness of sin.
True _____ False _____

5. God removed the Law of Moses, "the handwriting of requirements," by nailing it to the cross by the death of Christ.
True _____ False _____

After God's Heart

After being delivered from Egyptian slavery and receiving a land flowing with milk and honey, Israel was governed by judges whom God selected. But the Israelites wanted to be like all the nations around them. They rejected God and wanted a king. So, God gave them a king - Saul. He ruled by what the people wanted - rule by opinion rather than as an obedient servant of God. Therefore, Samuel, at God's direction, anointed David as king, one who would obey him. Many times, David had to flee from Saul because Saul was hunting him down like a common criminal desiring to kill him. Yet, in spite of this David refused to do anything "against God's anointed."

After Saul's death David became king. God said of David: "After removing Saul, he made David their king. He testified concerning him: 'I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.' From this man's descendants God has brought to Israel the Savior Jesus, as he promised." (Acts 13:22-23)

On one occasion David's men were among the flocks of a very wealthy man and while there they dealt honorably with him protecting him, not mistreating his herdsmen or taking anything of his. Later David was nearby, his men were hungry and in need of food so David requested assistance, but Nabal, a surly man known for his mean dealings, refused David's request in a harsh and disrespectful manner. David became very angry, intending to kill him, but he repented, allowing God to exercise his judgment.

But not everything was godly in David's life. Instead of going to battle with his army he remained at home. There he saw a lovely woman, lusted for her and sent for her to commit adultery. Learning she was pregnant by him, he ordered the murder of her husband to cover up his sin. Terrible? Yes! Pleasing to God? No! David desired fleshly satisfaction and yielded to the temptation. He suffered much for this sin. But when confronted by Nathan, the messenger from God, he admitted his wickedness, repented and pleaded for forgiveness. Although forgiven, he still suffered the consequences of his sinful actions.

No doubt his attitude of heart, his remorse and desire for forgiveness in order to be reconciled to God is why God would say "I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will." This is everyone's situation today. We have all sinned, need the proper attitude toward our sin and need to be reconciled to God.

God promised David that one of his descendants would sit on his throne forever, referring to Jesus, the Christ, whose kingdom will have no end. It was Christ, without sin, totally obeying God, willingly giving his life as an atoning sacrifice for us, thus fulfilling God's promise to David and Abraham.

Questions

1. David refused to harm Saul, King of Israel, as he had been appointed king by God and to do harm to him would not be respecting God.
True _____ False _____

2. A person after God's own heart means

  1. ___ one who teaches God laws and commandments.
  2. ___ one who is powerful in leading God's people.
  3. ___ one who desires to do what is right and desires to correct sinful acts he may have done.

3. David is an example for us in that he

  1. ___ was a powerful King.
  2. ___ did not sin therefore Jesus who had no sin could be the Son of David.
  3. ____ was quick to repent and plead for God's mercy upon becoming aware of his sins.

4. God was always pleased with David's actions.
True _____ False _____

5. Jesus, a descendant of David, gave His life as the atoning sacrifice for forgiveness of sins
True _____ False _____

Prophets of the Old Covenant

God spoke directly to Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob during the era many refer to as the Patriarchal Age. During the establishment of the nation of Israel He spoke to Moses, Joshua and then their judges. While Samuel was a judge the people rebelled demanding a king. During the reign of the kings God delivered His message through men we refer to as prophets. All prophets delivered God's message to the Children of Israel but not all delivered prophecies about the coming Messiah. Over hundreds of years by and many different prophets more than 50 prophecies are recorded, all of which were fulfilled in Jesus. A few prophesies are listed below followed by their New Testament fulfillment.

Malachi 3:1 "Watch out! I'm sending my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the LORD you are looking for will come to his Temple. He is the messenger of the covenant whom you desire. Watch out! He is coming!" says the LORD of the Heavenly Armies.
    Matthew 2:2 After Jesus had been born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of King Herod, wise men from the east arrived in Jerusalem and asked, "Where is the one who was born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."

Genesis 49:10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.
    Luke 3:23- 38 - The genealogy of Jesus is tracing His linage back through David all the way to Adam.

Jeremiah 23:5 "Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land."
    Matthew 1:1 This is a record of the life of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

Isaiah 7:13 -4 And he said, "Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary men, that you weary my God also? Therefore, the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."
    Matthew 1:18 Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah happened in this way. When his mother Mary was engaged to Joseph, before they lived together, she was discovered to be pregnant by the Holy Spirit.

Micah 5:2 "But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days."
    Matthew 1:1 This is a record of the life of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, [Bethlehem] the son of Abraham.

Zechariah 9:9 "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey."
    Matthew 21:6-7 And the disciples went, and did even as Jesus appointed them, and brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their garments; and he sat thereon.

Isaiah 53:5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
    Matthew 27:26 Then released he unto them Barabbas; but Jesus he scourged and delivered to be crucified.

Isaiah 53:7 "He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth."
    Matthew 27:12-14 While Jesus was being accused by the high priests and elders, he made no reply. Then Pilate asked him, "Don't you hear how many charges they're bringing against you?" But Jesus did not reply at all, so that the governor was very surprised.

Isaiah 53:9 "And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth."
    Matthew 27:57-59 - Later that evening, a rich man arrived from Arimathea. His name was Joseph, and he had become a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus, and Pilate ordered it to be done. So, Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth. Then he placed it in his own new tomb, which he had cut out of the rock. After rolling a large stone across the door of the tomb, he left.

Questions

1. God spoke directly with Adam, Noah, Abraham, and David.
True _____ False _____

2. There are no prophecies about a redeemer
True _____ False _____

3. Isaiah was the only prophet to prophecy about a Messiah?
True _____ False _____

4. There were over 50 prophecies by many prophets all of which were fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth, The Christ.
True _____ False _____

5. God delivered his message through the kings of Israel to His prophets.
True _____ False _____

Chapter 2
Time Christ on the Earth as Son of God and Son of Man

Christ - Preparing for His Ministry

Ever since Adam's sin, which resulted in his fall from a perfect relationship with God, man has needed to be reconciled to God. He needed to have his sins washed away and his guilt removed. At just the perfect time and by action of the Holy Spirit, God became flesh to dwell among men. The Holy Spirit performed a miracle allowing Mary to become pregnant without sexual relations with man. The angel Gabriel announced to Mary and later an angel announced to Joseph about how God would be using them to bring the Messiah, God's anointed one, to earth to save mankind from their sins. Both were willing to become servants of God regardless of how people would treat them or what they would say about them. They only wanted to obey and be used by God.

"Why were you searching for me?" he [Jesus] asked. 'Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?' But they did not understand what he was saying to them." (Luke 2:49-50)

At thirty years of age "When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: 'You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased'. Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry." (Luke 3:21-23a)

Following His baptism "Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil." (Luke 4:1-2) He had overcome the Devil's temptations so he returned to His home in Nazareth. In their synagogue following His reading of Isaiah 61:1-2, he announced that He was the fulfillment of God's promise to send the Messiah. (Luke 4:21)

A short time later He began selecting those whom He would teach to be his messengers following his resurrection. And at the appropriate time Jesus would actively begin proving to all with whom He came in contact that He was God who had come to earth to live among men and to become a perfect sacrifice for man's sins. He did this by His perfect life, the miracles He performed openly before great crowds and statements by John the Baptist and God himself.

Many people benefited from these miracles. Even those full of envy, jealousy and covetousness had to acknowledge that miracles had been performed. The hypocritical religious leaders rejected him because of their desire for power and prestige. In doing so they even violated their own laws and traditions which they outwardly professed to uphold.

His followers had heard His message, His parables and their explanations and witnessed His miracles. They had witnessed those raised from the dead, the blind made to see, the deaf to hear and the denial of such by their religious leaders. But there were many things they needed to know so Jesus said "I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you." (John 16:12-14)

As He was preparing for His atoning sacrifice, he prayed; (as recorded in John 17) "After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: 'Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began." (Vv. 1-5) ... "I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. 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." (Vv. 6-8) "... I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. {I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. (NKJV)} My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified." (Vv.14-19)

His mission to proclaim the message of reconciliation, redemption and forgiveness of sin was nearing completion. At the right time Jesus would give his life as the atoning sacrifice for man's sins, the very thing He left Heaven to come to earth to do.

"He said to them, 'This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.' Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, "This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. 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 24:44-49)

As He was ready to return to God, the Father "Jesus came to them and said, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.'" (Matthew 28:18-20)

For the first time following the sin of Adam and Eve, man had a way open for them to be reconciled to God.

Questions

1. At what time did Jesus come to the Earth?

  1. ___ December 25, the day we refer to as Christmas.
  2. ___ When Israel was powerful, so that many people would praise Him.
  3. ___ At just the right or fullness of time.
  4. ___ We do not know.

2. Following Gabriel's appearing, Mary was pleased and honored to be used by God but Joseph was reluctant, fearing what people would say.
True _____ False _____

3. Different New Testament writers recorded Jesus' lineage showing how God was faithful in keeping His promise to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and David.
True _____ False _____

4. While Jesus was here on Earth, He proved He was God by

  1. ___ Testimony of Religious leaders
  2. ___ Testimony of John the Baptist
  3. ___ His perfect life, sinless
  4. ___ The miracles He publicly performed
  5. ___ a & b
  6. ___ c & d
  7. ___ b, c & d
  8. ___ All the above

5. What was the message Jesus preached during his ministry on Earth?

  1. ___ A message of redemption
  2. ___ A message of forgiveness of sins by God
  3. ___ A message of reconciliation to God
  4. ___ All the above

Christ - Witnesses

John the Baptist
John preached a baptism (baptizo, a Greek word meaning immersion) for repentance and it was said all Judah came to John to be baptized. "Now some Pharisees who had been sent questioned him, 'Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?' 'I baptize with water,' John replied, 'but among you stands one you do not know. He is the one who comes after me, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie'." (John 1:24-27) ... "The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, 'Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one I meant when I said, 'A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.' I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.' Then John gave this testimony: 'I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, 'The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.' I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God." (John 1:29-34)

"Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, 'I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?' Jesus replied, 'Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.' Then John consented." (Matthew 3:13-15)

Holy Spirit
"As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him." (Matthew 3:16-17a)

God "And a voice from heaven said, 'This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.'" (Matthew 3:17b)

Jesus then fasted forty days prior to publicly beginning His work. It was at the end of the forty days the Devil seized the opportunity to tempt Jesus in his physically weakened condition. Although he failed in this attempt, he continued to look for opportunity. Jesus then began His ministry. One of the first things He did was to select twelve men to train and to be witnesses of all He said and did, which was mostly public. He performed many miracles proving that God was with Him.

Miracles, Signs and Wonders
He received no training in the Law and Prophets but people recognized he spoke with authority; not like the learned men, the rabbis, priests, Pharisees, Scribes and other religious leaders. To these learned men He was very pointed in His remarks calling them hypocrites, and blind guides as their hearts, minds and attitude, were so prideful, arrogant, haughty, jealous and willing to stop at nothing to maintain their place in society. They even attributed His many miracles to the Devil rather than giving glory to God. Matthew records the following about them in chapter 23:vv.
vs 3 ... "For they do not practice what they preach."
vs 5 ... "Everything they do is done for men to see."
vs 6 .. "They love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues." vs 13 .. "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites!"
vs 16 .. "Woe to you, blind guides! You say ..."
vs 33 .. "You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?"

Luke adds another to the charge in 20:47 … [You] who devour [eat up, consume, exploit, prey upon] widows' houses [rob widows of their resources].

They tried many things to trap Him into contradictions but failed. They challenged his authority but failed. See Luke 20 and Mark 12.

Crucifixion
Events during His Crucifixion witnessed to the fact He was the Christ, the Son of God. (Refer to Matthew 27:50-52.)
  • Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit
  • The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.
  • The earth shook and the rocks split.
  • The tombs were opened and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life and they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

Roman Soldiers
"When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, 'Surely, he was the Son of God!'" (Matthew 27:54)

Those Closest to Him - Apostles
"Therefore, it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from John's baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection." (Acts 1:21-22)

"That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched-this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ." (1 John 1:1-3)

Questions

1. Immediately when Jesus come up out of the water following his baptism a voice from Heaven said that Jesus was God's Son and God was well pleased with Him.
True _____ False _____

2. Jesus spoke as one having authority because He was one of the learned-men having been schooled in the rabbinical schools of the Jews.
True _____ False _____

3. Jesus referred to the Pharisees and Scribes as

  1. ___ blind guide. .
  2. ___ hypocrites.
  3. ___ thieves.
  4. ___ only a and b
  5. ___ only b and c
  6. ___ only a and c
  7. ___ a, b and c

4. Jesus' closest friends testified as eye witnesses of His miracles, death, burial and especially His resurrection.
True _____ False _____

5. Why was Jesus baptized in water by John the Baptist?

  1. ___ To comply with the Law of Moses
  2. ___ To be forgiven of His sins
  3. ___ To be obedient and to fulfill all righteousness
  4. ___ None of the above

Ready to Begin

It is stated in John 1:1-4 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men."

Therefore, God, the Son, chose to leave the riches and glories of Heaven with God, the Father, and God, the Holy Spirit, so that He could become the atoning sacrifice for man's sins. A perfect sacrifice was needed to reconcile man to God. He was born in Bethlehem, fled to Egypt and grew in favor with God and man. The citizens of Nazareth referred to Him as the son of Joseph, the carpenter.

At the age of twelve He chose to linger in Jerusalem at the temple to listen to the teachers and to ask and answer questions. It is uncertain if any of these teachers, twenty-one years later, were among the leaders who sought His death. When Joseph and Mary questioned Jesus about His decision to stay in Jerusalem, He replied"... 'How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?'" as recorded in Luke 2:49. Upon returning to Nazareth He "... was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man." (Luke 2:51-52)

About age 30 He left home to begin to accomplish His purpose for leaving Heaven and coming to Earth as the Word, in the person of Jesus. When John the Baptist was baptizing unto repentance Jesus came to him desiring to be baptized. John was reluctant "But Jesus answered him, 'Let it be so now; for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.' Then he consented. And when Jesus was baptized, he went up immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and alighting on him; and lo, a voice from heaven, saying, 'This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased'" (Matthew 3:15-17) confirming what John had said prior to Jesus' baptism. Jesus was led to a deserted place where he fasted forty days. During this time, he was confronted by the Devil, tempting Him in all things like we are tempted as follows:

  • Desire for food - lust of the flesh
  • Desire for power - pride of life
  • Desire for things - lust of the eye

In each temptation he chose to be obedient and did not sin. Time and time again we find Jesus stating his decision to be about His Father's business and to do the will of His Father. We need to base our choices and decisions on the will of the Father. Therefore, it is imperative for us to be diligent in our study of His words and the words of the apostles who were guided by the Holy Spirit. These words referred to as the New Testament allow us to know what to do to have our sins forgiven through Christ our atoning sacrifice so we can be reconciled to God.

Jesus faced each challenge and temptation by simply doing the will of the one who sent Him to earth. Since we were created in God's image, we have the same choice. Simply trust and obey.

Questions

1. According to John, who was in the beginning with God, the Father?

  1. ___ The Word
  2. ___ Holy Spirit
  3. ___ Both a & b

2. God, the Son, came to earth to be the sinless sacrifice killed by man, who was created in His image, in order to provide the means of reconciliation.
True _____ False _____

3. Jesus chose to be baptized by John the Baptist to be obedient and fulfill all righteousness.
True _____ False _____

4. Jesus did not yield to the Devil's temptations because He was not really human; i.e., not flesh and blood but spirit.
True _____ False _____

5. We need to study the Bible so our decisions can be based upon faith through knowledge of will of God.
True _____ False _____

Christ - Doing His Father's Will

John the Baptist told his followers that Jesus was the Lamb of God. God announced at His baptism that Jesus was his Son and He was well pleased with Him. Christ began telling the Jews about the Kingdom of God, proving His words by very powerful miracles that no one could deny, not even His enemies. On two occasions they were performed before thousands of people when He fed them from only a few pieces of fish and bread. He even stopped a funeral procession to bring back to life an only child of a widow. He healed people who had been blind or crippled all their lives, which everyone in the town knew. Lastly, he went to a cemetery, opened the grave and brought back to life a body that was already decaying. All these statements and miracles proved to the honest and sincere people that Jesus was the Son of God. They believed. But the religious leaders did not believe. They wanted "proof."

Jesus often used parables during His short ministry. The twelve He had selected to be His witnesses asked many questions desiring to understand their meaning. On many occasions, He took them aside and explained the parables. All the while, He continued to tell everyone His Kingdom was not of this world, but they had difficulty understanding. He constantly mentioned familiar prophecies and how they were being fulfilled right before their eyes. More and more believed - but not the religious leaders. They began looking for ways to entrap and discredit Him even discussing ways to kill Him.

Very late in His ministry Jesus began to explain to His disciples, especially the twelve, that He was going to be betrayed and be crucified. From the beginning of time on earth, everything had been planned for this upcoming event. The head of that serpent of old, the Devil, would be crushed by the descendant of Eve by:

  • His complete obedience
  • His death, the perfect sacrifice to atone for sin
  • His burial, from which He would burst forth
  • His resurrection, the triumph over death and the grave, opening the way for reconciliation to God.

God demands our obedience whether we understand His entire purpose behind the command or not. For instance, why was Abel's animal sacrifice more pleasing than Cain's offering from the fruit of the ground? Or, how could a large boat taking years to build be so important? Or, how could putting blood over a door prevent the death of a first-born son? Or, how could looking upon a brass snake raised upon a pole cure the bite of a poisonous snake? We may or may not fully understand God's purpose but we understand we must obey God's commands. We must respond with complete trust in God and obedience to His commands regardless of how illogical it may seem to man's finite mind.

So, we see Jesus in complete obedience setting out to Jerusalem to die, offering his life as the perfect sacrifice for our sins. We see the leaders of the Jews filled with envy, hate, jealousy and pride, hiring someone to betray Jesus into their hands so they could kill Him. We see a Roman judge finding Him innocent and undeserving of death but willing to kill Him to please the Jews. Jesus willingly gave his life as the perfect sacrifice to atone for man's sin so man could be reconciled to God through obedient faith in Him.

Questions

1. Obedience to God is doing what He desires because we have faith in His faithfulness even when we do not fully understand how or why.
True _____ False _____

2. Knowing He would die when He returned to Jerusalem, Jesus still went there for that very purpose. That was why He came to Earth.
True _____ False _____

3. What proof was given that Jesus was the Christ, Son of God?

  1. ___ Miracles
  2. ___ Acknowledgment by John the Baptist
  3. ___ Statement by God Himself
  4. ___ All the above

4. Jesus went to Jerusalem near the end of His ministry because

  1. ___ His disciples wanted to go there for the Passover.
  2. ___ The Roman government required everyone to go here to be counted and pay their taxes.
  3. ___ He wanted to offer proof to the Pharisees and Scribes that He was the Son of God.
  4. ___ It was time to complete His mission for coming to Earth by freely giving His life as an atoning sacrifice of mankind's sins.

5. Pilate, a Roman official, found Him innocent.
True _____ False _____

The Good News

God created man in His nature of love, mercy, peace, faithfulness and truth. He instructed him to tend the garden and not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Apparently, man only knew about good, God's nature and not of evil. By giving man instructions it is clear that man was also created with the ability to reason and make decisions. This must be true as he decided to believe a lie and chose to act upon it. By this act of rebellion man separated himself from God and allowed Satan to control him through death. Man, now needed a redeemer to remove his sins and the power over him. But what would that take? Not sacrifices of bulls and goats. (Hebrews 10:14)

A Savior Prophesied

  • In lesson 4 Abraham was told that through him all nations of the earth would be blessed.
  • God said that through David, a descendant of Isaac, Abraham's son of promise, "He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever." (2 Samuel 7:13)
  • Isaiah prophesied "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel [meaning God with us]." (Isaiah 7:14)
  • Hundreds of years later the angel Gabriel told the virgin Mary she would have a son and "shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most-High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end." (Luke 1:31-33)

Testimony about the Savior

  • The Messiah's birth was announced by the angel to shepherds
  • John, the Baptist, testified "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29)
  • At his immersion in the Jordan River by John "a voice from heaven said, This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.'" (Matthew 3:17)
  • In the synagogue in his home town of Nazareth Jesus read from the prophet Isaiah "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor" and "He then to them "Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing." (Luke 4:18a-21)

To confirm these statements Jesus publicly healed many sick, blind, deaf and raised up some who had died, one whose body was decaying.

The Atoning Sacrifice
A sinless blood sacrifice was needed to remove sin from man. Therefore, Christ offered to God His earthly body as that sacrifice allowing the Romans and Jews to crucify Him. He was buried in a borrowed tomb. God accepted His offering by resurrecting Him which removed all doubt that Jesus was God who came to earth in the flesh of man, His creation. This was necessary as men need to know they could put their trust in Christ and in His power and authority to forgive sins.

The masses had heard His teachings but did not understand. They were so different than their traditions. His was a message of Love. As shown in the following scriptures.

  • Luke_19:10 "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost."
  • Matthew_11:28 "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
  • 2 Peter_3:9 "The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance."
  • Acts 4:11-12 "This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."
  • Ephesians 1:6-9 "In him [Christ] we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace 8 which he lavished upon us."

The Good News - Gospel
Therefore, since redemption is found in Christ, then Christ must be the Good News, the Gospel, which is summed up as follows:

  • In the beginning was the Word, Jesus, Christ, Anointed One, Messiah.
  • The Word became flesh and lived among men.
  • Christ had no sin.
  • Jesus was obedient to the Father's will even His death on the cross.
  • God resurrected Him from the grave thereby conquering death, freeing man from Satan's grip - the direct result of sin.
  • Christ ascended back from where He descended, Heaven.
  • He taught that those who were cleansed of sin following their death to sin and burial by immersion in water into his death and who continued to walk faithfully in his Word would live eternally with Him.

It is in Him, Christ, that we are reconciled for "Jesus answered, 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me'." (John 14:6) And "This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome." (1 John 5:3)

Questions

1. Jesus was God who came to earth in human form to become the atoning sacrifice for man's sins?
True _____ False _____

2. There is no proof or witnesses that Jesus had the authority and power of God.
True _____ False _____

3. Where is salvation found

  1. ___ Hindu deities
  2. ___ Jesus, the Christ
  3. ___ Muhammad
  4. ___ Moses
  5. . ___ Pope

4. The Good News is Christ, His life, death, burial, resurrection and ascension that provided man the opportunity to be forgiven of their sins and be reconciled to God?
True ____ False ____

5. There are many ways to come and be reconciled to the Father?
True ____ False ____

Christ's Church

The Hebrew writer states "For it is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins. Wherefore when he [Jesus, the Son of God] cometh into the world, he saith, sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, But, a body didst thou prepare for me; -- then hath he said, Lo, I am come to do thy will. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By which will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. -- but he, when he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God; -- For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified" (Hebrews 10:4-5, 9-10, 12, 14). This is the atoning sacrifice to destroy the sting of death caused by sin and to cleanse man of his sins.

During His ministry, Jesus asked His disciples " 'But what about you?' he asked. 'Who do you say I am?' Simon Peter answered, 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God'. -- 'And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church [His called-out people], and the powers of death shall not prevail against it'" (Matthew 16:15-16-18). Therefore, the foundation of "my church" is the person Jesus, the Son of God.

Before "my church" could become reality, death needed to be conquered and the sacrifice for sin had to be made. Following the mockery of a trial with its perverted justice, the Romans crucified the innocent Son of God. The judicial charge against Him, JESUS OF NAZARETH, KING OF THE JEWS, was fastened to the cross.

The hypocritical Jewish religious leaders mocked Him and looked upon his crucifixion with great pleasure, but that was soon interrupted as darkness fell over Jerusalem for three hours just before His death. John tells us in John 19:30 that just, before He died, Jesus said, "It is finished". He had completed His mission for the redemption of mankind by His atoning sacrifice. The way was open for man to be reconciled to God.

Jews
On Pentecost Day 10 days after Christ ascended back to heaven His Spirit was poured out to all men. Then Peter and the other apostles proclaimed to those gathered that forgiveness of sins was now available as the atoning sacrifice had been made when Christ was crucified, resurrected by God and returned to be with the Father having conquered death, Satan's hold over man. Some 3,000 heard this message, repented asking "what shall we do," and were immersed into Christ death (Acts 2:14-38). Then God added them to Christ's church also referred to as Body of Christ. (Acts 2:41)

Gentiles
"I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures" (1 Corinthians 15:3-5). "Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into [union with (ISV)] Christ Jesus were baptized [immersed] into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death [immersed], in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his." (Romans 6:3-5)

Summary

"The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29-30)

  • Christ's mission was to remove sin from man
  • Jesus lived among men without sin
  • God made Jesus to be sin
  • Christ died with the man's sins place upon Him
  • Christ removes sins through trust and obedience when man
  • Dies to sin
  • Is buried with their sins into Christ's death
  • Is raised a new creation by God free of past sins
  • Is put by God into Christ's spiritual body, His Church

Now the church is not some building or organization as some think. It is those called out of sin into God's righteousness. These individuals put into Christ Body are to be living sacrifices constantly worshipping in songs, prayers and the doing of good works, thus glorifying God daily. They assemble together to encourage each other unto faithfulness by singing, praying, remembering Christ death [Lord's Supper], disciplining, giving and evangelizing.

Questions

1. Christ offered His sinless body to God to atone for man's sins
True _____ False _____

2. These saved people, those put into Christ's body, are a living organism doing the will of God, not an organization.
True _____ False _____

3. The church is people called out of sin into God righteousness
True _____ False _____

4. The foundation of Christ's church is

  1. ___ The apostles
  2. ___ Temples and church sanctuaries
  3. ___ Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God

5. People are added to Christ's Body, His church, by

  1. ___ Inheritance
  2. ___ Vote of members
  3. ___ God

Choices of Bible Characters

Every day we make many decisions, most of which are routine such as what we eat or wear and where we go. Occasionally man's choices result in unexpected joy and happiness while others bring disappointment and heartache. Often we are called upon to make major choices that affect entire family relationships which could involve religion, jobs with possible relocation or life and death matters. Probably all of us have known individuals who have made some bad decisions and others who have made some good decisions. Regardless of whether good or bad our choices have some type of consequence.

The following are some examples in the Bible of:
Decisions Consequences
Adam & Eve eat of forbidden fruit Death, banned from Eden and pain
Cain offered unacceptable sacrifice Reprimanded by God
Cain killed his brother Became a marked wanderer
Noah built the ark Considered righteous & saved man
Abraham sacrificed his son Received promises
Moses chose God Became the leader of great nation
Mary desired to be used by God Birth of Jesus who became our sacrifice
Judas betrayed Jesus for money Committed suicide
Paul repented, obeyed and immersed (baptized) Became the Apostle to the Gentiles

Each day we face choices involving our growth in the knowledge of God and in our understanding of how we can obey his commands so we can please Him. Consider the following:

  • Will we be honest in our business, family and spiritual life?
  • Will we be faithful to our self, spouse and children?
  • Will we control our mind, eyes and tongue?
  • Will we give thanks to God in all things?
  • Will we humble ourselves and obey God's commands so we can be reconciled to Him?

Questions

1. Every decision in life is a major decision.
True _____ False _____

2. Often our decisions have major consequences on our lives.
True _____ False _____

3. Bible examples of choices reveal that choices of disobedience bring pain and sadness while choice of obedience brings joy and happiness.
True _____ False _____

4. Since one does not have total control over what he sees and hears, he is forced to linger on them.
True ____ False ____

5. People have a choice in who they accept and obey.
True _____ False _____

Choice - Belief in Jesus as God

The same Jesus who preached repentance also preached:
"... whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?" (John 11:26)

"... The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!"(Mark 1:15)

" ... Then Jesus cried out, 'When a man believes in me, he does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. When he looks at me, he sees the one who sent me. I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness. As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it. There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day. For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it. I know that his command leads to eternal life. So, whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.'" (John 12:44-50)

"If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me." (John 14:23-24)

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16)

"Then Jesus came to them and said, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.'" (Matthew 28:18-20)

We were created in the likeness of God, given the ability to make choices, and told to work. We have also seen prophecies and their fulfillment. We have seen how God provided a way, a method, and a plan for man to be reconciled unto Him. Jesus preached repentance, a turning away from sin and all ungodliness. He taught us love, goodness and righteousness. He also preached belief that He was the Messiah, the Christ, who came to Earth as the perfect sacrifice for our sins and that obedience to His commands proves our faith in Him.

His teachings were with authority, in fact, all authority was given unto Him following His resurrection. His teachings were different from anything seen or taught, requiring a change in attitude toward fellowman and God. His message was of love of God rather than self, a change in lifestyle.

"This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome." (1 John 5:3) "And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love." (2 John 1:6) "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another." (John 13:34)

"That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched-this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us." (1 John 1:1-2)

Questions
1. Jesus has all authority.
True _____ False _____

2. A person can believe Jesus but does not have to do what Jesus requires; i.e., obey.
True _____ False _____

3. Jesus preached

  1. ___ only believe on me.
  2. ___ believe and change lifestyle, repent.
  3. ___ make disciples and baptize them.
  4. ___ all the above.
  5. ___ both A & B.
  6. ___ both B & C

4. Jesus requires a change in attitude toward

  1. ___ self.
  2. ___ neighbor.
  3. ___ God.
  4. ___ all the above.

5. As a witness of Jesus what did the apostle John say?

  1. ___ I saw Him
  2. ___ I Heard Him
  3. ___ I touched Him
  4. ___ He is Eternal Life
  5. ___ All the above
  6. ___ None of the above

Obedience - The Proof of Love

"This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome." (1 John 5:3) Love involves the desire to please the object of that love - our God. "And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love." (2 John 1:6)

Jesus preached a message of love, belief in Him as God, change in lifestyle away from the world and its sinful ways, and obedience to His commands so man could be reconciled to God the Father, Christ the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Now obedience because of love is not doing something because you are in agreement with it or even thinking it is the best alternative. Obedience cannot be forced upon you by threat of force or economic sanctions. It is performing something desired, requested or commanded even when it appears unreasonable, illogical or unnecessary. Obedient love is a voluntary action taken just because the one you love wants it done and because you desire to please Him.

Several examples of this type of obedience have been seen in previous lessons.

  • Noah spent years building an ark to exact specifications.
  • Following the flood and his return to dry land Noah built an altar and offered a sacrifice to God, an act of worship because of love.
  • Abraham circumcised all males within his household - something that by human standards and reason was totally unreasonable but he did so since God wanted it done.
  • Abraham took his only son of promise to a mountain and built an altar to offer him as a sacrifice to God. By man's standards this is murder and no normal man would do such thing but Abraham did because of his complete trust in God.

The terrified Israelites reached the Red Sea with Pharaoh and his army in pursuit close behind. By what logic could anyone expect the sea to part allowing the Israelites to cross? But Moses, putting his faith, belief and trust in the God he loved, obeyed and the sea opened for them to cross.

Finally, Jesus, having spent three years teaching and establishing that He was the Son of God by his miracles, set His face toward Jerusalem. He was determined to go there even though He knew the Jews, with the help of Roman officials, were going to kill him. But He willingly went giving His life because that was why He left Heaven. His prayer to God shows his complete obedience with death on the cross at hand" ... He went a second time and prayed, 'My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.'" (Matt 26:42)

Therefore, when it comes to obedience to God's requirements for reconciliation, we must obey because we love him, regardless of how unreasonable we think it is. Like Jesus, our desire must be "thy will be done."

Questions
1. Love for someone is doing something they desired because

  1. ___ we think is it is the right thing to do.
  2. ___ it appears to be the better of all other alternatives.
  3. ___ we think it will please the one we love.

2. Love can be obtained by family pressures, economic or political sanctions, threats or even gifts.
True _____ False _____

3. Jesus' desire to go to Jerusalem was to observe the Passover even if it resulted in His arrest.
True _____ False _____

4. Our response to Jesus' teaching on salvation should be whatever You, Jesus, want.
True _____ False _____

5. Everyone will be reconciled to God even those who do not obey His commands because Jesus died for all mankind.
True _____ False _____

Chapter 3
Time after Christ returned to Heaven

People Added to the Church Christ Established

First Members
Before Jesus returned to Heaven to be with the Father, "He told them (His apostles), 'This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. 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 24:46-49) ... "Then they returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day's walk from the city." (Acts 1:12)

On Pentecost, 10 days following Jesus' ascension to Heaven, a group of 120 were in the upper room as Jesus had instructed. The Holy Spirit descended on them and immediately they were able to speak in languages (tongues) they did not know or understand. A crowd gathered so Peter told them about the Messiah that they had crucified and preached "repentance and forgiveness of sins."

Pentecost Day
To the Jews' question "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. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off-for all whom the Lord our God will call'. With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, 'Save yourselves from this corrupt generation'. Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day." (Acts 2:38-41)

Samaritans and Simon
"But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles. ... When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money. ... Peter answered: 'May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.'" (Acts 8:12-13; 18; 20-22)

Eunuch from Ethiopia
"Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. 'Do you understand what you are reading?' Philip asked. 'How can I,' he said, 'unless someone explains it to me?' So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. ... Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus. As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, 'Look, here is water. Why shouldn't I be baptized?' And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him." (Acts 8:30-31; 35-38)

Saul of Tarsus
"The Lord told him, 'Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight'." ... Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands-on Saul, he said, 'Brother Saul, the Lord-Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here-has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.' Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul's eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength. Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus. At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God." (Acts 9:11-12; 17-20)

Cornelius
"Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. ... Then Peter began to speak: "I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right. ... He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name. ... 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." (Acts 10:24; 34-35; 42-43; 46b-48)

Lydia
"One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul's message. When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. 'If you consider me a believer in the Lord,' she said, 'come and stay at my house.' And she persuaded us." (Acts 16:14-15)

Jailer at Philippi
"The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, 'Sirs, what must I do to be saved?' They replied, 'Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved-you and your household.' Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized." (Acts 16:29-33)

Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue
"Then Paul left the synagogue and went next door to the house of Titius Justus, a worshiper of God. Crispus, the synagogue ruler, and his entire household believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard him believed and were baptized." (Acts 18:7-8)

Disciples of John
"While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples and asked them, 'Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?' They answered, 'No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.' So, Paul asked, 'Then what baptism did you receive?' 'John's baptism,' they replied. Paul said, 'John's baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.' On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus." (Acts 19:1-5)

Paul writing to the Roman Christians, but referring to all who obey the Gospel
"Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 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. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin because anyone who has died has been freed from sin." (Romans 6:3-6)

Questions
1. The Holy Spirit saved the 3,000 on Pentecost Day when He poured out His Spirit on them.
True ___ False ___

2. On Pentecost Day Peter told the crowd they needed to repent and be baptized to:

  1. ___ receive the ability to perform miracles
  2. ___ cease being under the control of the Romans
  3. ___ receive the forgiveness of sins

3. Saul of Tarsus became the apostle Paul by direct action of the Holy Spirit.
True _____ False____

4. Philip took the bowl of water he found on the road to Ethiopia and poured water over the Eunuch's head to baptism him
True ___ False ___

5. Paul stated in Romans that those who had been baptized into Christ were:

  1. ___ buried through baptism into Christ death
  2. ___ raise from the dead like Jesus to a new life
  3. ___ united with Christ in His resurrection
  4. ___ a & b
  5. ___ a & c
  6. ___ a, b & c

Our Choice

The question "What must I do?" was first asked of Peter when Christ established his church as recorded in Acts 2 which you are encouraged to read in its entirety.

"When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven (vv. 1-2a) ... When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment (vs. 6a) ... Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd (vs. 14a) ... 'Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.' (Vv. 22-24) ... 'Therefore, let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.' When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, 'Brothers, what shall we do?' 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.' (Vv. 36-39) ... Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day." (vs. 41) ... They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. (Vv. 42-43)

We all have the same choice. Will we accept Christ's message of reconciliation or reject it? Some rejected the message but about 3,000 accepted it and did the following:
  1. They heard the Gospel message - Christ had been crucified,
  2. resurrected and ascended back to the Father.
  3. They were convicted of the sin.
  4. They asked "what shall we do?"
  5. Those who accepted the Gospel message:
    1. Repented
    2. Were immersed in the name of Jesus for forgiveness of sins
    3. Received gift of the Holy Spirit
  6. About 3000 added to their number, Jesus' disciples.
  7. They devoted themselves to
    1. Apostles' teaching
    2. Fellowship
    3. Breaking of bread
    4. Prayer
It should be noted that everyone who heard made a decision. They either accepted or rejected the message of reconciliation.

There are many ways one can hear the Message of Reconciliation - someone could personally show them the message directly from the Bible, they could learn from reading the Bible or verifying from the Bible the truth of lessons on the Internet.

There does not appear to be a requirement that a disciple or follower of Christ do the immersing, baptizing, as long as it is based upon a saving faith, by immersion in water in the name of Jesus and for the forgiveness of sins.

Questions

1. What is the Message of Reconciliation?

  1. ____ Christ's death
  2. ____ Christ's return to Heaven
  3. ____ Christ's burial
  4. ____ Christ's Resurrection
  5. ____ All the above
  6. ____ None of the above

2. What did everyone who heard do?

  1. ____ Accepted the message?
  2. ____ Rejected the message
  3. ____ Made a decision

3. Those accepting the message

  1. ____ received the gift of the Holy Spirit.
  2. ____ repented.
  3. ____ were immersed.
  4. ____ all the above.
  5. ____ none of the above.

4. Those who accepted devoted themselves to
  1. ___ learning more about Jesus and His teachings.
  2. ___ returning to their old friends and acquaintances.
  3. ___ associating with others who had accepted the message.
  4. ___ breaking bread with others who had accepted.
  5. ___ prayer.
  6. ___ All the above.
  7. ___ a, b, d & e.
  8. ___ a, c, d & e.

5. Is the Gospel available to all mankind?
True ____ False ____

A New Creation

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come." (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Death - The Old Self of Sin [Flesh or Earthly Man]
  • 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. (Ephesians 4:22)
  • Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God?
  • Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit
  • the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
  • At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. (Titus 3:3)
  • The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurityand debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)
Burial - Of the Sinful Body

Like a seed that is planted into the earth and rises a different plant - so sinful man accepts the Word is buried into death of Christ and rises a new spiritual man to live a different life.

  • "Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 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." (Romans 6:3-4)
  • "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Resurrected - A New Creation [Spiritual Man]

  • "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. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." (Ephesians 2:8-10)
  • "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)
  • "(We) have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator." (Colossians 3:10)
  • " But I say, walk by the Spirit, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you would." (Galatians 5:16-17)
  • "And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." (Colossians 3:17)
  • "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. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other." (Galatians 5:22-26)

Daily Living

  • "As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace." (Ephesians 4:1-3).
  • "You must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more." (Ephesians 4:17-19)

Ephesians 4, 5, and 6 - daily living by the new creation:

  • Be made new in the attitude of your minds
  • Put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor
  • In your anger do not sin
  • Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry
  • Steal no longer, but must work
  • Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths
  • Get rid of all bitterness, rage, brawling and slander, and every form of malice.
  • Be kind and compassionate
  • Forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you
  • Live a life of love
  • Among you there must not be:
    1. A hint of sexual immorality
    2. Any kind of impurity
    3. Greed
    4. Obscenity
    5. Foolish talk
    6. Coarse joking
  • No immoral, impure or greedy person has any inheritance in the kingdom of God.
  • Do not get drunk on wine
  • Be filled with the Spirit
  • Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs
  • Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord
  • Always giving thanks to God the Father
  • Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ
  • Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord
  • Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her
  • Children, obey your parents in the Lord
  • Honor your father and mother
  • Fathers do not exasperate your children
  • Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect
  • Masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him

Titus 3:1-2

  • Be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men
  • Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes

Questions

1. A person coming into Christ becomes a new creation because:

  1. ___ God miraculously changed one's life.
  2. ___ The person resolved within themselves to become a better person by changing their lifestyle.
  3. ___ There was a death to sin, a burial into Christ and God
  4. resurrected the person as a new creation, spiritual body

2. God's grace, Christ the perfect sacrifice for sin, is free to all but man is free to accept or reject based on his faith or lack of faith.
True _____ False _____

3. An individual can lose all sensitivity to what is right, pure and just.
True _____ False _____

4. A new Christian, new creation, can continue to live as before one's death to sin, burial with Christ and resurrection as a new creation.
True _____ False _____

5. It is impossible for people to lose their sensitivity to sensuality?
True ___ False ____

Benefits of Being In Christ

Previous studies have shown we must change our lifestyle from rebellion to righteousness. We must believe the Gospel message - the crucified and resurrected Christ. We must obey that message to be in Him because it is in Him and through Him, we have redemption and are reconciled to God.

"He predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment-to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ." (Eph 1:5-10)

"For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. So, from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation." (2 Corinthians 5:14-19)

"What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 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. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin because anyone who has died has been freed from sin." (Romans 6:1-7)

"See, to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead." (Colossians 2:8-12)

Jesus is our advocate beside us when we stand before God.

Questions

1. When someone crucifies his old self with Christ, he is united with Him by death of his sin, having the assurance of eternal life and being united with Him in His resurrection.
True _____ False _____

2. Where is redemption found?

  1. ____ Only Faith in Christ
  2. ____ Prayer asking for redemption
  3. ____ The blood of Christ

3. How

does one become a new creation?
  1. ____ When one believes Christ is their savior
  2. ____ When one gets into Christ by the burial of baptism
  3. ____ When resurrected following physical death
  4. ____ a & c
  5. ____ b & c
  6. ____ a & b

4. People who have died to sin, been buried in water baptism and resurrected to a new spiritual life are united with Christ.
True _____ False _____

5. Where does the fullness of Deity dwell?

  1. ____ Bible
  2. ____ Christ
  3. ____ Apostles

Devoured by Desires

Paul in Romans states that the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation (1:16), that faith comes from hearing or reading in such a way that the word of God is understood. (10:17) When we obey God's Word we die to sin. "... We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 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." (Romans 6:2-4)

This is the seed analogy. A seed must be planted, germinate and push up through the soil before it can become a glorious plant. As the plant continues to grow it may face many trials; for example; storms, flood, drought, fire, disease, bugs, birds, animals and man. Some plants may not be damaged at all while others may become deformed, broken down, eaten or cease to mature and die. As with plants, unpleasant things happen to Christians and they too may become deformed, broken down, devoured or just cease to mature and die as shown in the following scriptures.

"Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." (1 Peter 5:8)

"Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel." (Colossians 1:21-23)

"See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ." (Colossians 2:8)

"Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions. He has lost connection with the Head." (Colossians 2:18-19a)

"All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God's grace in all its truth. You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf." (Colossians 1:6-7)

"Holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith. Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme." (1 Timothy 1:19-20) "The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth." (1 Timothy 4:1-3)

"For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." (1 Timothy 6:10)

"Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have wandered from the faith." (1 Timothy 6:20-21)

"Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have wandered away from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place." (2 Timothy 2:16-18)

"For Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me." (2 Timothy 4:10)

"For there are many rebellious people, mere talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision group. They must be silenced, because they are ruining whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach-and that for the sake of dishonest gain." (Titus 1:10-11)

"I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel." (Galatians 1:6)

"If, while we seek to be justified in Christ, it becomes evident that we ourselves are sinners, does that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not!" (Galatians 2:17)

"You are observing special days and months and seasons and years! I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you." (Galatians 4:10-11)

"Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. Again, I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace." (Galatians 5:2-4)

"You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?" (Galatians 5:7)

"What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?" (James 2:14)

"In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead." (James 2:17)

"Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall," (2 Peter1:10) and by implication if you do not do these things you will fall.

"But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them-bringing swift destruction on themselves." (2 Peter2:1)

"Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position." (2 Peter 3:17)

Jude states others were devoured. "Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home-these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day." (Jude 5-7)

"These men are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm-shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted-twice dead." (Jude 12)

Questions

1. When Paul stated in Colossians that Christ would present Christians holy and blameless "provided that you continue in the faith" he left no doubt that those who did not continue in the faith would not be presented holy and blameless.
True _____ False _____

2. The disciple Demas, Paul's companion, deserted Paul and returned to his former worldly life.
True _____ False _____

3. Peter warned Christians to beware lest they be carried away from their secure position.
True _____ False _____

4. Even angels were carried away leaving their place and are being held in darkness until judgment.
True _____ False _____

5. The craving for money causes some to wander away from the faith.
True _____ False _____

Spiritual Clothing

Those who have been buried into Christ through immersion in water upon hearing and believing Jesus is the Son of God, the perfect sacrifice for sin, have been added into His Body, that is, to the Church He established. "You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ." (Galatians 3:26-27)

It is imperative we become more like Him.
We must study to learn and understand the apostles' teaching, their letters and epistles, which the Holy Spirit of God guided them to write. We are now the Church, the sanctified, or those called out of sin to obedience, or simply the Body. It is by the things we wear or put on (not meaning material clothes but way of living) that the world will know we are His disciples.

The leaders of the Jews questioned Jesus "'Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?' Jesus replied: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." (Matthew 22:36-40) Jesus also stated in John 13:34 "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another."

A life based upon love, first of God, then of man, will always seek to do good things, to serve rather than aiming for power, prestige, wealth or fame. Paul gives us a good list in Colossians 3:12-17. "Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."

Also, in Galatians 5:22-26 "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. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other."

"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)

In Galatians 5:19-21 Paul identifies some things not to do or become "The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God."

Finally, John makes it very clear in Revelation 21:8 "But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars - their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death."

Paul tells us what to remove to remove from our life and how to live the spiritual life. "Therefore, each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 'In your anger do not sin': Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption." (Ephesians 4:25-30)

Having been reconciled to God by obedience to His message and putting on things pleasing to Him we grow more like Him.

Questions

1. According to Jesus the two greatest commandments are to love God and to love one's fellowman.
True _____ False _____

2. What binds everything together in perfect unity?

  1. ___ Faith
  2. ___ Hope
  3. ___ Love

3. Christians who walk by the Spirit

  1. ___ are not self-conceited.
  2. ___ do not provoke another.
  3. ___ do not envy.
  4. ___ both b and c.
  5. ___ all the above.

4. Christians in Galatia were warned they would not enter the Kingdom of Heaven if they participated in the works of the flesh.
True _____ False _____

5. To whom was the apostle Paul referring when he said put away falsehood, don't steal anymore, speak no evil and do not grieve the Holy Spirit?

  1. ___ Christians
  2. ___ Non-Christian

Functions - Within the Spiritual Body

All who have obeyed from the heart the message of reconciliation have put on Christ and have

  1. died to sin
  2. been buried or immersed in water (baptism)
  3. been raised a new being
  4. been added to the Body of Christ and are in Him, in Christ.

As disciples of Christ, we constitute a spiritual body and just like the human body there are many functions the body must perform if it is to grow. All activity must be functioning in unity for the body to be effective and efficient, therefore all parts of the body do not do the same thing. "For as in one body we have many members, and all the members do not have the same function so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another." (Romans 12:4-5)

Paul, while in prison, provided insight into spiritual gifts when he wrote "I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift." (Ephesians 4:1-6)

"And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry [serving], for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head - Christ - from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love." (Ephesians 4:9-16)

Perhaps the most crucial functions are never seen while others are always seen.

The spiritual body's functions listed below are from Romans 12:6-8:

  • Prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith
  • Service or ministry, let us use it in our serving or ministering
  • He who teaches, in teaching
  • He who exhorts, in exhortation
  • He who gives or contributes, with liberality
  • He who leads, with diligence
  • Perform acts of mercy with cheerfulness

In performing these activities, we must continue to live a life pleasing to God. Romans 12 tells us how we are to live before God:

  • Be genuine in Love.
  • Hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good.
  • Love one another with brotherly affection.
  • Outdo one another in showing honor.
  • Never lag in zeal, be aglow [fervent] with the Spirit, serve the Lord.
  • Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
  • Contribute to the needs of the saints, practice hospitality [take care of needs].
  • Speak well of those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.
  • Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep
  • Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty.
  • Associate with the lowly.
  • Never be conceited.
  • Repay no one evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all.
  • If possible, so far as it depends upon you, live peaceably with all.
  • Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God.
  • Do good things to your enemy for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.

From Ephesians 4:11-13 we see that in order to prepare His people for works of service to build up the body so it could mature and reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God He gave some to be:

  • apostles
  • prophets
  • evangelists
  • teaching pastors, shepherds, bishops or overseeing watchmen

Therefore, in the Body of Christ we do not all perform the same functions but become servants, doing whatever needs to be done and give honor to everyone not just to those who have a more public function.

Questions

1. God is the one who adds those who have put on Christ to the church Christ established
True _____ False _____

2. The body of Christ has many functions to perform therefore each individual Christian must do every function.
True _____ False _____

3. Functions of apostles, prophets, evangelists, overseeing watchmen [or teaching pastors] are to

  1. ___ assign tasks or functions to every Christian.
  2. ___ prepare Christians for works of service to mature them.

4. In order to reach unity in the church we must grow in knowledge of the Word and do the works of the Body, the Church.
True _____ False _____

5 Christians are servants of God, therefore we can select what we want to do rather than do what our Master needs to have done.
True _____ False _____

Remaining Faithful

Once someone has:
  1. Heard the Gospel Message that Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)
    1. was God who came to earth in the flesh
    2. was crucified on the cross for our sins - the atoning sacrifice
    3. was buried rising again on the third day
    4. was seen by many who knew him best
  2. Responds to that message by:
    1. believing He is the Son of God
    2. repenting of all unrighteousness
    3. changing one's way of life to one of godliness
    4. dying to sin, leaving the dead body of sin in the grave of baptism
  3. They are resurrected by the power of God as a new creation. They are then a Child of God.

In Galatians 5:19-21 Paul identifies some things not to do or become "The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God."

Rest assured the Devil will use everything at his disposal to get you to return to your former way of life. Peter wrote "If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them." (2 Peter 2:20-21)

The apostle John also provided some insight when he wrote, "Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness." (1 John 2:9)

"Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world - the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does - comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever." (1 John 2:15-17)

"Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him." (1 John 3:15)

"But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death." (Revelation 21:8)

"Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood." (Revelation 22:15)

When a Christian returns and remains in their former way of life, he is not better off, but worse. "They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity-for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him. If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. Of them the proverbs are true: 'A dog returns to its vomit,' and, 'A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud.'" (2 Peter 2:19-22)

The Hebrew writer makes it clear that God has no pleasure in those who turn back. "So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For in just a very little while, 'He who is coming will come and will not delay. But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him.' But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved." (Hebrews 10:35-39)

It is not enough to just begin in the way of righteousness. One can turn back from a life in Christ to their former way, a life of sin. Look at the message given to seven Asian churches most of which were established a few years earlier by Paul:

Ephesus "…Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lamp stand from its place." (Revelation 2:4-5)

Smyrna "… Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life." (Revelation 2:10)

Pergamum "… I know where you live-where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, ... Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: … Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth." (Revelation 2:13, 14, 16)

Thyatira "… Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols." (Revelation 2:20)

Sardis "… These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God." (Revelation 3:1-2)

Philadelphia "… Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth." (Revelation 3: 10)

Laodicea "… I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm-neither hot nor cold-I am about to spit you out of my mouth." (Revelation 3: 15-16)

Paul's advice is very timely: "So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall!" (1 Corinthians 10:12)

Questions

1. Peter tells us a Christian can become worse off than before one knew the way of righteousness.
True _____ False _____

2. Paul warned the Galatian Christians that if they returned to the works of the flesh they would not inherit the Kingdom of Heaven.

    True _____ False _____

    3. John explains that a Christian can still be in darkness.
    True _____ False _____

    4. To whom is the wrath of God revealed?

    1. ___ Ungodly men
    2. ___ Wicked men
    3. ___ Men who suppress the truth
    4. ___ God is a God of love not a God of wrath
    5. ___ a, b & c

    5. The world and the lust for it will pass away but the will of God lives forever.
    True _____ False _____

    Worship

    What Is Worship?

    Misers appear to worship money and material things. But is this really worship? No, worship is expressed through trust, obedience and love in expressions and actions of honor and praise. It is not some repetitive practice, ritual.

    • The patriarchs worshiped God by offering animal sacrifices.
    • The Children of Israel worshipped by sacrificing animal without blemishes and offerings of finest grains and oil.
    • God so loved the world He gave His only Son.
    • Christ so loved that He offered to God His body as the only sacrifice to atone, remove or cleanse man of his sins.
    • God accepted Christ's offering thus giving man the opportunity for forgiveness and reconciliation.
    • This gift of forgiveness is available to all who accept by putting their trust and obedience in Him.
    • Christians are to offer their bodies as "living sacrifices" after having died to sin being immersed [buried] into Christ's death.

    Their sacrifice must be from their inner being out of love and with thanksgiving for the removal of sin and hope of eternal life, if they remain in Christ. "And you, being in time past alienated and enemies in your mind in your evil works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and without blemish and unreproveable before him: if so be that ye continue in the faith, grounded and stedfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel." (Col 1:22-23) Real or genuine worship to God originates from love, the giving of one's self over to serving, praising and daily Godly living. Paul stated it this way "offer your bodies as living sacrifices, dedicated to God and pleasing to him. This kind of worship is appropriate." (Romans 12:1)

    Worship is a participatory activity, not a spectator event. It is action from within one's inner being whether alone or in a group. There are benefits derived when worshipping with others; e.g., one recognizes he is not alone in his devotion to God and others encourage faithfulness.

    "Worship is "the direct acknowledgement of God, of His nature, attributes, ways and claims, whether by the outgoing of the heart in praise and thanksgiving or by deeds done in such acknowledgement." (Vine, IV 236 - Instrumental Music and New Testament Worship, J. D. Bales 1973 p175) Who Is To Be Worshipped?

    Paul stated to those in Christ "I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship" (Romans 12:1a). Obviously by becoming a living sacrifice, the object of such devotion is very important.

    When there is an attitude of love, peace and gratitude within one's inner being, there comes forth a desire to express it in various ways, words, thoughts and actions. These expressions when directed toward God will take various forms such as doing good as opportunity arises, singing praises, praying with thanksgiving, giving because of the joy of helping others, studying scripture to obtain a better understanding of what God desires and is pleasing to Him, remembering the atoning sacrifice made by Jesus and daily living to mirror or reflect God's image in offering "your bodies as living sacrifices, dedicated to God and pleasing to him. This kind of worship is appropriate." (Romans 12:1)

    God is spirit and his worshipers must worship in spirit [not physical] and in truth [genuine not ritual]. "John 4:24 declares that 'God is a Spirit.' These words contain one of the most-simple, yet most profound truths which ever fell upon mortal ear. Their truth is one of the great glories of revelation, and corrects the mistaken conclusion of human reason. They show that:

    1. God is absolutely free from all limitations of space and time, and is therefore not localized in temples. (Acts 7:48)
    2. God is not material, as idolaters contend.
    3. He is not an abstract force, as [some) scientists think, but a being.
    4. He is lifted above all need of temples, sacrifices, etc., which are abenefit to man, but not to God. (Acts 17:25)
    [p. 149, The fourfold Gospel, J.W. McGarvey and Philip Pendleton]

    When Should One Worship?

    By being a living sacrifice, one will in everything gives thanks, glory and praise to God while looking for ways to:

    1. Assist other children of God and others in need.
    2. Encourage others to live sacrificial lives.
    3. Spread the message - forgiveness and salvation is in Christ.
    4. Proclaim and defend the life, death, burial, resurrection, ascension and return of Jesus, our Redeemer.

    Christians will not abandon being with, edifying or fellowshipping others in Christ, regardless of when or where they assemble. They will be faithful to their Savior, to His Message, to His people and not be ashamed of their chosen way of life. Therefore, worshipping God by serving, teaching, singing, admonishing and meeting together is not limited to any specific day or place.

    Where Is One To Worship?
    Jesus told the Samaritan woman "Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain [Mt. Gerizim] nor in Jerusalem" (John 4:21). So, going to some specific building or location to worship is not what God desires. One worships from within rather than some physical location. Assembling with others of common faith edifies by increasing the emotions of one's inner being.

    How Is One To Worship?
    Understanding the what, who, when and where of worship should help in understanding the how of worshipping. The giving ourselves as a living sacrifice is a lifestyle of service motivated out of a desire to be more like Christ while giving Him glory, honor, praise and adoration.

    Man is to worship in his spiritual inner being, his seat of emotion, and in genuineness not some routine done without feeling.

    Consequently, one incapable of performing a physical act can still worship and serve God.

    Therefore, if one's thoughts and emotions are based upon a knowledge of God and he has an intimate relationship with Him, he has trained his whole being to love, adore and praise God with genuineness of heart and desire to please him. He is now prepared to be a living sacrifice serving God in spirit and truth.

    Vain Worship

    Since good works that benefit man while glorifying God and inner being, spiritual, activity, in the form of songs, prayers, expressions of adoration, praise is real and genuine worship, then any worship activity not from ones heart is unacceptable worship, for instance:

    • Prayers offered to satisfy personal desires
    • Money given for personal recognition
    • Songs of praise to God sung to the listener with no thought of God.
    • Lessons taught for praise of man.
    • Good works done for self-satisfaction
    • Lord's Supper may be partaken of without considering Christ's atoning sacrifice and without any thanksgiving for the forgiveness, redemption and reconciliation resulting thereof.

    If the Kingdom of God is truly within you, then your character will be one of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, goodness and self-control and your actions will reflect this character.

    Questions

    1. Who is to be worshipped?

    1. ___ Ali
    2. ___ Buddha
    3. ___ Jehovah God
    4. ___ Hindu shrine

    2. How often should one worship?

    1. ___ Every Sunday
    2. ___ Three times a week
    3. ___ Daily living sacrifices

    3. One must go to a church building or temple to worship?
    True ____ False ____

    4. Worship is

    1. ___ Bowing down to an idol or shrine?
    2. ___ Rituals performed by a priest?
    3. ___ Inner being adoration and honor toward God?

    5. Worship activity cannot be in vain as any type of worship is acceptable to God.
    True ___ False ___

    Choosing Everlasting Life or Eternal Death

    God told Abraham "By myself I have sworn, declares the LORD, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice." (Genesis 22 16-18)

    Years later God said of one of Abraham's descendants "'I have found that David, the son of Jesse, is a man after my own heart, who will carry out all my wishes.' It was from this man's descendants that God, as he promised, brought to Israel a Savior, who is Jesus." (Act 13:22-3)

    One will find many prophets in the Old Testament foretold that through Abraham and the Children of Israel a savior would come. He would be a redeemer to restore mankind back into fellowship with man's creator.

    "So with us; when we were children, we were slaves to the elemental spirits of the universe. But when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts" (Galatians 4:3-5 - RSV). All prophecies were fulfilled in Jesus. According to Matthew Jesus stated "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. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished." (Matthew 5:17, 18)

    "Then Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had been raised. As was his custom, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day. When he stood up to read, the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling the scroll, he found the place where it was written, 'The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; he has anointed me to tell the good news to the poor. He has sent me to announce release to the prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, to set oppressed people free, and to announce the year of the Lord's favor.' Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. While the eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fixed on him, he began to say to them, 'Today this Scripture has been fulfilled, as you've heard it read aloud."' (Luke 4:16-21)

    Jesus, God in the flesh (Immanuel), offered His sinless earthly body to God as the only sacrifice to atone for man's sins. This sacrifice provides the opportunity for man to be forgiven, those who put their faith and trust in Him by obedience. God desires all to accept Christ, God's gift of forgiveness, God's grace. But not everyone will "The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance." (2 Peter 3:9

    )

    Those who hear Christ message of forgiveness believe and accept it by dying to sin, calling upon God to forgive by being buried by immersion in grave of water into Christ death are raised by God, placed into a body of the saved, given a new spiritual being and the Holy Spirit. They clothe themselves in the fruits of the Spirit "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23b). By remaining faithful they will inherit the Kingdom of Heaven receiving everlasting life with God and all the redeemed. (Colossians 1:23)

    Everlasting Life - Heaven

    Heaven is the abode of God and all the righteous and described in human terms as magnificent and splendor.

    1. "I saw a throne in heaven with a person seated on the throne. The person sitting there looked like jasper and carnelian, and there was a rainbow around the throne that looked like an emerald. Around the throne were 24 other thrones, and on these thrones sat 24 elders wearing white robes and gold victor's crowns on their heads. (Revelation 4:2-4)
    2. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There won't be death anymore. There won't be any grief, crying, or pain, because the first things have disappeared."(Revelation 21:4)
    3. A voice came from the throne, saying, "Praise our God, all who serve and fear him, from the least important to the most important." Then I heard what sounded like the voice of a large crowd, like the sound of raging waters, and like the sound of powerful thunderclaps, saying, "Hallelujah! The Lord our God, the Almighty, is reigning. (Revelation 19:5-6)
    4. I saw no temple in it, because the Lord God Almighty and the lamb are its temple. The city doesn't need any sun or moon to give it light, because the glory of God gave it light, and the lamb was its lamp. The nations will walk in its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. Its gates will never be shut at the end of the day-because there will be no night there. (Revelation 21:22-25)

    Those who refuse the free gift of God, the forgiveness of sins, have chosen to follow the desires of the world offered by the Devil. They will not inherit the Kingdom of heaven. They are doomed to eternal death with the Devil in Hell with all the wicked and rebellious.

    Everlasting Death - Hell

    Hell is the abode of the Devil, his angles and the wicked.

    1. "All the nations will be assembled in front of him, and he will cull them out, one from another, like a shepherd separates sheep from goats. He will put the sheep on his right but the goats on his left." … "Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, depart from me, ye cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels." (Matthew 25:32-33 … 41)
    2. Hell is also referred to the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death (Revelation 21:8b) where "The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matthew 13:41)
    3. For those who have chosen Eternal Death rather than Everlasting Life for all eternity Jesus said "Not everyone who keeps saying to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will get into the kingdom from heaven, but only the person who keeps doing the will of my Father in heaven. (Matthew 7:21)
    4. The Apostle Paul was very specific on the lifestyle they chose "You know that wicked people will not inherit the kingdom of God, don't you? Stop deceiving yourselves! Sexually immoral people, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, homosexuals, thieves, greedy people, drunks, slanderers, and robbers will not inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). "Now the actions of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, promiscuity, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, rivalry, jealously, outbursts of anger, quarrels, conflicts, factions, envy, murder, drunkenness, wild partying, and things like that. I am telling you now, as I have told you in the past, that people who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God." (Galatians 5:19-21)
    5. Lastly the Apostle John records "But people who are cowardly, unfaithful, detestable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars will find themselves in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur. This is the second death." (Revelation 21:8)

    One's daily choice of actions will determine where they will spend eternity. What decisions will you make today? Are you going to live for the After-Life with the redeemed or the After-Death with the condemned?

    Decide today - Eternity is a long time to be without the love of God!!!

    Questions

    1. Did God send a savior to redeem man?
    Yes ____ No ___

    2. Who is the Savior?

    1. ___ God, the Father
    2. ___ Jesus, the Christ
    3. ___ A man-made object
    4. ___ None of the above

    3. Must those in Christ remain faithful to Christ?
    True _____ False _____

    4. Those who put their trust in Christ message of Salvation and obey will inherit Everlasting Life with God and the righteous.
    True ____ False _____

    5. Those who reject God's free gift of Salvation will receive Eternal Death with the Devil and His angels.
    True _____ False _____

    Judgment and Eternity

    It is difficult for our finite minds to comprehend eternity, but before the creation of the Earth God already existed and He will continue to exist after the end of time on Earth. When Christ comes again everyone will face his Creator, the Almighty God, to give an account of his actions while on Earth.

    How great it will be to have Jesus, our Advocate, beside us on that day. He will speak up on behalf of His obedient, faithful disciples because: "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." (Romans 6:4) Then God will welcome us into His presence. We will be so overjoyed that we will sing His praises and give thanks forever. Christ died so we could live in Heaven where there will be no fear, no sorrow, no pain, no weeping and no darkness, but only love, peace, truth and righteousness, forever and ever without end.

    There is another group of people. They are those who will not have that advocate on their side. What about them? They lived in rebellion satisfying their human desires refusing to obey or even acknowledge the presence of Almighty God. "But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. God 'will give to each person according to what he has done'. To those who by persistence in doing good, seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile." (Romans 2:1-10)

    "But now he (Jesus) has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him." (Hebrews 9:26b-28)

    What Will Happen At The End Of Time

    Let the Word of God tell us in passages that deal with the Second Coming of Jesus.

    1. The Lord will appear [a spectacular thing]
      "For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, and the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God..." (2 Thessalonians 4:16a). Every human being living on the face of the earth, whenever that day is, will hear that trumpet and our attention will be suddenly captured on a moment's notice.
    2. The dead will be raised
      "The dead in Christ will be raised first." (2 Thessalonians 4:16b) That is corroborated in I Corinthians 15:52 "in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable." When Jesus comes again, the graves are going to be emptied all of those that we have known.
    3. The living are going to be changed
      "Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep (i.e. die), but we will all be changed - in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality." (1 Cor inthians 15:51)
    4. These first three things are all going to happen practically simultaneously:

      1. A trumpet will sound
      2. The voice of the archangel
      3. The dead will come out of the graves, and the living at that time will be caught in the air with them, all of humanity, from the beginning of time.

    5. A Great Separation-Judgment
      "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep [the righteous] on his right hand and the goats [the wicked] on his left." (Matthew 25:31)
    6. Inheritance for the Righteous
      "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world." (Matthew 25:34)
    7. Sentence Pronounced on the Disobedient
      "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels." (Matthew 25:41)
    8. John writes (having seen that revelation), "And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and the books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books." (Revelation 20:12)

    9. The destruction of the earth
      "The day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare." (2 Peter 3:10)

    Comment: The Aerial, atmospheric, heavens is the area where the birds and the clouds are. The Sidereal heavens is the region of the sun, moon, and stars.

    Time on earth has ended. It is too late to accept God's gift of salvation. Accept Him NOW as "Today is the day of salvation.

    Questions

    1. At the Judgment Day Christians have an advocate or attorney, Christ, beside them to explain that His blood through immersion into him [baptized into His death] has washed away the stains of sin.
    True _____ False _____

    2. Satan, that rebellious angel, stands ready to welcome all rebellious ones who refused Christ's invitation.
    True _____ False _____

    3. Man created in God's image is without excuse as God's eternal power and deity are clearly perceived in things God made.
    True _____ False _____

    4. When Jesus returns at the end of time on earth He will send angels to remove from his Kingdom evildoers and throw them into the furnace of fire.
    True _____ False _____

    5. The furnace of fire or Eternal fire was prepared for the Devil and his angels.
    True _____ False _____

    Time to Decide
    Are You Living for The AFTER-LIFE (Heaven)?

    People who believe there is eternal life with the creator and the righteous or eternal death with the devil and the unrighteous attempt to follow some interpretation of God's principles, precepts and commands. God requires a person to be "In Christ" to be acceptable. "In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace" (Ephesians 1:7). "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." (2 Corinthians 5:17)

    The lifestyle of these people will include:

    1. Loving, honoring, glorifying, praising and worshiping God as He has directed in His Word
    2. Desiring the best for everyone, even their enemies.
    3. Providing for needs, the widows, orphans and especially Christians.

    Since redemption, the forgiveness of our sins is I Christ our primary concern should be learning how Christ desires us to live. It should be obvious that His commands, teachings and examples are to be found in His Word. One teaching is in the following parable: On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" "What is written in the Law?" he replied. "How do you read it?" He answered: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" "You have answered correctly," Jesus replied. "Do this and you will live." But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" (Luke 10:25-29)

    After relating the parable of the "Good Samaritan", Jesus allowed the Pharisee to answer his own question. "The expert in the law replied, 'The one who had mercy on him.'" (Luke 10:37) Jesus told him to do what he knew to do, which was to love his neighbor as himself.

    We are also told to "Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God" (Ephesians 5:1-2) and "If you love me, you will obey what I command." (John 14:15)

    There are many instructions to those In Christ to follow in becoming imitators of God thus living in the AFTER-LIFE with God.

    "Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world - the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever." (1 John 2:15-17)

    "This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome." (1 John 5:2-3)

    To those In Christ John wrote "This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light [all things good, things done in the open - love, truth, mercy, kindness, faithfulness]; in him there is no darkness [all thing evil, things done in secrete - hate, envy, false, vengeance, selfishness] at all. 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 all sin." (1 John 1:5-7)

    "We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ." (1 John 1:3)

    "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives." (1 John 1:8-10)

    "Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 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." (1 John 4:1-3)

    "Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 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. So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more." (Ephesians 4:14-19)

    "Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." (Colossians 3:12)

    "Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you." (Colossians 3:13)

    "Above all these put-on loves, which binds everything together in perfect harmony." (Colossians 3:14)

    "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another." (Colossians 3:15-16)

    "Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him." (Colossians 3:17)

    "For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness, and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." (2 Peter 1:5-8)

    "In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires." These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit. But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in God's love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear-hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh." (Jude 17-23)

    It is clear from the above that those in Christ must grow. Therefore, the critical question is "How do I grow?" in order that my life becomes a mirror of God's image. What can I do to become more like God continually reflecting a clearer likeness of his essence and nature of love, truth and justice as I grow older?

    Questions

    1. The first and foremost requirement to inherit eternal life is love and belief in God - God is love.
    T. ___ F. ___

    2. The love God desires is doing what is best for one's eternal life.
    T. ___ F. ___

    3. What continues to cleanse one who is in Christ

    1. ___ Fully and completely obeying His commands
    2. ___ Assembling together with other Christians
    3. ___ The blood of Christ
    4. ___ Those in Christ have on sins as all past, present and future sins have been fully forgiven.

    4. What does one need to have to bind everything into unity?

    1. ___ Love
    2. ___ Truthfulness
    3. ___ Peace

    5. What keeps God's people from being ineffective and unproductive>

    1. ___ Knowledge and perseverance
    2. ___ Self-control
    3. ___ Love
    4. ___ Godliness
    5. ___ All the above

    Are you Living for the AFTER-DEATH (Hell)?

    Those who believe in neither an AFTER-LIFE nor AFTER-DEATH or believe that everyone will live eternally with God live by the philosophy of:

    1. Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow you may die.
    2. What is mine is mine. What is yours I will take if I want it.
    3. Whoever acquires the most in life wins.
    4. I fear no one, God nor man. I AM the one with the power.

    Consequently, they follow the action of Adam and Eve by yielding to their desires and doing what they want to do rather than what God desires. God said to them in Genesis 2:16-17 "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." But in Genesis 3:4-6, 13 we read "Then the serpent said to the woman, 'You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.' So, when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate." … "And the LORD God said to the woman, 'What is this you have done?'"

    James put it this way in James 1:12-15 "Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death."

    BY the disobedience of Adam and Eve, yielding to their desires, sin entered the world. "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned." (Romans 5:12)

    But there is hope "For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness. For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death." (Romans 6:19-23)

    The following are several references to things God considers sin, lawlessness, rebellion and disobedience. Those who practice such live for the AFTER-DEATH.

    Genesis 6:5-6 "And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.

    Genesis 13:13 "But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly."

    Genesis 19:4-5 "They called to Lot, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them."

    Ephesians 5:5 "For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person - such a man is an idolater - has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God."

    Hebrews 10:26-31 "For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. Anyone who has rejected Moses' law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, 'Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,' says the Lord. And again, 'The LORD will judge His people.' It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."

    James 1:19-21 "So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore, lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls."

    2 Peter 2:4-11 "For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment; and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly; and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly; and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds) - then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment, and especially those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority. They are presumptuous, self-willed. They are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries, whereas angels, who are greater in power and might, do not bring a reviling accusation against them before the Lord."

    2 Peter 2:12-17 "But these, like natural brute beasts made to be caught and destroyed, speak evil of the things they do not understand, and will utterly perish in their own corruption, and will receive the wages of unrighteousness, as those who count it pleasure to carouse in the daytime. They are spots and blemishes, carousing in their own deceptions while they feast with you, having eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin, enticing unstable souls. They have a heart trained in covetous practices, and are accursed children. They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; but he was rebuked for his iniquity: a dumb donkey speaking with a man's voice restrained the madness of the prophet. These are wells without water, clouds carried by a tempest, for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever."

    2 Thessalonians 1:3-10 "We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other, so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure, which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer; since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed."

    Revelation 20:10 "The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever."

    Revelation 21:8 "But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death."

    1 John 1:10 "If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us."

    Now there may be lots of debating about exactly the nature of the AFTER-DEATH. Is it literal or figurative, never-ending torment or annihilation and on and on.

    Regardless of the nature of the AFTER-DEATH it will be so terrible and so final that no one in his or her right mind would want to be sent there.

    The eternal residents will be:

    • Angles who rebelled Devil (Satan)
    • Beast
    • False Prophet
    • Cowardly (fearful)
    • Unbelieving
    • Abominable
    • Murderers
    • Liars
    • Sexually immoral (fornicators)
    • Sorcerers
    • Idolaters

    The good news is that it is not necessary to leave the land of the dying to enter the land of the dead. Notice God's invitation to Israel in Deuteronomy 30:15-20: "See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, in that I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the LORD your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess. But if your heart turns away so that you do not hear, and are drawn away, and worship other gods and serve them, I announce to you today that you shall surely perish; you shall not prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to go in and possess. I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you, life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the LORD your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them."

    God's desire is for those created in His image (His nature) to be reconciled to Him and have an intimate relationship with Him immediately following their burial into Christ's death. "The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some people understand slowness, but is being patient with you. He does not want anyone to perish, but wants everyone to repent" 1 (2 Peter 3:9). "You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. …. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him!" (Romans 5:6-10)

        Comment: Repentance is not a mere feeling; it has not the uncertainty of moods and sentiments. It is not a simple change in the weather of the soul. It is a distinct alteration of the focus of the intelligence; it carries with it a movement of the will; in short, it is a revolution in the very ground of the man's being"
    (The Pulpit Commentary, vol. 18, p. 66 quoted in REFLECTIONS #515 Al Maxey, January 3, 2012)

    Questions

    1. What were the sins of Adam and Eve?

    1. ___ Eating if the forbidden fruit
    2. ___ Hiding from God
    3. ___ Disobeying God by yielding to their desires

    2. One sins when

    1. ___ Tempted
    2. ___ Drawn to the temptation
    3. ___ Yielding to the temptation

    3. The result of sin is death?
    T. ____ F. ___

    4. Who does not have an inheritance in heaven?

    1. ___ The immoral
    2. ___ Greedy / idolater
    3. ___ Impure
    4. ___ All the above

    5. God forgave, spared, the angels who sinned, rebelled against Him.
    T. ___ F. ___

    6. The residents of the After-Death are:

    1. ___ Angels who rebelled
    2. ___ Devil (Satan)
    3. ___ Liars
    4. ___ Sexually Immoral (fornicators)
    5. ___ Cowardly (fearful)
    6. ___ Unbelieving
    7. ___ Jews
    8. ___ All the above
    9. ___ All the above except g.

    From Death to Eternal Life

    WHO IS GOD?

    In these readings you will learn about God who gives us life. Who is He? What has He done? Does He care about us? What does He want from us? Why is it so wrong to worship and serve any person, object or thing other than God?

    1. John 17:3 - "Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent."
          a. To receive eternal life, do you need to know God?      YES or NO

    2. John 4:23, 24 - "Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth." a. God is? Spirit or Matter b. Is God seeking people to worship Him?       YES or NO

    3. Acts 17:24-31 - "The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 'For in him we live and move and have our being.' As some of your own poets have said, 'We are his offspring.'

    "Therefore, since we are God's offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone-an image made by man's design and skill. In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead."

      a. Who created the world and all that is in it? ________________
      b. Who needs whom? _
      1. ___ We need God
      2. ____ God needs us
      c. What shows that God cares for us
      1. ____ He gives us life and breath
      2. ____ He wants us to seek Him
      3. ____ He is always near to each one of us
      4. ___ all of these answers.
      d. He who thinks that God is like gold, silver, stone or any other work of art is:
      1. ____ intelligent
      2. ____ ignorant
      e. Do you think that God really will judge and condemn those who do not repent, even knowing that He loves and cares for us all? YES or NO

    4. Romans 1:18-25 - "The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

    "For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.

    "Therefore, God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator who is forever praised. Amen."

    1. Even a person who never read the Bible should know that the Creator is powerful, intelligent and divine?       YES or NO
    2. Does the person who denies the existence of God the Creator have any excuse?       YES or NO
    3. Should the fact that God is our Creator cause us to worship and praise Him?       YES or NO
    4. Does God let people follow their own sinful desires even though they are displeasing to Him?       YES or NO
    5. Whoever worships and serves things that were created instead of the Creator is?       RIGHT or WRONG
    6. Write some created things that people serve nowadays:
      1. _________________
      2. _________________
      3. _________________

    5. Matthew 19:26 - "Jesus looked at them and said, 'With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.'"

    1. Is there anything that God cannot do?       YES or NO
    2. Can we trust in God to supply all our needs?       YES or NO

    6. John 3:16 - "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (Romans 5:6-8) You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

    1. Does God love you, even though you are a sinner?       YES or NO
    2. What is the greatest proof of God's love for you? ______________
    3. What does God want for you?      DEATH or LIFE

    Summary:
    You saw that the God who created you also loves you and wants you to seek, worship and glorify Him. This Wonderful God is powerful and "able to do infinitely more than anything we can ask or think" (Ephesians 3:20). He gave us His Son, Jesus, as a great demonstration of His love. Now you need to learn some important things about this Jesus.

    WHO IS JESUS?

    In these readings you will learn about Jesus the Christ, the Prince of Life. (Acts 3:15) Who is He? What is His importance for us? Why is He worthy of our praise and obedience?

    1. John 1:1-4, 14 - "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. …The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."

    1. Is Jesus God?       YES or NO
    2. Where can we find life? _____________________________
    3. Is Jesus the God who became a man and lived here on earth for a time?       YES or NO

    2. Matthew 1:20-23 - "But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, 'Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.' All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 'The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel'-which means, "God with us."

    1. Was Jesus conceived miraculously?       YES or NO
    2. Jesus came to save us from what? __________________________
    3. Jesus Christ is:
      1. ____ God who lived here on earth with us in human form
      2. ____ only a good person

    3. Matthew 16:13-16 - "When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, 'Who do people say the Son of Man is?' They replied, 'Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.' 'But what about you?' he asked. 'Who do you say I am?' Simon Peter answered, 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.'"

    1. Who is Jesus? ______________________________________

    4. John 10:11, 14, 15, 27 - "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." … "I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me - just as the Father knows me and I know the Father and I lay down my life for the sheep." … "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me."

    1. Who is the good shepherd? _________________________
    2. Did the good shepherd come to earth to care for us and protect us, even at the cost of his life?       YES or NO
    3. For Christ to be your good shepherd, do you have to listen to and follow him?       YES or NO

    5. John 14:6 - "Jesus answered, 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'"

    1. Is there any other way to be saved except by Jesus? YES or NO
    2. What is the only way you can get to God and receive eternal life?
      1. ____ following some pastor
      2. ____ following some priest
      3. ____ following some guru or religious leader
      4. ____ following Jesus Christ

    6. 1 Timothy 2:5 - "For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus."

    1. Is there any other mediator between God and man except Jesus?       YES or NO
    2. Today, can you approach God by way of:
      1. ____ Mary, the mother of Jesus
      2. ____ some saint or good person who has already died
      3. ____ only through Jesus Christ

    7. Hebrews 10:10-14 - "And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time, he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy."

    1. Who offered the only and perfect sacrifice for our sins? __________
    2. Is the sacrifice of Jesus repeated again and again?       YES or NO
    3. What sacrifice can you offer to God that will pay for your sins?
      1. ____ prayers or rosaries
      2. ____ personal suffering
      3. ____ humble service
      4. ____ contributions and tithes
      5. ____ acts of charity
      6. ____ nothing you can do will pay the price of your sins

    Summary

    In these verses you saw that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, the Way, the Truth and the Life, the only way for us to get to God, The Father, the Savior, the perfect and only sacrifice capable of paying for our sins. And he is much more! Try to discover other truths about Jesus in your Bible reading. But you should already understand why the Bible says that "there is no other name under heaven, given to men, by whom we may be saved." (Acts 4:12) You need Jesus to save you from your sins.

    Stop and reflect about this wonderful person! Recognize his greatness and how much you need Him for everything, especially for salvation. Seek the salvation and eternal life that is only found in Jesus Christ.

    JESUS IS LORD!

    In this part you will learn what it means that Jesus is Lord. Why does He have authority over us! Why is it so important to follow His example and obey His commands?

    1. Acts 2:36 - "Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ."

    1. After his resurrection, Jesus was made to be ______ and _______.

    2. Philippians 2:9-11 - "Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." a. Is there any person more exalted than Jesus?       YES or NO b. Who is going to confess that Jesus is Lord one day? ________

    3. Matthew 28:18 - "Then Jesus came to them and said, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.'"

    1. God gave Jesus ________________ authority.
    2. Does Jesus have the right to order us to do whatever he wishes?       YES or NO
    3. Who has more authority over you?
      1. ____ a church council of religious leaders
      2. ____ the government of the country
      3. ____ a preacher or priest
      4. ____ your family
      5. ____ Jesus Christ

    4. John 12:48 - "There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day."

    1. Jesus said we will be judged on the last day by the words of
      1. ____ a pastor
      2. ____ a rabbi
      3. ____ a priest
      4. ____ Jesus himself
    2. On the day of judgment, will the basis of judgment be what you think is right or wrong?       YES or NO
    3. On God's judgment day, will you be judged by the words and beliefs of your parents?       YES or NO

    5. Luke 6:46 - "Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?"

    1. The person who calls Jesus Lord is obligated to ___________ him.
    2. If you are not obeying Jesus, do you have the right to call him Lord?       YES or NO

    6. Matthew 7:21-23 - "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'"

    1. Will all those who call Jesus Lord and believe in him be saved?       YES or NO
    2. Is it necessary to obey Jesus to be saved?      YES or NO
    3. Do you want to obey Jesus in everything?       YES or NO

    7. 1 John 2:6 - "He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked."

    1. Who is the example that we should imitate in life? ____________
    2. Should we try to live as Jesus lived, that is, having the same values, virtues and attitudes?       YES or NO
    3. It is easy to say, "I am a Christian", but the person who really abides in Jesus must ____________________________.

    8. Luke 14:27, 33 - "'And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. … In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.'"

    1. To be a true disciple of Jesus, must you put him and his will above everything in your life?       YES or NO
    2. Would you decide to become a Christian even if your family were against this decision?       YES or NO

    Summary

    We see that Jesus is the Lord of all, and that, in practice, this truth means that he is the one who controls the life of the true Christian. You cannot think about being a Christian without bowing before Jesus, and surrendering the control of your life into his hands. Nobody can become a Christian without deciding to obey Him. The Christian's goal is to be like him and obedient to him in everything. But remember the high price Jesus paid to be your Lord. He gave his life for you and now requires that you live for him. Reflect on these truths. Ask yourself if you are ready to call Jesus Lord, knowing the commitment that this confession implies in your life.

    WHY DID JESUS HAVE TO DIE?

    In these readings you will learn about sin. How does it bring God's punishment upon us? Why were the suffering and death of Jesus on the cross necessary so that we could be saved from God's punishment? How did Jesus resolve the great problem of sin on Calvary's cross?

    1. 1 John 3:4; 5:17 - "Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness…. All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death."

    1. Is whoever breaks or disobeys God's law a sinner?       YES or NO
    2. If you do something that is not just or right according to God's Word, do you become a sinner?       YES or NO
    3. Have you, personally, ever disobeyed God?       YES or NO

    2. James 4:17 - "Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins."

    1. Is the sinner just that person who kills, steals, gets drunk, lies, commits adultery or commits other "terrible crimes"?       YES or NO
    2. Is it also sin to fail to do the good things we know to do?
    3. YES or NO
    4. Have you always done the good things you have known you should do?       YES or NO

    3. Galatians 3:10 - "All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: 'Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.'"
    1. The person who does not always do everything that God demands is a sinner and _________________________.
    2. Have you always done everything that God demands?      
    3. YES or NO

    4. Romans 3:23 - "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus."

    1. Are you a sinner?       YES or NO
    2. Make a list of some of your sins:
    3. Thinking about these, your sins, answer very personally:
      1. Do these sins make God sad?       YES or NO
      2. Do these sins make you sad?       YES or NO
      3. Did you know that God will punish sinners?       YES or NO
    4. Would you like to be forgiven of these sins and become as innocent as a little baby?       YES or NO
    5. Do you want to live with Jesus forever?       YES or NO

    5. Romans 6:23 - "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."

    1. What does a sinner deserve as his salary?
      1. ____ contract a disease
      2. ____ a sharp rebuke
      3. ____ another chance
      4. ____ be forgiven
      5. ____ eternal death
    2. Is God just when He punishes the sinner?       YES or NO
    3. As a sinner do you deserve the punishment of God?      

    Summary

    You should now know that you, like the rest of us, are a sinner who deserves God's condemnation and death. But "God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son" in order to be able to give us life. Jesus, because he loves you, was crucified on the cross of Calvary to pay the price for all your sins. Now you need to reflect on this because each one of us has to decide how we will react to these truths. If you decide that you want to be forgiven of your sins, you will want to know how to receive forgiveness and pass from death to life.

    WHAT MUST I DO TO BE FORGIVEN OF MY SINS?

    In these readings you will learn what you must do in order to receive forgiveness of your sins and eternal life. Knowing that Jesus already paid the price for your sins, what must you do to receive the benefit of Christ's sacrifice on the cross?

    1. John 3:16 - "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

    1. To receive eternal life do you have to believe in Jesus?       YES or NO

    2. John 8:24 - "I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am [the one I claim to be], you will indeed die in your sins."

    1. Is it possible to be saved if you do not believe in Jesus?       YES or NO

    3. Romans 10:14-15 - "How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?"

    1. In order to believe, do you have to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ?      YES or NO

    4. Luke 13:3 - "I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish."

    1. Will you receive eternal life if you refuse to admit you have sinned and repent of your sins?       YES or NO

    5. 2 Corinthians 7:10 - "Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death."

    1. To repent means:
      1. ____ decide to not continue in sin but to be obedient to God.
      2. ____ only feel remorse for the sins you have committed.
    2. Do you want to quit sinning?       YES or NO

    6. Mark 16:16 - "Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned."

    1. Which of these statements is the truth Jesus taught?
      1. ____ He who believes will be saved and afterwards ought to be baptized
      2. ____ He who is baptized will be saved and afterwards ought to believe
      3. ____ He who believes and is baptized will be saved

    7. 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."

    1. What is the purpose of this baptism?
      1. ____ for remission (forgiveness) of sins
      2. ____ to announce to the world that you were saved
      3. ____ to become a member of a religious denomination

    8. Acts 22:16 - "And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name."

    1. a. When was Saul saved?
      1. ____ when he believed in Jesus on the road to Damascus
      2. ____ while he prayed and fasted in Damascus
      3. ____ when he was baptized, being washed of his sins
    2. What did Saul call on the Lord to do?
      1. ____ wash away his sins
      2. ____ tell the world he had been saved

    9. Colossians 2:12 - "Having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead."

    1. Is baptism an expression of faith in the power of God?       YES or NO
    2. Is it right to baptize a person who does not believe in Christ?       YES or NO

    10. Romans 6:3-6 - "Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 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. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection."

    1. Does the new life in Christ begin before or after this burial and resurrection of baptism? ______________________________

    11. How was your baptism?

    1. Did you believe in Jesus when you were baptized?      YES or NO
    2. Was your baptism a burial (immersion) in water?       YES or NO
    3. Was your baptism for the forgiveness of your sins?       YES or NO
    4. Did you repent of your sins before you were baptized?      YES or NO
    5. Was your baptism biblical and thus valid?       YES or NO

    Summary

    For you to leave behind the world of sin and become a Christian, you must hear and understand the good news of Jesus Christ. Believe that Jesus is the Son of God who lived a sinless life, died on the cross in your place and then rose from the dead on the third day. You must repent of your sins, deciding sincerely that you are going to live in submission to the Lord Jesus. You must confess Him as Lord and be baptized (immersed) in water, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Doing this, you begin the Christian life, free of the fear of God's punishment and secure in the hope of eternal life in Christ. Stop now and reflect on your need to become a Christian. If you have already been converted to Christ, ask yourself if your conversion was according to the Bible or not. But before making such an important decision, you should know about the commitment that the true Christian assumes.

    WHAT IS GOD'S WILL FOR THE CHURCH?

    In these readings you will learn what God wants of you as a Christian and a member of His spiritual body, the church. What is the church? How should the church be? What should the church do? What is your responsibility as a member of the church?

    1. Ephesians 1:22-23 - "And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way."
    1. Who has all authority over the church? ___________________
    2. Who is the head of the church?
      1. ____ The Roman Catholic Pope
      2. ____ Some Protestant Pastor, Bishop or Reverend
      3. ____ Only Jesus Christ
    3. Is the church called the body of Christ?       YES or NO

    2. Ephesians 4:4 - "There is one body and one Spirit- just as you were called to one hope when you were called."

    1. According to the Bible, how many bodies does Jesus have? _____
    2. The church (the body of Christ) should submit to:
      1. ____1 the traditions and human's decrees
      2. ____ Jesus, who is head of the church

    3. John 17:21 - "... that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me."

      a. Jesus wants all his followers to be:
      1. ____ united
      2. ____ divided into various religious denominations

    4. 1 Corinthians 1:10-13 - "I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. My brothers, some from Chloe's household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, 'I follow Paul'; another, 'I follow Apollos;' another, 'I follow Cephas;' still another, 'I follow Christ.' Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul?"

    1. Does God condemn divisions in His church?       YES or NO
    2. Some people say: "How wonderful it is that there are so many denominations and churches because everybody can choose a church that suits them." Is this       RIGHT or WRONG?

    5. Ephesians 4:16 - "... 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."
    1. Should every Christian participate actively in the life and work of the church?       YES or NO

    6. Hebrews 10:24-25 - "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another-and all the more as you see the Day approaching."

    1. Does God want all Christians to regularly participate in the meetings of the church?       YES or NO

    7. Acts 2:42 - "They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer."

    1. The Christian life consists of persevering in:
      1. ____ the apostles' teachings
      2. ____ fellowship
      3. ____ observance of the Lord's Supper
      4. ____ prayer
      5. ____ all these items

    8. Acts 17:11 - "Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true."

    1. Should you, as a Christian, study your Bible to make sure that what you hear is true or not?       YES or NO

    9. Colossians 3:16 - "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God."

    1. Does the Lord want Christians to edify and encourage one another by singing hymns, and praises?       YES or NO

    10. Romans 12:1-2 - "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will."

    1. Should your whole life be dedicated to the Lord?       YES or NO
    2. Make a list of some areas in your life that you can dedicate to God:
      1. _______________
      2. ______________
      3. _____________

    Summary

    The Christian life is a life of participation and involvement in the church, in evangelism and in good works. To be a Christian means a serious commitment that you must think about beforehand. But remember, there is no salvation in any other way.

    HOW TO KEEP YOUR ETERNAL LIFE?

    In these readings you will learn how to remain in possession of eternal life that God gave you when you became a Christian. Remember that many may say "I am a Christian" or "I am saved" but the life of a true Christian will reveal itself in deeds.

    1. 1 John 1:5-7 - "This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 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 all sin."

    1. If you, as a Christian, begin to live in the darkness, will you lose your fellowship with God?       YES or NO
    2. If a Christian quits walking in the light, will the blood of Jesus still cleanse him of his sin?       YES or NO

    2. 1 John 2:9 - "Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness."

    1. If you, as a Christian, do not live loving your brethren in Christ, will you continue to be saved?       YES or NO

    3. 1 John 2:3-6 - "We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what He commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did."

    1. If a Christian stop obeying Jesus, will he still be saved?       YES or NO

    4. 1 John 4:1,6 - "Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. … "We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood."

    1. Do all those who teach something in the name of some religion always teach the truth?       YES or NO
    2. To be a true Christian, do you have to accept the teaching of his apostles?       YES or NO

    Summary

    The Christian life is a life dedicated to the goal of every day becoming more like Jesus. This life begins when you believe in Jesus, repent of your sins and are baptized in the name of Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. This life is maintained as long as you continue to walk in the light (loving the brothers, obeying Jesus and believing the doctrine of Christ). This is the life worthy of the Lord. Reflect a while on the value and beauty of the truly Christian life. Don't be deceived by the life of some so-called "Christians" who profess it but do not live it. Jesus calls us to live the higher life, the life that is worthy of him.

    REVIEW AND CONCLUSION

    Review what you learned and make a personal application for your life, answering these questions:

    1. Do you understand that you are a sinner in the eyes of God and deserving of eternal punishment?       YES or NO
    2. Do you understand that Jesus paid the price for your sins when he gave his life on the cross?       YES or NO
    3. Do you truly love God and Jesus with all your heart?       YES or NO
    4. Do you, freely and truly, want to renounce everything and dedicate your life to Jesus right now?       YES or NO
    5. Are you ready to confess publicly that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and your only Lord?       YES or NO
    6. Do you want to be united with Christ in baptism to be forgiven of all your sins?       YES or NO
    7. Do you desire to be just a Christian, a member of Christ's body, his church? YES or NO
    8. Do you understand and are you ready to accept the commitments of the Christian life?       YES or NO
    9. If you answered "YES" to all these questions, then prayerfully read Acts 22:16 - "And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord" and 2 Thessalonians 1:6-9 … "since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power..."

    These passages should motivate you to think seriously about your decision to obey the gospel of Jesus Christ. Meditate about this before making any decision but notice the urgency of being saved. Remember that no one knows the day or the hour when the Lord will return. The decision is yours. Do you really want to become a true Christian, freed from the guilt of sin? Do you want to escape death and enter into eternal life?

    Those who accept God's message are added by God to Christ Body, His Church.

    Chapter 4
    God's Invitation to the World

    Matt 11:28-30 "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."

    1 Corinthians 2:9-11 "But as it is written: 'Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor, have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.' But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God."

    Matthew 28:18-20 "And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, 'All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.' Amen."

    Mark 1:14-15 Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel."

    Matthew 6:33-34 "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."

    Romans 6:16-19 "Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one's slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh."

    "For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness."

    Acts 4:10-12 "Let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. This is the 'stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.' Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."

    There is No Guarantee of a Tomorrow

    The tragedy is we do not have to lose Heaven and gain Hell. The choice is ours. We are free to determine our eternal destiny. Heaven is a place for a prepared people and Hell is a place for an unprepared people.

    2 Corinthians 6:2 "Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation."

    John 15:10 "If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love."

    Conclusion

    Those "In Christ" living for the AFTER-LIFE must be aware of temptations constantly set before them by the Devi. There are examples in both the Old Testament and New Testament of God's children disobeying God and going back into the ways of the world.

    Those not "In Christ" who desire to be His Child need to seriously consider what the Bible has told others to do.

    Hear

    • Study diligently and read what Christ taught for they are the Words of life.

    Understand

    • All men are sinful having disobeyed God's righteous ways and commands
    • All have sinned and not living according to God's commands
    • One's sin will result in their eternal death
    • One must be forgiven to have eternal life with God
    • Christ is the only way for one to be forgiven of all their sins

    Believe

    • Jesus Was and is God
    • He came to earth in human flesh as Jesus of Nazareth
    • He lived among men
    • He willingly gave His sinless physical life as the perfect sacrifice for my sins, being crucified
    • He was buried
    • God raised Him from the grave on the third day
    • He appeared to hundreds following His resurrection
    • He ascended back to heaven to be with the Father

    Repent

    • Change from sin and disobedience to trust and obedience

    Confess

    • Acknowledge publicly your belief that Jesus is the Son of God.

    Seek

    • Call upon God to forgive you of your sins

    Die

    • Put to death your old, sinful, worldly life

    Be Buried

    • Bury your sinful life, put to death in the grave of baptism by water immersion into the death of Christ, allowing God to raise you from the grave as a new Creation, cleansed of sin.

    Receive

    • The Holy Spirit as a deposit guaranteeing what is to come

    Become

    • As a new Christian God added you as His adopted child to the other children into the Church Christ established.

    Continue to live steadfastly and obediently to Christ and the apostles teachings "I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace" (Ephesians 4:1-3).

    Questions

    1. God desires all mankind not to perish but to come unto Him.
    T. ___ F. ___

    2. Man is a slave to the one he chooses to follows - either God, the Father, or Satan, the father of evil.
    T. ___ F. ___

    3. Salvation is found only in Christ
    T. ___ F. ___

    4. All that God requires of man for him to inherit eternal life is for him to believe that God exist.
    T. ___ F. ___

    5. When is the best time for one to seek salvation

    1. ___ After achieving one's goals and settles down
    2. ___ When he is no longer tempted to sin
    3. ___ Today

    Take action - the "right time" is now. Today is the day of salvation. (2 Corinthians 6:2)

    SELF EXAMINATION OF YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD

    1 Do you believe?
    1. Jesus Christ is the Son of God?       YES __ NO __
      • God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. [John 3:16]
      • … Christ, the Son of the living God. [Matthew 16:16b]
      • Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus. Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, "See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?" Then Philip said, "If you believe with all your heart, you may." [Acts 8:35-37]
    2. You are a sinner?       YES __ NO __
      • "… All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." [Romans 3:23]
      • "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." [1 John 1:8-9]
    3. Jesus came to die for the sins of mankind?       YES __ NO __
      • … The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many. [Matt. 20:28]
    4. Jesus died for you?       YES __ NO __
      • But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the
      • suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace
      • of God, might taste death for everyone. [Hebrews 2:9]
    2. Have you?
    1. Repented of your sins?       YES __ NO __
    • I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. [Luke 13:3-4]
    • Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent. [Acts 17:30-31]
  1. Confessed your faith in Christ?       YES __ NO__
    • Therefore, whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven. [Matthew10:32-33]
  2. Been baptized for the remission of sins?       YES __ NO__
    • Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call." [Acts 2:38-39]
3. Do you?
  1. Study the Bible with any consistency?       YES __ NO __
    • Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. [2 Timothy 2:15]
  2. Pray with any consistency?       YES __ NO __
    • Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. [1 Thessalonians 5:16-18]
  3. Believe the Bible is the authoritative Word of God?       YES __ NO__
    • All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. [2 Timothy 3:16-17]
  4. Believe the Bible will judge us when Jesus comes?       YES__ NO__
    • And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him - the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. [John 12:47-49]
  5. Visit (look out for) the sick when the opportunity and need are present?       YES ___ NO ___
    • "When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.'" [Matthew 25:31-36]
  6. Show any interest in those who are lost?       YES ___ NO__
    • "I am the true vine, and My Father is the vine dresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you." [John 15:1-3]