Characteristics of Healthy Churches

Many types of church growth methods have been introduced in recent years, some successful others not so successful.  It has become evident that growth does not necessarily occur with the addition of programs or personnel but in creating a climate or an environment where God is allowed to be the Head of the Church and leaders lead in the power of the Holy Spirit.  Read more by clicking Characteristics of Healthy Churches.

Experiencing the Miraculous

Resurrection

Many of God’s people live a life where visible miracles seem to be non-existent or scarce at best. Yet God, who is a miracle working God and cannot do anything EXCEPT by a miracle, desires to bring us into a “partnership” where the miraculous is commonplace. We also tend to overlook a basic principle: we must act BEFORE we see the provision or the miracle!

As well, the teaching that miracles are the result of a “power” harnessed through faith is a “New Age” teaching and false!  They are the result of living for the One who performs the miraculous!  Note the following principles…

1.  Forget predictable formulas, God does each miracle differently!

  • God told David not to advance against his enemies until he heard a rustling in the top of the trees.    (1 Chronicles 14:15)
  • Jesus made mud from his spit, rubbed the man’s eyes and told him to wash.  (John 9:1-12)

2.  Miracles are always  the answer to a deep need. Period.

3.  Miracles are bigger than we are and require more than we have, yet God wants to use what we have, as insignificant as that may seem.

  • Moses and his rod before Pharaoh.  (Exodus 4:1-17)
  • Nehemiah rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem using the rubble and the people. (Nehemiah 4)
  • Jesus and the loaves and fish. (Matthew 13:14-21; Luke 9:10-17; Mark 6:30-44; John 6:1-14)

4.  Miracles begin with God speaking to us.

  • If we are not in a position to hear from the Lord (making time, restructuring our calendar to His, etc.) we cannot really expect a miracle.

5.  Miracles can only happen with the Power of God as we submit to Him. 

  • When Jesus’ disciples could not cast out a demon, he stated that the miraculous can only be experienced by prayer and fasting and in intimate relationship with Him. (Mark 9:14-29)

6.  Miracles (can) transform our life, our thinking, our behavior, etc. 

  • Only one of the ten lepers was changed not just healed. (Luke 17:11-19)

7.  All miracles have a greater purpose than to simply benefit us. 

  • In Genesis 12:1-2 God said to Abraham, “I will bless you… and you will be a blessing.”

8.  Miracles glorify God and the Kingdom of God. 

  • In Acts 4:13-22 the disciples praised God for the great miracle He had done!

9.  If you are convinced God has spoken and there have been confirmations, DON’T GIVE UP!

  • At the Red Sea God said to stand firm and see the deliverance of God!  (Exodus 14:13)
  • Again, when Israel faced an overwhelming enemy God said to stand firm and see the deliverance of God!  (2 Chronicles 20:17)

10.  Be willing to be the one through whom God wants to perform a miracle.

Click here to view a PDF of this document  |   Contact us for questions or comments.

 

OT Names of God

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The Name of the Lord is a strong and mighty tower!

1.    The Name of the LORD, our God.

  • Exodus 3:13-15  God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.  This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you.”  God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, The LORD, the God of your fathers — the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob — has sent me to you.  This is my name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation.”
  • Psalm 9:10  Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.
  • Psalm 20:7  Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.
  • Psalm 113:1-3  From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the LORD is to be praised.
  • Proverbs 18:10  The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.

2.    The knowledge of God and His Character is more essential for the Christian than anything else.

  • When Moses received the commission to be the deliverer for God’s people enslaved in Egypt (Exodus 3:13), he asked God to reveal His Name.
  • It was the prayer of Jesus in John 17:3… Now this is eternal life: that they may know You,  the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
  • It was Paul’s great goal in life to “know Him.”  Philippians 3:10
  • We will experience God only in proportion to our knowledge of Him (John 8:19; 14:9-14).

3.    A name in Scripture often described a person’s character or a unique quality.

  • The Old Testament contains a number of names and compound names for God which reveal Him some aspect of His character and dealings with mankind.
  • In the Disciples’ prayer in Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11, “hallowed be Your Name” (Greek: anoma meaning character), we are really saying, “How we admire Your character.”

OVERVIEW OF THE OLD TESTAMENT NAMES OF GOD

1.    Elohim – God, Our Mighty Creator, Covenant God | Genesis 1 and throughout the Old Testament; John 1:1-5, 10-13)

2.    El-Shaddai – The Mighty God | Genesis 17:1-2 and throughout the Old Testament; Matthew 14:13-33)

3.    Adonai – The Lord our Master | Genesis 15:1-8; Daniel 9:3-19; Malachi 1:6; John 13:12-17

4.    El Elyon – The Supreme, Most High God | Genesis 14:22; Daniel 4:34-35

5.    El Olam – The Everlasting, Eternal God Who does not change | Genesis 21:33; Malachi 3:5-7; Hebrews 13:8

6.    Jehovah – LORD- The Self-existent, Holy, Righteous and Loving God throughout the Old Testament | Exodus 6:2-3

7.    Jehovah-Jireh – The LORD our Provider | Genesis 22:1-9

8.    Jehovah-Rophe – The LORD our Healer | Exodus 15:22-27

9.    Jehovah-Nissi – The LORD our Banner | Exodus 17:8-16

10.  Jehovah-Sabaoth – The LORD of Hosts | 1 Samuel 17:45; Haggai 2:4-9, 23)

11.  Jehovah-M’Kaddesh – The LORD our Sanctifier |Leviticus 20:8

14.  Jehovah-Rohi – The LORD our Shepherd | Psalm 23

15.  Jehovah-Shammah – The LORD IS THERE | Ezekiel 48:35

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Offenses 1 | PRIDE OF OFFENSE

THE PRIDE OF OFFENSE

Bible Texts: Luke 17:1-4; Genesis 4:1-8; Matthew 18:21-35; Genesis 50:15-21

DEFINITION OF PRIDE — Pride is the quality of having an excessively high opinion of oneself or one’s importance.

  • Synonyms include: arrogance, vanity, self-importance, conceit, self-love, self-adulation, self-admiration, narcissism, egotism, haughtiness, snobbery, snobbishness; etc.

1.   The origin of pride (the beginning of sin) with Lucifer in Heaven…  READ MORE

1 PETER – Victorious Living in the Challenges

1 Peter head

1 Peter is a General Epistle (Letter) and was written to the scattered people of God (and all believers in general). The author is Peter who wrote it about 60 A.D. through Silvanus, or Silas, who was one of Paul’s companions (Acts 15:22, 16:25, etc.).  Peer knew what it would take to endure and stand firm without bitterness and living an obedient, faith filled victorious life. The letter’s purpose was to encourage suffering and persecuted Christians through faith in Christ, our Model.

This is not a detailed study but a brief Scriptural overview of this powerful book. We will post 2 Peter soon.

Read more…

Victory Over Fear & Intimidation

“Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.  For God has not given us a spirit (pneuma) of fear (intimidation), but of power (dunamis) and of love (agape) and of a sound mind (self-control, discipline).”

2 Timothy 1:6-7

Intimidation (or fear) occurs when you feel a person or a situation you are dealing with is stronger, bigger and more powerful than you.  Intimidation always evokes a sense of inferiority.  Other characteristics include: to fill with fear, to coerce or inhibit by threats; to browbeat, bulldoze or frighten into submission; a leveling of any spirit of opposition by creating a paralyzing and immobilizing fear or panic.

Even great characters in the Bible such as the prophet Elijah struggled with intimidation and fear at times…

Click here to read more

Called to Lead

Basin & Towel

Exodus 33:12-13; Luke 22:27 & John 13:1-17

“A true and safe leader is likely to be one who has no desire to lead, but is forced into a position of leadership by the inward pressure of the Holy Spirit and the press of the external situation.” ~ A.W. Tozer

1.    Leadership is based upon a relationship with God and people

Exodus 33:12-13  Moses said to the LORD, “You have been telling me, ‘Lead these people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me.  You have said, ‘I know you by name and you have found favor with me.’  If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you.  Remember that this nation is your people…”

  • The command to lead.  (Joshua 1:6-9; Ezekiel 22:30)
  • Relationships of mentoring and partnership.  (Barnabas & Saul, Paul & Timothy)
  • Favor with God.  (Joseph’s favor with God in Genesis 39:3-4; Hebrews 4:16)
  • Desiring to know God and His ways.  (Philippians 3:10-11)
  • The stewardship of people.  (1 Peter 5:1-4)

2.    Jesus based leadership upon servanthood, not position.

Mark 10:41-45 When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John.  Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.  Not so with you.  Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.  For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

  • God’s leadership principles are different from those used by the people of the world.  Worldly leadership in the church brings strife.
  • Kingdom leadership is expressed through servant leadership. (Luke 22:27; John 13:1-17)

3.    A leader has been responsible with someone else’s ministry.

Luke 16:10-13  Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.  So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?  And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own? No servant can serve two masters.  Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.

  • To lead one must first understand authority and learn to follow (Matthew 8:5-10).
  • The armor bearer principle (Abimelech’s armor bearer in Judges 9:45-55; Saul’s armor bearer  in I Samuel 31:4-6; I Chronicles 10:4-5; Jonathan’s armor bearer in I Samuel 14:1-23; David as Saul’s armor bearer in I Samuel 16:14-23).

4.    Leaders are busy mentors.

2 Timothy 2:2  And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.

  • “I wish to have on my epitaph: ‘Here lies a man who was wise enough to bring into his service men who knew more than he.’”  Andrew Carnegie
  • “Mentoring is a relational process  between a mentor who knows or has experienced something, and transfers that something to a mentoree at an appropriate time and manner, so that it facilitates development and empowerment.”  Robert Clinton
  • When we live the “mentoring Pattern,” (Discipleship Development) we can be assured of finishing well.  A common characteristic of leaders who finish well is that they have had mentors to guide them along the way.

5.    Leaders are people of integrity.

Titus 1:5-9  The reason I left you in Crete was that you might straighten out what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you.  An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient.  Since an overseer is entrusted with God’s work, he must be blameless – not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain.  Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined.  He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.  (also 1 Timothy 3:1-13)

  • The “sinkhole syndrome” ~ Sinkholes occur when underground streams drain away during drought, causing the ground at the surface to lose its underlying support.  When our private life is not what our public life seems to be we are living in a state of deception when the undercurrent of sin can erode our lives and destroy us.  (Hebrews 3:12-13)
  • Psalm 19:13-14   Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me.  Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression.

6.    A leader must be filled with the Holy Spirit

Acts 6:3  Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom.

  • The leader who is filled with the Spirit can serve with humility (John 13:3-17).
  • God uses leaders who serve with Holy Spirit humility in greater ways as they prove faithful (Acts 8:1-13).

Calvinism & Arminianism

A COMPARISON OF CALVINISM & ARMINIANISM

~ Adapted from various reliable sources ~

One of the most potentially divisive doctrinal debates in the history of the church centers around the opposing doctrines of salvation known as Calvinism and Arminianism.  Calvinism is based on the theological beliefs and teaching of John Calvin (1509-1564), a leader in the Reformation, and Arminianism is based on the views of Dutch theologian Jacobus Arminius (1560-1609).

After studying under John Calvin’s son-in-law in Geneva, Jacobus Arminius started out as a strict Calvinist. Later, as a pastor in Amsterdam and professor at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands, Arminius’ studies in the book of Romans led to doubts and rejection of many Calvinistic doctrines.

In summary, Calvinism centers on the supreme sovereignty of God, predestination, the total depravity of man, unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible grace, and the perseverance of the saints.

Arminianism emphasizes conditional election based on God’s foreknowledge, man’s free will through prevenient grace to cooperate with God in salvation, Christ’s universal atonement, resistible grace, and salvation that can potentially be lost.

To read more, click the link below.

CALVINISM & ARMINIANISM

SIN & FORGIVENESS

Can a person who is called, anointed, blessed beyond imagination, faithful, and a great Bible leader who led Israel into great victories experience tremendous temptation, sin and forgiveness?  King David did!  Here is the “anatomy” of David’s temptation, sin and forgiveness as found in 2 Samuel chapters 11 & 12; Psalm 51.

Click here SIN & FORGIVENESS

Finishing Well

We must develop a spiritual compass (God’s Word) by which we can monitor our life’s direction and finish well

Acts 20:24  But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. 

2 Timothy 4:6-8  …the time of my departure is at hand.  I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

Also 1 Corinthians 9:24-27; Philippians 1:21-28, 3:7-14; 1 Timothy 1:18-19

1.  There are many examples of people who did and did not finish well in Scripture.  Some did not finish well with one decision (Judas) and others with small unchecked decisions throughout their lives

  • 1 Timothy 1:18-19 …concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck,..  

2.  At the end of Daniel’s life in Daniel 6 we see his determination, even in the face of the lion’s den, to finish well. This determination was not developed overnight.  In Daniel 1, he determined not defile himself with the King’s food.  This Biblical convictions carried him successfully through turbulent times in his life. We, too, can finish well by developing disciplines that enable us to finish well.  This is a challenge, no matter how old or young we may be.

A FEW SCRIPTURES TO STUDY  

2 Peter 3:10-13  But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?  Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

Matthew 24:36-51; 1Thessalonians 4:13-18; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4

HOW DO I FINISH WELL

It begins with decisions we make today and carries into tomorrow.  Here are a few of the main characteristics we can learn from those who finished well in the Bible.

1.  They had a deeply personal relationship with God and continued to look to Jesus their entire life. (The word “looking” is the Greek word meaning to look away – living for Jesus without distraction.)

  • Hebrews 12:1-2  Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
  • Philippians 3:8-13 …that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead… 

2.  They had a focus, a prophetic vision, and purpose for living and trusted God to bring that purpose into being

  • Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint;…
  • Jeremiah 1:4-5
  • Matthew 4:18-22
  • Acts 9:15-16

3.  They viewed & handled life from perspective of God’s Word.  They believed that all things work for the good with God’s people and that He would deliver them out of every circumstance

  • Psalm 18:1-3  I will love You, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised; So shall I be saved from my enemies.
  • Daniel 3:19-30
  • Romans 8:28

4.  They acknowledged their own weaknesses to God and maintained victory over their own sin.

  • Psalm 51:1-12  Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; according to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is always before me… Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me… 

5.  They had people in their lives who would tell them the truth and were able to speak into their lives.  And, they were teachable, humble & obedient

  • Jethro & Moses in Exodus 18
  • David & Nathan in 2 Samuel 12:1-14

OUR PRAYER FOR YOU…

Our prayer is that you will take the issue of finishing well seriously.

First, one must be born again to finish well.  Ask Jesus Christ to come into your life, forgive you and wash you of all your sins.  Ask Him to fill you with His Spirit and to make you into a dedicated follower, and thank Him for eternal life!

  • John 3:3-17  “…unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.  That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again…

A prayer of salvation, prayed from heart to God…

Heavenly Father, I am a sinner and I’ve broken God’s Law.  I confess and turn from my sins and I ask Your forgiveness. Jesus, I believe you died on the cross and took my place in judgment.  I believe  that You rose from the grave and that You sit at God’s right hand in Heaven.  Come into my heart, fill me with Your Holy Spirit’s power  and change me into the person that You want me to be.  I accept You  as my Lord and my Savior.  And thank You for giving me eternal life!  Amen.

Now serve Him wholeheartedly in whatever you.  We will one day stand before the Throne of God and give an account of our lives (Romans 14;12). May the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant” be spoken as you enter glory.

  • Matthew 25:14-30 …His lord said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.”…
  • Hebrews 9:27-28   And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.

Please feel free to email us

 

 

Praise & Worship




John 4:19-24  The woman said to Jesus, “…Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father.  You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.  But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.  God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

  
FOUNDATION PRINCIPLES  

1.   We were created to worship God. 

  • Ecclesiastes 12:13; Matthew 22:34-38  
2.   God is not seeking worship as much as He is seeking the worshiper. 
  • John 4:23-24  …for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 
3.   Worship is different from praise. 
  • Praise is born in faith.  It is an instrument of war, and a way of creating an atmosphere for the Presence of the Lord.  Worship is born from the womb of relationship.  — Judson Cornwall
  • Worship in the Old Testament is Proskuneo: To kiss, like a dog licking his master’s hand; to prostrate oneself (literally or figuratively); to reverence to adore
  • Worship and praise in 2 Chronicles 20:15-24
4.   Worship is not music. 
  • Liturgy and music can assist a worshiping heart, but they cannot make a non-worshiping heart into a heart of worship.  The danger is that they can give the appearance of having worshiped.  The crucial element is not the outward form but the heart.
  • Worship is expanded through music.
  • Music unites worshipers and sets the atmosphere for worship.
5.   Worship is an attitude of the heart. 
  • Israel developed an elaborate system of worship and could do so without the heart.  Isaiah 29:13
  • Worship is an attitude of reverence, awe, and submission to God for who He is.  It is not a passing emotion.
  • The essence of worship, when we gather together, is not the physical prostration as much as the flattening of the human will which rises to assert its own dignity, ignorant all the while that our highest dignity will be the nobility of entering the Presence of the King with worship, thereby giving place for His glory to dwell in our midst.  — Pastor Jack Hayford
  • Worship is an attitude which recognizes the superiority of Christ and our dependence upon Him.  Joshua 5:15
6.   Worship is our love to God expressed. 
  • It is a love response to a relationship.
  • Worship causes the worshiper to be more interested in relationship itself with God than what may come out of that relationship.
7.   Worship is centered on the Person of Jesus Christ. 
  • It is His Person, not His performance that is the object of our worship.  We worship the King, not the Kingdom.
  • He is worthy to be worshiped because He restored us to a loving relationship with the Father.
8.   Worship involves prayer. 
  • Prayer maintains the “life flow” of our relationship with the One whom we worship.
9.   Worship is enhanced by personal expression. 
  • Sameness is not the goal of a corporate worship experience.  We all express our love in differing ways, and those differences will lend flavor and color when allowed to be blended together.
  • Those who are leading us in worship should never worship as a “surrogate” for the congregation.
10.   Worship is eternal. 
  • It was in effect before Adam.  As long as there has been Heaven there has been worship.  When we worship we touch the eternal.
11.   Worship is a celebration. 
  • The worshiper enjoys God.  Psalm 16:11 You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.  
12.   Worship is a lifestyle. 
  • Romans 12:1-2 
  • We worship because we are worshipers.  Worship flows from a worshiper no matter where he or she is.  
BIBLICAL STYLES OF WORSHIP 
1.   Audible 
  • Psalm 51:15 O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.
2.   Singing 
  • Psalm 147:1  Praise the LORD. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him!
  • Ephesians 5:18-20 — Psalms: Songs sung from Scripture.  Hymns: Songs of joy or praise, songs of our forefathers.  Spiritual songs: Songs of the Spirit and in tongues, spontaneous songs to the Lord.
3.   Lifted Hands 
  • Psalm 134:2 Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and praise the LORD.
4.   Musical Instruments 
  • Psalm 150:3-5 Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with tambourine and dancing, praise him with the strings and flute, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals.
5.   Bowing down, kneeling 
  • Psalm 95:6-7 Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.
6.   Clapping 
  • Psalm 47:1-2 Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy.  How awesome is the LORD Most High, the great King over all the earth!
7.   Dancing 
  • Psalm 149:3-4 Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with tambourine and harp.  For the LORD takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with salvation.
  • Choreographed Dance — Psalm 68:24-26 Your procession has come into view, O God, the procession of my God and King into the sanctuary.  In front are the singers, after them the musicians; with them are the maidens playing tambourines…
8.   Shouting 
  • Psalm 47:1 Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy.
  • Psalm 66:1-2  Shout with joy to God, all the earth!  Sing the glory of his name; make his praise glorious!


DEFINITIONS OF “PRAISE” IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
Keyed to Strong’s Concordance

Psalm 100:4  Enter his gates with thanksgiving (Towdah) and his courts with praise (Tehilla); give thanks (Yadah) to him and praise (Barak) his name.

1.   Halal (1984) 

  • To be clear (transparent) or shine, to laud, rave, celebrate glamorously, loudly foolish, to make a show.  Used 113 times in the Old Testament 24 times with “JAH,” or “Hallelujah,” the spontaneous outcry of one excited about God.  This praise is offered in delight and rejoicing.  Most occurrences are plural, involving choirs, instruments, speaking (Jeremiah 31:7), singing (Psalm 69:30) and dancing (Psalm 149:3).
  • Psalm 22:22  I will declare your name to my brothers in the congregation I will praise you.
  • The entire Psalm 150 uses this word.  Also 2 Chronicles 20:21; Psalm 18:3; 69:69:34; 102:18; Revelation 19:1, and many more!
2.   Yadah  (3034) 
  • To confess, praise, give thanks, to use the hand, throw, revere or worship with extended hands, to throw out the hands with rejoicing.  “Yadah” was predominantly used to express public proclamation and declaration of God’s attributes and works including a confession of sin.
  • Confessing God’s Truth in difficult circumstances: Psalm 42:5-6  Why are you downcast, O my soul?  Why so disturbed within me?  Put your hope in God,  for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.  
  • We can declare praise to God publicly and with intensity:  Psalm 111:1  Praise the LORD.  I will extol the LORD with all my heart in the council of the upright and in the assembly.
3.   Towdah  (8426) 
  • Confession, extending the hands in adoration, lifting the arms with hands cupped inward, a choir of worshippers, the sacrifice of praise and thanks, a vow.
  • Psalm 100:4  Enter his gates with thanksgiving (Towdah) and his courts with praise (Tehilla); give thanks (Yadah) to him and praise (Barak) his name.   
  • Also 2 Chronicles 29:31; Nehemiah 12:31-40; Psalm 42:4; 50:23; 69:30-31; 107:22; Isaiah 51:3
4.   Barak  (1288) 
  • To kneel, praise, salute, bless: To endue with power for success, prosperity, fertility, longevity, etc.  To expect in hope.  This word is used 289 times in the Old Testament.
  • Psalm 103:1-2, 20-22  Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.  Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits…  Praise the LORD, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word.  Praise the LORD, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will.  Praise the LORD, all his works everywhere in his dominion.  Praise the LORD, O my soul.
5.   Shabach  (7623) 
  • Praise, commend, a shout, proclaiming God’s (unashamed) with a loud voice, triumph, power, mercy and love to God, to address in a loud tone.
  • Psalm 117:1-2  Praise (Halal) the LORD, all you nations; extol him, all you peoples.  For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever.
6.   Zamar  (2167) 
  • To touch with the fingers parts of a musical instrument, to pluck a stringed instrument, to celebrate in song and music.
  • Psalm 33:1-3  Sing joyfully to the LORD, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him.  Praise the LORD with the harp;  make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre.  Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.  
  • 2 Samuel 22:50  Therefore I will praise (Yadah) you, O LORD, among the nations; I will sing (Zamar) praises (Tehilla) to your name.
7.   Tehilla  (8416) 
  • A hymn, praise, praise worthy deeds.  This word, used 57 times in the Old Testament, comes from the root “Halal,” defined earlier.  Tehilla brings in the idea of singing extemporaneously, under inspiration of the Holy Spirit.  “Tehilla is that which births and blesses the Name of the Lord.  It is the song that the Lord sings in the midst of His church.”  Leonard Gardner
  • It is spontaneous – Psalm 40:3  He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.  Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD.
  • God dwells in the spontaneous praise of the believer – Psalm 22:3  Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the praise of Israel.
  • Tehilla is the the praise of victorious warfare – Psalm 149:6-9  May the praise of God be in their mouths and a double-edged sword in their hands, to inflict vengeance on the nations and punishment on the peoples, to bind their kings with fetters, their nobles with shackles of iron, to carry out the sentence written against them. This is the glory of all his saints.  2 Chronicles 20:22  As they began to sing and praise, the LORD set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.
WORSHIP FROM ISAIAH 6:1-8

Our worship of God is determined by our attitude towards God. Attitude determines the decisions and actions we take.  Attitude is similar to Paul’s use of the term “mind” in Philippians 2:5, when he said, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.”  By examining Isaiah 6, we will gain a better understanding of the mind or heart that should be in us, and how that affects our relationship with the Father.

1.   Praise & Adoration  (v. 1-4) 
  • The first attitude of worship is adoration expressed in praise and gratitude.  Adoration, which is a spirit of reverence and awe, is the starting point for all genuine worship. We do not praise God if we do not love him and express that love to Him.
  • Psalm 33:1  Sing joyfully to the LORD, you righteous; it is fitting (beautiful) for the upright to praise him.  Also Psalm 100:1-5
  • Psalm 63:2-4, 67:1-5, 103:1, 107:1-2; 150:1-6; Revelation 4:11
2.   Confession of Sin & Forgiveness (v. 5-7) 
  • Isaiah conducted a self-examination and realized he was in sin. Once he realized his sin he confessed his sin before God, and was cleansed.  Once we realize our sin we must confess it before God.  True confession includes the acceptance of God’s forgiveness (1 John 1:9)  It is important to accept God’s forgiveness so that we can enter further into worship if God.  If we do not accept forgiveness then we cannot be made clean, and we can go no further into God’s Presence.
  • Isaiah 30:15; Acts 3:19; 2 Corinthians 7:10; 1 John 1:9
3.   Hearing God’s Word  (v. 8a) 
  • God did not speak to Isaiah until after he had confessed his sins and received God’s forgiveness. The Word of God is Holy and we must have our hearts cleansed for the Lord to speak to us through his Word.  Hearing also involves the attitude of anticipation. Do we anticipate hearing God’s Word?  Do we really desire His direction for our lives?
  • Nehemiah 8; Luke 13:44; Acts 13:42
4.   Surrender & Obedience  (v. 8b) 
  • Worship involves the attitude of submission or surrender.  After Isaiah heard the Word of God, he responded in complete submission.  Romans 12:1-2 shows that worship and our obedient response to His Word are truly one and the same attitude! 
  • Matthew 6:10, 26:39; Luke 1:38; Romans 6:13; James 4:7


Enter his gates with thanksgiving (Towdah) and his courts with praise (Tehilla); give thanks (Yadah) to him and praise (Barak) his name.
Psalm 100:4  



Purpose Part 2: Our God-Given Passion

This is the second part of a series on developing our God given purpose and calling.  We pray the notes will guide you in the direction of more fruitful ministry.

1 Corinthians 12:4-6  There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.DISCOVERING A MEANINGFUL PLACE OF SERVICE

Many of us use the “trial & error” method of finding our place in the Body of Christ – motion without movement.  This may eventually lead to a meaningful place of service, but there’s a better way! God has gifted all of us in multiple ways to accomplish His will in and through us by serving Him in line with our passion, gifts and personality.

Notice the illustration below showing three main areas of our lives that need to be identified and applied.  In this way we will be able to make a significant impact in the Kingdom of God by being who God created us to be and doing His Will with results.

1.  Our PASSION tells us WHERE we can best focus our energy (Motivation).  It is the area in which we desire to make a significant impact.  (Unwed mothers, child evangelism, family, etc.)

2.  Our SPIRITUAL GIFTS tell us WHAT we do best in the Kingdom of God (Ability).  These are spiritual abilities and activities which give us tremendous joy.  (Prophecy, Evangelism, Helps, Mercy, etc.)

3.  Our PERSONAL STYLE of ministry or temperament tells us HOW we will serve using our passion and gifts (Confidence).  This is our own unique personality.  Each person is uniquely “wired” in the way they respond to situations and people.  Knowing your personality or temperament will help you to understand what kind of work environment is helpful to you.  As well, it will help you to know how to work with others with different personalities.  (Task/people oriented, structured/unstructured)

Identifying our Spiritual Gifts requires an extensive survey.  Because of that we will simply address the process of identifying our passion.  Please contact us if you desire the complete set of notes which include the Passion, Spiritual Gifts & Personal Style Surveys.

IDENTIFYING OUR PASSION

Notice Solomon’s passion to govern God’s people with wisdom in 2 Chronicles 1:7-12…
That night God appeared to Solomon and said to him, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”  Solomon answered God, “…Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?” God said to Solomon, “Since this is your heart’s desire and you have not asked for wealth, possessions or honor, nor for the death of your enemies, and since you have not asked for a long life but for wisdom and knowledge to govern my people over whom I have made you king, therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you. And I will also give you wealth, possessions and honor, such as no king who was before you ever had and none after you will have.”

DEFINITION – Passion is the God-given desire that compels us to make a difference in a particular area of life or in a ministry.  It answers the WHERE issue.

Go through the following questions and honestly take time to identify where your passion may lie. This will require a time with no distractions.

PASSION ASSESSMENT

Reflect on the following Questions. On separate sheets of paper, answer the following questions.  Do not answer these questions in light of what others may want you to say, make them totally yours.

1.  What people group do have a deep burden for (infants, teenagers, homeless, inmates, etc.)?  What social issue greatly burdens you (AIDS, oppression, reaching the lost at home or abroad, et.)?

2.  If you knew you couldn’t fail and would have the necessary resources, what would you do? Be specific.

3.  What situation do you see that concerns you which, if changed, would be more glorifying to God and help others?

4.  What do you truly and genuinely care about?  Identify those things.

5.  At the end of your life you have peace knowing that you’d done something about…

6.  List the top most meaningful and positive life experiences at home, work, school, etc.  Briefly describe what you achieved and why it meant so much to you.

7.  In light of the information above, write a brief paragraph stating what YOU believe to be your God-given passion and purpose in life.

8.  What do you need to start doing now to get to where God wants you to be?  Write three goals and attach a due date to each one.

____________________________

NOTE – Contact us if you desire to have a complete set of notes which includes the Passion, Spiritual Gifts and Personal Style of Ministry surveys.

 

Purpose Part 1: Our Purpose in Life

Many of God’s people have never been taught or encouraged to take the time to discover their purpose for life.  Therefore life is a random experiment, filled with lots of motion but no movement towards a Divine purpose or destiny (Proverbs 29:18).  It ends up being a hit and miss journey resulting in frustration, disappointment, and failure.
You, however, were NOT created for failure but a life of fruitful in God’s purposes.

Notice the following principles about purpose…

1.  Everything God does, He does for a purpose.  (Genesis 1; Isaiah 14:24; Jeremiah 29:11)
2.  God created with a purpose in mind and created you.  (Jeremiah 1:5; Psalm 139:14-16)
  • We were created in the image of God with a great purpose to fulfill. (Genesis 1:26-28)
  • We are wonderfully made!  (Psalms 139:13-18)
  • We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works.  (Ephesians 2:10)
3.  You cannot find purpose apart from a personal relationship with your Creator!  Nor can you really find purpose in life by asking someone else.  Ask God who created you.  (John 6:68)
4.  Purpose is not initially known or obvious, except to our Creator.  The people in the Bible whom God used experienced an unveiling of their purpose over time.  Here are a few examples…
  • God usedAbraham, a pagan from Mesopotamia because He saw a way to bless the world through him.  Genesis 12:2-3 “…and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
  • God used Moses, a fearful stuttering failure, because He saw a deliverer.  Exodus 3:7-10  “So now, go.  I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”
  • God used David, a willing shepherd boy, because He saw one of the world’s greatest kings.  Psalm 78:70-71 He chose David his servant and took him from the sheep pens; from tending the sheep he brought him to be the shepherd of his people Jacob, of Israel his inheritance.
  • God used Gideon, a cowering thresher of wheat, and called him a mighty man of courage and a great deliverer for God’s people.  Judges 6:14  The LORD turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”
       Others include:
  • Adam in Genesis 1:28  Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.
  • Israel in Exodus 19:3-6  … you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.
  • Joseph in Genesis 37:1-11, 50:19-21  You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
  • Joshua in Joshua 1:1-9  Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them – to the Israelites.
  • Jeremiah in Jeremiah 1:4-5  … before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.
  • Paul in Acts 9:15-16  This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings…
  • Peter and three of the disciples in Matthew 4:18-22 …Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
5.  We discover our purpose when we fully entrust our life to our Creator.  “A man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.”
6.  God has a detailed map of your journey through life.  In fact, He has written a book about you!  (Psalms 139:13-18)  This book is for you to discover.  It is not a guarantee of things to come unless you abandon all to Him and partner with Him in seeing His purposes lived out through you!
7.  Excercise: Outline Joseph’s life from Genesis 37:5-11; 41:39-46; 42:6-50:23.  What can you discover from his life that will help you in understanding God’s purpose for you?
A PERSONAL EVALUATION
 
Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
  
Answer the following 10 questions with a 1 – Yes, 2 – I’m not sure or a 3 – Not yet
1.  Is the understanding of God’s plan for my life THE most important thing in me?  ______
2.  Do I believe that God has a great plan for my life?  ______
3.  Do I live with passion and a sense of purpose NOW?  ______
4.  Is my vision for my life bigger than my ability and my resources?  ______
5.  Do I seek to make a significant contribution to the world in my lifetime?  ______
6.  Am I willing to do whatever it takes to discover and develop God’s plan for me?  ______
7.  Once I have a glimpse of God’s Will am I willing to adjust my life?  ______
8.  Do others know God’s purpose for my life?  ______
9.  Do I invest time with people who stretch and challenge me?  ______
10.  Do I actively help others discover who they are in God?  ______
WRITING A LIFE PURPOSE STATEMENT
Habakkuk 2:2-4  Then the LORD answered me and said: “Write down the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it.  For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry. Behold the proud, his soul is not upright in him; but the just shall live by his faith.”
1.  Developing a purpose statement for your life requires that we understand three things about ourselves:
  • WHO has God created me to be?  This is understanding your passion, spiritual gifts, personal style of ministry and strengths.
  • What do I want to BE?  This is expressed through your strengths, weaknesses and qualities you want to develop.
  • What do I want to DO?  These are the significant contributions you want to make in your life, the world and the Kingdom of  God.  It defines the legacy you want to leave.
2.  Steps include…
  • The first step is prayer.  Ask God to reveal your purpose in life.
  • Study the lives of Bible characters and see how God revealed His purpose for them, how their lives changed and the result of their obedience.
  • Take time to discover your passion, Spiritual Gifts, personal style of ministry (temperament) and your strengths and begin to be involved in the Body of Christ, guided by who God created you to be.
  • Seek wise and honest counsel.  Others can see things in you that you may not be able to see.
  • Make it specifically yours, not generic in nature.  Adjust as necessary.
  • Don’t aim for perfection.  It will go through changes and be refined as time goes on.
  • The shorter the better.
  • Set achievable goals and launch out into fruitful activity!
As you begin to act on God’s revelation of His purposes for you, understand that you WILL encounter challenges, obstacles and even times of failure.  Get up and keep going in the direction God has shown you!  And watch Him unveil your purpose in life as you walk with Him.

Abundant Living

John 10:10  The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

Eventhough Christ has presented us with the opportunity of living an abundant life, we seem to always look for more money, better position, greater benefits, right relationships, etc.  Our search is focused on self fulfillment (Luke 12:15-21).  However, God has (already) presented us with the opportunity to live an abundant life!

Psalm 16:11  In Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Jeremiah 29:11  For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

John 6:35 And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.  (Also John 7:37-38)

Ephesians 3:15-21  …Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

ABUNDANCE BLOCKERS

1 Corinthians 10:1-7  But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.  Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted.
“Subtle” attitudes and behaviors that block God’s abundance from flowing through our lives may include (but are not limited to) the following…

1.  Testing God, Not believing God’s Word UNTIL He’s proven His ability.

Numbers 14:20-23  The LORD replied, “I have forgiven them, as you asked.  Nevertheless, as surely as I live and as surely as the glory of the LORD fills the whole earth, not one of those who saw my glory and the signs I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness but who disobeyed me and tested me ten times — not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their ancestors. No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it.

2.  Neglecting the Tithe, equivalent to robbing God.

Malachi 3:8-12 “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me, even this whole nation. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,” says the LORD of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.

3.  Unforgiveness.  If we want to receive forgiveness we MUST forgive others.
Matthew 6:14-15 …For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses

4.  Speaking evil about others, bringing discord and division (gossip).
Proverbs 6:16-19 These six things the LORD hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him:… one who sows discord among brethren.

Death & life are in the tongue. (Proverbs 18:21; 13:2-3)

5.  Indecision, a half-hearted obedience in following Christ.

James 1:6-7  But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.  That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.  (Also Joshua 24:15)

6.  There are many other things that cause us not to live abundantly: a constant anger issue, hidden sin,, etc.  However, walking out of the things that block God’s blessings and into freedom boils down to one activity: repentance, changing the way we think with a corresponding action.

Psalm 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm 51:10  Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

OBEDIENCE BRINGS ABUNDANCE

1. Obedience, hearing and doing God’s Commandments, brings true prosperity and abundance.  His commandments are summed in Matthew 22:36-40, to love the Lord our God and to love our neighbor as ourselves.

Deuteronomy 28:1-2  Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the LORD your God will set you high above all nations of the earth.  And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the LORD your God:…

Verses 3-14 amplify the blessings — They would be blessed in their everyday life, in their homes, their farms, their families.  They would be blessed in the city, their country and when they traveled back and forth. An obedient Israel would be blessed with safety and protection from their physical and spiritual enemies.  They would be blessed in warfare, their enemies would come out against them one way but flee before them in seven ways. The Lord would establish them as a Holy people and would enjoy a special relationship with God, Himself! They would influence the world and be a blessing. The Lord would make them the head and not the tail, they would be above and not be beneath.  God’s purpose in blessing Israel was greater than just enriching the nation for its own sake. He intended to glorify Himself through blessing them as they would in turn be a blessing to the world.

Verses 14-68 amplify the result of disobedience, three times as many!

2.  As God’s people, we must not be ignorant of the enemy’s schemes to keep us out of the blessing God has promised for our families and for the church.  Believe God’s Word.  He promised to never leave you or forsake you.  He IS your abundant life!

Psalm 16:11  In Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

A Personal Cleansing & renewal

PSALM 139:23-24  Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

A disciple is dedicated to maintaining a pure lifestyle before the Lord.  To maintain a passion for the Kingdom (Revelation 2:1-7) we must regularly come before the Lord for “spiritual renewal” in prayer.

The ONLY way we are purified of sin is that we walk in the light and maintain an open relationship with Him.  This is not legalism but a lifestyle of repentance.  Notice what 1 John 1:7-9 says:  “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.  If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

The following areas are NOT intended to condemn (Romans 8:1) but to guide us through an honest evaluation followed by cleansing from the Holy Spirit.  Go through each area and confess each area of need as God reveals with the willingness to make it right and to  forsake it.  Then praise God for His cleansing through the power of the Holy Spirit.

1.  God’s Word  Psalm 119:97, 140

     Do I love to read and meditate on God’s Word?
     Do I apply what I read to everyday life?

2.  Holy Spirit control  Galatians 5:22-25; Ephesians 5:18-21
     Do I ask to be filled with the Holy Spirit each day?
     Am I sensitive to the Spirit’s voice and do I allow Him to lead and control me?

3.  First Love  Philippians 1:21-23; Revelation 2:4-5
     Is Jesus Christ still the most important Person in my life?
     Does my schedule, spending, etc. reveal that God is first in my life?

4.  Prayer  1 Timothy 2:1-2
     Am I faithful to a consistent life of prayer?
     Is my prayer life filled with joy and intimacy with the Father?

5.  Submission  1 Samuel 15:22; Hebrews 13:17
     Do I truly obey God from the heart?
     Do I genuinely obey human authorities that God has placed over my life?

6.  Humility  Psalm 51:17; Isaiah 57:15; Luke 14:7-11
     Am I quick to admit I am wrong?
     Am I willing to take the “lower place”?
7.  A pure heart  Matthew 5:8; 2 Corinthians 7:10; 1 John 1:9
     Do I keep “short accounts” with God and do I search my heart for issues that displease Him?
     Is repentance (a change of thinking accompanied with action) a part of my everyday life?
8.  Moral purity  Matthew 5:27-30; 2 Corinthians 10:3; Ephesians 5:3-5
     Do I aggressively keep my mind free from immoral fantasizing?
     Am I accountable to someone?

9.  Priorities  Matthew 6:33; Colossians 3:12-14
     Do I love what God loves and hate what He hates?
     Do I seek to do His Will each day?

10.  Finances  Proverbs 19:17; Malachi 3:10-12
     Do I Tithe the first portion of my earnings to God?
     Am I a generous person?

11.  Forgiveness  Acts 24:16; Colossians 3:12-14; Hebrews 12:14-15
     Am I willing to release offenses and be reconciled to God and the person with whom I am offended?
     Do I stop slander and not allow a destructive spirit of unforgiveness to divide my church?

12.  Evangelism  Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8
     Do I have a burden for people who do not know Christ?
     How am I reaching the lost with the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ?

QUESTIONS

1.  As a disciple my entire being is to be open to Christ to do as He sees fit.  Are there areas in my life where God’s absolute Lordship may not be established?

2.  If so, what steps must I take to open those areas in submission to His Lordship?

Possessing Our Promised land

2 Peter 1:2-4  “[We have been given] exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”
1.  God has given to us great promises from His written and spoken Word.  However, some find it difficult to know how to possess and walk in those promises.  (Hosea 4:6a; 2 Peter 1:2-4)

2.  First of all, we must understand that what God promises only He can fulfill!  (Romans 4:18-2)  Notice the three below…

  • To Abraham:  Genesis 13:14-18
  • To Moses & Israel:  Numbers 33:50-56
  • To Joshua:  Joshua 1:1-5

3.  Israel was called to possess a land that God would give them. 

  • Numbers 33:50-54  On the plains of Moab by the Jordan across from Jericho the LORD said to Moses, Speak to the Israelites and say to them: “When you cross the Jordan into Canaan, drive out all the inhabitants of the land before you. Destroy all their carved images and their cast idols, and demolish all their high places.  Take possession of the land and settle in it, for I have given you the land to possess…”

4.  The word for “possess” is the Hebrew word “yaresh” meaning to occupy by driving out previous tenants, and possessing in their place; to seize, to expel, to destroy, to enjoy.  (Numbers 33:50-56; Deuteronomy 1:6-8; Joshua 1:1-9)
IMPORTANT PRINCIPLES

Many of God’s promises are based upon/conditioned upon our active faith.  They never seem to simply  tumble out of Heaven in finished form.  Just as Israel had to cross the Jordan and aggressively appropriate the land so we must be aggressive with ourselves to appropriate our promises.  As the Promised Land was occupied with enemies who were to be dispossessed, so our enemies (doubt, fear, unbelief, etc.) must be dispossessed.  Here are a few steps to consider…

1.   CONFESSION – Confessing His promise is based upon the foundation of Godly integrity: we believe, live and say the same message.
  • (Romans 10:9-10)   Some believe that receiving a promise is to simply confess it into being and are discouraged when they realize that they must partner with God in the process and see that promise become a reality.  The heart must believe God’s promise before the mouth makes a confession.
  • Confession begins the process of the promise becoming a part of you.  It brings accountability to wait for it (Habakkuk 2:2-4).
2.   CONDITIONS – We receive His promises by meeting His conditions.
  • Promise:  “I have given you the land…”  (Numbers 33:50-56)
  • Condition:  “Drive out all the inhabitants of the land.”
  • Promise:  Prosperity and success (Deuteronomy 28:1-2)
  • Condition:  “Fully obey the Lord and His commandments.”
  • Promise:  Knowing and understanding God’s will.  (Romans 12:2)
  • Condition:  “Do not conform to the pattern of this world.”
3.  CONFRONTATION – To receive the “Promised Land,” we must fight to possess the land. 
  • Possession is an aggressive act.  (Numbers 33:50-56)  Promises are not received passively but by living in daily partnership with God (Deuteronomy 8:1-9)
  • When God gives us a promise it is in its “raw” form.  The “enemies” of doubt, fear must be subdued and overpowered.  It is a continuing fight as the book of Judges teaches us.
GOD’S PROMISES & TRANSFORMATION
1.  As we come into a relationship with Christ the Light is turned on and we see not only His beauty but our own sin and shortcoming as well (Isaiah 6:1-8).  Because of this we may begin to perform His Word and His promises in their own strength (Galatians 3:3).  However, there IS a better way.  God’s Word has power in itself (Hebrews 4:12) to bring about change in us.  He simply needs a willing and a patient believer!
2.  We see the powerful truth of this principle in the life of Abraham as God called him, gave him promises and then promised to fulfill them Himself.
ABRAHAM’S CALL & GOD’S COVENANT
Read Genesis 12:1-5 (The call of Abram) & Genesis 15 (God’s Covenant with him)
1.  God called Abraham, a pagan who worshipped pagan gods, to move away from his country, Mesopotamia (now Iraq), and go to the land He would show him (Genesis 12:1-5; Acts 7:2-4).  God gave him a promise that He would make him into a nation and be the family through whom the Messiah would ultimately come (Genesis 12:2-3, 15:5).  Abraham’s total inability to perform God’s Word because of age AND the magnitude of the promise allowed him to do only one thing: BELIEVE (Genesis 15:4-6; Romans 4:18-21).
2.  But God went a step further.  God “cut a blood covenant” with Abraham stating that He would not only promise but He would fulfill the promise as well!  In ancient times the blood covenant was common among almost all of the people of the middle east. It was a way of establishing a binding contract between two parties.  Animals were killed and cut down the middle and the two halves were laid opposite each other. The two parties then passed between the two halves of the animal and said, “May God do so to me and more if I break this covenant. This was a binding blood covenant, and could not be broken.
HERE ARE A FEW PROMISE GOD HAS GIVEN TO US
1.  We are Children of God.
  • John 1:12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.
2.  God has promised to provide.
  • The Tithe assures provision  Malachi 3:10-12  “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,” says the LORD of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, so that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,” says the LORD of hosts; and all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a delightful land,” says the LORD of hosts.
  • Luke 6:38  Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.
3.  God has promised to give us strength in times of need.
  • Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble.
  • John 16:33 I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart ! I have overcome the world!
4.  We have Eternal Life & His power to keep us.
  • 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.
  • John 11:25 Jesus said: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies…”
  • John 10:27.28 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.
5.  God’s faithfulness
  • Deuteronomy 7:9  Know therefore that the Lord your God is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.
  • Isaiah 54:10 Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be moved, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed.
6.  God promises to guide us when we ask.
  • Psalm 32:8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.
  • James 1:5  If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
7.  God promises us peace
  • John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you. I do not give as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
  • Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8.  God answers prayer
  • Jeremiah 29:12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.
  • 1 John 5:14 This is the assurance we have in approaching God; that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
9.  God promises to protect us
  • Isaiah 43:1-2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.
THE IMPORTANCE OF OUR THINKING –  ROMANS 12:1-2
1.  We begin by offering our bodies as living sacrifices to His purposes.  Live for Him in spite of shortcomings!  This changes the direction of our life (Acts 2:37-41).
2.  We are not to be conformed to the pattern of this world.  This literally means to not be connected to the fashion, behavior and priorities of this world.  We must determine not to be shaped by the world and its system of thought and behavior. (1 John 2:15-17)
3.  We are to be transformed by the renewing of our thinking.  This is the same word used of Jesus’ transfiguration on the Mount in Matthew 17:1-3; Mark 9:2-3 and means to change from an earthly to a supernatural (spiritual) way of thinking. 
For change to occur we must train our thought life to think the way God thinks – to love what He loves and hate what He hates.  Our perception of reality must be based upon the Word of God.
We believe His Promises without reservation.  This may require us to silence doubt, etc. by tearing down those thoughts that exalt themselves against the knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 10:5).

QUESTIONS…

1.  What has God promised to you? 
2.  Where are you in the process? 
3.  How will your life change when He fulfills that?
4.  How will God be glorified?

Questions, comments? Contact us

The Tithe

THE FIRST OF THE LAND OF PROMISE

Joshua 6 & 7 – The story of the fulfillment of the land God promised to Israel begins in Joshua 6 when God detailed how they were to begin the conquest.  The first-fruit of the land was to be the fortified  city of Jericho, the first city conquered in Canaan.
1.  The command – When God finally brought Israel to the boundary of Canaan, He commanded them to take the fortified city of Jericho and utterly destroy it.  The words God used were. “…the city and all that is in it are to be devoted (“accursed” in the KJV) to the LORD.” (Joshua 6:17).  This act dedicated the first victory entirely to God.
2.  The consequences for disobedience – God was establishing the principle of “the first” with the new generation of warriors and clearly stated the consequences for disobeying His command in Joshua 6…
  • Joshua 6:18-19 “But keep away from the devoted things, so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them.  Otherwise you will make the camp of Israel liable to destruction and bring trouble on it.  All the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron are sacred to the LORD and must go into his treasury.”  This was actually carried out when Achan kept back a portion of the spoils (Joshua 7).
3.   The blessing for obedience – This is seen in the promise to Joshua & Israel in Joshua 1:1-5 where God literally would give them the Land of Promise, a very large area!  But it had to be carried out His way.
THE TITHE
God has given us a powerful principle by which to govern our finances and experience His Divine abundance!  This is found in the last Old Testament book of Malachi.
  • “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house.  Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit,” says the LORD Almighty.  “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the LORD Almighty.  Malachi 3:10-12
1.   The Tithe begins with a clear understanding of the following basic principles:
  • God is the Owner of all things, I am the manager over what He has given me.  (Luke 6:46-49; Psalm 24:1)
  • God is Number One and He deserves the very best.  When I give the “firstfruit,” or first ten percent of my income, I am  declaring that He deserves the very best and that He is the Source of everything.  (Proverbs 3:9; Malachi 1:6)
  • I cannot outgive God  (2 Corinthians 9:6)
2.   The word “tithe” means a tenth.  Less than ten percent is not a tithe and anything over and above ten percent is an offering.  The tithe is a fixed percentage that does not change.
3.   The tithe is that portion which already  belongs to God (Leviticus 27:30; Malachi 3:7-8).  When we tithe we are giving back to Him that which is already His.
4.   The tithe was in existence before the Law.  Abraham and Jacob tithed (Genesis 14:18-20; 2:20-22) and Jesus endorsed it as a standing, Biblical principle which was in effect before the Mosaic Law (Matthew 23:23).
5.   Holding back the Tithe is actually robbing God (Malachi 3:8).  The Lord makes a strong statement in Malachi 3:8, saying that to hold back the tithe is actually “robbing” Him.  (John 10:1, 10; 12:6)  The consequences of this behavior was illustrated in the account of  Achan as he kept back a portion of the spoils from Jericho in Joshua 7.
6.   God uses the Tithe as an instrument to pour out His abundance to us (Malachi 3:10).  He actually invites us to prove His Word and then experience blessing to such a degree that “there will not be room enough to receive it.”
7.   The Lord promises to protect our assets and belongingness (Malachi 3:11).  God promises divine protection as part of His covenant regarding your tithe.  If we are faithful to give God the tithe, God will be be faithful to protect all your other assets!
  • …The LORD will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none.  The LORD will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the LORD your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom.  Deuteronomy 28:1-14
  • Matthew 6:31-33  “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For after all these things the Gentiles seek.  For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.  But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
APPLICATION
1.  Am I willing to enter into a partnership with God and to dedicate to Him a tithe of my income so that I can experience His bountiful supply?
2.  What is required for me to be able to do this?

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Reading the Bible in Context

THE IMPORTANCE OF CONTEXT

An illustration from Hudson Taylor’s life – Hudson Taylor (1832-1905) was a pioneer English missionary to China. Hudson founded the China Inland Mission which at his death included 205 mission stations with over 800 missionaries, and 125,000 Chinese Christians!

Hudson recognized the need to immerse himself in the Chinese culture in order to relate the gospel to the people in ways that made sense to his audience. He learned their language, wore his hair in a pigtail, wore their clothes and lived as close to their lifestyle as possible. According to some of his European colleagues, this was inappropriate. Because the Bible had been in their culture for centuries, they believed that their cultural values and norms were the true expressions of Christian life and universal for all cultures. Hudson Taylor disagreed and brought Christ to the Chinese in their “context.” (1 Corinthians 9:19-23)

CORRECT INTERPRETION

1. The Bible was written to the first hearers or readers with a specific intent on God’s heart. God wanted them to understand what He was saying and therefore needed to put it into the language and life situations they would be able to understand. Now we must understand and apply that same message (if we can and should) to our lives today in our culture.

2. There are two basic questions we should ask of every Biblical passage: those that relate to context, the part of a text that surrounds a particular word or passage and determines its meaning, and content, the meanings of words and phrases. An example is the word “flesh” in 2 Corinthians 5:16 “…Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer.” This meant they did not know Him in His earthly life.

3. To interpret correctly, we must understand that many of the teachings in the Bible fall into two categories:

A. Highest ideals, norms and standards. These are uncompromising Biblical principles that have top priority in all we do.
Example: the 10 commandments in Exodus 20.

B. Regulations for people of that first culture, not necessarily meant to apply to all people under all circumstances. Example: Leviticus 19:19 tells them not to sow two kinds of seed nor wear a garment made of two kinds of cloth.

Exercise: Find the standards (A) and the regulations (B) in Leviticus 19. How did you arrive at those conclusions?TWO FOUNDATIONAL ASPECTS OF INTERPRETATION 

1. EXEGESIS – The careful, systematic study of God’s Word to discover the writer’s original and intended meaning, taking into consideration the historical and literary contents, and the society of the time of writing.

A. Historical context – Determine what was going on in the history of the readers whose thinking (as is ours) was deeply influenced by the circumstances of their day. Is there war going on? Against whom? Is there economic depression or drought? Was Israel about to go into captivity? Etc.

B. Cultural context – The culture of Biblical times was very different from ours, and its writings must always be considered in light of its culture. Cultural behavior is usually never explained because the readers were knowledgeable of social customs.

C. Literary context – This asks questions such as: What was the basic purpose of this writing? What is the flow of thought? What comes before it and what follows it? What type of writing is it?

D. Ultimately, the basic context is the entire book. Why was it written? What is its basic message? When Paul wrote 1 Corinthians he did so to answer a call for help because of serious problems in the church. When he wrote 1 Timothy he was dealing with false teaching in the church at Ephesus.2. HERMENEUTICS – The entire field of Biblical interpretation. In a narrower sense, it is bringing contemporary relevance to ancient texts, the Bible’s meaning for today. A Bible text can never mean to us what it did not mean to the original hearers and readers.

A. The only proper expression for hermeneutics is found in understanding the original intent of a Bible text first (exegesis). Otherwise the text can be made to mean whatever it means to any given reader.

B. The problem of cultural relativity arises when God’s Eternal Word has been given in a particular historical setting and now we have to interpret that in situations that are similar to ours. Whenever we share comparable particulars (similar life situations) with the readers of the original text, God’s Word to us is the same as His Word to them.

Example: Colossians 3:12-17 (clothe yourselves with compassion) and 1 Corinthians 6:1-11 (lawsuits brought by believers against other believers before a judge in a worldly court).

C. The problem of extended application involves the “right” to extend the application of one text to other contexts.

Example: 2 Corinthians 6:14 is not written to mean marriage between a believer and a non-believer but most likely in context with idolatry.Question: Have you ever interpreted Scripture only to find out later that you needed to “adjust” your interpretation? Give an example.

 

Cults, Religions & Jesus Christ

What cults and other religions say about Jesus Christ and who He is, is very different than what the Bible states about Him.  While cults and other religions have differing views about His Divinity, the Bible states He is God.

Proverbs 14:12  There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.

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.”

Galatians 1:6-9   I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.

Colossians 1:15-20  He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.  For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.  He is before all things, and in him all things hold together… For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.   (Also John 5:18, 10:30-33, 20:28)

NOTE: This is not an in-depth study on the beliefs of other religions. This is simply a list and very brief statements about a few of the cult view of Jesus Christ.  Please see the link at the end of this post which provides a resource of modern day religions and cults.

Jehovah’s Witness Jesus is not Jehovah God.  He was the first son that Jehovah God brought forth.  He is the first creation by God.  Michael the archangel is no other than the only-begotten Son of God, now Jesus Christ.

Mormonism “Among the spirit children of Elohim, the first born was and is Jehovah or Jesus Christ, to whom all others are juniors.” (Joseph Smith)  Jesus Christ was the executive in the work of creation, aided by Michael (or Adam), Enock, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Peter, James, John, Joseph Smith and others.

Christian Science – Life, Truth and Love constitute the triune Person called God — God the Father/Mother; Christ, the spiritual idea of sonship; Divine Science or the Holy Comforter.  Jesus is the human man and Christ is the divine idea.  Jesus was the offspring of Mary’s self-conscious communion with God.

Unity – The Krishna of the Hindu is the same  as the Christos of the Greeks and the Messiah of the Hebrews.  This same Christ lives within all of us that lived in Jesus.  There is no need for a Savior.

Spiritualism – (The science, philosophy and religion based upon communication by means of a medium to those who live in the spirit world)  Christ himself was nothing more than a medium of high order.  He is now an advanced spirit in the sixth sphere.

New Age – The New Age Movement does not acknowledge sin or sin nature and eliminates the need for a Savior.  All one needs to do is realize their own divine nature. Jesus is a man upon whom the Christ Spirit came at baptism and departed at the cross.

Eastern Mysticism – God is omnipresent and almighty, and is in the hearts of everyone (Transcendental meditation).  Christ is considered one of a long line of divinely realized masters.  All religions are just different branches of the main trunk of the eternal religions represented by the Vedas (oldest scriptural texts of Hinduism)

Islam – Jesus is neither God nor the Son of God, but merely a prophet to Israel and a lesser prophet than Muhammad.

Hinduism – Jesus attained God-realization and was thus an enlightened guru (teacher).  He was not a Savior, nor the Son of God, nor did He rise from the dead.

Buddhism – Jesus was an enlightened master.

Taoism – There is no personal Creator-God in philosophical Taoism.  The Tao (the way) is viewed as an impersonal absolute.

Wicca – Jesus is not discussed as deity.  Rather, “The Goddess and God are seen as the manifestation of the feminine and masculine forces of nature.

HOWEVER, the Bible states that…

  • Jesus Christ is God.  Colossians 1:15-20
  • Jesus Christ is the Christ.  Mark 14:61-62
  • Jesus Christ is the Messiah.  John 4:25-26
  • Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man.  Philippians 2:5-11
  • Jesus Christ came from the Father.  John 16:28
  • Jesus Christ is One with the Father.  John 10:30
  • Jesus Christ forgives sin.  Mark 2:10
  • Jesus Christ performed miracles.  John 10:32, 20:30-31
  • Jesus Christ came to bring life.  John 10:10
  • Jesus Christ gives Eternal Life.  John 3:16-17, 10:28a
  • Jesus Christ paid for our sin through His death on the cross.  Matthew 20:28
  • Jesus Christ died for us while we were still sinners.  Romans 5:8
  • Jesus Christ gives us the right to become children of God.  John 1:12
  • Jesus Christ has the power to keep us.  John 10:28b
  • Jesus Christ rose from the dead.  Matthew 28:6; Mark 16:6; Luke 24:6; Acts 2:24
  • Jesus Christ ascended into Heaven with Power.  Ephesians 1:20-23
  • Jesus Christ sent the Holy Spirit as our Comforter and Power to be His witnesses.  Acts 2

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1 Corinthians 15:3-6  For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time,…

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WATCHMAN FELLOWSHIP’S INDEX OF CULTS & RELIGIONS

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Christ Part 1: Jesus Christ Our Savior

This is the first in a 4-part series on the Ministry of Christ as our Savior, Holy Spirit Baptizer, Healer and Soon Coming King.

We believe Jesus our Savior is co-existent and co-eternal with God. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He took upon Himself the form of man and bore our sins on the cross. There He provided forgiveness for sin, He rose from the grave the third day and ascended back to Heaven where He is seated at the right hand of God. Today Christ serves as Mediator between God and man and makes intercession for us.  – The International Church of the Foursquare Gospel.

MAN’S NEED FOR A SAVIOR

Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned…  Romans 5:12

THE RESULT OF MAN’S FALL

1.  Man’s sinful condition is directly attributed to the sin of Adam in Genesis 3 (Romans 5:12).

2.  Everyone is born into and guilty of sin (Romans 3:19, 23).

3.  Everyone is a captive, a prisoner of sin (Romans 7:23).

4.  Everyone is condemned because of sin (John 3:18).

THE RESULTS OF SIN

1.  We are separated from God and dead in our sins (Ephesians 2:1; Colossians 2:13).

2.  All of our actions are basically sinful and self-centered (Romans 8:3-8).

3.  Because the righteous judgment of God upon sin is death, man, in his sinful condition, has but one inevitable end, eternal separation. But God’s revelation does not stop at the realization of guilt. He tells us that there is a way out from under this condemnation! (Romans 6:23)

GOD’S PROVISION FOR SIN THROUGH JESUS CHRIST

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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.  John 3:16-17

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.  2 Corinthians 5: 21

1.  Jesus Christ, THE PERSON

  • He is the Son of God (Matthew 17:5; Luke 1:32; Romans 1:3-4).
  • He was conceived by the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35).
  • He was born of a virgin whose name was Mary (Isaiah 9:6; Luke 1:27).
  • He lived a sinless life as a man (Galatians 4:4; Philippians 2:5-8).

“The Scripture declares that Christ came to die for the sins of man. But before He could die the sacrificial death which would atone for the sins of the world, He had to establish in human circumstances a righteousness that would fulfill the Law, and thereby make the giving of His life a substitutionary atonement. The object of His life, therefore, was to meet sin face to face and conquer it by His sinlessness. When pressed by the leading teachers of His day and endeavoring to reveal to them His Deity, He said, ‘Can any of you prove me guilty of sin?’ (John 8:46) He declared Himself to be the sinless Son of God and through the thirty years of His life demonstrated His claim by living without sin (Matthew 26:59-60; 1 Peter 1:18-19).”  – Aimee Semple McPherson

2.  Jesus Christ, THE SAVIOR

He gave His life (Titus 2:14; John 3:16-17; Ephesians 2:13)

In giving His life as the universal payment for sin, He completed the work of salvation. Redemption’s plan was finished and the way back to God, for sinful man, was now completely open! In giving His life, Jesus became our “mediator,” one who comes in to help settle a dispute, to act in order to bring about an agreement between persons or sides. (1 Timothy 2:5-6)

Below is a more expanded understanding of how Jesus gave His life for us and for our sins…

  • Substitution – The impossible chasm which separated man from God was bridged through the vicarious or substitutionary death of Christ on the cross. Jesus died FOR the sins of others (Isaiah 53:6).
  • Atonement – Used as “reconciled” in many instances, it literally means to cover and to take out of the way. Our sins have been taken out of the way to be remembered no more (Psalm 103:12).
  • Propitiation – This means to “turn away the wrath of God through sacrifice.” God, Himself, provided the sacrifice to turn away His own wrath against sin.
  • Reconciliation – This is the great blessing of salvation: that we are brought back into a relationship with God.
  • Redemption – This is the releasing from captivity, slavery or death by payment of a price, called a ransom. (Titus 2:11-14)

He rose from the grave (Acts 1:3)

As a glorified, resurrected man, He arose the third day from the dead as He said He would, was seen of men, and by many infallible proofs showed Himself not only to be the Son of Man, but also the Son of God.

He ascended into Heaven (Acts 1:11)

As a glorified man, He ascended into Heaven from the Mount of Olives (Acts 1:9-11). Today Christ rules and sits at the right hand of God (Mark 16:19), and intercedes for those who believe (Hebrews 7:25-27; 1 John 2:1-2; 1 Timothy 2:5)

BECAUSE OF SALVATION…

  • The believer is a new creation! (2 Corinthians 5:17)
  • The believer is a heavenly being! (1 Corinthians 15:45-48)
  • The believer has everything he or she needs! (2 Peter 1:3-4)
  • The believer has passed from death into life! (John 5:24)
  • The believer experiences constant renewal! (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
  • The believer has the certainty of eternal life! (John 14:2-3; 1 Peter 1:3-5; 2 Timothy 4:18; 1 John 5:13)
  • The believer can be baptized with the Holy Spirit who gives power to overcome all the power of sin and the devil! (Luke 9:1-2; Acts 1:8)
  • The believer can worship God in Spirit and in Truth! (John 4:23-24)
  • The believer has victory over the sinful nature! (Romans 6:8,12,14)
  • The believer has been given Kingdom Authority! (Mark 16:15-20)

HOW TO BE BORN AGAIN (John 3:3)

…that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation… For  “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.” Romans 10:9-14 

Use the following prayer to make a life changing decision to follow Christ. It is not the prayer that saves but the sincerity of your decision. It helps if you pray it out loud.  Then, after you’ve asked the Lord to come into your life, rejoice and thank Him for answering your prayer!

Heavenly Father, I am a sinner and I’ve broken God’s Law.  I confess and turn from my sins and I ask Your forgiveness.  Jesus, I believe you died on the cross and took my place in judgment.  I believe  that You rose from the grave and that You sit at God’s right hand in Heaven.  Come into my heart, fill me with Your Holy Spirit’s power  and change me into the person that You want me to be.  Today I accept You  as my Lord and my Savior and I  thank You for giving me eternal life!  Amen

Notice what 1 John 5:13 says, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.”

Welcome to the family of God!  Please contact us if you prayed this prayer and we’ll send you information to help you in your new found relationship with Jesus Christ!

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Christ Part 4: Jesus Christ Our Soon Coming King

This is the fourth in a 4-part series on the Ministry of Christ as our Savior, Holy Spirit Baptizer, Healer and Soon Coming King.

We believe Jesus, our King, will come again.  This Second Coming of Christ is a promise given by Jesus Himself for believers who are prepared for His coming it includes the rapture, the revelation and ascension into Heaven His coming will bring together both the “dead in Christ” and those who are alive and will be followed by the Great Tribulation and Millennium.   The International Church of the Foursquare Gospel

THE PROMISE OF HIS COMING

The Second Coming of Christ is the Blessed Hope of the Church.  The early believers were looking for that blessed hope, “glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.” (Titus 2:13)  We are to encourage ourselves with the hope that Jesus is coming back and that we will be with Him forever!  (1 Thessalonians 4:18).

1.  His coming was predicted by the PROPHETS

  • Jesus is the promised Redeemer as told by the prophets (Isaiah 9:6; 53:1-12).  When He came to earth as a baby, He literally fulfilled Old Testament prophecy.  Now, if the prophecies concerning His first coming had literal fulfillment, why should not the prophecies concerning His Second Coming in the Old and New Testaments have an equally literal fulfillment?

2.  His coming was promised by JESUS HIMSELF

  • Jesus promised He would come again.  During His Passover dinner with the disciples before He was crucified, He said, “I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”  (John 14:3)

3.  Proclaimed by the ANGELS

  • As Jesus ascended into Heaven, the angel told the men standing there, “…why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”  Acts 1:11

4.  Promised by the APOSTLES

  • For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.  After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.  And so we will be with the Lord forever.  1 Thessalonians 4:15-17

HIS COMING WILL BE…

1.  Personal

  • Jesus will personally come back.  For the Lord himself will come down from heaven,… 1 Thessalonians 4:16

2.  Physical

  • It will be very real return as indicated by Acts 1:11, “This same Jesus…”

3.  Visible

  • The coming of the Lord will not be secret!  Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him;…  Revelation 1:7

4.  Sudden

  • No man knows the day or time Christ will return (See Matthew 24:36-39; 25:1-13; 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3 and Revelation 3:3).

5.  Triumphant

  • The Lord came the first time in humiliation, but He will return again in glory and exaltation!  (See Matthew 24:30-31).  1 Thessalonians 4:16 says that He will come with a loud command or shout, the voice of the Archangel, and the trumpet of God.  The entrance of a King!

IMPORTANT ESCHATALOGICAL ISSUES

Eschatology is the study of “Last Things” and deals with the unfolding of God’s plan from the Old Testament through the New Testament.  Here are a few of the important terms to understand.

1.  The Rapture

  • This is the Greek word “Harpazo,” a catching up as seen in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17.  It is the “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13), when the church will be caught up in the clouds and to meet the Lord in the air!

2.  Daniel’s 70th Week

  • Daniel’s vision of 70 periods of 70 years, in Daniel 9:20-27, has to do with God’s dealing with Israel.  Daniel’s 70th week is divided into two parts of three and one half years each.  At the beginning of the first half, the Man of Sin, or the Man of Lawlessness (2 Thessalonians 2:2-10), Antichrist, and the Beast will make a covenant with Israel.  In the middle of the week, he will terminate Temple worship in Jerusalem, and desecrate the Holy Place, which Daniel and Jesus call “The Abomination of Desolation” (Daniel 9:27; Matthew 24:15).  Only the last half of the 70th week will be called the Great Tribulation.

3.  The Great Tribulation and Jacob’s Trouble

  • This is not a Church period, but the final week of Daniel’s vision.  This is a time of God’s dealing with Israel and of His wrath upon the godless nations (Matthew 24:21; Revelation 6:15-17).  This Tribulation period is called by Jeremiah “Jacob’s Trouble”  (Jeremiah 30:4-7).  In the Bible, the word, “Tribulation” is used in at least three different ways:
  • The trial and persecution that Christian believers will suffer as result of their identification with Christ.
  • To apply to a special period of tribulation for Israel prophesied by Daniel and Jeremiah.
  • To apply to God’s final wrath upon the Antichrist and the Gentile nations that follow him, called the “Great Day of His Wrath” (Revelation 6:12-17).

4.  Premillennial Pretribulational View

  • All believers are raptured before the Great tribulation.  The Rapture and the Second Coming are separate events.  Tribulation and Millennium are literal 7-year and 1,000-year periods.

5.  Premillennial Midtribulational View

  • All believers are raptured half-way through the  7-year Great tribulation, or after 42 months (1,260 days).  The Rapture and the Second Coming are the separate events.  Tribulation and Millennium are literal 7-year and 1,000-year periods.

6.  Premillennial Posttribulational View

  • All believers are raptured after the Great tribulation.  The Rapture and the Second Coming are the same event.  Tribulation and Millennium are literal 7-year and 1,000-year periods.

7.  The Millennium

  • This is the 1,000 year period of time when Satan will be bound in the abyss (Revelation 20:2-3).  This prepares the earth for the Millennial Reign of Christ (Revelation 20:1-6), who comes to earth as King of Kings (Revelation 19:15-16).

A SEQUENCE OF END TIME EVENTS FROM THE “PRE-TRIBULATIONAL” VIEW

1.  At the Rapture (The snatching away of God’s people)

  • The Resurrection of the dead  (1 Thessalonians 4:16; 1 Corinthians 15:52)
  • The Rapture of the saints  (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)
  • The Reward of the saints  (2 Timothy 4:8; 1 Peter 5:4)
  • The Tribulation  (Matthew 24)

2.  At the Revelation.  Christ will return to earth with His saints to reign during the end of the Tribulation and the beginning of the Millennium.

  • The Revelation of Christ’s glory (Revelation 19:16).
  • The punishment of the wicked (Psalm 2:9; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10).
  • The destruction of Antichrist (the Beast) and the false prophet (Revelation 19:19-20).
  • The destruction of the Beast’s followers (Revelation 19:19).
  • The judgment of the nations (Matthew 25:31-32; see also Isaiah 2:2-3; Zechariah 14:16).
  • Satan bound for a thousand years (Revelation 20:1-3).
  • The conversion of Israel (Romans 11:25-17).
  • The removal of the curse during the millennial reign (Romans 8:19-21; Isaiah 32:15; 35:1; 65:25).

3.  After the Millennium

  • Satan’s release from the abyss to deceive the nations (Revelation 20:7-8).
  • The final war against God’s people (Revelation 20:9).
  • The devil and his armies defeated and Satan cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10).
  • The final judgment and the Book of Life (Revelation 20:11-14).
  • The New Heaven and New Earth (Revelation 21:1).

EXERCISE – On a separate sheet of paper, list the signs from Matthew 24-25 that Jesus gives which indicate the end of the age.

THE VALUE OF ESCHATOLOGY IS HOPE!

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.  But the greatest of these is love.”  1 Corinthians 13:13

What we expect to happen to us in the future greatly affects the way we feel about the present.  It affects our attitudes and influences our choices.  Unfortunately many people build their view of the future on nothing more than their own guess about what is likely to take place.  However, those who believe the Bible are able to view the future quite differently!  Because of this, believers are able to base their joy and confidence upon God’s Promises concerning the future even when circumstances dictate the contrary.  This sense of joy is called HOPE and is the main spiritual gift we receive when we study eschatology.

1.  Hope is the confident expectation of good things to come, that God will keep His promises.

2.  Hope assists us in moral transformation (1 John 3:2-3).

3.  Hope strengthens our resolve in the face of difficulties (1 Peter 3:1-9).

4.  Hope calms our fear of death (John 5:24-29; 14:1-3; 2 Corinthians 5:8; 1 Corinthians 15:12-26, 35-38; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

5.  Hope transforms the very meaning of life (1 Peter 2:5-9).

6.  Hope affects how we live in the world.

  • Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be?  You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.  That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat.  But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.  So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.  2 Peter 3:10-14
  • “Behold, I am coming soon!  My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End”  Revelation 22:12-21

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  Hebrews 13:8

  

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The Cross & Resurrection

The Cross is meaningless without a Resurrection and Resurrection is the result of Christ’s victory over death!

 

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE CROSS

Isaiah 53:1-12; John 1:29; Galatians 3:13

1.  Jesus was put to death on the Cross for our sins.

Isaiah 53:4-6 “Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.”  (2 Corinthians 5:21)

2.  The Cross was an active demonstration of God’s Love for us even while we were dead!

Romans 5:6-9 “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.”   (Romans 8:31-33; Hebrews 12:2-3)

3.  There was an exchange at the Cross.  He became our sin and all who receive (believe & obey) Him are given a right standing before God!

2 Corinthians 5:21  “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God”   (Numbers 21:8-9; John 3:14-15)

4.  Christ’s death on the Cross was a permanent sacrifice.  He did not have to offer His life year after year, as the Law required.

Hebrews 10:11-14  “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.

5.  The Cross restored man’s relationship with God!

Colossians 1:21-22  “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.”  (2 Corinthians 5:18-19)

6.  The Cross destroyed the power of the devil for all who believe!

Colossian 2:14-15  “…having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.  And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.  (Revelation 12:10-12)

7.  The Blood of Christ freed us to serve God with a clear conscience!

Hebrews 9:14  “How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!”  (1 John 1:7)

THE POWER OF HIS RESURRECTION

John 11:25-27; Romans 1:3-4; Philippians 3:10-11

1.  The Resurrection is a solid foundation for our Faith!

1 Peter 1:21  “Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.” (1 Corinthians 15:13-17)

2.  Resurrection proves that Jesus Christ is the Son of God!

Romans 1:3-4  “…regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.”  (1 Timothy 3:16)

3.  Through the Resurrection we know we have forgiveness of sins!

Romans 4:23   “He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” (Romans 10:9-10)

4.  Resurrection is the certainty of Eternal Life!

1 Peter 1:3-5  “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade — kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.”  (1 Peter 1:3-5)

5.  Because of Resurrection I have a Faithful High Priest who intercedes on my behalf!

Hebrews 7:23-25  “Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood.  Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.”  (Romans 8:33-35 )

6.  The Resurrection gives us confidence and the ability to serve Him in victory!

1 Corinthians 15:54-58  “When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’  ‘Where, O death, is your victory?  Where, O death, is your sting?’  The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God!  He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.   Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm.  Let nothing move you.  Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”  (Romans 8:37-39)

7.  Because Christ’s Resurrection, I can believe Him to raise me from deadness!

Romans 8:10-11  “But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness.  And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.”  (Philippians 3:10)

 

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Romans 8:31-39

What then shall we say to these things?  If God is for us, who can be against us?

He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?   Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.

Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.   Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?…  Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,   nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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Christ Part 3: Jesus Christ Our healer


This is the third in a 4-part series on the Ministry of Jesus Christ as our Savior, Holy Spirit Baptizer, Healer and Soon Coming King.

We believe that Divine Healing is the power of Jesus Christ to heal the sick and the afflicted in answer to believing prayer; that He who is the same yesterday, and today and forever has never changed but is still an all-sufficient help in the time of trouble, able to meet the needs of, and quicken into newness of life, the body, as well as the soul and spirit, in answer to the faith of them who ever pray with submission to His divine and sovereign will.  – The International Church of the Foursquare Gospel

DIVINE HEALING

We believe Jesus, the Divine Healer heals the sick today, heals in answer to believing prayer and in accordance to His will.  He is the same today as He was in Bible days and meets the needs of the body, soul and spirit.

Divine healing is the third of the great aspects of Christ’s ministry.  It is the duty of the church to be active and to take the initiative in prayer for the sick (James 5:14-16).

1.    It is not unreasonable that the Lord should heal our bodies

  • Man was created in the image of God  (Genesis 1:26-27).
  • The human body is included in Christ’s redemption  (Romans 8:23).
  • Our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit to glorify God in our bodies  (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
  • We are to present our physical bodies as living sacrifices to do God’s will  (Romans 12:1).

2.    The origin of sickness

  • There is really no disagreement that sickness is the result of sin coming into the world.  Even death is the result of this sin (Romans 5:12).  If there had been no sin in the world there would have been no sickness and death.  Sickness and death may also be traced to the influence and power of Satan.  The sickness and devastation that came upon Job was the result of Satan’s touch  (Job 2:7, 42:10)
  • Those whom Jesus healed were oppressed of the devil.   …how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.  Acts 10:38  “Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?”  Luke 13:16
  • Jesus stated that His prophetic mission was to free mankind from the “prison keeper,” Satan.  “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed,…”  Luke 4:18
  • Sickness is among the curses of the broken Law  (Deuteronomy 28:15, 22, 27-28, 35).

3.    Some sickness and afflictions are the result of specific sins

  • Our disobedience or sin.   Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.  John 5:14  …my strength fails because of my affliction,…  Psalms 31:10
  • Failure to discern the Lord’s Body  (1 Corinthians 11:27-30).  To discriminate, to separate others from one’s group, a party spirit, etc.
  • Murmuring against God’s leaders (Numbers 12; Numbers 16:46-50).

4.    Divine healing as a doctrine

  • God heals our bodies.  If you listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, who heals you.  Exodus 15:26
  • God heals our bodies in response to the prayer of faith.  And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.  James 5:15
  • C.   Jesus made provision for our healing by shedding His blood and taking the stripes upon His back.  Therefore, we believe that it is His desire that we live in wholeness, body, soul and spirit   (Isaiah 53:3-5)
  • God’s Word states that the faithful believer may have divine health within the normal life span.  Such a life is described in Job 5:26.  The Bible also teaches that God sets a limit on the length of our life.  The length of our days is seventy years — or eighty, if we have the strength… Psalm 90:10  Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment,… Hebrews 9:27

5.  The New Testament Greek words used for healing

  • “Therapeuo”  To care for the sick, treat, cure, heal  (Used in Matthew, Luke, John 5:10; Revelation 13:3)  Noun: Medical service, care and attention.
  • “Iaomai”  Physical treatment, made whole, spiritual healing  (Matthew 13:15, 15:28; John 12:40; Acts 28:27; Hebrews 12:13)  Noun: A means of Divine healing, Divinely imparted gifts in the church.
  • “Sozo”  To make whole, save from disease and its effects  (Mark 5:23; Luke 8:36).
  • “Diasozo”  To save thoroughly, to escape  (Luke 7:3)  Noun: Stresses the process as reaching completion.

NOTE: Jesus died not only to forgive us of our sins and to heal our bodies, but to make us whole – to heal us from the inside out!  Divine healing encompasses any healing touch from Jesus where healing and restoration is brought to our body, soul or spirit, instantaneously or progressively.

6.    A few instances of Divine healing in the Old Testament

  • Elisha and the dead child raised to life  (2 Kings 4:35).
  • Naaman, the leper, healed  (2 Kings 5:1-14).
  • Hezekiah’s life extended  (Isaiah 38:1-5, 21).
  • David thanked God for healing  (Psalm 103:3).

7.    A few of the many instances of Divine healing in the New Testament

  • Large crowds healed  (Just in Matthew alone 4:24, 8:16; 12:15-22; 14:14, 36; 15:30; 19:2).
  • The Roman Centurion’s servant healed  (Matthew 8:5-13).
  • A leper healed by Jesus  (Mark 1:40-41).
  • The man with palsy healed by Jesus  (Luke 5:24).
  • A nobleman’s child healed  (John 4:49-50).
  • Annanias healed when Peter prayed  (Acts 9:33-35).
  • A crippled man healed when Paul prayed  (Acts 14:8-10).

8.    Conditions for Divine healing

There are apparently two conditions necessary for the reception of healing: asking (petition) and faith.  Two things can hinder our receiving: failure to ask and failure to believe what we ask.

  • We must ask.  It does not appear that Jesus ever healed anyone without being asked to do so.  Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.  John 16:24  (John 14:13-14; Luke 11:9-10; James 4:2)
  • When we ask we must ask in faith, believing that He will answer our prayer!  But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.  That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.  James 1:6-8

9.    How to pray for Divine healing – James 5:13-18

Is anyone among you suffering?  Let him pray.  Is anyone cheerful?  Let him sing psalms.  Is anyone among you sick?  Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.  And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up.  And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.  Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.  The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.  James 5:13-16

  • We are instructed in Mark 16:18 that we are to lay our hands on the sick.  Today, when the believing person lays hands on the sick in the Name of Jesus, it is as though Jesus is laying His hands on them.
  • Call for the elders of the church, who augment and inspire faith for the seeker, whose prayer life is marked with answers from God, and anoint with oil in the Name of the Lord.
  • Pray for one another, confessing sins to each other so that we may be healed.
  • Personally call upon the Lord.  The Lord has promised that if we ask anything according to His Name, He will do it!  Is any sick?  Let him pray.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Hebrews 13:8  

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Christ Part 2: Jesus Christ Our Baptizer in the Holy Spirit

This is the second in a 4-part series on the Ministry of Jesus Christ as our Savior, Holy Spirit Baptizer, Healer and Soon Coming King.

We believe the Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Godhead, is Omnipotent and Omnipresent.  The Holy Spirit convicts of sin and righteousness, draws sinners to the Savior, rebukes, pleads and searches out the hearts of mankind.  He comforts, guides, teaches, baptizes and endues with power.  The baptism of the Holy Spirit is a promise from Jesus to endue believers with power, to glorify and exalt the Lord Jesus, to give inspired utterance in witnessing of Him, to foster the spirit of prayer and to equip the individual and the church for soul-winning. – From the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel

THE HOLY SPIRIT

Jesus Christ as the baptizer in the Holy Spirit is the second of the four aspects of Jesus’ ministry.  This issue is extremely crucial in connection with the spiritual life and service of every believer.  We must approach the study of the Holy Spirit with a sense of inability to grasp the full subject at hand!  In studying the Person and work of the Holy Spirit, we are touching that which is very close to the heart of God.  It is well to use caution in studying this subject, seeking to be guided by the Holy Spirit himself.  A few issues of caution might be in order:

1.   The Holy Spirit never becomes visible.  Because of this He can only be spiritually discerned.  Natural wisdom cannot comprehend Him.

2.   Much that we know in relation to the Holy Spirit has to do with our personal experiences, and experiences are never safe guides from which to arrive at doctrine. Because of that, we must keep close to the Word of God in our thinking concerning the work of the Spirit.

3.   Our reaction to the power of the Spirit may differ, but the revealed Truth of the Word never changes.

WHO IS THE HOLY SPIRIT?

1.  The Person – The Holy Spirit is a Member of the Godhead, or Trinity.

A.  The three members of the Godhead include: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.  All three persons of the Trinity are clearly seen in the following passage.

  • 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.  And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”  Matthew 3:16-17  (See also Genesis 1:26; 3:22; Isaiah 6:3)

B.  The Holy Spirit was sent to the world to remain with us forever after Jesus returned to Heaven.

  • And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever–the Spirit of truth.  The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him.  But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.  John 14:16-17

C.  The Holy Spirit possess knowledge (Romans 8:27), feelings and emotions (Romans 15:30), a will (1 Corinthians 12:4-11), and power (Ephesians 1:18-20).

2.   The Comforter (Counselor) – This word comes from the Greek word “parakletos,” which means one called alongside to help.”

  • And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever… John 14:16

3.   The Teacher – The Holy Spirit is also referred to as One who teaches.

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

THE MINISTRY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

1.   The Holy Spirit convicts people of sin.

  • When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father,…  John 16:8-10

2.   The believer is born again by the Holy Spirit.

  • He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.  He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior,… Titus 3:5-6

3.   The Holy Spirit bears witness to the believer’s sonship.

  • The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.  Romans 8:16  Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.”  Galatians 4:6

4.   The Holy Spirit baptizes believers into the body of Christ.

  • For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body… 1 Corinthians 12:13

5.   The Holy Spirit places the seal of ownership upon the believer.

  • And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation.  Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession–to the praise of his glory.  Ephesians 1:13-14 (Ephesians 4:30)

6.   The Holy Spirit sanctifies the believer.

  • …because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. 2 Thessalonians 2:13 (1 Peter 1:2)

7.   The Holy Spirit transforms the believer.

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

8.   The Holy Spirit bears fruit (God’s Character) in the believer’s life.

  • But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control…. Galatians 5:22-23

9.   The Holy Spirit strengthens the believer for greater revelations of Christ.

  • I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,… to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,  and to know this love that surpasses knowledge… Ephesians 3:16-19

10. The Holy Spirit leads the sons of God.

  • …because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. Romans 8:14 (John 16:13; Galatians 5:18; Ephesians 3:20)

11. The Holy Spirit gives power for service and to be a witness.

  • But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. Acts 1:8

12. The Holy Spirit reveals and gives understanding of the Word of God.

  • But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth…. John 16:13-14 (1 Corinthians 2:11-14; 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21)

13. The Holy Spirit helps the believer to pray.

  • We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express… Romans 8:26-27; Ephesians 6:18; Jude 20)

14. The Holy Spirit gives power for preaching.

  • My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power. 1 Corinthians 2:4-5 (1 Thessalonians 1:5)

15. The Holy Spirit gives gifts to believers.

  • …All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines. 1 Corinthians 12:8-11

16. We are to be continually filled with the Holy Spirit.

  • Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Ephesians 5:18

THE BAPTISM WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT

1.   The baptism is the promise of the Father.

  • I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”  Luke 24:49 (John 14:16, 15:26; Acts 2:38, 5:32)

2.   The purpose of the baptism with the Holy Spirit is that the believer may have power:

  • For witness (Acts 1:8).
  • In personal life (John 16:13-15; Galatians 5:16-17).
  • For service (Luke 4:18-19; John 14:12; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11).
  • For spiritual warfare (2 Corinthians 10:3-5; Ephesians 6:12; 1 John 4:4).
  • For God-given ability to accomplish God-given tasks.

3.   The baptism in the Holy Spirit is a gift AND a command of the Lord (Acts 1:4; Ephesians 5:18).

4.   The evidences of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit include speaking in tongues (Acts 2:4, 10:44-46, 19:6).  This is a gift to EVERY believer.  We do not seek tongues; we seek the Giver of gifts, Jesus.

  • Other evidences include: a greater passion for souls, a new power to pray, a greater power to witness of Christ, a love for the Word of God, functioning in our spiritual gifts, and Christ revealed as never before!

PURPOSE FOR THE PUBLIC GIFT OF TONGUES FROM 1 CORINTHIANS 14

  • Edification — 1 Corinthian 14
  • It is the fulfillment of Isaiah 28:11 and the words of Jesus in Mark 16:17
  • It is the evidence of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit – Acts 2:4; 10:45-46; 19:6
  • Personal edification or strengthening – 1 Corinthians 14:4
  • Spiritual edification of the church – 1 Corinthians 14:5
  • Communication with God – 1 Corinthians 14:15
  • Holy Spirit intercedes through us – Romans 8:26; 1 Corinthians 14:14; Ephesians 6:18
  • Expression of spiritual joy – 1 Corinthians 14:15; Ephesians 5:18-19

2.  Public Exhortation

  • Based upon 1 Corinthians 13 (Love)
  • This is the Apostle Paul’s correction of abuses of this gift in the public worship service
  • Public tongues, unless it is a congregational time of worship expressed in tongues, are only edifying when interpreted – 1 Corinthians 14:5, 28
  • The spirit of the prophet is subject to the prophet – 1 Corinthians 14:23
  • Public tongues and prophecy must be judged by the leaders – 1 Corinthians 14:29
  • All the gifts are placed and displayed in the church for the mutual edification of the believers – 1 Corinthians 12:1-11

3.  Note concerning 1 Corinthians 14:21-25 quoting Isaiah 28:11

  • Foreign invaders who spoke another language were a sign in Israel’s day when they mocked and scoffed at God’s warning to reject their idols and to return to Him.
  • Paul uses the same thinking that tongues would have the same effect on believers with a hard heart.  The word “unbelievers” is not referring  to non-Christian people as much as to believers who were unbelieving or had no faith.

IN CONCLUSION

The Baptism of and in the Holy Spirit is for today as it was for the believers in Bible times.  It is received by faith, just as salvation.  Ask the Lord Jesus Christ to baptize you and empower you for greater and more joyful service.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Hebrews 13:8

  

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Re-igniting Our Passion For Christ

Revelation 2:4-5  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,…”

Passion is that God-given desire that compels us to make a difference in a particular ministry or involvement. When you have a passion for a particular area of life, you are more enthusiastic and motivated.

What would you say is the greatest enemy of the Christian faith? Many of us would point to Satan, or to the moral decline of our nation, or to society’s influences that diminish the role of God. However, I believe that our most dangerous threat doesn’t come from outside the faith. Instead, our greatest enemy is complacency and apathy in the hearts of believers. Apathy is a destroyer.

Jesus stated it pointedly in Revelation 3:14-16 These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. 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.  Jesus desires us to be hot or cold (opposite of the spiritual climate or a refreshing to the world as a hot drink on a cold day and a cold drink on a hot day).  But half-hearted and apathetic is not something that pleases Him.

What is apathy? The dictionary defines apathy as a “lack of feeling or emotion; impassiveness; lack of interest or concern; indifference.”

Notice the zeal Jesus portrayed in John 4:34 (Psalm 69:9; Isaiah 59:17)

Notice how zeal affected the behavior and actions of the believers in Hebrews 11:30-40:

  • They were not afraid to stand alone.
  • They did not care if their motives were misinterpreted.
  • They considered everything a loss for the sake of the truth.
  • They were all passionate about the glory of God and to declare His truth in the world.
  • They were all “on fire,” and so they ignited others. They were wide awake, and so awakened others. They were always working, and so motivated others to work as well.
  • They carried a vision of purpose in their hearts and believed in the power of God to accomplish the impossible.
A SELF EVALUATION

The following questions are designed to evaluate our hearts and prevent ourselves from becoming insensitive to the Holy Spirit’s voice. This evaluation is NOT intended for condemnation and must be done in honest prayer.

  • Is my delight in the Lord greater than my delight in someone or something else? (Mark 12:30; 1 John 2:15-16)
  • Do I long for times of fellowship in God’s Word, the Bible, or in prayer? (Psalm 42:1-2)
  • Do my thoughts often reflect upon the Lord and His goodness? (Mark 12:30; Philippians 4:8; Colossians 3:1-4)
  • Do I reject those things which I know displease the Lord? (John 14:15, 15:10; Titus 2:11-14)
  • Do I willingly and cheerfully give to God’s work and to the needs of others? (1 John 3:17; 2 Corinthians 9:6-8)
  • Do I see the Commands of Christ as restrictions to happiness rather than expressions of His love? (John 14:21)
  • Do I inwardly strive for people’s recognition and acclaim rather than the Lord’s approval? (1 John 2:15-17)
  • Am I able to quickly forgive another person for offending me? (Matthew 18:1-35)
  • Have I become apathetic to the sinful conditions around me or do those things draw me closer to God? (Matthew 24:12-13)
  • Do I fear rejection when I share Christ and His love or am I excited about the things God has done and is doing in my life? (Mark 16:15; Matthew 28:18-20)When we drift from our first love… (Revelations 2:1-7)

If any of the questions reflect a loss of passion, there IS a way back!

HOW DO WE LOSE OUR SPIRITUAL PASSION?

1. First, by saying ‘no” to the Holy Spirit.

  • Do not quench or put out the fire of the Spirit. (1 Thessalonians 5:19)
2. Second, we lose our spiritual passions through competing passions.
  • Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders (competing passions) and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
  • Name the things that are a weight and diminish our passion for Christ.

APPLICATION FROM REVELATION 2:1-7

Here Jesus literally tells the readers how they can re-ignite their passion (first love) for God. First of all, He states that they did not lose their first love, like we would lose our keys, they forsook it or exchanged it for spiritual activity. Here are the three steps:

IN OUR THOUGHTS: Remember when Jesus was very real in every area of our life. In the original language, the word is to exercise our memory, recollect, and rehearse.

  • Psalm 42:1-4 As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my food day and night, while they continually say to me, “Where is your God?” When I remember these things, I pour out my soul within me. For I used to go with the multitude; I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept a pilgrim feast.

IN OUR EMOTIONS: Repent and turn to God. The word repent is the Greek word “metanoeo” meaning to change our current thinking and attitude with corresponding behavior.

  • 2 Corinthians 7:10 For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.
  • King Saul’s false or worldly repentance (1 Samuel 15:22-35) & King David’s Godly repentance (2 Samuel 12:1-15; Psalm 51)

IN OUR ACTIONS: Return to doing the things we used to do: Bible reading, intimate times of prayer and sharing the things God has done and is doing in our life.  This may require us to reorganize our life by “redeeming the time.”

REDEEMING THE TIME

You may need to re-prioritize your life and schedule to be able to give the Lord quality time and to allow Him to re-ignite a zeal for the things of God again. The Bible calls that “redeeming the time.

  • Ephesians 5:15-17 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

APPLICATION

To once again ignite your passion for Christ, go to a private place and pour out your heart to God and pray this type of a prayer…

Heavenly Father,
I realize that even though I have confessed the Lord Jesus as my
personal Savior and Lord, my life may not reflect the full surrender of a disciple.
I ask Your forgiveness for living by my own standards.
Ignite in me a passion for You and for the things You value.
Empower me by Your Holy Spirit to accomplish this. 
Amen.

The Ten Commandments

EXODUS 20:1-21 | DEUTERONOMY 5:1-22

COMMANDMENT 1You shall have no other gods before me.

  • The first Hebrew letter is called Alef (The Ox), that which is first, most important, what gives strength, what will lead.
  • Jesus said the first and greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God. In every area He is to be the first and most important.
  • This Commandment declares who God is.

COMMANDMENT 2You 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.

  • The second Hebrew letter is called Bet (The House), meaning the second, a tent or a house, what is inside. “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15
  • Inside our house (heart) we are to have no other gods, false idols.
  • This Commandment instructs us to never turn to idols.

COMMANDMENT 3You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God.

  • The third Hebrew letter is called Gimel (The Camel) meaning the third, the head of a camel, to lift up, to exalt.
  • We are commanded not to take His Name in vain, lightly or without honor.
  • This Commandment instructs us to exalt His Name, Authority (Matthew 10:1-10).

COMMANDMENT 4Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the LORD your God has commanded you.

  • The fourth Hebrew letter is called Dalet (The Door) meaning a door, the path to travel. It is also symbol for rest (Isaiah 58; Hebrews 4:3).
  • This Commandment instructs us to walk through the door of His Covenant.

COMMANDMENT 5Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the LORD your God is giving you.

  • The fifth Hebrew letter is called Hey (Behold!) meaning what is revealed as a direction. We are to honor (open the inner door, a window) our parents. This is where the blessing for our life begins.
  • This Commandment instructs to honor our parents (any type of “parent,” physical or spiritual).

COMMANDMENT 6You shall not murder.

  • The sixth Hebrew letter is called Vav (Nail, a Hook) meaning to secure, establish, join together. Murder or hatred breaks the bond. Murder comes when there is a wicked value or bonded to lust.
  • This Commandment is an expression of God’s heart to value others above our pride, possessions and power.

COMMANDMENT 7You shall not commit adultery.

  • The seventh Hebrew letter is called Aayin (A Weapon) which symbolizes to cut or to separate. A weapon protects the family or destroys.
  • This Commandment instructs us to be people who cut the covenant, people of covenant word (Matthew 5:24).

COMMANDMENT 8You shall not steal.

  • The eight Hebrew letter is Chet (A Fence, an inner chamber). The Biblical view of a fence is to protect, security, a brother.
  • This Commandment is more than an instruction not to steal. We should protect people and their property. We must determine to be a wall of protection (Genesis 4:9, our brother’s keeper).

COMMANDMENT 9You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

  • The ninth Hebrew letter is Tet (To surround, a snake). This is a good image for a false accusation. It also reveals to be surrounded in protection or to be surrounded by lies, slander & false accusation.
  • This Commandment teaches us to surround ourselves with goodness, not hatred, deception (Ephesians 4:15, speak the truth).

COMMANDMENT 10You shall not covet…

  • The tenth Hebrew letter is Yood (A hand closed, to work) and means to make with your hands and enjoy the fruit of our hands. This is the opposite of lazy.
  • The last commandment brings us back to God and teaches us to both work with our hands and to trust in the God’s bountiful supply.

I Am a Disciple of Jesus Christ!

I am part of the fellowship of the unashamed. I have Holy Spirit Power.

The die has been cast. I’ve stepped over the line.
The love of God controls me.
The decision has been made. I’m a disciple of His.
I won’t look back, let up, slow down, or back away.
My past is redeemed. My present makes sense. My future is secure.
I’m finished and done with low living, slight walking, small planning, smooth and ease, colorless dreams, mundane talking, cheap giving, and dwarfed roles.
I no longer need prosperity, position, promotion, pre-eminence, or popularity.
I don’t have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded or rewarded.
I now live by faith, lean on His presence, walk in patience, live by prayer, and labor with power.
My face is set. My gate is fast. My goal is the Kingdom of God.
My road is narrow. My way is rough. My companions few, My guide reliable, My mission clear.
I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded or delayed.
I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversaries, negotiate at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.
I won’t give up, shut up, let up until I’ve stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, spoken up, for the cause of Christ.
I must go until He comes, give until I drop, teach until all know, run until He stops me.
I AM A DISCIPLE OF JESUS CHRIST
– Edwin Louis Cole

Reaching People For Christ

1.  The Example in the book of Acts – “So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.” Acts 2:46-47 (Acts 1:8)

2.  The focus – Reaching the lost was the primary focus of the early church, and an integral part of each believer’s life. People were saved, transformed and became active disciples. It is Biblical that we do the same.

SHARING THE GOSPEL MESSAGE
  • “…he who wins souls is wise.” Proverbs 11:30
  • “Do you not say, ‘Four months more and then the harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. John 4:35-38

Many of us need simple tools to help us share the Gospel with someone who is open and willing to make the life-changing step of following Christ. Below are two ways that help us in presenting the basic Gospel message: “The Four Spiritual Laws” by Campus Crusade For Christ, and a method using your hand to share the elements of the Gospel.

THE FOUR SPIRITUAL LAWS (Campus Crusade For Christ)

1. God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life. (John 3:16; 10:10)

2. Man is sinful and separated from God. He cannot know and experience God’s love and plan for his life (Romans 3:23; 6:23)

3. Jesus Christ is God’s only provision for man’s sin. Through Him you can know and experience God’s love and plan for your life. (Romans 5:8; 1 Corinthians 15:3-6; John 14:6)

4. We must individually receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; then we can know and experience God’s love and plan for our lives. (John 1:12; 3:1-8; Ephesians 2:8-9; Revelation 3:20)

USING THE “GOSPEL HAND”

1. Thumb (Hitch hiking) – Heaven is a free gift of Grace from God to all who believe and receive.

(Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:8-9)

2. Index finger (Pointing, conviction) – Because man has broken the Law of God, we are sinners separated from God. We cannot save ourselves.

(Isaiah 64:6; Romans 3:23)

3. Middle finger (Tallest) God is Right and must judge sin but He is also Just and Merciful and does not want to punish anyone.

(Exodus 34:6-7; 1 John 4:10)

4. Ring finger (Wedding) – Therefore God sent Jesus, as God and man, to die for our sins by giving His life upon the cross in our place. He rose again from the dead and purchased a place in Heaven for us. (Isaiah 53:4-6; 1 John 4:9-10)

5. Little finger (Small) – Salvation requires little faith, trusting in Jesus Christ alone. (John 3:15; 6:47; Acts 2:21; 16:30-31)

A PERSONAL PRAYER OF SALVATION

“…that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation… For ‘whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.’” Romans 10:9-14

Use the following prayer when someone is ready to make the life changing decision to follow Christ. It is not the prayer that saves them but the sincerity of their decision. It helps if you lead them by praying it out loud. Then, after they have asked the Lord to come into their life, rejoice with them! (Luke 15:10)
________________________________________
Heavenly Father, I am a sinner and I’ve broken God’s Law. I confess and turn from my sins and I ask Your forgiveness. Jesus, I believe you died on the cross and took my place in judgment. I believe that You rose from the grave and that You sit at God’s right hand in Heaven. Come into my heart, fill me with Your Holy Spirit’s power and change me into the person that You want me to be. I accept You as my Lord and my Savior.  Thank You for giving me eternal life and give me a hunger for the Bible and for prayer. Amen
________________________________________

IMPORTANT STEPS AFTER SALVATION – Acts 2:42-47
Jesus commanded us to make disciples, not just win converts. If the Holy Spirit uses us to lead someone to Christ we are then responsible to help them grow in this new relationship. If it is not possible to do that ourselves then we must place them in the tender care of Christian Life Center people who will shepherd.
1. Assurance of salvation.
“I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” 1 John 5:13

“Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God…” John 1:12
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17
“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

2. Lead them into the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8; 2:38-39; Romans 1:16). By faith we can receive the power of the Holy Spirit to live the life He wants us to live and to bring others to Christ.
3. Lead them into water baptism (Acts 2:38; 8:36).
This is a public statement that they have decided to follow Jesus as His disciple.
4. Teach them to talk to Him in prayer (Philippians 4:6-7; 1 John 5:14) and read God’s Word, the Bible (Psalm 119:105; 2 Timothy 2:15; 1 Peter 2:2).
A good beginning might be to read the Gospel of Luke and then the Book of Acts. This is the story of Jesus and the beginning of the church written by the same person, Luke.
5. Invite them to regularly attend church (2 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 10:25).
If you brought them to Christ it is important that they go to the same church with you and become involved in the Lord’s work.
6. Teach them the importance of serving Christ and His Church (Ephesians 4:16).
7. Teach them to share their new faith with friends and family (Matthew 28:18-20).
This is a great time to do that since most, if not all, their friends are non-Christians.

I’M PRAYING FOR MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS!

Write the names of three people who you think are close to accepting Jesus Christ. Pray over this list as often as you can and watch the Lord do great things through you!

Discipleship Part 3: Mentoring

MATURITY
1. Hebrews 5:12 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (Also Job 17:9; Psalm 84:7, 92:12; Proverbs 4:18; Ephesians 4:11-16; Philippians 3:12-15; 1 Timothy 4:15)
2. A few of the characteristics of maturity include…
  • Filled with the Spirit and wisdom.
  • A fruitful private prayer life with Power.
  • Being an example for others to follow.
  • A Biblical understanding of self.
  • Focused and wholehearted devotion to God.
  • Biblical convictions.
  • Moral excellence.
  • The heart of a servant.
  • Surrender and self sacrifice.
  • Self control.
  • A pursuit of excellence.
  • Endurance, perseverance and patience.
  • Courage.
  • Faithfulness.
  • A team player.
  • A contributing member of the Body of Christ.
  • Accountable.
  • The wisdom to deal with failure.
  • Others…

INSIGHT FROM THE LIFE OF MOSES

Exodus 33:12-14 Then Moses said to the LORD, “See, You say to me, ‘Bring up this people.’ But You have not let me know whom You will send with me. Yet You have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found grace in My sight.’ Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight. And consider that this nation is Your people.”

1. The command to lead. (Exodus 3:9-10)

  • Fear and timidity in leading. (Joshua 1:6-9)
  • The leader is a shepherd (1 Peter 5:2-4), not a “hireling.” (John 10:12-13)
  • Question: What is hindering you from taking the leadership plunge?

2. Relationships of mentoring and partnership. (2 Timothy 2:2)

  • “Mentoring is a relational process between a mentor who knows or has experienced something, and transfers that something to a mentoree at an appropriate time and manner, so that it facilitates development and empowerment.” Robert Clinton
  • Question: How active are you in being mentored and mentoring others?

3. Desiring to know God and His ways. (Philippians 3:10-11)

  • Knowing His acts vs. knowing His ways. (Psalm 103:7-14)
  • Paul’s cry to know Him. (Philippians 3:10-11)
  • Question: What are you willing to do to know Him better?
4. Stewardship of God’s people (1 Peter 5:1-4)
  • Even though people may follow us, we must never see them as “our” people.
  • Our task is always develop people in their relationship with Him.
  • Question: How do you lead people God has placed in the care of another leader ?
MENTORING, THE ART OF MAKING DISCIPLES
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; …”
1. “Mentoring is a relational process between a mentor who knows or has experienced something, and transfers that something (resources of wisdom, information, experience, insight, relationships) to a mentoree at an appropriate time, so that it facilitates development and empowerment.” (“Connecting” by Robert Clinton)
2. We’ve all been mentored before. Write the names of the people who have had a significant impact on you during specific times of your life.
  • As a child
  • As a teenager
  • As a young adult
  • As an adult

STEPS FOR SUCCESSFUL MENTORING

1. Mutually establish the purpose and direction of the group.
2. Determine the frequency of interaction, how often?
3. Determine what level of accountability you both are to observe.
4. Mutually establish the life cycle (length of time) for the mentoring.
5. Honestly evaluate the purpose regularly.
6. Frequently modify expectations to fit the purpose.
7. When the life cycle is finished and expectations have been met, bring closure, or set a new life cycle.
8. Write down what you have learned and what steps you will take to accomplish this.
THE MENTORING CHART

Adapted from “Connecting, The Mentoring Relationships You Need to Succeed” by Paul D Stanley & Robert Clinton

Mentoring is not only an important ingredient to successful spiritual growth, but it is a command of the Lord as well as seen from Matthew 28:18-20.  Below is a chart that will assist you in identifying important relationships you need to be successful in the ministry and in life.

1.  On a sheet of paper, draw a large “plus sign.” You can also duplicate the chart above.  This illustrates a well rounded mentoring way of discipling and accountability and is an important activity in finishing well!  It consists of developing important relationships of accountability with more mature Christians (upward), with people our age and spiritual development (external in and out) and with emerging Christians (downward).

2. Write the names of people who might fit in the following categories.

  • Upward – A “Paul” is an older person who is willing to help you build character.  They have been “down the road of life,” and are willing to share their successes and failures. Hebrews 13:7
  • Downward – A “Timothy” is someone you are discipling and helping in their Christian life.  Your responsibility is to encourage, teach, gently   correct as needed, and pray for him.  1 Timothy 1:1-2
  • Lateral internal & external – A “Barnabas” is a someone who is a peer and who will hold you accountable and love you during difficult times.  It is good to have those involved in your church (internal) and those who work with you (external). Galatians 2:11At the top list people who are mentoring you. They can be contemporary (living) or historical (not living) models.

3.  If you lack names in any of the four categories, begin to pray and seek the Lord concerning people who can (and who are willing and able) assist you in the process of successful mentoring.  Remember to use the “Steps For Successful Mentoring” above.

Discipleship Part 2 – The Deeper Life

THE ROOT
  • Galatians 5:16-18 So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.
  • James 1:13-15  When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 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.
  • To accomplish any lasting victory in our lives we must always deal with root issues (good root, good fruit).  Read Matthew 3:7-12.

GAINING VICTORY OVER OUR OWN SIN – James 1:12-15

1. The three areas of spiritual warfare from James 4:1-7 are: the flesh (our old, sinful nature), the world and the demonic.

The world and the demonic really do not have authority in us when we are victorious over our old, flesh nature! Many of God’s people spend too much time rebuking the devil when we need to learn to have victory over our own sin nature.

2. Sin is the result of our the flesh. Sin is the flesh IN ACTION. (Galatians 5:17-21)

A definition of “flesh” is the self-centered distortion of the human nature which makes us want to be our own god. It is that proud ego, that uncircumcised self which is the seat of willful defiance and rebellion against authority. (Ray Stedman)

3. All our temptations and sin are the result of what is ALREADY in our heart. We must understand that we sin because of our choice to do so.

James 1:13-15 “When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire (the flesh) 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.”

NOTE: One of the greatest challenges in gaining victory over our own sin is the inability to forgive ourselves.  Jesus’ blood shed for us was MORE than enough to forgive and cleanse ALL of our sin!  But we have difficulty in forgiving ourselves for various reasons.

LEARNING TO RECEIVE FORGIVENESS – 1 John 1:1-10

1. Be CONVINCED that Christ’s blood forgives ALL sin!

Psalm 103:1-5, 8-14; Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:12-14; 1 John 1:7-9

2. Learn how to walk in forgiveness from 1 John.

Never pretend to be sinless.

State the sin specifically to God and agree with God about the sin (“Confess” is homologeo, meaning to agree with).

Be expressive in thanking God and walk in the light of God’s Word and in fellowship with Him and others. Don’t isolate!

3. Deal with all SMALL sins.

Understand the “little foxes” principle from Song of Solomon 2:15.

Psalm 19:13-14 “Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression.”

4. Be AGGRESSIVE in dealing with your thought life or the carnal nature.

2 Corinthians 10:4-5 “…We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

5. Force the steps above into a life HABIT!

1 Timothy 4:15 “Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all.”

THE KEY TO REAL CHANGE

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. We begin by offering our bodies as living sacrifices to His purposes. Live for Him in spite of shortcomings! This changes the direction of our life (Acts 2:37-41).

2. We are not to be CONFORMED to the pattern of this world. This literally means to not be connected to the fashion, behavior and priorities of this world. We must determine not to be shaped by the world and its system of thought and behavior. (1 John 2:15-17

3. Then we are to be TRANSFORMED by the renewing of our thinking. This is the same word used of Jesus’ transfiguration on the Mount in Matthew 17:1-3; Mark 9:2-3 and means to change from an earthly to a supernatural (spiritual) way of thinking. We must train our thought life to think the way God thinks – to love what He loves and hate what He hates. Our perception of reality must be based upon the Word of God.

PERSONAL CLEANSING

Psalm 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart;…

The following areas are NOT intended to condemn (Romans 8:1) but to guide us through an honest evaluation and cleansing. Confess each area God reveals with the willingness to make it right or forsake it. Then praise God for His forgiveness and His ability through the power of the Holy Spirit.

1. God’s Word – Psalm 119:97, 140

  • Do I love to read and meditate on God’s Word?
  • Do I apply what I read to everyday life?

2. Holy Spirit control – Galatians 5:22-25; Ephesians 5:18-21

  • Do I ask to be filled with the Holy Spirit each day?
  • Am I sensitive to the Spirit’s voice and do I allow Him to lead and control me?

3. First Love – Philippians 1:21-23; Revelation 2:4-5

  • Is Jesus Christ still the most important Person in my life?
  • Does my schedule, spending, etc. reveal that God is first in my life?

4. Prayer – 1 Timothy 2:1-2

  • Am I faithful to a consistent life of prayer?
  • Is my prayer life filled with joy and intimacy with the Father?

5. Submission – 1 Samuel 15:22; Hebrews 13:17

  • Do I obey God?
  • Do I genuinely obey human authorities that God has placed over my life?

6. Humility – Psalm 51:17; Isaiah 57:15; Luke 14:7-11

  • Am I quick to admit I am wrong?
  • Am I willing to take the “lower place”?

7. A pure heart – Matthew 5:8; 2 Corinthians 7:10; 1 John 1:9

  • Do I keep “short accounts” with God and do I search my heart for issues that displease Him?
  • Is repentance (a change of thinking accompanied with action) a part of my everyday life?

8. Moral purity – Matthew 5:27-30; 2 Corinthians 10:3; Ephesians 5:3-5

  • Do I aggressively keep my mind free from immoral fantasizing?
  • Am I accountable to someone?

9. Priorities – Matthew 6:33; Colossians 3:12-14

  • Do I love what God loves and hate what He hates?
  • Do I seek to do His Will each day?

10. Finances – Proverbs 19:17; Malachi 3:10-12

  • Do I Tithe the first portion of my earnings to God?
  • Am I a generous person?

11. Forgiveness – Acts 24:16; Colossians 3:12-14; Hebrews 12:14-15

  • Am I willing to release offenses and be reconciled to God and the person with whom I am offended?
  • Do I stop slander and not allow a destructive spirit of unforgiveness to divide my church?

12. Evangelism – Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8

  • Do I have a burden for people who do not know Christ?
  • How am I reaching the lost with the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ?

THE KEY TO SPIRITUAL VICTORY THROUGH GOD’S WORD

Read Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13 and 2 Corinthians 10:4-6

The following section is designed to help us build strong convictions, the firm foundation against a life of continual defeat.

1. When the threats and lies come from our enemy we are to tear down that thought or fear as we read in 2 Corinthians 10:4-6. This “tearing down” is, in reality, placing God’s Word against and over the lies of the enemy and our own thoughts, fears, anger, etc.

2. An example is Jesus’ victory over the devil in the wilderness in Matthew 4:1-11 & Luke 4:1-13. The Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness area between Jericho & Jerusalem. After a 40-day fast, when Jesus was physically at His weakest, Satan came to tempt Him. Jesus’ only resource was the Word of God (Scripture). He doesn’t quote it as a “magical formula” but as a principle upon which He basis His actions. (Key)

3. The ultimate purpose of demonic attack, using our flesh nature, is to pull us away from a victorious relationship with God to an existence of depending upon our sin nature, weakness and daily defeat. Learn to do this EVERY TIME and do not allow fear and condemnation a place for very long! In time this will become a part of our natural behavior.

CONVICTIONS: FOUNDATIONAL STRENGTH FOR CHARACTER

Daniel 1:8 But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank;… (Also Daniel 3:16-18)

1. We are only as strong as our conviction or determination to serve God whole-heartedly!

2. A CONVICTION is a Biblical principle we determine to follow, NO MATTER WHAT.

  • Daniel 3:16-18 The Hebrew men determined not to bow, whether or not God delivered them from the fiery furnace!
  • Joshua 24:15, 25-28 “But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

3. A PREFERENCE changes with the situation when a conviction is not convenient. It is not seen in daily living. We may talk it but do not live it.

4. Many of our weaknesses are simply the ABSENCE of Godly convictions. Spiritual strength is seen in those who have trained themselves to be resolute. In Hebrews 11:32-39, we see that the examples in the Bible of men and women who through faith triumphed and accomplished great things were people of strong convictions who would not flinch in the face of adversity or ridicule.

5. Consistent practice of Biblically based convictions develops us to be strong in challenging times.

CONVICTIONS BASED ON GOD’S WORD

1. Jesus Christ is Lord over every area of my life, and I am to build my goals around His priorities. (Deuteronomy 6:5; Matthew 6:10; Ephesians 1:22-23; Colossians1:18)

2. The entire Bible is the inspired Word of God and the final authority for life. (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21)

3. I am a member of the body of Christ and I must not forsake the assembling together of God’s people. (Hebrews 10:24-25)

4. I am a witness to others of the things God has done in my life and I am to make disciples of all nations as Jesus has commanded us. (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8)

5. Because my life begins with my thoughts, my thoughts must be set on the things of God. (Proverbs 4:23; Matthew 12:34-35; Colossians 3:1-8)

6. My actions must never weaken the scriptural convictions or understanding of another Christian. (Romans 14:19-21)

7. My body is the living temple of God and must not be defiled by the lusts (sinful behavior) of the world. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

8. My finances and resources are a trust from God and must be managed according to Biblical principles. (Malachi 3:10-12; Luke 16:11)

9. My marriage is a lifelong commitment to God and to my marriage partner. (Genesis 2:24; Mark 10:9; Ephesians 5:22-23)

10. My children belong to God, and it is my responsibility to impart to them Biblical principles and Godly character. (Deuteronomy 6:6-7; Ephesians 6:4; Proverbs 22:6)

Write down other convictions you have that are based upon God’s Word.  Believe God, in the Power of the Holy Spirit, to make those a very real part of everyday life!

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Discipleship Part 1: The Call

THE CALL
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Luke 14:25-35; Matthew 9:36-10:1, 28:18-20; Acts 2:42-47, 6:1-7

1.  Reaching the lost was the primary goal of the early church in the book of Acts, and an integral part of each believer’s life. In the beginning, the early church in Acts grew not by addition but by multiplication and with power (Acts 2:42-47). The person was transformed and then became an active disciple. Decisions without discipleship causes us to think that we are obeying Jesus’ Command when, in reality, we are disobeying the full Command of Christ. If the primary activity of the church is to make disciples than it begins with the ability to effectively lead someone to Christ. (John 4:1-42; Acts 8:26-40)

2.  The word “disciple” means a DISCIPLINED LEARNER. In Bible times, teachers had disciples, not just students. Knowledge was not something sterile and separate, but a mixture of the teacher’s spirit and passion as well.

3.  The Apostle Paul was a devout disciple, brought up at the feet of Gamaliel to be “zealous toward God” (Acts 22:3) and when he became a follower of Jesus Christ, imparted this passion to others like Timothy. (2 Timothy 3:14-15)

4.  The first step in becoming a disciple is our SURRENDER to the Lordship of Jesus. Our will must bow to His Will in defined and open commitment. This requires a renewing of our way of thinking. (Romans 12:1-2; Ephesians 4:22-24)

JESUS TAUGHT DISCIPLESHIP IN THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT
Although many were present, the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5 – 7) seems to have been taught primarily to His disciples. The central theme is summarized in Matthew 5:48, “Be perfect (adult, full-grown, fully completed growth), therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Following is an overview of discipleship characteristics from that powerful sermon.

1. Jesus taught His disciples deeper Truth and accountability. (5:1-12)

2. As a representative of God’s Kingdom, a disciple has a Divine RESPONSIBILITY to influence our world. How we respond to that challenge affects the world around us. (5:13-16)

3. The Ten Commandments deal with OUTWARD BEHAVIOR, discipleship deals with the attitudes of the heart. (5:17-48)

4. Discipleship seeks to please God not the applause of men. (6:1-18)

5. Discipleship is having a correct attitude towards the wealth of this world. It plants towards eternity, it understands the destructive behavior of dual lordship (God and mammon) and fully trusts in the faithfulness of God to provide. (6:19-34)

6. A disciple first judges his OWN LIFE before he judges another’s life. (7:1-5)

7. A disciple treats others the way he expects others to treat him. (7:7-12)

8. A disciple understands the ROOT-FRUIT principle. (7:15-23)

9. Obedience to Christ’s Word brings blessing; disobedience or ignoring His Word brings destruction. (7:14-29)

A DISCIPLE’S COMMITMENT

The following are five areas of a disciple’s life in the form of a covenant. Realizing that these can only be accomplished in the power of the Holy Spirit we endeavor practice these principles in spite of our weakness.

THE DISCIPLESHIP COMITMENT
1. Love Christ first in my life.
  • Luke 14:26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters – yes, even his own life – he cannot be my disciple.” (Also Revelation 2:4-5)

2. Surrender my ways to Him and acknowledge His absolute Lordship in me.

  • Luke 14:27 “And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”
  • Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

3. Abide and be trained in His Word, the Bible, and to keep it as the standard of my life.

  • John 8:31 “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.”
  • John 17;17 “Your word is truth.”

4. Love my Christian brothers and sisters with God’s love.

  • John 13:34-35 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
  • Matthew 22: 37-40 “… And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’…”
5. Make disciples who follow Christ with the same passion I follow and obey Christ.
  • Matthew 28:18-20 “… 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.”
  • Acts 1:88 “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Victory Over Offenses

VICTORY OVER OFFENSES

HAVE YOU EVER WONDERED…

  • What causes conflicts in families, churches or organizations to flare out of control and split entire groups?
  • What causes close friendships to be broken when neither party offended the other?
  • Why attempts to restore a fallen Christian brother or sister are often met with defeat?
A major reason is the damage caused when an offended person brings others into their offense. This is called the defilement of an evil report… READ MORE

Three Phases of Sanctification

Leviticus 20:7-8 “… I am the LORD, who makes you holy (sanctifies you).”
2 Corinthians 5:21 “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
Hebrews 10:14 “… by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.”

When Jesus saves us, He begins a work in us to ready us for Eternity. 

The first is His doing, He saved us as we responded to His call. Although we stand in His finished work of salvation at the cross, the second is our partnership with the Holy Spirit in changing us into His likeness.  The third step is when we enter into His Presence for all Eternity!

1.  I HAVE BEEN SAVED — The initial act of sanctification

This is our position in Christ established by our union with Him through our new birth (John 3:3).

Romans 10:8-13 But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,”that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”… for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

1 Corinthians 6:11 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.

2 Corinthians 5:17  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

2.  I AM BEING SAVED — The process of sanctification

This is based upon our position in Christ and carried out by His Word and our active faith. Here we are being changed and transformed into His likeness (2 Corinthians 3:18; Romans 12:1-2). As we yield to and obey God’s Word we literally begin to see our old habits leave and learn to walk in victory over the power of sin.

God always has to “tear down and uproot” us so that He can rebuild us.  When we plan to build a structure on raw land, much preparation is needed so that the building can even begin.  We see this in God’s command to Jeremiah the prophet.  Jeremiah 1:9-10 Then the LORD reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “Now, I have put my words in your mouth. See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.”

1 Thessalonians 5:13-14 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.

Romans 6:11-14 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.

2 Timothy 2:20-21  But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor.  Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.

Philippians 6:3-6 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

3.  I WILL BE SAVED — The final step of sanctification

This is the complete conformity to Jesus Christ, our final glorification! It is at this time that we are delivered from the presence of sin.

1 John 3:2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

Revelation 21 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.
… And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates.

…The great street of the city was of pure gold, like transparent glass.
… I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

The Disciples’ Prayer Pattern

Matthew 6:5-18 (Jesus said) “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
This, then, is how you should pray:

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

Jesus taught His disciples how to pray in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:5-7:12). Approximately 1 1/2 years later, when they asked Him how to pray (Luke 11:1-4), He brought them back to “the pattern.”

This is an outline He established for communicating with God. It’s our “model prayer pattern.” Each phrase reflects a basic area of human need and places us in the position to be able to receive those needs.

FIVE AREAS OF

1. BEGIN WITH PRAISEOur Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,…
“To hallow” means to admire, respect, acknowledge as being set apart. The word “name” gives the meaning of character or authority.
Begin prayer by praising Him through the Old & New Testament Names of God (Exodus 3:13-15)…
  • Elohim (God, Genesis 1 and many other places) Praise Him as our Creator, covenant God.
  • (Found in many places and written as LORD) Praise Him as the God of Holiness, Righteousness and Love.
  • El-Shaddai (The Mighty God – Genesis 17:1-2, 28:3, 35:11. and more) Praise Him as our Source of Life.
  • El Elyon (The Most High God – Genesis 14:22; Daniel 4:34-35) Praise Him as our King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
  • Adonai (Lord, Master – Genesis 15:1-8; Daniel 9:3-19; Malachi 1:6 ) Praise Him for being our Perfect Master.
  • El Olam (The Everlasting God – Genesis 21:33) Praise Him because He does not change.
  • Jehovah-Jireh (The LORD our Provider – Genesis 22:1-9) Praise Him because He sees and provides.
  • Jehovah-Rophe (The LORD our Healer – Genesis 15:22-27) Praise Him for His healing power.
  • Jehovah-Nissi (The LORD our Banner – Exodus 17:8-16) Praise Him for our victory over every work of the devil.
  • Jehovah-M’Kaddesh (The LORD our Sanctifier – Leviticus 20:8) Praise Him for changing us into His likeness.
  • Jehovah-Shalom (The LORD our Peace – Judges 6:1-24 Praise Him because He is the God of Peace.
  • Jehovah-Tsidkenu (The LORD our Righteousness – Jeremiah 23:5-6) Praise Him for making us right before Him.
  • Jehovah-Rohi (The LORD our Shepherd – Psalm 23) Praise Him for His tender, Shepherding care.
  • Jehovah-Shammah (The LORD is There – Ezekiel 48:35) Praise Him for His abiding and faithful Presence.
 2. ESTABLISH GOD’S PRIORITIESYour kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

As our Savior, He is also our absolute Lord and Master and King of an eternal Kingdom and we are His Kingdom people with all the responsibilities and benefits.

  • Bring everything in our lives under His authority (Matthew 6:33).
  • Pray that His will be done in my life, family, church, nation and in the world.

3. RECEIVE DAILY PROVISIONGive us today our daily bread.

The greatest concerns to human beings include food, clothing and shelter. If we seek first His Kingdom that the Lord would provide what we need (Matthew 6:28-34). He wants us to ask so that our joy might be complete (John 16:24). Malachi 3:10-12 states that if I am faithful to the Tithe then He is faithful to provide for me, to destroy the devourer and to enlarge my ability to be generous.
  • Be in the will of God concerning my finances (Tithing, generous attitude).
  • Pray for provision for physical, emotional and spiritual needs.
  • Pray for a hunger for God’s Word in me and in the Church.

4. FORGIVE & RECEIVE FORGIVENESS (PARDON)Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

So powerful is the aspect of forgiveness that Jesus places it in the middle of the prayer and then re-emphasizes it at the end! If we will not forgive others He cannot forgive us (Matthew 6:14-15; 18:1-34).
  • Ask God to forgive me of my sins and offenses (Psalm 32:5; 1 John 1:8-9).
  • Forgive and release those who have offended me (Matthew 6:14).
  • Set my will to forgive those who may offend me today. Pray for people who might offend us and overcome “evil” with good (Romans 12:21).

5. LIVE IN HOLY SPIRIT POWERAnd lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”

Deep, unconfessed sin are areas in which the devil has authority. When we are unwilling to acknowledge those areas, God will allow us to be led into areas of temptation so that we can recognize those areas and can be cleansed (James 1:13-15).

  • Ask God to purify me and to cleanse me from secret sin (Song of Solomon 2:15; Psalm 19:12-13).
  • Put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18).
  • Pray for the revival of the church (Hosea 6:2-3).
  • Pray for a harvest of souls to come into the Kingdom of God (Matthew 9:37).

NOW RETURN TO PRAISE & THANKSGIVING.