Whoever you are and whatever you believe, I hope you will read through the following Life Study. This is what I believe and what changed my life. There are more life studies to follow. May God bless you with His Holy Spirit.
CHRISTIAN LIFE STUDY OUTLINES
(By Porter Barrington)
(A great study to do personally or to use for a Bible study or cell group. So important for us to know the basics of Christianity!)
Master Outline Number One
The Bible – The Word of God
The first lesson is designed to help establish your faith in the Bible, for it is the Word of God.
Keep in mind that the Bible is not a book of philosophy, although it is philosophical. Do not go to the Bible for a scientific treatise. However, there is no discrepancy between ascertained facts of science and the Bible. The Bible is not a book of history, but is found to be accurate when recording history. The Bible was given to man from God, revealing Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and God the Son, the only Savior (John 14:6) He is the center and the circumference. It is Christ from Genesis to Revelation (John 5: 39)
The Bible is as high above all other books as the heavens are above the earth. Someone has said of the Bible:
“Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be right.”
I. THE BIBLE CLAIMS TO BE THE INSPIRED WORD OF GOD.
Now read 2 Timothy 3:16,17.
(A) “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong andteaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip His people to do every good work.”
1(A) “All Scripture is inspired by God.” By “inspired” we mean that the Holy Spirit exerted His supernatural influence upon the writers of the Bible. Thereforethe Scriptures are God inspired word for word. By this we mean that everyword, in the original, is fully and equally inspired in all of its teachings. The Bible does not just contain the Word of God, it is the Word of God.
The writers of the Bible did not write by natural inspiration, or an act of the human will. “Men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God”(2 Peter 1: 21).
David said, “The Spirit of the Lord spoke by me, and His word was on my Tongue” (2 Samuel 23: 2)
- The Holy Spirit is the author of the Bible. (2Pet. 1: 21)
- Man is the instrument used by the Holy Spirit to write the Bible.
- Results: The infallible Word of God. Therefore, the Bible is free from error and absolutely trustworthy.
Psalm 119: 89
“Your eternal word, O LORD, stands firm in heaven.”
Matthew 24: 35
“Heaven and earth will disappear, but My words will never disappear.”
II. THE BIBLE IS A DIFFICULT BOOK
Now read 1 Corinthians 2: 14
(A) “But people who aren’t spiritual (John 3:3) can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means.”
11(A) The Bible is a difficult book because it came from the infinite to the finite-from the unlimited, all powerful God, to limited man. Therefore, you cannot understand the Bible as you would understand the writings of Plato or Socrates. You can study the great philosophers with the natural mind, and by diligent application, grasp their profound meanings. If the Bible could be understood by natural man, it would be a natural book, and could not be the Word of God. Since the Bible is from God, and therefore spiritual, before you can receive its teachings, you must be born of the Spirit (John 3:6 Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life.”) and filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18 “Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit)
Always approach the Bible praying that the Spirit will be your teacher and Will guide you to a better understanding of His Holy Word, or it will remain a difficult closed book (John 16: 12-15 “There is much more I want to tell you, but you can’t bear it now. When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on His own but will tell you what He has heard. He will tell you about the future.)
III. THE BIBLE IS A BOOK OF ONENESS
Now read 2 Peter 1: 20, 21
(A) “Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the Prophets own understanding, or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God.”
111(A) The oneness or unity of the Bible is a miracle. It is a library of 66 books, written by over 35 different authors, in a period of approximately 1,500 years. Represented in the authors is a cross section of humanity, educated and uneducated, including kings, fishermen, public officials, farmers, teachers, and physicians. Included in the subjects are religion, history, law, science, poetry, drama, biography, and prophecy. Yet its various parts are as harmoniously united as the parts that make up the human body.
For 35 authors, with such varied backgrounds, to write on so many subjects over a period of approximately 1,500 years in absolute harmony, is a mathematical impossibility. It could not happen! Then how do we account for the Bible? The only adequate explanation is: “….men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God” (2 Peter 1: 21)
IV. THE BIBLE CLAIMS SPECIAL POWER
Now read Hebrews 4: 12
(A) “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes
our innermost thoughts and desires.”
1V(A) “For the word of God is living and active…”
- The Bible claims dividing power as a sword. The Bible will separate man from sin. (Psalm 119: 11 “I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against You.”) or sin will separate man from the Bible (Isaiah 59: 2 “It’s your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, He has turned away and will not listen anymore.”)
- The Bible claims reflecting power as a mirror (James 1: 22-25 But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like.”) In the Bible we see ourselves as God sees us- as sinners (Romans 3:24 “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.”)
- The Bible claims cleansing power as water (Ephesians 5:26 “to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word.”) David prayed that God would wash him from iniquity and cleanse him from sin (Psalm 51:2)
- The Bible claims reproductive power as seed (1 Peter 1:23 “For you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is through the living and abiding word of God.” Taken from the New King King James Bible.)
We are children of God, because we have been born into the family of God by the imperishable seed of God. This is the new birth (read John 3:1-7)
- The Bible claims nourishing power as food (1 Peter 2:2 “Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment.”)
The Bible is spiritual food for the soul. No Christian can remain strong in the Lord and not study the Word of God!
V. THE BIBLE COMMANDS THE BELIEVER TO STUDY THE SCRIPTURES
Now read 2 Timothy 2:15
(A) “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth.” NKJ V(A) “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God” is a command. As you study the Bible you will discover that it does not just contain the Word Of God – it is the Word of God. You must also keep in mind that the Word of God contains the words of God, as well as the words of Satan, demons, angels, and man – both good and bad. God is truth and cannot lie. Satan “…is a liar, and the father of lies” (John 8:44)
Man is natural and is therefore limited, and does not always speak the truth.
To illustrate (read Matthew 22:15-46). In this portion of Scripture, we have words of Jesus, of the Pharisees, of the Herodians, and the Sadducees. The Pharisees, Herodians, and Sadducees were trying to entangle Jesus in His Teachings, that they might accuse Him of breaking God’s law. Their words Were spoken with evil intent, revealing the thinking of the natural man, along with the words of God that came from the lips of Jesus.
As you study the Bible, ask yourself these questions:
- Who is speaking: God, demon, angel, or man?
- To whom is He speaking: to the nation Israel, to the Gentiles, to the Church, to men in general, or to some individual man or being?
- How can this Scripture be applied to my own life to make me a better Christian?
Master Outline Number Two
The Bible reveals God as the only Infinite and Eternal being, having no beginning and no ending. He Is Creator and Sustainer of all things. He is the Supreme Personal Intelligence, and Righteous Ruler of His universe. He is life, and therefore, the only source of life. “For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself;” ( John5: 26)
Man is natural and cannot know God by wisdom. “Can you discover the depths of God?” (Job 11:7 OT) God is a person and can be known only by revelation. In the Old Testament He revealed Himself to and through His prophets. In the New Testament He reveals Himself through His Son Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1: 1-3)
I. THE EXISTENCE OF GOD
(Read Hebrews 11: 5,6) By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death; and he was not found because God took him up; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God. And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for He who comes to God must believe that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
1(B)The Bible nowhere attempts to prove or argue the existence God. “For he who comes to God must believe that He is.”
The existence of God is a fact taken or granted by the writers of both the Old and New Testaments. “In the beginning God” (Genesis 1:1) The Bible opens by announcing the Sublime fact of God and His existence. There are arguments for the existence of God; they are not conclusive, but are food for thought:
- Universal belief in God comes from within man. It is innate in man, and comes from rational intuition.
- The argument from “cause and effect.” Everything that began owes its existence to a cause. We have a watch; we must have a watchmaker. We have a building; we must have a builder. We have a creation, then we must have a creator. This creation could not have come into existence without an intelligent, personal creator any more than the alphabet could produce a book itself without an author.
- The argument from anthropology. Mans moral and intellectual nature argues for a moral and intellectual creator.
- The Bible and the Christ that it reveals. His virgin birth, His sinless life. His vicarious death, and His bodily resurrection – all of this and much, much more – argue for the existence of God.
II. THE PERSONALITY OF GOD
“….and how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God,”
11 (A) The Bible reveals God as a personality. He is called “…a living and true God” – One possessing self-consciousness and self-determination. His personality is shown in what He
does, such as:
- God loves. “God so loved the world (John 3: 16)
- God hates. “There are six things which the LORD hates” (Proverbs 6: 16)
- God cares. “He cares for you (1 Peter 5: 7)
- God grieves. “He was grieved in His heart” (Gen. 6: 6)
Only a personality can hate, care, and grieve; therefore, God must be a living, eternal, and personal being.
III. THE NATURE OF GOD
(A) “The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. (1 John 4: 7)
111 (A) There are four definitions of God in the Bible. Since God cannot be defined, they are incomplete. However, they do throw light upon the nature of God. They are:
- “God is love” This is the nature of God in His divine compassion.
- “God is light” (1 John 4: 24) This is the nature of God in His divine character; in Him there is no darkness.
- “God is a consuming fire” (Heb. 12: 29). This is the nature of God in His divine holiness.
- “God is spirit” (John 4: 24). This is the nature of God in His Divine essence.
The attributes of God reveal His nature. Do not think of His attributes as abstract, but as vital mediums through which His holy nature is unveiled – attributes ascribed to Him, such as:
- Life is ascribed to God (John 5:26)
- All knowledge is ascribed to God (Psalm 147: 5).
- All power is ascribed to God (Rev. 19:6).
- Filling the universe with His presence is ascribed to God (Ps. 139: 1-10).
God is everywhere present, but He is not in everything. If God were in everything, man could worship any object and he would be worshiping God. God is a spirit being. “And those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
IV. THE GRACE OF GOD
(B) “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;” Eph. 11:8
1V (B) Grace is the love and mercy of God in action. Mercy is negative, and love is positive; both together mean grace. To show mercy in love is grace. God showed mercy in love when He sent His Son to bear our sins in His own body on the cross (John 3: 16)
- The grace of God saves forever (Rom.8: 38, 39).
- The grace of God is unconditional; that is, we are not saved on the condition that we “hold out unto the end” or that we “fail not” or that we “do our best.” We are saved by the grace of God, apart from works.
- The grace of God is sufficient (2 Cor. 12: 9)
- The grace of God makes no discrimination (Rev. 22: 17).
- The grace of God justifies. (Rom. 3: 23, 24).
- The grace of God makes every believer an heir (Titus 3:7)
- The grace of God teaches the believer how to live (Titus 2: 11, 12).
The grace of God is nothing less than the unlimited love of God expressed in the gift of His Son, our Savior. It is the undeserved love of God toward sinners.
V. THE TRINITY OF GOD
(A) And after being baptized, Jesus went up immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming upon Him and behold a voice out of the heavens saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.” (Matthew 3:16, 17)
V(A) By the Trinity of God we mean His tri-personal existence as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – three distinct Persons in one God.
- The Father is recognized as God (1 Peter 1:2) and is all the fullness of the Godhead invisible (John1: 18).
- The Son is recognized as God (Heb 1:8) and is all the fullness of the Godhead manifested in the flesh (John 1: 14)
- The Holy Spirit is recognized as God (Acts 5:3,4) and is all the fullness of the Godhead acting upon man, convicting him of sin (John 16: 12-15).
- The doctrine of the Trinity is not explicit in the Old Testament, But is rather implied, “Then God said, Let Us make man…” (Gen. 1:26 OT).
- The doctrine of the Trinity is revealed in the New Testament in the above Scriptures (Matt. 3:16,17) we have Christ being baptized in water, the Father speaking from heaven, and the Holy Spirit descending as a dove. We are to baptize in the “name (not names) of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28: 19)
- Even creation implies the doctrine of the Trinity. In creation, we have space, matter, and time in one creation. In space, we have length, breadth, and height in one space. In matter, we have energy, motion, and phenomenon in one substance. In time, we have past, present, and future in one time. In man, we have body , soul, and spirit in one man (1 Thess. 5:23).
- In the Holy Trinity, we have Father, Son and Holy Spirit in one God.
CHRISTIAN LIFE STUDY OUTLINES
(By Porter Barrington)
Paul hated Christ, until the day he met Him. Then he said, “For me to live is Christ”. Multitudes have been like that. Millions who never sought Him, met Jesus on the road of life and been captivated by His love. They HAD to believe when they met Him. The fact is that nobody can understand what it is like to meet Jesus until they do. Then they know why others are so full of it. REINHARD BONNKE
Master Outline Number Three
Jesus Christ the Son of God
Christianity differs from all religions, because it is more than a religion- it is the life of the Son of God made living in man. Christ is Christianity, and Christianity is Christ. He is the supreme subject of each book of the New Testament, and fulfills all the promises of God in the Old Testament, from His incarnation to His Second Coming as “Lord of lords and King of kings” (Rev. 17:14). He is the God-man Christ Jesus in glory, exalted above all creatures. Jesus said, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” (Matt. 28:18).
During His earthly ministry, He claimed to be God incarnate (in human flesh). He is all that He claimed to be, or He is less than the least (Rev. 1:8). Before His claim can be denied, there are some things that must be accounted for;
His virgin birth;
His holy, sinless life;
His many miracles;
His vicarious death and His bodily resurrection.
I. THE DEITY OF JESUS CHRIST
(A) “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1)
1(A) The deity of Jesus Christ, or His God nature, is well established in the New Testament. Some of the facts are:
- He is called God by the Apostle John (Above verse 1).
- He is called God by the Apostle Thomas (John 20:28).
- He is called God by God the Father (Heb. 1:8).
- He claimed to be God in that He was with the Father before creation (John 17:5).
- He claimed to be God in that He was before Abraham. “Abraham rejoiced to see my day…” (John 8:51-59).
- He received worship, and only God is to be worshiped (Matt. 14:33) Angels refused worship (Rev. 22:8,9). Man refused worship (Acts 10:25, 26).
- He forgives sin (Mark 2:5-11). Only God can forgive sins.
- He is creator and maker of all things (Col. 1:16).
- He is sustainer of all things (Heb. 1:3). Only God can control the universe.
- He claimed to have “all authority… in heaven and on earth” (Matt. 28:18). God has all authority.
- He walked upon the blue waters of Galilee. The winds and the waves obeyed His command. He healed the sick and raised the dead. He gave sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf. He cast out demons and made the lame to walk. He turned water into wine, and fed five thousand with the lunch of a lad.
II. THE HUMANITY OF JESUS CHRIST.
11(A) The Humanity of Jesus Christ is seen in His human parentage (Matt. 2:11).
- He developed as a normal human being (Luke 2:52).
- He was subject to all the sinless infirmities of the human nature:
He was hungry (Matt. 4:2)
He was thirsty (John 19:28).
He was weary (John 4:6).
He wept (John 11:35).
He was tempted (Heb. 4:15)
Jesus is a man and yet He is more than man. He is not God and man, but the God-man. He is God in human flesh. His two natures are bound together in such a way that the two become one, having a single consciousness and will.
III. THE VIRGIN BIRTH OF JESUS CHRIST.
Read Luke 1:26-35
111(A) The virgin birth of Jesus Christ is without parallel in human history. It was by the virgin birth that God became man, one perfect person but two natures: One nature being that of Almighty God, the other being that of man- man without sin (Heb. 4:15). The union of the two natures became the God-man Christ Jesus.
- The first hint of the virgin birth is found in Gen. 3:15. The One to defeat Satan was to be born of the “seed” of the woman. This is a biological miracle; there is no “seed” of the woman. From this, we are to understand that the One was to be born of a woman without a human father (Luke 1:34,35).
- Isaiah prophesied that a “virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel (God is with us)” (Is. 7:14).
- Again Isaiah prophesied saying, “a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us” (Is. 9:6,7). This means that God gave His only begotten Son who was with Him from eternity, and the Child Jesus was born of a virgin. God gave His Son “to us.”
- According to prophecy, He was to be born in Bethlehem (Mic. 5:2). Joseph with Mary went up to Bethlehem to be taxed, and to fulfill prophecy (Luke 2:1-7).
IV. THE DEATH OF JESUS CHRIST.
(A) “And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8)
1V (A) The death of Jesus Christ is mentioned more than 120 times in the New Testament, and is spoken of many times by the prophets in the Old Testament.
- The death of Jesus Christ was vicarious (Matt. 20:28). He was God’s Substitute for sinners (2 Cor. 5:21). On the cross, Christ was made sin for the sinner. By faith in Him, the sinner is made righteous with the righteousness of God.
- The death of Jesus Christ was natural (John 19:31-37). By a natural death we mean that His spirit and soul were separated from His body.
- The death of Jesus Christ was unnatural (Rom.6:23). By an unnatural death, we mean that since He was sinless, in that He “committed no sin” (1 Peter 2:22) – had “no sin” (1 John 3:5)- “knew no sin” (2 Cor. 5:21) – before He could die, He had to be “made sin on our behalf.” Therefore, His death was unnatural.
- The death of Jesus Christ was preternatural (Rev. 13:8). By this, we mean that the death of Jesus Christ was not an afterthought with God; it was the forethought of God.
- The death of Jesus Christ was supernatural (John 10: 17,18). Jesus said, “No one has taken it away from Me.” Then He said, “I lay it down on My own initiative (supernaturally).” “I have authority to take it up again (supernaturally).” This He did on the cross, and three days and three nights later, He took life up again when He arose from the dead. Only God in the form of man could die a vicarious, natural, unnatural, preternatural, and supernatural death.
V. THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST
(A) Read Matthew 8: 1-20
V(A) Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life (John 11:25). The resurrection of Jesus Christ was the doctrine of every disciple, the faith of every true believer, the courage of every martyr, the theme of every sermon, and the power of every evangelist.
Luke tells us that that we have “many convincing proofs” of His resurrection (Acts 1:3). Let us look at some of the “convincing proofs” according to eye witnesses:
- After His resurrection He appeared first to Mary Magdalene (John 20:11-18).
- He appeared to the women returning from the grave (Matt. 28:5-11).
- Then He appeared to Peter (Luke 24:34).
- To the Emmaus disciples (Luke 24:13-31).
- To the apostles, Thomas not present (Luke 24:36-43).
- Again to the apostles, Thomas present (John 20: 24-29).
- To the seven by the Sea of Tiberias (John 21:1-23)
- To over five hundred brethren (1 Cor. 15:6).
- He was seen of James (1 Cor. 15:7).
- He was seen again by the eleven apostles (Matt. 28:16-20; also Acts 1:3-12)
- He was seen of Stephen, the first martyr (Acts 7:55).
- He was seen of Paul on his way to Damascus (Acts 9:3-6; also 1Cor. 15:8).
Many of these eye witnesses died martyrs’ deaths because they preached the resurrection of Jesus Christ. They were glad to die for a living Christ. They had the “convincing proofs.”
When Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, all of His disciples “Left Him and fled” (Matt. 26:56) From this time until after His resurrection, the disciples lived in fear. They did not believe that He would rise from the dead (John 20:9). Had Jesus not come from the dead, the cross would have been the end of Christianity. After the death of Jesus, we see His disciples dejected, discouraged, and defeated. The death of Jesus meant but one thing to them: the end. How do we account for the great change that came into their lives three days and three nights later? The only logical explanation is they had the “convincing proofs” He had risen from the dead, and was alive forevermore. They saw Him, talked with Him, touched Him, and ate with Him.
Now look at some “convincing proofs” according to circumstantial evidence:
- The change that came into the lives of the disciples after the resurrection – from fear to unlimited courage. They rejoiced in persecution (Acts 5:40-42). They chose death, with faith in the resurrected Christ, rather than to deny that faith and be released. (Heb. 11:35).
- The early church began to worship on the first day of the week, the day of the resurrection. It was not a law-it was spontaneous (Acts 20:7). For almost two thousand years, the church has worshiped on the first day. For the Christian, every Sunday is Easter.
- The early Christians went everywhere with the word of the resurrection (Acts 8:1-4).
- The empty tomb – for if Jesus is not alive, what happened to His body? The Roman guards were paid to say, “His disciples came by night and stole Him away while we were asleep” (Matt. 28:12, 13). First the disciples lacked the courage. Had the disciples stolen His body, then how do you account for the fact that they all suffered, and most of them died martyrs’ deaths? In the face of death, one of them would have revealed the hiding place of the “stolen body” to save his own life. Second, no one was ever arrested for stealing the body of Jesus. It is evident that the governing officials did not believe the story of the guards. Third, the guards could have been put to death for sleeping while on watch. Fourth, if they were asleep, how could they have known that it was the disciples who “stole” the body? Fifth, had the enemies of Jesus moved the body, they could have produced it and brought a quick end to Christianity, and they would have!
- The linen wrappings found in the empty tomb are proof of the resurrection (John 20:1-10). Had friend or foe stolen the body, they would not have removed the linen wrapping; since He had been dead three days and nights. When John saw the linen wrappings and recognized that they were folded the same as when they were wrapped about the body, he knew that a miracle had taken place. Jesus came out of the wrappings, and they collapsed without disturbing the folds. They were left in the empty tomb as “convincing proof”; and when John saw and understood, he believed that Jesus had come from the dead.
VI. THE ASCENSION AND SECOND COMING OF JESUS CHRIST.
(B) And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.
And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was departing, behold, two men in while clothing stood beside them;
And they also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus , who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:9-11)
V1(B) After forty days of instructing His disciples, the risen Christ ascended up on high and is seated at the right hand of the Father (Heb 10:12). Two men brought the message of His second coming to the apostles: “This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way…” The message of the second coming of Jesus is so important, that it is mentioned over three hundred times in the New Testament.
- He is coming to take His church to be with Him (1Thess. 4:16,17); also (John 14:1-6).
- He is coming to judge the nations (Matt. 25:31-46).
- He is coming to save Israel (Rom. 11:25, 26).
- He is coming to sit upon the throne of David (Luke 1:31-33; also Is. 9:6,7).
- He is also coming to bring righteous government to this earth (Heb.1-8)
- Jesus Christ is coming back to this earth again. “Come, Lord Jesus” (Rev.22:20).
Master outline Number Four
The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is God, and is equal to the Father and the Son. Don’t ever speak of Him as “It” or refer to Him as “an influence.” He is God the Holy Spirit, and is set forth in the Bible as being distinct from the Father and the Son. In the Genesis account of creation, He is seen actively engaged in the work of creation, along with the Father and the Son. In the Old Testament, He came upon men to empower them for service; but, when they were disobedient, He departed from them.
When David sinned against the Lord, he prayed, “Do not take Thy Holy Spirit from me” (Psalm 51:11 OT). In the New Testament, after Pentecost, we see the Holy Spirit indwelling the believer, never to leave him, filling and empowering him for service. The study of the person and work of the Holy Spirit is of utmost importance. A scriptural understanding of God the Holy Spirit will make you a better Christian and servant of God.
I. THE DEITY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT (Read Acts 5:3-4)
1A In dealing with Ananias, Peter revealed the deity of the Holy Spirit when he said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit… You have not lied to men, but to God.” In this Scripture it is very clear that the Holy Spirit is God, and He is co-equal, co-eternal, and co- existent with the Father and the Son.
His deity is also set forth in that He possesses diving attributes:
- He is everywhere present in the universe (Psalm 139:7-10 OT).
- He has all power (Luke 1:35).
- He has all knowledge (1 Cor. 2:10,11).
- He is eternal (Hebrew 9:14).
His deity is revealed in that His name is coupled in equality with the name of the Father and the Son.
- In the baptism of the believer (Matthew 28:19).
- In the apostolic benediction (2 Corinthians 13:14).
His deity is seen in relation to the life and ministry of Jesus Christ.
- Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35).
- He was anointed by the Holy Spirit for service (Acts 10:38).
- He was led by the Holy Spirit (Matt. 4:1).
- He was crucified in the power of the Holy Spirit (Hebrew 9:14).
- He was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:11).
- Jesus gave commandments to the apostles and the church through the Holy Spirit (Acts 1: 2).
If Jesus needed to depend solely upon the Holy Spirit during His life and ministry here on the earth, can we afford to do less?
II. THE EMBLEMS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. (Read Luke 3:16)
11(A) It is often difficult to impart truth by the use of words. Frequently they reveal only a half-truth, leaving the other half hidden. The writers of the Bible used certain emblems when unfolding the mysteries of the Holy Spirit, because they illustrate more about Him than volumes can contain. They are:
- Fire as an emblem (Luke 3:16) Fire speaks of His consuming, purifying power in the life of the believer. (Acts 2:3; also Is. 6:1-7 OT)
- Wind as an emblem (John 3:8). Wind speaks of His hidden depth in His mighty regenerating power.
- Water as an emblem (John 7:37-39). Water speaks of His power to fill the believer to overflowing with spiritual life.
- Seal as an emblem (Eph. 1:13). Seal speaks of His ownership of the believer; it is a finished, eternal transaction.
- Oil as an emblem (Acts 10:38). Oil speaks of His power to anoint for service.
- Dove as an emblem (Mark 1:10). The dove speaks of His gentle, tender, peaceful nature. We may know “the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension” (Phil. 4:7) only when fully surrendered to God.
III. SINS AGAINST THE HOLY SPIRIT
(A)“Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven men, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. (Matt. 12:31, 32; Mark 3:28-30; Luke 12:10)
111 (A) This is a solemn study, because the Holy Spirit is God and can be sinned against by both the believer and the unbeliever. May He help you search your heart as you consider:
- The sin of blaspheming the Holy Spirit (Matt 12:31,32) This sin is committed by unbelievers. It is often called the “unpardonable sin.” It has no forgiveness. It was committed by the enemies of Jesus when they accused Him of casting out demons by the power of Satan (Matt. 12:24) when Jesus claimed to cast them out by the “Spirit of God” (Matt. 12:28).
- The sin of resisting the Holy Spirit (Acts 7:51). This sin is committed by the unbeliever when rejecting Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
- The sin of grieving the Holy Spirit (Eph. 4:30-32). This sin is committed by believers. He is grieved by us unless He controls our lives to the glory of Jesus Christ.
- The sin of quenching the Holy Spirit (1 Thess.5:19). This sin is committed by Christians when known sin is allowed to go unconfessed. (1 John 1:9; also Is. 59:1,2 OT).
- The sin of lying to the Holy Spirit (Acts 5: 1-11). The sin of Ananias and Sapphira was deception, born in jealousy. They tried to mock God (Gal. 6:7). The Holy Spirit can be sinned against, because He is God.
IV. THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. (John 16: 7-13)
A “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper shall not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.
And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment; (John 16:7,8)
Master Outline Number Five
In considering the question of sin, we are faced with two startling facts.
The first fact is that man makes so little of sin.
To some, it is an illusion – a religious mirage-the invention of some fanatic. It is denied, joked about, and laughed at by man. Many who believe sin to be a fact, continue in it with little thought of its penalty.
The second fact is that God makes so much of sin. God said, “The person who sins will die” (Ezek. 18:20). “The wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). All sins are an abomination to God (Prov. 6:16-19 OT), and He hates those who do iniquity (Psalm 5:5 OT). Moses said, “…everyone who acts unjustly is an abomination to the LORD” (Deut. 25:16 OT). Sin is an evil force. Its presence cannot be escaped in this life, but it can be overcome by the power of God.
I. THE ORIGIN OF SIN
And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day. (Jude 1:6)
1(A) The origin of sin is one of the mysteries of the Bible. “The secret things belong to the Lord our God” (Deut.29:29). Its origin is one of the “secret things” that will remain wrapped in obscurity. Sin was first noted in the heart of Satan. He was created a perfect being,” …Until unrighteousness was found in you” (Ezek. 28:11-19 OT). Satan fell from perfection when he exerted his will above the will of God. (Is. 14:12-17 OT). It was his will over Gods will – this is sin.
II. WHAT IS SIN?
Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness (1 John 3:4).
(A) It is impossible to deny the existence of sin, when the whole world is in conflict between good and evil. If sin were not a fact, there would be no crime; we would not need jails or prisons. We would need no locks on our doors, or vaults for our valuables. To some, sin is being indiscreet; or it is a weakness of the flesh. To others it is the absence from good. To the so-called scholar, sin is ignorance; and to the evolutionist, it is the nature of the beast. The latest theory is that sin is a disease to be treated by science, because man is not a sinner-he is only sick. To others, sin is a form of selfishness, but God declares that:
- Sin is lawlessness.
- Sin is falling short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23).
- Sin is revolting against God. (Is. 1:2 OT).
- Sin is unbelief; it makes God a liar (1 John 5:10)
- Sin is going your own way, planning your life according to your own will, without seeking the will of God (Is. 53:6 OT).
- All unrighteousness is sin (1 John 5:17).
Sin is a folly to deceive you, a force to destroy you, and a fact to condemn you. Sin is a volitional act of disobedience against the revealed will of God.
Jesus says in John 16:9 “The worlds sin is that it refuses to believe in Me.”
III. HOW SIN ENTERED INTO THE WORLD?
(A) Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned-
111(A) “…through one man sin entered into the world” (above verse). The fall of man is found in Genesis 3:1-23 (OT). When Adam sinned, his seed became perishable (1 Pet.1:23). Therefore, we are sinners, because we are born in sin (Ps.51:5). You do not have to teach children to be bad, but you do have to teach them to be good. You do not have to teach them to lie, but you do have to teach them to tell the truth. “So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men” (Romans 5:18). According to the Word of God, all men are judged sinners; all are condemned already (John 3:18). “All have sinned (Romans 3:23). Sin entered the world through our first parents in the Garden of Eden, and “all have sinned” because all are sinners.
Man sins by choice, because he is a sinner by nature. Therefore, the dominion sin has over you is according to the delight you have in it.
IV: THE RESULTS OF SIN
And you were dead in your trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1).
1V(A) “…the wages of sin is death.” As a result of man’s sin, there are three deaths. Keep in mind that death does not annihilate; it only separates. In the Garden o Eden, it separated man from God spiritually; this is spiritual death. I natural death, it separates the spirit and the soul from the body; this is physical death. In final death, it separates man from the mercy of God forever; this is eternal death.
- The wages of sin is spiritual death. Just as sin separated man from God spiritually and drove him from the presence of God out of the Garden, so sin will separate you from God (Is. 59:1,2 OT). The only way back to God is to confess your sins to Him (1John 1:9) and forsake your sins (Is. 55:7), that you may be sectored to fellowship with God.
- The wages of sin is physical death. Physical death is a result of sin. Death had no claim on man until man sinned. Now all die, because all are in sin. Death is universal, and since we have a universal effect, we must have a universal cause, and that cause is universal sin. All men die – the good and the bad – the young and the old – and man will continue to die until death is destroyed by the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 15:26) and is swallowed up in victory (1 Cor. 15:54-57).
- The wages of sin is eternal death. “The person who sins will die” Ezek. 18:20). This is eternal separation from the love o God (Rev. 20:14). Once the soul passes beyond the portals of Hades he is lost and lost forever. He will continue top exist, but without hope. He is dammed and damned to all eternity. Eternal death is eternal separation from God (Luke 16:19-31).
V. GODS REMEDY FOR SIN
He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21).
V(A) Man, not willing to accept God’s remedy for his ruin, strives to bring about his own salvation by human means.
- He strives for self-righteousness, when he needs to be made the “righteousness of God” (2 Cor.5:21 and Is. 64:6 OT).
- He strives to reform, when he needs to be regenerated (Titus 3:5).
- He strives to turn over a new leaf, when he needs a new life (John 10:10).
- He strives to be justified by the Law when he needs to be justified by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Gal. 2:16).
- He strives to clean up the old man, when he needs to be made a new man in Christ (Eph. 4:24).
- He strives to be saved by good works, when he needs salvation by the grace of God (Eph. 2:8,9).
The only remedy for the ruin of man is the Son of God, being made sin for us on the cross. The only way to receive this remedy is by faith in Him as personal Savior. (John 20;30,31).
Master Outline Number Six
In Scripture, we are instructed in how we should be “handling accurately the word of truth” (2Tim.2:15). This is most essential when studying the judgments. Do not endeavor to make all the judgments conform to the theory of one “general judgment.” The “general judgment” theory is the invention of religion, and is not taught in the Word of God. There are five separate judgments revealed in the Bible, and they differ as to time, place, and purpose. Yet, they all have one thing in common: the Lord Jesus Christ is the Judge (John 5:220
Everyone – from Adam to the last man to be born on this earth – will stand before the Lord Jesus Christ to be judged.
In the first judgment, the sins of the believers have already been judged in Christ on the cross.
In the second judgment, the believer is to judge self, or be judged by the Lord Jesus Christ and disciplined.
In the third judgment, all believers must appear at the “judgment seat of Christ” where their works are judged.
In the fourth judgment, all nations are to be judged at the Second Coming of Christ.
In the fifth judgment, the wicked dead are to be judged at the great white throne.
I. THE JUDGMENT OF THE BELIEVER’S SINS
(A) “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” (John 5:6)
1(A) In the above verse, our Lord tells us that the believer “does not come into judgment.” Our sins were judged in Christ on Calvary and every believer “has passed out of death into life.” This is present salvation. Christ paid for our sins. He was judged in the believer’s stead. The believer will not come into judgment because:
- Jesus Christ paid the penalty, and on the grounds of His substitutional death, the believer is separated from his sins forever (Psalm 103:12 OT),
- The sins of the believer have been wiped out and God has promised that He “will not remember your sins” (Is. 43:25 OT)
- Our Lord suffered for our sins, “the just for the unjust,” that we might be saved and never come into judgment as sinners (1 Peter 3:18).
- The believer will never be condemned with the world, because Christ was condemned in his place. “He made Him… to be sin on our behalf (2 Cor. 5:21). Christ was made a curse for us on the cross, and on our behalf redeemed us from the curse of the law (Gal. 3:13). “He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself (Heb. 9:26). The believer will not come into judgment because his sins have been purified (Heb. 1:3)
II. THE JUDGMENT OF THE BELIEVER’S SELF
(A) “But if we judged ourselves rightly, we should not be judged.” (1 Cor.11:31)
II (A) The judgment of the believer’s self is more than judging things in the believer’s life. When the believer judges self, the good and the bad in his life come to light; and he will confess the bad (1 John 1;9) and forsake it (Is. 55:7 OT). However, it is not enough just to judge sin in the believer; he must judge self.
- To judge self is to practice self-abnegation, for when the believer sees self as God sees him, he will renounce self. It is replacing the self-life with the Christ-life (Col. 3:4). Christ is the believer’s life.
- To judge self is to deny self. This is more than self-denial. Self –denial ios denying one’s self of the gratifications of the flesh. If we practice slef-denial only, it is treating the symptom and not the cause. But when we deny selkf, we are attacking the cause, for in self (that is, in the flesh) “nothing good dwells” (Rom. 7\;8). To deny self is to take up our cross and follow Christ (Mark 8:34-38).
- To judge self is to lose the self-life, and find the Christ-life (Gal. 2:20).
- To judge self is to no longer be self-conscious, but become Christ-conscious (Matt. 28:20).
- To judge self is to no longer be self-controlled, but to become Christ-controlled (Acts (:6).
- To judge self is to no longer practice self-esteem, but to esteem others better than self Phil. “:3). To judge self is to become selfless.
III. THE JUDGMENT OF THE BELIEVERS’S WORKS
(A) For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. (2 Cor. 5: 10).
III(A) The believer’s works will be judged at the “judgment seat of Christ,” which is referred to many times in the Bible. A careful reading of 2 Corinthians 5:10 with the context reveals that only believers will appear at the “judgment seat of Christ.” Their works will be judged, not their sins, for we have already seen that all sins of the believer were judged in Christ on Calvary, and “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).
- This judgment will take place “in the air, following the first resurrection. “The dead in Christ shall rise first” (1 Thess. 4:14-18). There will be a thousand years between the resurrection of the saved and the unsaved (Rev. 20:4,5), and there will be a thousand years between the “judgment seat of Christ” where only saved will appear and the “great white throne judgment” where only unsaved appear.
- At the judgment seat of Christ, the believer will give an account of himself to God. Therefore, we should look to our own works, and not judge the works of others (Romans 14:10-13).
- It is a most humbling thought to know that some day the believer will face all of his works –“good or bad.” Some will be ashamed (1 John 2:28) and “suffer loss” –not the loss of salvation, but the loss of rewards (1 Cor. 3:11-15). So whatever you do, do it to the glory of God (Col.3:17).
IV. THE JUDGMENT OF THE NATIONS
(A) “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the anels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.
“And all the nations will be gathered before Him; (Matt. 25:31,32)
IV (A) This judgment is not the judgment of the great white throne (Rev. 20:11-15) A careful comparison of the two judgments will establish the following facts:
- The judgment of the nations will take place “When the Son of Man comes in His glory…then He will sit on His glorious throne.” The great white throne is never called “The throne of His Glory” (Rev. 20:11-15).
- At this judgment, He will judge the living nations (Joel 3:11-16). At the white throne judgment, He will judge the wicked dead.
- At this judgment, there will be no resurrection of the dead. At the great white throne all the wicked dead are raised: “The sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them…” (Rev. 20:13)
- At this judgment, the judge is God “the King” judging the living nations in His earthly kingdom. At the great white throne, the judge is God, judging only the wicked dead.
- At this judgment, there are no boks opened. At the great white throne, the “books were opened.”
- At this judgment, there are three classes judged: “sheep”- the saved (Rev. 7:9-17); “goats”- the unsaved (2 Thess. 1:7-10); “tribes”- the elect of Israel (Rev. 7:1-8; also Romans 11:25-28). At the great white throne there is only one class: “the dead.”
- At this judgment, the King gives the kingdom to those who have eternal life. At the great white throne, there are no saved and no kingdom; they are all “thrown into the lake of fire.”
V. THE JUDGMENT OF THE WICKED
Judgment at the Throne of God
(A) And I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them (Rev. 20:11).
V(A) The great white throne judgment will follow the thousand year reign of Christ. This is the final judgment, and only the wicked dead are to be judged. According to Revelation 20:5, the believers were resurrected a thousand years
before this judgment, and their works were judged at the “judgment seat of Christ” (2 Cor. 5:10).
1. At this judgment, the wicked dead will seek a hiding place from the face of the Lord Jesus Christ, the judge. But there is no hiding place.
2. At this judgment, the “dead, the great and the small” will stand before God. But the greatness of the great will be of no value. “THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD, THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE” (Rom. 3:12)
3. At this judgment, the “book of life” will be opened. Why the “book o9f life” if there are no saved at this judgment? The wicked will be shown that God in Hi8s mercy provided space for them in the “book of life,” so that they are without excuse (Rom. 1:18-20).
4. At this judgment, the dead will be judged “according to their deeds.” God is a just God; and since there are degrees of punishment in hell, some will be punished more than others (Luke 12: 42,48).
5. At this judgment, there will be no acquittal, no higher court to which the lost may appeal. It is lost, and lost forever; it is damned to all eternity, and that without hope. There is a Hades (Luke 16: 19-31), and in Hades, there is no hope, no sympathy, no love, even the love of God does not extend beyond the portals of Hades.
Master Outline Number Seven
There is a vast difference in the doctrine of salvation for the lost, and the doctrine of rewards for the saved. Salvation is “the gift of God; not as a result of works (Eph. 2:8,9). Salvation is received by faith in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ (John 3:36). Rewards are according to the works of the believer (Matt. 16:27).
A most revealing Scripture on rewards is found in (1Corinthians 3:8-15). First every believer will be rewarded “According to his own labor” (verse 8). We do not labor for salvation.
Second, “We are God’s fellow workers’ (verse 9)- not for salvation but for rewards.
Third, the believer is not to build “a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (verse 11).
Fourth, the believer has a choice of two kinds of building materials: “gold, silver, precious stones” –this is building with eternal materials; or “wood, hay, straw- this is building with temporal materials (verse 12) 2 Cor. 4:18.)
The believer who builds on Christ with eternal materials, “gold, silver, precious stones” shall receive a reward. Those who build on Christ with temporal materials, “wood, hay, straw” will receive no reward. The works of “wood, hay, straw” will be destroyed at the “judgment seat of Christ,” and the believer will suffer loss of eternal awards.
Some believers will be ashamed at the “judgment seat of Christ” (1 John 2:28)- ashamed of their works of “wood, hay, straw.”
In the first year of my ministry, I sat at the bedside of a dying friend. As we talked of his home going, tears filled his eyes. Being young in the Lord, I thought he was afraid to die, and attempted to speak words of encouragement to him. He said, “I am not afraid to die; I am ashamed to die.” He went on to say that Christ was his Savior, but he had lived for self, and now he had to meet the Lord Jesus Christ empty handed. His life loomed up before him as “wood, hay, straw.” He was “saved, yet as through fire.”
Rewards are called “crowns” or “wreaths” in the New Testament.
I. THE CROWN OF LIFE
(A) Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love Him (James 1:12).
1(A) This reward could be called the lover’s crown. Upon examination of the above verse, we discover that the believer finds strength to overcome temptation and endure trials, through the love of God. Paul said, “We also exult in our tribulations.” The question is: Do we today exult in tribulations? We can, only if the “love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 5:3-5). Without the love of God in the heart of the believer, trials can cause him to become bitter and critical and lose the “crown of life.”
All believers have eternal life (John 3:15,16), but not all believers will be rewarded with the “crown of life.” This crown will be given to those who are “faithful until death” (Rev. 2:10). To receive the “crown of life,” the believer must love the Lord more than his own life. “For whoever wishes to save his life (live for self) shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake and the Gospel’s (live for Christ at all cost) shall save it” (Mark 8:35). This reward shall be given to those who live for Christ, and endure temptations, in the power of the love of God (1 Cor. 10:13).
II. THE WREATH IMPERISHABLE
(A) And everyone who competes in the games exercise self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.
11(A) Paul makes use of the Greek games to illustrate the spiritual race of the believer. They ran to win a “perishable wreath; but we and imperishable” wreath. No young man could contend in the games unless he was a Greek citizen, born of Greek parents. No unsaved person can participate in the services of the Lord for rewards; only the born of God are eligible (John 3:3).
Just as the athlete must deny himself many gratifications of the body so the believer must say, “I buffet my body and make it my slave” or he will become “disqualified.” He will not lose his salvation, but he will lose the “imperishable wreath.”
The Greek games had hard and fast rules for all participants. The New Testament contains the rules for believers who would enter the spiritual race to win the “imperishable wreath.”
1. The believer must deny self of anything that would weigh him down and hold him back (Heb. 12:1).
2. The believer must keep his eyes fixed on Jesus, and not look to the right or the left (Heb. 12:2)
3. The believer must find his strength in the Lord (Eph. 6:10-18)
4. The believer must place his all upon the altar of the Lord (Rom. 12:1,2).
5. The believer must, by faith, refuse anything that would impede spiritual progress (Heb. 11:24-29).
Do not be a spiritual spectator. Enter the race and run to win the “imperishable wreath.”
III: THE CROWN OF EXULTATION
(A) For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming?
111(A) “The crown of exultation” is the soul winners crown. The greatest work you are privileged to do for the Lord is to bring others to a knowledge of Christ as personal Savior. The degree of your joy in heaven will be determined by the souls you have had a part in bring to Christ. Paul tells the Thessalonians believers that they are hi “…hope of joy or crown of exultation” now and when Jesus comes.
1. It is wise to win souls to Christ (Prov. 11:30).
2. It is a work against sin to win souls to Christ (James 5:20)
3. It is a cause for joy in heaven to win souls to Christ (Luke 15:10).
4. Every soul winner will shine as the stars forever (Dan. 12:3 OT)
How you can win souls to Christ:
Witness with your life; live that others may see Christ in you (2 Cor. 3:2 also Gal. 2:20)
Witness with your mouth, trusting the Holy Spirit to give power to the spoken word (Acts 1:8)
Witness by tithes and offerings that others may preach Christ, and you will have “profit which increases to your account” (Phil. 4:15-17 also 2 Cor. 9:6).
God has promised that your toil will not be in vain in the Lord (1 Cor. 15:58). The soul winner will not rejoice alone- all of heaven will rejoice with him when he receives the “crown of exultation” (John 4:36)
IV. THE CROWN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
(A) In the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing. (2 Timothy 4:8)
1V(A) The “crown of righteousness” is a reward, and it is not to be confused with the “righteousness of God” which the believer receives when he becomes a Christian; for at that time, the believer is to “…become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21). This saving righteousness is a gift to be accepted by the lost. The “crown of righteousness” is a reward to be earned by the saved. If the believer looks for, and loves the doctrine of the second coming of Christ, it will effect his whole life. Look at the dynamic impact this truth had on the life of the Apostle Paul. He could say:
1. “I have fought the good fight” (2 Tim. 4:7 also 1 Cor. 15:32). He fought a spiritual battle throughout his Christian life, and won. He never surrendered to the enemies of righteousness (Eph 6:12).
2. “I have finished the course.” He had a course to travel, and he did not detour the hard places; neither did he look back (Luke 9:61,62). He finished his course with his eyes fixed on Christ (Phil. 1:6).
3. “I have kept the faith.” He preached the “… whole purpose of God” –never betraying any 9of the great doctrines(Acts 20:24-31). The Apostle looked ahead to the “judgment seat of Christ” where the “crown of righteousness” will be given to those who “loved His appearing.” How important it is for the believer to look with a heart of love for the second coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, that he may receive the “crown of righteousness” (above verse 8)
V. THE CROWN OF GLORY
(A) And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. (1 Peter 5:4).
V(A) The “crown of glory” is a special reward for the faithful, obedient God-called pastor. He will receive this reward when the “Chief Shepherd appears.” It is eternal; it is “unfading.” Every believer may share in the pastor’s “crown of glory.” “He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward” (Matt. 10:41). Support your faithful, God-called pastor by praying for him and encouraging him in the work of the Lord. Undergird his ministry with God’s tithes and your offerings (Mal.:10 OT), giving freely of your time to the service of the Lord. And God will reward you for supporting His chosen servant by allowing you to share in your pastor’s reward. The pastor will earn this “crown of glory” by:
- Feeding the church. He is to proclaim the Word of God without fear or favor; and when necessary, he will “reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction” (1 Tim. 4:2-5).
- Taking the spiritual oversight of the church. The pastor is responsible to God for the message preached to his people. No pastor should preach to please the people; he is to please his Lord (Gal. 1:10).
- Being an example to the church. He is not to serve for the reward of money. Yet the church is responsible to care for his every material need (1 Tim. 5:18). He is to be a s spiritual leader, and not a dictator. He is to walk with God by faith. “And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.”
THE NEW BIRTH
It is of the utmost importance that we have a clear understanding of what Jesus meant when, speaking with Nicodemus, He said, “You must be born again.” The new birth is a spiritual birth. It is as much a birth as the natural birth; it is not just a figure of speech. The first birth is of the seed of man. The second birth is of the seed of God (1 Peter 1:23). Therefore you cannot become a child of God by joining the church, any more than a monkey could become a man by joining the human race. He may act like a man, dress like a man and try to live like a man – but he would still be a monkey. Now, if by some miracle, the monkey could be born again of the seed of man, then – and only then- could he become a man. The only way to become a child of God is to be “born again” (John 3:3)., “not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and abiding word of God.” What is the new birth?
The new birth is a new creation (2Cor.5:17)
The new birth is a spiritual resurrection (Eph.2:1-9)
The new birth is regeneration (Titus 3:5)
The new birth is partaking of the divine nature of God (2 Peter 1:4)
The new birth is receiving Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, by faith (John 1:12)
The new birth is being made the “righteousness of God: (2 Cor. 5:21)
The new birth is compulsory if you are to become a child of God: “You must be born again.”
I. JESUS AND THE TWO BIRTHSJohn 3:1-8 (read this!)
In the above Scripture, we see Jesus and Nicodemus face to face – Jesus the Son of God, and Nicodemus the son of natural man. Nicodemus was a very religious man, but he was not a child of God. What a shock it must have been to learn that his religion was not enough! It never is. He came to Jesus, addressing Him saying, “You have come from God as a teacher.” Jesus knew Nicodemus, as He knows all men (John 3:24, 25.), and Jesus knew that he needed more than a teacher- he needed a Savior. H began by going riht to the point when He said, “You must be born again.” Nicodemus asked, “How can a man be born when he is old?” Then Jesus pointed out the dissimilarity in the two births: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh” (the flesh will never change); and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (the Spirit will never change, verse 6).
First , let us take a brief look at the flesh birth.
- It produces and old, sinful nature (Ps.51:5)
- It produces a perishable nature (1 Peter 1:23)
- It produces an old nature under the sentence of death (Rom.6:23)
- It produces and old nature that makes every unsaved person a child of the devil (1 John 3:10 also John 8:44)
Second, let us say a word about the new birth:
- It produces a sinless nature (1 John 3:9)
- It produces a nature that cannot sin (1 John 3:9)
- It produces a righteous nature (2 Cor. 5:21)
- It produces a divine nature (2 Peter 1:4)
Every born again person has two natures: the old fro the old irth, and the new from the new birth. By the old birth, we are children of the flesh; by the new birt, we are the children of God. This is why “You must be born again.”
II. NEW BIRTH ISSUES A NEW, SINLESS NATURE
1 John 3:9
“No one who is born of God practices sin, because His sed abides in him, and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.”
This is one of the most misunderstood verses in the Bible. Do not try to understand it in the light of personal experience. Keep in mind that the above verse is speaking of the new nature – not the old nature – because the old nature is not born of God. The old nature is born of fallen man and is depraved.
The new nature is born of God and is holy.
First, let us see what this verse says about the new nature:
- The new nature does not commit sin, because it is the product of the seed (sperm) of God.
- The new nature cannot sin, because it is the divine nature of God (2 Peter 1:4). And since God cannot sin, the new nature that issues from His holy seed cannot sin.
Second, let us see what the Bible says about the old nature:
- The old nature does sin any time you let it sin (Romans 6:12). As a child of God, you will keep under the old nature (1 Cor. 9:27) by not yielding to the desire of the flesh; or the old nature will keep you under, and you will live a defeated Christian life (Rom. 6:13)
- There is nothing good in the old nature (Rom. 7:18). The power to live a righteous life cannot be found in the old nature; it can be found only in the new (Gal. 2:20).
If you have been “born again,” you have two natures – the old and the new – and you are walking accorning to one of the two. Examine your Christian walk in the light of God’s Word (Rom. 8:5,6).
III.THE NEW BIRTH IS IMPERISHABLE1 Peter 1:23
“For you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable that is, through the living and abiding word of God.”
In the above verse we have two seeds, two births, and two natures.
(1) The corruptible seed issues a corruptible nature (Rom. 1:23). The seed of man became depraved in the seed of Adam when he sinned in the garden of Eden (Gen.3:6-10). Corruptible man can produce only corruptible seed (Mat. 7:18). “All have sinned….” (Rom. 3:23) because all are born in sin (Psalm 51:5). You are not a sinner because you sin – you sin because you are a sinner.
(2) The incorruptible seed issues an incorruptible nature (2 Peter 1:4). You cannot corrupt that which is incorruptible; therefore, the incorruptible seed of God issues a new nature that cannot be corrupted at any time, or in any way. The new birth produces the life of Christ, and this life is made living in man by the indwelling Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:8-10)
The seed of man is corruptible; the birth of man is natural. Therefore, the nature of man is sinful.
The seed of God is incorruptible; the new birth is spiritual. Therefore, the new nature is sinless.
IV.THE NEW BIRTH – ITS MEANSJohn 3:14 – 18
“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; (also Num.21:9 and John 8:28; 12:34) that whoever believes may in Him have eternal life. (It is a fact that God loves you)
:17 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.
“Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness” (Num. 21:5-9). He lifted up the serpent for a sinful, disobedient people
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