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MAIN STREET BAPTIST CHURCH

57 S. Main StreetDoylestown, PA  18901

Rev. Jerry Schmoyer, Pastor

jerry@schmoyer.net   http://india.christiantrainingonline.org/

Copyright Ó 2011

 

 

 

 

GROWING IN FAITH

For those new to the faith or our church

 

 

            Welcome to the beginning of an exciting adventure!  There’s nothing greater than the Christian life!  This booklet is designed to help you grow as a Christian.  It is not meant to replace your Bible.   That is your guide book, written by your Creator Who knows best how you operate.  This study is to help guide you along the path of godly living.  It covers the basics you’ll need to know to get started and keep going. 

 

            You’ll need to have an open Bible with you when you use these articles.  Answer the questions at the end of each chapter.   If you can, email the answers to me at jerry@schmoyer.net.  I will make sure you are correct and offer suggestions to help you as you grow.

 

            Always pray when you start a time of Bible study or reading.  Ask God to reveal His truth to you so you can learn what He has for you.  Pray as you progress, asking God questions and thanking Him for what you are learning.  Keep up a running conversation with Him as you progress. 

           

            May God richly bless you as you begin this thrilling venture of getting to know God better.

 

 

 

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Jerry Schmoyer, Pastor

            Main Street Baptist Church

            jerry@schmoyer.net

http://www.mainstreetbaptist.org/

© 2005

 

 

 

 


TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

1. Foundational Truth 1 – God Exists … page 1

How do we know there is a God?

 

2. Foundational Truth 2 – The Bible Is True … page 6

How do we know the Bible is inspired?

 

3. Foundational Truth 3 – Jesus Is God … page 12

How do we know Jesus is God?

 

4. New Life Has Begun   … page 18

How do I become a Christian?

 

5. Signs of Life  … page 28

How can I be sure I am a Christian?

 

6. Learning to Eat 1 … page 32

Where can I get spiritual nourishment?

 

7. Learning to Eat 2 … page 38

How can I learn to feed myself?

 

8. Learning to Talk  … page 46

How can I communicate?

 

9. Learning to Walk … page 52

How can I live as a Christian?

 

10.  Walking Without Stumbling … page 60

How can I walk without falling down?

 

11. Washing and Spanking … page 68

What happens when I sin?

 

12. Protection from Injury … page 74

How can I keep safe from Satan’s attacks?

 

13. Learning to Listen … page 88

How can I know what God wants me to do?

 

14. Doing Your Part in the Family … page 106

How can I contribute to others in the family?

 

15. Getting to Know Your Extended Family … page 120

What does my church believe and practice?

 

16. Bringing New Life to Others … page 126

How can I help others understand about salvation?

 

17. Spiritual Child Care  … page 132

            How can I help others grow after salvation?

 

18. Looking Ahead… … page 140

            What does the future hold for me?

 

Topical Index of Bible Verses …. page  147



1. FOUNDATIONAL TRUTH 1: GOD EXISTS

How do we know there is a God?

 

            Everyone at one time or another wonders, is there really a God?  How can I be sure? We’ve all heard people say man just made up the idea of a God to be a crutch for emotional cripples.  What if they are right?  Some even say the idea of a ‘god’ is harmful because it takes away a person’s personal responsibility.  They say we have outgrown the need of God in this enlightened, scientific era.  How are we to answer these claims?  How are we to teach our children?  Paul says we must “Be ready always to give an answer to any man who asks you the reason of the hope that is in you.”  (I Peter 3:15)  What is our answer to those who say we cannot prove the existence of God?

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            First, we must admit we cannot prove God by the scientific method.  But neither can anyone prove Napoleon.  There is nothing of either of them to handle, to put under a microscope, but there is plenty of evidence to prove the existence of each one.  We’re only concerned with God, not Napoleon.  There is logical, rational proof that there is a God.  These are some of the main arguments:

 

 

1. THE COSOMOLOGICAL ARGUMENT is based on cause and effect.  There must be an uncaused cause for every effect.  No effect can be produced without a cause that is outside it and greater than it.  That book on your table proves there was someone who made it, for it wouldn’t have been able to make itself.  The same is true of the world around us.  This is also true of our subjective emotions like love and hate.  There must have been someone beyond and greater than them to create them.

            Part of this argument is based on motion in the universe.  Nothing can move itself.  An external agent or force is required.  There must be a Being who is the ultimate source of all motion in the universe or it couldn’t have gone from non motion to motion by itself.

            Everything in nature is interrelated and absolutely dependent on the other.  There must be a Being who is totally independent of and above this to start it all. 

            Everything is moving away from perfection, breaking down.  The second law of thermodynamics states this.  This winding down (entropy) points back to a starting time and shows things moving away from perfection.  This, too, points back to God.

 

2. THE TELEOLOGICAL ARGUMENT  is based on order and design.  No one would ever think a wristwatch could come into being on its one.  We assume there was an intelligent designer behind it.  For this world to just ‘happen’ would be like the Gettysburg Address resulting from an explosion in a print shop!  The fact that there is order in the universe points back to Someone causing that order (Hebrews 11:3).  Evolution says it took billions of years for the correct it to just ‘happen,’ recognizing the unlikelihood of it.  Design, too, shows there is a God.  Whatever is composed of parts requires a designer (Romans 1:20).  Creation is stamped with beauty and design to show us God (Psalm 19:1).

 

3. THE ONTOLOGICAL ARGUMENT  uses the existence of our moral nature point to a God.  Where did our moral nature come from?  Surely our possession of it argues for the existence of a moral governor to whom man feels accountable and responsible.  All people everywhere at all times have had moral standards and enforced them.  All man always have known there is a right and wrong (Romans 2:14-15), even if they don’t always see the same things as right and wrong.  In addition, the moral values we hold inside are not always rewarded in this life.  Something inside man cries that there must be reward for good and punishment for evil.  All men long for justice.  Where did this desire come from?  Even more, when will it be fulfilled?  This, and the basic belief in life beyond this life that all people have always held point to a power and force beyond man that will reward good and punish evil beyond this life.  We all know inside there must be something more to life than just these years on this earth.   Where did this restlessness and awareness come from if there was nothing there to meet it?

            Man everywhere in all time has naturally known there is a power greater than and outside himself that he has worshipped.  Satan counterfeits this but it is natural in man to look for that which is outside himself and greater than himself.

 

4. THE SUBJECTIVE INNER AWARENESS ARGUMENT  isn’t of the same ration basis as the arguments mentioned above, but those who are God’s children know inside there is a God.  It can’t be put under a microscope, or even described, but there is a confident inner awareness that there is a God (Galatians 4:6) deep within us that gives an assurance beyond the need of external proof that there is a God who loves and cares.  Where does this come from if not from God Himself?

 

            If there is this strong, conclusive proof of God, then WHY DO SO MANY PEOPLE REJECT THE IDEA OF GOD?   I think the basic reason is that man doesn’t want to believe in God today because if he admits there is a power greater than and outside himself then it only stands to reason that man is accountable to that power.  If there is a God man is responsible to find what God would have of him and then obey it.  Man doesn’t want that, he wants to be his own god and not submit to Anyone.  Thus it isn’t lack of evidence that man rejects the idea of God, but purely because of self-centered presuppositions.  In order to live life for himself and continue in his own prideful and selfish existence, man must deny the fact of a God.  To admit to a God means man then must obey His will and direction or face the consequences.  Modern man doesn’t want to do either.  He thinks by denying there is a God he exempts himself from accountability to that God.  However just saying God doesn’t exist doesn’t make it so.  Even convincing yourself completely He doesn’t exist doe nothing to remove Him from existence.  In doing so man is gambling with his eternal existence, putting it on the line for a few short years of self-centered indulgence. 

 

            How should we approach those who deny the existence of God?  Don’t bring up these rational, intellectual arguments unless they are open enough to consider them.  Belief starts in the heart, not the head.  Pray for them to be open to the truth.  Share with them how Jesus meets your needs, gives you meaning and satisfaction, purpose and peace.  They can’t argue with this nor disprove it.  God will use it in His time to convict them of their need.  He will fan the flames you start.  Keep off intellectual arguments, you’ll never force anyone to believe something they don’t want to believe.  They are only good with those who are open to finding the truth.  Then use them, for we must always be ready to give a person the reason of the hope that is in us!

 

 

 

 

If God exists, what is He like?

 

            Do you have a big God or a little God?  A little girl listened attentively as her father read the family devotions.  She seemed awed by her parents’ talk of God’s limitless power and mercy.  “Daddy,” she asked, placing her little hands on his knees, “how big is God?”  Her father thought for a moment and answered, “Honey, He is always just a little bigger than you need.”

            How would YOU answer the question about how big God is?  Is He bigger than YOUR needs?  Do you really believe that?  Most people don’t. How are we to show them that we have a God bigger than any of their problems?

GOD AS A PERSON  When one accepts the reality that a God exists, the next step is for them to understand that God is a person.  To many God is just a force, an energy source, a ‘Mother Nature’ which is an unfeeling power.  Thus there is no possibility of a personal relationship or intimacy.  How can we explain that not only is there a God, but that He is a person?

            First of all, we must understand what personality is.  Personality means there is a mind that can think and reason, a free will than can make moral choices, and emotions which can feel.  If man has these, where did they come from?

            As a Person, God has a mind which to think and reason.  That is the creative source behind everything working so perfectly and fitting together so well in the universe, everything from the tiniest atom to a complex human being to the largest galaxy.  Such a perfect, intricate system has ‘design’ and ‘intelligence’ written all over it. 

            As a Person, God has a free will to make choices.  Before the creation of the world He chose to make man with a free will, too, despite knowing man would sin and be separated from God eternally.  God then chose to come to earth, Himself, in the form of a man, to pay man’s eternal penalty for sin by suffering what we would suffer for all eternity on the cross. 

            As a Person, God has emotions. God has this built into nature.  Music is more than just notes and sounds.  They were created to touch a deep spot in man.  The beauty of a sunset, the majesty of a waterfall, the awesomeness of the ocean — all these were created by an emotional Being to evoke emotion in man. Did love and hate just evolve?  If so, why so completely in man, but not in animals or trees?  Only man can plan ahead in a rational way (not just be natural instinct for survival).  Only man knows inside that there must be justice some where, some time.  Only man can feel guilt.  Only man has sought to find and contact God.  All peoples everywhere have had a natural, built-in desire to find and know God.  If God is not personal, where does this across-the-board desire for personal contact with Him come from?

THE NON-MORAL ATTRIBUTES OF GOD These are the attributes of God which do not involve moral qualities.  They are:

            Omnipresence  God is all (“omni”) present (“presence”).  He is everywhere (Psalm 138:7-12).  There is no place He is not.  He is in (but not limited to) nature, space, everywhere.  There is no place anywhere in the universe, however large or small, where He is not.

            Omniscience  God has all knowledge.  He knows everything (Proverbs 15:3; Jeremiah 23:23-25).  There is nothing He doesn’t know.  We don’t have to inform or remind Him of anything.  He knows the future as thoroughly as the past, our every fleeting thought.

            Omnipotence  God has all power.  He is able to do whatever He wants (Job 42:2).  There is nothing He cannot do.  He is able to do anything.  He is always able to do whatever we need, but He isn’t always willing.  Sometimes He knows it would be better for us in the long run as well as for His own glory to not do a thing.  He is always able to do anything and everything.

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            Sovereignty  God is the supreme ruler of all (Ephesians 1).  He is in sovereign control of that which He created.  Since He formed and made everything, both by right and supremacy He can do anything He wants with His creation.  He has no limits.  He has no one He needs to get permission from before He can act.  He is sovereign.

            Immutability  God is unchangeable (James 1:17).  This is a real anchor because it means that God’s love and mercy that is available for us today will always be available.  The rules will never change because God Himself will never change.  Sometimes His plan changes, but He Himself will never change for He cannot change.  Perfection can’t be improved on.

            Eternal  There is no beginning or end to God (Genesis 21:23).  He is free from all succession of time.  He created time to serve Him in one small part of His plan, but He is far above time and unaffected by it.  To try and squeeze Him into time and look for a beginning or end to Him is ridiculous. Time will be gone, so there can be no end to anything!

THE MORAL ATTRIBUTES OF GOD  These do involve moral qualities.

            Holiness  God is separate from moral evil and sin (Leviticus 11:44-45).  He is sinless and unable to sin (in thought or deed).  He is absolute perfection.

            Righteousness & justice This is how God treats His creation (II Chron. 2:6).  God imposes just laws and sanctions.  His rewards and punishments are fair and right.  We can never cause Him of being unfair or unjust.  We may not understand everything from our perspective, but we know that all God does is right.

            Truth  God’s knowledge, declarations and representations conform to reality (John 17:3).  God Himself and all He does is truth, without any error or mistake.  He is never wrong.

            Goodness  God is good.  The non-moral attributes can seem hard and cold, but when guided by God’s goodness we know that the very best is being done for us!  These include:

                        Love  The part of God’s nature that motivates Him to communicate Himself to man, to get involved with man, to pay for sin for man so man can be pardoned.  This is a rational and voluntary affection, not a mere emotional impulse (I John 4:8).  It is the motive for all God does for and with His people.

                        Benevolence  This is the affection which He feels and shows to His creatures.  It is manifested to us in His care for our welfare (Psalm 154:9).  God cannot hate what He made, only what was later added to that creation, which is sin (John 14:5). 

                        Grace  God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.  Grace is goodness manifested to the ill-deserving (which is everyone).  Grace is an essential quality of God, but His use of it is optional (Eph. 2:4; James 5:11).  All we have is because of His grace (Eph. 2:8-9).  God shows grace to everyone in withholding judgment on sin (Ex 34:6) and provision of salvation (I John 2:).  For His people His grace is seen in their election and foreordination (Acts 18:27), redemption (Eph. 1:7-8), salvation (Acts 18:27), sanctification (Rom 5:21; Titus 2:11-12), preservation (II Cor 12:9), service (Heb 12:28) and final presentation (I Pt 1:13).

                        Mercy  This is goodness manifested to those who are in misery or distress (also called compassion, pity, loving-kindness).  Grace is getting what we don’t deserve from God (goodness), mercy is not getting what we do deserve from God (justice, punishment). 

            Thus God is a personal God with all the traits we would naturally expect of God: power, control and goodness.  With such a God in control there is no reason for fear or worry!


THERE IS ONLY ONE GOD

 

 The Bible teaches that there is one God, a supreme personal being with immense intellect, will, and power. God is one existing being, and he is the only divine being. The following excerpts from the Bible stress that there is only one God, one divine being. There are no other gods. Other idols or gods are fake and mythological.  Demons use them to get worship and attention.  They are not real gods.

 

To you it was shown, that you might know that the Lord is God; there is no other besides him.(Deuteronomy 4:35)

 

…that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God; there is no other. Let your heart therefore be wholly true to the Lord our God, walking in his statutes and keeping his commandments, as at this day.”(1 Kings 8:60-61)

 

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.(Deuteronomy 6:4-5)

And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, „Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.(Mark 12:28-30)

 

ASSIGNMENT

 

After reading the first two chapters, answer the following questions to the best of your ability.  If you would like, email the answers to me at jerry@schmoyer.net.  I will make sure you are correct and offer suggestions to help you as you grow.

 

 HOW DO YOU KNOW THERE IS A GOD?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If someone thought there were more than one gods, how would you show them there is only one God?
2. FOUNDATIONAL TRUTH 2: THE BIBLE IS TRUE

How do we know the Bible is inspired?

 

          Has anyone ever challenged you about how you know the Bible is true?   What do you say when they state that anyone could write a book and in it claim inspiration?  No one doubts that the Bible claims to be inspired by God, but so do other ‘holy’ books.  How do we know the Bible is the one true book from God to man?  This is the way I explain it:

 

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          Starting with the acceptance that there is a God (article 1 in this series), then it is reasonable that God would reveal Himself to man. If he didn’t man could never know anything about Him.  God has revealed some things about Himself in creation, but that is just a rough sketch.  For man to really know God it is necessary for God to reveal Himself to man, for man could never find God without God making the first move.  If God has truth to reveal, if man is accountable, and if God wants a relationship with man that must start from God’s side.  Not only is this necessary, it is also possible for God to reveal Himself to man.  Were He really God it would be totally within His possibility to communicate truth to us and keep it accurate down to our day.  That would not be too hard for Him at all.  Thus we accept that a revelation from God to man is both possible and necessary.  But is the Bible that revelation?  I say it is.

 

18 REASONS FROM OUTSIDE THE BIBLE PROVING IT IS GOD’S WORD

 

          1. The Bible is theocentric (God-centered), not anthropocentric (man-centered).  If man wrote the Bible, he would be the leading character.  In the Bible God is sovereign and absolute authority (I Chronicles 29:11; Isaiah 43:7).  Man’s highest good is submission to His will.  The purpose of all we do is for His glory (Revelation 4:11).  All other ‘holy’ books focus on man and build up man, not God.

 

          2. The Bible is monothiestic (one God), not polythiestic (more than one god).  ‘Scholars’ say that man started with many gods and eventually evolved to having just one.  The Bible, at the beginning of man, says there was just one.  If man were writing the Bible he would have one God evolve out of many.  Even the fact that the Jews were worshipping the golden calf and other gods at the time the first commandment was written (saying God was the only god, Exodus 20:1-6) show that even they believed there was more than one God. 

 

          3. The fact of the Trinity helps prove man didn’t write the Bible.  Would natural man write about something that he could not understand, something with no parallel or analogy in nature?  No finite mind has ever comprehended how 3 separate persons could form one essence/substance.  If man wrote the Bible he would NOT write about a Triune God.

 

          4. If man wrote the Bible, would he say that the world was created from nothing (Hebrews 11:3)?  Nothing is a state man has never known.  He would come up with some rational explanation, as evolution tries to do today.

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          5. If man wrote the Bible would he say his basic nature is evil and sinful (Romans 3:23)?  Would man say there was nothing he could do but accept God’s cure for sin (Ephesians 2:8-9).  Every religion man has developed or ‘holy’ book man has written has something man must do to earn/deserve removal of sin, but not the Bible.

 

          6. The extent of revelation in the Bible shows it is beyond what man could or would write.  How could man write of things beyond his own senses and experiences?  Yet the Bible speaks authoritatively about heaven, hell and eternity without hesitation (I Corinthians 2:9-12; II Corinthians 5:8; Luke 16:19; Revelation 19:20-21).

 

          7. If man wrote the Bible, its ethics would be based on individual, relative decisions (Judges 17:6) rather than absolutes.  Because man is a child of wrath (Ephesians 2:3) by nature his ethics would be corrupt (as they are today apart from the Bible) and would end in chaos.  One example:  the Bible tells us to use things (I Corinthians 7:31) and love people (Romans 12:10).  Man’s ethics are the opposite.

 

          8. It is humanly impossible for 44 authors over a period of 1500 years unknown to each other and from vastly different backgrounds and cultures to arrive at 66 books so internally systematic and consistent as the Bible.  It would be like 44 men each tossing a stone on a pile over 1500 years and the finished product being a modern hospital.  There must have been one Author behind it all.

 

          9. The fantastic number of fulfilled prophecies in the Bible show that it is no book authored by mere man.  Experts in probability mathematics have come up with these statistics concerning the following prophecies:

            7 prophecies against Tyre in Ezekiel 26:3-4,7-8,12,14,21 coming true: 1 in 7.5 x 107

            5 prophecies against Samaria in Hosea 13:16 & Micah 1:6 come true: 1 in 4 x 104

            5 prophecies against Gaza & Ashkelon in Amos 1:8, Jer 47:5, Zeph 2:4-7: 1 in 1.2 x 104

            3 prophecies against Moab & Ammon in Ezek 25:3-4, Jer 48:47; 49:6: 1 in 103

            9 prophecies against Edom in Isa 34:6-15, Jer 49:17-18; Ezk 25:13-14; 35:5-7: 1 in 104

            8 prophecies against Babylon in Isa 13:19-22; 14:23; Jer 51:26,43: 1 in 5 x 109

            9 prophecies about Jerusalem in Jeremiah 31:38-40:  1 in 8 x 1010

            7 prophecies about Palestine in Lev 26:31-33; Ezek 36:33-35: 1 in 2 x 105

            9 prophecies about Petra & Edom in Isa 34:6-18; Ezek 25:13-14; 35:5-7:1 in 2 x 105

            4 prophecies about Thebes & Memphis in Ezek 30:13-15: 1 in 103

            4 prophecies about Nineveh in Nahum 1:8,10; 2:6; 3:10,13,19: 1 in 102

The probability of these 11 prophecies coming true is 1 in 5.76 x 1059!  This is almost impossible to visualize.  Suppose this number were silver dollars.  There would be enough to fill 1028 suns!  Or think of it like this.  In the universe there are about 2 trillion galaxies, each containing about 100 million stars.  From our 5 x 1059     we could make all of the stars in all of the galaxies 2 x 105   times!  Only one silver dollar in all of these stands for the chance a writer could have guessed all these prophecies correctly!  Even more astounding is the fact that these are only 11 prophecies.  There are literally hundreds and hundreds of others which have already come true.  (For more information about this see “Evidence That Demands A Verdict” by Josh McDowell).

 

          10. The exceptional literary value of the Bible cannot be attributed to the natural ability of human writers.  How could such unlearned men write such a surpassing piece of literary genius beyond their own ability?  The Bible far exceeds the intellectual and moral qualifications of other books being written in its time such as the Talmud (Jewish), Apocrypha (Christian) and Koran (Islamic).  The living quality of the words, reaching to all ages and social positions of people for century after century show its uniqueness.  The Bible is deep enough for the most gifted scholar to spend a lifetime in one small part of it and never get out all there is, but also simple enough for a young child to read and understand.  One of the greatest truths expressed is just 7 monosyllables, each 3 letters or less: “You in me and I in you” (John 14:20).  The Bible stories are never hurried or cramped, neither are they drawn out and boring.  The Bible does not gloss over the sins of its heroes, neither does it overemphasize them.  The values and opinions of the individual writers are not the focus, just the story they are telling.

 

          11. Another proof for the Bible not being written by man is its enduring freshness.  Voltaire said 150 years ago: “Within 100 years the Bible will be obsolete.”  It has not happened, in fact his home now houses a Bible society!  The Bible never grows old.  No other book in the world not only invites but sustains a ceaseless re-reading.  Other books come and go, but the Bible has remained for thousands of years.  It remains a fresh, up-to-date book, not an old book.

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          12. If man wrote the Bible would he say to further spiritual ends by love & reliance on divine power or by political force?  The Inquisition and Crusades in Christianity as well as the history of Islam, Shintoism, Nazism, etc., all show man used political force to spread their beliefs.  The Bible commands to do it in a way that is not natural for man, the opposite way.

 

          13. No human scientist has been able to avoid being obsolete in a later time.  Science is always changing but the Bible is scientifically infallible in all ages.  The Bible spoke accurately of scientific truth thousands of years before man ‘discovered’ them, while the very writers often believed the opposite of what they were writing.  For example, the Bible says the life of the flesh is in the blood (Leviticus 17:11) yet until recent times doctors bled people to cure them.  The Bible says the physical world is basically non-physical in its ultimate essence (Hebrews 11:3; Colossians 1:16-17), something no human writer could or would have guessed at.  The Bible has always said the earth was round (Isaiah 40:22), rotates (Job 38:12,14), has gravity (Job 26:7), and the whole solar system orbits in the universe (Psalm 19:16).  Man believed the moon was greater than the earth for many centuries but the Bible says opposite (Genesis 1:16).  Even atomic energy and its results is found in II Peter 3:10-12 (the Greek word means to “loose” or “set free” as what happens when atoms are released).  The laws of thermodynamics are there, too:  #1 (Genesis 2:1-2; Hebrews 4:3,10) and # 2 (Psalm 102:25-27; Hebrews 1:10-12; Romans 8:20-22).  There are hundreds of other examples, too.

 

          14. The number and accuracy of the ancient manuscripts of the Bible that have come down to us today show God’s work in giving and keeping the Bible for us.  Of Caesar’s “Gallic Wars” we have only 9 manuscripts, the oldest 900 years after the original.  Of the “History of Thucydides” and “History of Herodotus” we have only 8 manuscripts each, from 1300 years after they happened.  Yet of the Old Testament we have 1,700 manuscripts, the oldest 100 years after the original.  The variation percentage between them is one minor difference every 2,000 words!  Evidence for the New Testament is even greater: 13,000 manuscripts with the oldest portion 10 years after the original  and the variation percentage being only one minor difference every 200,000 words!  Manuscripts have come down in many different languages and large portions come to us quoted in the works of hundreds of authors.  The recent discover of the Dead Sea Scrolls pushed back the date of the earliest Old Testament manuscripts 1,000 years, yet there was no difference between them and what we had before they were discovered!

 

          15. The study of archaeology continues to prove there are no historical inaccuracies in the Bible.  William F. Albright, one of the greatest archaeologists ever, said, “The Bible’s incredible historical memory has been many times validated by the process of discovery.  No archaeological discovery has contradicted a Biblical reference.”  For many years scholars thought the Bible in error about the Hittites for no trace of that vast and great civilization had ever been found.  In recent years, though, much has been found about them, again validating the truth of the Bible.

 

          16. The preservation and regathering of the nation Israel after 2,000 years is proof of the greatness of the Bible.  It has never happened, nor was it ever thought possible to happen, for a group of people to survive 2,000 without a homeland yet stay a separate cultural unity.  That has happened with the Jews.  Where are the Ammonites?  Philistines? Hittites?  Not only that, but the Jews are now back in their homeland, truly a sociological miracle!

 

          17. The inner testimony of the Holy Spirit inside His people gives us assurance that the Bible is true.  He gives us peace and assurance within that the Bible indeed is God’s book. 

 

          18. The life and resurrection of Jesus also give validity to the Bible.  If everything about Him, His deity and His resurrection is true, then the Bible is true.  If it is not true the Bible cannot be from God.  This will be considered in the next article about the deity of Jesus. 

 

          If there is this great body of evidence, why do so many deny the Bible as being God’s Word?  Let me answer that with a story.  Many years ago, while on a visit to England, a wealthy man was fascinated by a powerful microscope.  Looking through its lens to study crystals and the and the petals of flowers, he was amazed at their beauty and detail.  he bought one and took it home.  He thoroughly enjoyed using it until one day he examined some food he was planning to eat for dinner.  He discovered tiny living creatures were crawling in it.  He was especially fond of this food and didn’t know what to do.  Finally he concluded there was only one way out of this dilemma: he smashed the microscope to pieces.  That is what man tries to do to the Bible when it shows up his sin.  Like bugs under a rock run from the light when the rock is turned over, so man in sin runs from the light of God’s truth about him. 

 

 


 

ASSIGNMENT

 

After reading the first two chapters, answer the following questions to the best of your ability.  If you would like, email the answers to me at jerry@schmoyer.net.  I will make sure you are correct and offer suggestions to help you as you grow.

 

1. HOW DO YOU KNOW THERE IS A GOD?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. HOW DO YOU KNOW THE BIBLE IS INSPIRED?


3. FOUNDATIONAL TRUTH 3: JESUS IS GOD

How do we know Jesus is God?

 

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Did a man named Jesus really live in Palestine 2,000 years ago?  Certainly, there is no doubt or question about that.  No secular historian disbelieves that, for it is a proven fact of history.  Many historians of Jesus’ day wrote about Him.  What is of much debate, however, is if He was God or not.  Was He just a man like everyone else, or was He really and truly God?  Did He just say He was?  Or did His followers later write in such a way to make Him seem to be God when He had no such claims? The implications of these answers are great.  How can we as Christians be sure?  Lets look at some proofs of His deity from within and without the Bible.

 

LORD, LUNATIC or LIAR

 

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          First, there is no doubt that Jesus claimed to be God.  The whole tenor of His life points to that.  He verbally claimed to be God many, many times (John 8:58; 10:30; 17:5; etc.).  He accepted worship as if He were God.  He claimed to be able to forgive sin (Mark 2:5).  Now, what are we to make of someone who claims to be God?  What would you say if your neighbor started claiming to be God?  There are three options or possibilities about such a person.  He is crazy, a lunatic, for he truly thinks he is God but is wrong.  He knows he isn’t God but tries to convince everyone he is anyway, thus he is a liar.  Or he really is God and Lord of all!  Lord, lunatic or liar are our options.  Just a good man, a fine teacher, a moral example — these are not options for one who claims to be God!  If He is a lunatic or liar He doesn’t qualify as a good, fine person.  If He is Lord He is overqualified and far more than just a good, fine person.  Thus He is either God to be worshipped and obeyed or an impostor to be forgotten and ignored.

 

FULFILLED PROPHECIES

 

          To prove He is Lord we turn to the Bible, not to passages about miracles and claims that could possibly have been made up by writers after His death, but to Old Testament Prophecies whose fulfillment could not have been faked.  Listed below are 61 Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah with their fulfillment in the New Testament also recorded:

1. Born of the seed of woman:  Gen 3:15;  Gal 4:4, Matt. 1:20

2. Born of a virgin:  Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1;18,24,25; Lk 1:26-35

3. Son of God: Ps 2:7 (I Chron 17:11-14; II Sam 7:12-16),  Mt 3:17; 16:16 (Mk 9:7; Lk 9:35)

4. Seed of Abraham   Genesis 22:18 (12:2-3); Matthew 1:1; Gal

3:16

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5. Son of Isaac:  Genesis 21:12; Lk 3:23,34 (Mt 1:2)

6. Son of Jacob: (Num. 24:17 (Gen 35:10-12); Lk 3:23,34 (Mt

1:2; Lk 1:33)

7. Tribe of Judah:  Genesis 49:10; Lk 3:23,33 (Mt 1:2; Heb 7:14)

8. Family line of Jesse:  Isaiah 11:1, 10;  Luke 3:23,32 (Mt 1:6)

9. House of David:  Jeremiah 23:5 (II Sam 7:12-16; Ps 132:11);

Lk 3:23,31 (Mt 1:1; 9:27)

10. Born at Bethlehem: Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:1 (Jn 7:42, Mt 2:4-

8; Lk 2:4-7)

11. Presented with gifts:  Psalm 72:10 (Isaiah 60:6);  Matthew 2:1,11

12. Herod kills children:  Jeremiah 31:15; Matthew 2:16

13. His pre-existence:  Micah 5:2 (Isa 9:6-7; Ps 102:25); Col 1:17 (Jn 1:1-2; 8:58; Rev 1:17)

14. He shall be called Lord: Psalm 110:1 (Jere 23:6); Luke 2:11; 20:41-44

15. Shall be Immanuel (God With Us): Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23; Luke 7:16

16. Shall be a prophet:  Deut 18:18; Matthew 21:11 (Luke 7:16; Jn 4:19; 6:14; 7:40)

17. He shall be a priest:  Psalm 110:4; Hebrews 3:1; 5:5-6

18. He shall be a judge:  Isaiah 33:22; John 5:30; II Timothy 4:1

19. He shall be a king:  Psalm 2:6 (Zech. 9:9; Jer 23:5); Matthew 27:37; 21:5 (John 18:33-38)

20. Special anointing of the Holy Spirit:  Isaiah 11:2; Matthew 3:16-17; 12:17-21 (Mk 1:10-11)

21. His zeal for God: Psalm 69:9; John 2:15-17

22. Preceded by messenger:  Isaiah 40:3; Matthew 3:1-2; 3:3; 11:10

23. Ministry to begin in Galilee:  Isaiah 9:1;  Matthew 4:12,13,17

24. Ministry of miracles:  Isaiah 35:5, 6a; 32:3,4; Matthew 9:32,33,35; 11:4-6 (John 5:5-9)

25. Teacher of parables:  Psalm 78:2; Matthew 13:34

26. He was to enter the temple:  Malachi 3:1;  Matthew 21:12

27. He was to enter Jerusalem on a donkey:  Zechariah 9:9; Luke 19:35,36,37a (Mt 21:6-11)

28. “Stone of Stumbling” to the Jews:  Psa 118:22 (Isa 8:14; 28:16); I Peter 2:7 (Rom 9:32-33

29. “Light” to Gentiles:  Isaiah 60:3; 49:6; Acts 13:47,48a; 26:23; 28:28

30. Betrayed by a friend:  Psalm 41:9; 55:12-14; Matthew 10:4; 26:49-50; Jn 13:21

31. Sold for 30 pieces of silver:  Zechariah 11:12; Matthew 26:15; 27:3

32. Money to be thrown in God’s house:  Zechariah 11:13b; Matthew 27:5a

33. Price given for potter’s field:  Zechariah 11:13b; Matthew 27:7

34. Forsaken by His disciples:  Zechariah 13:7; Mark 14:50 (Mt 26:31; Mk 14:27)

35. Accused by false witnesses: Psalm 35:11; Matthew 26:59-61

36 Dumb before accusers:  Isaiah 53:7; Matthew  27:12-19

37. Wounded and bruised:  Isaiah 53:5 (Zech 13:6); Matthew 27:26

38. Smitten and spit upon:  Isaiah 50:6 (Micah 5:1); Matthew 26:67 (Luke 22:63)

39. Mocked:  Psalm 22: 7,8;  Matthew 27:31

40. Fell under the cross: Psalm 109:24-25; John 19:17; Luke 23:26; Mt 27:31-32

41. Hands and feet pierced:  Psalm 22:16 (Zech 12:10); Luke 23:33 (John 20:25)

42. Crucified with thieves: Isaiah 53:12; Matthew 27:38 (Mk 15:27,28)

43. Made intercession for His persecutors: Isaiah 53:12; Luke 23:34

44. Rejected by His own people: Isaiah 53:3 (Ps 69:8; 118:22); John 7:5,48; 1:11 (Mt 21:42,43)

45. Hated without a cause:  Psalm 69:4 (Isa 49:7); John 15:25

46. Friends stood afar off: Psalm 38:11; Luke 23:49 (Mk 15:40; Mt 27:55-56)

47. People shook their heads: Psalm 109:25; 22:7; Matthew 27:39

48. Stared upon:  Psalm 22:17; Luke 23:35

49. Garments parted and lots cast: Psalm 22:18; John 19:23-24

50. To suffer thirst:  Psalm 69:21; 22:15; John 19:28

51. Gall and vinegar offered Him:  Psalm 69:21; Matthew 27:34

52. His forsaken cry:  Psalm 22:1;  Matthew 26:46

53. Committed Himself to God:  Psalm 31:5;  Luke 23:46

54. Bones not broken:  Psalm 34:20; John 19:33

55. Heart broken:  Psalm 22:14;  John 19:34

56. His side pierced:  Zech 12:10; John 19:34

57. Darkness over the land:  Amos 8:9; Matthew 27:45

58. Buried in rich man’s tomb: Isaiah 53:9; Matthew 27:57-60

59. Resurrection:  Psalm 16:10; 30:3; 41:10; 118:17 (Hosea 6:2); Acts 2:31(Lk 24:46; Mk

16:16)

60. Ascension:  Psalm 68:18a; Acts 1:9

61. Seated at right hand of God:  Psalm 110:1;  Heb. 1:3 (Mk 16:19; Acts 2:34,35)

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          No one else in history ever came near to fulfilling these, and no one ever can since the birth records and tribal records of all Jews were destroyed in Jerusalem in 70 AD.  The fulfillment of these prove the authenticity of the Bible as God’s Word as well as the fact that Jesus is God.

          The probability of just 1 through 8 coming true would be 1 in 10 with 16 0’s.  (If each chance is a silver dollar and they were laid down side-by-side on state of Texas they would cover whole state 2′ deep!  One is marked, all others not.  Blindfold a man and let him walk anywhere, chances he’d pick right one same as first 8 prophecies just happening!

 

THE RESURRECTION

 

          In actuality the proof of the deity of Jesus raises and falls on truth of His resurrection.  He said He would come back to life, then claimed to have done so.  His followers clearly claimed the same thing for them.  Were they right?  First, it stands to reason to assume that something like resurrection from dead to an eternal body isn’t something a person would just make up!  It would be too unbelievable, too unproveable, too far out for someone to have just made it up.

 

          If Jesus didn’t come back to life, what else could have happened to his body?  Some say the disciples stole His body, but how would they gain courage to preach that  they didn’t have before?  Why would they give up their lives for something they knew was a lie?  So, others say, enemies stole the body.  Then they would have said so and showed it to disprove the resurrection when that was first claimed.  Neither theory explains the eye-witness accounts of over 500 people who saw Jesus alive after the crucifixion.  More common is the swoon theory, that Jesus never really died but swooned then came ‘to’ later.  But he was pronounced dead by experienced Roman executioners after having a spear run through His heart.  He spent 3 days wrapped totally in cloth and covered with 100 pounds of spices, with no food or water.  He would have had to come to, get out of the wrappings while leaving them there in the shape of a cocoon as if He were still in them, with hands pierced by nails move the monstrous rock from inside with no handholds, overpower the Roman soldiers, walk many miles on feet pierced by nails, and then prove to those He met that He had a superior, eternal body!  That takes more faith than believing in the resurrection!

 

          There is additional proof of the resurrection.    Jesus appeared 10 times to over 500 people.  If there was no resurrection how do we explain the change in the disciples, the spread of the early church, the conversion of Paul, the start of the Lord’s Supper and baptism, the switch of the day of worship from Saturday to Sunday and the impact His life has had even to today.  Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The name of Jesus is not so much written as plowed into the history of the world.”  A liar or lunatic can’t do that!

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IF GOD BECAME MAN, THEN YOU WOULD EXPECT HIM TO:

 

          One more line of reasoning is to ask yourself, “If God became man, what would we expect of Him?”  Jesus fulfilled all we’d ask!

          1. Have an unusual entrance into life.  The virgin birth is the most unusual entrance ever.  It, too, is not something someone would choose were they making the whole thing up.  How would the idea of a virgin birth ever be considered if it weren’t true?

          2. Be without sin.  Jesus claimed to be sinless (John 8:46) as do those who lived with Him 24 hours a day (Peter, John and Matthew).  So do brothers who grew up in His family, seeing His whole life up close (James and Jude).  Even enemies witnessed to His sinlessness (The thief on the cross, Pilate and the Centurion at the crucifixion). 

          3. Manifest the supernatural in the form of miracles.  Jesus claimed to do miracles, and they were attested t by Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, Jude and James.

          4. Have an acute sense of difference from others.  Jesus saw Himself as different, unique, and others saw Him that way, too.  Even Jewish and Roman historians saw Him as not the same as other men, as does the Koran and many scholars today.

          5. Speak the greatest words ever spoken. Jesus said His words would never pass away and they haven’t!  Others said that no one spoke as He did, and that is still true.  Jesus is the person most quoted by religious and secular historians, teachers and philosophers.

          6. Have a lasting and universal influence.    Historians agree that Jesus is the most influential life ever lived on this planet.

          7. Satisfy the spiritual hunger in man.  Jesus met the inner needs in Matthew, Peter, Nicodemus, Zachaeus, the woman at the well, and countless others then and through the ages up to today.  Truly Jesus satisfies!

          8. Exercise power over death. Jesus claimed to have power over death and proved it by His own resurrection.  He brought the dead back to life: widow of Nain’s son, Centurion’s servant, Lazarus and Dorcas (through Peter).  (For more information along these lines see “Evidence That Demands A Verdict,” by Josh McDowell.)

 

          Was Jesus God?  You’ll have to decide for yourself.  However if He wasn’t then no one will ever be.  If Jesus were not God, then He deserved an Oscar!

 

CHRIST’S CLAIMS OF DEITY

 

 

Claimed Equality With God

Matt. 28:19; John 5:17-18; 12:45; 13:20; 14:1, 9

 

Claimed Oneness With God

Matt 4:7; Luke 4:12; 8:39; John 10:30, 36-38; 17:11, 21-22; 20:28

 

Claimed To Be Sent By God

John 4:34; 5:37; 7:16, 28-29; 8:16; 9:4; 11:42; 14:24; 16:28; 17:18, 23

 

Claimed To Be The Son of God

Matt 16:17; 22:42-45; Mark 12:35-37; 14:61-62; Luke 20:41; John 9:35-37; 22:69-70

 

Claimed To Be From Heaven

John 6:33, 35, 51

 

Claimed Attributes of God

John 8:42; 16:15

 

Omniscience  Matt 11:21-22; Luke 10:13

Omnipresence  Matt 18:20; 28:20

Omnipotence  Mark 14:61-63; Luke 22:69-70; John 2:19, 10:18; 11:25-27

Forgive sin  Mark 2:5,9,10; Luke 5:20-21; 7:48-49

Divine Authority  Matt 7:21-23; 28:18

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Pre-Existence  John 8:58; 17:5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ASSIGNMENT

 

After reading the first two chapters, answer the following questions to the best of your ability: If you would like, email the answers to me at jerry@schmoyer.net.  I will make sure you are correct and offer suggestions to help you as you grow.

 

1. HOW DO YOU KNOW THERE IS A GOD?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. HOW DO YOU KNOW THE BIBLE IS INSPIRED?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3. HOW DO YOU KNOW JESUS IS GOD?


4. NEW LIFE HAS BEGUN

How do I become a Christian?

 

          Physical life for us begins with a birth experience.  Seed is planted and the result is new life.  The same is true spiritually.  Spiritual life also begins with a birth experience – a new birth.  When a Jewish religious ruler asked Jesus what he needed to do to have a relationship with God in this life and live forever in the next life, Jesus told him that he needed to be ‘born again’ (John 3).  Because he was thinking only in physical terms, Nicodemus missed the significance of what Jesus was saying.

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          The Bible tells us that we are all spiritually dead until our spirit is made alive by a new birth experience in Christ (Romans 3:23; 6:23).  Salvation is all by God.  We can’t do anything to earn or deserve it (Ephesians 2:8-9).  We just receive it.  It is a free gift – free to us.  Jesus paid the price for it.

 

          When Jesus went to the cross He became our representative, our substitute.  He identified Himself with our sins and, since sin brings judgment, God poured out His judgment on Jesus.  Jesus suffered for every sin we ever have committed or ever will commit.  He suffered what we would have suffered in hell for all eternity.  Because He was a man He could be our substitute.  Because He was God He feel the sufferings all the more intently, thus being able to suffer all our sins during those hours on the cross.  His suffering was much deeper and more intense than ours would have been.

 

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          By doing that for us, though, He provided free salvation for any who will receive it.  He bridged the gap between God and man.  He removed the enmity between God and us.  Now we are God’s children, born into God’s family.  God is our Heavenly Father and Jesus, God’s Son, is our Brother.  He is also God as well.  Welcome to the family!

 

 

 


SALVATION

 

          Lost in the jungle, a man sought desperately to find his way to safety.  His strength was ebbing fast as the insects and stifling heat did their deadly work.  Suddenly he heard what he thought to be a bell tolling in the distance.  Believing he was nearing civilization, he struggled bravely onward; but he never seemed to draw closer to the sound.  Finally he fell to the ground exhausted, never to rise again. The mysterious bellbird had claimed another victim!  This story is related in detail by G.B. Robeson.  He says that many a traveler in the heart of the rain forest of Central and South America has been led to his death by the uncanny call of this seldom-seen bird.  Its enticing, reverberating “toll” produces an almost overpowering temptation to seek its source.  Similarly, Satan employs subtle devices to ensare the human race. As lost souls seek to disengage themselves from the vines of sin, they are allured by the tempter’s “bell” ringing in the distance.  “At last,” they think, “I’ve found a way of escape,” and so, following the call of the evil one deeper and deeper into the jungle of despair, they are eventually lost for eternity.

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          Many are following the deceptive call of the devil’s “bell-bird” because it “seems right” to them.  O that they might realize the truth of these words before it is too late: “The end thereof are the ways of death.”  Christ, who declared that “no man cometh unto the Father but by me” (John 14:6), is the only One who can lead poor wanderers to the promised land of salvation and safety!

 

THE NEED OF SALVATION  For ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God …  (Romans 3:23).  Because God is holy and perfect, He cannot allow sin in His presence.  Still, He wants man to have fellowship with Him — that’s why He created man.  So He planned to come to earth Himself, and go to the cross as man’s substitute.  By taking the guilt for the sins of the world on Himself, He experienced what we would experience in all eternity in hell, condensed and poured out on Him. Because He was man He could be our replacement.  Because He was sinless He didn’t have sin of His own to pay for and could pay for ours. Because He was God He could experience hell for all of us at once, He had a greater capacity to suffer.  There is nothing we can do to add to salvation, it is all by God.

 

THE PROVISION OF SALVATION  God provided it all, all we do is freely accept His provision.  Ephesians 2:8-9 says:  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith– and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–  not by works, so that no one can boast. 

          John 19:30 says:  When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.  The word it is finished in the Greek means: “paid in full.”  It was written on bills of receipt.  Jesus wasn’t killed for our sin, He suffered and paid for all of it, then, when it was finished and His life’s work completed, He voluntarily died for there was no longer any reason to suffer.  HE paid it all!

 

THE RECEPTION OF SALVATION  Salvation is received by faith.  Romans 3:28 says:  For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law. John 3:16 also says:  “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.  The artist who painted “Jesus at the Door” is said to have purposely left off the knob from the door, for the door represents the human heart, and on that door, the bolt is on the inside.  Jesus stands and knocks.  But he will not come in unless we open the door.

 

THE REJECTION OF SALVATION  Jesus is the only way to God, there is NO other way of salvation (John 14:6).  Rejection of His gift of salvation means eternal condemnation in hell.  “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.” (John 3:36). 

 

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THE TENSES OF SALVATION  At the moment of salvation all past sin and its penalty is removed (II Timothy 1:9; Acts 16:31).  No matter what, it will never be held against us for its penalty has been paid (Romans 8:1).  Sin committed after salvation has also been paid for on the cross, but must be confessed (admitted to – I John 1:9).  Then it is removed.  Unconfessed sin does not endanger our salvation, but hinders our closeness and fellowship with God.  Sin between a husband and wife doesn’t end the marriage but does keep the partners from being able to be close to and enjoy each other.

          While salvation removes the penalty of all sin, it doesn’t remove its power (Philippians 2:12-13; Romans 8:13).  A Christian still has a sin nature and the capacity to sin just as much as an unbeliever.  Lot is an good example of that (Genesis 13:12, 19:29-38; II Peter 2:7).  While we CAN sin, we don’t HAVE to sin!  Sin’s power is just as strong, but now instead of being powerless to resist, we have a greater Power, the Holy Spirit, and don’t HAVE to sin any more.  We are free from the power of sin, but not yet from the presence of sin.

          In the future, when we are in heaven, we will be free from the very presence of sin and our sin nature will be gone (Romans 13:11; Titus 2:12-13).  That is guaranteed to every one who accepts God’s free gift of salvation.

 

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THE SECURITY OF SALVATION  Salvation cannot be lost or returned.  Once a person is born into God’s family, he cannot be ‘unborn’ out of it.  He is part of that family no matter what.  Our keeping our salvation doesn’t depend on our ‘hanging on’ but on God’s faithfulness (II Timothy) and protection (Mt. 12:20; Ps 37:24), steadfastness (John 10:28-29; Romans 8:37-39) and forgiveness (romans 4:6-8). 


SALVATION

 

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I. THE NEED OF SALVATION

 

Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

 

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

 

II. THE PROVISION OF SALVATION

 

 

ALL BY GOD  Eph 2:8-9

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

 

            Completely finished  Heb 1:3  Jn 19:30

John 19:30  When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Heb 1:3  The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

 

            Received by faith  Rom 3:28  Jn 3:16

Rom 3:28  For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.

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.

 

 

PROVIDED FOR BY JESUS

 

1Thes 5:9  For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Tim 2:10  Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.

2 Tim 3:15  and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

 

IF NO SALVATIONunder wrath of God  Jn 3:36

John 3:36  Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.”

 


THE FOUR SPIRITUAL LAWS

Have you heard of the four spiritual laws? Just as there are physical laws that govern the physical universe, so are there spiritual laws that govern relationships with God.

 

  * LAW 1: God loves you, and has a wonderful plan for your life.

      * God’s love: God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).

      * God’s plan: [Christ speaking] I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly (John 10:10).

      * Why is it that most people are not experiencing the abundant life? Because…

 

  * LAW 2: Man is sinful and separated from God. Therefore, he cannot know and experience God’s love and plan for his life.

      * Man is sinful: All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 2:23). Man was created to have fellowship with God, but because of his own stubborn self-will, he chose to go his own independent way, and fellowship with God was broken. This self-will, characterized by an attitude of active rebellion or passive indifference, is evidence of  sin.

      * Man is separated: The wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23).A great gulf separates the Holy God from sinful man. Man may try to reach God and the abundant life through his own efforts, such as a good life, philosophy, or religion – but he inevitably fails.

 

  * LAW 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.

      * He died in our place: God demonstrated His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8).

      * He rose from the dead: Christ died for our sins…He was buried…He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…He appeared to Peter, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred… (1 Cor. 15:3-6).

      * He is the Only Way to God: Jesus said to him, I am the way and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me (John 14:6).God has bridged the gulf that separates us from Him by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to die  in our place.

 

  * LAW 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.

      * We must receive Christ: As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name (John 1:12).

      * We receive Christ through faith. By grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast (Eph. 2:8-9).

      * When we receive Christ, we experience a new birth: Read John 3:1-8.

      * We receive Christ through personal invitation: Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him (Rev. 3:20).

210 Things that are True of Me Now that I am Saved

When a child is born into a family he immediately is the recipient of many blessings and privileges that come from that family.  He shares in all the family possesses and the family name opens doors and give special privileges.  He gains a unique inheritance as well. The same is true of those born into God’s family.  Listed below are 210 things that happen at the moment of salvation.     2 Cor 5:17  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

 

clip_image0341. My salvation is fully accomplished – John 19:30.
2. I have eternal life as a present possession – John 5:24; 6:47; 1 John 5:11-13.
3. I have Jesus Christ as my present possession – 1 John 5:12.
4. I know the one, true God – John 17:3; 1 John 2:3; 5:20.
5. I have been saved by His grace – Eph. 2:1-10.
6. I have been justified by His grace – Titus 3:7.
7. I have passed from death unto life – John 5:24; 1 John 3:14.
8. I have been quickened by God – Eph. 2:1,5; Col. 2:13.
9. I have been made fit for heaven – Col. 1:12.
10. I have the forgiveness of sins – Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14.
11. My sins have been taken away – John 1:29; Heb. 9:26; 1 John 3:5.
12. My sins have been completely purged – Heb. 1:3.
13. My sins will never be remembered by God – Heb. 8:12; 10:17.
14. My name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life – Phil. 4:3
15. My life is hid with in God – Col. 3:3
16. I have been forgiven all trespasses – Col. 2:13; 1 John 2:12.
17. I have been fully justified – Rom. 4:5; 8:30; 1 Cor. 6:11; Gal. 2:16; Tit. 3:7.
18. I am reconciled to God – 2 Cor. 5:18,19; Col. 1:20.
19. I am made nigh by the blood of Christ – Eph. 2:13.
20. I am redeemed through His blood – 1 Pet. 1:18,19; Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14.
21. I am redeemed from the curse of the law – Gal. 3:13.
22. I am redeemed from all iniquity – Titus 2:14.
23. I am bought with a price – 1 Cor. 6:20; 7:23.
24. I am delivered from so great a death – 2 Cor. 1:10.
25. I have been delivered from this present evil world – Gal. 1:4.
26. I have been delivered from the power of darkness – Col. 1:13.
27. I have been delivered from the wrath to come – 1 Thess. 1:10.
28. I will not come into condemnation or judgment – John 5:24; Rom. 8:1.
29. I am a child of God – John 1:12; Rom. 8:16; Gal. 3:26; 1 John 3:1,2.
30. I am a son of God – Gal. 4:5-7.
31. I belong to Jesus Christ – Gal. 3:29; 5:24.
32. I have been adopted – Gal. 4:5; Rom. 8:15,23.
33. I am an heir of God and joint-heir with Christ – Rom. 8:17; Tit. 3:7.
34. I am an heir of the grace of life – 1 Pet. 3:7.
35. All things are mine – 1 Cor. 3:21-23.
36. I possess all things – 2 Cor. 6:10.
37. I will inherit all things – Rev. 21:7.
38. I am enriched by Christ in everything – 1 Cor. 1:5; 2 Cor. 9:11.
39. I am a fellow-heir – Eph. 3:6.
40. I am rich because of Christ – 2 Cor. 8:9; Rev. 2:9.
41. I am blessed with every spiritual blessing – Eph. 1:3.
42. I have obtained an inheritance – Eph. 1:11,14; Heb. 1:14; 9:15; 1 Pet. 1:4.
43. I have been appointed to obtain salvation – 1 Thess. 5:9; Heb. 1:14.
44. I am His inheritance – Eph. 1:18.
45. I am a partaker of His promise in Christ by the gospel – Eph. 3:6.
46. I am a new creature in Christ – 2 Cor. 5:17; Eph. 2:10; 4:24; Col. 3:10.
47. I have been renewed by the Holy Spirit – Tit. 3:5.
48. I am accepted and highly favored in the Beloved – Eph. 1:6.
49. I am seated in heavenly places in Christ – Eph. 2:6.
50. I am to the praise of His glory – Eph. 1:6,12.
51. I am light in the Lord – Eph. 5:8.
52. I am a child of light – Eph. 5:8; 1 Thess. 5:5.
53. I am a “peculiar person”: God’s special, purchased possession – Tit. 2:14; 1 Pet. 2:9.
54. I am a priest who can offer spiritual sacrifices – Heb. 13:15,16; 1 Pet. 2:5,9; Rev. 1:6; 5:10; 20:6.
55. I am a king who will reign – Rev. 1:6; 5:10; 20:6.
56. I am privileged to have fellowship with the Father and with the Son- 1 John 1:3.
57. I dwell in Christ – John 6:56; 1 John 3:24; 4:13,15,16.
58. Christ dwells in me – John 6:56; Gal. 2:20; 1 John 3:24; 4:12-16.
59. I am in Christ – John 14:20; 2 Cor. 5:17.
60. Christ is in me – John 14:20; Col. 1:27; 1 John 4:4.
61. The Spirit of God dwells in me – Rom. 8:9; 1 Cor. 3:16; Eph. 2:21,22.
62. I am not in the flesh but in the Spirit – Rom. 8:9.
63. My “earthen vessel” houses a great Treasure – 2 Cor. 4:7.
64. My body is the temple of the Holy Spirit – 1 Cor. 6:19.
clip_image03665. I have gift & presence of Holy Spirit -2 Cor. 1:22; Gal 4:6; Eph 1:13,14; 1 Thes 4:8; 1 Jn 3:24; 4:13.

66. I have an anointing (unction) from the Holy One – 1 John 2:20,27.
67. I have an anchor for my soul, both sure and steadfast – Heb. 6:19
68. I am one of the called of Jesus Christ – Rom. 1:6; 8:28-30; Jude 1; Rev. 17:14.
69. I have been called unto the fellowship of God’s Son – 1 Cor. 1:9.
70. I have been called unto eternal glory – 1 Pet. 5:10.
71. I have been called with a holy calling – 2 Tim. 1:9.
72. I am a partaker of the high, heavenly calling – Phil. 3:14; Heb. 3:1.
73. I have been called out of darkness into His marvelous light – 1 Pet. 2:9.
74. God foreknew me – Rom. 8:29; 1 Pet. 1:2.
75. God predestined me to be conformed to Christ’s image – Rom. 8:29; Eph. 1:5,11.
76. I have already been glorified according to God’s mind and purpose – Rom. 8:30.
77. I am eternally secure in God’s love – Rom. 8:38,39.
78. I am chosen in Christ – Eph. 1:4; Col. 3:12; 1 Thess. 1:4; 1 Pet. 2:9; Rev. 17:14.
79. I am complete in Christ – Col. 2:10.
80. I am beloved of God – Col. 3:12; 2 Thess. 2:13.
81. I am chastened and disciplined by my Heavenly Father – Heb. 12:6,7.
82. I am part of group Christ isn’t ashamed to call His “brethren” & “friends” – Heb 2:11; Jn 15:14,15.
83. I am a child of Abraham – Gal. 3:7.
84. I am Abraham’s seed – Gal. 3:29.
85. I enjoy the blessing of Abraham – Gal. 3:9.
86. I am a child of promise – Gal. 4:28,31.
87. I am faithful – Rev. 17:14.
88. I am a sheep in His flock – Luke 12:32; Heb. 13:20; 1 Pet. 2:25.
89. I am a member in His body – 1 Cor. 10:17; Eph. 3:6; 4:25; 5:30.
90. I am a stone in His building – Eph. 2:20-22; Heb. 3:6; 1 Pet. 2:5.
91. I am a branch in His vine – John 15:1-7.
92. I am a child of His kingdom – Matt. 13:38; Mark 10:14,15; Luke 17:21.
93. I am born again into His family – John 1:12,13; James 1:18; 1 Pet. 1:3,23; 2:2; 1 John 5:1.
94. I am one of God’s people because He graciously claims me as His own – 1 Pet.  2:10; Rev. 21:7.
95. I am a fellow citizen with the saints – Eph. 2:19.
96. I was baptized into Jesus Christ – Rom. 6:3; 1 Cor. 12:12-13 Gal. 3:27.
97. I was identified with Christ in His death – Rom. 6:3-6,8-11; 2 Cor. 5:14; Col. 2:12,20; 3:3.
98. I was identified with Christ in His resurrection – Rom. 6:5,8,11; 2 Cor. 5:15; Gal. 2:20; Col. 2:12; 3:1.
99. I am dead to sin – Rom. 6:2.
100. My “old man” was crucified with Christ – Rom. 6:6; Gal. 2:20
101. I have crucified the flesh with its affections and lusts – Gal. 5:24.
102. I am alive unto God – Rom. 6:11,13; Gal. 2:19,20.
103. Christ is my life – Phil. 1:21; Col. 3:4.
104. I can walk in newness of life – Rom. 6:4.
105. I can serve in newness of spirit – Rom. 7:6.
106. I can live unto righteousness – 1 Pet. 2:24.
107. I died to the law – Rom. 7:4; Gal. 2:19.
108. I am delivered from the law – Rom. 7:6.
109. I am not under the law but under grace – Rom. 6:14.
110. I have God’s laws written in my heart – Heb. 10:16.
111. I am married to Jesus Christ – Rom. 7:4.
112. I am a partaker of Christ – Heb. 3:14.
113. I am identified with Christ in His suffering – 2 Tim. 2:12; Phil. 1:29; 1 Pet. 2:20; 4:12,13; 1 Thess.

clip_image0383:3; Rom. 8:18; Col. 1:24.
114. The knowledge of God is made known by me – 2 Cor. 2:14.
115. The savor (aroma) of Christ is made known by me – 2 Cor. 2:15,16.
116. I am an epistle of Christ – 2 Cor. 3:3.
117. I am being changed into Christ’s glorious image – 2 Cor. 3:18.
118. I am being perfected – Phil. 1:6.
119. My inward man is being renewed day by day – 2 Cor. 4:16.
120. I have put on Christ – Gal. 3:27.
121. I am not of the world – John 17:14,16.
122. The world is crucified unto me – Gal. 6:14.
123. I am crucified unto the world – Gal. 6:14.
124. I am separated unto the gospel of God – Rom. 1:1.
125. I am sanctified in Christ Jesus – 1 Cor. 1:2; 6:11; Heb. 10:10; Jude 1.
126. I am holy – Col. 3:12; Heb. 3:1; 1 Pet. 2:9; Rev. 20:6.
127. I am clothed in His righteousness – Rev. 19:18.
128. I am a saint – 1 Cor. 1:2; Phil. 1:1; Col. 1:2; Rom. 1:7.
129. I am faultless in Christ – Eph. 5:27; Col. 1:22; Jude 24.
130. I am perfected forever – Heb. 10:14.
131. I am not my own – 1 Cor. 6:19.
132. I am called unto holiness – 1 Thess. 4:7.
133. I am a citizen of heaven – Phil. 3:20.
134. I am a stranger and pilgrim who is not at home in this world – Heb. 11:13; 1 Pet.  2:11.
135. I have been translated into the kingdom of the Son of His love – Col. 1:13.
136. I am circumcised in my heart – Col. 2:11; Phil 3:3 (cf. Dt. 10:16).
137. My faithful God will sanctify me wholly – 1 Thess. 5:23,24.
138. My faithful God will keep me from evil – 2 Thess. 3:3; 2 Tim. 4:18.
139. Christ has made me free, free indeed – John 8:32,36; Gal. 5:1; 1 Cor. 7:22.
140. Jesus Christ is my Deliverer – Rom. 7:24,25.
141. I am free from sin – Rom. 6:7,18,22.
142. The law of the Spirit of Life has made me free from the law of sin and death – Rom. 8:2.
143. I am God’s servant /slave – Rom. 6:22.
144. I am Christ’s servant/slave – 1 Cor. 7:22.
145. I am a servant/slave of righteousness – Rom. 6:18.
146. I have been called unto liberty – Gal. 5:13.
147. I have the mind of Christ – 1 Cor. 2:16.
148. I have a sound mind – 2 Tim. 1:7.
149. Christ has given me an understanding – 1 John 5:20.
150. I have the righteousness of Christ – 2 Cor. 5:21.
151. I have all sufficiency in all things – 2 Cor. 9:8.
152. I have all things that pertain to life and godliness – 2 Pet. 1:3.
153. I can ever be content for I have Christ – Heb. 13:5.
154. I have all the armor and weapons I need – 2 Cor. 10:4; Eph. 6:10-17.
155. I have God’s all-sufficient grace – 2 Cor. 12:9.
156. I have grace to help in time of need – Heb. 4:16.
157. I have God’s power – Eph. 1:19; 3:20.
158. I have access to the Father – Eph. 2:18; Heb. 4:16.
159. I have a great High Priest – Heb. 2:17,18; 3:1; 4:14-16; 8:1; 10:21.
160. I have an unfailing Intercessor – Heb. 7:25; 9:24; Rom. 8:34.
161. I have a righteous Advocate with the Father for times when I sin – 1 John 2:1.
162. I have peace with God – Rom. 5:1.
163. Christ is my peace – Eph. 2:14.
164. I have rest for my soul – Matt. 11:28,29; Heb. 4:9.
165. I am led by the Spirit of God – Rom. 8:14.
166. I am enabled during trials and temptations – 1 Cor. 10:13.
167. I am given assurance by the Spirit – Rom. 8:16; Heb. 6:18.
168. I am given comfort by God – 2 Cor. 1:3-7.
169. I am tranquilized by His peace – Phil. 4:7.
170. I am freely given truth and knowledge by the Spirit – 1 Cor. 2:12.
171. I am not distressed – 2 Cor. 4:8.
172. I am not in despair – 2 Cor. 4:8.
173. I am not forsaken – 2 Cor. 4:9.
174. I am not in darkness – 1 Thess. 5:4.
175. God is my Sufficiency – 2 Cor. 3:5.
176. God is my Strength – 2 Cor. 12:9,10; Phil. 4:13.
177. God is my Helper – Heb. 13:6.
178. I belong to a Sovereign God who works all things together for my good – Rom. 8:28.
179. All things are for my sake – 2 Cor. 4:15.
180. My God is for me – Rom. 8:31.
181. My every need is supplied – Phil. 4:19.
182. I am a laborer together with Christ – 1 Cor. 3:9; 2 Cor. 6:1.
183. I am His workmanship – Eph. 2:10.
184. God works in me – Phil. 2:13; Heb. 13:21.
185. God’s Word works in me – 1 Thess. 2:13.
186. I am sealed by God – 2 Cor. 1:22; Eph. 1:13.
187. I am on the Rock, Christ Jesus – Matt. 16:18; 1 Cor. 3:11.
188. I am established securely in Christ – 2 Cor. 1:21; 2 Thess. 3:3.
189. I am kept by the power of God – 1 Pet. 1:5.
190. I am preserved in Jesus Christ – Jude 1.
191. I am kept from falling – Jude 24.
192. I have a building of God eternal in the heavens – 2 Cor. 5:1.
193. My name is forever written in heaven – Luke 10:20.
194. I am more than a conqueror: a super-conqueror – Rom. 8:37.
195. I have victory through Christ – 1 Cor. 15:57.
196. I have overcome the world – 1 John 5:4,5.
197. I always triumph in Christ – 2 Cor. 2:14.
198. I am indwelt by the victorious Christ who is greater than Satan – 1 John 4:4.
199. Satan cannot touch me – 1 John 5:18.
200. I have a living hope – 1 Pet. 1:3.
201. I have a glorious future – Rom. 8:18; 2 Thess. 2:14.
202. I have been given eternal encouragement and good hope through grace- 2  Thess. 2:16.
203. I will be given a new body just like Christ’s glorified body – Phil. 3:20-21.
204. I will be preserved unto His heavenly kingdom – 2 Tim. 4:18.
205. I am receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved – Heb. 12:28.
206. I have a place reserved in heaven for me – John 14:2,3; 1 Pet. 1:4.
207. I will not be hurt of the second death – Rev. 2:11; 20:6.
208. I will have a new name – Rev. 2:17; 3:12.
209. I will sit with Christ in His throne – Rev. 3:21.
210. I will be with my God forever – Rev. 21:3,4.

clip_image0404. NEW LIFE HAS BEGUN

 

Answer the following questions.  If you can, email the answers to me at jerry@schmoyer.net.  I will make sure you are correct and offer suggestions to help you as you grow.

 

1. The great purpose of the Bible is to give a history of the world (John 20:31).  TRUE   FALSE

 

2. In John 8:12 Peter is called the light of the world.  TRUE   FALSE

 

3. All men are willing to come to the light of Jesus (John 3:19).  TRUE    FALSE

 

4. Those who do evil are afraid that their evil deeds will be reproved (John 3:20). TRUE FALSE

 

5. If a man sins he is a servant of sin (John 8:34).    TRUE    FALSE

 

6. Jesus said in John 16:9 that not believing on Him is a sin.  TRUE    FALSE

 

7. All men are sinners (Romans 3:23).   TRUE    FALSE

 

8. The result of sin is death (Ezek. 18:4;  Romans 6:23).    TRUE    FALSE

 

9. The sinner is not under condemnation now but will be when he dies (John 3:18) TRUE  FALSE

 

10. Christ came to condemn you (John 3:17).  TRUE   FALSE

 

11. Even though man is sinful God loves him (John 3:16).   TRUE   FALSE

 

12. Because Christ died for everyone, everyone will automatically go to heaven (John 8:24).  TRUE   FALSE

 

13. Jesus was proved guilty of several faults at His trial (John 19:4; Hebrews 4:15). TRUE   FALSE

 

14. Romans 6:23 teaches that eternal life is ________________.

 

15. You receive eternal life by doing more good things than bad things (Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5).  TRUE    FALSE

 

16. What are your “righteousnesses” (good works) like in God’s sight?  (Isaiah 64:6) ______________________.

 

17.  Is there any other way to God except through Jesus (Prov. 14:12; John 14:6; Acts 4:12)?  TRUE   FALSE

 

18. If you say,”I’ll take my place as a sinner, for all have sinned (Romans 3:23); I turn to Christ, the One who died in my place (1 Peter 3:18); and receive Jesus as my personal Savior (John 1:12),” will He save you? ________________

 

19. Have you received Him? ____________ When? ________________________

 

20. To whom did Thomas speak just after he believed (John 20:28-29)? _____________________________

 

21. Whom should you thank after you believe? ____________________ Have you thanked Him? ____________

 

22. What did Jesus tell the man in Mark 5:19 to do? _____________________________. Will you do the same? _______________


5. SIGNS OF LIFE

How can I be sure I am a Christian?

 

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            When a baby is born everyone checks immediately to make sure it is alive and healthy.  There are certain signs that show life: movement, crying, pulse, etc.  The same is true spiritually.  There are certain spiritual ‘signs’ that show us that we have been born into God’s family.  I John lists 5 of these:

 

1. BELIEF IN JESUS AS SAVIOR AND LORD

1 John 5:1  Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. A sign of spiritual life is a deep awareness that Jesus is God and Savior, that He is the One who provides salvation and it isn’t anything we do or deserve.

 

2. STRONG DESIRE TO OVERCOME SIN IN LIFE

1 John 5:18  We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him.  Along with new birth comes a different attitude to sin.  We now know it is wrong and have a strong desire to stop.  While we may struggle with certain sins, there should be a slow but steady progress in godliness.  Gradually we become more and more like Jesus in what we think and do.

 

3. DOING WHAT GOD CONSIDERS RIGHT

1 John 2:29  If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him. A baby doesn’t know just how to live the moment it is born, and neither do we who are born spiritually.  It is a learning process, it takes growth.  Growth is a sign of life.  God says that those who are alive spiritually will grow spiritually.  GROW in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”.   II Peter 3:18  “Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly — mere infants in Christ.  I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it.  Indeed, you are still not ready.  You are still worldly.  For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly?  Are you not acting like mere men?”   I Corinthians 3:1-3

 

4. LOVE FOR OTHER BELIEVERS

1 John 3:14  We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death.  There will be a natural bond between those are in God’s family.  We have the most important things in life in common.  Usually there is instant rapport.  We have a desire to spend time with and get to know other Christians.  That is a joy and encouragement, for we are likeminded.

 

5. VICTORY OVER WORLDLY WAYS

1 John 5:4  for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.  While victory over sin often comes slowly and gradually, as Christians we know that we have within us a Power greater than that which is in the world and we can experience God giving us victory over things that used to defeat us.

How can I be sure I still am a Christian?

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            When first born babies are very susceptible to disease and illness so they must be protected from these.  They are very vulnerable.  Until they grow and become stronger they are in danger of things that won’t be nearly as hard to fight off later on.  When someone is a new believer there is danger they will start to doubt their salvation or fear they have lost it.  Thus it is important to make sure young Christians are protected from the diseases of doubt and fear.  Satan can’t take away or salvation so he tries to take away the joy of our salvation in these ways.

 

DISEASE OF DOUBT  It’s not unusual for Satan to put doubt into a persons mind right after they become a Christian.  Did it ‘work’?  Did they ‘do it’ right?  There is no requirement to meet so there is nothing that can be done wrong.  Salvation is simply a heart attitude of believing that Jesus is God who paid for your sins on the cross.  If you believe that you are saved. 

Rom 3:28  For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.

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.

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

If you aren’t sure when you accepted Jesus as Savior and for that reason wonder if you really did, just take a moment right now to pray and ask Him to forgive your sins and live in you.  You will know for sure that He has done that now if not before, so you never will have need to wonder or worry.  Write down today’s date so you can always go back to this time and remember that you really did put your faith in Him.  ________________________

 

DISEASE OF FEAR  If getting a person to doubt their salvation doesn’t work Satan will try to have you believe that you have somehow lost your salvation.  That will take away your peace and joy and replace it with fear.  Believing you can loose your salvation will cause you to try to do all you can to not lose it.  Thus instead of the Christian life being one of security and assurance in what Christ has done, the emphasis focuses to what you do or don’t do.  Fear of doing something that will cause you to lose your salvation becomes the primary motivating force in your Christian life.  How could a family operate if everyone had to be nice to the others for fear they would be kicked out of the family? 

            God wants us to know for sure that there is nothing we can do to lose our salvation.  He wants us to be assured of His love forever.  He wants us to serve Him our love for Him, not because we are afraid He will send us to hell!

 

WE ARE UNDER GRACE, NOT LAW, so there is nothing we can do to lose salvation.  Rom 6:14  For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.

 

GOD IS FAITHFUL to His promise to save us if we believe.  Even if we become unfaithful He still keeps His promise to us.  2 Timothy 2:11-13   Here is a trustworthy saying:  If we died with him, we will also live with him;   if we endure,  we will also reign with him.  If we disown him, he will also disown us;  if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.

 

GOD PROTECTS US when we are weak and faltering.  When we sin and drift He does not cast us aside.  Matthew 12:20  A bruised reed he will not break,  and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, till he leads justice to victory.   Psalms 37:24   though he stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.

 

GOD WILL NEVER HOLD OUR SINS AGAINST US for they were all paid for on the cross.  Thus there is no sin that will ever be charged to us.  Romans 4:6-8  David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:  “Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.  Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him.”  

 

SALVATION CANNOT BE RETURNED, AND SATAN CANNOT TAKE US FROM GOD  There is nothing that can come between us and God, not even we ourselves.   John 10:28-29   I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.  My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.   Romans 8:37-39   No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

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So any time you feel one of these diseases trying to hit you and take your joy and strength, remember you have no reason to doubt your salvation and you have no reason to fear losing your salvation.

 

SIGNS OF LIFE

 

Answer the following questions.  If you can, email the answers to me at jerry@schmoyer.net.  I will make sure you are correct and offer suggestions to help you as you grow.

 

1. When you receive Jesus as your Savior He gives you (John 14:6; Gal. 2:20; I John 5:11) new ______________.

 

2. John 3:18 says that in the past you were_____________________________.

 

3. John 10:28 says you now have ___________________________________.

 

4. “Eternal” means _____________________________________.

 

5. John 5:24 says the Christian may some day be condemned for his sins.   TRUE    FALSE

 

6. God wants you to know if you have eternal life (I John 5:13)   TRUE   FALSE

 

7. Jesus says in John 6:37 that those who are not too wicked can come to Him.     TRUE    FALSE

 

8. Jesus said His sheep would never perish  (John 10:28).  TRUE   FALSE

 

9. No trouble, or care, or anything else can separate you from the love of Christ  (Romans 8:35-39).    TRUE    FALSE

 

10. You can be plucked from Christ’s hand ( John 10:28).  TRUE     FALSE

 

11. God is willing to let some believers be lost (John 6:39).    TRUE   FALSE

 

12. Upon whose power does our salvation depend (I Peter 1:5)?  _______________________________

 

13. The Holy Spirit guides and keeps the Christian in this life.  How long is He to be with the Christian (John 14:16-17? _______________

 

14. You can depend on God’s promises because He seldom lies (Numbers 23:19).  TRUE  FALSE

 

15.If you do not believe what the Bible says, what do you make of God (I John 5:10? __________________________________________

 

16. Jesus does not expect your life to be different now that you are a Christian (John 8:11; II Corinthians 5:17). TRUE   FALSE

 

17.A real believer should have peace and joy (John 14:27; 15:11)   TRUE   FALSE

 

18. John 8:31 teaches that if you are Jesus’ disciple you will continue obeying His ___________________________________.

 

19. What means has God chosen to change your life (John 15:3)?  _______________________________________________.

 

20. Where should you carry God’s Word (Psalm 119:11)? ______________________________________________________.

 

21. How can you show your love to Christ (John 14:21) ?________________________________________________________.

 

22. Jesus said in John 13:34-35 that all men would be able to tell you are His disciples if you keep this new commandment to:

                   a. tithe your money

                   b. go to church on Sunday

                   c. love one another

 

23. Romans 10:17 teaches that assurance of eternal life depends upon:

                   a. your feelings                                     d. church membership

                   b. your promise to do better                 e. The Word of God

                   c. your good works

                                    

24. Only preachers and Sunday School teachers are to spread the Gospel (John 20:21).    TRUE    FALSE

 


6. LEARNING TO EAT I

Where can I get spiritual nourishment?

 

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            When a baby is first born the first thing it demands, after air, is nourishment.  Babies need to eat often in order to grow.  They have a strong appetite.  The same is true spiritually.  Those born of God find they have an appetite to learn God’s Word.  A new appreciation for and love of the Bible appears.  The desire to read the Bible isn’t just to fill an intellectual curiosity but rather to feed ones soul and spirit.  We sense from the very start that there is much-needed nourishment to be found there. 

 

            Paul talks about the similarity in his letter to the Corinthians.  Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly — mere infants in Christ.  I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it.  Indeed, you are still not ready.  You are still worldly.  For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly?  Are you not acting like mere men?   I Corinthians 3:1-3

            When a person loses their appetite for food it is a sign of illness and the person becomes weak.  The same thing happens spiritually.  A desire for the Word of God must be fed.  1 Peter 2:2-3  Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.

 

BIBLE OVERVIEW  The Bible contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable. Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you. It is the traveler’s map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword and the Christian’s character. Here paradise is restored, heaven opened, and the gates of hell disclosed. Christ is its grand object, our good is its design, and the glory of God its end. It should fill the memory, rule the heart, and guide the feet. Read it slowly, frequently, and prayerfully. It is given you in life and will be opened in the judgment and will be remembered forever. It involves the highest responsibility, will reward the greatest labour, and will condemn all who trifle with its sacred contents.

 

The Bible is a beautiful palace built of 66 blocks of solid marble – the 66 books. In the first chapter of Genesis we enter the vestibule, filled with the mighty acts of creation.  The vestibule gives access to the law courts – the five books of Mosespassing through which we come to the picture gallery of the historical books. Here we find hung upon the walls scenes of battlefields, representations of heroic deeds, and portraits of eminent men belonging to the early days of the world’s history. 

 

Beyond the picture gallery we find the philosopher’s chamber – the book of Jobpassing through which we enter the music room – the book of Psalmswhere we listen to the grandest strains that ever fell on human ears.

 

Then we come to the business office – the book of Proverbswhere right in the center of the room, stands facing us the motto, “Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.” From the business office we pass into the chapel – Ecclesiastes, or the Song of Solomon with the rose of Sharon and the lily of the valley, and all manner of fine perfume and fruit and flowers and singing birds.  Finally we reach the observatory – the Prophets, with their telescopes fixed on near and distant stars, and all directed toward “the Bright and Morning Star,” that was soon to arise.  Crossing the court we come to the audience chamber of the King – the Gospelswhere we find four vivid lifelike portraits of the King himself. Next we enter the workroom of the Holy Spirit – the Acts of the Apostlesand beyond that the correspondence room – the Epistleswhere we see Paul and Peter and James and John and Jude busy at their desks.  Before leaving we stand a moment in the outside gallery – the Revelationwhere we look upon some striking pictures of the judgments to come, and the glories to be revealed, concluding with an awe-inspiring picture of the throne room of the King.

 

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FACTS ABOUT THE BIBLE

A.  The Old Testament

1.   39 books

2.   929 chapters

3.   23,214 verses

4.   593,493 words

5.   Longest book – Psalms

6.   Shortest book – Obadiah

7.   17 historical books (Genesis-Esther)

8.   5 poetical books (Job-Song of Solomon)

9.   17 prophetical books – major (Isaiah-Daniel) minor (Hosea-Malachi)

 

B.  The New Testament

1.   27 books

2.   260 chapters

3.   7,959 verses

4.   181,253 words

5.   Longest book – Acts

6.   Shortest book – 3 John

7.   4 Gospels  (Matthew-John)

8.   1 historical book  (Acts)

9.   22 epistles (Romans-Revelations)

 

 

DISCRIPTIONS OF THE BIBLE

 

I.    It is called a mirror because it reflects the mind of God and the true condition of man.

 

II.   A Seed – “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever” (1 Pet. 1:23). “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures” (1:18). “But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty” (Matt. 13:23). It is called a seed because, once properly planted, it brings forth life, growth, and fruit.

 

III.  Water – “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Eph. 5:25-27). It is called water because of its cleansing, quenching, and refreshing qualities. (See Psa. 42:1;

119:9; Prov. 25:25; Isa. 55:10; Heb. 10:22; Rev. 22:17.)

 

IV.A Lamp–“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psa. 119:105). “For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life” (Prov. 6:23).  “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts” (2 Pet. 1:19). It is called a lamp because it shows us where we are now, it guides us in the next step, and it keeps us from falling.

 

V.  A Sword– “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12). “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Eph. 6:17). It is called a sword because of its piercing ability, operating with equal effectiveness upon sinners, saints and Satan! Of the various armour pieces mentioned in Ephesians 6:11-17, all to be worn by the believer, the only offensive piece is the “sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.”

 

VI.Precious Metals

A.  Gold (Psa. 19:10; 119:12)“Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea above fine gold”

(Psa. 119:127).

B.  Silver (Psa. 12:6) – “The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times” (Psa. 12:6). It is referred to as precious metals because of its desirability, its preciousness, its beauty, and its value.

 

VII. Nourishing Food

A.  Milk – “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (1 Pet. 2:2).

B.  Meat – “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong

29 meat. For every one that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Heb. 5:12-14).

C.  Bread –“I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world” (John 6:51).

D.  Honey –“More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb” (Psa. 19:10). It is referred to as nourishing food because of the strength it imparts. The Bible is the original “soul food.”

 

VIII.     A Hammer – “Is not my word like as a fire? saith the Lord; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?” (Jer. 23:29). It is referred to as a hammer because of its ability to both tear down and to build up.  (See Acts 9:4; Jude 20.)

 

IX.A Fire – “Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay” (Jer. 20:9). “And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?” (Luke 24:32). It is called a fire because of its judging, purifying, and consuming abilities.

 

THE BIBLE AND THE SAINTS OF GOD

A.      What the Bible does for the believer

1.   It upholds (Psa. 119:116).

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2.   It orders steps (Psa. 119:133).

3.   It produces joy (Psa. 119:162).

4.   It strengthens (Psa. 119:28; 1 John 2:14).

5.   It gives hope (Psa. 119:74, 81).

6.   It gives light (Psa, 119:105, 130).

7.   It gives understanding (Psa. 119:169).

8.   It shows God’s will (Isa. 55:11).

9.   It builds up (Acts 20:32).

10.It produces fruit (John 15:7).

11.It convicts of sin (Heb. 4:12).

12.It converts the soul (James 1:18; 1 Pet. 1:23).

13. It cleanses the conscience (John 15:3).

14.It consecrates life (John 17:17).

15.It corrects the wrong (2 Tim. 3:16).

16.It confirms the right (John 8:31).

17.It comforts the heart (Psa. 119:50, 54).

B.      What the Bible demands from the believer – Because of the above, the Christian is exhorted to:

1.   Read it (Col. 3:16; Deut. 31:11; Rev. 1:3; Isa. 34:16; Luke 4:16; Eph. 3:4; 1 Thess. 5:27; 2 Tim.

4:13; Col. 4:1).

2.   Heed it (Psa. 119:9; 1 Tim. 4:16).

3.   Seed it (Matt. 28:19-20).

4.   Desire it (1 Pet. 2:2).

5.   Preach it (2 Tim. 4:2).

6.   Rightly divide it (2 Tim. 2:15).

7.   Live by it (Matt. 4:4).

8.   Use it (Eph. 6:17).

9.   Suffer for it, and if need be, die for it (Rev. 1:9; 6:9; 20:4).

 

 

 

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MEMORIZATION OF THE BIBLE

Here are some good verses to get you started in your memorization.  When you come across a verse that speaks to you in a special way write it down and add it to the list of verses to memorize.  Listed below are some good ones to get started with.  Pick any you want to start with.  Write it on a piece of paper and carry that with you throughout the day.  Look at it in spare minutes, while waiting on the phone, etc.  You’ll be surprised how much you can learn!

 

Psalms 119:11  I have hidden your word in my heart  that I might not sin against you.

 

Philippians 4:6  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

 

2 Timothy 3:16-17   All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,  so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

 

1 John 5:11-12   And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

 

John 16:24  Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.

 

1 Corinthians 10:13   No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

 

1 John 1:9  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

 

Proverbs 3:5-6   Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;

in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.  

 

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

 

Romans 12:1  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.

 

John 15:7  If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.

 

Ephesians 2:8-9  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—  not by works, so that no one can boast.

 

2 Timothy 3:15-17   and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

 

 

LEARNING TO EAT

 

Answer the following questions.  If you can, email the answers to me at jerry@schmoyer.net.  I will make sure you are correct and offer suggestions to help you as you grow.

 

1. Job 23:12 teaches that God’s Word is more important than food.  TRUE   FALSE

 

2. II Tim 3:16 teaches that all Scripture is inspired by God & is profitable for us. TRUE FALSE

 

3. Who helps you understand spiritual things (I Cor. 2:9-12)? __________________________

 

4. According to Psalm 119:18 you should begin to read the Bible by praying that God will _____________________________.

 

5. The Bible will some day pass away (Isaiah 40:8).  TRUE    FALSE

 

6. God still allows men to add to the Bible (Rev. 22:18).  TRUE   FALSE

 

7. Unsaved people can understand and appreciate spiritual things (ICor. 2:14).  TRUE   FALSE

 

8. The Word of God is able to: (match the correct reference with  the answer)

            ____Acts 20:32              a. help you to pray

            ____John 15:7               b. guide you

            ____Ps.119:105            c. “build you up & give you an inheritance”

 

9. II Timothy 2:15 commands you to pray.  TRUE   FALSE

 

10. Psalm 119:11 teaches that you should memorize Scripture so others will know you are a Christian.  TRUE   FALSE

 

11. Mark 7:21-23 teaches that the source of evil desires is the heart.  TRUE   FALSE

 

12. You should learn to study the Bible because Ephesians 4:14 teaches there are false teachers waiting to deceive you.  TRUE  FALSE

 

13. What are four ways we can feed on God’s Word?

               ____ II Timothy 2:15                  a. hearing

               ____ Rom. 10:17                       b. reading

               ____ Psalm 119:11                   c. studying

               ____ I Tim. 4:13                          d. memorizing

 

14. When you learn God’s Word you must apply it to your _____________________________.

 

15. By yourself you can do nothing for God (John 15:5).  TRUE   FALSE

 

16. Through whose strength should you live your daily life (Phil. 4:13)? __________________

 

17. Whom did Andrew find after he had found Jesus (John 1:41)? ______________________

 

18. Have you ever led anyone to Christ? ______________

         Would you like to? ________

          Would Jesus like you to (John 15:16)? _________


7. LEARNING TO EAT – II

How can I learn to feed myself?

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HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE

 

            Some time ago I read a story about a man who died in deep poverty. In fact, he died from lack of proper food and housing.  Among his possessions was found a Bible and in the Bible thousands of dollars were stuffed.  The Bible was left to him by his parents — but he never opened it!  How often we are like that man — our soul is starving and we are living in spiritual poverty while the provision for our needs lies between the covers of our Bible.  We must get it and use it.

 

            Suppose you want to sit down and study your Bible.  You open to a passage and read a few verses, wondering how to begin. “How does that man in the pulpit find the things he talks about?  I never see those things when I read the Bible,” you say.  In frustration and guilt you read a few more verses, check the footnotes, then go answer the telephone.  Thus ends your Bible study for the day.  It’s like a miner walking along looking for gold nuggets or diamonds lying on the ground.  Usually he comes up empty!  It doesn’t have to be that way!  There is no quick, easy, magical formula to get instant insight into a passage.  Like anything else worthwhile, it takes work.  However that work must be purposeful and worthwhile or nothing good will come of it.  That is where this series comes in.

 

            My purpose here is to provide some practical help for those who are motivated to improve their Bible study skills.  This certainly isn’t the only way, but it is one way of study.  As I see it, Bible study is broken down into three main steps: Observation (“What do I see?”), Interpretation (“What does it mean?”) and Application (“How should I respond?”).  The Bible provides spiritual nourishment for our souls as food provides physical nourishment for our bodies (I Peter 2:2; Psalm 119:103; Hebrews 5:13-14).  There is a close similarity between partaking of physical and spiritual food, also.  First you thoroughly analyze your food (cut and chew), then break it down so it can be used (digestion) and finally apply it (used by bones and muscles).  We will develop this in future articles.  First observation.

 

            Before you can swallow and use food that you are eating you must first chew it in bite-size sections.  In fact, the better you chew your food the more you will benefit from it.  Someone has said we suffer from “habit-focus,” we see only what we have seen before.  That is where the work part of Bible study comes in.  You must train yourself to see what you haven’t seen before!  A doctor will closely examine you, gather facts, and ask questions before interpreting them and coming up with a plan of action.  Likewise a detective needs to look for things that aren’t at first obvious.  The same is true of a scientist.  For all of these, the final application is only as good as the early observation.  The better the discovery period, the more accurate and helpful the conclusion.  The same is true in Bible study.  Too often we skip the observation period and right away try to find out what it means and how it applies.  This always leads to shallow, surface results that leave us thinking we can’t get anything out of the Bible.  Dig!

 

            So then, how are we to observe the Bible as we study it?  Let me give you some steps:

 

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I. OBSERVATION

 

            1. LOOK AT THE WHOLE  The first thing you do when food is placed before you is to look at the whole, get an overview of what is there.  When you feed on God’s Word do the same thing.  Read the passage or book through in one sitting.  Do this several times for a short passage.  Don’t do anything but read it over and over.  Do this for several days.  It’s like looking at a favorite picture or listening to a favorite song, you seem to notice new things each time.  You never get it all the first time!

 

            2. WRITE DOWN QUESTIONS  When you first see that table of food you ask yourself what you like, how was it made, is it good for me, etc.  The same with Bible study.   As you read keep a paper and pencil handy.  After the first few times questions will start coming to mind, things you don’t understand and would like answers for.  Write them down!  In fact, try to write down as many questions as you can.  Don’t worry about answering them now, most will answer themselves as you go along.  However if you don’t ask the question you will never notice the answer when it comes floating by and will miss it!  You won’t answer questions you haven’t asked, so make sure you are thorough, creative, and patient in writing down questions.  Ask yourself, “If Jesus were here, what would I ask Him about this word/verse?”  I cannot overemphasize the importance of developing well the skill of asking the right questions!  Don’t let your questions get in a rut either. 

 

            3. DIVIDE IT INTO PARTS  After you look at the whole and start asking questions (keep adding questions the whole time, you never stop writing questions down) then you divide it into parts.  From the food on the table you divide it into portions and put some on your plate.  You further divide that into portions to eat —  forkfuls.  You can’t shove it all into your mouth at once!  With your Bible passage start breaking it into major sections.  These can then be broken into subsections.  Eventually you will come up with a rough outline.  This you will be constantly changing and improving on, but now is the time to start.  An outline gives you word labels to make large sections easier to grasp and manage.  It forces you to  think through the flow of the passage and discover the relationships of the various parts.  It makes you read between the lines, thus improving your observation.  Of course you keep adding to your list of questions.

 

            4. LOOK CAREFULLY AT THE DETAILS   Now that you have the food broken down on your plate and are starting to eat it, you must make sure you chew it thoroughly.  Neither too little nor too much chewing gets the best results.  Like with food, you will have to learn how much to chew each mouthful of Scripture you work with.  Don’t try to put too much in your mouth at once — that is why it is good to outline and break it down into smaller segments.  Thoroughly work each small segment — looking closely at everything.  Start by asking yourself how the original readers would have seen it.  Suppose you were listening to a pastor read Paul’s letter to you in Ephesus, or you are a Jew in Old Testament times hearing a prophet speak.  What would you understand?  How would you view it?  Look at the Bible through the eyes of the original readers, for it is specifically and directly written to them.  It applies to us today, but wasn’t directed just to us.  It comes to us through their historical context. 

 

 

II. INTERPRETATION

           

            The first step in studying the Bible is OBSERVATION – learning to look carefully, seeing details you overlooked before.  This is like chewing food.  The better your food is chewed the easier it is for your body to digest it.  Digestion is like the second step in Bible study – INTERPRETATION.  Observation gathers the details: facts, questions, insights.  Interpretation brings meaning and organization to these observations and answers to your questions.  You must continue to ask and write down questions during this stage, but now you start to answer your questions.  You don’t start by going through your list of questions one by one, but as you interpret you will find many of the answers are there.  If you would have not asked the question you wouldn’t have recognized the answer, it would have passed by unnoticed.  With the question in your mind you will pick up the answer as it comes along in your interpreting.  For a doctor this is the diagnosis stage when conclusions are drawn.  The same is true of the detective and scientist who must make sense out of the information they have gleaned.

 

            How do we do this in Bible study?  The key to correct understanding of the Bible is to put yourself in the place off the writer and read his mind – what did he have in mind?  Why did he write this?  What would he say it means?  The science that covers this is called “HERMENEUTICS.”  Whole libraries are filled with books on this subject.  We will summarize some of the most important principles to use here.

 

            History  refers to those portions of the Bible which give information about people, places, events, groups or time periods.  Genesis through Ruth and Matthew through Acts are mainly history.  Today we have historical books and novels and biographies.

 

            First of all, lets go back to our analogy of eating. After chewing, food is digested.  The mouth and saliva start breaking down the food into small pieces, but the digestive system breaks it down into something useful for the rest of the body.  Various foods are broken down by different enzymes.  Some foods digest quickly (like carbohydrates) and others slowly (like fats).  The process differs for different kinds of foods.  So it is with Bible study.  Interpreting history is different than doctrine, or poetry, or prophecy.  It is a bit of a different process for each.  We will look at these one at a time.  We will first look at the easiest to digest – history.

 

 

INTERPRETING HISTORY

 

            History can be thought of as being the food group called FATS.  It is composed of dairy products like milk, ice cream, yogurt, butter and cooking oils.  These take longest for the body to digest, and to really understand all about Bible history takes much time because of the different customs and historical events.  Fats give our bodies reserves to fall back on when needed.  Lessons from history give guidance, encouragement, precedents, examples and principles for us to fall back on and use when necessary.  Facts are basic to health  and are the first thing babies need and eat.  Learning basic Bible stories is fundamental for new Christians.  Fats cushion and insulate and allow general good health.  Knowing the historical events and lives of people in the Bible does this in our Christian lives.  Fats are often mixed in with other foods, and history is in other sections of literature, too – like teaching (protein) and poetry (carbohydrates).

 

            Use the principles above to determine the meaning of works in historical sections.  Bible dictionaries (such as Unger’s Bible Dictionary) can offer excellent, easy-to-find helps.  To help you in your own study, though, it is good to use the following questions to help you find answers yourself:

            WHO is involved?                                      HOW did it happen?

WHEN in history did it happen?             HOW did it affect them?

WHERE was it located?                           WHY did it happen?

WHAT happened?                                      WHY is it recorded for us?

                                    WHAT was life like then?

 

 

INTERPRETING TEACHING

 

            Teaching, or doctrine, refers to any communication of ideas from one person to another.  That is why I prefer the word Teaching.  This would include Jesus’ teaching, Paul’s epistles, the preaching of the Old Testament prophets, and many other portions of Scripture.  Literature today of that type would include study books, sermons, how-to books, lectures, educational programs on TV, and non-fiction books of any kind.  It is quite a large area, and one that is very important for Bible study.  It is the most direct means of communicating truth from God to man through His Word.

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            To continue our food analogy, teaching can be thought of as the food group PROTEIN.  It is composed of products like meat, fish, poultry, cheese, eggs and beans.  Protein is necessary for growth of tissue.  Learning the teaching of the Bible is essential for spiritual growth.  Protein is also necessary for repair and maintenance of the body.  We need to keep falling back on what we have learned from the bible’s teaching to repair and maintain our own Christian life.  Learning what the Bible teaches is very important to spiritual health.  Protein is key to a strong structure of bones and muscles and that is the framework for our bodies and all they do.  The teaching sections of the Bible also provide for our spiritual bones and muscles, the inner structure for our Christian life.

 

            One of the most important steps in interpreting a teaching section is to discover the main idea of the section.  In effect, this is what you are doing when you outline and then title a section.  The title should summarize the main idea.  That is very helpful and important for all kinds of Bible literature, but for teaching sections it is a real must.  Think of a good sermon or Bible study you heard recently, or a book you enjoyed — you should be able to summarize it in one or two sentences.  Now think of one which never got hold of you and still remains fuzzy — there was no one main idea.  Remember this when you are teaching or communicating.  Always write down and know your main idea, what you want to convey.  Stick to what your main idea is and don’t add to much extra information.  This is what makes the difference between a good teacher and a not-so-good teacher.  The Bible teaching is done by good teachers, and they always have a main idea.  If you don’t read the writer’s mind and discover it, you won’t be able to correctly interpret the rest of the passage correctly.  Remember, you have direct access to the very mind of the One who wrote it all, so stay in constant contact during this process through prayer.  Do not go further in your Bible study until you can write the main idea of a passage in as few words as possible.  You can and probably will adjust and fine tune this as you go, but you must work hard to make sure this is straight.  It is the foundation for all you will build as you study the passage – make it true!

INTERPRETING POETRY

 

            We hear a lot about carbohydrates today.  Athletes load up on them before times of high output.  We all need them.  They supply energy for our bodies, and they are enjoyable and tasty eating.  Grains, fruits and vegetables provide carbohydrates.   Simple carbohydrates are among the quickest and easiest foods to digest and use.  They are fast-working and productive. 

 

            God Word, our spiritual food, has something similar.  There is a type of literature that is enjoyable and appealing to all.  It is easy to digest and provides quick spiritual energy.  Spiritual meals are made more exciting by it.  It is POETRY.   Poetry is one of the quickest and easiest forms of Bible literature to understand and apply.  It is full of emotion and life and speaks to our hearts.  It provides the quick boost of spiritual energy we sometimes need.  Poetical portions of the Bible include Job, Psalms, Proverbs and Song of Solomon.  There is hardly a book without at least some poetry in it.  Much of what the Old Testament prophets had to say was in poetical form.  Much of it gets lost when the Bible is translated into English.  Still, there is a lot left for us to enjoy.  You’ll never run out of this food item!

 

            One literary devise of special value in understanding poetry is the use of FIGURES OF SPEECH.  While these pop up in all forms of literature, they are especially common in poetry so we are considering them here.  These include rhetorical questions, allegories, types, metaphors, similes and such.

 

            Since Psalms are part of poetry, it is necessary to look at some specific forms of poetry involved in them.  One is the way Jewish poetry rhymes.  It does not rhyme words, like English poetry, or all would be lost in translation.  God knew that, so His poetry rhymes thoughts/ideas.  It is really neat when you get the idea of it.  Basically it is the relationship of the 2nd line to the 1st that makes their poetry ‘rhyme.’  Look to see if the second line in a poetic section repeats, builds upo, or says the opposite of the first line.  That can go far in helping to understand Biblical poetry.

 

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INTERPRETING PARABLES

 

PARABLES can be thought of as spices because both are used to bring out the main flavor of what they are served with.  Parables bring out and illustrate a spiritual truth.  Spices (salt, pepper, sage, ginger, oregano, cinnamon, etc.) do the same thing.  Over use, or trying to get too much out of them, will do more harm than good.  Neither are any good alone, and you couldn’t live on a diet of just them, but when used correctly they are super!  A parable is a short story used to illustrate a truth, like the story or illustrations your pastor uses in his sermons (I hope!).  Aesop used them, so did Jesus.  There are many in the Old Testament, too, although not as common as easy to pick out.

 

            Many of the skill you have been developing in studying the Bible are used in interpreting parables.  Your history QUESTIONS (Who, When, Where, What, How and Why) must be answered correctly.  Also CUSTOMS and practices of how people lived in the time & place the parable is about is of the utmost importance! 

 

 

INTERPRETING PROPHECY

 

PROPHECY can be thought of as being dessert!  It is like pie, cake, cookies, etc.!  These are really part of other food groups,  just as is prophecy (it is part of teaching).  However, desserts have a special role in how they are used.  Dessert is served last, and prophecy is the study of last things.  They both give you something to look forward to.  Again, neither are good as a steady diet of only them.  Overuse undermines health.  They are meant to supplement other, more basic food items.  Dessert, like prophecy, is served in a special time and  way, and thus there are some special principles that apply to eating it, too. 

            Besides the portions of the Bible we consider prophecy (Revelation, Daniel, Ezekiel, Matthew 24-25) we must keep in mind that much of what the Old Testament prophets said was prophetical when it was said. 

            Here, too, there are PROPHECY PRINCIPLES to help you in your study.  Interpret prophecy literally, taking the words in their usual/normal sense.  The same rules of grammar and language apply here, use them!  Don’t make interpreting prophecy harder than it is!  Interpret it in harmony with other prophecy.  It must fit in with the rest of the Bible.  You aren’t going to discover something all scholars have missed, if you do check your work!  Often one prophecy will refer to similar happenings (for example Old Testament prophets often talk about Jesus’ first and second coming in the same prophecy).  The purpose of prophecy is to focus on Christ and give Him the glory.  As you work in the power of the Spirit, He will glorify Christ through it all. 

 

            SYMBOLS can be more difficult.  Again, let the Bible interpret itself.  Just use your common sense. When interpreting a symbol, look for the main characteristic the writer would have seen in it. Symbols are used the same way when used at different places in the Bible.  If you aren’t sure of a meaning, don’t push.  Just make sure your interpretation agrees with the rest of the Bible.

 

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III. APPLICATION

 

APPLICATION is the final step in Bible study.  After the living food of God’s Word is chewed (observation) and digested (interpretation) it is then sent to various parts of the body that need it.  Some vitamins, minerals, calories or whatever go to the muscles, others to the bones, still others to whatever organ is in need of it.  So it is with God’s Word.  The purpose of studying and learning it is to apply it to areas of your life where needed. 

 

            The digestion and application of food, as well as Bible truth, is a gradual but continual process.  How much you get out of it depends on how well you chewed and digested it.  You can’t swallow food whole and expect it to do your body much good.  Unfortunately many people read a passage and then think about how it applies to them.  They don’t come up with much, for the have neglected the first two steps.              Much of what happens after swallowing is out of your hands.  Your body does it.  Much of how the Bible is applied is out of your hands, too.  Only God’s Spirit can really make it work it in your life.  We must be willing to submit to what God teaches us.

 

            Thus application is very, very important – in its proper order.  It is the culmination of the first two steps.  From it comes spiritual health and strength – the goal of all eating.  Application asks and answers the questions: “How should I respond?”, “What should I do with what I’ve learned?”  During the observation and interpretation stages of Bible study you study the Word of God; in application, the Word of God studies you!  In the application process you look for principles, suggestions, commands, etc., that can affect your behavior and make you more like Jesus.

 

APPLICATION QUESTIONS: carefully apply the passage, looking for any:

COMMAND to obey

EXAMPLE to follow

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CHALLENGE to heed

SIN to avoid

TEACHING to learn

ACTION to take

Something to PRAY about

PROMISE to claim

DIFFICULTY to explore

PORTION to memorize

 

RECORDING YOUR APPLICATIONS

 

            Write your applications down on your Bible study papers – either on a separate sheet or with the verses they come from.  I save the color red for this, so it jumps right off  the page and I don’t miss it.  Do it any way you like (highlight it, underline it, box it in, put a star by it, etc.) — just do it!

 

            As God works in your life, record what happens and when this can be a real encouragement for you and others, it will increase your faith in God, and it can be very helpful in praising God.  A spiritual diary is something good to get your children started doing, too.

7. LEARNING TO EAT

 

Answer the following questions.  If you can, email the answers to me at jerry@schmoyer.net.  I will make sure you are correct and offer suggestions to help you as you grow.

 

PRACTICE # 1 (to do in class)

Acts 17:10-12  As soon as it was night, the brothers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. 12 Many of the Jews believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.

 

PRACTICE #2 (to do at home)

James 5:13-18  Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. 14 Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 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. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

     17 Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.

 

OBSERVATION

     Look at the whole

     Write down questions

     Divide into parts

     Look carefully at the details

 

INTERPRETATION

            WHO is involved?                                       

WHEN in history did it happen?              

WHERE was it located?                            

WHAT happened?                                     

            WHAT was life like then?

            HOW did it happen?

HOW did it affect them?

WHY did it happen?

WHY is it recorded for us?

What is the MAIN IDEA of the passage?

 

APPLICATION

COMMAND to obey

EXAMPLE to follow

CHALLENGE to heed

SIN to avoid

TEACHING to learn

ACTION to take

Something to PRAY about

PROMISE to claim

DIFFICULTY to explore

PORTION to memorize


8. LEARNING TO TALK

How can I communicate with God?

 

HOW TO PRAY

            Prayer is powerful (John 14:13-14; 15:7,16; Mark 11:24; 11:22-24; Luke 11:9-10; I John 5:14; Jeremiah 33:3).  There should be six parts to your prayer life, all equally well developed. 

 

1. CONFESSION  (I John 1:9; Psalm 66:18; 51:1).  To confess means to agree with God that the issue at hand is sin (not a mistake, someone else’s fault, etc.) .  Use the lists on page 15-17 to help in this.  After you confess your sin make sure you accept God’s forgiveness (Daniel 9:9,19; Psalm 130:4; 86:5; 78:30; 99:8; 103:3; Amos 7:2).  Only God can forgive sin (Mark 2:7; 11:25; Luke 23:24; 5:24; Matthew 6:14; Colossians 3:13).  God doesn’t over look sin, he forgives because it was paid for with the blood of Jesus on the cross (Hebrews 9:22; Ephesians 4:32; 1:7; I Peter 2:24; 3:18; Luke 24:46-47; Colossians 1:14; John 19:30).  This forgiveness is available to all (Isaiah 53:6; Colossians 2:13; romans 8:1).  When you confess/admit your sin God forgives it.  This means He blots it out (Isaiah 43:25; 1:18; 44:22; Acts 3:19; Colossians 2:14; Psalm 32), casts it behind His back (a place He can’t see it – Isaiah 38:17; Jeremiah 31:34), forgets it (Hebrews 8:12; 10:17; Isaiah 43:25; Jeremiah 31:34), makes it disappear where it will never be found (Jeremiah 50:20), has it vanish like the morning mist at noon (Isaiah 44:22; John 20:31; Matthew 27:51), and casts it into the deepest part of the sea (Micah 7:19) which will then be gone forever (Revelation 21:1). 

 

2. PRAISE  (Psalm 34:1-3; 48:1; Hebrews 13:15).  Praise is glorifying God for Who and What He is.  It is different than thanking Him for things He has done.  We will be praising God for all eternity, so we should start now!  God is pleased with our praise (Psalm 22:3; Hebrews 13:5).  The Bible says there is power in praise (Psalm 22:3).  Praise can be done by word or song.  Make sure you develop a strong praise life (Philippians 4:4; Hebrews 13:15).  Read the following passages and turn them into praise prayers: Exodus 15:1-2; Deuteronomy 10:21; 32:3-4,43; I Samuel 2:1-2; II Samuel 22:4, 50; I Chronicles 16:9,25,31; 29:10-12; II Chronicles 5:12-14; 20:21-22,27; Psalm 8:1-2; 9:1-3; 31:21; 44:8; 40:16; 47:1-3; 68:3-4; 72:18-19; 86:12-13; 104:33; 108:3; 117:1-2; 119:108,175; 138:1-4; 142:7; 149:1,3,6-9; 150:1-6; Isaiah 25:1,9; 38:18-19; 60:18; Daniel 2:20-23; Jeremiah 20:13; Habakkuk 3:17-19; Zechariah 9:9; Luke 1:46-47; Luke 10:21; John 4:23024; Ephesians 1:3; Jude 25; Revelation 4:10-11; 5:5,12-13; 15:3-4.

 

3. THANKSGIVING   (Psalm 116:12; Philippians 4:6; I Thessalonians 5:18).  Thanksgiving is thanking God for what He has done, is doing and is going to do in your life (as well as the lives of others).  We all appreciate being thanked for things we do, and so does God.  Be specific in your thanksgiving.  Remember, everything comes from Him and is for our good (Romans 8:28) so we should thank Him for everything!

 

4. INTERCESSION (Psalm 28:9; James 5:14-20; I Timothy 2:1-4; I Samuel 12:23).  Intercession is prayer for others.  Often it is good to keep a list of prayer requests so you remember to pray for them and so you can mark down the answer, too.   Then thank God for the answer.  Remember God answers EVERY prayer.  The answer is either yes (now), wait (later) or no (never).  Every prayer gets one of these answers.  God is able to do anything, but He isn’t always willing to do what it is we think He should do to bail us out (Daniel 3:17).  Therefore when you pray for others first be sensitive to how God would have you pray.   Don’t be so quick to come up with a solution and make that your prayer.  God may have another solution (better than ours).  Don’t pray solutions to God, pray problems and let Him come up with His own solution.  You’ll find prayers answered more often when you let Him figure out how to take care of something.  Often instead of removing something He gives us grace to endure it (II Corinthians 12:7-10).  Include that option in your prayers for others.

 

5. PETITION  (James 4:2; Hebrews 4:15-16; John 15:7).  Petition means asking God for things for yourself.  This is legitimate.  We shouldn’t always pray just for ourselves, nor should we feel unworthy to ever pray for ourselves.  Much of what I said under “Intercession” above fits in here.  There are some things the Bible says we should ask for: an understanding heart (I Kings 3:7,9), fellowship with other believers (Philemon 4-6), forgiveness (Psalm 25:11,18,20), guidance (Psalm 25:4-5; 27:11), holiness (I Thessalonians 5:23), love (Philippians 1:9-11), mercy (Psalm 6:1-6), power (Ephesians 3:16), spiritual growth (Ephesians 1:17-19) and to know and do God’s will (Colossians 4:12).  As you pray for yourself think of a Bible promise to claim for it.  God promises He will not forget us (Isaiah 49:15), not fail us (Joshua 1:5), will show us what to do (I Samuel 16:3), will help us (Isaiah 41:10) and will strengthen us (Isaiah 41:10). 

 

6. LISTEN  (I Samuel 3:10; Hebrews 1:1-2; 3:15; Psalm 62:5; 46:10)  Good communication is a two-way street.  Pause a few minutes and listen to God talk to you.  You should do that throughout your day.  After all, which is more important: you passing on information to God or Him passing on information to you?  Be still in your mind, let Him put in thoughts, feelings, ideas, etc., that you need.  Be sensitive to His leading.  As with any relationship, the better you know the person the better the communication.  Good, deep communication is difficult with a stranger, but the more time you spend with a person the better you can ‘hear’ them, and that’s true with God, too.  This is an art that takes time to develop. It happen if you don’t work on it!

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THE FIVE FINGER PRAYER

       1. Your thumb is nearest to you.  So begin your prayers by praying for  those closest to you.  They are the easiest to remember.  To pray for our  loved ones is, as C.S. Lewis once said, a “sweet  duty”.

       2. The next finger is the pointing finger.  Pray for those who teach,  instruct and heal.  This includes teachers, doctors, and ministers. They  need support and wisdom in pointing others in the right direction. Keep  them in your prayers.

       3. The next finger is the tallest finger.  It reminds us of our leaders.   Pray for the president, leaders in business and industry, and administrators.  These people shape our nation and guide public opinion. They need God’s guidance.

       4. The fourth finger is our ring finger.  Surprising to many is the fact  that this is our weakest finger; as any piano teacher will testify.  It  should remind us to pray for those who are weak, in trouble or in  pain.   They need your prayers day &night.  You can’t too much for them.

       5. And lastly comes our little finger; the smallest finger of all.  Which  is where we should place ourselves in relation to God and others.  As the  Bible says, “the least shall be the greatest among you.” Your pinky  should remind you to pray for yourself.  By the time you have prayed for the other four groups, your own needs  will be put into proper perspective and you will be able to pray for yourself more effectively.

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UNANSWERED PRAYER

1. LACK OF FAITH  Mt 21:22; James 1:6-7

2. SELFISHNESS  James 4:2-3

3. CARNALITY  Psalm 66:18

4. LACK OF COMPASSION  Prov 21:13

5. LACK OF COMPLIANCE WITH GOD’S WILL  I John 5:14

6. LACK OF DOMESTIC TRANQUILITY  I Peter 3:7

7. PRIDE  Job 35:12-13

8. DISOBEDIENCE  I John 3:22

9. NOT BIENG FILLED WITH HOLY SPIRIT  Ephesians 6:18

10. UNFORGIVING SPIRIT  Mark 11:25

 

PRAYER PROMISES

 

PROMISES TO BELIEVE

 

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone that asks receives, and he that seeks shall find, and to him that knocks it shall be opened.    If you, then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him?”  Matthew 7:7,11

 

And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it  John 14:13-14

 

Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know. Jeremiah 33:3

 

You will call upon me and come and pray to me and I will hear you.  Jeremiah 29:l2

 

CONDITIONS TO MEET

 

If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.  Mt. 21:22

 

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.  Mark 11:24

 

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.  And if we know that he hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of him.  John 5:14:15

 

You don’t have because you don’t ask.  You ask, and don’t receive because you ask for the wrong purpose, that you may consume it upon your selfish desires.    James 4:2-3

 

And whatever we ask, we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.  I John 3:22

 

This is the confidence that we  have in Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us; and if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him.  I John 5:14-15

 

“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, you shall ask what you will and it shall be done for you.”  John 15:7

 

GET INTO THE HABIT OF PRAYER

 

  * Set aside time. Take time when it can best be found, preferably early in the day. Prayers that are not said in the morning tend not be said at all.

 

  * Set a minimum time. Begin modestly but gradually increase in length. Ten minutes is a realistic minimum and a half-hour is within most people’s ability.

 

  * Be faithful. Whatever length of time is decided, it should be firmly kept. Without some discipline, prayer tends to be pushed to the margin even by the most devout – there is always something else to do that appears more pressing or more attractive. There are days when prayer seems less easy and spontaneous and concentration is harder. On these days the offering of time is an act of obedience – which is itself an act of faith.

 

  * Have structure. This can give shape on constancy without constricting your spontaneous approach to God. Begin with acknowledging the presence of God. Adoration follows: praise, awe, and love for who He is. Then follow where the personal situation leads. This might mean thanks for particular benefits or mercies to you and others, admission of sins, and requests for your desires or needs, intercession for the help of others. Don’t worry if one area monopolizes your prayer time – consider this as a principal need of the day.

 

  * Ask. Prayer is not a shopping list of things you’d like to have, yet it is right to bring your hopes before God, and in so doing to test their quality. But you are encouraged and even commanded to ask, so that your relationship with Him includes all aspects of your life. As you make intercession for others, ask that you be made available to be used in God’s service if the opportunity is given.

 

  * Be ambitious but not impatient. All Christians – including the saints – have known periods when there seemed to be no progress. These are times to hold fast to the discipline of prayer, waiting until you are ready to receive God’s calling to new understanding and fresh devotion.

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  * Use a prayer book. There is strength in praying established prayers in addition to your own personal prayers. The insights and phrasing of these prayers can expand your understanding of God. Remember the Lord’s Prayer which gives you a perfect pattern for prayer. Commit to praying it with renewed awareness of the words.

 

  * Prayer is relationship. Essentially prayer brings you into contact with God. Your growth in prayer should be a deepening of that relationship with Him. Like a child who runs eagerly with requests to a loving parent, your sincerity and complete honesty are essential for prayer as you run to the Father.

 

 

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GOOD PRAYER HABITS

Don’t constantly repeat the Lord’s name.

Don’t repeat the same old phrases.

Don’t pray AT others

Don’t pray TO others

Don’t pray showy prayers to impress others

Don’t mumble or talk too softly in public prayer

Do talk naturally but respectfully

Do be definite, don’t wander

Do set aside a certain time for daily private prayer

 

 

 

 

PRAY THE PROBLEM, NOT THE SOLUTION

 

Petition answered, desire unanswered

            Jews desire happiness so ask for meat to eat, but doesn’t make them happy

            Jews want a king so they can be ‘successful’ like other nations but doesn’t happen

            Demons ask to go into pigs so they can be safe but all the pigs drown

 

Petition unanswered, desire answered

            Healed man asks to be with Jesus so he can serve Him, but sent home to serve

            Abraham desires a son so asks if Ishmael can serve God, but gets Isaac instead

            Abraham is concerned for Lots safety so asks God to spare Sodom, Lot OK anyway

 

Petition and desire answered

            Samson asks for strength back to avenge himself, gets both

            Thief on cross asks Jesus to remember him in heaven so he’ll be there, it happens

            Jesus asks for Lazarus to come back to life so bystanders can believe

 

 

 

LEARNING TO TALK

 

  

Answer the following questions.  If you can, email the answers to me at jerry@schmoyer.net.  I will make sure you are correct and offer suggestions to help you as you grow.

 

1. One of our first prayers should be “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1)   TRUE   FALSE

 

2. Christians can now pray in the name of Jesus (John 16:24)  TRUE   FALSE

 

3. As you pray to God, your motive should be to bring glory to yourself (John 14:13)  TRUE   FALSE

 

 

4. Ephesians 2:18 teaches that we pray to the Father through ______________by the ____________________.

 

5. Some of the requirements for effective prayer are:

 

                 ___ Matt. 21:22                a. abide in Christ

                 ___ I John 5:14-15          b. believe

                 ___ I John 3:22                c. ask according to His will

                 ___ James 4:3                d. His Word abide in us (live by the Bible)

                 ___ & ___Jn. 15:7          e. not ask selfishly

                                                            f. live obediently

 

6. What sometimes hinders our prayera (Isa. 59:1-2)? _____________________________

 

7. If you sin, how do you get back on praying ground (Ps. 32:5)? ______________________

 

8. Some of the times you should pray are:

 

           ____I Thess. 5:17            a. when tempted

           ____Heb. 4:16                  b. when afflicted

           ____Matt. 26:41                c. without ceasing

           ____James 5:13              d. morning, noon, and evening

           ____Ps. 55:17                  e. in times of need

 

9. Some of the people for whom you should pray are:

 

          ___ Eph. 6:18                  a. your enemies

          ___ Matt. 5:44                  b. all saints (Christians)

          ___ James 5:14-16        c. all men, kings, those in authority

          ___ I Tim. 2:1-2               d. those who are sick

          ___ I Tim. 2:4                   e. the unsaved

 

10. Some of the things you should pray for are:

        ___ James 1:5                  a. strength

        ___ Acts 4:19                     b. that the Lord will teach you

        ___ Ps. 19:12                    c. boldness to witness

        ___ Ps. 105:4                    d. wisdom

        ___ Ps. 119:33                  e. cleanse me from secret faults

        ___ I Peter 5:7                    f. a knowledge of His will for you

        ___ Col. 1:9                        g. all your cares

 

11.  Prayers were offered from the following physical positions:

 

       ___ Mark 11:25                   a. on His face

       ___ I Kings 19:4                  b. sitting

       ___ Luke 22:41                   c. standing

      ___ Matt. 26:39                    d. kneeling

 

 


9. LEARNING TO WALK

How do I live as a Christian?

 

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            How old does a baby need to be to start to walk?  12 months? 15 months?  What if they are 5 years old and still crawling?  Walking is natural, something healthy babies want to do.  Learning to walk takes time and effort.  It doesn’t come quickly and easily but takes perseverance.  Babies learn to walk one step at a time.  Balance, timing and strength come slowly.  They often fall down and have to get up and try again. 

 

            God says the same is true of a child of His learning to walk spiritually.  He says we are to “walk by the Spirit” (Gal 5:16, 25).  Step by step we must learn how to move through our life each day in a godly manner.  We need to live our daily lives in a way that is honoring and pleasing to Him.   We get our balance, our timing and our strength from the Holy Spirit, not from ourselves.  If we could live the Christian life merely by doing our best there would have been no reason for God to send His Spirit.  He knows we need His help and that the only way we can walk as He wants is by the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

THE TRINITY     Augustine, the distinguished bishop of Hippo in North Africa, was strolling the beaches of the Mediterranean Sea one morning, engaged in deep thought. He was attempting to come to grips with the depths of the doctrine of the Trinity.   He was interrupted in his thoughts when he stopped to watch a little fellow running toward the ocean with a bucket. He watched with amusement as the little guy filled his pail with water and hurried back up the beach to pour it into a little hole he had pawed into the sand. Within seconds the sea water soaked into sunbaked, thirsty sand.  Then the bishop’s eyes followed the little boy down to the ocean again, and then back up to the hole. Once again the little guy poured the water into the hole, and once again the sand swallowed it up greedily.  “What are you trying to do?”, asked Augustine with a smile. The little boy, a little annoyed at being interrupted in the middle of his busy task, replied, “I’m trying to put the ocean into this hole.”  Suddenly, it dawned on Augustine that he was behaving much like this little fellow. He was trying to cram the ocean of God’s truth into his little box of brains and was having no more success than the little boy with his bucket.

            If you are confused about the Trinity, you’re on the right path!  That three can be one and one three doesn’t compute mathematically or in our  minds, yet both truths are taught in the Bible.  There is only one God, but in the unity of the godhead there are three eternal and coequal persons, the same in substance but distinct in subsistence.

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GOD IS ONE  Deuteronomy 6:4 says,  “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.”  This has become the motto of Judaism,  which sees Christians as having three Gods.

GOD IS THREE While God is one, God is also three.  This is called the Trinity.  While the word ‘Trinity’ doesn’t appear in the Bible, the truth it conveys does.  The most common word for God is “Elohim” which is plural (“im” in Hebrew is like “s” in English).  God said “Let US make man…” (Gen 1:26) and “Let US go down…” (Gen 11:7).  In the Old Testament it is clear the Angel of the LORD is God, as well as God in heaven (Gen 16:7-13, etc.).  Jesus lay aside the use of His divine attributes when He became man (Phil. 2:7) and did all He did as God by the power of the Holy Spirit (Mt 4:1; Lk 2:27; 4:1, 14; 10:21). 

            The Father is God (John 6:27), the Son is God (Heb. 1:8) and the Spirit is God (Acts 5:3-4).  There are verses which mention all three persons of the Trinity as equally God: Matt 28:19 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 2 Cor 13:14   May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.  At Jesus’ baptism the Son was baptized, the Father spoke and the Spirit came down like a dove (Mt. 3; Mk 1; Lk 3; Jn 1).

THREE AND ONE?   The only solution to this is to believe that God is both three and one.  Both are 100% true.  Our brains aren’t equipped to understand how both can be true any more than we can understand eternity (time without end) or how God is 100% sovereign yet we are 100% responsible for our free will.  There are many programs too complicated for my small home computer to run, there just isn’t enough there to run it.  The Trinity is a program too grand to be run by the human brain.  Just because we can’t understand it doesn’t negate it.  Who are we but tiny specks on a tiny speck (the earth) to think we can understand the Mind of the One who created and runs the whole universe? 

 

 

THE HOLY SPIRIT       It is said that a certain guide lived in the deserts of Arabia who never lost his way.  He carried with him a homing pigeon with a very fine cord attached to one of its legs.  When in doubt as to which path to take, he threw the bird into the air.  The pigeon quickly strained at the cord to fly in the direction of home, and thus led the guide accurately to his goal.  Because of this unique practice he was known as “the dove man.”  So, too, the Holy Spirit, the heavenly Dove, is willing and able to direct us in the narrow way that leads to the more abundant life if in humble self-denial we submit to His unerring supervision.

            There is probably more serious disagreement among Christians today over the Holy Spirit than any other important theological doctrine.   Denominations, churches, even families are split over this.  Who and what is the Holy Spirit?  What is His role today? 

SPIRIT OR GHOST?  The word used for the third Person of the Trinity is “pneuma” (Greek) which means breath.  This pictures Him as an invisible power (“Spirit”), but certainly no “Ghost.”  The personal pronoun “He” is always used, never “it.”  All His works and attributes also show personality.  He is called God (Acts 5:14) and has all the attributes which God has.

WORKS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT  The Holy Spirit is the means and author of the Bible, revealing and inspiring the writers.  In the Old Testament He came upon and filled believers at times of special need in their lives and ministry.  It is in His power that Jesus ministered and did miracles, for Jesus voluntarily lay aside His divine attributes when He came to earth (Phil. 2:7). 

            Today He is the One Who restrains sin in general (II Thes. 2:7), convicts unbelievers of sin (John 16:8-9), and seals (guarantee of assurance) believers (II Cor. 1:22; Eph. 1:13; 4:30).  He indwells every believer from the moment of salvation (Jn. 7:37-39; 14:16-17; I Cor. 6:19-20), produces the fruit (good works) in believers (Gal. 5:2-16) and baptizes (identifies) all Christians into the Body of Christ (I Cor. 12:13).  He guides and directs believers as well as teaching and reminding them of God’s Word (John 14:26).  He gives spiritual gifts to each believer and through them ministers to the whole Body (1 Cor 12:4-13). 

            We are commanded to be filled (controlled) by the Spirit (Eph 5:18) by continually being in total submission to God (Gal 5:16,25) and not allowing any sin or disobedience in our lives (Eph 4:30; I Thes 5:19). 

            One day a Christian was looking at Niagara Falls with a friend.  The friend observed that Niagara Falls was the most neglected power source in the world!  “No,” said the Christian, “the Holy Spirit is the most neglected power source in the world!”  Are you trying to live the Christian life without God’s Spirit?  It can’t be done.  Man comes “batteries not included.”  The Holy Spirit is our energy source.  Without Him we can’t function in the way were created to function.  What about you — are you trying to run without batteries?  The power is available, free, just use it!

 

 

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HOW TO WALK BY THE SPIRIT

 

            The Bible commands believers to be “filled” with the Holy Spirit.  “Do not get drunk with wine, for that is drunkenness, but be FILLED with the Holy Spirit.”  Eph 5:18 

 

            Being ‘filled’ with the Holy Spirit is not a matter of trying to get more of the Holy Spirit in us.  It’s a matter of us give more of ourselves to God and His Spirit.  When you accept Jesus as Savior the Holy Spirit indwells you and stays as long as you are on this earth.  That is like putting your fist in a glove.  The glove in indwelt with your hand, but it isn’t filled with your hand.  Each finger must totally fill each finger of the glove before the glove is ‘filled’ with the hand.  That’s the way it is with us and God’s Spirit.  For the glove to perform the functions needed it needs to be totally filled with the hand.  In order for the child of God to live the way God wants us to live means we have to be totally filled by His Spirit.

 

            Paul writes about the importance of walking by the Spirit.  Galatians 5:16  So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.   Galatians 5:25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

           

            He warns us to make sure we don’t ‘grieve’ the Spirit.  Ephesians 4:30  And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. This means we aren’t to do anything that will make the Spirit sad.  When that happens the Spirit doesn’t leave us, but that sin does keep us from being totally filled by the Spirit.  Thus we don’t enjoy His presence, power and protection as we otherwise would.

 

            The other danger we are warned to watch out for is ‘quenching’ the Spirit.  1 Thessalonians 5:19  Do not quench the Spirit (‘put out the Spirit’s fire’).  The picture here is of taking a hose or straw and bending it so a kink prevents free flow of fluids through it.  Sin or any kind of disobedience in our lives will prevent God’s Spirit from totally filling and flowing through us as He desires and we need. 

 

            Jesus talks about this same principle in John 15:1-8.  He tells His disciples that they must ‘abide’ in Him.  That means they must stay connected to Him, depend on Him, remain close to Him.  That is the only way fruit can be produced.  A branch not connected to the vine, no matter how close otherwise, will not produce fruit. 

 

            Paul also uses the analogy of crucifixion to picture the same truth.  “I have been crucified with Christ; and 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 delivered Himself up for me.”   Galatians 2:20

 

A man who drank heavily was converted to Christ and lived victoriously for several weeks.  One day as he passed the open door of a tavern, the pungent odor drifting out aroused his old appetite for liquor.  Just then he saw this sign in the window of a nearby cafe: “All the buttermilk you can drink — 25 cents!” Dashing inside, he ordered one glass, then another, and still another.  After finishing the third he walked past the saloon and was no longer tempted.  He was so full of buttermilk that he had no room for that which would be injurious to him.  The lesson is clear:  to be victorious over our evil desires, we must leave no opportunity for them to repossess us.

 

Dwight L. Moody once demonstrated the principle like this: “Tell me,” he said to his audience, “how can I get the air out of the tumbler I have in my hand?”  One man said, “Suck it out with a pump.” But the evangelist replied, “That would create a vacuum and shatter it.”  Finally after many suggestions, moody picked up a pitcher and quietly filled the glass with water.  “There,” he said, “all the air is now removed.”  He then explained that victory for the child of God does not come by working hard to eliminate sinful habits, but rather by allowing the Holy Spirit to take full possession.

 

To live the Spirit-filled life you must be absolutely and thoroughly convinced you can do nothing apart from the indwelling strength of the Holy Spirit.  The Spirit-controlled life begins with an overwhelming realization that we are absolutely helpless and hopeless apart from the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.

 

Step I = SALVATION – A mental decision to accept God’s free gift of salvation & stop refusing it.

                        Once made, you can never go back on this.  You will never lost salvation.

Step II = COMMITMENT -A mental decision to live as a disciple of Jesus and not for self, to put

                        Jesus first and obey Him in all things.  This needs to be reaffirmed often.

Step III = CONTROL BY HOLY SPIRIT – A mental decision to depend on & be sensitive to His strength and leading and not your own.  This needs to be reaffirmed constantly.

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NATURAL, CARNAL AND SPIRITUAL MAN

 

1 Cor 3:1-3  1 Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly — mere infants in Christ. 2 I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. 3 You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men?

 

            Notice the three circles below.  The first, NATURAL, is the way we all naturally are.  Self is on the throne and Christ (the cross) is not in their live.  This is true of all unbelievers, and was true of us before we were born into God’s family.

 

            In the second circle we now see a person who is a Christian, who is born again, for Christ (the cross) is in his life,  Unfortunately he still is in control of his own life, self in on the throne.  Thus he is called CARNAL.  Carnos is the Greek word for ‘flesh’ and this person still is living to please his flesh, not by the power of the Spirit.

 

            The third circle, the SPIRITUAL man, is the way God wants us to be.  Christ (the cross) is not only in his life but is on the throne.  Self is off the throne.  This person lives for God by the power of the Spirit. 

 

            Notice that the last 2 circles, Carnal and Spiritual, both are Christians and both will go to heaven when they die.  However the middle circle, carnal, doesn’t show that in his daily life.  He lives and acts just like a natural man.  Thus the first two circles look alike to those who know them.  Only the spiritual person acts like a Christian.

 

            Which one of these circles best describes where you are spiritually?

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My Heart Christ’s Home

Original text by – Robert Boyd Munger

 

“If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” [John 14:23]

One evening I invited Jesus Christ into my heart. What an entrance He made! It was not a spectacular, emotional thing, but very real. Something happened at the very center of my life. He came into the darkness of my heart and turned on the light. He built a fire on the hearth and banished the chill. He started music where there had been stillness, and He filled the emptiness with His own loving, wonderful fellowship. I have never regretted opening the door to Christ and I never will.  In the joy of this new relationship I said to Jesus Christ, “Lord, I want this heart of mine to be Yours. I want to have You settle down here and be perfectly at home. Everything I have belongs to You. Let me show You around.”

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The first room was THE STUDY– the library. In my home this room of the mind is a very small room with very thick walls. But it is a very important room. In a sense, it is the control room of the house. He entered with me and looked around at the books in the bookcase, the magazines upon the table, the pictures on the walls. As I followed His gaze I became uncomfortable.

Strangely, I had not felt self-conscious about this before, but now that He was there looking at these things I was embarrassed. Some books were there that His eyes were too pure to behold. On the table were a few magazines that a Christian had no business reading. As for the pictures on the walls – the imaginations and thoughts of the mind – some of these were shameful.  Red-faced, I turned to Him and said, “Master, I know that this room needs to be cleaned up and made over. Will You help me make it what it ought to be?”

“Certainly!” He said. “I’m glad to help you. First of all, take all the things that you are reading and looking at which are not helpful, pure, good and true, and throw them out! Now put on the empty shelves the books of the Bible. Fill the library with Scripture and meditate on it day and night. As for the pictures on the walls, you will have difficulty controlling these images, but I have something that will help.” He gave me a full-size portrait of Himself. “Hang this centrally,” He said, “on the wall of the mind.”  I did, and I have discovered through the years that when my thoughts are centered upon Christ Himself, His purity and power cause impure thoughts to back away. So He has helped me to bring my thoughts under His control.

clip_image089From the study we went into THE DINING ROOM, the room of appetites and desires. I spent a lot of time and hard work here trying to satisfy my wants.  I said to Him, “This is a favorite room. I am quite sure You will be pleased with what we serve.”  He seated Himself at the table with me and asked, “What is on the menu for dinner?” “Well,” I said, “my favorite dishes: mone, academic degrees and stocks, with newspaper articles of fame and fortune as side dishes.” These were the things I liked – secular fare.

When the food was placed before Him, He said nothing, but I observed that He did not eat it. I said to Him, “Master, don’t You care for this food? What is the trouble?”

He answered, “I have food to eat that you do not know of. If you want food that really satisfies you, do the will of the Father. Stop seeking your own pleasures, desires, and satisfaction. Seek to please Him. That food will satisfy you.”  There at the table He gave me a taste of the joy of doing God’s will. What flavor! There is no food like it in all the world. It alone satisfies.

clip_image091From the dining room we walked into THE LIVING ROOM. This room was intimate and comfortable. I liked it. It had a fireplace, overstuffed chairs, a sofa, and a quiet atmosphere.  He said, “This is indeed a delightful room. Let us come here often. It is secluded and quiet, and we can fellowship together.”  Well, as a young Christian I was thrilled. I couldn’t think of anything I would rather do than have a few minutes with Christ in close companionship. He promised, “I will be here early every morning. Meet me here, and we will start the day together.”

So morning after morning, I would come downstairs to the living room. He would take a book of the Bible from the case. We would open it and read together. He would unfold to me the wonder of God’s saving truths. My heart sang as He shared the love and the grace He had toward me. These were wonderful times.

However, little by little, under the pressure of many responsibilities, this time began to be shortened. Why, I’m not sure. I thought I was too busy to spend regular time with Christ. This was not intentional, you understand. It just happened that way. Finally, not only was the time shortened, but I began to miss days now and then. Urgent matters would crowd out the quiet times of conversation with Jesus.

I remember one morning rushing downstairs, eager to be on my way. I passed the living room and noticed that the door was open.  Looking in, I saw a fire in the fireplace and Jesus was sitting there. Suddenly in dismay I thought to myself, “He is my guest. I invited Him into my heart! He has come as my Savior and Friend, and yet I am neglecting Him.”

I stopped, turned and hesitantly went in. With downcast glance, I said, “Master, forgive me. Have You been here all these mornings?” “Yes,” He said, “I told you I would be here every morning to meet with you. Remember, I love you. I have redeemed you at great cost. I value your fellowship. Even if you cannot keep the quiet time for your own sake, do it for mine.”

The truth that Christ desires my companionship, that He wants me to be with Him and waits for me, has done more to transform my quiet time with God than any other single fact. Don’t let Christ wait alone in the living room of your heart, but every day find time when, with your Bible and in prayer, you may be together with Him.

clip_image093Before long, He asked, “Do you have A WORKROOMin your home?” Out in the garage of the home of my heart I had a workbench and some equipment, but I was not doing much with it. Once in a while I would play around with a few little gadgets, but I wasn’t producing anything substantial.

I led Him out there. He looked over the workbench and said, “Well, this is quite well furnished. What are you producing with your life for the Kingdom of God?” He looked at one or two little toys that I had thrown together on the bench and held one up to me. “Is this the sort of thing you are doing for others in your Christian life?”

“Well,” I said, “Lord, I know it isn’t much, and I really want to do more, but after all, I don’t seem to have strength or skill to do more.”  “Would you like to do better?” He asked.  “Certainly,” I replied.  “All right. Let me have your hands. Now relax in me and let my Spirit work through you. I know that you are unskilled, clumsy and awkward, but the Holy Spirit is the Master Workman, and if He controls your hands and your heart, He will work through you.” Stepping around behind me and putting His great, strong hands under mine, He held the tools in His skilled fingers and began to work through me. The more I relaxed and trusted Him, the more He was able to do with my life.

clip_image095He asked me if I had a RECREATION ROOMwhere I went for fun and fellowship. I was hoping He would not ask about that. There were certain associations and activities that I wanted to keep for myself.  One evening when I was on my way out with some of my buddies, He stopped me with a glance and asked, “Are you going out?”

I replied, “Yes.”  “Good,” He said, “I would like to go with you.”  “Oh,” I answered rather awkwardly. “I don’t think, Lord Jesus, that You would really enjoy where we are going. Let’s go out together tomorrow night. Tomorrow night we will go to a Bible class at church, but tonight I have another appointment.”  “I’m sorry,” He said. “I thought that when I came into your home, we were going to do everything together, to be close companions. I just want you to know that I am willing to go with you.”  “Well,” I mumbled, slipping out the door, “we will go someplace together tomorrow night.”

That evening I spent some miserable hours. I felt rotten. What kind of friend was I to Jesus, deliberately leaving Him out of my life, doing things and going places that I knew very well He would not enjoy?  When I returned that evening, there was a light in His room, and I went up to talk it over with Him. I said, “Lord, I have learned my lesson. I know now that I can’t have a good time without You. From now on, we will do everything together.”  Then we went down into the rec room of the house. He transformed it. He brought new friends, new excitement, new joys. Laughter and music have been ringing through the house ever since.

clip_image097One day I found Him waiting for me at the door. An arresting look was in His eye. As I entered, He said to me, “There is a peculiar odor in the house. Something must be dead around here. It’s upstairs. I think it is in ZTHE HALL CLOSET.”

As soon as He said this, I knew what He was talking about. There was a small closet up there on the hall landing, just a few feet square. In that closet, behind lock and key, I had one or two little personal things that I did not want anyone to know about. Certainly, I did not want Christ to see them. I knew they were dead and rotting things left over from the old life. I wanted them so for myself that I was afraid to admit they were there.

Reluctantly, I went up with Him, and as we mounted the stairs the odor became stronger and stronger. He pointed to the door. I was angry. That’s the only way I can put it. I had given Him access to the library, the dining room, the living room, the workroom, the rec room, and now He was asking me about a little two-by-four closet. I said to myself, “This is too much. I am not going to give Him the key.”  “Well,” He said, reading my thoughts, “if you think I’m going to stay up here on the second floor with this smell, you are mistaken. I will go out on the porch.” Then I saw Him start down the stairs.

When one comes to know and love Christ, the worst thing that can happen is to sense Him withdrawing His fellowship. I had to give in.  “I’ll give You the key,” I said sadly, “but You will have to open the closet and clean it out. I haven’t the strength to do it.” “Just give me the key,” He said. “Authorize me to take care of that closet and I will.”  With trembling fingers I passed the key to Him. He took it, walked over to the door, opened it, entered, took out all the putrefying stuff that was rotting there, and threw it away. Then He cleaned the closet and painted it. It was done in a moment’s time. Oh, what victory and release to have that dead thing out of my life! clip_image099A thought came to me. “Lord, is there any chance that You would take over the management of the whole house and operate it for me as You did that closet? Would You take the responsibility to keep my life what it ought to be?”  His face lit up as He replied, “I’d love to! That is what I want to do. You cannot be a victorious Christian in your own strength. Let me do it through you and for you. That is the way. But,” He added slowly, “I am just a guest. I have no authority to proceed, since the property is not mine.”

Dropping to my knees, I said, “Lord, You have been a guest and I have been the host. From now on I am going to be the servant. You are going to be the owner and Master.”  Running as fast as I could to the strongbox, I took out THE TITLE DEEDto the house describing its assets and liabilities, location and situation. I eagerly signed the house over to Him alone for time and eternity. “Here,” I said. “Here it is, all that I am and have, forever. Now You run the house. I’ll just remain with You as a servant and friend.”

Things are different since Jesus Christ has settled down and has made His home in my heart.

LEARNING TO WALK

 

 

Answer the following questions.  If you can, email the answers to me at jerry@schmoyer.net.  I will make sure you are correct and offer suggestions to help you as you grow.

 

1. John 16:13-14 says the Holy Spirit will not speak of Christ but will glorify Himself   T  F

 

2. The Holy Spirit is called:

     ___John 14:16              a. Spirit of God & Christ

    ___John 14:17              b. eternal Spirit

    ___Heb. 10:29              c. The Comforter

    ___Rom. 1:4                 d. Spirit of Truth

    ___Rom. 8:2                 e. Spirit of Grace

    ___Eph. 1:17                f. Spirit of Holiness

    ___Heb. 9:14               g. Spirit of wisdom & revelation

    ___Romans 8:9          h. Spirit of Power & love

    ___II Tim. 1:7               i. Spirit of life

 

3. All Christians have been:

     ___John 3:5-6             a. indwelled by Holy Spirit

    ___Eph. 1:13               b. baptized into Body of Christ

    ___I Cor. 12:13           c.  born of the Spirit

    ___I Cor. 6:19             d.  sealed by the Spirit

    ___Eph. 5:18              e. commanded to be filled by HS

   

4. There are 3 classes of men mentioned in I Co. 2:14  –  3:4

     ___carnal man           a. the unyielded Christians living by own power

    ___Spiritual man       b. Christian living by power & guidance of Holy Spirit

 

5. If you permit Him, the Holy Spirit will:

    ___Rom. 8:26 & 27    a. strengthen you

   ___Rom. 5:5                b. lead you

   ___I Co. 2:12               c. help you pray

   ___I Cor. 2:13             d. teach you

   ___Rom. 8:16             e. shed the love of God in you

   ___Eph. 3:16               f. show what God has given you

   ___Rom. 8:14             g. assure you of salvation

 

6. When the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit they became very timid (Acts 4:31)   T    F

 

7.To remain filled with the Holy Spirit you must not  ___________ or  _____________ Him (Eph. 4:30 & I Thess. 5:19)

 

8. If you sin and fellowship with God is broken, how can you get back into fellowship (I John 1:9):                   ___do penance

       ___be rebaptized

      ___confess your sin to God

 

9. Romans 12:1 says you are to:

      ___do the best you can

     ____keep the 10 Commandments

     ____present yourself to God to be used by Him

10. WALKING WITHOUT STUMBLING

How can I walk without falling down?

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          When a young child starts learning to walk he must be very careful.  He focuses on every step, goes slowly and is very careful, but still it is easy to lost balance and fall.  As he grows older and stronger and gets more experienced he still is in danger of falling but not as much.  There will always be the danger of tripping and falling, but time and alertness can help prevent many falls.

 

          The same is true of new Christians.  It’s easy for a new believer to be tripped up and sin for everything is so new.  It takes time to develop spiritual balance, rely on God’s strength, and not have to focus on every movement.  Still, there is always the danger of tripping and falling, no matter how long one has been a Christian.  The key to walking in our Christian life without stumbling is to keep our eyes on Jesus.

 

          Picture yourself walking down a street.  Jesus is at the far end and that’s where you are headed.  Your goal is to be like Jesus.  On either side of the street as you walk are store fronts, activities, distractions – anything to get our eyes off of Jesus and cause us to change our direction even so slightly.  When we do we stumble and fall. 

 

          The things that distract us are attractions of the world.  Satan puts temptations in our way as well.  Then, too, our sin nature makes it natural for us to deviate from God’s ways.  Our normal tendency is to live for our self and wanting to meet our needs and desires right away.  Much of our sin comes because we are trying to meet a legitimate need in an illegitimate way.

 

          Satan uses lies to deceive us and we are all too quick to fall for them.  Usually we don’t realize they are lies until we find ourselves flat on our faces. 

         

TEMPTATION

 

          You must remember that being tempted to sin isn’t the same as sinning (Matthew 5:27).  Just because you are tempted doesn’t mean you have sinned.  You don’t have to confess being tempted and ask God to forgive you. 

 

          Also we must remember that God never tempts us to sin.  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; 14 but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.

 

          Temptation is like coming to a “Y” in a road.  You have an option to go in either direction, right or left.  There is no choice until there are 2 options, one right and one wrong.  The wrong way is the way Satan tempts us.  It is the way of sin.  Instead of trusting God’s provision in His own way and time, we try to meet that need in our own way right now.  The other path in the road is testing.  God wants us to trust Him and live His way so we can see Him work in our lives. 

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          One of Satan’s biggest lies to us is that the temptation is so strong we have to give in to it, we can’t help ourselves.  We can’t resist.  The Bible says this will never happen.  1 Cor 10:13   No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

 

          When we do give in to temptation and sin the solution is given in 1 John 1:9  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.   If we confess our know sin, He forgives us for ALL our sins, even the ones we aren’t aware of.  That is more than fair!  Our part, however, is to ‘confess’ the sin.  That means ‘agree with God,’ ‘say the same thing about the sin as God says.’  When you recognize your sin is your fault, not someone else’s fault, and when you take that blame yourself, then you are confessing your sin.  You are seeing your sin as God sees it – so bad that Jesus had to die for it.  If that would have been the only sin that anyone would have ever committed, Jesus would still have had to go to the cross.  That’s how awful sin is.  No wonder God hates it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SUFFERING

 

          Closely related to the area of temptation is the area of suffering, for that often causes us to stumble and fall quicker than anything else.  Before salvation people feel that everything in life should go well and that if it doesn’t that is just bad luck.  They see no God in control of everything and having a plan and purpose for everything that happens.  They don’t appreciate the role of stretching and suffering in maturing them.  It takes awhile after salvation for them to make these adjustments in perspective.  It is important, though, to submit to whatever God has come our way in life.  If we don’t, if we blame Him or others or if we take things into our own hands, then we have stumbled and fallen for we have stopped trusting in God and His sovereign love. 

 

WHAT SHOULD BE OUR ATTITUDE TO SUFFERING?

 

a. UNBELIEVER

 

        1. Consequences of sin in the universe

“Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you …Genesis 3:17, 18

        2. Consequences of own sin, folly

            FREE WILL CHOICES in which we reap the consequences

                        Physical care of body, financial misuse of money, treat others wrong

            COMPANY spends $1 on computers, expert installs them, teaches how to use

                        They leaves, company throws instructional manuals away, does whatever

                                    Things go wrong – blame manufacturer!

 

        3. To Bring to salvation

 

 

b. BELIEVER

 

        1. DESERVED SUFFERING

                   a. Consequences of sin in the universe, us all guilty with Adam

“Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you …Genesis 3:17, 18

                             b. Break rules of government, nature

                                                Disobey laws of nature, gov.

                        FREE WILL CHOICES in which we reap the consequences

                        Physical care of body, financial misuse of money, treat others wrong

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                             c. God’s discipline for sin

                                                Disobey laws of God

                                                            and don’t confess

                                                To make us more like Jesus

 

        2. UNDESERVED SUFFERING

                                    compare/contrast

                                                discipline & punishment

                                                like parent to child

There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.  Romans 8:1

            Judgment for sin: paid for on cross

He who has begun a good work in you will carry it out until the day of Christ Jesus.

Workman stranded on top of building, drops stones to get attention, bigger and bigger, until look up.

Shepherd in Palestine – break sheep’s leg to cause him to trust God and depend on Him

GOD; As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Rev. 3:19

The Lord disciplines those He loves, and corrects everyone he accepts as a son.Heb 12:6

Blessed is the man whom God corrects, so do not despise the discipline of the AlmightyJob 5:17

DAVID: Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I have kept thy word.

 

a. CONFLICT BETWEEN SATAN & GOD   Job 1-2

 

b. PRESENTS GOD’S MESSAGE  Hosea

            What we go through for God teaches others @ Him

 

c. TEACHES OBEDIENCE TO GOD  Heb 5:8 Phil 2:8

Jesus learned obedience by the things he suffered.  Heb 5:8

God made Jesus perfect (mature) through suffering.  Hebrews 2:10

 

d. CAUSES US TO LEAN ON GOD’S GRACE

            Paul’s thorn in the flesh

“My grace is sufficient for you”, for when I am weak then I am strong.   Paul

e. BRINGS US CLOSER TO CHRIST    I Peter 1:7-8  Isa 49:2

Makes us more like Jesus:

 

f. DEMONSTRATES GOD’S POWER  John 13:16; 16:33; I Peter 1:13

As He works through us

 

g. MANIFESTS THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT  II Cor 4:8-11  Eph 5

            As we respond by HS within

 

h. HELPS OTHERS WHO SUFFER       II Cor 1:3-4

 

 

 

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HOW SHOULD WE RESPOND TO SUFFERING?

 

a. IF UNBELIEVER

            Salvation

 

b. IF BELIEVER IN SIN

            Confess sin

            God turns suffering to good

All things work for the good of those who love God – Romans 8:28

 

c. IF BELIEVER AND NOT IN SIN

 

1. Make sure you are in God’s will

Those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.  I Peter 4:19

 

2. Realize God is doing it for our benefit

Every branch that bears fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.  John 15:2

All things work together for Good for the benefit of those who love Him.  Romans 8:28

 

3. Later we will know better why He allows it

Jesus said, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”  John 13:7

 

4. Don’t be ashamed of suffering, difficulties

If you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed but praise God that you bear that name.  I Peter 4:16

 

                   5. Trust God and draw closer to Him

For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

 

BLESSING THROUGH TRIALS

 

Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.  Ps. 126:5

 

As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem.  Isa. 66:13

 

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  Romans 8:28

 

You know the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  James 1:3

 

No temptation/testing has seized you except what is common to man.  And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted/tested beyond what you can bear.  But when you are tempted/tested, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. 1 Cor. 10:13

 

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield.  Ps. 91:4

 

“Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.  He will call upon me and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble I will deliver him & honor him.  With long life will I satisfy him & show him my salvation.  Psalm 91:14-16

 

MANKIND

 

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          An American Indian tells about a brave who found an eagle’s egg and put it into the nest of a prairie chicken. The eaglet hatched with the brood of chicks and grew up with them. All his life, the changeling eagle, thinking he was a prairie chicken, did what the prairie chickens did. He scratched in the dirt for seeds and insects to eat. He clucked and cackled. And he flew in a brief thrashing of wings and flurry of feathers no more than a few feet off the ground. After all, that’s how prairie chickens were supposed to fly. Years passed. And the changeling eagle grew very old. One day, he saw a magnificent bird far above him in the cloudless sky. Hanging with graceful majesty on the powerful wind currents, it soared with scarcely a beat of its strong golden wings. “What a beautiful bird!” said the changeling eagle to his neighbor. “What is it?” “That’s an eagle–the chief of the birds,” the neighbor clucked. “But don’t give it a second thought. You could never be like him.” So the changeling eagle never gave it another thought. And it died thinking it was a prairie chicken.

 

          Many people are like that today.  Despite all the New Age claims that we are ‘gods,’ all those without Christ are living an empty, earthbound existence, not realizing the tremendous blessing that is theirs by God’s creation.  Just who is this ‘eagle’ that so often chooses to live like a chicken?

 

MAN’S CREATION  God created man in His own image (Gen 1:27).  This means that man, like God (and the angels) has a mind (rational intelligence), a will (free to make his own choices) and emotions (can feel and experience).  Man was created on the 6th day of God’s creative activity (Gen 2:7-25), about six or seven thousand years ago. 

 

MAN’S NATURE  Man is different from animals in many ways.  Only man is made in God’s image (Gen 1:27), only man had God breathe life into him, and only man has an immaterial part that will live forever.  Man is physical (body) but also nonphysical (soul, spirit).  Some see the soul and spirit as separate parts of man, the soul being the part that relates to man and the spirit that which relates to God and only comes alive at the new birth (I Thes 5:23).  Others feel that the soul and spirit are used interchangeably (John 12:27; 13:21).  Whatever the breakdown, there is definitely a part of man that will live forever, in heaven or hell.

 

          Man is created not just a little higher than the animals, but a little lower than the angels.  The Bible says:  “You have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings” (Psalm 8:5; Heb 2:7,9).   Modern man’s “greatest dilemma” is an identity crisis brought on by the fact that man is no longer viewed as a little lower than the angels. We almost all think of ourselves as a little higher than the animals (or on an equal footing with them).   The central teaching of the Scripture about the dignity of man is that we have been imputed or infused by God with a nature that is not only a little higher than the animals, but — a little lower than the angels.   In our new bodies, when we rule and reign with God for all eternity, we will be superior to the angels (I Cor 6:3).     It’s this image of God spoken about in the Bible that makes the distinction between man and the animals.

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MAN’S PURPOSE  God planned man’s creation even before He planned the creation of the world  (Eph. 1:4), because we are more special to Him than even the world (Psalm 139).  Man was created to have fellowship and communion with God, to walk and talk with God in Eden (Gen 2:15-17).  That ended when sin entered, for sin separates man from God, but it was God’s original intention (we could even say ‘need’) to have a close personal relationship with man.  God Himself left heaven and came to earth to pay for man’s sins on the cross so that close fellowship could be restored.  By accepting Jesus as our Savior we can know that we will have that fellowship with God in heaven for all eternity (John 3:3, 7).

 

          Satan caused this separation, this sin, by telling man he could be ‘like god’ (Gen 3:5) on his own, without God.  That is still Satan’s lie today, that all are ‘gods’ and don’t need God.  Yet without a real relationship with the living God, man continues to scratch around like chickens, only dreaming of soaring with eagles.

 

          Yet despite this separation between God and man, Christians can still bring honor and glory to God (I Cor 10:31; Eph 1:12).  This is our main purpose and goal in life, the reason we live.  It is not to please ourselves nor to get God to serve us.  It is for us to serve Him.  We are to do His will and work.

 

          Man was created to have dominion over the rest of creation (Gen 1:26,28).  By sinning, Adam turned over rulership of this earth to Satan, who is now the prince of this world (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; Eph 2:2).  Jesus bought it back on the cross (Romans 5) and will one day come back and claim ownership of His creation by sending Satan and his forces to eternal torment in hell (Rev 20:1-3, 10). 

 

          When this happens born-again (John 3) people will be restored to his original state of innocence and fellowship with God (Rom 6:4; II Cor 5:20). 

 

          Man really only meets his potential when he humbles himself to serve and worship God.  Of all creatures, only man has this privilege.  Only in this way does he soar like the eagle he was created to be.  What a shame that so many continue to walk around like a chicken, not realizing the tremendous blessings God built into them if they would just acknowledge Him as creator and Lord and accept His free gift of salvation!

 

          One day God will give His children a new body, an eternal version updated and adapted to live forever (I Cor 15:42-44).  Then this old chicken will really soar like an eagle!

 

 

WALKING WITHOUT STUMBLING

  

Answer the following questions.  If you can, email the answers to me at jerry@schmoyer.net.  I will make sure you are correct and offer suggestions to help you as you grow.

 

MEMORY VERSES:

  James 1:14         Romans 13:14

  I Co. 10:13           I Peter 4:12

  James 1:12         Hebrews 2:18

 

1. There is no danger in getting involved in sinful things because once we have received Christ we will be free from temptation (Gal. 6:1) TRUE   FALSE

 

2. A child of God can safely say he cannot sin. (I Jon 1:8, 10)

 

3. God sometimes tempts us to sin (James 1:13).    TRUE   FALSE

 

4. Who is your chief enemy (IPeter 5:8)? _____________________

 

5. Satan is also called:

     ___Matthew 4:3                                   a. god of this world

     ___John 8:44                                       b. tempter

    ___II Corinthians 4:4                           c. Satan

     ___Romans 16:20                              d. a liar

    ____II Corinthians 11:14                    e. appears as an angel of light

 

6. Satan has ______________________ (I Timothy 3:7) and _______________________ (II Corinthians 2:11) to get Christians t sin.

 

7. You should __________________ to God and ________________________Satan (James 4:7).  At times it may be wise to ________ temptation (I Tim. 6:11).

 

8. Jesus met temptation by quoting Scripture (Mt. 4:6).   TRUE   FALSE

 

9. How can you follow Jesus’ example in quoting Scripture? (Psalm 119:11) _______________

 

10. According to Proverbs 4:14, Ephesians 4:27, and Romans 13:14, you should not go to places or be with people whom Satan causes to tempt you to sin.    TRUE    FALSE

 

11. Satan will tempt you to do things you do not like to do  (James 1:14).  TRUE   FALSE

 

12. Sometimes a Christian is tempted by something greater than he is able to resist and he cannot help sinning (I Cor. 10:13).  TRUE   FALSE

 

13. Christ is able to help you when you are tempted because He also was tempted (Heb. 4:15).  TRUE   FALSE

 

14. Who will give you victory over temptation (II Peter 1:9; I Cor. 15:57) ? _________________

 

15. Will God reward those who are victorious in times of testing and temptation (James 1:12)


11. WASHING & SPANKING

What happens when I sin?

 

SALVATION – TOTAL CLEANSING

 

          Lost in the jungle, a man sought desperately to find his way to safety.  His strength was ebbing fast as the insects and stifling heat did their deadly work.  Suddenly he heard what he thought to be a bell tolling in the distance.  Believing he was nearing civilization, he struggled bravely onward; but he never seemed to draw closer to the sound.  Finally he fell to the ground exhausted, never to rise again. The mysterious bellbird had claimed another victim!  This story is related in detail by G.B. Robeson.  He says that many a traveler in the heart of the rain forest of Central and South America has been led to his death by the uncanny call of this seldom-seen bird.  Its enticing, reverberating “toll” produces an almost overpowering temptation to seek its source.  Similarly, Satan employs subtle devices to ensare the human race. As lost souls seek to disengage themselves from the vines of sin, they are allured by the tempter’s “bell” ringing in the distance.  “At last,” they think, “I’ve found a way of escape,” and so, following the call of the evil one deeper and deeper into the jungle of despair, they are eventually lost for eternity.

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          Many are following the deceptive call of the devil’s “bell-bird” because it “seems right” to them.  O that they might realize the truth of these words before it is too late: “The end thereof are the ways of death.”  Christ, who declared that “no man cometh unto the Father but by me” (John 14:6), is the only One who can lead poor wanderers to the promised land of salvation and safety!

 

THE NEED OF SALVATION  For ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God …  (Romans 3:23).  Because God is holy and perfect, He cannot allow sin in His presence.  Still, He wants man to have fellowship with Him — that’s why He created man.  So He planned to come to earth Himself, and go to the cross as man’s substitute.  By taking the guilt for the sins of the world on Himself, He experienced what we would experience in all eternity in hell, condensed and poured out on Him. Because He was man He could be our replacement.  Because He was sinless He didn’t have sin of His own to pay for and could pay for ours. Because He was God He could experience hell for all of us at once, He had a greater capacity to suffer.  There is nothing we can do to add to salvation, it is all by God.

 

THE PROVISION OF SALVATION  God provided it all, all we do is freely accept His provision.  Ephesians 2:8-9 says:  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith– and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–  not by works, so that no one can boast. 

          John 19:30 says:  When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.  The word it is finished in the Greek means: “paid in full.”  It was written on bills of receipt.  Jesus wasn’t killed for our sin, He suffered and paid for all of it, then, when it was finished and His life’s work completed, He voluntarily died for there was no longer any reason to suffer.  HE paid it all!

 

THE RECEPTION OF SALVATION  Salvation is received by faith.  Romans 3:28 says:  For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law. John 3:16 also says:  “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.  The artist who painted “Jesus at the Door” is said to have purposely left off the knob from the door, for the door represents the human heart, and on that door, the bolt is on the inside.  Jesus stands and knocks.  But he will not come in unless we open the door.

 

THE REJECTION OF SALVATION  Jesus is the only way to God, there is NO other way of salvation (John 14:6).  Rejection of His gift of salvation means eternal condemnation in hell.  “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.” (John 3:36). 

 

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THE TENSES OF SALVATION  At the moment of salvation all past sin and its penalty is removed (II Timothy 1:9; Acts 16:31).  No matter what, it will never be held against us for its penalty has been paid (Romans 8:1).  Sin committed after salvation has also been paid for on the cross, but must be confessed (admitted to – I John 1:9).  Then it is removed.  Unconfessed sin does not endanger our salvation, but hinders our closeness and fellowship with God.  Sin between a husband and wife doesn’t end the marriage but does keep the partners from being able to be close to and enjoy each other.

          While salvation removes the penalty of all sin, it doesn’t remove its power (Philippians 2:12-13; Romans 8:13).  A Christian still has a sin nature and the capacity to sin just as much as an unbeliever.  Lot is an good example of that (Genesis 13:12, 19:29-38; II Peter 2:7).  While we CAN sin, we don’t HAVE to sin!  Sin’s power is just as strong, but now instead of being powerless to resist, we have a greater Power, the Holy Spirit, and don’t HAVE to sin any more.  We are free from the power of sin, but not yet from the presence of sin.

          In the future, when we are in heaven, we will be free from the very presence of sin and our sin nature will be gone (Romans 13:11; Titus 2:12-13).  That is guaranteed to every one who accepts God’s free gift of salvation.

 

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THE SECURITY OF SALVATION  Salvation cannot be lost or returned.  Once a person is born into God’s family, he cannot be ‘unborn’ out of it.  He is part of that family no matter what.  Our keeping our salvation doesn’t depend on our ‘hanging on’ but on God’s faithfulness (II Timothy) and protection (Mt. 12:20; Ps 37:24), steadfastness (John 10:28-29; Romans 8:37-39) and forgiveness (romans 4:6-8). 

 

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SIN AFTER SALVATION – GETTING DIRTY AGAIN

 

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          In the Australian bush country grows a little plant called the “sundew.”  It has a slender stem and tiny round leaves fringed with hairs that glisten with bright drops of liquid as delicate as fine dew.  Woe to the insect, however, that dares to dance around it in the sunny air.  For while its attractive clusters of red, white, and pink blossoms are harmless, the leaves are deadly.  The shiny moisture on each leaf is sticky, and will hold any bug prisoner that touches it. The struggle to get free is often futile, for the movement of the insect causes the leaves to close even more tightly.  This innocent- looking plant actually feeds upon its victims if they do not quickly wriggle out of the entanglement.  This is a picture of what sin does.  Yet, like the flower, many today deny the danger and reality of sin.  Just what is sin?  Is it still real today or have we ‘outgrown’ the whole idea of sin?

 

SIN IS REAL  From the beginning man has tried to deny sin.  Adam and Eve, Cain, and everyone since looks for a way our from sins consequences.  Today is no different.  Instead of acknowledging sin and changing, man would rather stay in his sin but deny his guilt by convincing himself there is no sin.  To do this man must get rid of the idea of God, for any higher authority would have absolutes which, when man breaks, would be sin.  Thus men run to philosophies like evolution which seem to allow them to deny any higher accountability, and thus the existence of sin.  If there is no God, man is the ultimate authority, there is no absolute right or wrong, and anything goes.  But that’s not what the Bible says (Rom. 3:23; 6:23).  Also, that doesn’t seem to work in practicality.  Guilt, drugs to mask the symptoms of guilt and stress, suicide, counseling, crime — all are increasing at an alarming rate.  Those who say that ‘wrong’ is just a learned response or a forced reaction to an imperfect culture, are wrong.  We live in a more progressive society than anyone has, yet these things not only remain but increase.  Sin is not just learned, it comes from within.  Children are born selfish and self-centered, they don’t need to learn that from anyone.  They need to learn how to NOT be that way, but there seems to overcome that on one’s own.  What’s the solution?  First, correctly understand the problem.

 

SIN DEFINED  Sin in anything that is contrary to the character of God.  While a sin differs from a slip or mistake as to motive, dismissing all sin as mistakes is refusing to admit the true sinfulness of the act.  That is like mislabeling dangerous poison as a mildly unpleasant substance.  Sin can’t be seen except in comparison of our selves with Jesus.  His perfect standard is our goal.  Anything that is not what He would think, say, do, or not do is sin.

 

THE ORIGIN OF SIN  Sin started with Satan’s prideful rebellion against God (Ezekiel 28:15).  God is in no ways responsible for sin.  He gave Satan a free will, but had nothing to do with the sin.  If I give my son the keys to the car to go someplace and he drives off the road, is that my fault for letting him drive?  No, he is 100% responsible.  Satan, not God, is responsible for sin.  He brought it to earth in Eden, when Adam and Eve sinned.

 

GUILT OF SIN  The Bible tells us we are guilty of sin in three areas: 

          Imputed sin means we are guilty with Adam for his sin (Rom 5:12). As representative of the human race, we all share his guilt.  We would have done the same thing were it us.

          Inherited sin describes the sin nature that is passed from parent to child (Psalm 51:5).  This natural tendency to sin is something we are all born with.  Each baby is naturally selfish, and self-centered.  Because of this we are ‘totally depraved.’  This doesn’t mean we always sin just as badly as we could in every area.  Humanly speaking, man can and does do nice things and often chooses the right over wrong.  What it does mean is that there is nothing we can do to please God (Isa 64:6) or to impress Him.  If our righteous acts are filthy in His sight, what must our sins be like?  Inherited sin means we have a natural tendency to sin.  It comes automatically.  It means our every act and thought is polluted and unacceptable to God.  Running clean water through contaminated pipes doesn’t clean the pipes but taints the water.  Thus all we do is tainted by selfishness and sinfulness because of our inherited sin nature.

          A scorpion, being a very poor swimmer, asked a turtle to carry him on its back across the river.  “Are you mad?” exclaimed the turtle. “You’ll sting me while I’m swimming and I’ll drown.”  “My dear turtle,” laughed the scorpion, “If I were to sting you, you would drown and I’d go down with you.  Now where is the logic in that?” “You’re right,” cried the turtle.  “Hop on.”  The scorpion climbed aboard and halfway across the river gave the turtle a mighty sting. As they both sank to the bottom, the turtle, resigned, said, “Do you mind if I ask you something?  You said there is no logic in your stinging me.  Why did you do it?”  “It has nothing to do with logic,” the drowning scorpion replied.  “It’s just my nature.”   Sinning is just in our nature, too.

          Individual sin refers to the acts of sin we daily commit: wrong thoughts, actions or motives.  It also refers to the good things we should do but don’t do.  Our sinful actions are just the tip of the iceberg of our sinfulness, but the most visible proportion. 

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          Thus we are triply guilty — three strikes and you are out!  Any one of these, actually any one individual act of sin (deed, thought, motive, good undone) would be enough to doom us forever.  A holy God cannot allow any sin in His presence.  So what is the solution to sin?

 

REMOVING SIN AFTER SALVATION – WASHING

 

SOLUTION TO SIN FOR THE BELIEVER  Once God’s free gift of salvation is accepted, we can never lose salvation.  Sin must be confessed (recognize and admit the sin – I John 1:9).  Then it is forgiven.  Keeping from all sin is impossible in this life, but it is still our goal and what we must strive toward.  It is only as we stay close to God that we can overcome sin.

          A pilot was flying his small plane one day, when he heard a noise which he recognized as the gnawing of a rat.  Wondering what its sharp teeth were cutting through, he suddenly realized with horror that it might be an electric wire.  Then he remembered that rodents can’t survive at high altitudes. Immediately he began climbing until finally he had to put on his oxygen mask.  Soon the gnawing sound ceased, and when he landed he found the rat — dead. Staying close to God is the only way to grow in victory over sin in our lives.  Know your enemy (sin) but know even more how to have victory (Jesus). 

 

SOLUTION TO SIN FOR THE UNBELIEVER  The only solution is salvation, freely accepting Jesus’ work on the cross (John 3:16), for He paid the penalty for all our sin.  He suffered on the cross what we would have suffered for sin during all eternity in hell.  Because He was perfect He was without guilt for His own sin, because He was human He could take our place, and because He was God He could suffer for all people at once (greater capacity to suffer).

 

ALTERNATIVE TO WASHING – DISCIPLINE

 

Hebrews 12:3-11  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.  4 In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons:  “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6 because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.”   7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8 If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 10 Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

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          There is no judgment for the believer (Romans 8:1) but God does discipline us (Heb 12:3-11).  Judgment is to punish us, make us suffer for sins we have committed.  Discipline is for a positive purpose, to make us mature so we don’t’ make the same mistake again.  Judgment looks to the past sin, discipline to future improvement.  Our prison system is a picture of judgment.  A shepherd who breaks a sheep’s leg so the sheep won’t keep running away but will learn to trust the shepherd as he carries him around is a picture of discipline.

 

 

 

 

 

WASHING AND SPANKING

 

Answer the following questions.  If you can, email the answers to me at jerry@schmoyer.net.  I will make sure you are correct and offer suggestions to help you as you grow.

 

1. Match the following words and their meanings:

            _____ Fellowship                a. discipling or training

            _____ Confession               b. communion or joint participation

            _____ Chastening               c. saying the same thing, agreeing

 

2. Becoming a Christian means that you will not sin any more (I John 1:8, 10)   TRUE  FALSE

 

3. If you say you don’t sin, what do you make God (I John 1:10)?  ________

 

4. Galatians 3:13 teaches your sins can be forgiven:

            _____ if you promise to keep the law

            _____ if you join the church, are baptized, and start to tithe

            _____ because Christ redeemed you from the curse of sin

 

5. If a Christian confesses his sin, he is cleansed from the defilement of that sin and restored into fellowship with God (I John 1:9)   TRUE   FALSE

 

6. After you have confessed your sin, you should not let Satan make you feel guilty by bringing it to your remembrance (Isa 43:25)  TRUE   FALSE

 

7. How many sins does God list in Proverbs 6:16-19 that He especially hates?   _______

 

8. You can sin by not doing some good thing which you know you should do (James 4:17).  TRUE   FALSE

 

9. Sin separates a Christian from God (Isaiah 59:2).   TRUE    FALSE

 

10. What might keep you from confessing your sin and asking for forgiveness (Psalm 10:4)?

 

11. Psalm 139:23-24 teaches you should try to hide your sins from God so He will not be offended.    TRUE    FALSE12. If you do not judge your sins, God will chasten you (I Corinthians 11:31-32)   TRUE   FALSE

 

13. You cannot prosper if you hide your sins (Prov 28:13).   TRUE    FALSE

 

14. If you are chastened by God you should:

            _____ Revelation 3:19                    a. Know God loves you

            _____ Revelation 12:11                 b. Not despise it or get discouraged and quit

            _____ Revelation 12:5                    c. Bring good fruit, stop the sin, live for God

 

 

 


 

12. PROTECTION FROM INJURY

How can I keep safe from Satan’s attacks?

 

ANGELS

 

Since the mid-1990’s there has been a resurgence of popular interest in angels.  This interest has manifested itself in such diverse phenomena as the proliferation of celestial iconography on greeting cards and household objects, a number of television specials, movies  and weekly series devoted to encounters with angels, cover articles in Time, Newsweek, USA Today and other magazines, comics (Rose is Rose, etc.) based on angel contacts, books about angel manifestations and experiences people have had with angels, the great success of Tony Kushman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Angels in America,” and even the appearance of “angelology” among the course offerings n some colleges. 

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          The positive side is that it’s nicer to see a focus on angels than on Satan and demons. The negative side is that Jesus is entirely left out as is any mention of salvation only by the blood of Jesus. Seldom is ‘God’ included, and then usually just in a weak background role.  Angels are to bring honor and glory to God, not to themselves.  Plus, in the Bible they never appear to help unbelievers (those who haven’t been saved by faith in God as provided by Jesus on the cross).  They do announce judgment to unbelievers, but that is the only minimal contact they have with them.

          How does today’s emphasis on angels compare with what the Bible says?  Lets look at the truth about angels and see.

 

CREATION OF ANGELS  God created the angels before the world was created (Job 38:6-7), the same time He planned to create each one of us (and already knew us in His mind).  He created an “innumerable” number of angels (Heb. 12:22; Rev 5:11).  No angels have been created or destroyed since then.  The number is exactly the same.  People who die do NOT become angels, in eternity we have a position greater than the angels will have (I Cor 6:3). 

 

PERSONALITY OF ANGELS  God created angels and humans in His image in that we all have a mind to rationally think and reason (I Peter 1:12), emotions to feel and experience (Luke 2:13), and a free will to choose our destiny (Jude 6).  Soon after creation, the top angel (Lucifer, now called Satan Ezekiel 28:12-15) used his free will to rebel against God (II Thes 2:4) and as a result was kicked out of heaven (Isa 14:12-15, Ezek 28:15-17; Luke 10:18).  The angels then had a one-time choice to follow Satan or God.  About one third (Rev. 12:4) followed Satan in his rebellion and also lost their first position, now being called demons.  This was the only time angels ever had an opportunity to exercise their free will.  They are now ‘locked in’ and cannot change their state (angels cannot feel to becoming demons, demons cannot move up to being angels).  Angels do not know what it is to experience God’s grace in their lives.  That is why they are so interested in watching us as we talk and live (I Pet 1:12) for our lives show God’s grace and love in operation in a way they don’t personally experience.  They are impressed with God and His mercy on us undeserving people. 

 

NATURE  Angels are spirit beings.  They are not like God in that they do not know everything.  They are limited to being at one place at a time.  They are not all powerful or all knowing (Ps 103:20; II Thes 1:7).  They have no physical body, but sometimes do appear in the form of a person (Heb 13:1).  This is to help God’s people in need.  Some have wings to show power and glory, but not all have wings.  While possessing all the traits we would call ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine,’ angels are always referred to as masculine.  Male pronouns are always used.  Angels are different, just like people are different: different abilities and functions in God’s service, different traits and skills.  Angels can’t and don’t reproduce (Mt 22:30; Mk 12:25), although it does seem that demons somehow impregnated women before the flood in Noah’s day (Genesis 6:1-4).  Angels never die (Luke 20:36).

 

ORGANIZATION  Angels (and also demons) are organized in a military-like fashion with generals, colonels, lieutenants, sergeants, privates, etc.  They are called archangels, princes, rulers, seraphim, etc. (Rom 8:38; Eph 3:10; 6:12; Col 1:16; 2:5).  Some have leadership over geographical areas, others over groups of people (as Michael seems to be the archangel caring for Israel).

 

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DUTIES  The Greek word for ‘angel’ (‘angelos’) means “messenger.”  Actually the word is just transliterated in our Bibles (English letters replace Greek letters but the word is the same).  Were it translated into English we would have the word “messenger” every time ‘angel’ appears.  That is basically their function — messengers (servants) of God.  They are God’s servants who help God’s people (Heb 1:14). Individual angels seem assigned to children and believers (Acts 12:12) to help them in special ways.  God could use His sovereign power to do things such as prevent an automobile accident, have a child fall safely and not be hurt, discover a set of lost keys, or similar actions, but usually He has His angels do that work. They protect God’s people (Psalm 34:7; 91:12; Matthew 18:10).  They bring answers to prayers (Acts 12:7), although sometimes demons oppose them and the answers are delayed (Dan. 10:10-21).  Angels watch and learn from believers (I Cor 4:9; I Tim 5:2).  They encourage us in danger (Acts 27:23-24).  They even help in evangelism (Lk 15:10; Acts 8:26).  They care for God’s people when they die (Lk 16:22; Jude 9).  They fight against demons (Revelation 12). 

 

OUR RESPONSE TO ANGELS  We are not to try and contact angels, they will minister to us as God directs.  I’m sure we all have been recipients of angelic ministrations numerous times without knowing it.  Angels are always present around us, especially when we gather with other believers in Jesus’ name.  However we never can see them unless God opens our eyes in a special way (II Kings 6:17).  It’s quite likely you have seen angels, but in appearance as people (Heb 13:2) and therefore not recognized as an angel.  That stranger who just happens to show up at the right time to provide help or assistance, whom we called an ‘angel,’ might well have been one! 

          We are not to focus on angels or worship them (Rev 19:10).  They are created to bring honor and glory to God, they are His servants.  The same is true of us, too.  When you hear of or think of angels, think of the great God who created them to help us and serve Him.  Give Him the praise and honor and glory and attention, not angels.  He alone is worthy of all praise (Rev 4:11; 5:9,11).  “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”  (Rev 4:11).

 

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DEMONS

          On the banks of the Amazon River live a species of large, colorful spiders.  When they spread themselves out they look exactly like the blossoms of a brilliant flower.  When bees and insects land on one to find pollen they find instead a spider that poisons and kills them.  Satan does the same thing with the occult today. 

          Unfortunately we live in a time when more people believe in the Loch Ness Monster than in Satan!  Some people who do believe in him tend to  made him smaller than he really is.

          Your devil is too small if your see Satan as merely a personification of evil.  The picture of a devil in a red suit with a tail and trident comes from ancient times when red stood for death, horns for power, and tails and cloven hoofs for bestiality.  Satan is a real, live personality, not a symbol of evil.

          Your devil is also too small if you consign him to long-ago times or far away places.  He is too small if you assume he leaves Christians alone (that’s one of his biggest lies, which he uses it to cover his tracks).  He is too small if you don’t think he is capable of performing miracles and other feats of power, or if you think you can recognize and defeat him on your own.  He is powerful, even using forces of nature such as lightning (Job 1:16) and strong wind (Job 1:19) to do his will.

          On the other hand some see Satan as more powerful than he is.  Your devil is too big is you see him as an evil god.  He is not equal to God, he is limited to one place at a time and does not have all knowledge.  You also see him as too big if you live in fear of him and avoid learning how to fight him.

NAMES  The names of Satan reveal a lot about him and his character.  He is called Satan (“adversary” of God and God’s people), Devil (“accuser” of Christians), the Wicked or Evil One (showing his essential nature), Enemy (to God’s people), Murderer, Deceiver, Beelzebub (“Prince of Demons”), Ruler of This World, Serpent, Dragon and Angel of Light (counterfeit light to deceive).  Surely these names clearly summarize what he is and does.

ORIGIN  Satan is God’s highest created being  (Ezek 28:11-15, Isa 14), the highest of all the angels.  He is not like God, not omnipresent, etc.  He was created to worship and bring glory to God, but because of pride wanted to be worshipped himself, so was cat out of heaven (Rev 12:3-4; Isa 14; Ezek 28).  About one third of the angels decided to agree with him and were also kicked out of heaven (Rev 12:4).  They are now called demons.

WORK TODAY  After enticing Adam and Eve to sin and getting authority over the world from them, Satan and his forces have continued trying to keep worship from God and getting it for themselves.  They blind the minds of unbelievers (II Cor 4:4) and snatch the Word from their hearts (Lk 8:12).  They do all they can to oppose God’s work (Rev 2:13).  Since they can’t attack God, they take their anger out on those who are God’s — His people (Jews and Christians today).  Satan and his forces tempt Christians to lie (Acts 5:3), accuse and slander them before God (Rev 12:10), hinder our work (I Thes 2:18), do anything possible to defeat us (Eph 6:11-12), tempt to immorality (I Cor 7:5) and incite persecution against us (Rev 2:10).

DEFEAT Satan and his forces are defeated foes, having given their all to destroy Jesus on the cross, but being beaten by Him instead (Heb 2:14-15; I Pt 3:18-22).  When Jesus returns Satan and his demons will be cast into the lake of fire forever (Matthew 25:41; Rev 20:1-15). 

DEMONS  “Demon” means “destroyer.”  They are also called evil or unclean spirits, referring to the fact they don’t have a physical body.  They spread their sin and uncleanness any way they can.  They are spiritual terrorists, trying to destroy the work of God’s kingdom.  As with human terrorists, no one is safe from them, they are deadly serious and have no softness or mercy.  They serve Satan, who is their commander, and carry out his orders.  They receive the worship given to idols or anything other than God (I Corinthians 10:20).

ORGANIZATION  Satan organizes his demons in the same manner God has angels organized – in a military-like structure. These are similar to generals, colonels, majors, lieutenants, sergeants, corporals, privates, etc. (Ephesians 6:12).  Usually a “strong man” (or ruler) is assigned to a task, and he has lesser demons under his command to help in the work (Matthew 12:25-29; Daniel 10:2-6, 12-14).  The names of these demons usually refer to their work (“Fear,” “Anger,” “Lust,” “Pride,” “Deception,” etc.).

DEATH, DARKNESS & SPIRITUAL BLINDNESS  In actuality all Satan’s forces operate in the realm of darkness (fear, deception, blindness, confusion, hopelessness, depression, self-pity, anger, revenge, suicide, death, etc.)  He blinds men to spiritual things (II Corinthians 4:4; I John 2:11).  He hardens minds and hearts to spiritual things (II Corinthians 3:14; Ephesians 4:18; Romans 1:21).  He does this to individuals as well as nations (i.e.: Israel Romans 11:7-10).  His purpose is to keep men from God’s light and salvation (II Corinthians 4:4).  God’s light is greater than Satan’s darkness (Genesis 1:14-19; John 1:5-9; 3:19-20; 8:12; 9:5; Matthew 17:2; Ephesians 5:8; I John 1:5-7; Revelation 21:11,23-24; 22:5; Isaiah 60:1).  Believers are in the light, not darkness (Acts 26:18; I Thessalonians 5:4-5; Colossians 1:12-13; John 8:12).

          The epitome of darkness is death.  Satan’s plan for man is death, just as God’s plan for man is life.  Satan is a murderer from the beginning (John 8:44).  His name, Abaddon or Apollyon means “Destroyer.”  He tries to destroy physical (John 8:44; Mark 9:20-22; I John 3:12) or spiritual (II Corinthians 4:4) life.  Satan has power to bring death (Job 1:19; Luke 11:21-22; Hebrews 2:14; Revelation 9:14-16), but because the power of death was destroyed at the cross (Hebrews 2:14-15) he cannot use that power without God’s permission (Job 2:6; Revelation 9:4).  Satan cannot separate us from God, even by death (Romans 8:38). 

 

OVERCOMING SATAN & HIS FORCES  God is greater than Satan and his forces (I John 4:4), so we need not fear them (Luke 10:17-19).  We must humble depend on God’s strength, not our own (James 4:6-7; 5:16).  Admit sin and open spots that Satan uses in your life (Psalm 32:5; 139:23-24), and confess any sin (I John 1:9).  Accept God’s forgiveness and, with His help, turn from the sin (Amos 3:3; Ezekiel 20:43).  In prayer claim back any openings Satan is using in your life (Acts 19:18-19; Matt 3:7-8).  Cover yourself with the armor of God each day (Eph 6:10-18). Stay in the Scriptures (Psalm 1:1-3).  The Word is a mirror (James 1:22-25) a lamp (Psalm 119:105) a cleanser (Ephesians 5;25-26) a sword (Hebrews 4:12) and food (I Peter 2:2; Matthew 4:4). Use it for all these.  Develop a life of continuous praise & prayer (I Thessalonians 5:17).  Stay in close fellowship with other believers (Hebrews 13:5).  Commit yourself to totally follow God (Ephesians 6:16).

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CHECK YOURSELF….

 

Below is a list of evidences of demonic activity.  Check which ones apply to you more than you think should (more than is ‘normal’ or than most other people experience).

 

I. COMPULSIVE THOUGHTS

            Extremely low self image (feel unworthy, unclean, no good, etc) Lk. 8:2

            Constant confusion in thinking (especially about spiritual things)

            Inability to believe spiritual truths which you hear or read

            Mocking and blasphemous thoughts (esp. when hearing spiritual truths)

            Perceptual distortions (thinking others are angry at you when they are not)

            Repetitious dreams or nightmares (sexual, horror-filled, fearful, etc)

            Continuous violent thoughts (of suicide, rape, murder, self-abuse, etc.)

 

II. COMPULSIVE FEELINGS

            Hatred and bitterness toward others for no justifiable reason

            Tremendous hostility, fear, restlessness when challenged about demonizing

            Deep depression and despondence (frequent and long)

            Irrational fears, panic, and phobias (Rom. 8:15 Lk. 9:39)

            Irrational anger or rage (Mt. 8:28)

            Irrational guilt and extreme self-condemnation, unforgiveness of self

 

IIII. COMPULSIVE BEHAVIOR

            Desire to do right but inability to carry it our

            Sudden personality & attitude changes (like, then hate someone)

            Strong aversion to Scripture reading & prayer

            Dark countenance (steely or hollow look in the eyes, dilation or contraction of pupil,                           facial features may contort or change, can’t look a person directly in the eyes, etc.)

            Lying compulsively, then often wondering why (Acts 5:3)

            Stealing compulsively, if you need the thing or not

            Drinking compulsively, if really desire to or not

            Using drugs (prescription or non-prescription) compulsively

            Eating compulsively (or reverse, bulimia or anorexia nervosa)

            Sexual sins that are compulsive (especially perversions) Mt. 15:5 Lk. 8:27

            Irrational,  inappropriate laughter

            Irrational violence (compulsion to hurt self or someone else) Mt. 17:15; Mk. 5:5; Lk. 9:39

            Sudden speaking of a language not previously known

            Reactions to the name and blood of Jesus (uncomfortable, move away, say or do                                    something to show you are uncomfortable about it) Acts 13:10)

            Extreme restlessness

            Uncontrollable cutting and mocking tongue and language

            Vulgar language and actions (Lk. 4:33-34)

            Uncontrollable greed, which drives you on (Acts 5:3)

 

IV. CONSCIOUSNESS PROBLEMS

            Loss of time (little or a lot, not knowing how you got someplace or remembering                                       something you did)

            Extreme sleepiness around spiritual things (Bible study, prayer,. etc.)

            Demonstration of extraordinary abilities (ESP, telekinesis, etc. Mk. 5:7)

            Voices heard in the mind (mock, intimidate, accuse, threaten, bargain Mt. 28:29,

            A voice speaking from you refers to you in the third person (“he” “she” )

            Supernatural experiences (haunting, movement or disappearance of objects, other                                strange manifestations)

 

V.  ABNORMAL MEDICAL PROBLEMS

            Seizures (Mk. 1:26 Mk. 7:24-30 Mk. 17:15) It can’t be said for sure they are all demonic,             but they should be checked out to make sure.)

            Pain without justifiable explanation, especially in the head or stomach (ANY medical                             problems which doctors can’t understand or cure, Lk. 9:39)

            Blackouts (Mt. 17:15, Mk. 1:26; 7:24-30, Lk. 4:35)

            Physical ailments alleviated by a spiritual command immediately (epileptic seizure,                                 asthma attack, headache, nausea, etc., which  stops in Jesus’ name)

            Sudden interference with bodily functions (buzzing in ears, irritability to speak or hear,                          increased hypersensitivity in hearing  or touch, sudden chills or overheating of                           body, dryness in mouth, numbness in arms or legs, sleepiness, coma, etc.)

ARMOR OF GOD

 

Satan does not trouble those who aren’t committed believers.  They are his subjects  (Col. 1:13) and serve him (Eph. 2:2).  Only when one wants to turn from that path, having accepted Jesus as his Savior and wanting to make Him Lord of his life, does Satan oppose the person.  Satan will not give up one of his subjects easily and will do all he can to gain that person back.  He can’t take his salvation, but can have him live the same kind of life as before (one of service to Satan and sin).  God does not want that for His children, however.  He has defeated Satan and has made provision for us to share in that victory.  As a good commander He provides the equipment we need to defeat Satan and to protect ourselves (Eph. 6:10-17, II Cor. 10:35, Mt. 12:29).  The following is based on Ephesians 6:10-17.  Open your Bible as your read the following.

 

I. ARMOR PROVIDED  Ephesians 6:10-12

 

“FINALLY”(10): Paul builds to this throughout the whole Epistle.

 

“BE STRONG” (10): “Be continually strengthened”  This is a command,             not an option.  It is passive, something we receive from outside ourselves.  A soldier receives (passive) equipment from his commander, the commander is responsible to provide it, he must use            it. The battle is between God & Satan, we are just privates and only get attacked            because of joining God’s army, it’s not our personal battle but our commander who will           make sure we can win it.

            What makes a soldier strong so he can use his equipment? (1. Proper        nourishment (food & drink) – for us the Word of God.  (2. Regular exercise to stay fit – not     spiritually fat or lazy.  (3. Proper rest, meditation, relaxation, worship & praise times.

 

“IN THE LORD”(10): not “FROM” the Lord for He doesn’t just give us a portion of His strength (as great as that would be) to fight in our own strength and to add to our strength. We are actually “IN Christ” (a phrase used over 40 times just in Ephesians).  This refers to total dependence, like a baby IN a womb.  We are one, we share His foe and His victory.  We must stay as close to Christ as possible or we will never have victory.

 

“HIS mighty power” (10): Never look at Satan’s power, or your own, just and only at Christ’s!

 

“MIGHTY” (10): The word means a special endowment of power and strength.  It is inherent strength, ability, and authority that comes from being “in Christ.”

 

“POWER” (10): This word refers to manifested power, HIS power shown through us.  The previous word would be used of the muscular ability a person naturally has, this word of that power shown in use.  This power, by the way, comes through the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8).  God is the sovereign general, we are “in Christ,” and the Holy Spirit is the power source given to us.  What an unbeatable combination!

 

“PUT ON”(11):  This verse tells HOW to be strong in Jesus.  This, too, is a command – it is not an option.,  In the original language this speaks of a once-for-all action.  The commander provides the armor, but the soldier must put it on-and then he must NEVER take it off for the warfare is continual.  Each morning check out your armor to make sure it is well maintained, never take it off.

 

“FULL ARMOR” (11): If missing even just one piece Satan will attack there.

 

“TAKE YOUR STAND” (11): This same word is translated “resist” in James 4:7 and I Peter 5:8-9.  We are NOT to run, fall back in fear or panic, surrender, sit, or fall asleep.  We are to stand alert BEFORE attacked so we are ready to defend ourselves and beat it off.

 

“DEVIL”(11) “Devil” means “Slanderer,” and that is what he does.  He slanders God to man (as to Eve in Eden) and man to God (as with Job).

 

“SCHEMES” (11): The picture behind this word is of a cunning, deceitful animal full of tricks and deceit.  Paul commands us to not be ignorant of these tricks and traps (II Corinthians 2:11).

 

“STRUGGLE” (12):  This word-picture of wrestlers shows the life-and-death struggle we are in with Satan. Wrestlers back then tried to pin each other’s neck to the ground.  This is no innocent misunderstanding or friendly competition!

 

“NOTAGAINST FLESH & BLOOD” (12): Our main enemy is not other people, or even our own sin nature.  We know how those operate from firsthand knowledge.  Satan is in another realm that we are often unaware of, and have no idea how to fight.

 

“RULERS” (12):  These are the demons on top of Satan’s organizational systems, the generals under him as the commanding officer.  They have vast oversight responsibilities, some over geographical areas, others over philosophies or works, etc.

 

“AUTHORITIES”(12): These very powerful demons are like colonels.  They are given authority (thus the name) over certain countries, areas, churches, groups of persons, etc.  They don’t do the work but, like the Rulers, oversee and coordinate the activity of demons under them.  They give power & authority to these lesser demons.

 

“POWERS OF THIS DARK WORLD”(12): These numerous, workhorse demons function on the command level, like lieutenants and sergeants.  They oversee and work with small forces of demons assigned by ‘Authorities’ to a certain person, church, cult, location, idea, philosophy, etc.  They receive their orders and power through the chain of command above them.

 

“SPIRITUAL FORCES OF EVIL IN THE HEAVENLY REALMS”(12):  These very numerous demons are the daily working demons that carry out the work assigned to them by the above chain of command.  These are the privates of Satan’s army, the ones we do battle with each day.  They are not as smart or clever as the ones  higher in the command, they simply carry out orders given them.  They have a great variety in their intelligence level, abilities, etc.  They each  function in one main area of expertise, and are named accordingly (Greed, Listlessness, Self-Destruction, Fear, etc.)

 

“HEAVENLY REALMS” (12): In the atmosphere is where Satan sets up his kingdom, between this earth and the third heaven where God is.  That is why Michael needed to help the other angels get past the Prince of Persia in Daniel.  Satan is the “ruler of the kingdom of the air.”

 

II ARMOR DESCRIBED  Eph. 6:13-18

 

            A. BELT OF TRUTH 14a

 

“BELT”:  The belt was the KEY piece of equipment for a soldier because it held his other clothing and equipment in place.  Clothing was tucked back out of the way to allow freedom of movement to fight, and it was the belt that gave them freedom.  The belt held their valuables and personal possessions, too.  It also held the sword, thus the close connection between the truth and God’s Word (sword).

 

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“TRUTH” : As the belt allowed the soldier’s hands freedom, so the truth makes us free.  Jesus is the “way, TRUTH and life” (Jn. 14:6) and only in Him (“IN CHRIST”) is truth found.  He said “I am the truth” (Jn. 14:6; 1:14).  When we put on Christ and are strong in Him we take the truth that comes from Him as revealed in His Word, the Bible (II Tim. 2:15, James 1:18, Ps. 119:41-43).  It is through the Holy Spirit that this truth is applied to our hearts and lives, for He is called the “Spirit of Truth” (I Cor. 1:6-15).

            By contrast Satan is a liar (Jn. 8:44).  He works in deceit and counterfeits to get us to fear and be defeated.  He tries to get us to be untruthful (Acts 5:3) and uses any untruth in us to gain access to us.  Therefore  we are to “stand firm” against anything not 100% honest and truthful in us or others.

 

            B. BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS 14b

 

“BREASTPLATE” : This vital piece of equipment covered the vulnerable organs of the upper body.  Enemy soldiers would grasp each other’s left forearms and with the right start stabbing each other in the breastplate.  The first one to find or make an opening won!

            Satan, too, first attacks our vulnerable areas.  He knows where our weak and open spots are.  That is why we are defeated over and over by the same besetting sin. Just as a soldier would make sure his breastplate was sound and perfect  before the battle began, so we must make sure there are no areas in our life, thoughts, priorities or motives where Satan can defeat us.  It doesn’t matter how small, he will use it.  All openings must be closed and covered with the blood of Jesus.

 

“RIGHTEOUSNESS”:  In contrast to our righteousness, which is like “filthy rags”, God is pure righteousness (Ps. 48:;10; 119:137; 145:17).  One of His names is YHWH-TSIDEK (“The LORD Our Righteousness” Jer. 23:6).  At the moment of salvation our sins are transferred to Jesus and His perfect righteousness is transferred to us.  We must put faith in HIS provision, not our own good works/righteousness.  We need to allow His righteousness to shine through us, and to accept His holiness (another word for righteousness) as ours “In Christ”.  It is in this area we can’t have sin or Satan will use that to defeat us.

            Note that our back isn’t covered, just our front.  A soldier of Christ cannot retreat or run but must move ahead in victory!

 

            C. SANDALS OF PEACE

 

“FEET”: On their feet soldiers wore sandals which were VERY important.  They had to be sturdy, dependable and tough.  The soldier went everywhere on his feet, and was usually attacked on rough, rocky ground where getting a good footing would be very hard.  Failure of his sandals to protect his feet or give him good stability would result in his defeat.  Our standing, too, must be sure and ready.

 

“READINESS”: This word has the idea of establishment, a firm foundation.

 

“PEACE”: “Christ is our peace” (Eph. 2:13-14), and we only have peace “in Christ.”  He provides peace with God (Rom. 5:1) and peace of God (Phil 4:6-9; Rom. 16:20; Prov. 16:7). Jesus is peace (Jn. 14:27) and we are to live in peace with God, self and others.  This is our support, our foundation.

            Satan tries to produce turmoil, chaos, and lack of peace in our lives.  Then he comes along and offers false peace through drugs, alcohol, sex, compromise, etc.

 

            D. SHIELD OF FAITH 16

 

“IN ADDITION”: Literally “above all,” meaning this is of the greatest importance. Faith, the helmet of salvation, and prayer, the next  three, are even more important than the ones already described.  The first 3 pieces of equipment are worn as part of the body, affixed to it. They are always to be there.  These next ones are to be “taken up” to use when  battle was near.  The first we receive (passive), these we take up ourselves (active).  These are our outer wall of defense.

 

“SHIELD”: The shield was 2 foot by 4 foot.  Soldiers would gather behind a wall of shields side-by-side and use it for an outer wall of protection..  They would NOT go into battle without a shield!

 

“FAITH”: This is the substance of our shield.  We, together with others of like faith, are to throw up a wall against Satan.  We  can still hear his roaring attacks, but faith keeps us from being defeated by them.  It is not just ‘faith’ that protects, for faith must be in the right object – God.

 

“FLAMING ARROWS”: Burning pitch and arrows tipped with burning pitch would be hurled against soldiers, and only a shield could protect them from it.  Satan shoots arrows of pride, temptation, fear, worry, guilt, suffering, etc, at us and only faith in God will get us through those times.

 

“YOU CAN EXTINGUISH ALL”:  Some arrows get very close to us (like with Job), but God determines just how close they will fall (also like with Job.)  Sometimes it seems like some of them even pierce our shield of faith.  However when that happens they are no longer Satan’s flaming arrows but God’s refining and purifying messengers of love, as Paul’s thorn in the flesh (see also I Cor. 10:13; Rom. 8:28 etc.)  If we keep our shield up the fire refines us.  It is only when our faith is down the fire harms us.

 

 

 

 

            E. HELMET OF SALVATION 17a

 

“HELMET”:  The helmet protected soldier’s heads from the broad sword their enemies carried.  This sword was 3 to 4 feet long.  The enemy held it with two hands and brought it straight down with all his might  right on the soldier’s head.  Thus the helmet was very important.

 

“SALVATION” : Our mind is very important, and Satan attacks that in a deadly and vigorous way.  Therefore it is very important to protect our mind:  its thoughts, ideas, goals, motives, priorities, values, decisions, etc. (Rom. 12:1-2; James 1:8; II Tim. 2:25-26).  This is where Satan attacked Eve (Gen. 3:1-7, II Cor. 11:3) and he attacks us there through our pride, selfishness & self-centeredness, as well as through the influence of the world.  It is only through salvation that we can have the “mind of Christ” and thus do His will.  Being Christ-like starts in our mind, so it must be protected and filled with God’s word (studied and memorized).

 

            F. SWORD OF THE WORD 17b

 

“SWORD”: The only offensive weapon (prayer, next verse, is the other weapon we have but that isn’t listed as a weapon the way the sword is in this soldier analogy).  All the other pieces of equipment are defensive and for protection.  It is only through the offensive weapons, Bible study and prayer, that we can forge ahead and defeat Satan.  These weapons don’t work until the previous ones are taken care of, though, because if we have a way to be defeated Satan will seize the initiative and we will be driven back instead of driving him  back.

 

“OF THE SPIRIT”: ANY weapon used in the flesh will not prosper.  Peter used the sword of his flesh and cut Malchus’ ear, but on Pentecost he used the sword of the Spirit and thousands of ears were won and opened for Christ.  The best defense is a good offense.

 

“WORD OF GOD”: Jesus, the living Word (John 1:1-14), is behind the Bible, the written Word.  You need to know God’s Word in detail, with much of it memorized, so you can really use this weapon.  Jesus won His battles when Satan tempted Him by quoting Scriptures.  That is how we are to win, too.

 

            G. PRAYER 18

 

“AND PRAY”:  This is our other offensive weapon, equal in importance to knowing God’s Word.  God doesn’t fully pour His Spirit into us in power until we fully pour our spirit out to him in prayer.  In our military analogy, communication with the commander is key to receiving orders, help, strength, additional resources, support, etc.

 

“IN THE SPIRIT”: Our prayer must be directed by the Holy Spirit just as our Bible study is (“sword  OF THE SPIRIT”).  The Holy Spirit directs our praying when we let Him (Rom. 8:26).  Prayer in our own strength and wisdom brings no answer (James 4:3).

 

“ON ALL OCCASIONS”: “Without ceasing.”  (Prov. 3:5-6).  If you feel like it or not, are busy or not, know what to say or not – still pray.  Prayer must be consistent and persistent (II Cor. 10:3-5).

 

clip_image127USE THE WORD OF GOD

 

            Knowing and using God’s Word, the sword of the Spirit, is key for victory (Joshua 1:8; Psalm 77:12; I Chronicles 28:9; Matthew 22:37-38; I Corinthians 2:16; Philippians 4:8).  That’s how Jesus defeated Satan (Matthew 4:1-11).  Satan tries to plant doubts about God’s word in man’s mind.  This is how he got to Eve.  She misquoted God’s Word to Satan and when he added to God’s Word (making God seem like He was keeping something good from her) she didn’t pick it up.  Satan was undermining God’s Word, and he won!  We must be skillful in the use of our sword to win. 

 

Our Adversaries Will Be Defeated: Deuteronomy 32:43; Philippians 1:28; Deuteronomy 33:27

 

Victory is Promised:  I Corinthians l5:57; I Chronicles 29:11; Proverbs 21:31; I John 5:4, 18; Rev. 12:11;

15:2; Romans 8:37; II Corinthians 2:14; John 16:33

 

God Promises To Fight For Us: I Samuel 14:47; Jeremiah 1:8

 

No Weapon Formed Against The Believer Can Prosper: Isaiah 54:17

 

Jesus Is Constantly Praying & Interceding On Our Behalf: I John 2:1; Hebrews 7:25

 

God Is Always With Us: Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5; Matthew 18:20; John 14:16, 21;   Revelations 3:20

 

Confession Means Cleansing & Forgiveness: I John 1:8-9; Thessalonians 5:23-24; I Timothy 4:5; Luke

11:13; II Timothy 2:21; Jude 1; Romans 8:33-39; Titus 3:4-5

 

God Hears & Answers Prayer:  Matthew 7:7; Luke 11:9; Jeremiah 33:3

 

We will never Be Separated From God: Romans 8:35-39; John 10:27-29; 3:36; 5:24

 

God Will Meet All Your Needs: Philippians 4:19: Psalm 84:11; Romans 8:32; I Samuel 12:24

 

There Is No Need To Worry: Matthew 6:25,34; I Peter 5:7; Isaiah 40:11; Matthew 5:38-39; Psalm 37:1-

9; Jude 24

 

God Promises His Care & Protection: Deuteronomy 33:27; Genesis 17:1; Jeremiah 23:24; 32:7

 

Everything Will Work Out Right In the End: Romans 8:28

 

You Won’t Ever Face Anything You Can’t Handle With God’s Help: I Corinthians 10:13

 

Peace Is Available No Matter What: John 14:27; Romans 5:1; Colossians 1:20; Isaiah 26:3;          Philippians 4:6-7; Matthew 11:28-30; II Timothy 1:7

 

Trials Are Allowed To Bring Spiritual Growth: Psalm 119:67,71,75; 94:12; Isa. 48:10; Rom. 5:3

 

The Believer Has Nothing To Fear:  Proverbs 3:25; Isaiah 14:3; Psalm 34:4; Joshua 1:9; 10:8;      23:9-11;

Leviticus 26:8; Exodus 14:13; I Samuel 17:45-47; II Samuel 22:33-35,40-41

 

We Are Assured Of Eventual Triumph Over Our Adversaries: Acts 2:39

 

Victory Is Guaranteed Us: I Corinthians 15:57; Romans 8:37; I Chronicles 29:11; I John 5:4, 18; II

Chronicles 32:8; Revelation 3:5; 2l:7

 

God Will Help Us Carry Our Burdens: Nehemiah 4:10; Matthew 11:30; Psalm 55:22

 

God Promises Comfort: Psalm 23:4; Lamentations 3:22-23; Matthew 5:4; 11:28-30; John 14:16, 18; John 14:16, 18; Romans 15:4; II Corinthians 1:3-4; II Thessalonians 2:16-17

 

God Will Give Us Courage: Proverbs 38:1; I Corinthians 16:13; II Timothy 1:7

 

Guidance Is Promised:  Psalm 32:8; Isaiah 30:21; 58:11; Luke 1:79; John 15:13

 

God Will Help In Your Sorrow: Proverbs 10:22; Isaiah 53:4; John 16:22; II Corinthians 6:10; I        Thessalonians 4:13; Revelation 21:4

 

Wisdom Is Promised Those Who Ask:  James 1:5; 3:15-17; Luke 16:8; 21:15; I Cor. 2:5; 3:19

 

Rejecting Wrong Thoughts:  II Corinthians 10:5; Psalm 139:23-24; 141:3-4; Isaiah 26:3-4; Romans

12:2; Ephesians 4:22-24; Philippians 3:18-21

 

Power of the Word of God: Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12; Isaiah 55:11; 59:21; Psalm 119:81, 105, 11-

112; Proverbs 30:5; Lamentations 2:17; 3:37; Matthew 24:35; John 5:24; 8:51;15:7; Rom. 10:17

 

God’s Promise of Angelic Intervention:  II Kings 6:17; Psalm 34:6-7; Psalm 91:11; Daniel 6:22;     10:5-14;

Acts 12:15

 

BIBLE MEMORY VERSES

 

GOD’S LOVE & ACCEPTANCE  The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.  Psalm 103:8

 

THE BIBLE, GOD’S WORD  The Word of God is living and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.  Hebrews 4:12

 

GOD’S TRUTH FREES  “If you hold to my teaching, you are really My disciples.  Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  John 8:32

 

LIVE IN HOLINESS  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.  Rom. 12:1

 

SUBMIT TO GOD, RESIST SATAN  God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.  Submit yourselves, then, to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Come near to God and He will come near to you.  James 4:6-8

 

GOD IS GREATER THAN SATAN  The One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.  I John 4:4

 

GOD WILL MEET ALL OUR NEEDS  My God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

 

RENEW YOUR MIND WITH CHRIST  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.  Romans 12:2

 

PRAYER  The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.  James 5:16

 

AUTHORITY OVER DEMONS  Jesus replied: “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.  I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.”  Luke 10:18-19

 

RESISTING SATAN  Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan!  You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”  Matthew 16:23

 

SIN AS OPENINGS TO DEMONIZING  Search me, O 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.  Psalm 139:23-24

 

CURSES  Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”  Galatians 3:13

 

ANCESTRAL & CHILDHOOD OPENINGS  Therefore if anyone is in Christ, He is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!  II Corinthians 5:17

 

OCCULT OPENINGS  Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them.  I am the Lord your God.  Leviticus 19:31

 

NEW AGE OPENINGS  Such men (who preach a Jesus other than the Jesus I preached) are false prophets, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ.  And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.  II Corinthians 11:13-15

 

DELIVERANCE FROM DEMONIZING  Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God  … This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God. I John 4:1-2

 

DELAYED DELIVERANCE  The Lord said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  … For when I am weak, then I am strong.      II Corinthians 12:9-10

 

CONTINUING VICTORY  Be self-controlled and alert.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Resist him, standing firm in the faith. I Peter 5:8-9

 

PRAYER OF THE ARMOR OF GOD

            Heavenly Father, I desire to be obedient by being strong in the Lord and the power of Your might.  I see that this is Your will and purpose for me. I recognize that it is essential to put on the armor that You have provided, and I do so now with gratitude and praise that You have provided all I need to stand in victory against Satan and his kingdom.  Grant me wisdom to discern the tactics and sneakiness of Satan’s strategy against me. I delight to take the armor You have provided and by faith to put it on as effective spiritual protection against the spiritual forces of darkness present in the world today.

 

            I confidently take the belt of truth that You offer me.  I take Him who is the truth as my strength and protection.  I reject Satan’s lies and deceiving ways to gain advantage against me.  Grant me discernment and wisdom to recognize the subtle and sneaky ways in which Satan seeks to cause me to accept his lies as truth.  I desire to believe only the truth, to live the truth, to speak the truth, and to know the truth.  I worship and praise You that You lead me only in the ways of truth.  Thank You that Satan cannot stand against the truth.

 

            Thank You for the breastplate of righteousness which you offer me.  I eagerly accept it and put it on as my protection.  Thank you for reminding me again that all of my righteousness comes from You.  I embrace that righteousness which is mine by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ,.  It is His righteousness that is mine through justification.  I reject and repudiate all trust in my own righteousness which is as filthy rags.  I ask You to cleanse me of all the times I have counted my own goodness as being acceptable before You.  I bring the righteousness of my Lord directly against all of Satan’s workings against me.  I express my desire to walk in righteousness before God today.  By faith I appropriate the righteousness of  Christ and invite Him to walk in His holiness in my life today that I might experience His righteousness in total context of ordinary living.  I count upon the righteousness of my Lord to be my protection.  I know that Satan must retreat from before God’s righteousness.

 

            Thank You, Lord, for the sandals of peace You have provided.  I desire that my feet should stand on the solid rock of the peace that You have provided.  I claim the peace with God which is mine through justification. I desire the peace of God which touches my emotions and feelings through prayer and sanctification (Philippians 4:6).  Thank You that as I walk in obedience to You the God of peace promises to walk with me (Philippians 4:9), I thank you that as the God of peace You are putting Satan under my feet (Romans 16:20).  I will share this good news of peace with all others today that Your Spirit will bring into my life today.  Thank you that You have not given me a spirit of fear but of love and power and a sound mind (II Timothy 1:7).  Thank you that Satan cannot stand against Your peace.

 

            Eagerly, Lord, I lift up the shield of faith against all the blazing darts that Satan and his hosts fire at me.  I recognize that You are my shield and that in Your incarnation and crucifixion You took the arrows of Satan which I deserved.  By faith I count upon You to shield me from above and beneath; on my right and my left; in front of me and behind me, that I might be protected, walled in, and encapsulated by You that Satan may gain no way to hurt me or keep me from fulfilling Your will today.

 

            I am willing that any fiery darts of Satan You wish to touch me should do so, but I shall look upon them as refining fires permitted in Your providence and by Your love for my refining and Your glory. Thank You, Lord, that You are a complete and perfect shield and that Satan cannot touch me apart from Your sovereign purpose.

 

            I recognize that my mind is a particular target of Satan’s deceiving ways.  I take from You the helmet of salvation.  I cover my mind and my thoughts with Your salvation.  I recognize that the Lord Jesus Christ is my salvation.  I fill my head with Him.  I invite His mind to be in me.  Let me think His thoughts, feel His love and compassion, and discern His will and leading in all things.  Let my mind be occupied with the continuing, daily,  saving work of my Lord in and through my life.  May of my Lord meet and defeat all Satanic thoughts in my mind.

 

            With joy I take hold upon the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.  I affirm that Your Word is the trustworthy, infallible Word of God.  I choose to believe it and to live in its truth and power.  Grant me the love for Your Word which comes from the Holy Spirit.  Forgive and cleanse me from the sin of neglecting Your Word.  Enable me to memorize it and to meditate upon its truth.  Grant me proficient recall and skill in using Your Word against all of Satan’s subtle attacks against me, even as my Lord Jesus Christ used the Word against Satan.  Enable me to use Your Word not only to defend me from Satan, but also to claim its promises and to wield the sword strong against Satan to defeat him, to push him back, to take away from him ground he claims, and to win great victories God through Your Word.  Thank You that Satan must retreat from Your Word applied against him.

 

            Thank You, dear Lord, for prayer.  Help me to keep this armor well oiled with prayer.  I desire to pray at all times with depth and intensity as the Holy Spirit leads me.  I trust the Holy Spirit to enable me and to intercede for me and through me.  Grant me great supplication and burden for others in God’s family of blood-washed saints.  Enable me to see their needs and to assist them through prayer as the enemy attacks them.  All of these petitions, intercessions, and words of praise I offer up before the true and living God in the name and worthy merit of my Lord Jesus Christ.     Amen.

 

PROCECTION FROM INJURY

  

Answer the following questions.  If you can, email the answers to me at jerry@schmoyer.net.  I will make sure you are correct and offer suggestions to help you as you grow.

 

1. Part of your prayer time should be secret prayer between you and God (Mt. 6:6). TRUE FALSE

 

2. How many periods of time did Daniel set aside to commune with God each day (Dan. 6:10) ?  _____________

 

3. In Isaiah 40:29-31 God promises those who wait upon Him that He will renew their __________________.

 

4. God promised Joshua that his way would be prosperous and he would have good success if he would meditate upon and keep His Word (Joshua 1:8).  TRUE  FALSE

 

5. You can fool men by your outward appearances, but the Holy Spirit can use the Word of God to show the real _______________ and _________________of our hearts (Heb. 4:12)

 

6. How should you regard the thoughts and truths the Holy Spirit reveals to you (Psalm 139:17)? _________________________

 

7. The Bible says:

     ____ Eph. 6:18                   a. commit thy way unto the Lord

    _____Prov. 15:8,29             b. true prayer should be guided by the Holy Spirit

    _____Jer. 29:13                   c. sin hinders prayer

    _____Isa. 59:1-2                 d.  the prayers of the upright are a delight to the Lord

    _____Psalm 37:4,5            e. should seek the Lord with your whole heart

 

8. I Timothy 4:15 teaches that meditation is a waste of time.  TRUE  FALSE

 

9. In Acts 13:1-4 the Holy Spirit impressed His message on a praying church and __________________ and Saul were sent on their first missionary journey.

 

10. What place is mentioned in Matthew 26:36 where Jesus went to pray? ____________________

 

11. John 4:23 teaches that God seeks those who go through the outward motions of worshipping.   TRUE   FALSE

 

12. In John 14:21 Jesus promises to manifest (reveal) Himself to the obedient Christian.  In verse 22 a disciple asks how He will do this.  In verse 26 and in John 16:13-14 He says it will be done by ________________________, who will teach you and glorify Christ.

 

13. Do you have devotions each day:  a time when you read your Bible and pray? ________

 

 

 

 

13. LEARNING TO LISTEN

How can I know what God wants me to do?

 

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I. DOES GOD REALLY SPEAK TO ME TODAY?

            I’m convinced He wants to speak to us.  He does speak to us often.  He wants us to listen to Him.  Psalms 81:13 “If my people would but listen to me…”  Jeremiah 33:3 ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’    Ps 50:3 Our God comes and will not be silent; 1 Samuel 3:1-10 God spoke to Samuel as a boy (told he will replace Eli.

            God wants to fellowship with us, to communicate with us.  He created us to have a personal relationship with Him.

            Not only does God desire to communicate with man, but man desires to communicate with God.  Ps 83:1 O God, do not keep silent; be not quiet, O God, be not still.

            We know communication from God is possible for He is God.  If He can hear us speak to Him, He can certainly speak to us as well.  Not only is it possible, it is probable for He made us to relate to Him.  Even more, it is necessary for it is the only way man can know God.

            So man desires to speak to God just as God desires to speak to man.  The Bible is full of examples of this in the past.  When we see how common it was in Bible times we’ll realize it can be just as common today.

 

II. THROUGH WHAT MEANS DOES GOD SPEAK TO ME TODAY?

            When we communicate with each other we use verbal words, body language, or written words.  God uses various means to communicate with us, too. 

            How does God speak to us today?  God uses nature to reveal Himself to those who have never heard of Him.  He shows His greatness to all of us through nature. 

            God speaks through other people, especially mature believers who know us, to give good guidance and advice.  He puts the wisdom in their minds and the compulsion to pass it on to us.  We must recognize this as one of the ways God speaks His will to us today.

            Then there are circumstances and experiences which God uses to reveal His plan and will to us.  Often we aren’t sensitive enough to hear God as He speaks in these ways.

            I love the story a friend shared with me several years ago about this.  A man was caught in a flood and ended up floating on the roof of his destroyed home. He prayed desperately for God’s help. In time a rescue team came by in a boat. “We’ve come to help you,” they shouted. “Get in our boat and you’ll be safe.” “No,” the man shouted back. “God’s going to save me.”
It grew dark and scary and the man prayed harder. The beat of a helicopter’s blades could be heard coming from the distance growing louder and louder, until they were thumping overhead. A bright light framed the house wreckage and the man. The loudspeaker boomed, “Take the rope, you’ll be safe.” “No, thanks,” the man shouted as he waved the helicopter away, “God’s going to save me.” Shortly thereafter, the roof disintegrated and the man drowned.
He was grateful to arrive in heaven, but irritated that God hadn’t answered his prayers.
When he stood before Jesus, he complained. “Why didn’t you save me as you promised that you would?”  “Whatever do you mean?” the Lord said, “I sent a boat and a helicopter!”

            Many times God is shouting to us through our circumstances, but we are so intent on just one option that we fail to hear Him.  We can be so fixed in our point of view that we cannot see what He is doing or saying.

            Paul’s thorn in his flesh is an example of that.  David Jackson tells about how God used a tree falling on his house to help him straighten out some priorities in his life.  We came to this church because God spoke through another person, a pastor, to lead us here.  God used a series of circumstances to show us this was where He wanted us. 

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            Another time God used circumstances to speak to me was when we were on vacation at the Gospel concert we go to the end of August.  It was several years ago and I had planned to stay there for the whole 10 days.  Before I had been coming home during the week with Nancy.  They announced that the man who had been doing the morning Bible study during the week would not be able to do it and if anyone would be willing to let them know.  Otherwise they would have to cancel it.  While it would really stretch me to do it, God put a strong desire in my heart to volunteer.  I told them I’d do it if they didn’t have anyone else and so they asked me to do it.  It was a very rewarding experience and I’ve been asked back each year to do it.  I look forward to it and really enjoy the experience.  The people seem to appreciate it, and I get a donation that covers our expenses for our 10 days there!  That’s an example of God using circumstances to ‘open doors’ to minister. 

            When has God used circumstances to speak to you in the past?  How might He be using current circumstances to speak to you today?

            So God spoke in the past and still speaks today through nature, other people and experiences we face.  He also speaks to us through prayer.

            Prayer, as we all know, includes listening as well as talking.  Communication implies listening as well as talking – giving out information and taking in information. 

            When you pray, first pray to listen, pray you will be open to and able to listen.  Then listen to pray.  Ask God how you should pray about certain things and listen for His guidance.  It’s while we are listening that we suddenly become aware of a flash of revelation, an insight in the form of a picture, an inner inaudible prompting, a thought that comes to mind, a word or phrase of Scripture that is continuously repeated, a growing conviction or awareness of what needs to be done, or an increasing consciousness of what God desires that just does not go away.
            Jesus is a prime example of this.  Since He set aside those attributes that would have made His earthly life easier, such as His omniscience, omnipotence and omnipresence, He needed wisdom and revelation, guidance and direction from God through the Holy Spirit, the same as we receive it.  He prayed for long periods of time because that was when He connected with God.  He didn’t spend all that time talking but also must have been listening.  A good example of this is when He chose the twelve to follow Him.  He spent the previous night in prayer, obviously asking for and receiving guidance about whom to choose.
 

            How much of your prayer time is spent talking?  How much is spent listening?  Try spending more time listening as you pray.  We’ll talk about this more in future messages.

            So God speaks through nature, other people, circumstances and prayer.  We can add to that list the written Word. 

            God’s will, His purposes and plans, His very nature, all are clearly revealed to us through the pages of the Holy Scripture.  2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.  

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

          God uses His Word to speak to us when a familiar scripture just jumps off the page, when a promise that speaks to a situation we are in comes to mind and sticks, when a certain passage, story or verse pop into mind, when something comes alive in a new way or when something we hear goes deep into our soul and ministers to a need.

            Do you pray before reading the Bible, asking God to speak to you through it?  Do you read it carefully, slow enough to listen, so you can notice when He points something out to your spirit?

            OK.  Let’s review.  God speaks to us through nature, others, circumstances, prayer and the written Word.  Often the way He speaks through them is by the Holy Spirit within communicating what He wants to say.  Therefore we must make sure we add the Holy Spirit to our list of how God communicates to us today. 

            Since personal, face-to-face communication with God won’t happen until heaven, God now reveals His guidance and direction to us through His Holy Spirit within us.  It is His Spirit that speaks His message to our hearts.

          John 16:6-11, 13   But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.

8 When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; 10 in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned. … 13 but when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. Just as Jesus spoke God’s message to the disciples when He was with them, so the Spirit will speak to them when Jesus is gone.  The Spirit is Jesus’ replacement, so we need to listen to Him as we would were Jesus Himself sitting here talking to us!

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          When we listen to Him, the Holy Spirit shows us how to pray.  Romans 8:26-27 in the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.

27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.

            It is the Holy Spirit who delivers our message, our thoughts and feelings, to God the Father.  It is also He who delivers God’s message to us.  When we say that we ‘hear’ God’s voice, it is really the Spirit within Who is speaking to us. 

            Do you recognize God’s voice when He speaks to you through the Holy Spirit?  We’ll talk more about that in weeks to come, but start now trying to listen more carefully for His voice.

            The final way God still speaks is through our conscience.  Paul states: “I speak the truth in Christ – I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit.”  Our conscience is not a perfect instrument, for it is programmed much like a computer, but as you grow as a Christian God sensitizes your conscience so it lines up with the Bible. 

            When I am given too much change by a clerk, when I try to avoid an opportunity to speak out for Jesus, when I am tempted to do something I know I shouldn’t – then God’s Spirit warns me by pricking my conscience. 

            So God continues to speak to us today through nature, others, circumstances, prayer, the written Word, the Holy Spirit and our conscience.  In future weeks we’ll focus specifically on God speaking to us by His Holy Spirit as we listen in prayer.  That’s where we are weakest and that’s the key to hearing from Him. 

 

“What Does God’s Voice Sound Like?”

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            In the dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral there is what is known as the “Whispering Gallery.” Through the peculiar construction of the dome a whisper by a person at one side travels round and can be distinctly heard by another person standing at the other.

            An even more remarkable whispering gallery is that known as the “Ear of Dionysius” at Syracuse in Sicily. This is a vast cave, which externally bears a resemblance to a human ear. Entering by a low doorway, the visitor finds himself in a huge cavern. High up, concealed in the roof, is a chamber, which can only be entered by a concealed path at the top. The faintest whisper uttered below is distinctly heard by those concealed above. In this chamber the tyrant Dionysius used to sit listening to his slaves working or to his captives imprisoned below. All their plots against him were thus, to them, mysteriously discovered and circumvented. From this historical fact the cave has received the name of the “Ear of Dionysius.”

            We, too, can learn to hear everything God says – if we know how to listen.

            We saw last week that God really does speak to us today.  He desires communication with us and we desire communication with Him.  We saw that hearing from God is probable, possible and even very necessary.

            Then we saw examples of those whom God spoke to in the Old Testament.  These include Moses, Samuel, David and the prophets.  In the New Testament we see Him speaking to Jesus quite often, to Paul on the road to Damascus and to many others. 

            We also looked at some of the ways God speaks to man.  Some of the means God used to communicate to men in the past but which He no longer uses include audible voice (although there may be some times He still speaks audibly to people today), angels, dreams, visions, casting lots and the Urim an Thummim.  We observed more closely some of the ways God spoke in the past and still speaks today.  He speaks through nature, other people, circumstances and experiences, prayer, the written Word, the Holy Spirit and our conscience.

            Thus we have established that God wants to speak to us and in deed does.  Now we want to look at how He speaks and what He says.

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            I hope you’ve been learning to listen to Him this past week.  Have you taken time to let Him speak and to sit and listen?  Have you become more aware of when and how He speaks to you?  I hope so.  The whole purpose of these messages is for you to take this information and apply it to your own lives during the coming week.

 

I. WHAT DOES GOD’S VOICE SOUND LIKE?

            Out of the several ways God uses to communicate His messages to us today, we will be focusing on His speaking to us by the Holy Spirit.  He speaks to us today and we can hear His voice.  It’s not a sound, it’s a voice.  It’s not something you hear with your ears but in your mind.  Once you learn to recognize and respond to this voice you’ll recognize it often. 

            There is an old story about two men walking down a busy, loud New York City street.  Horns honked, engines roared, PA systems blasted advertisements.  All of a sudden one of the men, who had been an outdoorsmen all his life, stopped and said, “What’s that?”  The other man couldn’t imagine what he was talking about with all the noise and confusion all around.  The first man went over to the side of a building and picked up a cricket he had heard.  The friend was amazed that the outdoorsman had even heard it, but his ears were attuned to that sound and could pick it out of the din around them.  That’s how our spiritual hearing needs to be.  We need to be able to pick God’s voice out of all the other voices clamoring for out attention.  Hopefully this message will help you to be able to do that.

            First we’ll look at what God’s voice sounds like, and then we’ll talk about some of the things He says.  The first clue we have to what God’s voice sounds like is in I Kings 19 where we see it is a still, small voice – a gentle whisper.

             Kings 19:11-13 The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

            In the still, small voice of God we are given a message that bears the stamp of His personality quite clearly and in a way we will learn to recognize. 

            There is a speaker system at the Ontario Motor Speedway in California that has an out put of 30,800 watts connected to 355 speakers and able to communicate to 230,000 people  above the noise of the car races.  God could outdo that, but instead chooses to speak quietly.  Therefore if we want to hear Him we can’t wait for Him to shout over the noise in our life but we need to learn to be quiet and listen for His still, quiet voice. 

            I remember several years ago I was marrying a couple that I had known for a long time and had been coming to church and Bible studies for quite some time.  They had some major ‘issues’ it seemed that had worked through, but the day before the wedding the groom did something that was part of his old pattern.  I clearly heard God’s voice in my spirit telling me not to marry them, so I didn’t.  The bride and both families really put a lot of pressure on me to go ahead with the wedding but I knew that God had spoken. 

            Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones writes: “God sometimes answers directly in our spirit.  The prophet said, ‘I will watch and see what He will say in me.’ God speaks to me by speaking in me.  He can so lie something upon the mind that we are certain of the answer.  He can impress something upon our spirits in an unmistakable manner.  We find ourselves unable to get away from an impression that is on our mind or heart; we try to rid ourselves of it, but back it comes.”

            Remember, this is not verbal voice, a sensation or an emotional experience.  In fact, it can be very easy to overlook His voice or just think it’s a thought of our own. 

            Try an experiment: Be as still and silent as you possibly can for the next 30 seconds or so. Listen as intently as you can, noticing the sounds you hear. How many sounds? What are they?–Close your eyes and begin to listen. Pause: Did you hear 1 sound– 2? 3? 4? 5? Did you hear the ticking of the clock? Heater noise? Birds? Traffic? Voices? Your own breath? Your heartbeat? Ringing in your ears?

            We are seldom still enough to hear the subtle sounds. Most of us suffer from a steady dose of noise pollution: TV, radio, conversation. Constant sound bombards us until the naturalness of silence sounds foreign, unnatural, threatening, and we’ll do just about anything to cover it up. In a significant way, we are in fact addicted to noise. The constant blaring of the TV is for many an electronic companion whose presence we take for granted; Muzak fills the elevator; we jump in the car and switch on the radio to fill the uncomfortable void; even a lapse in social conversation is viewed with alarm, and someone has to rescue the moment by talking. Even in church, if a few moments of silence are called for in worship, most church members have this internal response: “When will this be over?”
            We need to learn to hear God’s still voice as He speaks to us.  I can think back on times He told me to talk to someone about Him and I didn’t.  Those still haunt me.  Better memories are the times when God put it on my heart to speak to someone and I obeyed.
 

Writer Charles Swindoll once found himself with too many commitments in too few days. He got nervous and tense about it. “I was snapping at my wife and our children, choking down my food at mealtimes, and feeling irritated at those unexpected interruptions through the day,” he recalled in his book Stress Fractures.  “Before long, things around our home started reflecting the patter of my hurry-up style. It was become unbearable.
            “I distinctly remember after supper one evening, the words of our younger daughter, Colleen. She wanted to tell me something important that had happened to her at school that day. She began hurriedly, ’Daddy, I wanna tell you somethin’ and I’ll tell you really fast.’ Suddenly realizing her frustration, I answered,  ‘Honey, you can tell me — and you don’t have to tell me really fast. Say it slowly.’  I’ll never forget her answer: ‘Then listen slowly.’”

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            That’s good advice for all of us.  Listen slowly; listen intently, for His voice is often a gentle whisper, a still, small voice.  When we learn to listen for it we recognize that He speaks rich and enlightened thoughts to our spirits.

            God can put a new idea directly and immediately into our mind.  He can give us a new perspective in which to view something.  He can put new desires into our hearts.  He can stimulate certain memories stored within our mind just when they are most needed.

            Martin Luther wrote:  “If the Holy Spirit should come when these thoughts are in your mind and begin to preach to your heart, giving you rich and enlightened thoughts, then give Him the honor, let your preconceived ideas go, be quiet and listen to Him Who can talk better than you; and note what He proclaims and write it down.”

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            James Dobson has given some of the best practical advice I have ever heard on how someone who really wants the will of God and who has a basically correct understanding of it should proceed.  Describing how he does it himself, he says, “I get down on my knees and say, ‘Lord, I need to know what you want me to do, and I am listening.  Please speak to me through my friends, books, magazines I pick up and read, and through circumstances.”

            Often God’s still, small voice takes the form of thoughts that are our thoughts, though they are not from us. 

            When God speaks in your heart it doesn’t matter where your mind has been going; He blocks and overrides all circuits. You are captivated by His voice speaking to you. He commands your undivided attention. There is absolute certainty in what He says. What He says is right. His word has perfect balance and proportion. Everything He shows us fits together seamlessly. The word He gives us is complete. Everything He says compliments everything He’s been showing us.

            It’s true that Satan can counterfeit this, but that just proves that God does speak to us in this way.  A little later we’ll have a whole message on how to tell God’s voice from Satan’s counterfeit leading. 

            When I study, when I prepare sermons and lessons, I try to be very aware of the rich and enlightening thoughts that God sends me by means of His Spirit.  When I counsel I always try to be sensitive to His leading and direction. When we are involved in spiritual warfare it is essential to be in tune to hear what thoughts God gives me.

            Often this still, small voice speaks rich and enlightening thoughts by causing a burning within my heart.

            The disciples who talked with Jesus on the road to Emmaus that first Resurrection Sunday experienced this.  Luke 24:32 says, “They asked each other, ‘were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?’” 

            Psalm 39:1-3 talks about this as well.  “My heart grew hot within me, and as I meditated, the fire burned.”

            One of the more familiar quotes about this comes from the journal of John Wesley for May 14, 1738.  “In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate-Street, where one was reading Luther’s preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation: And an assurance was given me, that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.”

            Haven’t you found yourself moved by something you sense in your spirit?  Perhaps it happens during a song or sermon, when listening to a testimony or out in nature?  This stirring is God speaking to our hearts through His Holy Spirit, putting His fire within us to highlight something of importance.

            Charles Stanley writes: “As you pray and read, trust the Holy Spirit to quicken your spirit to His truth.  You may feel this as warmth inside, or you may feel a great sense of absoluteness about a particular verse.  Sometimes the words on the page of your Bible may seem to stand out to you as if they were written in bold headlines.  Sometimes you may not be able to get away from a particular passage.  It comes repeatedly to your mind, and you can’t seem to shake it from memory.” 

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            So we see that this still, small voice speaks rich and enlightening thoughts by causing a burning within our hearts.  How He speaks is by a gentle, quiet whisper.  Where He speaks is to our thoughts and to our hearts.  He touches our rational mental capacity (enlightened thoughts) as well as our emotional feelings (burning hearts).

 

II. WHAT DOES GOD’S VOICE SAY?

            Hopefully that makes hearing God’s voice a little clearer, but there is one more part I want to add which can be very helpful.  What does His voice say?  What can we expect to hear from God?  What sort of things does He communicate to those who are listening?

            To Ezekiel God complained that “these people have ears to hear but they never hear, eyes to see but they never see” (12:2).  Jesus repeated this complaint several times as well.

            We saw last time the many different people that God spoke to in the Old Testament.  Often He spoke to them many times.  We see throughout the Bible phrases like “the voice of the Lord” (14 times), “the voice of God” (3 times), “the Lord spoke” (24 times), “God spoke” (6 times), and “the word of the Lord came to…” (99 times).  There is no way of knowing how many times this was a verbal voice and how many times it was God’s still, small voice speaking rich thoughts to their mind or heart (or both).  If it was verbal or not, however, the result was still the same – God spoke to them and they heard Him. 

            When we look at these occurrences we see they can be grouped into five areas of revelation.  God spoke conviction, information, encouragement, enablement in ministry, and revelation of Himself.

            For most of us, the first time we heard God speak to us He was convicting us of sin, showing us our need of salvation.   Jesus said, “When the Holy Spirit 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” (John 16:A7-11).  I Thessalonians 1:4-5 says the gospel comes to us with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction.

            Of course we all know that how we respond that that conviction is a free will choice each will need to make. 

            In the 1640s George Fox, founder of the Friends or Quaker movement, wandered the fields and lanes of the English countryside, seeking someone who could show him the way to peace with God.  He finally became convinced that “there was none among them all that could speak to my condition.  And when all my hopes in them and in all men were gone, so that I had nothing outwardly to help me, nor could I tell what to do; then, oh! Then I heard a voice which said, ‘here is one, even Jesus Christ, that can speak to thy condition’; and when I heard it, my heart did leap for joy.  Then the Lord did let me see why there was none upon the earth that could speak to my condition, namely, that I might give him all the glory.”

            One way in which God speaks to us is to show us the sin in our life.  He does this before salvation so we will see our need of Him.  He also does this in the lives of those who have freely received His free gift of salvation.  He shows us sin so we can confess and remove it. 

            Charles Stanley wrote:  As we read God’s Word, we nearly always come to what I call a ‘gulp point.’  Something we read challenges us to change something in our lives, to gulp and say, ‘Wow!  That really hit me.  I need to do something about that.’  Sometimes it’s a conviction about sin in our lives.  Sometimes it’s a correction in the way we have been taught or the way in which we act toward others.  Sometimes it’s a clear call to engage in a new discipline or area of ministry.”

            The problem is that we have a tendency to only listen to what we want to hear.  A doctor can give us good advice about diet changes or needed exercise, but it’s very easy to ignore his counsel if it means changes we don’t want to make.  

            I’ve learned to recognize God’s Spirit when He convicts me of sin.  He warns me ahead of time through my conscience.  He also censures me after I have sinned.   While we may not want to hear these things from Him, we can thank Him for faithfully bringing sin to our attention.  Suppose He didn’t?

            A second type of content God speaks to us is information and guidance. 

            Jesus said, “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth.  He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come” (John 16:13). 

            The Bible abounds with examples of this.  Paul said the Holy Spirit warned him of what was to come when he went to Jerusalem (Acts 20:22-23).  He reminded the church in Corinth that they had the “mind of Christ” (2:16).  Joseph heard of Pharaoh’s dream and God told Him the contents and their meaning.  Daniel heard Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and God gave him the interpretation.  Jacob (Genesis 46:2) and Samuel (2 Samuel 23:2) both said God spoke His guidance to them.  Simeon was moved by the Spirit to find Jesus with His parents in the temple (Luke 2:25-28).  Several times the Bible tells us that God guided Him by directing His spirit (Mark 2:8; John 13:21).  God spoke to Ananias and told him to go to blind Paul (Acts 9:11-15). 

            An analogy I like which explains this is the shepherd-sheep illustration.  He said that His sheep hear His voice and follow Him (John 10:4, 16, 27).  Jesus’ definition of a disciple is one who follows Him, who hears His voice and responds. 

            St. Augustine tells of a time God’s voice guided him.  “I heard from a neighboring house a voice, as of a boy or girl, I know not, changing, and oft repeating, ‘Take up and read.  Take up and read.’   I could remember no child’s game with these words.  So, checking the torrent of my tears, I arose; interpreting it to be no other than a command from God, to open the book, and read the first chapter I should find.”  Thus he came upon Romans 13:13-14 which led to his salvation and transformation.

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            Twenty three years ago I was between churches and seeking where God would have me minister.  A church in western Pennsylvania invited us to come speak and apply so we did.  We weren’t sure if God wanted us to go there or not, but they went ahead with their procedure and voted on us.  The vote was 100% – unanimous.  I remember agonizing over the decision, awaiting their final call to see if we were coming or not.  When the phone rang I still wasn’t sure, but as I talked I knew God was telling me to turn it down.  I really wanted to get back to pasturing.  I hadn’t ever heard of Main Street Baptist Church in Doylestown.  Six months later God led us here, and the church vote was 51% in our favor.  Denominational leaders urged us to turn down what was then a hot-bed of conflict and strife, but I knew God was leading us to come here so we did. 

            That’s why it’s so important to be listening to God and letting Him guide and direct. 

            A very remarkable illustration of this concerns Peter Marshall, the Scot who in the middle of the twentieth century became one of America’s most widely acclaimed ministers.  Through his outstanding qualities as a man and a minister, he brought the office of the chaplain of the United States Senate to a new level of prominence. 

            Back in Britain, on one foggy, pitch-black Northumerland night, he was taking a shortcut across the moors in an area where there was a deep, deserted limestone quarry.  As he plodded blindly forward, an urgent voice called out, “Peter!”  He stopped and answered: “Yes, who is it?  What do you want?”  But there was no response.

            Thinking he was mistaken, he took a few more steps.  The voice came again, even more urgently, “Peter!”  At this he stopped again and, trying to peer into the darkness, stumbled forward and fell to his knees.  Putting down his hand to brace himself, he found nothing there.  As he felt around in a semicircle he discovered that he was right on the brink of the abandoned quarry, where one step more would certainly have killed him.  

            It’s not just the big things, but little things He leads us with as well.  Many times I’ve not been able to find my keys or something I’ve misplaced.  After frantically looking everywhere I finally stop and pray, and then soon after that their location pops right into my mind!

            Charles Stanley adds excellent counsel to this.  “In the Old Testament when men such as King David inquired of the Lord, the question was nearly always put to the Lord in such a way that the answer was yes or no.  I believe this is the foremost way that the Holy Spirit speaks to us hour by hour as we walk through our particular set of circumstances.   We can never ask too many times of the Holy Spirit, ‘Should I do this – yes or no?’   We will sense in our spirits His word of reply to us.  Generally, it will be a sense of enthusiasm and eager desire marked with great joy and freedom, or it will be a sense of foreboding, danger, caution, or need for silence.  I find that it is much easier to receive the direction of the Holy Spirit by asking for yes-or-no counsel than to say to Him in general terms, ‘What do you want me to do?’”

            So when we talk about the content of what God speaks we find He speaks conviction, information and guidance, and also encouragement.

            God doesn’t just speak information to us; quite often He speaks words of encouragement, peace, comfort and strength.  “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27).  “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). 

            God has given me encouragement and peace about our church.  Despite the numbers and financial difficulties, I know He wants me to persevere here. 

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            So God speaks conviction, information and encouragement to us.  He also tells us how to carry on the responsibilities and ministries He has given us.

            His voice calls people into ministry (I Timothy 1:12; 2:6-7) and then tells those whom He has called what to say.  Moses is an example of this (Exodus 4:10-12). I’m sure you’ve noticed times when you were talking to someone about spiritual things and all of a sudden the right thoughts came to you and you were able to explain something in a way you never thought you could. 

            When I teach and preach I depend on God to give me the right things to say.  That’s why I always pray before I start, asking Him to give me His words to speak and that everyone would hear Him and not me.  I need to listen to Him and you need to be hearing from Him as you hear me. 

            The final form His communication may take is that of revelation of Himself.  Often it will just seem to ‘hit’ us how wonderful, powerful or majestic God is.  This is Him revealing Himself to us by His Holy Spirit.  He does this so we will respond in praise and worship. 

            That happens to me when I listen to my son Dan play the piano or when I listen to Southern Gospel Music.

            Sometimes we can be so overwhelmed with God’s love in our soul that we find ourselves enraptured in an immense feeling of being loved deeply, of God telling us how much He loves us.  Our natural response is to worship, to love Him back. 

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            So we’ve seen this morning that God speaks to us in a gentle whisper.  When He does, He speaks rich and enlightening thoughts to our minds.  Or He may cause a warm burning in our hearts as He speaks to our emotions and feelings. 

            The content which He communicates to us consists of conviction, information and guidance, encouragement and peace, enablement in ministry, and a revelation of Himself to cause us to worship Him. 

            In which of these areas has He been speaking to you during the last week?  In which is He speaking to you now?  Where do you need to hear Him speaking in the coming week?

            Now that you know a little better what God’s voices sounds like and the kinds of things He talks about, make sure you are listening for them this week.  Many people like to write down these things so they remember and follow through with them. 

            Make sure you are always listening, for God will be speaking.  He will speak to you this week, will you hear Him?

            I’d like to close with a story I shared on a Wednesday evening several years ago.  It’s a great example of listening to God speak.

            A young man had been to Wednesday night Bible study. The Pastor had shared about listening to God and obeying the Lord’s voice. The young man could not help but wonder “Does God still speak to people?” After service, he went out with some friends for coffee and pie and they discussed the message. Several different ones talked about how God had led them in different ways. It was about ten o’clock when the young man started driving home. Sitting in his car, he just began to pray, “God… If you still speak to people, speak to me. I will listen. I will do my best to obey.” As he drove down the main street of his town, he had the strangest thought to stop and buy a gallon of milk. He shook his head and said out loud, “God is that you?” He did not get a reply and started on toward home.  But again, his thought still reminds him to buy a gallon of milk. The young man thought about Samuel and how he did not recognize the voice of God, and how little Samuel ran to Eli. ”Okay, God, in case that is you, I will buy the milk.” It did not seem like too hard a test of obedience.  He could always use the milk.  He stopped and purchased the gallon of milk and started toward home. As he passed Seventh Street, he again felt the urge, “Turn down that street.”

            This is crazy he thought and drove on past the intersection. Again, he felt that he should turn down Seventh Street. At the next intersection, he turned back and headed down Seventh. Half jokingly, he said aloud, “Okay, God, I will”.

            He drove several blocks, when suddenly, he felt like he should stop. He pulled over to the curb and looked around. He was in a semi-commercial area of town. It was not the best but it was not the worst of neighborhoods either. The businesses were closed and most of the houses looked dark like the people were already in bed.  Again, he sensed something, “Go, and give the milk to the people in the house across the street.”

            The young man looked at the house. It was dark and it looked like the people were either gone or they were already asleep. He started to open the door and then sat back in the car seat. “Lord, this is insane. Those people are asleep and if I wake them up, they are going to be mad and I will look stupid.” Again, he felt like he should go and give the milk. Finally, he opened the door, “Okay God, if this is you, I will go to the door, and I will give them the milk. If you want me to look like a crazy person, okay. I want to be obedient. I guess that will count for something but if they don’t answer right away, I am out of here.” He walked across the street and rang the bell. He could hear some noise inside. A man’s voice yelled out, “Who is it? What do you want?” Then the door opened before the young man could get away. The man was standing there in his jeans and T-shirt. He looked like he just got out of bed. He had a strange look on his face and he did not seem too happy to have some stranger standing on his doorstep. “What is it?” The young man thrust out the gallon of milk, “Here, I brought this to you.” The man took the milk and rushed down a hallway speaking loudly in Spanish. Then from down the hall came a woman carrying the milk toward the kitchen. The man was following her holding a baby. The baby was crying.

            The man had tears streaming down his face. The man began speaking and half-crying, “We were just praying. We had some big bills this month and we ran out of money. We did not have any milk for our baby. I was just praying and asking God to show me how to get some milk.” His wife in the kitchen yelled outs, “I ask him to send an Angel with some. Are you an Angel?” The young man reached into his wallet and pulled out all the money he had on him and put it in the man’s hand.  He turned and walked back toward his car and the tears were streaming down his face.  He knew that God still answers prayers.

 

 What Can I Do to Hear God’s Voice?

 

I. WHAT CAN I DO TO HEAR GOD’S VOICE?

            Hearing God’s voice is more than just reading a couple Bible verses each morning.  Deion Sanders, the famous athlete, tried that.  He tells how each evening he’d be deeply involved in all kinds of sin, but in the morning he’d always read his Bible.  That was a habit built into him by a devout grandmother.  He said he did it regularly just like brushing his teeth, but five minutes after he was done he had no idea what he read.  It wasn’t until he accepted Jesus as his Savior that he started hearing God when he read.

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            The first requirement to hear God’s voice is salvation.  While our sin still separates us from God we are not only spiritually blind, we are also spiritually deaf.  Since it is God’s Spirit within us that communicates God’s messages to us, we don’t have a ‘receiver’ or ‘transmitter’ until we have God’s Spirit. 

            However, just because we have accepted Jesus as Savior and have the Holy Spirit inside doesn’t mean we are always attuned to Him.  Sin, rebellion, disobedience, self-centeredness, laziness, these and many other things can quench His Spirit.  We don’t lose the Holy Spirit when we sin, but we do cut off the communication with God that comes through Him.  So we need to be disciples who follow Him and live for Him in order to regularly hear from Him.

            When we have accepted Jesus as Savior and have Him first in life, with no unconfessed sin, we will hear from God.  God supernaturally opens our spiritual eyes so we can ‘see’ His truth.  He also opens our spiritual ears so we can ‘hear’ His voice.  Ezekiel 12:2 warns, “Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear?”  So important is this verse that it is quoted seven times in the Gospels and another seven times in the Book of Revelation.

            These verses imply first of all a capacity to spiritually hear God and also a choice we can or cannot make to willingly listen to His voice.

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            A hardened unbeliever went one day to see—but not to hear—George Whitefield when he preached outdoors to a great throng. In order to have a good vantage point, he climbed a nearby tree. Putting his fingers in both ears, he began to watch the mighty preacher. Then a persistent fly lit on his nose. He shook his head, but the fly wouldn’t move.  Just as he removed a hand from an ear to flick the fly away, Whitefield quoted the verse, “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matt. 11:15). Then he spoke of the willful refusal of many to hear the Spirit’s voice. The unbeliever was so impressed by what happened that he opened not only his ears to the gospel, but also his heart.

            So before we can listen to God we must have His Spirit within and there can be nothing blocking our listening to Him. We must make that free will choice to listen to Him.

 

II. WHAT KEEPS ME FROM HEARING GOD’S VOICE?

            If you are a user of the Internet then you know that you must first get your             modem connected with a server before you can have access to the unlimited knowledge base known as the World Wide Web. You are out of luck if the server is busy, right? You have probably sat there in front of your computer screen many times biting your fingernails or pulling your hair out as you heard the phone line ringing and ringing and never connecting. Or you can connect and then all of a sudden find your connection broken.  You must find what is causing the problem and fix it.

            Lots of things can break the connection between us and God.  One of the most common things is distractions that turn us from His voice.

            Luke 10:340 says that Martha was too busy to hear Jesus because she was distracted by meal preparations.  Several years ago newspapers told how a new Navy jet fighter shot itself down.  Flying at supersonic speed, it ran into cannon shells it had fired only a few seconds before.  The jet was traveling too fast!  If we don’t have time to spend with God, talking to Him and listening to His voice, we are traveling too fast as well.  You better slow down before you shoot yourself down!

            Sometimes when I am too busy during the day and neglect my relationship with God I find myself waking up during the night for no reason and just laying there.  I’d learned to use that time to pray and reconnect with God.  It’s His way of calling me aside to be with Him.  Nancy does the same when I neglect spending quality time with her.  She doesn’t wake me up during the night, but she does let me know I have been neglecting our relationship.  Is God trying to tell you right now that you’ve been neglecting Him?  Listen to what He says!

            I find my best time to spend with God is first thing in the morning, often before even getting out of bed.  Once I go downstairs, bring in the paper and turn on the computer its much harder for me to give Him the full attention He deserves.  Some find evenings work best for them.  Whatever it is, just make sure you do it and not let business get in your way.

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            Martin Luther said, “I have so much to do today that I shall never get through it with less than three hours’ prayer.”  Charles Spurgeon said, “I always feel that there is something wrong if I go without prayer for even half an hour in the day.”

            Even when times are busy, we must learn to listen.  Many years ago before electricity, people had ice houses to store ice from the winter so they could use it in the summer.  They would put layers of sawdust all around each block to insulate it and keep it from melting.  One day a worker in an ice house lost a very special watch, given him by his father before he died.  He and several others dug all through the sawdust but could not find it.  After hours of labor they gave it up as lost.  A young boy had heard of the problem and went into the ice house after all the others left.  Five minutes later he came out with the watch, to the astonishment of all.  When asked how he found it so easily the boy said, “I just went in t here by myself, closed the door, lay very still on the sawdust and listened real hard.”

            When do you best hear from God?  What can you do to counter the noises and distractions that keep you from hearing from God?

            A second interference that can block us from hearing God’s voice is disappointment.  The Psalmist cries, “O my God, I cry out day by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent” (Psalm 22:2). 

            It is very likely that Jonah’s family was killed by the Assyrians, so when God sent him to bring them a message that would spare them from judgment, he didn’t want to listen to God.

            When our prayers don’t seem to be answered like we’d like, we sometimes stop praying and drift from God. When we feel hurt by someone, we withdraw from them. 

            I remember when, as a new Christian, I prayed for something very important to me.  I believed God wanted me to ask Him for it and that if I prayed and believed God would answer that prayer.  He didn’t and I was confused and devastated.  I had a decision to make: withdraw from God because I was disappointed in His will or trust Him anyway.

            Daniel had to pray for three weeks before he received God’s answer (Daniel 10:12-14).  We may have to pray for three years, or thirty years. 

            Can you think of a time in life when you withdrew from God because you were disappointed in His will for you?  Are you distant from Him now because you don’t like something He is doing in your life?

            Distractions can cause us to not listen to God, so can disappointment.  Disconnection is something else to be aware of when God’s voice isn’t coming through loud and clear.

            Jesus warned His listeners to watch out for “the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things” (Mark 4:18-19). 

            Sin will instantly disconnect us from receiving God’s message.  A group of dolphins got stranded on a beach near Boston.  Scientists feel they may have run aground because of a hearing problem.  The animals, which use sound waves to judge depths, were found to have worms clogging their sinus cavities and inner ears, making them hard of hearing.  The dolphins were unable to gauge the depth of water in which they were swimming.  They thought they were in deep water, but found themselves stranded on the beach.

            When we allow unconfessed sin in our lives, it blocks our ability to hear God speaking to us.  On our own we can easily ‘ground’ ourselves. 

            If you found you have lost your connection to God, make sure there is no unconfessed sin in your life. 

            Is there any sin you are aware of that you haven’t admitted to God and asked for His cleansing?  If so, stop and do so now.

            Not only do distractions, disappointment, disconnection and disinformation make it so we don’t hear God speaking, so does disinformation.

            While Joshua and Caleb advised the Jews to enter the land, the other 10 spies spread disinformation which misled the people.  Some of the information spread today about God and the Christian life is false information, disinformation, and can mislead many.  This includes believing things like the saying that bad things don’t happen to good people.  Others include, “If I had enough faith, my prayers would be answered,” “Christians shouldn’t grieve,” “only those who speak in tongues are really spiritual,” “God wants all His people to be healthy and wealthy, if we aren’t it’s from our lack of faith,” “I’m not good enough so God won’t listen to me,” and “God is sovereign so it doesn’t matter if I pray or not.”

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            Based on Judges 6:36-40 some say we should ‘put out a fleece’ to discern God’s will, but that is not true.  Others say we must have ‘confirmation’ on all God says.  While it is true that God often does confirm what He says, He doesn’t always do so.  Also, Satan can say something and then act in such a way as if to confirm it.

            A final lie that can hinder our listening to God is the one that says God will give his message for me through someone else, someone more ‘spiritual’ than I am.  Be very careful when someone says, “God told me to tell you….”  The Bible says we are to avoid mediums (Deut. 18:10-11) for Jesus is our only go-between (1 Timothy 2:5).  God speaks directly to his people.

            Believing these and other bits of misinformation will turn us from listening to God.  What lies have you believed in the past?  Ask God to show you which ones you may be believing now?

            Similar to but distinct from disinformation is deception.  We can be deceived by Satan’s voice, or even our own, and mistake them from God’s voice.  We will look into this more completely in the last message of this topic.  Pride can deceive us into thinking we don’t need to hear from God. 

            Silently ask God to show you what baggage you are carrying around, what deceptions have kept you from listening to Him.

            The final danger we will look at concerning ways our hearing from God can be blocked is disbelief. 

            Four times the Bible says, “Today, if you will hear his voice….” (Hebrews 3:7, 15; 4:7; Psalm 95:7).  It’s up to us if we hear Him.  Do you believe He can speak to you, to you yourself and not just to others?  If not, confess your unbelief and ask for forgiveness. 

            Distractions, disappointment, disconnection, disinformation, deception and disbelief all will block our reception of God’s message.  Which of these is keeping you from hearing Him?  What can you do to remedy this?

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III. WHAT DOES GOD DO TO GET MY ATTENTION WHEN I’M NOT LISTENING TO HIS VOICE?

            God is faithful.  He wants us to listen to Him.  He even goes out of His way to get our attention when we aren’t listening.  My computer gives me a warning so I know I’m disconnected and not receiving signals.  God sends warning notices to our spirit as well.

            This message may come in the form of an unsettled spirit.  When God wanted to get a message to King Ahasuerus he kept him from sleeping (Esther 6:1).  If you feel restlessness in your spirit, an unsettled feeling, like something is wrong or missing, take that as God’s warning that He wants your attention.  Listen to what He has to say.

            Another form this message can take is an unsolicited word from another person.  This could be an admonition or a correction.  God sent Nathan to David with such a message after David sinned with Bathsheba and then didn’t confess his sin (2 Samuel 12:1).  This could even take the form of complements and words of appreciation or approval which help us get our eyes off ourselves and onto God.

            The third type of warning message from God is unusual circumstances, both good and bad.  Paul alerted the Corinthians to the fact that, because of unconfessed sin, many of them were sick and some had died (1 Corinthians 12:29-30).  Illness, accidents, bankruptcies, failures, divorced, disappointments – all these and other means may be used to get someone’s attention and come back to God.  This isn’t to say that this is the only reason for negative things to happen, nor that all bad things are God’s way of getting our attention, but it is certainly something to consider. 

            God not only uses negative things to get our attention, but also positive.  Sometimes God sends blessing to get us to listen to Him again.  “Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?” (Romans 2:4)

            So we see that God gets our attention by giving us a restless spirit, an unsolicited word from another person, unusual circumstances, both good and bad, and also by unanswered prayer. 

            Sometimes, when it seems the heavens are closed and God isn’t hearing us, God simply wants us to try harder to connect with Him.  While this certainly isn’t the only reason for what we call ‘unanswered’ prayer, sometimes God does use it to make us more desperate to hear from Him so we examine our lives for sin and listen all the closer to Him. 

            Do you notice any of these in your life right now?  Could it be that God is trying to get your attention, to let you know you have lost your connection with Him and not listening to Him?  If so confess any sin He points out and take time to open your heart and listen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

LEARNING TO LISTEN

  

Answer the following questions.  If you can, email the answers to me at jerry@schmoyer.net.  I will make sure you are correct and offer suggestions to help you as you grow.

 

1. Man must have the Lord’s guidance to live in a manner pleasing to Him (Jer. 10:23).  TRUE  FALSE

 

2. Who is to lead and guide the Christian (Rom. 8:14; John 16:13)? ____________________

 

3. In II Samuel 22:31 David says the way of God is

        ___hard

        ___easy

        ___perfect

 

4. The Christian’s first duty is to obey the king or ruler over him (Acts 5:29(.  TRUE   FALSE

 

5. Luke 6:46 teaches that if you call Jesus Lord can claim Him as your Saviour you should:

       ___go to church regularly       

       ___give to the poor

       ___do the things He asks

 

6. John 13:17 says if you live according to God’s will, you can expect your life to be ________.

 

7. A Christian is supposed to conform his life so he lives like everyone else around him (Rom. 12:1-2).   TRUE   FALSE

 

8. In trying to decide what is the proper thing for you, as a Christian, to do concerning things not particularly mentioned in the Bible, it is sometimes helpful to ask yourself:

        ___I Cor. 10:31                   a. can I do it in the name of Christ

       ___I Thess. 5:22                 b. does it have the appearance of evil

       ___Rom. 14:13                   c. will this bring glory to God

       ___Col. 1:10                        d. should an ambassador do this

       ___II Cor. 5:10                     e. is this walking worthy of the Lord

                                                       f. will this cause my brother to stumble (sin)

 

9. Psalm 119:105 says one source of guidance is the ___________________________.

 

10. If you ask Him, will God guide you (Psalm 32:8) ? __________________________

 

11. If it is really God guiding you, you will not be led contrary to the  _____________________.

 

12. Sometimes ________________________ may close a door or make it impossible to go contrary to God’s will (Acts 16:6-10).

 

13. Circumstances may seem unreasonable, but if you are in God’s will you will be like Joseph and know by the witness in your heart that ___________ is with you (Genesis 39:1-2).

 

 

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WRITE BELOW things you think God is telling you or showing you.  As you have your devotions just keep your pencil in hand and jot down impressions, thoughts, things to do, people to contact, prayer items, etc.”

 


14. DOING YOUR PART IN THE FAMILY

How can I contribute to others in the family?

 

            As soon as a child starts to walk and talk he wants to “help” around the house.  He tries to do little things to assist others.  While he isn’t able to do much at first, still he tries and tries.  He feels great when he can make a contribution to others and ‘help’ someone.

         

          The same is true in God’s family.  A new believer isn’t able to do a lot at first, but there should be a strong desire to do what they can.  It is natural to one to contribute to the spiritual family and help in any way possible.  As with a child, though, this often needs to be learned.  This time we will talk about spiritual gifts, for these are God’s ways of using us to help each other. 

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          At the moment of salvation one of the many things we receive are spiritual gifts.  These are enablements the Spirit provides for each one.  Just as each person has a unique set of talents, each believer has a unique set of spiritual gifts.  These are different than talents.  These are special skills/abilities God’s Holy Spirit gives each believer to minister to others in the body of Christ. 

 

          Spiritual gifts are not given to be used for one’s own benefit.  They are for the purpose of ministering to the whole Body of Christ.  A spiritual gift is the God-given ability through which the Holy Spirit supernaturally ministers to other believers.  If you’re not using your gift the rest of us are getting cheated!

 

          Ephesians 4:12 says spiritual gifts are “for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” 

 

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          Each believer has a unique combination of gifts.  Just like three colors, yellow, red and blue, are blended in various combinations to form thousands of colors, so these basic gifts are blended with others to form a unique combination in each believer.  No two of us are gifted exactly alike.

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE SENDING GIFTS

(Apostle, Missionary, Evangelist)

 

Apostle means “send one. Messenger.”  Just for early church, apostles were someone who was an eyewitness of the resurrection.  They were chosen personally by Jesus and had special authority and ability to get the early church started.  The gift of Apostleship didn’t pass on after that first generation. 

 

Missionary:  the gift of missionary is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the body of Christ to minister whatever other spiritual gifts they have in a second culture. 

 

Evangelism:  the gift of evangelism is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the body of Christ to proclaim the Good News of salvation effectively so that individuals or groups of people may respond to the claims of Christ in conversion and discipleship.

 

Evangelist:  The gift of evangelist is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the body of Christ to share the Good News with unbelievers in such a way that men and women become Jesus’ disciples. 

 

 

 

 

THE SPEAKING GIFTS

(Prophecy, Prophet, Wisdom, Knowledge, Teaching)

 

 Knowledge:  The gift of knowledge is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the body of Christ to observe Biblical facts and make conclusions.