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Foundations of Faith

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HARVESTIME INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE

This course is part of the Harvestime International Institute, a program designed to equip believers for effective spiritual harvest. The basic theme of the training is to teach what Jesus taught, that which took men who were fishermen, tax collectors, etc., and changed them into reproductive Christians who reached their world with the Gospel in a demonstration of power.

This manual is a single course in one of several modules of curriculum which moves believers from visualizing through deputizing, multiplying, organizing, and mobilizing to achieve the goal of evangelizing.

For further information on additional courses write:

Harvestime International Institute
3176 A Via Buena Vista
Laguna Woods, CA 92637
U.S.A.
©Harvestime International Institute

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

How To Use This Manual

Suggestions For Group Study

Introduction

Course Objectives

1.   Foundations

2.   Repentance From Dead Works - Part I

3.   Repentance From Dead Works - Part II

4.   Faith Toward God

5.   Doctrine Of Baptisms - Part I

6.   Doctrine of Baptisms - Part II

7.   Laying On Of Hands

8.   Resurrection Of The Dead - Part I

9.   Resurrection Of The Dead - Part II

10.  Eternal Judgment

11.  Perfection

Appendix

Answers to Self-Tests

HOW TO USE THIS MANUAL

MANUAL FORMAT

Each lesson consists of:

Objectives: These are the goals you should achieve by studying the chapter. Read them before starting the lesson.

Key Verse: This verse emphasizes the main concept of the chapter. Memorize it.

Chapter Content: Study each section. Use your Bible to look up any references not printed in the manual. 

Self-Test; Take this test after you finish studying the chapter. Try to answer the questions without using your Bible or this manual. When you have concluded the Self-Test, check your answers in the answer section provided at the end of the book.

For Further Study: This section will help you continue your study of the Word of God, improve your study skills, and apply what you have learned to your life and ministry.

Final Examination:  If you are enrolled in this course for credit, you received a final examination along with this course.  Upon conclusion of this course, you should complete this examination and return it for grading as instructed.

ADDITIONAL MATERIALS NEEDED

You will need a King James version of the Bible.

SUGGESTIONS FOR GROUP STUDY

FIRST MEETING

Opening: Open with prayer and introductions. Get acquainted and register the students.

Establish Group Procedures: Determine who will lead the meetings, the time, place, and dates for the sessions.

Praise And Worship: Invite the presence of the Holy Spirit into your training session.

Distribute Manuals To Students: Introduce the manual title, format, and course objectives provided in the first few pages of the manual.

Make The First Assignment: Students will read the chapters assigned and take the Self-Tests prior to the next meeting. The number of chapters you cover per meeting will depend on chapter length, content, and the abilities of your group.

SECOND AND FOLLOWING MEETINGS

Opening: Pray. Welcome and register any new students and give them a manual. Take attendance. Have a time of praise and worship.

Review: Present a brief summary of what you studied at the last meeting.

Lesson: Discuss each section of the chapter using the HEADINGS IN CAPITAL BOLD
FACED LETTERS as a teaching outline. Ask students for questions or comments on what they have studied. Apply the lesson to the lives and ministries of your students.

Self-Test: Review the Self-Tests students have completed. (Note: If you do not want the students to have access to the answers to the Self-Tests, you may remove the answer pages from the back of each manual.)

For Further Study: You may do these projects on a group or individual basis.

Final Examination: If your group is enrolled in this course for credit, you received a final examination with this course. Reproduce a copy for each student and administer the exam upon conclusion of this course.

Module:  Deputizing

Course:  Foundations of Faith

INTRODUCTION

The basic doctrines of  the Christian faith are the subject of this course. Doctrines are a collection of teachings on a certain subject. The basic doctrines of the Christian faith are the teachings of Jesus Christ recorded in the Bible.

These doctrines are listed in the Bible in the book of Hebrews:

Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works,
and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms  and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do, if God permit. (Hebrews 6:1-3)

Two spiritual objectives are set forth in this verse:

The first objective is that of building your spiritual life on the right foundation. This foundation is the doctrine of Jesus Christ.

The second objective is to go on to perfection. Perfection means spiritual maturity.

There are two reasons for failure to live a victorious Christian life.

The first reason is that some who are trying to live like Christians have never been born again. They do not understand the basic doctrines of Jesus
Christ. Because of this lack of understanding they have failed to make a proper response to God.

The second reason for failure is not going on to spiritual maturity.

The first purpose of  this  course is to present the basic doctrines of the Christian faith necessary for a proper spiritual foundation.

The six foundational doctrines of Hebrews 6:1-3 will be discussed:

1.    Repentance from dead works

2.    Faith toward God

3.    Doctrine of baptisms

4.    Laying on of hands

5.    Resurrection of the dead

6.    Eternal judgment

After establishing this foundation, the second purpose of this course is to take you on to perfection [spiritual maturity]...

"...And this will we do, if God permit..."

COURSE OBJECTIVES

Upon completion of this course you will be able to:

·         Explain the six basic doctrines of the Christian faith listed in Hebrews 6:1-3.

·         Establish a proper spiritual foundation in your own life.

·         Go on to spiritual maturity. 

 

CHAPTER ONE: FOUNDATIONS

 

OBJECTIVES:

Upon completion of this chapter you will be able to:

·         Write the Key Verse from memory.

·         Distinguish between right and wrong spiritual foundations.

·         Explain the importance of building on the right spiritual  foundation.

·         Acknowledge Jesus Christ as the true spiritual foundation.

·         List three steps for building a proper spiritual foundation.

KEY VERSES:

Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works,
and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do, if God permit. (Hebrews 6:1-3)

INTRODUCTION

The Bible compares the life of a believer to the construction of a building:

...Ye are God's building... (I Corinthians 3:9)

Each believer is united in Christ with other Christians to form the Church. The Bible also compares the Church to a building:

In whom [Jesus] ye also are builded together [the church united] for an habitation of God through the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:22)

Whenever men erect a building they must first lay a proper foundation. Since this is a natural principle understood by all people, God used it to teach a great spiritual truth.

A believer must have a proper foundation in order to build a good spiritual house. The foundation must be laid according to the builder's plan. The Bible gives  the plan of the master builder, Jesus Christ.

This chapter explains the importance of  having a proper spiritual foundation. It also presents basic principles the Bible teaches about this foundation.

THE PURPOSE OF BUILDING

The purpose of your spiritual "building" is to provide a habitation [a dwelling place] for God. His Spirit will dwell in you only when your life is built on the right foundation. 
Paul asked:  Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? (I Corinthians 3:16)

Because of this you are cautioned to build your spiritual life properly:

But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. (I Corinthians 3:10)

THE FOUNDATION

The spiritual foundation of which the Word of God speaks:

IS BASED ON GOD'S WORD:

God's word stands firm like a rock [foundation]; nothing can shake it. (II Timothy 2:19, The Living Bible)

IS A GOOD FOUNDATION:

Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation. (I Timothy 6:19)

IS BASED ON RIGHTEOUSNESS:

The uncompromisingly righteous has an everlasting foundation. (Proverbs 10:25, The Amplified Bible)

IS ETERNAL:

Laying up for themselves the riches that endure forever, a good foundation for the future... (I Timothy 6:19, The Amplified Bible)

RESTS ON TWO BASIC PRINCIPLES:

But the firm foundation laid by God stands sure and unshaken, bearing this seal and inscription: The Lord knows those who are His and let everyone
who names  himself by the name of the Lord give up all iniquity and stand aloof from it. (II Timothy 2:19, The Amplified Bible)

The two principles upon which the foundation stands are:

1.  Redeemed men: The Lord knows those who are His.

2.  Living redeemed lives: Let everyone who names himself by the name of the

Lord give up all iniquity and stand aloof from it.

IS BUILT UPON A ROCK WHICH IS IMMOVABLE:

He is like a man which built a house and digged deep and laid the foundation on a rock and when the flood arose and beat vehemently on the house it
could not shake it for it was founded on a rock. (Luke 6:48)

THAT ROCK IS JESUS CHRIST:

There is no other rock; I know not any. (Isaiah 44:8, The Amplified Bible)

Jesus Christ is the only foundation for spiritual life:

For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. (I Corinthians 3:11)

JESUS:  THE FOUNDATION

God is the one who chose Jesus Christ as the foundation for spiritual life:

Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation.. (Isaiah 28:16)

The foundation of spiritual life is not a man-made creed, a denomination, or a religious ceremony. The foundation is Jesus Christ.

Many professing believers try to build great spiritual structures of Christianity in their lives. They become involved in the program of the church and do many good works. The outward appearance of their spiritual building is good. But before long their spiritual building begins to sink and collapse. They become discouraged, defeated, and fall into sin. This is because they are trying to build on the wrong foundation.

Just as a good foundation is necessary to properly support a building in the natural world, the right spiritual foundation is necessary to support the building of your spiritual life:

For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest; for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. (I Corinthians 3:11-13)

All so called "Christian" works will be tested by God. The structure of your spiritual life will be examined to determine if it is built on the proper foundation.  The only foundation of spiritual life which will stand is that which is built on Jesus Christ.

THE IMPORTANCE OF FOUNDATIONS

Foundations are very important. The writer of Psalms realized this when he asked:

If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do? (Psalms 11:3)

In the natural world if the foundation of a building is not properly laid the whole structure can collapse. The same is true in the spiritual world. A wrong foundation will result in spiritual disaster.

The Biblical record of Haggai stresses the importance of proper spiritual foundations. Israel was experiencing poor harvests in the natural world. Haggai told them to examine their ways:

Ye have sown much, and bring in little...Consider your ways...Ye looked for much, and lo  it came to little.  (Haggai 1:6,7,9)

To correct the problem, Haggai told Israel they must rebuild both in the natural and spiritual worlds.

Rebuilding in the natural world was necessary for Israel because they had delayed building the house of the Lord. They had built their own homes and put their own concerns ahead of God's command to rebuild the temple. But more important, the spiritual foundation of  their lives was wrong. They had been offering sacrifices [good works] with unholy hands:

...So is this people, and so is this nation before me, says the Lord; and so is every work of their hands; and what they offer there on the altar is unclean
because they who offer it are themselves unclean. (Haggai 2:14, The Amplified Version)

A right work offered by unholy hands is not acceptable. The spiritual foundation of their lives was wrong and this is why they were not blessed by God. 

In the natural world Haggai told God's people that the foundation of  the Lord's  temple must be rebuilt. He said they must also rebuild their spiritual lives on a proper foundation. From the day that Israel started to build on the right foundation God began to bless them:

But now note this:  From today,...and from this day onward, I will bless you. Notice, I am giving you this promise now before you have even begun to rebuild the Temple structure, and before you have harvested your grain, and before the grapes and figs and pomegranates and olives have produced their next crops:  From this day I will bless you. (Haggai 2:18-19, The Living Bible)

From the day you start to build proper spiritual foundations, God will bless you in every area of your life.

THE DOCTRINE OF JESUS

Jesus stressed the need for building on a good spiritual foundation. He illustrated this truth by a parable of two men who built houses. The Bible has two records of this parable. One is in Matthew 7:24-29 and the other is in Luke 6:47-49. They are reproduced here to allow comparison of the two passages:

 

Luke

Matthew

Whosoever cometh to me and heareth my sayings and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like;

Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock.

He is like a man which built a house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock; and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house and could not shake it; for it was founded upon a rock

And the rain descended and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it feel not for it was founded upon  a rock.

But he that heareth and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built a house upon the earth; against which the stream did beast vehemently and immediately it fell and the ruin of that house was great. (Luke 6:47-49

And everyone that heareth these sayings of mine and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand; and the rain descended and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell; and great was the fall of it.

 

And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings the people were astonished at his doctrines. (Matthew 7:24:29)

 

There are several important principles in these passages:

DOCTRINE:

The first principle is that building a proper spiritual foundation is part of the doctrine [teachings] of Jesus. This passage records that the people were "astonished at His doctrine."  Part of that doctrine was the story He told about building on a good foundation.

Paul also refers to building a foundation as part of the doctrine of Christ:

Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ...not laying again the foundation...(Hebrews 6:1)

Paul then continues to list the content of the doctrine of Jesus.

THE RIGHT FOUNDATION:

The steps for building a good spiritual foundation are given in Luke 6:47:

1.  Whosoever cometh to me...

2.  Heareth my sayings...

3.  And doeth them.

All three steps are required.  It is not enough to come to Jesus. You must also listen to what He has said. But coming and listening are not enough. You must also take personal action. A person can come to Jesus, hear what He has to say, but not respond:

Why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?  (Luke 6:46)

You can know the Word and still not act upon it. Jesus is not truly Lord of your life until you respond to His teachings.  A good foundation is based on the Word of God. The man who came to Jesus, heard His Word, and then acted on it is called wise. This man made sure the spiritual foundation of  His life was firm.  He "digged deep" removing everything between him and the Rock, Jesus Christ.  

God's Word is the plan which shows how to build your spiritual life. The Bible must be accepted as the absolute authority and the plan for your spiritual foundation because...

...the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man; but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.  (II Peter 1:21)

The purpose of God's revelation is given in II Timothy 3:16:

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. (II Timothy 3:16)

The Bible contains instruction in the basic doctrines of Jesus. It also provides reproof and correction for failing to follow these teachings.

THE WRONG FOUNDATION:

The man who built on a wrong foundation heard the Word of God but did not take personal action on what he heard.  He is called a foolish man and compared to a man who built without a foundation (Luke 6:49). His house was built on the sand instead of the rock (Matthew 7:27).

You build on the sand spiritually when you base your life on the traditions or religious beliefs of man. It is thinking you can make yourself spiritual by good works, church attendance, or religious ceremonies.

THE STORMS OF LIFE:

Jesus' story of the two builders reveals another great truth.  It is the nature  of  life to be stormy. Circumstances of  life result in many personal crises.  You must face death, disease, and disaster. Even believers will face problems.  Acts 14:22 warns that "we must through much tribulation enter into the Kingdom of God."

Jesus said:

...In the world ye shall have tribulation:  but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)

No one escapes the storms. Stormy circumstances of life are experienced by all people everywhere. The storms are the same, but what differs is how people respond to them. If your spiritual life does not have the right foundation you will fall. Just as the house built on sand, the  fall will be great. If your life is built on the right foundation of Jesus Christ and His Word [doctrine], the storm cannot shake you:

...Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.

And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be
shaken may remain. (Hebrews 12:26-27)

When the shaking experience comes, that which cannot be shaken will remain. Those who stand have built a right spiritual foundation.

FOUNDATIONS: A PREREQUISITE

A good foundation is a prerequisite for constructing a sound building in the natural world. The word "prerequisite" means that it is "required before."  A proper foundation is required before constructing the "superstructure." The "superstructure" is that which is built on the foundation.

A proper spiritual foundation is a prerequisite to spiritual maturity. In Hebrews 6:1-3 we are told we cannot go on to perfection unless the spiritual foundation is properly laid. Spiritual maturity is the superstructure [the building] which rests on the spiritual foundation. If the foundation is wrong then the superstructure will not stand and you will never achieve spiritual maturity.

The following lessons explain  things which must be part of  your spiritual foundation. But as the parable of the two houses indicates, it is not enough to be informed of these basic doctrines. You must make a personal response to God's Word and integrate these truths into the spiritual foundation of your life.

If you do not respond to God's Word, you are like the man described by the Apostle James:

But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving our own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man
beholding his natural face in a glass; For he beholdeth himself and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed
in his deed.  (James 1:22-25) 

Remember that from the moment you decide to start building your spiritual life on the proper foundation, God will bless you.

These are the basic principles you will study in the following lessons:

·         Repentance from dead works

·         Faith toward God

·         Baptisms

·         Laying on of hands

·         Resurrection of the dead

·         Eternal judgment

SELF-TEST

1. Write the Key Verses from memory.

2. What are the six foundational doctrines listed in Hebrews 6:1-3?

3. What enables you to go on to spiritual maturity?

4. What are the three steps for building a proper spiritual foundation given in Luke 6:47?

5. Who is the spiritual foundation laid by God?

 (Answers to tests are provided at the conclusion of the final chapter of this manual.)

FOR FURTHER STUDY

The Bible contains the teachings [doctrine] of Jesus Christ and the words of  the one true and living God. It explains how to build your spiritual life on the right foundation.

Study the following verses about God's Word and summarize what they teach:

THE BIBLE IS GOD'S WORD: II Timothy 3:14-17; II Peter 1:19-21; Hebrews 1:1; I Corinthians 2:13; I Thessalonians 2:13; John 5:39

THE BIBLE IS ETERNAL: Matthew 24:35; Isaiah 40:8

THE BIBLE IS A SET STANDARD ON WHICH TO BASE SPIRITUAL LIFE: Psalms 119:89

 

CHAPTER TWO: REPENTANCE FROM DEAD WORKS - PART I

 

OBJECTIVES:

Upon completion of this chapter you will be able to:

·         Write the Key Verse from memory.

·         Define "repentance from dead works."

·         Explain the origin of sin.

·         Recognize different names used for sin in the Bible.

KEY VERSE: For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.  (Romans 3:23)

INTRODUCTION

Hebrews 6:1-3 lists principles of the doctrine of Christ on which a believer is to build his spiritual life. These principles are called the "foundations" of the Christian faith. They are the basic doctrines on which the Christian faith rests. The first of these principles is "repentance from dead works."

REPENTANCE

The basic meaning of the word "repentance" is a change in mind which results in a change in outward actions. 

Some people associate repentance with emotions, like shedding tears and feeling sorry for wrong actions and thoughts. Repentance is not an emotion.  It is a decision. Emotion sometimes accompanies true repentance. But it is possible for a person to feel great emotion and to shed many tears and yet never truly repent.

Other people associate repentance with meeting special religious requirements. This is sometimes called "doing penance." It is possible to fulfill many such religious requirements and yet never repent in the true Biblical sense.

True repentance is a change of mind that results in a change in outward actions. Outward change is the act of turning away from sin towards God and righteousness. This "turning away" shows the inward change of mind which has occurred.

To summarize: Biblical repentance is  an inner change of mind resulting in an outward turning away from sin to move towards God and righteousness.

INEFFECTIVE REPENTANCE

There are some passages in the Bible where the word "repent" is used in a different way.

JUDAS: In Matthew 27:3-4 Judas Iscariot realized Jesus had been condemned to death. He repented of his part in betraying Christ:

Then Judas, which had betrayed Him, when he saw that He was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, Saying I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood...(Matthew 27:3-4)

The Greek word used here is not the same word which means change. It is a word which people often misinterpret as true repentance. In many languages there are words which have more than one meaning. This is true in the languages in which the Bible was written. There is more than one meaning to the word "repent" in the Bible. The word used in this passage about Judas means emotion, sorrow, and anguish.

Judas experienced sorrow over what he had done but he did not experience true Biblical repentance.  He did not make a decision which resulted in change in his actions. He continued in sin and in the end, hung himself.

ESAU:

Esau was another man who made this tragic error. Esau sinned by selling his God-given birthright for a bowl of soup. The Bible records:

...ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected:  for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it
carefully with tears.  (Hebrews 12:17)

Esau exchanged his birthright for a bowl of soup. In doing so, he rejected all the blessings and promises of God associated with the birthright.

Later, Esau regretted what he had done. He cried aloud and shed bitter tears. But strong emotion is not  proof of repentance. Esau did not truly repent.  He was just sorry he had lost the birthright and wished he could have it back. His "repentance" was not acceptable because there is a difference between regret and true repentance.

DEAD WORKS

If we are to fully understand the meaning of repentance, we must understand what it is from which we are to repent. We must understand "dead works."  "Dead works" are the actions of a life lived apart from God. These works may be wrong deeds or  acts of self-righteousness.

These are called "sin" in the Bible. The basic thing that causes sin is selfishness. It is the love of self as opposed to the love of God. This love of self results in man going "his own way":

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way. (Isaiah 53:6)

Jesus died for the sins of men in order that...

...they should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them and rose again. (II Corinthians 5:15) 

When you repent from these dead works of selfishness it means you acknowledge the existence of the one true God, realize you are a sinner, ask forgiveness of your sin, and accept God's  plan of salvation through Jesus Christ.

THE ORIGIN OF SIN

Evil existed before man was created. Sin was originated by Lucifer, also known as Satan. 
The Bible records that Lucifer was a special angel who was originally created perfect by God. Lucifer sinned when he tried to stage a rebellion against God. Because of this sin, Lucifer was cast out of Heaven to earth:

How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!  How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;  I will be like the Most High... (Isaiah 14:12-14)

Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: Thou wast upon the holy mountain of God. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee...I will cast thee to the ground. (Ezekiel 28:14-16)

On earth, Lucifer [who became known as Satan] continued his rebellion against God. When God created the first man and woman [Adam and Eve], Satan led them to sin against God. This rebellion is sometimes called "the fall of man", meaning that man fell from righteousness into sin. You can read about this in Genesis chapters two and three.

God warned Adam and Eve that the penalties of  sin would include physical and spiritual death. Spiritual death was a loss of their relationship with God.  Physical death was death of their actual physical body. Because of the sin of Adam and Eve death came on all men:

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. (Romans 5:12)

Because of the fall of the first man and woman, sin passed on all mankind. That means everyone born inherits the basic nature of sin. 

Just as physical traits are inherited, the spiritual trait of the basic sin nature is inherited. Each person has sinned and  faces the penalties of physical and spiritual death.  

Satan is responsible for all evil in the world. His rebellion towards God  still continues as he tempts  man to sin. There is a constant battle in the spirit world for the hearts, minds, and souls of men. Each person has inherited the basic sin nature. Each  person sins individually when he is drawn by this sinful nature to rebel against God:

Every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust and enticed.

Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.  (James 1:14-15)

All have sinned, but God has provided a way to escape the penalties of sin. Through repentance from dead works and accepting Jesus Christ as personal Savior you can be "saved" from the penalties of sin.

NAMES FOR SIN

The Bible uses several different names for sin:

SIN: And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call His name Jesus; for He shall save His people from their sins.  (Matthew 1:21)

The actual meaning of the word "sin" is to miss the mark and be in error. It is like shooting a weapon and  missing the target. It is falling short of what you should be and God's perfect plan for you. 

EVIL: For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts... (Mark 7:21)  Evil means bad, worthless, corrupt, wicked, and morally sinful.

WICKEDNESS: Wickedness means to have an evil mind set to do mischief.  It is a mental disregard for righteousness, justice, truth, and virtue: So shall it  be  at the end of the world: The angels shall come forth and sever the wicked from among the just. (Matthew 13:49)

TRANSGRESSION: Transgression means breaking the law.  It  is like a man stepping across a line over which he has no right to step, invading forbidden territory, and crossing the boundary between right and wrong:

Wherefore then serveth the law?  It was added because of transgression...(Galatians 3:19)

UNRIGHTEOUSNESS: This word means injustice, wrong, iniquity, falsehood, and deceitfulness: All unrighteousness is sin... (I John 5:17)

UNGODLINESS: Ungodliness means dishonesty, wickedness, and total disregard of God.  It is treating God as if He did not exist. Ungodliness is not the same as atheism, which believes there is no God. Ungodliness is knowing there is a God but totally ignoring Him and His laws:

For the wrath of God is revealed from Heaven against all ungodliness... (Romans 1:18)

INIQUITY: Iniquity means to be lawless,  either without the law or violating the law: Depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Matthew 7:23)

DISOBEDIENCE: Disobedience is the opposite of obedience. It means to ignore God and His law: By one man's disobedience many were made sinners...(Romans 5:19)

TRESPASS: Trespass means to leave the right path and cross the boundary from right into wrong. It is like being on another man's property where you do not belong: And you hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins. (Ephesians 2:1)

JUST AN INTRODUCTION...    

This chapter is only an introduction to the subject of repentance from dead works. You learned the definition of repentance, the names and definitions for sin, and the origin of sin.

 The next chapter continues this discussion of the first principle of the Christian faith, repentance from dead works.

 

SELF-TEST

1. Write the Key Verse from memory.

2. Define "repentance from dead works."

3. List nine words used for sin in the Bible.

4. How many in the human race are sinners?  Give a Scriptural reference to support your answer:

5. Describe the origin of sin.

6. Name two people in the Bible whose repentance was ineffective.

 (Answers to tests are provided at the conclusion of the final chapter in this manual.)

FOR FURTHER STUDY

This chapter discussed the origin of sin and defined its Biblical names. But what does God consider sin?  Sin is any violation of God's laws: 

Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. (I John 3:4)

God's laws are recorded in the Bible. In addition to His laws, God has also listed specific sins we must avoid. 

SINS LISTED IN SCRIPTURE

The New Testament lists specific sins, identifies  the source of these sins, and reveals special judgments for them. The following references identify a total of 103 different sins. Some are repeated in more than one list.  There are...

·         Seven which come from the heart and defile:  Matthew 15:18-20

·         Thirteen which come from the heart and defile:  Mark 7:21-23

·         Twenty-three which bring the judgment of God:  Romans 1:29-32

·         Seven which believers cannot do:  Romans 13:13,14

·         Six with which believers should not associate:  I Corinthians 5:9-11

·         Ten which prevent entrance into the Kingdom of God: I Corinthians 6:9,10

·         Seventeen more which prevent entrance into the Kingdom of God:  Galatians 5:19-21

·         Four which bring wrath and prevent entrance into the Kingdom of God:  Ephesians 5:5-6

·         Eleven from  which  believers must turn away:  II Corinthians 12:20-21

·         Nine in which the unsaved live and in which  believers  should not live: Ephesians 4:17-19

·         Six which must not exist among believers:  Ephesians 5:3,4

·         Nine which believers should put away: Ephesians 4:25,28,29,31

·         Six which believers must put off:  Colossians 3:8,9

·         Six which believers must mortify and which bring the  wrath of God:  Colossians 3:5-6

·         Fourteen for which the law was given:  I Timothy 1:9-10

·         Nineteen from which believers must turn away: II Timothy 3:1-5

·         Nine from which believers are saved:  Titus 3:3-5

·         Five which believers must lay aside:  I Peter 2:1

·         Seven sins of the flesh in which believers no longer live: I Peter 4:2-4

·         Eight which condemn to the lake of fire:  Revelation 21:8

·         Six which prevent access to the tree of life and the holy city:  Revelation 22:14

 

CHAPTER THREE: REPENTANCE FROM DEAD WORKS - PART II

 

OBJECTIVES:

Upon completion of this chapter you will be able to:

·         Write the Key Verse from memory.

·         Explain the importance of repentance.

·         Explain what causes men to repent.

·         Name four things associated with repentance.

·         Define conversion.

·         Explain the importance of conversion.

·         Define justification.

·         Explain what it means to be "saved."

·         Use the parable of the prodigal son to describe repentance and conversion.

KEY VERSE:

I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.  (Luke 5:32)

INTRODUCTION

The last chapter defined "repentance from dead works" which is the first of the basic doctrines listed in Hebrews 6:1-3. "Dead works" were defined as sin and the origin of sin was examined. You learned how the original sin of Adam and Eve corrupted human nature and how this sinful nature is inherited by all men. You also learned how this corrupt nature results in all men sinning individually when they are drawn by this nature into actual acts of sin. This chapter continues study of the first foundational principle of repentance from dead works. 

REPENTANCE

Repentance from dead works was defined as "an inward decision or change of mind resulting in the outward action of turning from sin to God and righteousness."  Acts 20:21 calls it "repentance toward God." By the act of repentance you turn from your own dead works of sin towards God.  Repentance is a personal decision to forsake sin and enter into fellowship with God. It is the power of God which actually brings the change in the
mind, heart, and life of the sinner:

Then God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.  (Acts 11:18)

Repentance is a gift of God:

Him [Jesus] hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince  and a Savior, for  to give repentance...(Acts 5:31)

Although emotions may be involved in repentance, true repentance from dead works is a decision, not just an emotion. As you learned, sorrow for sins, shedding tears, etc., is not enough.  This must be accompanied by an inward decision that results in an outward change.  

THE IMPORTANCE OF REPENTANCE

There are several reasons why repentance is considered a foundational truth of the Christian faith:

GOD COMMANDS IT: but [God] now  commandeth  all men everywhere to repent.  (Acts 17:30)

IT IS NECESSARY TO AVOID SPIRITUAL DEATH: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.  (Luke 13:3)

IT IS NECESSARY FOR ETERNAL LIFE: Through repentance the penalty of death is removed and eternal life is granted: When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life. (Acts 11:18)

IT IS NECESSARY FOR FORGIVENESS: God cannot forgive your sins unless you repent: Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. (Acts 2:38)

IT IS NECESSARY TO ENTER GOD'S KINGDOM: From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.  (Matthew 4:17)

IT IS GOD'S DESIRE FOR ALL: God does not want anyone to experience the spiritual death of eternal separation from God in Hell: The Lord...is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (II Peter 3:9)

IT IS THE REASON JESUS CAME INTO THE WORLD: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. (Luke 5:32)

DO CHRISTIANS REPENT?

In the first act of  repentance, sinful men turn from wrong to right, accept the Gospel message, and become true believers in Jesus Christ.  In the process of going on to perfection (which will be studied later in this course), a believer sometimes falls back into the old patterns of sinful behavior.  According to the Biblical record, whenever believers sin they must also repent:

THE CORINTHIANS:  The believers at a city called Corinth had to repent: Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance...(II Corinthians 7:9) For I fear, lest, when I come...that I shall bewail many which have sinned already and have not repented of the uncleanness and fornication and lasciviousness which they have committed. (II Corinthians 12:20-21)

THE EPHESIANS: The believers at Ephesus were told to repent: Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen and repent and do the first works. (Revelation 2:5)

CHRISTIANS IN PERGAMOS: God told the Christians in Pergamos: Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. (Revelation 2:16)

CHRISTIANS IN SARDIS: Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. (Revelation 3:3)

CHRISTIANS IN LAODICEA:  As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten; Be zealous therefore, and repent. (Revelation 3:19) Wherever there is sin, there must be repentance: If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (I John 1:8-9)

THE MESSAGE OF REPENTANCE

Because repentance is necessary for salvation, God made a special plan to enable the message of repentance to reach everyone.  The call to repentance began in the New Testament with the ministry of John the Baptist:

The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way the Lord, make His path straight.

John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. (Mark 1:3-4)

Repentance was necessary in order for the Messiah [Jesus] to be revealed.  Until Israel had been called  back to God in repentance, Jesus could not be revealed.  Repentance was the first message Jesus preached:

Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of God,

And saying, the time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and  believe  the  Gospel. (Mark 1:14-15)

Repentance was preached by believers in the early church:

And they went out and preached that men should repent. (Mark 6:12)

...Testifying both to the Jews and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. (Acts 20:21)

Today, believers still have the responsibility to spread the message of repentance throughout the world. Jesus gave final instructions to His followers that...

...repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at  Jerusalem. (Luke 24:47)

    WHAT CAUSES MEN TO REPENT?

Since repentance is a foundation on which the Christian faith rests, we must understand what causes men to repent.  If you are responsible to spread the message of repentance throughout the world then you must  know how men are persuaded to repent from dead works.

GOODNESS OF GOD: The blessings of God in the life of an ungodly person are not to be mistaken as God's approval of his life style. The goodness of God is one way the Lord appeals to men to turn to Him: Despisest thou the riches of His goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness  of God leadeth thee to repentance?  (Romans 2:4)

PREACHING: The preaching of the Word of God causes men to repent.  The preaching of Jonah resulted in the whole city of Ninevah repenting: The men of Ninevah shall rise in judgment with this generation and shall condemn it:  because they repented at the preaching of Jonas. (Matthew 12:41)

CHRIST'S CALL: As the Word of God is preached, people hear and respond to the  call of  Christ which leads to repentance: I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. (Matthew 9:13)

GOD, THE FATHER: Jesus said no one could come to Him except the Father draw him. God draws men to repentance: No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him... (John 6:44)

REBUKE: Rebuke causes men to repent.  Rebuke is correction given from the Word of God:...If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. (Luke 17:3)

GODLY SORROW: As you learned, repentance may be accompanied by emotion. Natural emotion alone is not true repentance, but Godly emotion leads to true repentance: Godly sorrow [for sin] worketh repentance to salvation. (II Corinthians 7:10)

 

THINGS ASSOCIATED WITH REPENTANCE

The Bible identifies several things associated with repentance:

FAITH:

Faith towards God is associated with repentance.  It is listed in Hebrews 6 as the second foundational principle of the Christian faith.  Repentance from dead works must be combined with faith towards God:

...Repent ye, and believe the Gospel.  (Mark 1:15)

...Repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. (Acts 20:21)

You will learn more about "faith toward God" in the next chapter as you study the second foundation of the Christian faith.

BAPTISM:

Baptism should accompany repentance as an outward sign of the inward change which has occurred:

Repent and be baptized every one of you. (Acts 3:19)

The doctrine of baptisms will also be discussed later in this  course as it is part of the foundations mentioned in Hebrews 6.

WORKS:

The works of man, which the Bible also calls fruit, testify as to whether or not there has been true repentance:

The Gentiles should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance  (Acts 26:20)

Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance. (Matthew 3:8)

"Works" and "fruits" both refer to outward behavior which should change after true repentance.

CONVERSION:

Repent ye therefore, and be converted that your sins may be blotted out. (Acts 3:19)

Since conversion is related to repentance, you need to understand conversion.

CONVERSION

Conversion means  "to turn."  When it is used in connection with Biblical repentance, it means to "turn from the wrong way to the right way."

And many of the children of Israel shall He turn to the Lord their God. (Luke 1:16)

And all that dwelt at Lydda and Saron saw Him, and turned to the Lord. (Acts 9:35)

And the hand of the Lord was with them; and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord. (Acts 11:21)

Conversion is turning from the darkness of sin to the light of God's righteousness:

...to turn them from darkness to light. (Acts 26:18)

It is turning from the power of Satan to God:

...to turn them...from the power of Satan unto God. (Acts 26:18)

It is turning from worldly things to spiritual things:

...Ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God. (Acts 14:15)

It is turning from false gods to the true and living God:

...Ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God. (I Thessalonians 1:9)

IMPORTANCE OF CONVERSION

Conversion must accompany repentance.  You must turn from the wrong to the right because...

IT IS NECESSARY TO ENTER THE KINGDOM OF GOD:

Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. (Matthew 18:3)

IT SAVES FROM SPIRITUAL DEATH:

He which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death and shall hide a multitude of sins. (James 5:20)

IT IS NECESSARY FOR THE BLOTTING OUT OF SIN:

Our sin is written in the records of God until we repent and are converted, then it is blotted out:

Repent  ye  therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out... (Acts 3:19)

THE PRODIGAL SON

Repentance and conversion are best illustrated by a story Jesus told  about the prodigal son. Read the story in Luke 15:11-24. This young man left his father and home, went to a distant land, and through sin wasted all he owned. 

Eventually this young man realized his condition. He was hungry, lonely, in rags, and tending pigs for a job. Then he made an important decision. He said, "I will arise and go to my father." This inward decision resulted in a change in his outward actions. He went home to his father to seek forgiveness.

REPENTANCE...THE CHANGE OF MIND:

Read Luke 15:17-19. The young man realized his sinful condition. He made a decision to go to his father and repent of his sin. This is an example of repentance, an inward decision which results in outward action.

CONVERSION...ACTING ON THE DECISION:

Luke 15:20 records how the young man arose and left the old life and went to his father to start a new life. This is conversion.

PRODIGAL MEN

In his own sinful condition, every man has turned his back on God as his Father and on Heaven as his home. Each step he takes is a step away from God and one step nearer the spiritual death of eternal separation from God.

There is a major decision he must make.  He must "come to himself" and recognize his spiritual condition. He must make a decision which will result in a  change of spiritual direction. That change in spiritual direction will turn him from sin towards God. This is the first step in  building a proper spiritual foundation.

JUSTIFICATION AND SALVATION

There are two other terms used in the Bible which relate to repentance. These terms are "justification" and "salvation."  God is the judge of all mankind.  When you are  living  in "dead works" [sin] you are condemned before Him:

...but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. (John 3:18-19)

When you repent from sin and make the decision to turn from your sinful ways  this establishes a right relationship with God. This right relationship or right standing before God is called "justification":

Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. (Romans 6:16-18)

The penalties for sin are physical and spiritual death. When Jesus died on the cross, He paid the penalty for the sins of all mankind:

For He [God] hath made Him [Jesus] to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. (II Corinthians 5:21)

If you believe that Jesus died for your sins, repent, and accept Him as Savior, then you will not experience spiritual death of eternal separation from God in Hell. Although your physical body will die, you will be resurrected to eternal life. This is made possible through the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus. You are justified, or brought into right relationship to God, by Jesus Christ:

Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.  (Romans 3:24)

Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.  (Romans 5:9)

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ...  (Romans 5:1)

When you are justified by repenting and accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior you are saved from a life of sin and the penalties of sin:

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.  (John 5:24)

This is what it means to be saved and is what the Bible is speaking of when the term "salvation" is used. It is God's desire that all men obtain salvation rather than experience the wrath of God's judgment of sin:

For God had not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ...who died for us.  (I Thessalonians 5:9-10a)

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. (John 3:16-17)

SUMMARY

The chart on the following page summarizes the basic concepts taught in chapters two and three.

It is important to remember that each foundational principle of the Christian faith is related to all the others.  For example, repentance from dead works cannot be separated from faith toward God which is the subject of the next chapter.

 

Origin of Sin:  Lucifer (Satan)

Rebelled Against God…

He led man into sin which resulted in…

The Fall of Man (Adam and Eve)…

This resulted in…

All men inheriting the basic sin nature and committing…

individual acts of sin due to this nature…

Sin leads to:

Spiritual Death

Physical Death

On the cross, Jesus paid these penalties which resulted in justification of sinful man:

Repentance From Dead Works  (An Inward Decision)…

which leads to…

Conversion (An Outward Change)

which results in…

Justification Of Sinful Man Before A Righteous God…

and

Salvation From A Life Of Sin And The Penalties Of Sin.

 

SELF-TEST

1. List seven reasons why repentance is important and required for salvation.

2. List six things which cause men to repent.

3. Define conversion.

4. Using the story of the prodigal son, describe  repentance and conversion.

5. Write the Key Verse from memory.

6. List four things the Bible associates with repentance.

7. Do Christians repent?_____________

8. Give three Biblical examples of Christians needing to repent.

9. Define justification.

10. What does it mean to be "saved"?

 (Answers to tests are provided at the conclusion of the final chapter in this manual.)

FOR FURTHER STUDY

Repentance, conversion, and justification were discussed in this chapter.

Use the following references to continue your study of these important terms.

CONVERSION: Matthew 18:3; Acts 3:19; Psalms 19:7

JUSTIFICATION: Acts 13:39; Romans 2:13; 3:4,20,24,28; 4:2,25; 5:1,16,18; 8:30; I Corinthians 6:11; Galatians 2:16-17; 3:8,11,24; Titus 3:7; James 2:21-25

REPENTANCE: Matthew 3:2,8,11; 4:17; 9:13; 11:20-21; 12:41; Mark 1:4,15; 2:17; 6:12; Luke 3:3,8; 5:32; 11:32; 13:3,5; 15:7,10; 17:3,4; 24:47; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 5:31; 8:22; 17:30; 26:20; 5:31; 11:18; 13:24; 19:4; 20:21; Romans 2:4; II Corinthians 7:8-10; II Peter 3:9; Revelation 2:5,16; 3:3,19

 

CHAPTER FOUR: FAITH TOWARD GOD

 

OBJECTIVES:

Upon completion of this chapter you will be able to:

·         Write the Key Verse from memory.

·         Define faith.

·         Identify different types of faith.

·         Define the term "faith toward God."

·         Explain why faith toward God is important.

·         Explain how faith can be increased.

KEY VERSE:

But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek
Him.  (Hebrews 11:6)

INTRODUCTION

The second of the  foundation doctrines is "faith toward God."  "Faith toward God" refers to your attitude toward God. Some men hate God and rebel against Him. Others are afraid of Him. Your attitude should be one of faith toward God.

Faith and repentance are both necessary for genuine conversion. To turn to  God without forsaking sin is not true repentance. To try to forsake sin without turning to God in faith ends in failure. The ministry of Paul to the unsaved was:

Testifying both to the Jews and also to the Greeks, repentance towards God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. (Acts 20:21)

Both repentance and faith toward God are necessary for salvation.

DEFINITION

Faith means to believe and have assurance of something. To believe means to have trust. The words "faith, believe, and trust" all mean the same thing when we use them in relation to God. The Bible defines faith as:

...the  substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)

The Amplified Bible adds to this definition:

Now faith is the assurance, the confirmation, the title deed of the things we hope for, being the proof of things we do not see, and the conviction of their reality. Faith is perceiving as real what is not revealed to the senses. (Hebrews 11:1)

Faith gives assurance that the things promised in the future are true and that unseen things are real.

HOPE:

Faith differs from hope. Hope is a desire or attitude of expectancy concerning things in the future. Faith is belief in something you cannot see but have assurance you already possess. Hope is in the mind. Faith is in the heart:

But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith...and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. (I Thessalonians 5:8)

In this verse faith is associated with the region of the heart as a breastplate. Hope is a helmet associated with the head.

Hope is a mental attitude of expectancy about the future. Faith is a condition of the heart producing belief in God:

For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness...(Romans 10:10)

It is not enough to accept the Gospel with the mind. This is not true Scriptural faith and does not produce change in your life. True Scriptural faith, believing with the heart, always produces change in your life. The result is something experienced in the present, not something hoped for in the future.

MIND OVER MATTER:

Faith is not the same as "mind over matter" which is taught by some religions. "Mind over matter" teaches that man can overcome all problems in the real world [the world of matter] by using his mind, reason, or willpower. These teachings are man-centered. They rely on self and not on God. "Mind over matter" is not based on the Word of God. 

Faith is God-centered, not man-centered.  It is a gift of God, not something man produces through self-efforts of his own mind.

TYPES OF FAITH

There are different types of faith.

NATURAL FAITH:

This is a natural trust in things that have proven stable. For example, faith that the chair on which you are sitting will support you. This faith is not "faith toward God." It is a natural faith in certain things  around you  that you have learned by experience are usually dependable.

The following types of faith are what we mean when we speak of "faith toward God":

SANCTIFYING FAITH:

I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I no  live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of
God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)

Sanctifying faith enables the believer to live a holy life after conversion. You will learn more about sanctification in the last chapter of this study as we discuss going on to perfection.

Faith toward God includes sanctifying faith which is believing you can live a holy life. You do not do this by your own strength but through the power of God which dwells within you.

DEFENSIVE FAITH:

Faith is one of the weapons for defense against your spiritual enemy, Satan:

Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. (Ephesians 6:16)

Satan will try to attack your faith by sending "darts" of unbelief into your mind. Having faith toward God provides a spiritual defense to these attacks.

SAVING FAITH:

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:1)

Faith toward God, combined with true repentance, is saving faith.  Salvation is knowing, believing, and personally accepting the Gospel message.  Saving faith requires a personal response toward God. No person can respond on behalf of another. Each person is saved by his own response to the Gospel.

Faith is a fact. It is the gift of God to men to enable them to be saved:

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God... (Ephesians 2:8)

But faith is also an act. Each person must act upon the faith given him by God. Faith toward God is your response, your action by faith toward Him.

After you have experienced "faith towards God" and become a believer, the spiritual fruit of faith and the gift of faith both increase your faith toward God.  The gift and fruit of faith are discussed in detail in the Harvestime International Institute course entitled "Ministry Of The Holy Spirit."

MISPLACED FAITH

The doctrine you are studying is called "faith toward God." It is not just faith in general, but it is directed faith. You can have misdirected faith.  Misdirected faith can be in...

NATURAL WEAPONS:

For I will not trust in my bow, neither shall my sword save me. (Psalms 44:6)

GREAT MEN:

Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. (Psalms 146:3)

SELF:

He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool:  but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered. (Proverbs 28:26)

IDOLS:

They shall be turned back, they shall be greatly ashamed, that trust in graven images, that say to the molten images, Ye are our gods. (Isaiah 42:17)

FALSE PROPHETS:

Trust ye not in lying words...Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit. (Jeremiah 7:4,8)

NATURAL POWER:

Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God. (Psalms 20:7)

WEALTH:

Lo, this is the man that made not God his strength; but trusted in the abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness. (Psalms 52:7)

FRIENDS:

Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me. (Psalms 41:9)

Having faith is not enough. Your faith can be misplaced. True faith is directed faith. It is "faith toward God."

THE IMPORTANCE OF FAITH

There are two reasons why faith toward God is required:

IT IS NECESSARY FOR SALVATION:

The first reason faith toward God is important is that you cannot be saved without it:

He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned. (Mark 16:16)

For by grace  are ye saved through faith... (Ephesians 2:8)

These by the wayside are they that hear, then cometh the Devil and taketh away the Word out of their hearts lest they should believe and be saved. (Luke 8:12)

YOU CANNOT PLEASE GOD WITHOUT FAITH:

The second reason faith is important is that you cannot please God without it: Without faith it is impossible to please Him: For he that cometh to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. 
(Hebrews 11:6)

LEVELS OF FAITH

The Bible reveals that there are various levels of faith. Jesus spoke of people who did not use their faith as being "faithless" (Matthew 17:17). He spoke of those with little faith (Matthew 6:30; 8:26; 14:31; Luke 12:28) and of those with great faith (Matthew 8:10; 15:28; Luke 7:9). The Bible teaches that each person has a certain amount of faith which is given to him as a gift of God:

...according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. (Romans 12:3b)

Each believer has some faith because it is through faith  you are saved:

For by grace are ye saved, through faith...(Ephesians 2:8)

HOW TO INCREASE FAITH

Sanctifying faith enables you to live a holy life. Increased faith will help you go on to perfection. Defensive faith shields you from the attacks of the enemy, Satan. If you increase your faith you increase your spiritual defensive forces. The Bible tells how to increase faith:

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. (Romans 10:17)

You increase faith toward God through hearing the Word of God. You must first hear the Word of God in order to repent of sin and receive Jesus as Savior. Saving faith comes by hearing God's Word.

After you are saved,  Biblical teaching and preaching will continue to increase your faith. The more you hear the Word of God, the more your faith will increase.  The more faith increases the easier it will be to live a holy life and defend against the spiritual attacks of the enemy.

Just a small amount of faith is very powerful:

And Jesus said unto them...For verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. (Matthew 17:20)

Nothing is impossible if you have even a small amount of faith.

FAITH AND WORKS

Faith is a gift of God.  It cannot be increased by works. By faith we mean "that which you believe." By works we mean "that which you do." The Bible teaches:

Now by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.

Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Faith is the gift of God to believe. This does not mean that works [what you do] are not important. Faith comes first, as a gift of God. Works [what you do] are the test of whether or not your faith is real. James wrote:

What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith and have not works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works:  Shew me thy faith without thy works and I will show thee my faith by my works. (James 2:14-18)

Your works...how you live and react to the needs of those around you...are a test of the reality of your faith. 

James sums up the connection between faith and works by the example of the relationship between man's body and spirit. The Bible teaches that when a man dies, his spirit leaves his body. James says that...

...as  the  body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. (James 2:26)

Your actions should reflect the living faith within you: For the just shall live by faith. (Galatians 3:11)

AN EXAMPLE OF FAITH

Hebrews chapter 11 lists the names of many people who were great examples of faith. But there is one man in the Bible who is called "the father of all them that believe" (Romans 4:11).  His name is Abraham.

Christians are those who walk in the steps of faithful Abraham (Romans 4:12) and are spoken of as the children of Abraham (Galatians 3:7). Because of  his faith toward God, Abraham was justified:

And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness... (James 2:23)

When Paul wanted to illustrate faith toward God, he used Abraham as an example:

Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who  was  delivered  for  our offenses and was raised again for our justification.  (Romans 4:23-25)

Paul said that the record of Abraham's faith which resulted in justification was not kept just for him.  The record was kept so that we also, by believing the Gospel message, could be justified.

The reasons Abraham was an example of faith are as follows:

HE HEARD THE WORD:

Abraham listened to the promises of God:

For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law but through the righteousness of
faith. And being fully persuaded that, what He has promised, He was able also to perform. (Romans 4:13,21)

HE BELIEVED THE WORD:

He not only heard the promises of God, he believed:

Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. (Romans 4:18)

Like Abraham, it is by believing that we receive the promises of God: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the  salvation of your souls. (I Peter 1:8-9)

HE TURNED FROM HIS HOPELESS CONDITION:

Hearing of the Word of God resulted in a change in Abraham's life:

Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb.  (Romans 4:18-19)

Just as men and women lost in sin, Abraham faced a hopeless condition in the natural world. The promise to become the father of many nations could only come through God because Abraham and Sarah were too old to have children. Salvation comes only through Jesus Christ. There is no other way you can receive the promise except by faith in His plan of salvation: That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith...(Ephesians 3:17)

HE ACCEPTED THE PROMISE AS A FACT:

He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God. (Romans 4:20)

This is faith toward God.

AN EXAMPLE FOR US

The faith toward God demonstrated by Abraham is an example for you to follow. You must:

·         Hear the Word of God.

·         Believe the Word of God.

·         Turn from your hopeless condition (change through repentance from dead works).

·         Accept God's promise as fact.  His promise is that you are justified by repentance and faith toward God through Jesus.

 

SELF-TEST

1. Define "faith."

2. Define the following types of faith:

Natural faith:

Saving faith:

Sanctifying faith:

Defensive faith:

3. Give two main reasons why faith toward God is necessary.

4. How can you increase your faith toward God?

5. Write the Key Verse from memory.

6. List four reasons why Abraham is a good example of faith.

7. How does faith differ from hope?

8. What is the difference between faith and "mind over matter"?

9. What is the difference between faith and works?

10. What is meant by "faith toward God"?

 (Answers to tests are provided at the conclusion of the final chapter in this manual.)

FOR FURTHER STUDY

"Trust" is another word for faith.  David wrote much  about  trust in the book of Psalms. Use the following study to continue learning about faith toward God which David calls "trust."

MISPLACED TRUST

Study the following references.  In the column provided list what David said NOT to trust:

Reference

Reference: Do Not Trust…

Psalm 20:7

Psalm 41:9

Psalm 44:6

Psalm 49:6

Psalm 52:7

Psalm 115:8

Psalm 118:8-9

Psalm 135:17-18

Psalm 146:3

 

WELL PLACED TRUST

Throughout the  Psalms  David  encourages trust in God.  He also encourages trust in things related to God.  Study the following references.  In the second column make a list of what David said he would trust in.

Reference: Trust In...

Psalms 33:21

Psalms 36:7

Psalms 13:5

Psalms 52:8

Psalms 57:1

Psalms 61:4

Psalms 78:22

Psalms 91:4

Psalms 119:42

 

WHEN TO TRUST...

Psalms 56:3

BENEFITS OF TRUSTING

David listed many benefits of trusting or having faith toward God.  Study the following references.  In the column provided list the benefits of trusting God:

Reference: Benefit Of Trusting God...

Psalms 25:2

Psalms 25:20

Psalms 26:1

Psalms 28:7

Psalms 31:1

Psalms 31:6

Psalms 31:19

Psalms 32:10

Psalms 33:21

Psalms 34:8

Psalms 34:22

Psalms 37:5

Psalms 37:40

Psalms 40:3

Psalms 2:12

Psalms 5:11

Psalms 7:1

Psalms 9:10

Psalms 16:1

Psalms 17:7

Psalms 21:7

Psalms 22:4

Psalms 22:5

Psalms 22:8

Psalms 40:4

Psalms 56:4

Psalms 56:11

Psalms 57:1

Psalms 64:10

Psalms 71:1

Psalms 73:28

Psalms 84:12

Psalms 86:2

Psalms 112:7

Psalms 119:42

Psalms 125:1

Psalms 141:8

Psalms 143:8

Psalms 144:2

RESULTS OF NOT TRUSTING GOD

David identifies the results of not trusting God:

Reference: Result Of Not Trusting God

Psalms 32:10

Psalms 55:23

Psalms 78:21-22

DAVID'S HISTORY OF TRUSTING

David tells how long he has trusted God: 

Psalms 71:5  Since my "____________."

ADDITIONAL REFERENCES

The following passages are additional references David made to trusting God.  Study the references.  In the column provided summarize each verse in your own words:

Reference: Summary

Psalms 31:4

Psalms 4:5

Psalms 11:1

 

CHAPTER FIVE: DOCTRINE OF BAPTISMS - PART I

 

OBJECTIVES:

Upon completion of this chapter you will be able to:

·         Write the Key Verse from memory.

·         Identify four baptisms mentioned in the New Testament.

·         Define the word "baptize."

·         Explain the importance of Christian baptism.

·         List qualifications to be met by those seeking Christian baptism.

KEY VERSE:

I indeed  baptize you with water unto repentance:  but He that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear:  He shall baptize
you with the Holy Ghost and with fire.  (Matthew 3:11)

INTRODUCTION

The third foundational principle listed in Hebrews chapter 6 is the doctrine of baptisms.

In Hebrews 6:2 the word "baptism" is plural.  It is "the doctrine of baptisms" [plural], not "the doctrine of baptism" [singular].  This means the complete doctrine of the Christian faith includes more than one baptism.

FOUR BAPTISMS

The New Testament mentions four different baptisms.  These are:

·         Christ's baptism of suffering

·         The baptism of John

·         Christian baptism

·         Baptism in the Holy Spirit

This chapter discusses the first three baptisms.  The following chapter concerns the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

DEFINITION

The word "baptize" used in the Bible means to entirely immerse or submerge in something.

CHRIST'S BAPTISM OF SUFFERING

There is one baptism  in the New Testament which we will call the baptism of suffering. This baptism is spoken of by Jesus:

But I have a baptism to be baptized with:  and how am I straitened till it be accomplished.  (Luke 12:50)

This baptism is also mentioned in Mark 10:38 where the sons of Zebedee asked for the honor of sitting with Christ on His right and left sides in Heaven.  Jesus answered:  "Ye know not what ye ask:  can ye drink of the cup that I drink of and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?"  Jesus was speaking of the suffering awaiting Him through His death for the sins of all mankind.  He was to be immersed in suffering, buried in the tomb, and resurrected in a new body.

THE BAPTISM OF JOHN

The baptism of John the Baptist was baptism in water connected with the message of repentance.  John the Baptist was born miraculously to Zacharias and Elizabeth (Luke 1). 
God had a special plan for  his life.  He was to serve as the "forerunner" of Jesus Christ:

For thou child shalt be called the prophet of the highest for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways; To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins. (Luke 1:76-77)

The word "forerunner" means one who goes before and prepares the way.  John was to preach the message of repentance and baptism to Israel to prepare them for the coming of their Messiah, Jesus Christ:

I [John the Baptist] indeed baptize you with water unto repentance; but He that cometh after me is mightier than I...He shall baptize you with the Holy
Ghost and with fire.  (Matthew 3:11) 

The ministry of John the Baptist was the beginning of a new spiritual age:

The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the Kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it. (Luke 16:16)

Before the time of John the people lived under the law. Prophets and priests served as spiritual leaders and interpreters of the law. Only the priests had access to the presence of God in the temple. They served as mediators between the people and God and offered sacrifices for sin as God had commanded. This all changed with the coming of Jesus Christ. Through His life, death, and resurrection, Jesus made access to God possible for all men. Jesus now serves as the mediator between sinful man and a righteous God.

John made two demands on the people: Repentance and public confession of sins. Those who were willing to meet these God-given requirements were baptized in the Jordan River as a public testimony. It was an outward sign that they had repented of their sins.

When some of the religious leaders came to John to be baptized, he refused to do it. He demanded that they show evidence of real change in their lives before he would baptize them:

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance. (Matthew 3:7-8)

Repentance and remission of sins was required by John before he would baptize. The phrase "baptism unto repentance and remission of sins" does not mean that these two experiences followed the act of being baptized in water. Baptism was a visible confirmation that those being baptized had already experienced repentance and forgiveness.

CHRISTIAN BAPTISM

The  passage  which  best introduces what we will call "Christian baptism" describes the baptism of Jesus:

Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to be baptized of him.

But John forbade Him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now:  for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness. Then he suffered Him.

And Jesus, when He was baptized went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto Him, and He saw the Spirit of God
descending like a dove, and lighting upon Him: And lo a voice from Heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. (Matthew 3:13-17)

Jesus was not baptized by John as evidence that He had repented of sin because He had no sins for which to repent. Jesus was baptized to "complete all righteousness." He was setting a righteous example of behavior which He wanted all believers to follow.

BAPTISM OF BABIES

Jesus was not baptized as a baby. When He was an infant His parents brought Him to
Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord, but He was not baptized (Luke 2:22). Jesus was not baptized until He knew what He was doing and the reason why He was doing it. Babies should not be baptized. Children can be presented to the Lord for dedication and blessing by the laying on of  hands. But they should not be baptized until they understand the meaning of the act and have met the Biblical requirements. There is no set age at which this understanding comes. It depends on the mental and spiritual development of each child.

SPRINKLING OR IMMERSION?

Some churches baptize by sprinkling with water. Others totally immerse in water. When Jesus was baptized He went down into and then came up out of the water.  Considering this and the Biblical meaning of the word "baptize", we must conclude He was fully immersed in the waters of Jordan.

In allowing Himself to be baptized, Jesus showed outward obedience to the will of God. Through this act of obedience He fulfilled the plan of God. When believers are baptized, this outward act symbolizes the inward righteousness which they have received by faith.

REQUIREMENTS FOR BAPTISM

There were spiritual conditions to be met by those who sought baptism from John. There are also requirements to be met by those seeking Christian baptism.

INSTRUCTION:

The first requirement for baptism was given by Jesus:

Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you... (Matthew 28:19-20)

Christ's command to teach new believers is given twice. They are to be taught before and after baptism. Sinners must first hear and receive the Gospel to become true believers: Then they that gladly received his word were baptized. (Acts 2:41)

When they heard this, they were baptized... (Acts 19:5)

A certain woman named Lydia...attended unto the things that were spoken of Paul...and  she  was baptized. (Acts 16:14-15)

Before baptism, believers should receive enough teaching to understand its meaning. After baptism, they should continue to receive instruction  in order to become mature Christians.  Paul calls this "going on to perfection" (Hebrews 6).

REPENTANCE:

The second condition for baptism is repentance from sin. Peter stressed this during his sermon on the day of Pentecost:

Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and  brethren, what  shall we do?  (Acts 2:37)

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and ye shall receive the gift of
the Holy Ghost.  (Acts 2:38)

Note that conviction of sins is not enough. Action must be taken. The two commands Peter gave were repent and be baptized. Repentance comes before baptism.

BELIEF:

The third condition for baptism is believing [faith]:

And He said unto them, Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. (Mark 16:15-16)

This requirement of believing is illustrated by the story of Philip and the Ethiopian man who he met on the road from Jerusalem to Gaza (Acts 8). Philip heard the Ethiopian read from the book of  Isaiah. He joined him in his chariot to explain the Gospel. As they continued on their journey the road led past water. Upon the Ethiopian's request and his confession of faith, Philip baptized him: And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what  doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, if thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And He commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both  Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. (Acts 8:36-38)

Philip said to the eunuch: "If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest be baptized." The eunuch replied: "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son  God."  A person who desires Christian baptism first must confess to faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God.

A GOOD CONSCIENCE TOWARD GOD:

A fourth condition for Christian baptism is a good conscience toward God. Peter compares Christian baptism in water to the experience of Noah and his family who were saved from judgment as they entered into the ark:

The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us [not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience
toward God] by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. (I Peter 3:21)

Peter dismisses any idea that the purpose of baptism is any kind of cleansing of the physical body. He says the condition of Christian baptism is the inner relationship of the believer's heart toward God. He calls it "a good conscience toward God."

THE TIME OF BAPTISM

To be eligible for water baptism a person must receive proper instruction, repent, believe, and have a good conscience toward God. The length of time it takes to meet these requirements will differ depending on the individual.

Some churches require those who desire baptism to take long periods of instruction lasting weeks or months. But the Bible says that on the day of Pentecost three thousand people were baptized. A few hours before they were unbelievers who rejected Jesus to be either the Messiah of  Israel or the Son of God. From the end of Peter's sermon to their baptism, the time required to give necessary instruction could not have exceeded a few hours:

Then they that gladly received his word were baptized; and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.  (Acts 2:41)

Philip baptized the Ethiopian the same day he preached the Gospel to him.

TO SUMMARIZE...

The practice of the early church in relation to baptism was as follows:

1. Before baptism they taught the basic facts of the Gospel centering on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

2. They related these facts to  the act of baptism.

3. They verified understanding, repentance, and confession of faith in the new believer, then baptism in water followed immediately.

4. After baptism the new believers received further instruction for spiritual development.

SIGNIFICANCE OF CHRISTIAN BAPTISM

The following text reveals the spiritual significance of Christian baptism:

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death; That like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:1-4)

When you repent and accept Jesus Christ as Savior, death to sin and the old life occurs. 
There is creation of a new life of righteousness lived for God:

Likewise reckon ye  also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey the lusts thereof... For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. (Romans 6:11,12,14)

Christian baptism in water is a symbol of the death and resurrection of Jesus. It symbolizes death to sin as you are immersed in that "grave" of water  and resurrection into a new life lived for God in righteousness as you come up out of the water.

The believer who is raised up out of the water to live this new life does not do this in his own power. The new life is lived by the power of God, the same power that raised Jesus from the grave. (We will learn more about living the new life in Chapter Eleven). The effect of water baptism depends on the repentance and faith of the one being baptized. Without this, baptism is of no value.

True Christian baptism means we are baptized into Jesus Himself, not into a particular church or denomination:

For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. (Galatians 3:27)

BAPTISMS:  A CONTRAST

Both John's baptism and Christian baptism occur by immersion in water, but there is a difference between the two.  When Paul visited the city of  Ephesus he found a group of people who were disciples of  John the Baptist.  They had heard John's message of repentance and been baptized, but had heard nothing of the Gospel of Jesus Christ:

And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus:  and finding certain disciples, He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any
Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on Him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized  in the name of the Lord Jesus. (Acts 19:1-5)

After Paul explained the Gospel, these people accepted it and were baptized again. This time they were baptized  in the name of the Lord Jesus. This example shows that the baptism of John and Christian baptism are different. John's baptism was no longer accepted after the death and resurrection of Jesus. Those who had received John's baptism were baptized again in Christian baptism.

John's message prepared the hearts of the people of Israel for the revelation of their Messiah, Jesus Christ. By baptism they outwardly confessed repentance of their sins and their belief in the coming Messiah.

After the death and resurrection of Jesus, people were then baptized in the name of the Father, and the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. By doing so they outwardly demonstrated their acceptance of the Gospel message and the fact that it had changed their lives. Jesus commanded this baptism:

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. (Matthew 28:19)

The difference between Christian baptism and the baptism of John is that Christian baptism is to be done in the full authority of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  
John's baptism could not be done with this same authority. It was only a baptism of repentance and confession of belief in the coming Messiah.   Christian baptism is a baptism confessing acceptance of the completed redemptive plan of God.  

WORDS SPOKEN AT BAPTISM

We have discussed the requirements to be met before baptism and confirmed that it is to be total immersion in water. One question remains: What are the words that should be spoken at the time of baptism?

Jesus said to baptize in the name of "the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." Many ministers choose to use these exact words when baptizing and this is acceptable according to Scripture. But it is also acceptable to use just the name of the Lord Jesus. The Bible records that the disciples did this:

...They were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. (Acts 8:16)

And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. (Acts 10:16)

When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. (Acts 19:5)

Jesus did not command His disciples to baptize in the names [plural] of the  Father, the Son and of the Holy Spirit, but in the "name" [singular] of the persons of the Trinity of God.

The name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit is the name for "Lord Jesus Christ" because...

In Him the whole  fullness of deity [the Godhead] continues to dwell in bodily form, giving complete expression of the divine nature. (Colossians 2:9, The Amplified Bible)

The Bible teaches we are baptized into Christ:

Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death. (Romans 6:3)

Some denominations have had much controversy over the words to be spoken at the time of baptism. They claim one wording is right and the other is wrong. But according to the Bible, baptism "in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ" or in the "Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit" are both acceptable to be spoken at the time of Christian baptism. There is no conflict between either wording.  Both refer to the Trinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. To be consistent with the Bible and at the same time bring unity in this area, the following wording is suggested:

"Upon the basis of the confession of your faith, in the name of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, I baptize you into the Lord Jesus Christ."

 

SELF-TEST

1. Write the Key Verse from memory.

2. Define the word "baptize."

3. Why is Christian baptism important?

4. What are four qualifications that should be met by those seeking Christian baptism?

5. What are the four types of baptism mentioned in the New Testament?

6. In the New Testament, how soon were repentant, believing sinners baptized?

7. Give the Bible reference which proves there is a difference between the baptism of John and Christian baptism.

8. Should babies be baptized in water?

9. At what age should a child be allowed to be baptized in water?

10. If the statement is TRUE, write T on the blank in front of it.  If the statement is FALSE, write the letter F on the blank in front of it.

a._____If you were only baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ you should be baptized again in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

b._____The Biblical word "baptize" means to immerse rather than sprinkle with water.

c._____You should understand the meaning of baptism before being baptized.

 (Answers to tests are provided at the conclusion of the final chapter in this manual.)

FOR FURTHER STUDY

This chapter introduced the subject of the doctrine of baptisms. To expand your knowledge of the subject study the following Scriptures concerning baptism:

Matthew 3:6,7,11-16; 11:11-12; 14:2; 16:4; 20:22-23; 21:25

Mark 1:4,5,8,9; 10:38-39; 11:30; 16:16

Luke 3:3,7,12,16,21; 7:29-30; 12:50; 20:4

John 1:25-28,33; 3:22-23,26; 4:1-2; 10:40

Acts 1:5,22; 2:38,41; 8:12,13,16,36,38; 9:18; 10:37,47-48; 11:16; 13:24; 18:8,25;19:3,4,5; 22:16

Romans 6:3-4

I Corinthians 1:13-16; 10:2; 12:13; 15:29

Galatians 3:27

Ephesians 4:5

Colossians 2:12

I Peter 3:21

Hebrews 6:2

 

CHAPTER SIX: DOCTRINE OF BAPTISMS - PART II

 

OBJECTIVES:

Upon completion of this chapter you will be able to:

·         Write the Key Verse from memory.

·         Explain some of the purposes of the Holy Spirit.

·         Explain how to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

·         Name the outward physical sign of the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

·         Identify the true evidence of baptism in the Holy Spirit.

·         Recognize gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit.

KEY VERSE:

But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in
Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.  (Acts 1:8)

INTRODUCTION

In the last chapter you learned the definition of the word "baptize" and studied three of the four baptisms mentioned in the New Testament.  You learned about the baptism of suffering experienced by Jesus, the baptism of John the Baptist, and Christian baptism in water.  This chapter concerns the fourth baptism which is the baptism of the Holy Spirit.*

PROMISE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

After the resurrection and prior to His return to Heaven, Jesus gave important instructions to His followers:

____________________

* This chapter serves only as an introduction to the doctrine of the Holy Spirit.  For a detailed study of the Holy Spirit, Harvestime International Institute offers a separate course entitled "Ministry Of The Holy Spirit."

And behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you:  but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem until ye be endued with power from on high. (Luke 24:49)

The promise to which Jesus referred was the Holy Spirit.  Jesus had spoken of this previously to His followers:

And I will pray the Father and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him; but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless.  (John 14:16-18)

PURPOSES OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

One of the main purposes of the Holy Spirit  is given in the passage just quoted: To comfort believers.  But the Bible gives many other purposes for the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer.  The Holy Spirit is to:

·         Fill and baptize him:  Acts 2:4

·         Dwell in him:  I Corinthians 6:19

·         Unite him in one spirit with God and other believers: I Corinthians 6:17

·         Pray for him:  Romans 8:26

·         Guide him:  John 16:13

·         Show the love of Christ to him and through him:  Romans 5:5

·         Conform him to the image of Christ:  II Corinthians 3:18

·         Reveal Biblical truth to him:  I Corinthians 2:10

·         Teach him:  John 14:26

·         Inspire him to true worship:  John 4:24

·         Strengthen him:  Ephesians 3:16

·         Quicken him:  Romans 8:11

·         Sanctify him:  II Thessalonians 2:13-14

·         Change him:  Titus 3:5

·         Convict him when he does wrong:  John 16:8-11

·         Give assurance of salvation:  Romans 8:16

·         Give him liberty:  Romans 8:2

·         Speak through him:  Mark 13:11

·         Demonstrate God's power:  I Corinthians 2:4

·         Give him power to witness:  Acts 1:8

·         Inspire him to worship:  John 4:24

THE EVIDENCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

The Holy Spirit has many purposes in the lives of  believers, but the main purpose and true evidence of baptism in the Holy Spirit is to make the Christian a powerful witness for the Gospel:

But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you; and ye shall be witnesses unto me...to the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1:8)

The evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit was present immediately in the life of the Apostle Peter. Before the Day of Pentecost he had fearfully denied that he knew Jesus. After his baptism in the Holy Spirit, Peter stood and gave a powerful witness to the Gospel that resulted in the salvation of 3,000 people. It was the power of the Holy Spirit in the early church that resulted in the spread  of the Gospel throughout the world. The book of  Acts is a  record of this powerful witness which was evidence of baptism in the Holy Spirit.

BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT

There are seven passages in the New Testament where the word "baptize" is used in relation to the Holy Spirit. Four of these are the words of John the Baptist recorded in the Gospels:

I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but He that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire. (Matthew 3:11)

I indeed have baptized you with water: but He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.  (Mark 1:8)

John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose;  He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire. (Luke 3:16)

And  I knew Him not:  but He that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending and remaining
on Him, the same is He which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.  (John 1:33)

Jesus also spoke of the baptism of the Holy Ghost:

For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy
Ghost not many days hence. (Acts 1:5)

When Peter spoke of events which took place in the home of Cornelius, he quoted the words of Jesus:

Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that He said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost. (Acts 11:16)

Paul also used the word "baptize" in relation to the Holy Spirit:

For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. (I Corinthians 12:13)

Use of the phrase "to baptize into" the Holy Spirit is the same as when  it is used to describe Christian baptism in water. In both cases baptism is an outward confirmation of an inward spiritual condition.

The Holy Spirit came down from Heaven on the disciples on the day of Pentecost and completely immersed [or baptized] them in the Holy Spirit.  Peter said this experience was the fulfillment of God's promise: "In the last days...I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh." This promise was given in Joel 2:28.

THE PHYSICAL SIGN

The Holy Spirit is invisible to the natural eye. He was compared by Jesus to the wind:

The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. (John 3:8)

Although the wind is invisible, the effects which it produces can be seen and heard. When the wind blows the dust rises from the ground, the trees all bend in one direction, leaves rustle, the waves of the sea roar, and clouds move across the sky. These are all physical signs of  the wind. So it is with the Holy Spirit. Even though He is invisible, the effects which the Holy Spirit produces can be seen and heard.

There are three places in the New Testament where we are told what happened when people were baptized in the Holy Spirit:

DAY OF PENTECOST:

Acts 2:2-4 is the record of what happened on the day of Pentecost:

And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were  all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.  (Acts 2:2-4)

HOUSE OF CORNELIUS:

Acts 10:44-46 records what happened when Peter preached the Gospel to a man named Cornelius and his family:

While Peter yet spoke these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the Word.

And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God...(Acts 10:44-46)

CONVERTS AT EPHESUS:

Acts 19:6 describes what happened to the first group of converts at Ephesus:

And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues and prophesied.  (Acts 19:6)

As we compare these passages there is one physical sign which is common to all three: Those who received the baptism of the Holy Spirit spoke with other tongues. Other supernatural signs of  the Holy Spirit are mentioned, but none  as having taken place on all of the occasions.

On the day of Pentecost there was the sound of a rushing wind and visible tongues of fire were seen. These were not recorded on the other two occasions.

At Ephesus the new converts prophesied. But this is not mentioned as having occurred on the day of  Pentecost or in the house of Cornelius.

The one outward sign which the apostles observed in the experience of Cornelius and his household was that they spoke with tongues. This physical sign was proof to the disciples that they had been baptized in the Holy Spirit.

From these Biblical records we  conclude that the sign of speaking in tongues through the power of the Holy Spirit confirms that a person has been baptized in the Holy Spirit.

THE TONGUES

The sign of  "tongues" can be languages  known to man. This is what happened on the day of Pentecost:

...And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?  (Acts 2:7-8)

Tongues can also be a language not known to man. This is called an unknown tongue:

For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he 
speaketh mysteries. (I Corinthians 14:2)

PURPOSES FOR TONGUES

The "other tongues" received through baptism in the Holy Spirit has many purposes in the lives of believers.   I  Corinthians chapter 14 identifies some of  the  purposes for the manifestation of tongues:

·         Prayer to God:  Verse 2

·         Self-edification: Edification means  to build or promote spiritual growth:  Verse 4

·         When interpreted they edify the church:  Verse 12

·         Intercession:  Verse 14  (See also Romans 8:26-27)

·         Sign to unbelievers:  Verse 22

·         Fulfillment of prophecy:  Verse 21  (See also Isaiah 28:11-12)

·         Praise:  Verse 15,17

OBJECTIONS

Some people object to the sign of speaking in tongues. These are some of the objections they raise:

EVERY CHRISTIAN HAS THE HOLY SPIRIT:

One of the most common objections is that every Christian receives the Holy Spirit when he is converted and does not need any further experience to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

But consider the examples of people in the New Testament who were true believers.

The apostles had repented of their sins and believed Jesus was the Messiah. They had witnessed personally and accepted as true the facts of His death, burial, a resurrection. Jesus told His followers:

And, behold, I send the promise of my father upon you;  but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. (Luke 24:49)

He also said:

For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. (Acts 1:5)

The promised experience of being baptized in the Holy Ghost came on the day of Pentecost:

And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:4)

Although the apostles were already genuine believers it was not until the day of Pentecost that they were filled with [baptized in] the Holy Spirit. The people of Samaria had heard the Gospel preached. They had believed and been baptized. But they had not received the Holy Spirit:

Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:

Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus). Then laid they their hands on them and they received the Holy Ghost. (Acts 8:14-17)

The people of Samaria received salvation through the ministry of Philip. They received the Holy Spirit through the ministry of Peter and John. Receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit was a separate experience from receiving salvation.

Acts 19:1-6 describes how Paul went to Ephesus and met people described as "disciples." The first question Paul asked was, "Have ye received the  Holy Ghost since ye believed?"  If people received the baptism of  the  Holy Ghost when they received salvation it would be foolish of Paul to ask this question. The fact that he asked it makes it clear people become believers in Christ without receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Even if a person  receives the baptism of the Holy Spirit at the same time he is converted, it is a separate experience from salvation.

The ministry of the Holy Spirit has been operative throughout eternity. The Old Testament speaks of the Holy Spirit coming on Israel's spiritual leaders.  The Holy Spirit is also operative in the life of a sinner to bring him to Christ.

But this is different than being filled with the Holy Spirit. Jesus made that clear when He said:

Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know Him: for He dwelleth with you,
and  shall be in you.  (John 14:17)

The Holy Spirit was with the disciples at that time, but not yet in them. They were filled [baptized] with the Holy Spirit on the Day of  Pentecost. The Holy Spirit is WITH the sinner to draw him to Jesus Christ. But this is not the same as being IN the believer.

The Holy Spirit was with the spiritual leaders of Old Testament times. But He was not yet in them. This is the difference between the Old and New Testament ministries of the Holy Spirit. 

DO ALL SPEAK WITH TONGUES?:

Another objection to tongues has come through misunderstanding of a question of the Apostle Paul in I Corinthians 12:30. He asks, "Do all speak with tongues?" The answer to his question is "No, all do not speak with tongues."

But Paul is not speaking here of the experience of being baptized in the Holy Spirit. The discussion concerns gifts of the Holy Spirit which can be used by the believer in the church:

Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps,
governments, diversities of tongues.  (I Corinthians 12:27-28)

Paul is speaking of gifts which may be used by members of the Church. One of these gifts of the Holy Spirit is "diversities of tongues." It is an ability to  give special messages to the Church in tongues under the power of the Holy Spirit. Although everyone experiences the sign of tongues when baptized in the Holy Spirit, not everyone receives the special gift of diversities of tongues.

FEAR:

Some believers do not seek the baptism of the Holy Spirit because they are afraid they will receive an experience that is not of God.  But the Bible says:

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you; For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him?  (Matthew 7:7-11)

If a believer seeks God for a gift, just like a good earthly Father, God will not let him receive anything that will harm him. 

EMOTIONAL EXPERIENCE:

Another objection to tongues is that it is an emotional experience. Many believers who have received the baptism of the Holy Spirit emphasize their own emotional reactions to the experience. Man is an emotional creature. Conversion does not eliminate a man's emotions. He will still experience joy and sorrow.

Conversion frees man's emotions from the control of sin. It redirects these emotions to worship of God.  The word "joy" in Scripture is closely associated with the Holy Spirit. In Acts 13:52 we read that "the  disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost."

Some people react with great emotion to the joy which comes with the baptism of the Holy Spirit because they are naturally more emotional than others.  They may shout, laugh, or experience other sensations in their physical bodies. But these emotional reactions are not the sign of baptism in the Holy Spirit. The confirming sign is speaking in tongues.

It is not necessary to show great emotion such as laughing, shouting, dancing, etc., to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. How one reacts emotionally to the joy this experience brings is often related to his natural emotional nature.

But we should not criticize those who have joyful emotional reactions to the Holy Spirit. The Bible tells of emotional reactions by those who had a powerful experience with God. People trembled, fell prostrate on the ground, shouted, rejoiced, and danced before God. 

It is interesting to observe the emotional reaction of people to various athletic events. They will yell, laugh, jump up and down, and express much excitement over a sports game. How much more  excited we should be over a gift like the Holy Spirit which accomplishes so many purposes in our lives, brings great joy, and equips us with power to reach the world with the Gospel.

The Psalmist David agreed. He presents a picture of joyful, loud, emotional worship of God:

O come, let us sing unto the Lord:  let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto Him with psalms. For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. (Psalms 95:1-3)

Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet; praise Him with the psaltery and harp. Praise Him with the timbrel and dance; praise Him with stringed instruments and organs. Praise Him upon the loud cymbals; praise Him upon the high sounding cymbals. Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord.  Praise ye the Lord. (Psalms 150:3-6)

You do not have to fear that the baptism in the Holy Spirit will cause you to do something improper or lose control of yourself. The Bible says:

And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. (I Corinthians 14:32)

This means that any gift God gives is subject to the wise control of the user. God does nothing improper because...

God  is  not the  author of confusion, but of peace. (I Corinthians 14:33) 

GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

Jesus left His followers with a responsibility to extend the Gospel message to the ends of the earth. The power of the Holy Spirit would help them fulfill this task. Part of this "power" of the Holy Spirit was special gifts which the Holy Spirit gives believers to equip them to minister effectively.

These spiritual gifts are not the same as natural talents. Natural talents and abilities are given at  the  time of physical birth and/or developed by natural efforts during the course of a lifetime. They can be used to minister in the church, but are different than spiritual gifts.

Spiritual gifts come from the Holy Spirit.  Their purpose is...

...For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ; Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine... But speaking the truth in love may grow up into Him in all things which is the head even Christ. (Ephesians 4:12-15)

This passage reveals spiritual gifts are for:

·         Perfecting of the saints.

·         Promoting the work of the ministry.

·         Edifying Christ and the church.

The end objectives of these gifts are that we will:

·         Be united in the faith.

·         Develop our knowledge of Christ.

·         Develop in perfection, with Christ as our model.

·         Become stable, not deceived by false doctrines.

·         Mature spiritually in Christ.

Some churches claim that all of the gifts of the Holy Spirit are not for  modern believers. They teach that some of the powerful gifts like miracles and speaking in other tongues were only for the early Church.

The answer to their objection is this: The Lord gave ministry gifts to accomplish certain purposes in the church. He will not withdraw any of these gifts without the purposes being accomplished. Are all our churches in unity? Do we have full knowledge of Christ? Are we all walking in perfection, stable, and mature? Have we stopped false doctrines from penetrating our churches?

The answer to these questions is "no." All the purposes of the ministry gifts have not been fulfilled. For this reason, all the gifts which God gave to accomplish these objectives are still operative today. The Bible also says that the "gifts and callings of God are without repentance" (Romans 11:29).  That means God will not change His mind and take back a gift or a calling He has given.

The Holy Spirit gives each believer at least one spiritual gift (I Peter 4:10; Ephesians 4:7, I Corinthians 12:7). It is important for us to discover and use our  spiritual gift in the church. The main passages explaining the spiritual gifts available to believers through the Holy Spirit are Romans 12:1-8, I Corinthians 12:1-31, Ephesians 4:1-16 and I Peter 4:7-11.*

_________________

*  The Harvestime International Institute course, "Ministry of the Holy Spirit", explains in detail the gifts and fruit of the Holy Spirit. It is designed to help believers discover their spiritual gift and develop the fruit of the Spirit in order to function effectively in the Body of Christ.

 

FRUIT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

The Holy Spirit develops in the life of the believer qualities which the Bible calls "spiritual fruit." The fruit of the Holy Spirit refers to the nature of the Holy Spirit being evident in the life of a believer. God desires that all the fruit be evident in the life of each Christian:

But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith. Meekness, temperance; against such there is no law.  (Galatians 5:22-23

The development of  these qualities  are another important function of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer.

RECEIVING THE HOLY SPIRIT

The following are Biblical guidelines for receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

REPENT AND BE BAPTIZED:

This will put you in a position of spiritual receptivity:

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.  (Acts 2:38)

BELIEVE IT IS FOR YOU:

For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. (Acts 2:39)

DESIRE IT:

...Jesus stood and cried, saying, if any man thirst let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believed on Him should receive; for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) (John 7:37-39)

REALIZE IT IS A GIFT:

The Holy Spirit has already been given.  It was given to the Church on the Day of Pentecost. Because it is a gift, you can do nothing to earn it:

...the gift of the Holy Ghost.  (Acts 2:38)

This only would  I learn of you. Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? He therefore that ministereth to you in the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? That  the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles; through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the  promise of the Spirit through faith.(Galatians 3:2,5,14)

Begin to praise and thank God for the gift of the Holy Spirit.

YIELD TO GOD:

Do not be afraid to speak the language of the Spirit as you are praising and worshiping God. As you praise Him audibly you will first experience stammering lips. Yield your tongue  to the Holy Spirit and He will speak through you words foreign to your understanding. This is the sign of Holy Spirit baptism:

For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. (Isaiah 28:11)

And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:4)

REQUEST THE PRAYERS OF OTHER BELIEVERS:

The Holy Spirit can be received through the laying on of hands (Acts 8,9,19) or without the laying on of hands (Acts 2,4,10). Study these chapters which show how Spirit-filled believers can help you experience baptism in the Holy Spirit.

 

SELF-TEST

1. What are some of the purposes of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer?

2. Give six guidelines for receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

3. Write the Key Verse from memory.

4. What is the outward physical sign of the baptism of the Holy Spirit?

5. What is the true evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit?  Give a Biblical reference to support your answer.

6. What is meant by the term "fruit" of the Holy Spirit?

7. List the nine fruit of the Holy Spirit which should be in the lives of believers:

8. What are some of the purposes of the gifts of the Holy Spirit?

9. Why is this a false statement:  "Not all of the  gifts of the Holy Spirit are for us today.  Some of them were only for the early church."

10. What are the four main objections some people have to the sign of other tongues?

11. Are any of these objections valid on the basis of Scripture?

 (Answers to tests are provided at the conclusion of the final chapter in this manual.)

FOR FURTHER STUDY

This chapter introduced the study of the Holy Spirit through discussion of the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Continue your study of the Holy Spirit with the following outline:

THE NATURE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

·         He is called God: Acts 5:3-4

·         Omnipresent:  He is present everywhere: Psalms 139:7

·         Omniscient:  He knows all things: I Corinthians 2:10-11

·         Omnipotent:  He is all powerful: Acts 1:8

·         Eternal:  He is everlasting: Hebrews 9:14

·         Equal with the Father and the Son: Matthew 3:16-17

THE PERSONALITY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

·         He has a mind: Romans 8:27

·         This mind is intelligent: I Corinthians 2:10-11

·         He searches out the human mind: I Corinthians 2:10

·         He has a will: I Corinthians 12:11

·         He guides through giving and denying permission: Acts 16:6-7,10

·         He speaks: Acts 8:29

·         He loves: Romans 15:30

·         He grieves: Ephesians 4:30

·         He intercedes: Romans 8:26

A SENSITIVE NATURE: The Holy Spirit has a sensitive nature. We must be careful lest we:

·         Lie to the Holy Spirit: Acts 5:3-4

·         Resist the Spirit: Acts 7:51

·         Quench the Spirit: I Thessalonians 5:19

·         Grieve the Spirit: Psalms 78:40

·         Insult the Spirit: Hebrews 6:4-6

·         Vex the Holy Spirit: Isaiah 63:10

·         Blaspheme the Holy Spirit: Matthew 12:31-32

NAMES AND TITLES OF THE HOLY SPIRIT: The names and titles of the Holy Spirit give further knowledge of His nature and
purposes.  He is called:

·         The Spirit of God: I Corinthians 3:16

·         The Spirit of Christ: Romans 8:9

·         The Eternal Spirit: Hebrews 9:14

·         The Spirit of Truth: John 16:13; 14:26

·         The Spirit of Grace: Hebrews 10:29

·         The Spirit of Life: Romans 8:2

·         The Spirit of Glory: I Peter 4:14

·         The Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation: Ephesians 1:17

·         The Comforter: John 14:26

·         The Spirit of Promise: Acts 1:4-5

·         The Spirit of Holiness: Romans 1:4

·         The Spirit of Faith: II Corinthians 4:13

·         The Spirit of Adoption: Romans 8:15

EMBLEMS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT: The following symbols are used in the Bible to represent the Holy Spirit:

·         The dove: John 1:32

·         Oil: Luke  4:18

·         Water: John 7:37-39

·         A Seal: Ephesians 1:13

·         Wind: John 3:8

·         Rivers: John 7:38-9

·         Fire: Which signifies:

·         Presence of the Lord: Exodus 3:2

·         Approval: Leviticus 9:24

·         Protection: Exodus 13:21

·         Purifying: Isaiah 6:1-8

·         The Gift of the Holy Spirit: Acts 2:3

·         Judgment: Hebrews 12:29

 

CHAPTER SEVEN: LAYING ON OF HANDS

 

OBJECTIVES:

Upon completion of this chapter you will be able to:

·         Write the Key Verse from memory.

·         Define laying on of hands.

·         Identify purposes for laying on of hands in Old Testament times.

·         Identify purposes for laying on of hands in New Testament times.

·         List qualifications for ministering by laying on of hands.

KEY VERSE:

Long time therefore abode they speaking boldly in the Lord, which gave testimony unto the word of His grace, and granted signs and wonders to be
done by their hands.  (Acts 14:3)

INTRODUCTION

The  doctrine of the laying on of hands is the fourth principle in the foundations of the Christian faith. Laying on of hands is an act in which one person places his hands on the body of another person with a definite spiritual purpose. This laying on of hands is accompanied by prayer or prophecy.

THE OLD TESTAMENT RECORD

Laying on of hands in the Old Testament was used for the following purposes:

1. Transference of spiritual blessing or authority. [Transference  means that something spiritual flows from the one laying on hands to the one he is touching.]

2. Public confirmation of a spiritual blessing or authority received from God.

3. Commitment to God for a special ministry.

Three Old Testament examples illustrate these purposes of laying on of hands:

ISRAEL: Genesis 48 is the first record of the laying on of hands for spiritual benefit. Joseph brought his two sons, Ephriam and Manasseh, to his father to bless them: And Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it upon Ephriam's head, who was the younger, and his left hand upon Manasseh's head, guiding his hands wittingly; for Manasseh was the first born. (Genesis 48:14) The blessing of Jacob was transferred to his two grandsons by laying his hands upon their heads.

LEVITES: The Levites were ordained by God to serve the congregation of  Israel as spiritual leaders. In this position they represented the people before God. The laying on of  hands  was confirmation by the people of the Levite's authority before God: And thou shalt bring the Levites before the Lord; and the children of Israel shall put their hands upon the Levites. (Numbers 8:10)

MOSES: As Moses approached the end of his earthly ministry, he asked the Lord to appoint a new leader over Israel: And the Lord said unto Moses, Take thee Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit, and lay thine hand upon him; And set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation; and give him a charge in their sight. And thou shalt put some of thine honor upon him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient. And Moses did as the Lord commanded him: and he took Joshua, and set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation: And he laid his hands upon him, and gave him a charge, as the Lord commanded by the hand of Moses.  (Numbers 27:18-20,22-23)

The results that this laying on of hands produced in Joshua is recorded in Deuteronomy:

And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him: and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and
did as the Lord commanded Moses. (Deuteronomy 34:9) Moses laying hands on Joshua was important both for Joshua and for the whole congregation of Israel. By this act, Moses transferred to Joshua a measure of the wisdom and honor which he had received from God. Moses also confirmed to the people God's selection of Joshua as the new leader.

NEW TESTAMENT RECORD

The New Testament records five general purposes for the laying on of hands.

SUPERNATURAL SIGNS:

Jesus practiced laying on of hands in His ministry:

...He laid His hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them. (Mark 6:5)

Now when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto Him; and He laid His hand on every one of them and healed them.  (Luke 4:40)

And He laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.  (Luke 13:13)

In His final message to the disciples at the close of His earthly ministry, Jesus listed supernatural signs which were to accompany the preaching of the Gospel:

And these signs  shall follow them that believe  In my name shall they cast out devils they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them: they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. (Mark 16:17-18)

One of these supernatural signs was the laying on of hands through which God would heal the sick and perform other miracles.  Mark 16:17-18  confirms that this practice was to continue after the end of Christ's earthly ministry.

The laying on of hands in the name of Jesus is used to minister physical healing to the sick. The person who lays his hands on one who is sick transfers the supernatural healing power of God. Sometimes the sick person actually feels the power of God in his body. At other times there is no feeling at all, but this does not mean healing will not occur. The laying on of hands is an act of faith and obedience to God's Word.  Its effectiveness does
not depend on feeling.

The timing of healings vary. Sometimes complete healing is received instantly as soon as hands are laid on the sick. Other times healing comes gradually (Mark 8:22-25). It is important to instruct those seeking healing concerning the importance of maintaining faith until their healing is  complete.  (Further instructions on this is provided in the Harvestime International Institute course, "Battle For The Body.")  

The book of Acts records how God used the laying on of hands by believers to perform miraculous healings and other supernatural signs confirming His Word:

Long time therefore abode they speaking boldly in the Lord, which gave testimony unto the word of His grace, and granted signs and wonders to be
done by their hands. (Acts 14:3)

And by the hands of the Apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people.  (Acts 5:12)

And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hand on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus that appeared unto thee in
the way as thou camest, hath sent me that thou mightest receive thy sight and  be filled with the Holy Ghost.  (Acts 9:17)

And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul. (Acts 19:11)

And it came to pass that the father of Publius lay sick o  a fever and a bloody flux; to whom Paul entered in, and prayed, and laid hands on him and healed him.  (Acts 28:8)

BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT:

Another purpose of laying on of hands is for baptism in the Holy Spirit.  There are five examples recorded in the book of Acts of  how people received baptism in the Holy Spirit.  The first example is that of  the disciples in the upper room in  Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost.  You can read about this in Acts 2:1-4.  The other examples are of  the  new converts in Samaria in Acts 8:14-20; Saul of Tarsus in Acts 9:17; Cornelius and his family in Acts 10:44-46; and the disciples at Ephesus in Acts 19:1-6.

In three of these examples those seeking the baptism of the Holy Spirit were ministered to by other believers through the laying on of hands:

·         Acts 8:18 states that "through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given."

·         In Damascus, Ananias laid his  hands on Saul  that he might receive his  sight and be filled with the Holy Ghost.

·         In Ephesus, the disciples to whom  Paul ministered received the Holy Ghost after Paul laid his hands on them.

Laying on of  hands is not the only way people receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. In the upper room in Jerusalem and in the house of  Cornelius  people received the experience without anyone laying hands on them. But on the basis of these examples, it is Scriptural for those seeking  baptism in the Holy Spirit to be ministered to through the laying on of hands.

IMPARTING SPIRITUAL GIFTS:

Another purpose for the laying on of hands is to impart spiritual gifts. Paul wrote Timothy:

Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. (I Timothy 4:14)

Paul refers again to Timothy's spiritual experience:

Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. (II Timothy 1:6)

Laying on of hands was combined with the gift of prophecy to direct, encourage, and strengthen Timothy to fulfill his God-given ministry.

COMMISSIONING CHRISTIAN WORKERS:

Another purpose for laying on  of  hands is to commission Christian workers. "Commission" means to authorize, delegate, or send on a mission. As spiritual leaders were waiting before the Lord in Antioch...

...the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hand on them, they sent them away. So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus. (Acts 13:2-4)

The Bible indicates God had already spoken privately to Paul and Barnabas about the work He wanted them to do before He spoke publicly to the church leaders. The public revelation was a confirmation of the call they already had received.

The leaders did not send Paul and Barnabas on their mission immediately. They took time for fasting and prayer. The sending forth of these two men was completed by the laying on of hands by church leaders.

Paul also laid hands on Timothy to commission his ministry:

Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.  (II Timothy 1:6)

The practice of  laying on of hands to commission Christian workers was not used openly for missionaries and ministers. The appointing of the first deacons (Acts 6:1-6) was  accompanied by the laying on of hands:

Whom they set before the apostles; and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them.  (Acts 6:6)

The office to which these men were appointed in the church at Jerusalem came to be known by the title of  "deacon." The method for appointing deacons is outlined in Acts 6:3-6. The apostles gave the people the responsibility to choose men qualified to fill the office.

These men were brought before the apostles who laid hands on them and prayed. By this act the apostles showed they accepted these men as qualified to hold this office. They committed them to God for the task for which they were chosen and transmitted to them a measure of their own spiritual wisdom necessary for the task.

DEDICATION OF INFANTS:

It is not Scriptural to baptize infants, as they cannot repent or believe which are the requirements for baptism. But through the laying on of hands, infants can be dedicated and committed to God's protection, guidance, and blessing:

And He [Jesus] took them up in His arms, put His hands upon them, and blessed them. (Mark 10:16)

A SPECIAL CAUTION

The New Testament provides a word of caution regarding laying on of hands:

Do not be in a hurry in the laying on of hands. (I Timothy 5:22, The Amplified Bible)

Because an act of spiritual transference occurs when you lay hands on someone or they lay hands on you, it is wise to be cautious in using this practice.   If the person laying on hands is not spiritually qualified, the practice is not effective. The Bible is specific about who is qualified to lay hands on another to impart spiritual benefit:

BELIEVERS:

Believers may lay hands on others:

These signs shall follow them that believe...they shall lay hands on the sick, and they  shall recover.  (Mark 16:17-18)

The qualifications of  true believers have been discussed in previous chapters in the teaching on the principles of repentance from dead works and faith toward God.

APOSTLES AND DISCIPLES:

Simon saw that through laying on of  the apostles hands the Holy Ghost was given...  (Acts 8:18)

A certain disciple, named Ananias, putting his hands on him...be filled with the Holy Ghost.  (Acts 9:17)

The apostles and disciples were men appointed and anointed of God.  They were mature believers and examples of qualified leadership.

MEMBERS OF THE PRESBYTERY:

...the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. (I Timothy 4:14)

The high standards set for presbyters, also known as  elders, are recorded in I Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9.

SUMMARY

The five purposes for the laying on of  hands in the New Testament are:

1.    Supernatural signs

2.    Baptism of the Holy Spirit

3.    Imparting spiritual gifts

4.    Commissioning Christian workers

5.    Dedication of infants

Understanding and using the laying on of hands is important because Jesus indicated the practice was to be part of the ministry of the Church.

The laying on of hands is a spiritual practice missing in many churches today. But...

·         Consider the impact on the spread of the Gospel  if every  believer was effective in the laying on of hands for healing and miracles.

·         Consider the impact on the spread of the Gospel if spiritual gifts were being imparted and Christian workers commissioned on a regular basis through laying on of hands. 

 

SELF-TEST

1. Give three Old Testament examples of the laying on of hands.

2. List the five purposes for the laying on of hands revealed in the New Testament.

3. Write the Key Verse from memory.

4. Give a Bible reference which confirms that the laying on of hands was to continue after Jesus returned to heaven.

5. Define "laying on of hands."

6. Who does the Bible specifically name as qualified to practice the laying on of hands?

7. If the statement is TRUE write T in the blank in front of it. If the statement is
FALSE, write F.

a.____If there is no feeling of power experienced when laying on of hands is done then it is not effective.

b.____Laying on of hands can be used to commission Christian workers.

c.____The Bible teaches that anyone is qualified to lay hands on others.

d.____Laying on of hands is the only way for a person to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

e.____Spiritual gifts can be imparted by the laying on of hands.

f.____Laying on of hands should not be used with infants because they do not understand it.

(Answers to tests are provided at the conclusion of the final chapter in this manual.)

FOR FURTHER STUDY

Study  the  miracles  performed by Jesus during His earthly ministry. Observe how and when He used laying on of hands to impart spiritual blessing.

BRINGING THE DEAD TO LIFE:

Jarius' daughter: Matthew 9:18-19, 23-25

Widow's son: Luke 7:11-15

Lazarus: John 11:1-44

HEALING:

Leper: Matthew 8:2-3

Centurion's servant: Matthew 8:5-13

Peter's mother-in-law: Matthew 8:14-15

Gadarenes: Matthew 8:28-34

Paralyzed man: Matthew 9:2-7

Woman with blood issue: Matthew 9:20-22

Blind men: Matthew 9:27-31

Man dumb and possessed: Matthew 9:32-33

Man with withered hand: Matthew 12:10-13

Blind, dumb, possessed: Matthew 12:22

Canaanite woman's girl: Matthew 15:21-28

Boy with epilepsy: Matthew 17:14-18

Blind men: Matthew 20:29-34

Deaf and dumb man: Mark 7:31-37

Man with unclean spirit: Mark 1:23-26

Blind at Bethsaida: Mark 8:22-26

Woman bent double: Luke 13:11-13

Man with dropsy: Luke 14:1-4

Ten lepers: Luke 17:11-19

Malchus' ear: Luke 22:50-51

Official's son: John 4:46-54

Sick man at Bethesda: John 5:1-9

Man born blind: John 9

(Jesus never used a set pattern in miracles. God works in many ways to perform miraculous signs to confirm His Word.  The laying on of hands is just one of many methods God uses.)

 

CHAPTER EIGHT: RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD - PART I

 

OBJECTIVES:

Upon completion of this chapter you will be able to:

·         Write the Key Verse from memory.

·         Define the word "resurrection."

·         Distinguish between past, present, and future resurrections.

·         Describe the present spiritual resurrection of believers in Jesus Christ.

·         Describe the past resurrection of Jesus.

KEY VERSES:

Jesus saith unto her, I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.  (John 11:25-26)

INTRODUCTION

There are two other foundational doctrines of the Christian faith. These are the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment.  In the study of these two remaining doctrines, the Bible takes us by revelation beyond the present time into the future of eternity.

By the act of creation, God brought the present world into being with the order of time including the past, present, and future (Genesis l). Someday God will  bring this present world to an end and time, as we now know it, will cease to be.

The Bible reveals that for the world as a whole, the end of time will come at a special moment ordained by God. There are many events  which will happen in the world at this end of time. Only God knows the exact timing of these events.

As individuals, however, a moment awaits each of us when "time shall be no longer."  This is when we come to the end of our earthly lifetim  and step from time into  eternity. For each person, the end of physical life is the end of time.

There are some mysteries surrounding the end of time and eternity which the Bible does not explain. But the doctrine of the "resurrection of the dead" provides some knowledge of  the end of time and eternity which follows.

This chapter introduces the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead. The past, present, and future resurrections spoken of in the New Testament are defined and the past and present resurrections discussed. The future resurrection of the dead is discussed in the following chapter.

DEFINITION

The meaning of the word "resurrection" is a raising or rising up.  It means to cause to rise or raise up from the dead.

THREE RESURRECTIONS

There are three resurrections identified in the New Testament:

1.    Past: The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

2.    Present: The spiritual resurrection of believers in Jesus Christ.

3.    Future: The future resurrection of all that are in the graves.

THE RESURRECTOR

Jesus Christ was raised from the dead by the power of God: because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ. (I Corinthians 15:15)

Through Jesus the believer experiences present spiritual resurrection. Through Him the future resurrection of the dead from the graves will happen.

The Bible confirms that Jesus is the resurrector, the one who will resurrect the dead:

Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection  and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. (John 11:25)

And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam [Jesus] was made a quickening [life-giving] spirit. (I Corinthians 15:45)

But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death and hath brought life and immortality to light through
the Gospel. (II Timothy 1:10)

PAST:  RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST

OLD TESTAMENT PROPHECY:

The Old Testament foretold the birth of Jesus Christ, His death for the sins of all mankind, and His resurrection. David mentioned the resurrection of Jesus:

Being therefore a prophet [David] and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins he would set one upon his throne; He foreseeing this speaks of  the resurrection of the Christ... (Acts 2:30-31,  American Standard Version)

Many verses in the Bible confirm the resurrection of Jesus from the dead on the third day after His burial:

But now is Christ risen from the dead. (I Corinthians 15:20)

In the end of the sabbath as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre... And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye; for I know that ye seek Jesus which was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen as He said.  Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead... (Matthew 28:1,5-7)

The "For Further Study" section at the end of this chapter lists many other references confirming the resurrection of Jesus.

APPEARANCES:

Jesus was seen by many people after His resurrection:

After His suffering He showed himself alive to them in many convincing ways and appeared to them repeatedly over a period of forty days talking to them about the affairs of the Kingdom of God. (Acts 1:3, Phillips Translation)

He was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve; After that, He was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that He was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as one born out of due time. (I Corinthians 15:5-8)

HIS RESURRECTED BODY:

After His resurrection, Jesus was careful to provide evidence that He had a real body and He was the same person that had been crucified.  The evidence of this  was  His hands, feet, and side which still had the marks of the nails and the spear.

In other ways His body had experienced important changes.  It no longer was subject to the limitations of a mortal body.  He could now appear or disappear at will.  He could enter a closed room and He could pass between earth and Heaven (John 20:19).

Prior to His death and resurrection during a conversation with religious leaders of Israel...

 ...Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt Thou rear it up in three days? But He spake of the temple of His body. When therefore He was risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this unto them. (John 2:19-21)

Jesus was not talking about the temple in Jerusalem. He was referring to His own body as a temple.  After the death and burial of Jesus, when the women entered the tomb to anoint His body, they "found not the body of the Lord Jesus" (Luke 23:55-24:3). When Jesus appeared to His disciples He let them touch the nail prints and the scar from the spear to prove His identity:

And as they  thus spake, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said unto them, Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And He said unto them, Why are ye troubled? And why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands  and  my feet that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. And when He had thus spoke, He showed them His hands and feet.(Luke 24:36-40)

Then said He to Thomas, reach hither thy finger and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand and thrust it into my side; and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto Him, My Lord and my God. (John 20:27-28)

IMPORTANCE OF THE RESURRECTION:

Why is the doctrine of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead so important to the Christian faith?

But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen; And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain and your faith is also vain.  (I Corinthians 15:13-14)

Believing in the resurrection of Jesus Christ is necessary to become a true believer:

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
(Romans 10:9)

Paul presents the resurrection of Jesus as a part of the message of the Gospel:

Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the Gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures. (I Corinthians 15:1-4)

The resurrection confirms Jesus Christ is the Son of God:

And [as to His divine nature] according to the Spirit of holiness, was openly designated the Son of God in power [in a striking, triumphant and
miraculous manner] by His resurrection from the dead, even Jesus Christ our Lord, the Messiah, the anointed one. (Romans 1:4,  The Amplified Bible)

The resurrection confirms Jesus is supreme over all created beings:

That power is the same divine energy which was demonstrated in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and gave Him the place of supreme
honor in Heaven-a place that is infinitely superior to any conceivable command, authority, power or control, and which carries with it a name far beyond any name that could ever be used in this world or in the world to come.

God has placed everything under the power of Christ and has set Him up as the head of everything for the Church. (Ephesians 1:20-23, The Amplified
Bible)

The resurrection confirms that believers are justified:

Who [Jesus] was delivered for our offenses and was raised again for our justification. (Romans 4:25)

The resurrection means death is defeated:

Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself  likewise took part of the same; that through death He might
destroy him that had the power of death, that is the Devil. (Hebrews 2:14)

Because of the resurrection of Jesus, believers will also be resurrected and have new bodies:

Behold I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall  be changed. (I Corinthians 15:51-52)

Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto
Himself.  (Philippians 3:21)

We will study more about this resurrection from the dead  in the following chapter.

Through the resurrection there is a new life source for believers:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope  by the
resurrection of  Jesus Christ from the dead.  (I Peter 1:3)

PRESENT:  RESURRECTION OF BELIEVERS

The Bible speaks of the present  resurrection of believers. This means those who were once spiritually dead in sin are now made alive spiritually through Jesus Christ:

And you (he made alive) when you were dead (slain) by (your) trespasses and sins...

Even when we were dead (slain) by our own shortcomings and trespasses, He made us alive together in fellowship and in union with Christ.  He gave us the very life of Christ Himself, the same new life with which He quickeneth Him... (Ephesians 2:1,5,  The Amplified Bible)

And you, being dead in your sins...hath He quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses. (Colossians 2:13)

Therefore if any person is (ingrafted) in Christ, the Messiah, he is (a new creature altogether) a new creation; the old (previous moral and spiritual
condition) has passed away.  Behold, the fresh and new has come. (II Corinthians 5:17,  The Amplified Bible)

THE OUTWARD SIGN OF THIS RESURRECTION:

Baptism in water is an outward sign of death to the old life of sin and the spiritual resurrection of  the believer in Jesus Christ.  But it is not only water baptism that confirms the spiritual resurrection of the believer. It is the new life which he lives:

We were buried therefore with Him by the baptism into death, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of  the Father, we too might habitually live and behave in newness of life. For if we have become one with Him by sharing a death like His, we shall also be one with Him in sharing His  resurrection by a new life lived for God. (Romans 6:4,5)

EVIDENCES OF THIS RESURRECTION:

Jesus provided many evidences of His resurrection. These included the empty tomb, the message of the angels, and His visible appearances after His resurrection.  There are also evidences which confirm the spiritual resurrection of believers. They include the following:

·         Death To Sin Resulting In A New Life: Spiritual resurrection results  in death to sin. The believer does not live like he used to live. He is dead to the evil things of the world and alive in Jesus: Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.  (Romans 6:11)

·         A New Master: Spiritual resurrection makes Jesus the master of your life. Instead of  living for yourself, you live to serve Him: And that He died for all that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves but unto Him which died for them and rose again. (II Corinthians 5:15)

·         New Life Purpose: A new life purpose results  from spiritual resurrection. Instead of concern about temporal things of the world such as material gain, ambition, etc., the attention of believers is focused on eternal things: If then you have been raised with Christ (to a new life, thus sharing His resurrection from the dead), aim at and seek the (rich eternal treasures) that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. And set your minds and keep them set on what is above--the higher things--not on the things that are on the earth. (Colossians 3:1-2, the Amplified Bible)

SUMMARY

The past resurrection of Jesus and the present spiritual resurrection of believers are two of the three resurrections mentioned in the New Testament. The other one is the future resurrection of all the dead from the graves. This is discussed in the next chapter.

 

SELF-TEST

1. Write the Key Verses from memory.

2. Define the word "resurrection."

3. What are the three resurrections recorded in the New Testament?

1.    Past:

2.    Present:

3.    Future:

4. Give a Bible reference to confirm each of the following:

That the Old Testament foretold the resurrection of Jesus:

That Jesus rose from the dead:

That He appeared to people after His resurrection:

That He had the same body, yet no human limitations:

5. Why is belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ important?

6. What is meant by the  "present spiritual resurrection of believers"?

7. What are the evidences of the spiritual resurrection of the believer discussed in this chapter?

8. What outward act signifies the spiritual resurrection of the believer?

 (Answers to tests are provided at the conclusion of the final chapter in this manual.)

FOR FURTHER STUDY

Study the following references to expand your knowledge of the resurrection of Jesus.

The four main accounts of His resurrection are given in: 

Matthew 28

Mark 16

Luke 24

John 20

The following verses also provide additional information on the resurrection of Jesus:

Acts 1:22; 2:24,32; 3:15,26; 4:10,33; 5:30; 10:40,41; 13:30-33,34,37; 17:18,32

Romans 1:4; 4:24; 6:5; 8:11,34

I Corinthians 6:14; 15:12-58

II Corinthians 4:14

Galatians 1:1

Philippians 3:10

Ephesians 1:20

I Thessalonians 1:10

II Timothy 2:8

I Peter 1:3

 

CHAPTER NINE: RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD - PART II

 

OBJECTIVES:

Upon completion of this chapter you will be able to:

·         Write the Key Verse from memory.

·         Describe the future resurrection of the dead.

·         Distinguish between the resurrections of the just and the unjust.

·         Explain how the death and resurrection of Jesus affected the destiny of the human soul.

KEY VERSES:

For the Lord Himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first; Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be  with the Lord. (I Thessalonians 4:16-17)

INTRODUCTION

In the previous chapter the term "resurrection" was defined and three resurrections mentioned in the New Testament were identified. The past resurrection of Jesus and the present resurrection of the believer in Jesus were discussed in detail.

This chapter explains the future resurrection of all that are in the graves. The future resurrection actually will be two separate resurrections, one of the just and one of the unjust. This chapter  also explains how the death and resurrection of Jesus affected the destiny of the human soul.

Since this chapter concerns  future events, it deals with prophecy about the end of time and eternity. If you are not familiar with Bible prophecy then you should review the "For Further Study" section of this chapter. It provides a general outline of future events as revealed in God's Word.

FUTURE: RESURRECTION OF ALL IN THE GRAVES

The Bible reveals two things about all human beings:

1. All will experience the resurrection of the dead.

2. All will experience eternal judgment.

Jesus said concerning the future resurrection:

Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; They that have done good unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation. (John 5:28-29)

The Apostle Paul also writes about this resurrection:

For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. (I Corinthians 15:22)

Because of the original sin of Adam, death came upon all men.  Because of the death and resurrection of Jesus,  all men will die physically and later be resurrected.

EXCEPTIONS TO THE RESURRECTION

Those who never die will not need to be resurrected from the dead. Paul wrote:

Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption and this mortal  must put on immortality. (I Corinthians 15:51-53)

When Paul says "we shall not ALL sleep" he means all true believers who are alive at the time of Christ's return for His Church. These believers will never experience death. They will be caught up to meet Jesus and be reunited with Christians resurrected from the grave.

DESTINY OF THE DEAD

There is much about the period between physical death and the resurrection that is not revealed in the Bible, but three things are clear:

1. At the time of death there is a separation between the body and the spirit and soul.  The physical body is put in the grave, but the soul and spirit live on in eternity.

2. The spirits and souls of  those who  were righteous go to a different place than those who were wicked.

3. The destiny of the righteous was  different before and after the death of Jesus.

Jesus revealed what happens after death through the story of a beggar named Lazarus who laid at a rich man's gate:

And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom; the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torment, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed; so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us that would come from thence. (Luke 16:22-26)

At death, the physical body returns to the earth:

...for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. (Genesis 3:19b)

The soul and spirit of man enters a new existence in eternity. There is still a personality, recognition of one person by another, and awareness of present conditions. The destiny of spirits of the righteous is different from that of  spirits  of  the  wicked. Both Lazarus and the rich man went to a place of departed spirits called in the Hebrew language "Sheol" and in the Greek language "Hades." (Most of the Old Testament was  originally written in Hebrew.  The New Testament was written in Greek).

But the destinies of  the  two men were different. The rich man was in a place of torment called Hell. Lazarus was in a place of rest. Between these two places there was a gulf that could not be crossed from either side.

If  the gulf could not be crossed, then it means there is no hope to change  the eternal destiny of the soul after death. Because of this, it is of  no value to pray for the dead. The decision to accept or reject Jesus as Savior must be made during this life  It is this decision that determines the destiny of your soul.

The place of rest for departed spirits of the righteous was  called "Abraham's bosom." This meant it was a place for those who followed the same faith of Abraham by serving the one true and living God.

AFTER THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS

The story of Lazarus and the rich man reveals what happened to departed souls before the death and resurrection of Jesus. After His resurrection the destiny of the souls of the wicked remained the same, but the destiny of righteous souls changed.

When Jesus died He said "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit."  His body was laid in a tomb but the destiny of His spirit was decided by God.  The Bible reveals what happened to the spirit of Christ after death:

Now that He ascended, what is it but that He also descended first into the lower part of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that He might fill all things. (Ephesians 4:9-10)

Before His death, Jesus told the dying thief who repented: Today shall thou be with me in paradise.  (Luke 23:43)

The spirit of  Jesus descended into Sheol, the place of  all departed spirits. First He went to the place of the spirits of the righteous. This was called "paradise" or "Abraham's bosom."

From paradise, Jesus  went  further into the area of Sheol reserved for the wicked spirits.This  was  necessary  in order for Him to complete the work of atonement for man's sin. He had to endure both the  physical and spiritual penalties of sin. The physical penalty was physical death. The spiritual penalty was separation from God which  is called spiritual death. Jesus experienced that in Sheol.

Then the spirit of Jesus ascended from Sheol back to the world. At that time, His body which  had  been lying lifeless in the tomb, was raised up from death. His soul, spirit, and body were reunited to form a complete personality. As we learned in the last chapter, Jesus appeared in visible form to many on earth before He returned to Heaven.

THE NEW PATTERN

The events between the death and resurrection of Jesus set a new pattern for the destiny of righteous souls. Prior to Christ's resurrection, departed spirits of the righteous went to paradise. After the death and resurrection of Jesus, the spirits of the righteous could ascend immediately into the presence of God. This is confirmed in the record of the death of Stephen:

But he  [Stephen],  being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of
God, And said,  Behold,  I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.  And when he had said this, he fell asleep.  (Acts 7:55-56,59-60)

Moments before death, Stephen saw a vision  of  Jesus in Heaven at the right hand of God. His words,  "Lord Jesus receive my spirit,"  indicate he knew that immediately upon death his soul and spirit would go directly to Heaven. The Apostle Paul also confirms this:

Therefore we are always confident, knowing that whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord... We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.  (II Corinthians 5:6,8)

Paul compared the value of death to that of remaining alive in order to fulfill his earthly ministry.  He said that to be absent from the body is to be with Christ:

For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labor; yet what I shall choose I wot not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better. Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you. (Philippians 1:21-24)

In addition to the new destiny of the righteous dead, Jesus set another new pattern that
will be followed by all men:

1. At death man's spirit and soul will go to the realm of the departed spirits. The righteous will ascend to the presence of God. The wicked will go to a place of torment [hell].

2. At the time of  resurrection, the body will be raised again from death and reunited with the spirit and soul.

RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD:  THREE STAGES

The Apostle Paul describes the resurrection of  the dead in three stages.

THE FIRST:

The first resurrection of the dead was that of Jesus:

For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at His coming. Then cometh the end, when He [Christ] shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.  (I Corinthians 15:22-24)

The first resurrection was of Jesus.  This is what is meant by the phrase "Christ the firstfruits."  There are two other resurrections of the dead which will occur in the future. These are the resurrection of the just and unjust:

And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust. (Acts 24:15)

The Bible also calls these two resurrections the resurrection of life and the resurrection of damnation:

Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God:  and they that hear shall live. Marvel not at this:  for the hour is coming, in the which  all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. (John 5:25,28-29)

THE SECOND:

The resurrection  of  life will happen when Jesus returns to earth for His Church. This event will resurrect from the dead all true believers in Jesus.  This is called the resurrection  of  the just or the resurrection of life.

The resurrection of Jesus was the first stage...

The resurrection of believers is the second stage...

THE THIRD:

The third stage  of  the  resurrection of the dead is called "the end." This resurrection occurs at the end of Christ's earthly reign of 1000 years of peace.  This resurrection is called the resurrection of the unjust or the "resurrection unto damnation."

TO SUMMARIZE:

The following chart summarizes what you have learned about the three stages of the resurrection of the dead:

         

Resurrection Of The Dead

Stage One: Resurrection Of Jesus Christ

Stage Two: Resurrection Of The Just (Resurrection Of Life)

Stage Three: Resurrection Of The Unjust (Resurrection Of Damnation)

You have already  studied the resurrection of Jesus. Now you will study the resurrections of the just and the unjust.

THE RESURRECTION OF THE JUST

Paul  said  those in the second stage of the resurrection are "they that are Christ's." This means those who have repented from dead works and through faith accepted Jesus as Savior. Paul said that this resurrection of believers will happen at the time of Christ's coming. The main  New Testament passage describing this resurrection of life [the just] is found in Thessalonians:

But I would not have you to be ignorant brethren,  concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him. For this we say unto you by the Word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord Himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another  with these words. (I Thessalonians 4:13-18)

The purpose of  Paul's  teaching  is  to  comfort  believers concerning other Christians who  have  died  ["them which are asleep"]. His  message provides assurance that all true believers will be resurrected.

When Jesus returns, two great events will occur on earth:

1. All true believers who have previously died will be resurrected, given new bodies, and reunited with their own soul and spirit.

2. All believers alive on earth at that moment will experience a quick change in their physical bodies.

Both those resurrected and those alive at the time of Christ's coming will  be raised by God's power from the earth into the air.  They will be reunited  with the Lord and each other. From that time on, they will forever be with the Lord.

The book of Revelation provides an additional record of the resurrection of the righteous:

And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the Word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.  Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection...  (Revelation 20:4-6)

The resurrection described in this passage is of believers  who die as martyrs during the tribulation  period.  They are  raised  just  before Christ's Kingdom is established on earth. This passage reveals that the resurrection of the just, which is called the first resurrection, is complete after the raising of this last group of believers.

NEW BODIES FOR BELIEVERS

The Bible reveals some things about the new bodies believers will receive. The new body will be:

ACCORDING TO THE WILL OF GOD:

But God giveth it a body, as it hath pleased Him, and to every seed his own body. (I Corinthians 15:38)

A GLORIOUS BODY:

It is sown  [dies] in dishonor; it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. (I Corinthians 15:43)

A SPIRITUAL BODY:

It is sown a natural body [physical]; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. (I Corinthians 15:44)

A POWERFUL BODY:

It is sown in infirmity and weakness; it is resurrected in strength and endued with power. (I Corinthians 15:43b, The Amplified Bible)

AN IMMORTAL BODY:

This means the new body will never age, decay, or die:

...for the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and  we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. (I Corinthians 15:52-54)

A BODY LIKE THAT OF OUR RISEN LORD:

But now is Christ risen from the dead and become the firstfruits of them that slept. (I Corinthians 15:20)

Jesus arose from the dead first. His resurrection is compared to the first sheaf of a great harvest that will follow. This harvest is the raising of believers in the resurrection. Our resurrected bodies will be like the Lord's:

Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth  not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him: for we shall see Him as He is. (I John 3:2)

Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue
all things unto Himself. (Philippians 3:21)

THE RESURRECTION OF THE UNJUST 

The last resurrection is described by Paul in I Corinthians 15:24. He calls it "the end." This is the resurrection of the unjust.  When Jesus completes His earthly Millennial reign  of 1000 years,  God  will  defeat all  His  enemies.  The last of these enemies to be conquered will be death.  This will complete God's plan for the world:

Having made known unto us the mystery  [or secret] of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself: That in the  dispensation  of  the  fullness of  times  He  might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in Heaven, and which are on earth... (Ephesians 1:9-10)

Revelation chapter 20  reveals  how  the  resurrection of the unjust relates to other parts of God's plan.  In this chapter, the Apostle  John describes Satan's final attempt to take the authority of God.  This happens at the end of Christ's Millennial reign:

And when the thousand years are over Satan will be loosed... And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth... to gather them together to battle, the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went upon the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp  of
the saints about, and the beloved city:  and fire came down from God out of Heaven, and devoured them. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake  fire and brimstone...and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. (Revelation 20:7-10)

During the Millennium reign, Jerusalem will be the center of  Christ's rule over the nations of earth.   Satan will be a prisoner during this time.  At the end of the Millennium, Satan will be freed long enough to stage a final  rebellion among the Gentile nations. This will result in an attempt to attack Jerusalem.  God will intervene with fire from Heaven and the rebellion will be defeated.  Satan will be cast into the lake of eternal fire to be tormented forever.

THE END AND ETERNITY

John describes the final resurrection of all the remaining dead:

And I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God: and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life:  and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and Hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and Hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:11-15)

TO SUMMARIZE...

All true believers who have died will be raised from the grave before the 1000 Millennium year reign of Christ. This is the first resurrection. It is the  resurrection of the just to eternal life. The majority of those resurrected at the close of the Millennium will be the unrighteous dead. This is the resurrection of the unjust to damnation. The Bible tells of another great event which will happen after these resurrections. This event is known as eternal judgment and is the subject of study of the next chapter.

After judgment, the destiny of the unrighteous is the lake of fire which is called in the Bible "the second death." The wicked already experienced physical death. Now they will experience the second death of eternal separation from God. This is spiritual death or the "second death." The destiny of the righteous is eternity in the presence of God.

THE RESURRECTION MESSAGE

The doctrine of the resurrection is a foundational truth of the Christian faith. The message of the Gospel not only includes the life and death of Jesus Christ, but also the message of His resurrection.

The apostles preached both the resurrection of Jesus and the resurrection of the dead:

...They [Peter and John] taught the people and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead. (Acts 4:2)

...He [Paul] preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection...And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked; and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter.  (Acts 17:18,32)

These verses illustrate two different responses of people to the message of  the resurrection. Some will not believe it. Others will listen to the message.  Our responsibility as believers is to share the resurrection message as part of the Gospel. This is what Paul did:

Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also we have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are
saved...For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures; And that He was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve; After that He was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that He was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all He was seen of me also... (I Corinthians 15:1-8)

The preaching of the Gospel is incomplete without the doctrine of  the resurrection:

And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain...If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. (I Corinthians 15:14,19-22)

SELF-TEST

1. Write the Key Verses from memory.

2. What are the two future resurrections called?

3. What two things does the Bible reveal about the destiny of all human souls?

4. Read the statements below.  If the statement is TRUE write the letter T in the blank in front of it.  If the statement is FALSE, write the letter F in the blank in front of it.

a._____Those who do not die will not be resurrected.

b._____At the time of death there is a separation between spirits of those who were righteous and those who were wicked.

c._____It is important to pray for the dead to be saved.

d._____The destiny of the righteous is different now than before the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

e._____The  resurrection of Jesus is important but it is not really part of the Gospel message.

5. What verses illustrate the two responses of men to the resurrection message?

 (Answers to tests are provided at the conclusion of the final chapter in this manual.)

FOR FURTHER STUDY

The doctrine of the resurrection of the dead which you have studied and the doctrine of eternal judgment which you will study in the next chapter both concern future events. Future events are foretold in the Word of God. Although these events have not happened yet, God has provided knowledge of His future plans through prophecy.

There is much about future events which is not revealed in God's Word. That which is revealed has been interpreted several different ways by  students of the Bible. It is not necessary to understand all the various interpretations of Bible prophecy given by men. Most of these interpretations center on the exact timing of certain prophetic events or specific details of these events. What is important to foundations of the Christian faith is a general  understanding of what the Bible says will happen.

The following outlines these important events:

I. The Bible teaches that the Lord will return to earth for believers.

Jesus promised His followers: I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. (John 14:2-3)

A. The Rapture: I Thessalonians 4:13-18 gives the most detail about Christ's return for believers. This return is called the rapture:

1. Christ Himself will return. (Verse 16)

2. There will be a resurrection from the grave of those who were believers when they died. (Verse 16)

3. There will be a rapture, which means "the act of taking a person from one place to another." Living believers will be taken from earth to meet Christ.  (Verse 17)

4. There will be a reunion between believers who have previously died, believers living at the time of Christ's return, and their Lord Jesus Christ.  (Verse 17)

B. The Tribulation: The Bible tells of a terrible time on earth which is called the tribulation.

1. The tribulation will last for 42 months or 1,260 days (Daniel 9:24-27).

2. It will be a very difficult time. There  have been many difficult times in the world, but three things will distinguish the tribulation from all other times of trouble.

a. First, it will be worldwide and not just local. (Revelation 3:10)

b. Second, people will realize the end of the world is near. (Revelation 6:16)

c. Third, the intensity of  the trouble will be greater than ever before experienced. (Matthew 24:4-14) 

3. Its description: There are a series of judgments of God on the earth during the tribulation. These are described in Revelation chapters 6, 8-9, and 16 and Matthew 24:4-14.

4. The reason for the tribulation: The wickedness of man must be punished, Satan defeated, and Jesus acknowledged as Lord of all. This completes God's plan of the ages spoken of in Ephesians 1:8-9.

C. The Timing Of The Rapture:

Some people believe the rapture will occur before the tribulation and that believers will not have to experience any of this terrible time on earth. Others believe the rapture will happen midway through this period. Still others believe the rapture will happen at the end of the tribulation. The most common interpretation is that the rapture of believers will happen before the tribulation period begins. The different views of the timing of the rapture result from various interpretations of the prophetic information given in Scripture. What is most important is to know you are a true believer and will be ready to go with Jesus in the rapture when it does occur.

D. The Millennium:

The Millennium is a period of 1,000 years after the tribulation during which Jesus will rule the earth in righteousness (Zechariah 14:9; Daniel 7:14).  The city of Jerusalem will be the center of government (Isaiah 2:3). This period will end when Satan stages a last revolt against God (Revelation 20:7-9).  God will send fire from Heaven and end all opposition. Satan will be cast  into the lake of fire for eternity (Revelation 20:10). 

E. Judgment:

All created beings will be judged by God. This is known as the time of eternal judgment. It is the last of the foundational principles of Hebrews 6:1-3 and is discussed in the following chapter. Those who died as unbelievers will be resurrected to face judgment. Because they did not repent from sin and accept Jesus as Savior they will be condemned to eternity in Hell (Revelation 20:12-15). True believers who repented from sin and accepted Jesus as Savior  will spend eternity in Heaven in the presence of God (Revelation 21).

 

CHAPTER TEN: ETERNAL JUDGMENT

 

OBJECTIVES:

Upon completion of this chapter you will be able to:

·         Write the Key Verse from memory.

·         Define the word "judgment."

·         Explain why judgment is necessary.

·         Identify who will judge at the final judgment.

·         Identify who will be judged in the final judgment.

·         Explain the principles governing final judgment.

KEY VERSE: For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king. (Isaiah 33:22)

INTRODUCTION

Eternal judgment is the last of the six foundation principles of the Christian faith. In the Old Testament the word "judgment" is used two ways. One refers to the statutes, testimonies, and laws of God. The other concerns God's judgment on men and nations. The latter meaning is how the word "judgment" is used in the New Testament. It is this meaning that is used in this chapter.

DEFINITION

The word "to judge" means to separate or make a difference between. This includes bringing  to trial, examining evidence, determining guilt or innocence,  and deciding  the penalty for sin. Eternal judgment is the great and final judgment spoken of in the Bible which determines the eternal destiny of all souls.

 

THE JUDGES

GOD IS THE JUDGE:

For the Lord is our judge. (Isaiah 32:22)

...God the judge of all...(Hebrews 12:23)

God  judges the sinful behavior of mankind. God's real desire is not judgment but that all men come to the knowledge of Jesus Christ:

For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. (John 3:17)

The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that
all should come to repentance.  (II Peter 3:9)

God's desire  is  that all men everywhere repent. If they do not repent of sin they will experience His judgment: And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent; Because He hath appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world in righteousness...  (Acts 17:30-31)

JESUS CHRIST:

God has given Jesus authority to judge:

...for He has given  all  judgment--the  last  judgment and  the whole business of judging--entirely  into the hands of the Son...

And He has given Him authority and granted Him power to execute [exercise, practice] judgment, because He is a Son of man [very man].  (John
5:22,27, The Amplified Bible)

THE SAINTS:

In the final judgment true believers will help judge the world:

Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world?  and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that ye shall judge angels?...(I Corinthians 6:2-3)

The word "saints" in this verse means all true believers. They will help judge the "world" [the unrighteous].

THE STANDARD OF JUDGMENT:

The standard by which we all will be judged is the Word of God: 

And if any man hear my words and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. (John 12:47-48)

It is not the standards, creeds, or traditions of man by which we will be judged. It is not on the basis of organizational or denominational rules. The standard by which we will be judged is the fixed standard of the Word of God:

Forever,  O Lord,  Thy  Word  is  settled  in  heaven. (Psalms 119:89)

THE REASON FOR JUDGMENT

The Bible reveals judgment is necessary because of sin against God's law, ungodliness, unrighteousness, unbelief, trespasses, and evil deeds. Although these  are  different words,  they are all words for sin:

SIN AGAINST GOD'S LAW:

For...as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law. (Romans 2:12)

UNGODLINESS:

But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of
ungodly men. (II Peter 3:7)

To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him. (Jude 15)

UNRIGHTEOUSNESS:

The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished. (II Peter 2:9)

UNBELIEF:

He that believeth on Him is not condemned; but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.  (John 3:18)

TRESPASS:

By the offence [trespass] of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation... (Romans 5:18, The Amplified Bible)

EVIL DEEDS:

And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. (John 3:19)

THE PRINCIPLES OF DIVINE JUDGMENT

Worldly principles of judgment vary from nation to nation. The standards may vary from state to state within a nation and from city to city. Worldly principles of judgment and punishment vary because people interpret certain acts in different ways. The same act interpreted as wrong in one culture may be acceptable in another. For example, killing of a cow is viewed quite differently in America, where it is used for meat, than in India where the cow is considered sacred by some people. The judgment o  man varies because the standards by which they judge vary. But the principles of God's judgment do not change. God judges...

ON THE BASIS OF THE WORD OF GOD:

God's law and the principles of judgment are fixed in His Word: Forever, O Lord, Thy Word is settled in Heaven. (Psalms 119:89)

ACCORDING TO KNOWLEDGE:

Men and nations will be judged according to the knowledge of God which was given them. Jesus said some would be judged more severely than the cities of Sodom, Gomorrha, Ninevah, Tyre, and Sidon. These were evil cities mentioned in the Old Testament which God judged and punished.

The  reason Jesus pronounced more severe judgment on some New Testament cities was because these cities had more knowledge of God. Jesus Himself had ministered in these cities and performed mighty works of healing and deliverance. Still, the people of these cities would not repent. Jesus  warned:

Woe unto thee, Chorazin, woe unto thee Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have
repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to Hell:  for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom, in the day of judgment, than for thee. (Matthew 11:21-24)

The men of Ninevah shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and behold, a greater than Jonas is here. (Matthew 12:41)

A general revelation of God is given to all men through the wonder of creation:

For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power
and Godhead; so that we are without excuse. (Romans 1:20)

This general understanding of God given to all men through creation is the basic standard by which men will be judged. Those who receive additional revelation by hearing God's Word will be judged by a higher standard of knowledge.

INDIVIDUALLY:

Each person will be judged individually:

The soul that sinneth it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness
of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him. (Ezekiel 18:20)

Judgment determining individual eternal destiny will not be on a group basis. It will be on an individual basis.

ACCORDING TO TRUTH:

Paul wrote:

...But we are sure the judgment of God is according to truth. (Romans 2:2)

ON THE BASIS OF PERSONAL CONDUCT:

Each  of  us  will  stand  before  the judgment  seat of Christ and will be judged according to our deeds.  The Bible also calls this judgment according to " works": For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in this body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.  (II Corinthians 5:10)

...Who will render every man according to his deeds.  (Romans 2:6)

...the Father...judgeth according to every man's work.  (I Peter 1:17)

...the dead were judged out of these things which were written in the books, according to their works. (Revelation 20:12)

God's record of man's  "works"  covers not only actions but also thoughts and motives. God looks on the heart, not just on the outward appearance (I Samuel 16:7).

WITHOUT PARTIALITY:

The eternal judgment will be without partiality. This  means without special favor. People will not be judged on the basis of their wealth, social position, nationality, or education.

The Father...without  respect  of  persons judgeth. (I Peter 1:17)

To have respect of persons means to be influenced in judgment by some external factor of appearance, relationship, position, wealth, etc. God's judgment is not influenced by any of these things:

...for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for  man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.  (I Samuel 16:7)

ACCORDING TO THE LAW:

...as many as have sinned under the law shall be judged by the law. (Romans 2:12)

ACCORDING TO RIGHTEOUSNESS:

And He shall judge the world in righteousness; He shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness. (Psalms 9:8)

...He shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with His truth. (Psalms 96:13)

...He hath appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world in righteousness.  (Acts 17:31)

...the righteous judgment of God.  (Romans 2:5)

Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day:  and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing. (II Timothy 4:8)

ACCORDING TO MOTIVES AND THOUGHTS:

Therefore judge nothing before the time; until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsel of the hearts...  (I Corinthians 4:5)

In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.  (Romans 2:16)

THE TIME OF JUDGMENT

The Bible indicates there is a past, present, and future judgment:

PAST JUDGMENT:

The Bible is a history of God's past judgment.  From the time of Adam and Eve it records God's judgment of nations and individuals.

The Bible records two special past judgments that are important to believers.  These are the judgments of  Satan and the world.  God  has already passed judgment and set the penalties for both.

Satan And His Angels:

Through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God passed final judgment on Satan:

...the prince of this world [Satan] is judged. (John 16:11)

 And having spoiled principalities and powers [the forces of Satan]  He [Jesus] made a show of them openly triumphing over them in it. (Colossians 2:15)

Satan has already been judged by God  He is allowed limited activity until he is cast into the lake of fire at the end of the world but he is already condemned as guilty. Satan's angels, who left their original position in Heaven as angels of God to join him in rebellion, are also already condemned:

And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, He hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of
the great day.  (Jude 6)

The World:

Jesus said: Now is the judgment of this world...  (John 12:31)

Because it is ruined  by  the  presence  of  sin, the physical world is already condemned by God's judgment.  The Bible says the world will be destroyed by fire: But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.  (II Peter 3:10)

PRESENT JUDGMENT:

There  is a present judgment that goes on continuously. All men are presently judged as sinful or  righteous before God.  The present judgment  of  man  is  on  the basis of whether or not he has accepted Jesus Christ as Savior:

He that believeth on Him is not condemned; but He that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in  the  name of the only
begotten Son of God. (John 3:18)

God's present judgment on unbelievers is  by  showing  His wrath because they hinder the truth:

For God's [holy] wrath and indignation are revealed from heaven against all ungodliness  and unrighteousness of men, who in their wickedness repress and hinder the truth...  (Romans 1:18,  The Amplified Bible) God's present judgment of believers is in love.  He corrects them when they do wrong:

...My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of Him; For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth... But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards and not sons.  (Hebrews 12:5,6,8)

Just  as  a  natural  father  corrects his children, God judges the behavior of His children. If they sin, God  corrects  them in love just as a father does his son.  God's chastisement [correction]  of  His children is  for a specific purpose:

Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous; nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto
them which are exercised thereby.  (Hebrews 12:11)

FUTURE JUDGMENT:

It is the future judgment to which Paul refers in Hebrews 6 when he speaks of "eternal judgment."  Eternal judgment happens after death: It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment. (Hebrews 9:27)

As  you learned  in  previous lessons,  after a  person  dies it  is  immediately determined whether or not he enters the presence of God.  The destinies of the righteous and the unrighteous are different after death.   But  the  final judgment confirming their eternal destinies occurs after the end of the world and the resurrection:

I charge thee therefore before God and the  Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at His appearing and His Kingdom. (II Timothy 4:1)

...Behold, the  Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment upon all...  (Jude 14,15)

THE LOCATIONS OF FINAL JUDGMENT

There are three locations where final judgment will occur:

THE  JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST:

Those judged here will be all true believers:

...We shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.  (Romans 14:10)

...For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ. (II Corinthians 5:10)

THE THRONE OF HIS GLORY:

The second place of judgment is called  "the throne of Christ's glory."  Those judged here will be those who remained on the earth during the tribulation period. The righteous will be resurrected and judged prior to Jesus setting up the Millennial Kingdom on earth.

And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them; and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the Word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished.  (Revelation 20:4-5a)

THE GREAT WHITE THRONE:

The final place of judgment is  called the "great white throne." Those  judged here are the remaining dead who will be resurrected at the close of the  Millennium. (This is the second resurrection called the resurrection of the unjust.)

The  Great White Throne judgment is recorded in Revelation 20:11-15. The unrighteous will be judged and because of their sin cast into a lake of fire along with Satan and his angels.

ETERNAL JUDGMENT

There will be only two basic divisions of people who are tried in the final judgments: Believers and unbelievers.

BELIEVERS:

Believers will be judged for their works and rewarded accordingly.

So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.  (Romans 14:12)

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every man may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done,
whether it be good or bad. (II Corinthians 5:10)

Believers will be judged by how they have built their lives on the foundation of God's Word:

Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest; for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss; but he himself  shall be saved... (I Corinthians 3:12-15)

In the natural world, wood, hay, and stubble all grow visibly above the ground. They burn easily. They are examples of works done by believers to be seen by man. The motive for these works was wrong.

Gold and silver are not destroyed by fire.  In the natural world, these substances develop below the ground unseen  by man. They are an example of works done with the right motive, not done just to be seen and praised by man. They are works which are valuable in God's Kingdom because they were done with the right motive.  

The works of true believers will be judged on the basis of obedience. The parables of the talents in Matthew 25 and the parable of the pounds in Luke 19 were told by Jesus to illustrate this truth.

In both these parables, servants were judged on the basis of what they had done with what they had been given. They were told to invest funds for their masters. Servants who were disobedient were judged unfaithful.

Just like these parables, our Master has given us a responsibility. That responsibility is known as the Great Commission:

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. (Matthew 28:19-20)

We are to take what God has given us, the message of the Gospel, and reproduce it by sharing it with others throughout the world. As we obey this commission, we are investing what God has given us and increasing it.

Some believers have greater responsibilities than others in this commission. Some are called as  pastors, evangelists, teachers, etc. But every born-again believer has some responsibility in reaching the world with the Gospel. Believers will be judged on the basis of their faithfulness to the responsibility  God has given them:

Moreover it is required  in stewards, that a man be found faithful. (I Corinthians 4:2)

Believers will not be judged on the basis of abilities, education, or spiritual gifts. They will be judged on the basis of obedience and faithfulness to what God has given them to do. The judgment of true believers is not one of condemnation. That is, the true believer cannot be condemned to eternal punishment. Through accepting Christ, he already has passed from spiritual death to eternal life:

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life. (John 5:24)

A true believer is one who has repented from sin and shown faith toward God by accepting Jesus Christ as personal Savior. He is one who has become and lived as a new creature in Jesus Christ. Paul confirmed:

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit.  (Romans 8:1)

When a sinner comes to Jesus his record of former sins is erased by God.  When a believer sins, he needs only to repent and confess his sin and God erases it from the record:

If we confess our sins, He [God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  (I John 1:9)

UNBELIEVERS:

The unrighteous will be judged and punished for sin.  God keeps a record called the "book of life" in which is listed the names of those who have repented, accepted Jesus Christ, and  become true believers.  Those who have rejected Him will be judged for sin and doomed to eternal punishment.  Their names are not in the book of life:

And whosoever was not found written in the book  of  life was cast into the lake of fire.  (Revelation 20:15)

It is important to understand that you must live as a new creature in Jesus after conversion.  It is possible to be saved and then because of continuing in sin to "backslide" into the old life.  The Bible confirms that it is possible to have your name written in the book of life but then have it blotted out because of sin:

And the Lord said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot  out  of my book.  (Exodus 32:33)

This is why learning to live a holy life is so important.  (We will discuss this in the final chapter on perfection).  By overcoming sin in your life, you can be assured God will not blot your name out of the book of life:

He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life...  (Revelation 3:5)

THE DESTINY OF THE RIGHTEOUS: The righteous are destined to eternal life in the presence of God. The presence of God is called Heaven.  In the Bible it is described by several names:

THE FATHER'S HOUSE: Jesus described it as His Father's house, a place of home, rest, and fellowship:

In my Father's house are many mansions:  if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. (John 14:2)

A HEAVENLY COUNTRY: The Bible compares Heaven to a country to which we are traveling just as Israel traveled to the Promised Land:

But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly;  wherefore  God is not  ashamed to be called their God; for He hath prepared for them a city. (Hebrews 11:16)

A CITY: Heaven is compared to a city: And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of Heaven…(Revelation 21:2)

The Bible reveals some wonderful things about Heaven. It is a place of:

HOLINESS: And there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie; but they which are written in the Lamb's Book of Life. (Revelation 21:27)

JOY: And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there by any more pain; for the former things are passed away.  (Revelation 21:4)

BEAUTY: And the building of the wall of it was of jasper; and the city  was  pure gold, like unto clear glass. (Revelation 21:18)

SERVICE: Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple; and He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.  (Revelation 7:15)

REIGNING WITH CHRIST: Jesus promised…To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in His throne. (Revelation 3:21)

WORSHIP: The Bible records that those in Heaven...fell down and worshipped Him that liveth forever and ever. (Revelation 5:14)

LIGHT AND GLORY: And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon to shine in it: For the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. (Revelation 21:23)

A PLACE OF NEW PERSPECTIVE: Being in Heaven will give us a new perspective on everything: For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.  (Isaiah 65:17)

THE DWELLING PLACE OF GOD: And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them and be their God. (Revelation 21:3)

 

ETERNAL DESTINY OF THE UNRIGHTEOUS

Hell is the eternal destiny of the wicked.  Hell is a place of:

EXTREME SUFFERING: And the Devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. (Revelation 20:10)

MEMORY AND REMORSE: And in Hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom... But Abraham said, Son remember that thou in thy lifetime receivest thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things:  but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.  (Luke 16:23,25)

UNSATISFIED DESIRE: And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water; and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. (Luke 16:24)

CONTEMPT: And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt (Daniel 12:2)

WICKED COMPANIONSHIP: But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone; which is the second death. (Revelation 21:8)

HOPELESSNESS: When a wicked man dieth, his expectation shall perish: and the hope of unjust men perisheth.  (Proverbs 11:7)

ETERNAL PUNISHMENT: Hell was originally prepared for Satan and his angels.  Because of sin, man is also destined for eternity in Hell unless  He is redeemed by Jesus Christ:

Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the Devil and his angels.  (Matthew 25:41) Punishment for the wicked is eternal.  The same word that is  used for eternal life in the Bible (John 3:15) and the eternal God (I Timothy 1:17) is  used to describe eternal judgment (Hebrews 6:2).  If one of these is temporary, then the other two would have to be temporary.

There is no way to escape the conclusion that if God is everlasting and eternal life is everlasting, then so is punishment in Hell.  God does not send people to Hell.  Man chooses to go there by rejecting Jesus Christ and living a sinful life.  God has provided a way of escape from eternal punishment through the plan of salvation.  He is not willing that any should perish.

HOW THEN SHOULD WE LIVE?

How should the doctrine of eternal judgment affect our lives as believers? When writing  on  the  subject  of  future  judgment,  the  Apostle  Peter  answered this question:

Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness... Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of Him in peace, without spot, blameless. (II Peter 3:11,14)

Understanding  of eternal  judgment should result in spiritual maturity in the life of the believer. The  subject  of  Christian maturity,  which Paul calls  "going on to perfection," is the subject of next chapter.

 

SELF-TEST

1. In what two ways is the word "judgment" used in the Old Testament?

2. What is the meaning of the words "to judge"?

3. Why is judgment necessary?

4. Who will do the judging at the time of eternal judgment?

5. Who will be judged?

6. What principles will govern judgment at that time?

7. Write the Key Verse from memory.

8. If the statement is TRUE write the letter T in the blank in front of it.  If the statement is FALSE, write the letter F.

a._____There is judgment going on at all times.

b._____There is a judgment reserved for a special time in the future.

c._____The Bible does not tell where future judgment will occur.

(Answers to tests are provided at the conclusion of the final chapter in this manual.)

FOR FURTHER STUDY

This  chapter has introduced the subject of  judgment as it is taught in the Bible.  To
expand knowledge of  this subject continue your study of  judgment by using the
following outline:

JUDGMENT IS AN ATTRIBUTE (QUALITY) OF GOD

Psalms 89:14; 97:2; 99:1-5; Isaiah 28:5-6; 30:18; 61:8;  Daniel 4:37

JUDGMENT IS AN ATTRIBUTE OF JESUS

Psalms 72:2; Isaiah 9:7; 11:1-5; John 5:30; 8:15-16,26

PURPOSES OF GOD'S JUDGMENT

To give life: Leviticus 18:4-5; Nehemiah 9:29; Psalms 119:149,156

To redeem His people:  Exodus 6:6; 7:4; Isaiah 1:27

To establish:  I Chronicles 28:7;  Psalms 37:28; Proverbs 2:8;  Zephaniah 2:3

To chasten [correct]:  Psalms 119:75;  Jeremiah 10:24; Habakkuk 1:12

To help His people:  Psalms 76:8-9; 119:175

THE BLESSINGS OF GOD'S JUDGMENT

Comfort:  Psalms 119:52

Reward:  Psalms 58:11

Instruction and righteousness:  Isaiah 26:8-9

PENALTIES FOR NOT RESPONDING TO HIS JUDGMENT

These are listed in  Ezekiel 5:6-17; 11:11-12; 14:21; Malachi 2:1-4; 3:1-6

THE NATURE OF GOD'S JUDGMENTS

Righteous:  Deuteronomy 4:8; Psalms 19:9; 119:137; Jeremiah 11:20; II Thessalonians
1:4-6; I Peter 2:23; Revelation 15:4; 16:7; 19:2,11

Based on love:  Psalms 33:5

True and just:  Psalms 111:7;  Proverbs 2:9;  Jeremiah 4:2; John 8:15-16

Far above the wicked:  Psalms 10:5

Eternal:  Psalms 119:160

Great:  Psalms 36:6

Renewed:  Zephaniah 3:15

Unsearchable:  Romans 11:33

They will be made manifest [apparent to us]:  Revelation 15:4

WHO GOD JUDGES

All people:  Psalms 7:8; 9:7-8; 96:10; Hebrews 12:23; Jude 15-16

Those who persecute the righteous:  Psalms 119:84

The righteous:  Psalms 7:11

Scorners:  Proverbs 19:29

Every man:  Proverbs 29:26

Young men:  Ecclesiastes 11:9

Nations:  Isaiah 2:4

Leaders:  Isaiah 3:13-14

The wicked:  Deuteronomy 7:10-11;  Jeremiah 1:16; Hebrews 13:4;  Jude 15-16

The world:  John 9:39; 12:31

The prince of this world [Satan]:  John 16:11; 12:31

Those outside the church [those without]:  I Corinthians 5:13

His people:  Hebrews 10:30

Teachers:  James 3:1

Grudgers:  James 5:9

The church [the house of God]:  I Peter 4:17

The heathen:  Ezekiel 39:21

HOW GOD JUDGES

Through Jesus Christ:  John 5:22,27

By the Holy Spirit:  John 16:11; Ezekiel 36:27

According to the Word of God:  John 12:48

According to each man's works:  I Peter 1:17

Through His ministers:  Ezekiel 44:24; Hosea 6:5

OUR ATTITUDE TOWARDS GOD'S JUDGMENTS

We should:

Teach them:  Ezra 7:10; Psalms 37:30

Observe and do them:  Deuteronomy 11:32

Praise God for them:  Psalms 48:11; 97:8; 119:7,62,164

Desire them:  Psalms 119:20

Set them before us:  Psalms 119:30

Hope in them:  Psalms 119:43

Declare them:  Psalms 119:13

Not depart from them:  Psalms 119:102

Fear them:  Psalms 119:120

Be aware of them:  Psalms 35:23

Ask God to judge us:  Psalms 35:24

Preach His judgments:  Acts 24:25

THE PURPOSES OF GOD'S PRESENT JUDGMENT

His purposes for chastening of believers are to:

Make us holy:  Hebrews 12:10

Bring righteousness in our lives:  Hebrews 12:11

Bring life:  Hebrews 12:9; Proverbs 15:31

Prepare us for the Spirit's guidance:  Proverbs 1:23

Bring honor:  Proverbs 13:18

Bring wisdom:  Proverbs 15:5,32

Teach the fear of God:  Proverbs 15:33

Perfect us:  Colossians 1:28; II Timothy 3:16-17

Teach us patience:  I Peter 2:20

Avoid condemnation:  I Corinthians 11:32

Bring repentance:  Revelation 3:19; Romans 2:4

Correct us:  Jeremiah 10:24

THE REASONS FOR CHASTENING

Sin and backsliding:  Jeremiah 2:19;  John 3:20; 16:8;  II Peter 2:16

Faults:  I Peter 2:20

Unbelief:  Romans 11:20

Disobedience:  Luke 12:47-48

Respect of persons:  Job 13:10

HOW TO AVOID CHASTISEMENT

I Corinthians 11:31-32 [self-examination]; Romans 11:22; Philippians 2:12-16

THE DEGREES OF CHASTENING:

God has a  pattern of chastening in our lives. It moves from reproof, which is a simple form of chastening, through more severe levels of chastening (Hebrews 12:11):

REPROOF:

To correct a fault, make a statement of error,  give instruction or correction.  God speaks to us and reproves us of wrong in  our lives.  Isaiah 11:4; Psalms 50:21; 141:5;  Proverbs 1:23; Ephesians 5:13; II Timothy 3:16

REBUKE:

A sharp reproof or reprimand.  If we fail to listen to reproof, God will deal more sternly. Hebrews 12:5; Revelation 3:19; Psalms 6:1; Deuteronomy 28:20

WRATH:

After we are rebuked if we persist in our sinful ways and refuse God's correction, then His wrath may come upon us.  Romans 2:8-9

AFFLICTION:

God's wrath may be revealed  through affliction. It may be financial, material, or physical affliction.  (This does not mean all affliction is judgment from God.)  Romans 2:9, Psalms 119:75; Deuteronomy 28:15-47; Leviticus 26:14-39; Amos 4:6-13

REJECTION:

This is the final step of God's judgment when chastisement has failed to result in repentance.  Hebrews 6:4-6; 10:26-31; Jeremiah 14:11-12; II Peter 2:20; I John 5:16; Proverbs 1:25-32; 5:1-23; 15:10; 29:1

THE RESULTS OF CHASTENING

God's objective in chastening is that we return unto Him:  Hosea 6:1

 

CHAPTER ELEVEN: PERFECTION

 

OBJECTIVES:

Upon completion of this chapter you will be able to:

·         Write the Key Verse from memory.

·         Define "perfection."

·         Identify the example of perfection for believers.

·         Name the standard of perfection for believers.

·         Distinguish between initial and progressive perfection.

·         List factors involved in the perfection process.

KEY VERSE: Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:48)

INTRODUCTION

Just as a good foundation is important to a building in the natural world, a good spiritual foundation is important for the believer. Through the parable of the two builders you learned that your spiritual foundation must be built on the Word of God. Hebrews 6:1-3 reveals that the foundations of the Christian faith are:

1.    Repentance from dead works

2.    Faith toward God

3.    Doctrine of baptisms

4.    Laying on of hands

5.    Resurrection of the dead

6.    Eternal judgment

These are basic doctrines of the Word of God on which you are to build your spiritual life. You studied each of these in previous chapters.

ON TO PERFECTION

In  Hebrews  6:1-3  Paul gives an additional step which is necessary in building your spiritual life:

Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection. (Hebrews 6:1)

Repentance from dead works, faith toward God, baptisms, laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment are all principles of the doctrine of Christ.

Two extremes are common among believers. One is that they have a knowledge of  the Word of God but do not apply that knowledge to daily living. The other extreme is that believers emphasize experience and ignore doctrine.  Both doctrine and experience are important. A proper understanding of doctrine results in experience. But experience that is not based on Biblical doctrine is not trustworthy.

You must not only understand the basic doctrines of Hebrews 6:1-3 but you must also experience them. Once you have built your life on these doctrines through experience, you must learn how to "go on unto perfection." That is the purpose of this chapter.

DEFINITION

The word "perfection" means complete, finished, and mature. The Bible uses the word "perfection" rather than "maturity" to describe a spiritually mature believer. A "perfect" Christian is one who has achieved spiritual maturity. This means his  body, soul, and spirit are under the control of the Holy Spirit. 

The word "perfection" is similar to the word  "sanctification" or "consecration" which are also  used in the Bible. "Sanctification" means holiness and "consecration" means to be set apart in righteousness.

TWO DANGERS

There are two dangers if spiritual foundations are emphasized without attention to perfection:

l. One danger is to lay a good spiritual foundation and not go on to spiritual maturity.

2. The other danger is to attempt to build a "superstructure" of perfection on a faulty spiritual foundation.

COMPLETING THE FOUNDATION

A foundation is not a completed building. A superstructure must be built on the foundation. A superstructure is that part of a building which is visible above the foundation. A good spiritual foundation is not the final goal for a believer:

Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him. Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. (Luke 14:29-30)

Many people begin with God. They  hear the Gospel, repent from dead works, and have faith toward God, but they never progress beyond this point.  They never complete their spiritual foundation and go on to perfection.

A partial foundation in the natural world is not functional. You cannot construct a building on a partial foundation or it will collapse under stress. You must complete the foundation and then construct the building.

Believers who have not completed their spiritual foundations will have difficulty under stress. They will live "up and down" lives spiritually. Their spiritual building will not weather the storms of life. They cannot go on to perfection [spiritual maturity] because their foundation is incomplete.

BUILDING THE SUPERSTRUCTURE

In the natural world, a foundation alon  is not very functional. It is the building constructed on that foundation that serves as a home, office, or school. The reason some people are spiritually immature is because they only lay a spiritual foundation and never finish the building by going on to perfection. Paul spoke of these spiritually immature believers:

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 strong 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. (Hebrews 5:12-14)

Paul told the Corinthian believers that it was time they should be teaching others the Gospel. Instead, they were having to be taught the first  [foundational] principles of God. He compared them to babies who only could drink milk. By "milk" he meant the first principles of God. Milk is very healthy and brings growth, but there comes a time when a baby goes on to solid foods:

Whom shall He teach knowledge? and whom shall He make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.  (Isaiah 28:9)

Just as weaning from milk is necessary in the natural world if a child is to develop properly, it  is also necessary in the spiritual world. Believers  must go beyond first principles on to spiritual maturity [perfection]. Spiritually mature believers are able to feast on the meat, not just the milk, of the Word of God.

THE CALL TO PERFECTION

Jesus calls His followers to perfection: 

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:48)

This perfection reflects the presence of God:

I in them, and thou in me, that they may be perfect in one. (John 17:23)

It results in spiritual maturity:

Brethren, be not children in understanding...in understanding be men. (I Corinthians 14:20)

Perfection was a goal of the early church. Paul wrote:

For...this also we wish, even your perfection...Be perfect... (II Corinthians 13:9,11)

Individual perfection results in your being perfectly joined together with other believers in the Body of Christ:

Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no division among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. (I Corinthians 1:10)

Divisions in the Body of Christ are a result of spiritual immaturity.

THE EXAMPLE OF PERFECTION

Jesus is the example of perfection for believers:

For even hereunto were ye called: Because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps.  (I Peter 2:21)

For it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.  (Hebrews 2:10)

And being made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him.  (Hebrews 5:9)

God planned believers to be conformed [be made like] Jesus who is our example of perfection:

For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.  (Romans 8:29)

THE STANDARD OF PERFECTION

The standard of perfection by which believers are measured is God's Word. Jesus was the example of perfection and conformed perfectly to the Word because He was the visible revelation of God's Word. God has set standards in His Word which are to govern our lives. The first standards He gave man were called the "law" and are recorded in the first five books of the Old Testament.

Much of the history of the Old Testament records the inability  of  man to keep God's laws.  God  knew  man  would  not  be able to keep the law through his own efforts.  But God had some specific purposes for giving the law.  One of the purposes of the law was to show men their sinful condition. Another purpose was to show them that they could not become righteous by their own efforts:

Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight:  For the law is the knowledge of sin. (Romans 3:20)

God did not leave us in this hopeless condition.  Through the law He promised the Messiah:

I will raise them  up a  Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in His mouth;  and He shall speak unto them all that I shall command Him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which He shall speak in my name, I will require it of him. (Deuteronomy 18:18-19)

In Acts 3:22-26 these same words are quoted by the Apostle Peter and applied to the Lord Jesus Christ.

In the Old Testament, various sacrifices were required by God for sin. After Jesus sacrificed His life for the sin of all mankind, the Old Testament sacrifices were no longer necessary:

For the law having a shadow of good things to come...can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect...For by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. (Hebrews 10:1,14)

The purpose of the law is summarized in these words:

But the Scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. (Galatians 3:22-24)

Man could not keep the standards of a righteous God through self-effort. The law showed the need for a Savior and led man to Jesus Christ. It is through Christ, not self-effort, that you are perfected. It is through Him that you are conformed to His example of perfection and to the standard of the  Word of God. For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope [Christ] did; by the which we draw nigh unto God. (Hebrews 7:19)

LEVELS OF PERFECTION

There are two levels of perfection:

INITIAL PERFECTION:

In I Corinthians 1:2 Paul calls the believers "saints" which means "sanctified ones."  
Yet in the same letter he corrects these "saints" because of sin. They were believers and sanctified in Christ, but some of them were not living right in their daily conduct. These believers had received initial perfection. They were forgiven of their sins through redemption from dead works. These sins were forgiven once and for all (Hebrews 10:14). 
This initial perfection was received at the time they accepted Jesus as Savior. But these Christians had not gone on to perfection. They had not continued to put off the "old man" of sin:

Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. (Romans 6:6)

Paul told them it was not right to continue living in sin after conversion. He said:

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (II Corinthians 5:17)

As a believer you should live a new life. It is not right to continue in sin. Paul said: What shall we say then?  Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Therefore...we also should walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:1,2,4)

We must go on to perfection.

PROGRESSIVE PERFECTION:

Initial perfection from sin at the time of salvation is the start of a progressive life of sanctification. After salvation, you are to live a new life in Christ:

I am crucified with Christ: Nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the son of God  who loved me and gave Himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)

Paul described progressive perfection in his own life:

Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect; but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of
Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12)

Paul had not attained complete perfection, but it was his goal.  He described his struggle for perfection in another passage:

For that which I do I allow not; for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me [that is, in my flesh] dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not:  but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. (Romans 7:15-23)

Paul wanted to live by  God's standards, but he realized that by himself  [in his flesh]  he could not achieve this goal. There was a constant battle between his flesh and his spirit. His spirit wanted to keep God's laws (verse 22). His flesh wanted to sin. He discovered that the only way he could achieve perfection was through Christ:

And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His spirit that dwelleth in you...but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. (Romans 8:10,11,13)

It is only through the Spirit of God that you can overcome the evil desires of the flesh and conform to God's standards. When the flesh results in you doing those things we would not, God has provided a way to restore you to perfection. For if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (I John 1:9)

You do not have to try to live this new life in your own strength. You live it through "faith in the Son of God."  Whenever you fail, you can be restored to perfection before God by confessing your sins and asking forgiveness.

When you are born again, you are just like a baby in the natural world. You have much to learn spiritually. While you are learning you make  mistakes. When you make mistakes, you must confess your sins and God will forgive you.

As a believer, you fight your enemy, Satan. This is a spiritual battle which takes place in your mind and through the circumstances of life around you.  On occasion, you may lose a battle to the enemy. But this does not mean he has won the war. You may temporarily go down in defeat but through confession of your sins you can rise again in righteousness to continue on to perfection.

As you learned in a previous chapter, Jesus has already judged Satan. Satan was defeated by Jesus at Calvary. The power of God within you is greater than the power of the enemy:

...Greater is He that is within you than he that is in the world. (I John 4:4)

You go on to perfection through  the  strength  of  this power, not human effort. Going on to perfection is not a course in self-improvement. It is learning to live as the new creature you are through faith in Christ Jesus.

THE PERFECTION PROCESS

The following things are necessary for the perfection process to occur in your life:

A GOOD FOUNDATION:

As you learned in this course, a good spiritual foundation is required to go on to perfection (Hebrews 6:1-3).

RESPONSE TO THE WORD OF GOD:

One  of  the purposes of  the  Word of God is to provide correction which results in perfection:

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. (II Timothy 3:16-17)

Just studying God's Word will not perfect you.  You must make a personal response to the Word:

Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness  the engrafted Word, which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the Word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass; For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect  law  of  liberty, and continueth therein, he being  not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the word, this man shall be blessed in his deed.  (James 1:21-25)

You must not only look into God's law, but "continue" [live] according to it. You must make a personal response to the Word by laying aside all "filthiness and naughtiness." Being a doer of the Word brings assurance of salvation:

But whoso keepeth His Word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: Hereby know we that we are in Him.  (I John 2:5)

PRAYER:

Prayer results in perfection:

...always labouring fervently for  you  in  prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.  (Colossians 4:12)

CONSECRATION:

I  beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies, a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your
reasonable service.

And be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and
perfect, will of God.  (Romans 12:1-2)

By consecrating your life to God you will know His perfect will. Consecration means to be set apart. When you consecrate your life to God you refuse to conform to the standards  of the world. You choose to conform to the standards of God's Word.

GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT:

One  of  the  purposes  of  the  gifts of the Holy Spirit is to assist the perfection process in your life. As you learned in a previous chapter, God has ministry gifts in the church for...

...the perfection of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ; Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:12-13)

SUBMISSION TO PROVEN MINISTRIES:

God uses  spiritual  leaders in the perfection process. You should submit to the leadership of those God sets in authority in the church. Submission to "proven" ministries means submitting to spiritual leaders whose ministries have shown conformity to God's Word. The role of spiritual leaders in the perfection process is revealed in Paul's writings:

Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith.  (I Thessalonians 3:10)

Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.  (Colossians
1:28)

...always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.  (Colossians 4:12)

...this also we wish, even your perfection. (II Corinthians 13:9)

SUFFERING:

No one likes to suffer, but when suffering comes in the life of a believer it can have a positive purpose: Suffering results in perfection:

But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered awhile, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.  (I Peter 5:10)

Patience during times of suffering results in perfection:

But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. (James 1:4)

SELF-CONTROL:

Part of the process of perfection is learning self-control.  We are told to...

...cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of  the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (II Corinthians 7:1)

One of the most difficult things to control is the tongue. But control of the tongue is a key to self-control of your whole life:

If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. (James 3:2)

RESPONDING TO SPIRITUAL CORRECTION:

Correction received from mature believers is also part of the perfection process:

Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual restore such an one in the spirit of meekness, considering thyself, lest thou also be
tempted. (Galatians 6:1)

You will be restored to perfection if you respond properly to such correction.

SUMMARY

Spiritual maturity does not mean advancing in God's favor. It does not mean the work of salvation is incomplete. It does not gain you access to Heaven, because this was done through the death of Jesus Christ. It is through Jesus you are justified before God. It is through Him you are saved and have the promise of Heaven.

Perfection does not come by maintaining a set of standards. It is possible for a person to maintain standards that give an outward spiritual appearance yet be unspiritual and maybe even unsaved.

Spiritual maturity does not depend on how you feel emotionally. It does not come automatically through years of being a Christian or by Christian service. Spiritual maturity [perfection] comes through an increase in and application of spiritual knowledge. This increase in knowledge comes by study of God's Word.

This study results in understanding of the processes for perfection and the commandments of our Lord Jesus Christ. Personal application of what you learn leads to spiritual maturity through the enabling power of God.   

Perfection (Spiritual Maturity)…

Study Of God's Word…

Leads To…

An Increase In Spiritual Knowledge…

When Applied Through God's Power…

This Leads To…

Spiritual Maturity (Perfection).

IN CLOSING...

We have come to the conclusion of our study of foundations of the Christian faith. But in reality you have not completed this course. As Paul said, you must now...go on to perfection (Hebrews 6:1). 

Each chapter of this course began with a list of objectives. These were the goals which were to be achieved through study of the chapter. Your new objective, for the next chapter of your life, is perfection... For this also we wish, even your perfection. (II Corinthians 13:9)

 

SELF-TEST

1. Define "perfection."

2. Who is the example of perfection for believers?

3. Define initial perfection.

4. What is meant by progressive perfection?

5. List nine factors involved in the perfection process.

6. Write the Key Verse from memory.

7. If the statement is TRUE write T on the blank in front of it. If the statement is  FALSE, write F on the blank in front of it.

a._____Spiritual maturity depends on the length of time one has been a Christian.

b._____Progressive sanctification does not mean salvation was incomplete.

c._____Many Christian activities will help you mature spiritually.                            
d._____Perfection comes through an increase in spiritual knowledge and personal application of that  knowledge.

8.

What is the standard of perfection for believers?

 (Answers to tests are provided at the conclusion of the final chapter in this manual.)

FOR FURTHER STUDY

Continue your study of perfection by using the following references:

NEW TESTAMENT REFERENCES

COMMANDS TO BE PERFECT:

Matthew 5:48

John 17:23

I Corinthians 1:10

II Corinthians 7:1; 13:9,11

Colossians 4:12

Hebrews 6:1; 13:21

James 1:4

THINGS THAT PREVENT PERFECTION:

Luke 8:14

Galatians 3:3

Philippians 3:15

Hebrews 7:11,19; 9:9; 10:1

REASONS TO BE PERFECTED:

John 17:23;

Romans 12:2

Colossians 4:12

II Timothy 3:16-17

James 1:4; 2:22; 3:2

I John 2:5

HOW WE ARE PERFECTED:

Matthew 19:21

Luke 6:40

II Corinthians 7:1; 12:9

Galatians 3:3

Ephesians 4:12-13

Philippians 3:12,15

Colossians 1:28; 3:14

II Timothy 3:16-17

Hebrews 2:10; 7:11

James 1:4,17,25; 2:22; 3:2

I Peter 5:10

I John 2:5; 4:12; 4:17-18

OLD TESTAMENT REFERENCES

Abraham was to be perfect before God:  Genesis 17:1

Isaiah was perfect before God:  Isaiah 38:3

God's way for us is perfect:  II Samuel 22:31

Read  the  books  of I and II Kings.  You will find the phrase  "his heart was not perfect" used often to describe evil kings who ruled Israel.   As  you  read  their  stories, observe why their hearts were not perfect and the results of this lack of perfection.

PERFECTION IN THE PSALMS

Study what David said about perfection:

God's way is perfect:  Psalms 18:30,32

God's law is perfect:  Psalms 19:7

The end of the perfect man is peace:  Psalms 37:37

We are to walk perfectly before God:  Psalms 101:2,6

 

APPENDIX

"Foundations Of Faith" is an important study for new believers. It teaches the basic doctrines of Jesus which provide the proper foundations for spiritual maturity (Hebrews 6:1-3).

New believers are like newborn babies in the natural world. You would never take a newborn baby, show him the door, and say, "We will look in on you in a couple of weeks." Yet this is often what happens in the church. This is why many newborn believers die spiritually. Your responsibility for the souls of men and women does not end at an altar where they pray the prayer of repentance. You are responsible to move the new believer from the altar to the church.

A new believer has entered a strange environment. He has been born into the Kingdom of God (John 3:3-7). We speak a language different than he  has ever heard. There are terms like faith, repentance, baptism, eternal judgment, etc., which must be explained. Not only must he learn the language of the Kingdom, he also must learn the basic principles of new life in the Kingdom.

Each new believer needs the personal care of a mature Christian. He needs nurture in the spiritual world just as a baby in the natural world. A baby is in greater need of care immediately after birth than at any other time. Use the following guidelines to provide proper spiritual care for newborn believers:

STEP ONE:

Within 24 hours after a person has responded to the Gospel message, repented, and accepted Jesus as Savior, he should receive personal contact from a mature Christian. 

The new believer may live in a bad environment surrounded by cursing, immoral conversation, and sinful actions. Personal contact from a mature Christian will provide encouragement and let him know someone cares and is praying for him. The objectives of this first follow up contact are:

·         To let the new believer know he has a Christian friend who cares.

·         To answer questions he may have.

·         To pray with him regarding any personal needs.

·         To enroll him in the "Foundations Of Faith" program described in Step Two.

STEP TWO:

As was stressed in this study, continued teaching after conversion was the pattern set by Jesus and followed by the early church. This course, "Foundations Of Faith", can be used to teach the basic doctrines of Jesus to new believers. There are two ways this can be done:

First: Form a class on "Foundations Of Faith" for new believers. This should be taught by a mature Christian and should be repeated continuously in the church.

Each new believer should be enrolled in this course. If he misses a session, the teacher should make personal contact and provide opportunity for makeup sessions. The advantage of this method is that new believers are taught in a group situation with other new Christians. They become acquainted with people on their own spiritual level with similar needs and questions.

Or...

Second: A mature Christian can be assigned to each new believer. This Christian will meet regularly with the new convert to study "Foundations Of Faith" on an individual basis.

The advantage of this method is that a new believer can progress spiritually at his own rate of speed. He can move rapidly or slowly through lessons as he is capable. There is more opportunity for personal questions to be answered and a relationship to be established between the new believer and his teacher. He can turn to his teacher with questions, needs, and problems requiring spiritual counsel.

If individual instruction is used, men should train men only and women should train women only. Each person teaching "foundations" by either method should have completed the "Foundations Of Faith" course and be committed to the responsibility of caring for new believers. 

STEP THREE:

Guide the new believer into regular prayer and Bible study. Do not assume he knows how to pray or study the Bible. Give him basic instruction in  these areas. Harvestime International Institute offers a course entitled "Creative Bible Study Methods." Guidelines on prayer are given in a course entitled "Spiritual Strategies: A Manual Of Spiritual Warfare."

STEP FOUR:

New believers should be guided to the experiences of  water baptism and baptism in the Holy Spirit as soon as they are ready spiritually.  For some, this might be the same day, week, or month of their conversion.  For others, it may take more time to prepare them for these experiences.  If you are teaching new believers in a group situation, do not hold one person back until the group is ready.  Let each progress as he is spiritually capable.

STEP FIVE:

Help the new believer find his place in the Body of Christ, the Church. Guide him in the discovery of his spiritual gift. The Harvestime International  Institute course, "Ministry Of The Holy Spirit," will help you do this. Challenge him with the personal responsibility of all believers to reach others with the Gospel message. You may want to use the Harvestime International Institute courses entitled "Strategies For Spiritual Harvest" and "Developing A Biblical World View" to communicate this challenge.

Remember: Your goal is to integrate the new believer into the Church as a functional, reproductive member capable of going on to perfection [spiritual maturity].

 

ANSWERS TO SELF-TESTS

CHAPTER ONE:

1. Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of  the doctrine of  baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do, if God permit.  (Hebrews 6:1-3)

2.       

·         Repentance from dead works

·         Faith toward God

·         Doctrine of Baptisms

·         Laying on of Hands

·         Resurrection of the Dead

·         Eternal judgment

3. A proper spiritual foundation based on the doctrine of Jesus Christ. 

4. See Luke 6:47.

·         Whosoever cometh to me...

·         Heareth my sayings...

·         And doeth them.

5. Jesus Christ.

CHAPTER TWO:

1. For all have  sinned and come short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)

2. Repentance from dead works  is an inner change of mind resulting in an outward turning away from sin to move towards God and righteousness. 

3.

·         Sin

·         Ungodliness

·         Evil

·         Iniquity

·         Wickedness

·         Disobedience

·         Transgression

·         Trespass

·         Unrighteousness

4. All are sinners.  Romans 5:12

5. Lucifer [Satan] originated sin when he rebelled  against God in Heaven.  He was cast out of Heaven to earth and led the first man and woman into sin. Because of this, sin and the penalties of sin were passed on to all men. 

6. Judas  (Matthew 27:3-4)  and Esau (Hebrews 12:17).

CHAPTER THREE:

1.

·         God commands it.

·         It is necessary to avoid spiritual death.

·         It is necessary for eternal life.

·         It is necessary for forgiveness.

·         It is necessary to enter God's Kingdom.

·         It is God's desire for all.

·         It is the reason why Jesus came into the world.

2.

·         The goodness of God.

·         Preaching.

·         Christ's call.

·         God the Father.

·         Rebuke.

·         Godly sorrow.

3. Conversion means to turn from the wrong way to the right way.

4. The prodigal son is like sinful man who has turned his back on God his Father and Heaven his home. When this young man realized his sinful condition he made a decision to go to his father and repent of his sin. This was repentance. The young man left the old life and went to his father to start a new life. This is conversion. 

5. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. (Luke 5:32)

6. Faith, baptism, works (fruits), conversion.

7. Yes.

8. Check the subheadings of this chapter. Any of these are Biblical examples of Christians needing to repent.

9. Justification is a right relationship or standing before God made possible through repentance from dead works and accepting God's plan of salvation through Jesus Christ. 

10. To be saved from a life of sin and the penalties of sin through repenting and accepting Jesus Christ as Savior.

CHAPTER FOUR:

1. Faith means to believe and have assurance of something. Faith is assurance that the things promised in the future are true and that unseen things are real (Hebrews 11:1). 

2.

Natural faith:  Natural trust in things which have proven stable.

Saving faith: Faith toward God combined with true repentance.

Sanctifying faith: Helps you live a holy life after conversion.

Defensive faith: Spiritual weapon for defense against Satan.

3. It is necessary for salvation. You cannot please God without it.

4. By hearing God's Word. Romans 10:17.

5. But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6)

6.

·         He heard the Word.

·         He believed the Word.

·         He turned from his hopeless condition.

·         He accepted God's promise as fact.

 

7. Faith is an attitude of believing in something you cannot see but have assurance you already possess.  Hope is a desire or attitude of expectancy concerning things still in the future.

8. "Mind over matter" teaches that man can overcome all problems by using his mind, reason, or willpower. These teachings are man-centered rely on self instead of God. Faith is God-centered, not man-centered. it is a gift of God, not something man produces through self effort.

9. Faith is what you believe.  Works are what you do. 

10. "Faith toward God" refers to your attitude towards God. It should be one of faith, not of rebellion, fear, etc.

CHAPTER FIVE:

1. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but He that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire.  (Matthew 3:11)

2. The word "baptize" used in the Bible means to entirely immerse or submerge in something. 

3. It is the outward confession of the inward change which has occurred. 

4.

·         Instruction

·         Repentance

·         Belief

·         Good conscience toward God

5.

·         Christ's baptism of suffering

·         The Baptism of John

·         Christian baptism

·         Baptism in the Holy Spirit

6. Immediately after they received instruction and confessed their faith. 

7. Acts 19:1-5

8. No.

9. The age depends upon their ability to understand the meaning of baptism and fulfill the requirements.

10.  a.False    b.True    c.True 

CHAPTER SIX:

1. Compare your list to the purposes itemized in Chapter Six.

2.

·         Repent and be baptized

·         Believe it is for you

·         Desire it

·         Realize it is a gift

·         Request the prayers of other believers

·         Yield to God

3. But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.  (Acts 1:8)

4. Speaking in a language not known to the speaker.

5. To make the Christian a powerful witness for the Gospel.  Acts 1:8

6. The fruit of the Holy Spirit refers to the nature of the Holy Spirit  being evident in the life of  a believer.

7. Galatians 5:22-23

·         Love

·         Joy

·         Peace

·         Longsuffering

·         Gentleness

·         Goodness

·         Faith

·         Meekness

·         Temperance

8.

·         For perfection of the saints.

·         For promoting the work of the ministry.

·         For edifying Christ and the Church.

9. Because the Lord gave ministry gifts to accomplish certain purposes in the church. These purposes have not yet been accomplished. He will not withdraw any of these gifts without the purposes for which they were given being accomplished.  

10.

·         Every Christian receives the Holy Spirit when he is converted.

·         The Bible says not all speak with tongues.

·         Fear.

·         It is an emotional experience.

11. No. 

CHAPTER SEVEN:

1.

·         Israel on Ehpriam and Manasseh

·         The people of  Israel on the Levites

·         Moses commissioning Joshua

2.

·         Supernatural signs

·         Baptism of the Holy Spirit

·         Imparting spiritual gifts

·         Commissioning Christian workers

·         Dedication of infants

3. Long time therefore abode they speaking boldly in the Lord, which gave testimony unto the word of His grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands.  (Acts 14:3)

4. Mark 16:17-18.

5. Laying on of hands is an act in which  one person places his hands on the body of another person with a definite spiritual purpose. It is accompanied by prayer or prophecy.

6.

·         Believers

·         Apostles and disciples

·         Members of the presbytery [elders]

7. a.False     b.True    c.False    d.False    e.True    f.False

CHAPTER EIGHT:

1. Jesus saith unto her, I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in me,
though he were dead, yet shall he live:  And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. (John 11:25-26)

2. Resurrection is a raising or rising up.  It means to cause to rise or raise up from the dead. 

3.

·         Past: The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

·         Present: The spiritual resurrection of believers in Jesus Christ.

·         Future: The future resurrection of all that are in the graves.

4.

·         Acts 2:30-31 

·         Matthew 28:1,5-7

·         I Corinthians 15:5-8

·         John 20:19

5. Because if Christ did not rise from the dead, then our preaching and faith is in vain.  (I Corinthians 15:13-14).  Belief in the resurrection is also necessary to become a true believer.  (Romans 10:9; I Corinthians 15:1-4).  The resurrection confirms  Jesus is the Son of God (Romans 1:4) and supreme over all created beings (Ephesians 1:20-23). It confirms that believers are justified (Romans 4:25) and that death is defeated (Hebrews 2:14).  Because of His resurrection, we also will be  resurrected  and have new bodies (I Corinthians 15:51-52; Philippians 3:21). 

6. This means those who were once spiritually dead in sin are made alive spiritually through Jesus Christ.  Ephesians 2:1,5

7.

·         Death to sin resulting in a new life in Christ

·         A new master

·         New life purpose

8. Christian baptism in water and the new life of the believer.

CHAPTER NINE:

1. For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God:  and the dead in Christ shall rise first; Then  we  which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord.  (I Thessalonians 4:16-17)

2. The resurrection of the just and the resurrection of the unjust.

3. All will experience the resurrection of the dead.  All will experience eternal judgment.

4. a.True    b.True    c.False    d.True    e.False

5. Acts 17:13,32 

CHAPTER TEN:

1. To refer to the statutes,  testimonies, and laws of God. Concerning God's judgment on the affairs of men and nations.

2. The  words  "to judge" mean to separate or make a difference between. This includes bringing to trial, examining evidence, determining guilt or innocence, and deciding the penalty for sin. 

3. Judgment is necessary because of sin. 

4. God, Jesus, and the saints. 

5. All souls.

6.

·         The Word of God. 

·         According to knowledge.

·         Individually.

·         According to truth.

·         On the basis of personal conduct.

·         Without partiality.

·         According to the law.

·         According to righteousness.

·         According to motives and thoughts.

7. For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king.  (Isaiah 33:22)

8. a.True    b.True    c.False

CHAPTER ELEVEN:

1. The word perfection means complete, finished, and mature. A perfect Christian is  one who has achieved spiritual maturity. This means his body, soul, and spirit are under the control of the Holy Spirit.

2. Jesus Christ. 

3. Initial perfection is having all your past sins forgiven when you repent and accept Jesus Christ as Savior.

4. Progressive perfection is the continued process of perfection in the life of the believer after initial perfection from sin at the time of salvation. 

5.

·         A good foundation

·         Submission to proven ministries

·         Response to the Word of God

·         Suffering

·         Prayer

·         Self-control

·         Consecration

·         Responding to correction

·         Gifts of the Holy Spirit

6. Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:48)

7. a.False     b.True     c.False     d.True

8. The Word of God.

 

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