KNOWING WHAT WE BELIEVE
It is extremely important that we know what we believe and why. In this lesson we will consider the vital doctrines of the Word of God. Doctrine simply means teaching, and we are considering what the Word of God teaches about fundamental and basic truths. To honor the Lord, we must have convictions about these truths. Knowing these doctrines will help stabilize your Christian life. I recommend that you acquaint yourself with these truths.
We believe in the Bible as the verbally (every word) and plenary (completely) inspired Word of God. By its being inspired, we mean that the Bible is literally breathed of God. It is God’s Word. All portions of Scripture are equally inspired and contain no contradiction. They are totally without error as originally given by God. Therefore, the Scriptures are our only infallible and authoritative rule for faith and practice (2 Timothy 3:16, 17; 2 Peter 1:20, 21; Psalm 119:89). The canon of Scripture, comprised of the sixty-six books of the Bible, is complete. Nothing shall be added to it or taken from it (Revelation 22:18, 19).
We believe in the one Triune God. He is personal, spirit, and sovereign. He is perfect, infinite, and eternal in His being, holiness, love, wisdom, and power. The Godhead eternally exists in three Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These three are one God, having the same homage, confidence, and obedience. God is absolutely separate and above the world as its Creator; yet He is everywhere present, upholding all things (Genesis 1:1, 25; John 1:1; 14:16, 17, 26; Matthew 3:16, 17; 1 Timothy 3:16).
THE LORD JESUS CHRIST
We believe that Jesus Christ is God (John 1:1-4; John 10:30). He became the God-man by virgin bir
THE HOLY SPIRIT
We believe that the Holy Spirit is God, and therefore the third Person in the Trinity. In Acts 5:3, 4 Peter told Ananias that he had lied to the Holy Ghost; and then he said, “Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto Godth (Isaiah 7:14). He was begotten of the Holy Spirit, not having a human father, and is true God and true man. He is man’s only hope of salvation, having shed His precious blood on the cross for our sins (1 Peter 1:18, 19; Hebrews 9:26-28). He died, and buried and literally rose bodily again from the dead on the third day for our sins according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3, 4). He is at the right hand of God today as our Mediator, interceding for us (1 Timothy 2;5, 6). He will return for us, His church, the body of Christ, and take us unto Himself into Heaven (! Thessalonians 4:13 – 18). He will set up a millennial reign on earth (Isaiah 9:6, 7; Revelation 20:4-6)..” In this we see that Peter stated clearly that the Holy Spirit is God.
The Holy Spirit is a Person. In John 16:13, 14 and in other verses, a personal pronoun is used of the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:27 states that the Holy Spirit has a mind. First Corinthians 2:11 reveals that the Holy Spirit has Knowledge. Romans 15:30 speaks of “the love of the Spirit.” Also, 1 Corinthians 12:11 states that the Holy Spirit gives gifts according to His will.
From these verses we see that the Holy Spirit has these attributes of Personality:
Intellect — mind and knowledge Emotion — love Will
You see, the Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit is not just an influence. He is a Person at work in the world today.
His ministry is many-fold. I will mention some of the ministries He has had in the past and does have now.
1. In the past. He is the Author of the Word of God.
2 Peter 1:21 — “For 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.”
2. In the past. He took part in creation.
Genesis 1:2 — ” . . . And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”
3. Today the Holy Spirit indwells the body of the believer.
1 Corinthians 6:19, 20 — ” What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
1 Corinthians 3:16, 17 — “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy, for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.”
4. Today the Holy Spirit performs the following ministries:
a. Conviction in the hearts of the unsaved to bring them to Christ (John 16:8-11 — The word reprove in John 16:8 means convict).
b. Regeneration of the believer (John 3:5, 6; Titus 3:5).
c. Baptism of the believer into the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13).
d. Sealing of the believer — making each believer eternally secure (Ephesians 1:13; 4:30).
e. Teaching the believer the truths of the Word of God (John 14:26; John 16:13; 1 John 2:27).
f. Sanctifying by developing holy fruit in the life of the yielded believer (Galatians 5:22, 23).
g. Empowering the believer for service (Acts 1:8).
h. Filling the believer to live and serve the Lord with power and blessing (Ephesians 5:18).
To live to the glory of God, every believer should rely on the power of the Holy Spirit. We need to know the truth concerning Him and then rely on His power.
The Bible teaches that all men are sinners, that they are, by nature and by choice, sinful. Man, who was created by a direct act of God, made in His image and likeness (Genesis 1:27), fell in sin in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3). Because Adam — the father of the human race — fell, all humanity has been born with a sinful nature. The only One ever born of woman who held no sin is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Sin and death passed upon all men.
Romans 5:12 — “Wherefore, as by one man [Adam] sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”
Therefore, mankind is universally sinful.
Romans 3:23 — “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Read also Romans 3:9-12, Isaiah 53:6, and Ecclesiastes 7:20.
Because of his sin, man is alienated from the life of God (Ephesians 4:18) and is outside the family of God (Ephesians 2:12). Unsaved men abide under the wrath of God (John 3:36) and are unable to save themselves.
The Bible teaches that salvation is by God’s grace through the believer’s faith and is without works.
Ephesians 2:8, 9 — “For 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.”
Titus 3:5 — “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.”
Salvation is a free gift (Romans 6:23) and cannot be merited or secured by man in any way except by faith alone in the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 3:19-24). Salvation was purchased by the blood of Christ.
I Peter 1:18, 19 — “For as much as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”
Hebrews 9:22 — “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.”
In Christ, believers have eternal life as a present possession and are justified before God. Believers are sons in the family of God (John 1:12; 1 John 3:1). The saved are eternally secure in Christ (John 6:37; 10:27-30; 1 Peter 1:5).
When a person is saved, he is a new creation. His salvation affects his whole life and personality (2 Corinthians 5:17).
The Bible reveals Satan to be a person, actively at work in the world today. He is the great adversary of God and His people. Satan is the leader of all evil angels and spirits. He is recognized in the Bible as:
a. Satan — Revelation 12:9
b. The Devil — Revelation 12:9
c. The adversary of believers — 1 Peter 5:8
d. The god of this world — 2 Corinthians 4:4
e. The prince of the power of the air — Ephesians 2:2
f. The prince of this world — John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11
As a believer, you will be wise to recognize the reality and power of Satan. Thank God, though he is powerful, he is not all powerful, Satan was defeated and judged at the cross; therefore, his eternal doom is certain and believers can have victory over him. Satan can come either as a roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8) or as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). The saved are able to overcome him by the blood of the Lamb, by the word of their testimony (Revelation 12:11), and by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit (1 John 4:4).
THE CHRISTIAN LIFE
God’s people should live holy lives with good works, not to bring salvation, but because of salvation. The good works of a Christian should be the normal fruit of a saved life (Ephesians 2:10).
HEAVEN AND HELL
The Bible teaches there is a place called Heaven for the saved and a placed called Hell for the lost.
Matthew 25:46 — “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.”
Luke 16:22, 23 — “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 lifted up his eyes, being in torments, . . . “
The Bible teaches that at the close of the church age, the Lord Jesus will descend from Heaven to call out the believers.
1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17 — “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.”
This event is called the Rapture and could take place at any time. At the rapture, Christ does not set His feet upon the earth, but comes in the clouds to call the Christians home with Him to Heaven. Following the Rapture there will be the seven-year period of tribulation, the worst conditions ever to exist on earth. After seven years the Lord Jesus will return with His saints to set up His millennial reign. These two appearances of the Lord are delineated in Titus 2:13 —
“Looking for that blessed hope [the Rapture], and the glorious appearing [Christ’s coming with His saints] of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.”
The Lord Jesus will reign as King for 1000 years.
Revelation 20:6b — ” . . . but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.”
The Bible teaches there will be a resurrection of the saved and a resurrection of the unsaved. The saved are raised to life and the unsaved to eternal doom (John 5:29; Daniel 12:2).
It is the responsibility of Christians to be watching for the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Titus 2:13 — “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.”
Mark 13:35 — “Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cock-crowing, or in the morning.”
Hebrews 9:28 — “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.”
©2012 Mark Davis
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