Lesson 13 – Baptist Distinctives – Lesson

Lesson 13

BAPTIST DISTINCTIVES

In this lesson we will present Biblical truths that distinguish Bible-believing people from other groups.  Over the years these have been called Baptist distinctives because they are historically what Bible-centered Baptists have believed.  They deal with specific issues of doctrine and church polity. All of them are scriptural principles.  I have no quarrel with someone who wants to call these Bible distinctives rather than Baptist distinctives.  As the author of this book, I am not necessarily jealous for the name Baptist: but I will fight for the principles to which Baptists have historically held. These Biblical principles are the truths we present in this chapter as Baptist Distinctives.

Although many other groups hold some of these doctrines, only those of Baptist persuasion hold all of them.  As a Baptist, I do not claim that Baptists are the only ones to hold any truth; but I do believe that a church that holds to the historic Baptist position is the local church closest to the pattern of the New Testament churches.  This is not a doctrinal statement. Instead, it is a statement of principles taken from the Bible and revealing the difference between historic Baptist principles and those held by other denominations or groups.

THE BIBLE — OUR ONLY RULE FOR
FAITH AND PRACTICE

2 Timothy 3:16 — “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”

1.     Other groups find their authority for their faith (what they believe) and their practice (what they do) in different ways.

Roman Catholics have church dogmas and encyclicals.

Mormons have the Book of Mormon.

Other denominations use some type of denominational handbook.

All we need is the Bible.  It is the Word of God, and we need no other book or method.

2.     The Bible is our authority for faith.

“Faith” deals with what we believe.  We take the Bible as the only authority in the matter of our teaching.  The Bible is true.  Though we may not always understand what it says, we do know with the Bible, our church is wrong but the Bible is right.

3.     The Bible was written for churches today.

In Matthew 16:18 we find the founding of the church.  In Matthew 18:17 we find the discipline for the church.  The Book of Acts gives us the establishing of local churches.  Nearly all the rest of the New Testament was written in the framework of a local church.  Since the Bible was written for the churches and about the church, and since the Bible is God’s inspired Word, our churches need no other authority for their faith and practice.

Therefore, we must accept the Bible as our only authority for what we believe and for the manner in which we organize and operate our churches.  We must not accept –

The traditions of men,

The new writings of men,

The thinking of great leaders,

The vain philosophies of men,

But rather, the sure Word of God.

We do not reject traditions or writings or the thinking of men completely.  These can have their place, but they are not the authorities for our faith and practice.

Colossians 2:8, 9 — “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.  For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.”

SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE

The Bible teaches clearly that the church and state should be separate entities.  The church should not control the state, and the state should not control the church.  Baptists have historically held this position.

1.     Moses and Aaron

God called Moses to lead the nation of Israel.

God called Aaron to be the high priest.

Their positions were distinct and separate.  It was the position of Moses to bring God’s message to men.  Aaron, as high priest, was to lift men up to God.

2.     David and Nathan

Nathan, a prophet, came to King David in 2 Samuel 12:7 to announce to him that David was the man who had sinned.  God used Nathan to point out sin to David.  Nathan did not run the state, but he did accept his responsibility to warn the king about sin.

3.     Saul

Saul intruded into the priest’s office.  In 1 Samuel 13:8-10 we read of King Saul’s endeavoring to do the work of the priests.  In 1 Samuel 13:13 the prophet Samuel rebuked Saul, saying, “Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the Lord thy God, which he commanded thee: . . .”

Saul was king.  As such, he disobeyed God when he endeavored to do the work that was limited to the priesthood.  He violated God’s principle of the separation of church and state.

4.      Jesus

Jesus paid tribute (taxes) to Caesar.

Matthew 17:24-27 — “And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute?  He saith, Yes.  And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers?  Peter saith unto him.  Of Strangers, Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free.  Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.”

Jesus is The King of kings, but He paid tribute to Caesar.  This instructs us that there needs to be a separation of church and state.

5.     Paul and Peter

Paul and Peter taught that Christians should be subject unto the higher powers.

In Romans 13 Paul taught these truths:

a.     The powers that be are ordained of God (v. 1).

b.     Rulers are to be a terror to evil works (v. 3).

c.     The ruler is actually a minister of God.  He is to bear the sword, executing wrath upon them that do evil (v. 4).

d.     Believers are to be subject to the governing powers for conscience sake (v. 5).

e.     Believers should pay taxes as assessed by the government (v. 6).

f.     Believers are to render tribute, custom, fear, and honor to whom it is due (v. 7).

In 1 Peter 2:13-17 Peter taught these truths:

a.     Believers should submit themselves to the ordinances of man (vv. 13, 14).

b.     Believers should honor the king or the one in authority over them (v. 17).

There are those today who would teach that the state is to govern the church, to control the church, and to use taxes to support the church.  Of course, if the state were to do this, then the state would control the churches and have full direction of them.  That means the pastors would be paid by the state.  This produces a clergy that are not interested in the church and are not answerable to the church or God.  They are answerable to the state.

Wherever a state church has been adopted, that church has gone into corruption and apostasy.  The state church was started by Constantine when he mixed the state and church together.  This is the Pergamos Church of Revelation 2; and of it the Lord says in Revelation 2:16, “Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.”

There are others who teach that the church is the highest authority and that it is to govern the state.  This is also unscriptural.

There are three institutions founded by God.

1.     The Home — founded in Genesis 2

2.     Human Government — founded in Genesis 9

3.     The Local Church — founded in Matthew 16 and established at Pentecost

Each one of these institutions is independent of the other.  They should work together to function for the glory of God.

Historically, Baptists have held the separation of church and state as a Biblical distinctive.  Though this conviction has sometimes meant martyrdom, godly men have stood for this Biblical position.

Of course, the church is to have an impact in society.  Therefore, it should teach and aid and strengthen the home.  And it should do the same in connection with the state.  The church should make an impact on the state, helping rulers to rule according to Biblical and moral standards.

Believers should be members of a local church.  At the same time they are citizens of the state.  As citizens, we should exercise our spiritual influence so that we might have a decent and moral climate for our children.

The three institutions — the home, the church, and human government — are given to us by God.  They are all divine institutions and as such are responsible to God.

The HOME God gave the responsibility of the education of the children (Deuteronomy 6:6-9).  He also gave the home the responsibility of providing all the material, emotional, and spiritual needs of the family.

The the CHURCH God gave the great commission to evangelize, baptize, and teach.

To the STATE God gave the ministry of dispensing justice.  The government official is a minister of God (Romans 13:6, 7) as much as the preacher, but with a totally different responsibility.

God never intended for the home, the church, and the state to be in conflict.  The home and the church should produce law-abiding citizens, and the state should protect the home and the church.

The home is to be supported by the hard work of its members.  The church is to be financed by the tithes and offerings of its members.  The state is to be supported by taxes.  Jesus Christ was speaking of taxes when He said, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s  and unto God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:21).  This does not mean there should be a wall erected where the church and state are never to have anything to do with each other.  Don’t forget that it was Jesus Christ who told the tax collectors how to handle their office.  And the Lord also instructed the soldiers how to carry out their duties.

It would be impossible for a Christian to leave his Christianity at home when he goes out in the world each day.  As he deals with government, he must realize that he has the principles of the Word of God to uphold.

As Christians, we are to pray for our government officials (1 Timothy 2:1, 2), to submit to the laws of the government (1 Peter 2:13, 14), to pay taxes to the government (Romans 13:6, 7), and even to hold a government position if we choose to do so.  When the rights of the Christian are infriged upon, he is to appeal to Caesar (Acts 25:1-12) but not to resort to violence. However when the government interferes with a Christian’s obedience to God, the government must be disobeyed.  Scriptural examples of such disobedience are Moses’ parents (Exodus 1:22 — 2:10; Daniel (Daniel 1:5-8); the three Hebrew young men (Daniel 3:1-3-); and the apostles (Acts 5:26-29).

A REGENERATE CHURCH MEMBERSHIP

The Bible teaches that before a person can be a member of a local church, he needs to know that he is saved.

Acts 2:41 — “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 states that a number were added to the church fellowship.  The requirement for membership in the church was that they “gladly received his word” and “were baptized.”  Verse forty-seven states that “the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”  To come into the church, they needed to be saved.

In his letter to the church at Corinth, Paul addressed them as follows:

“Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints . . .” (1 Corinthians 1:2).

He speaks later in verse four, saying that the grace of God was given them by Jesus Christ.  These Corinthians were saved before they joined the church.  Please note also the salutations in Ephesians 1:1-4; Philippians 1:1; Colossians 1:1-4.  In all of these salutations you will see clearly that the members of the churches were saved.

Jesus said, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).

It is this new birth that is required for a person to become a member of the church.  Many denominations do not hold to this Biblical distinctive.  If they baptize infants into church membership, they will have an unregenerate church membership.  Some baptize the infants and then put them through a “confirmation” class when they become teenagers. However, they have been members of the church since they were infants, and very seldom is the necessity of the new birth emphasized in confirmation.

BAPTISM OF BELIEVERS ONLY BY IMMERSION

We have had a detailed discussion of baptism in Chapter two.  There we learned that the scriptural mode of baptism is immersion.

The Bible teaches that the membership in the church must be scripturally baptized.

Please note again Acts 2:41 — “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.”

The Great Commission from Jesus Christ requires that we baptize the converts.  Matthew 28:19 — “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”

This distinctive, like the previous one, completely does away with the practice of infant baptism.  An infant cannot believe.  And those who “baptize” infants use the unscriptural mode of sprinkling or pouring.

THE PRIESTHOOD OF THE BELIEVER AND
SOUL LIBERTY

The “priesthood of the believer” means that each believer is his own priest under the High Priesthood of our Lord Jesus Christ.  A believer does not need another human priest to serve as a mediator.

Peter taught that believers are priests.

1 Peter 2:5 — “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.”

1 Peter 2:9 — “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hat called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”

Revelation 1:5, 6 — “And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth.  Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.  And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”

In 1 Timothy 2:5 Paul wrote that we have only one Mediator — “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”

Any human priest between us and our High Priest, Jesus Christ, is unscriptural.  Believers do not need another priest.  They do not need Mary to intercede for them.  Jesus Christ, our High Priest, is at the right hand of God, ever living to make intercession for us (Colossians 3:1; Hebrews 7:25).

What does it mean that each believer is a priest?

1.     Every believer has direct access into God’s presence.

Hebrews 4:16 — “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace; that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

2.     Every believer has the personal right and privilege to read and understand the Word of God himself.

John 5:39 — “Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.”

The Bereans reveal the attitude we all should have as individuals toward the Word of God.

Acts 17:11 — “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”

3.     Every believer can have immediate forgiveness and cleansing of sin upon his confession and without any other mediator.

1 John 1:9 — “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

We do not need to go to a special priestly person to have sin forgiven, and we do not need a “sacred” place to be able to pray. Neither do we need any human intermediary to understand the Bible.  The Holy Spirit can and will instruct every Bible believer who is hungry enough to study the Word of God

1 John 2:27 — “But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.”

Soul liberty involves the scriptural teaching that every believer is individually responsible to God.  We each need to accept Christ personally.  The Bible message is that “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13). Also, we each need to grow individually.  The Bible teaches that each individual is important to God.  The distinctive of soul liberty means that a believer is not under the authority of some individual in a man-made religious system.

AUTONOMY OF THE LOCAL CHURCH

Each church is a self-governing body.  When Paul wrote to the various churches, he dealt with different problems in each church.  There was no governing body outside the local church that had authority over the church.

Basically, there are four kinds of church government.

1.     The Papal — practiced by the Roman Catholic Church

This puts authority in the Pope and is totally unscriptural.

2.     The Episcopal

This puts authority in a group of priests and it, too, is unscriptural.

3.     The Representative

This involves a presbytery in the Presbyterian Church or the synod in the Lutheran Church.  It simply means that a group of men have authority over the local church.

4.     The Congregational

This is the only scriptural form of the four.  This allows God full control in the local church with the congregation seeking the leadership of the Holy Spirit.

Every New Testament church faced its own problems.  They dealt with those problems to see the blessing of God upon the church.  They did not look to an outside ecclesiastical organization.

Autonomy of the local church means:

1.     The self-government of each local church

Each church is to seek the will of God under the leadership of the Holy Spirit.

2.     The independence of each local church

By this we mean that the local church is independent of other churches.  Of course, the local church is entirely dependent upon the Lord.  And it is responsible only to the Lord and not to any other church or organization.

This does not mean that a local church cannot fellowship with other local churches.  Indeed, fellowship between churches is very important.  Churches may fellowship together to accomplish various ministries such as missions, camps, retreats, etc.  Yet while so fellowshiping together, each local church must remain an entity unto itself.

This means that the local church should govern itself and its own affairs under the leadership of the Holy Spirit.  Scriptural churches have no hierarchy of a clergy class over them.  They have no general assembly or convention that rules over the local church.  Each local church is independent and sovereign.

The local body of believers is to be self-governing, self-supporting, and self-propagating.  (Note 1 Corinthians 5 and Acts 13.)  The local church should be autonomous and sovereign in all its actions — whether in the election of its officers (Acts 6), the discipline of its members (1 Corinthians 5-6), or in its relationship and association with other churches (Acts 15).  There is no higher authority than a congregation of believers meeting to transact business under the leadership of a pastor.

3.     Congregational government

By this we mean that from a human standpoint, the membership of the church is actually the final authority.  Some refer to this type of direction as a “democracy.”  By that they mean: one person, one vote.  Democracy refers to government by the people.  I prefer to call it a “congregational” form of government so that we understand that it is the born-again membership of the people who should be the final authority.

Actually, it would be better to refer to the local church as a theocracy.  This would put the Lord in control.  A spiritual church will certainly follow this pattern.  The New Testament teaches that Christ is the Chief Shepherd and that He has pastors as undershepherds in the local churches.  The undershepherds (the pastors) are answerable to the Chief Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Peter 5:4).  The titles “elder” (1 Peter 5:1), “bishop” (1Timothy 3:1), and “pastor” (Ephesians 4:11) all refer to the same office.  This is taught clearly in 1 Peter 5:1, 2 –

“The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:  Feed [the Greek word "poimaino," translated "pastors" in Ephesians 4:11] the flock of God which is among you, taking the ovdersight [the Greek word "episkopew," translated "bishop" in 1 Timothy 3:1] thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind.”

From this passage we see that the elder also did the work of shepherding (the pastoral responsibility) and overseeing (the bishop responsibility). Under the Chief Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ, the pastor has the responsibility of leading the feeding of the flock (Acts 20:28).  The assembly of believers has a vote in the work of the church, but they also need to learn to follow the leadership of a godly pastor.

The scriptural manner of church government is a congregational form of government, following the leading of a pastor who seeks to follow the Lord.  Therefore, it is extremely important that the pastor, the staff, the deacons, and the membership of a local church seek to walk in fellowship with the Lord.

Another important truth concerning the autonomy of the local church is that the church is composed of members and not of organizations.  Thus, a couples’ club or a women’s missionary fellowship or a men’s brotherhood may exist for fellowship or service, but they are not to be called a church.

THE ETERNAL SECURITY OF THE BELIEVER

1.     The Bible promises eternal life to those who believe.

John 3:16 — “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.”

John 3:36 — “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”

John 10:27, 28 — “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”

In John 10:29 the Lord Jesus Christ promised that no man could pluck the Lord’s saved ones out of the Father’s hand.

The word translated in the verses above as “everlasting life” or “eternal life” is used forty-three times in the New Testament to qualify life or to fix the duration of the believer’s life.  It is the same word used in Romans 16:26 to describe the character of God’s existence.  Also, we find it in 2 Timothy 2:10 describing the duration of the glory of Christ.  Again it is used in 2 Peter 1:11, telling of the duration of Christ’s kingdom.

Thus — just as long as God is, as long as the glory of Christ and His kingdom endure, so long is the believer safe.

2.     Salvation implies that the believer is safe.

Involved in the word “saved” is the idea of being kept safe.

Note 1 Peter 1:5 — “Who [we believers] are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”

3.     Believers are sealed by the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 1:13, 14 — “After that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise.  Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”

This “sealing” by the Holy Spirit signifies ownership and completion. The Spirit of God takes up His abode in the believer as God’s possession, never to depart.  At the same time there is complete deliverance from the power of sin.  Philippians 1:6 states: “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

4.     To deny security is to misunderstand the doctrine of grace.

We are saved by grace and only by grace.

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.”

When we say that we cannot be kept secure by God, we are saying that our sin can cause us to lose our salvation.  This means that we believe works enter into salvation.  The moment we add works to salvation, we eliminate salvation by grace alone.

THE LORD’S SUPPER

The Bible reveals that the church has two teaching pictures for the believers.  These are the two ordinances: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. An ordinance of the church is determined by the following criteria:

1.     It is commanded in the Gospels.

2.     It is practiced in the Book of Acts.

3.     It is taught in the Epistles.

Only  Baptism and the Lord’s Supper meet all three requirements.

The first teaching picture — Baptism — pictures the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.  We have already given the scriptural teaching on that in Chapter 2 — Baptism; and in this chapter, under the fourth distinctive.  Therefore, we will not discuss it any further.

Bible believers believe that the elements of the Lord’s Supper are only symbolical of Christ’s broken body and His shed blood.  God refers to these as “memorials.”  We are to do both until this church age ends.

The Lord’s Supper is a teaching picture, an object lesson, to keep before us the price of our redemption.

The bread pictures:

1.     Christ’s broken body

Matthew 26:26 – “And as they were eating.  Jesus took bread, and blessed it and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.”

I Corinthians 11:24 – “And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.”

2.     His bearing of our sins in His own body

1 Peter 2:24 — “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness; by whose stripes ye were healed.”

The cup pictures:

1.     Christ’s shed blood

1 Corinthians 11:25 — “After the same manner also he took the cup when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: This do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.”

Matthew 26:28 — “For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”

2.     Salvation only through His blood

Hebrews 9:22 — “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.”

The Bible teaches there are only certain ones who have a right to partake. First Corinthians 11:27 speaks of those who partake “unworthily” and become guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.  The Scriptures reveal the order in Acts 2:41, 42.

1.     They were saved.

“Then they that gladly received his word . . .”

2.     They were baptized.

“. . . were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.”

3.     They fellowshiped at the Lord’s Table.

“And they continued steadfastly . . . in breaking of bread.”

Therefore, to partake of the Lord’s Table, one needs to be saved, to be baptized scripturally, and to be walking in fellowship with the Lord.

THE PURPOSE OF THE LORD’S SUPPER

1.     To remember His death — 1 Corinthians 11:24-26

2.     To be a time of self-examination

1 Corinthians 11:28 — “But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.”

3.      To remind us He is coming again

1 Corinthians 11:26 — “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till he come.”

SUMMARY OF BAPTIST DISTINCTIVES

I have listed eight truths as Biblical distinctives that form a New Testament church.  Some groups or denominations believe some of these distinctives, but only Bible believers believe all of them.  For example, Methodists could believe in the Bible (though most modern-day Methodism does not believe the Bible), could believe in separation of church and state, but would not believe in the baptism of believers only, the security of the believer, or the autonomy of the local church. (Methodists have district superintendents over the churches.) Presbyterians would not necessarily baptize by immersion, and they have a presbytery over the churches.  Pentecostals do not believe in the security of the believers and many of them have a church hierarchy.  Lutherans have not practiced separation of church and state.  Etc., etc.

Only Bible believers have held to all of the eight distinctives.  They are important for us to hold as we stand true to the Scriptures.

©2013 Mark Davis

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Lesson 13 – Baptist Distinctives – Assignments

Lesson 13

ASSIGNMENTS

1.     Memorize 1 Timothy 4:16

2.     Read Romans 9 — 16.  Make notes of truths you find in this section about doctrines and about the Baptist distinctives.

NOTES

1.     A blessing I received each day as I read in Romans 9 — 16:

Day 1 — Romans 9 _______________________________________

Day 2 — Romans 10 ______________________________________

Day 3 — Romans 11 ______________________________________

Day 4 — Romans 12 — 13 __________________________________

Day 5 — Romans 14 _____________________________________

Day 6 — Romans 15 _____________________________________

Day 7 — Romans 16 _____________________________________

2.      Notes on doctrines which we believe and the Baptist distinctives that I found as I read Romans 9 — 16:

1.     The Bible (only role for faith and practice) __________________

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2.     God _____________________________________________

3.     The Lord Jesus Christ _________________________________

4.     The Holy Spirit _____________________________________

5.     Man _____________________________________________

6.     Salvation __________________________________________

7.     Satan ____________________________________________

8.     The Christian Life ___________________________________

9.     Heaven and Hell ____________________________________

10.    Future Events _____________________________________

11.    Separation of Church and State (Particularly  note truths you learn from Romans 13 about a Christian’s relationship to government.)

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12.    Regenerate Church Membership _________________________

13.    Baptism of Believers Only ______________________________

14.    Priesthood of Believer ________________________________

15.    Autonomy of Local Church _____________________________

16.    Eternal Security ____________________________________

17.    The Lord’s Supper ___________________________________

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© 2012 Mark Davis

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Lesson 12 – Knowing What We Believe – Lesson

Lesson 12

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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.

THE BIBLE

Words

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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).

GOD

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.

MAN

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.

SALVATION

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).

SATAN

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, . . . “

FUTURE EVENTS

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.”

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Lesson 12 – Knowing What We Believe – Asssignments

Lesson 12

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ASSIGNMENTS

1.     Memorize 2 Timothy 3:16, 17

2.     Read Romans 1 — 8

For lessons 12 and 13 our assignment will be to read through Romans. Someone has said that Romans is a little Bible presenting a complete message of salvation and the Christian life.     Under section 2 of “NOTES” on a separate sheet, please record truths you find concerning doctrines from your reading of Romans 1 — 8.

3.     Answer the following questions in your own words:

1.     How did God give His Word? (2 Peter 1:20, 21)

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

2.     Note the three persons in the Godhead from Matt. 3:16, 17.

a. _____________________________________________________________

b. _____________________________________________________________

c. _____________________________________________________________

What do these verses indicate concerning the working together of each member of the Trinity?

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

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3.     List at least four truths concerning Jesus Christ, the Word, from John 1:1-14.

a. _____________________________________________________________

b. _____________________________________________________________

c. _____________________________________________________________

d. _____________________________________________________________

4.     What is the lost man’s condition according to Ephesians 2:1-3?

a. _____________________________________________________________

b. _____________________________________________________________

c. _____________________________________________________________

d. _____________________________________________________________

5.     Salvation comes by God’s _______________ and through man’s _______________________ (Ephesians 2:8, 9).

6.     What part do works have in our salvation? (Ephesians 2:8, 9)

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7.     What two things are mutually exclusive? (Romans 11:6)

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8.     Give the descriptive names of Satan as found in Revelation 12:7-12.

a. _____________________________________________________________

b. _____________________________________________________________

c. _____________________________________________________________

d. _____________________________________________________________

e. _____________________________________________________________

9.     Give some truths about Hell found in Luke 16:19-31.

a. _____________________________________________________________

b. _____________________________________________________________

c. _____________________________________________________________

d. _____________________________________________________________

e. _____________________________________________________________

f.  _____________________________________________________________

10.     When does a believer go to Heaven? (2 Corinthians 5:8)

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11.     What will happen at the Judgment Seat of Christ? (2 Corinthians 5:10)

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12.     What should the truth of the second coming of Christ do for us as believers? (1 John 3:2, 3)

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NOTES

1.     A blessing I received each day as I read in Romans 1 — 8:

Day 1 — Romans 1 __________________________________

Day 2 — Romans 2 __________________________________

Day 3 — Romans 3 __________________________________

Day 4 — Romans 4 __________________________________

Day 5 — Romans 5 — 6 _______________________________

Day 6 — Romans 7 __________________________________

Day 7 — Romans 8 __________________________________

2.     Notes on doctrines which we believe that I found as I read these eight chapters of Romans:

1.     The Bible ______________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

2.     God __________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

3.     The Lord Jesus Christ ______________________________

_____________________________________________________________

4.     The Holy Spirit __________________________________

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5.     Man __________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

6.     Salvation _______________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

7.     Satan _________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

8.     The Christian Life _________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

9.     Heaven and Hell __________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

10.    Future Events ___________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

©2012 Mark Davis

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Lesson 11 – Knowing And Doing The Will Of God – Lesson

Lesson 11

 

Psalm 37:23, "The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way." www.shadesofgrace.org/

Psalm 37:23, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.”
http://www.shadesofgrace.org/

KNOWING AND DOING THE WILL OF GOD

After we have accepted Christ, God has a perfect will for us.  To realize the full blessings God has for us, we need to submit our lives to know and then to do His will.  It is only as we are yielded to walk in the will of God that we will realize the fulfillment of God’s purpose in our lives.

RECOGNIZING THE IMPORTANCE OF GOD’S WILL IN OUR LIVES

1.     We cannot plan our own lives.

Jeremiah 10:23 — “O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.”

Proverbs 20:24 — “Man’s goings are of the Lord; how can a man then understand his own way?”

2.     God has a will for each of His children.

Romans 12:2 – “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.”

3.     Jesus Christ set the example while on earth when He sought as the God-man to do the will of the Father.

John 5:30 — “I can of mine own self do nothing; as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.”

This prayer of our Lord Jesus in Matthew 26:39 reveals the very secret of His life during His earthly humiliation.

“And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying.  O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

Hebrews 10:7 –“Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.”

This quote of the eternal Son of God is given in Psalm 40:7, 8.

4.     The Apostle Paul set an example for us.

a.     When Paul met the Lord on the Damascus road, his first question was, “Who art thou, Lord?” (Acts 9:5).  Paul, by answering this question, came to know the Lord as his Saviour.  The second question he asked was, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” (Acts 9:6).  This same sequence should take place in the lives of believers.  First, we should come to know who the Lord is and thereby be saved.  Then we should follow salvation with the request to know the will of God.

b.     Paul knew he was an apostle by the will of God.

1 Corinthians 1:1 — Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, . . .”

See also 2 Corinthians 1:1; Ephesians 1:1; and Colossians 1:1.

c.     Paul desired that those believers to whom he ministered might know the will of God.

Colossians 1:9 — “For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.”

5.     Only God knows the future.

Psalm 1:6 – “For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.”

Isaiah 48:17 — “Thus saith the Lord, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am the Lord thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go.”

6.     God wants us to know the will of God.

Hebrews 13:20, 21 — “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever.  Amen.”

Note in Colossians 4:12 that Epaphras labored in prayer that the Colossian Christians might do God’s will.  “Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.”

7.     God commands us to know His will.

Ephesians 5:17 — “Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.”

8.     God commands us to obey His will.

Ephesians 6:5, 6 — “Servants, be obedient . . . as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.”

REALIZING THE IMPACT
OF GOD’S WILL IN OUR LIVES

1.     Obeying God’s Word and thereby living in the will of God brings lifelong blessing.

1 John 2:17 – “. . . He that doeth the will of God abideth forever.”

Psalm 1:2, 3 — “But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in his law doth he meditate day and night.  And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water . . . and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”

Joshua 1:8 — “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”

2.     God’s plan is for believers only.

Psalm 25:12 — “What man is he that feareth the Lord? him shalt he teach in the way that he shall choose.”

To the one who states that God is his hiding place, the Lord promises in Psalm 32:8 — “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.”

3.     God will lead each step of the believer.

Psalm 37:23 — “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way.”

Psalm 119:105 — “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”

Proverbs 3:6 — “In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

4.     God’s plan is definite and specific.

Isaiah 30:21 – “And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.”

Proverbs 15:19 — “The way of the slothful man is as an hedge of thorns: but the way of the righteous is made plain.”

5.     God’s will is best for us.

Romans 12:1, 2 — “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 . . . that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

Psalm 143:10 — “Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good: lead me into the land of uprightness.”

From all of these previous verses, it is easy to see that God’s will and plan for us as believers will be the very best for us and will result in a joyous and victorious life in which the saved walk with Him.  Outside of a life surrendered to the will of God, a believer will find lost fellowship, confusion, heartache, and barrenness.  The tragedy is that too many Christians have not recognized the importance of the will of God for their lives and thereby have not realized the impact of the blessing of doing God’s will.

RESPONDING WITH INVOLVEMENT
IN GOD’S WILL

What must we do to know the will of God?

1.     Preparation of the heart

We must be willing to do God’s will.

Psalm 143:10 — “Teach me to do thy will.”

2.     Presentation of the life

Romans 12:1 — “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.”

Romans 6:13 — ” . . . but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.”

3.     Practice His will

From Proverbs 3:5, 6 we note the following two truths:

a.     We must have no will of our own, no preconceived notions as to God’s will.

Proverbs 3:5 — ” . . . lean not unto thine own understanding.”

b.     We must acknowledge the Lord in all our ways.

Proverbs 3:6 — “In all thy ways acknowledge him. . . “

This means that we must clearly say, “Yes, Lord,” to every evidence of His direction in our lives.  To acknowledge His leadership means to be in a state of submission to His Word and to His providential guidance.

4.     Proof of His will

When a believer is willing to be lead by the Lord, he will have the proof in his life.

Romans 12:2 — ” . . . that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.”

Eliezer, Abraham’s servant, stated clearly, ” . . . I being in the way, the Lord led me . . . “ (Genesis 24:27).  He went out not knowing how God would lead.  When he arrived, he looked back and knew the proof of God’s leading.

Moses led the Israelites across the Red Sea.  On the other shore he looked back and sang of God; “Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation” (Exodus 15:13).

How wonderful it is to follow the leading of the Lord!  This blessing is to those who have surrendered their wills to Him.  God gives a peace and rest in the heart and life.  There is a joy when we know we have not allowed self, personal desire, or human reasoning to lead; but rather be have permitted God Himself by His Spirit to lead our lives.

GUIDELINES FOR KNOWING
THE WILL OF GOD

1.     Confirmation of the Word

Everything we do should be according to God’s Word.  He will not lead contrary to His Word.

2.     Circumstances indicating the will of God

God permits circumstances to come into our lives so that we can know His leading.

3.     Conviction that this is His will

When God reveals His will, He will give a settled peace that He is leading.  When that peace is missing, a Christian should be careful not to rush ahead (Isaiah 30:15).

4.     Crucifixion of self

Be sure you are not doing something for selfish reasons (Galatians 2:20).

5.     Consecration of yourself to God (Romans 12:1, 2)

In your consecration, pray and ask God for His leading (Psalm 143:10).

6.     Counsel of godly, spiritual folks

Seek out godly people to give you counsel.  It is well to talk to a godly pastor.  Sometimes the other individual sees something you would not see.

Remember!

God will not lead you contrary to that which is revealed in His Word.  Therefore, spend time in the Word of God so that you are able to discern the will of God.  Our reading assignment for this week uses chapters that reveal truths for us to know in order to discern the will of God.

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<< Lesson 10 – Facing Problems And Dangers – Assignments

Growing In Grace – Table of Contents

Lesson 11 – Knowing and Doing the Will of God – Assignments >>

©2012 Mark Davis

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Lesson 11 – Knowing And Doing The Will Of God – Assignments

Lesson 11

Psalm 37:23, "The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way." www.shadesofgrace.org/

Psalm 37:23, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.”
http://www.shadesofgrace.org

ASSIGNMENTS

1.     Memorize Proverbs 3:5, 6.

2.     Read Ephesians 4 — 6; Philippians 2 — 3; Colossians 3 — 4.  Please note some truths from these passages that God would have you to know and practice so that His will can be done in your life.  Please record this information under “NOTES” on a separate page.

3.     Answer the following questions in your own words.

1.     Is it possible for man to guide his own life? (Jeremiah 10:23)

_____________________________________________________________

2.     What does God promise concerning His leadership in Isaiah 48:17?

_____________________________________________________________

3.     Epaphras had a great burden.  What was it? (Colossians 4:12)

_____________________________________________________________

4.     Who are the unwise according to Ephesians 5:17?

_____________________________________________________________

5.     How detailed is the will of God for the saved? (Psalm 37:23)

_____________________________________________________________

6.     List the Points of Proverbs 3:5, 6 in your own words.

a. _____________________________________________________________

b. _____________________________________________________________

c. _____________________________________________________________

d. _____________________________________________________________

7.     What is important in our lives if the promise in Isaiah 58:11 that He will lead us continually is to be fulfilled?  See Isaiah 58:10.

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

NOTES

1.     A blessing I received each day as I read in Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians:

Day 1 — Eph. 4  _____________________________________

Day 2 — Eph. 5  _____________________________________

Day 3 — Eph. 6  _____________________________________

Day 4 — Phil. 2  _____________________________________

Day 5 — Phil. 3  _____________________________________

Day 6 — Col. 3  _____________________________________

Day 7 — Col. 4  _____________________________________

2.     Truths I have learned so that I can have His will in my life:

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_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

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_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

©2012 Mark Davis

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Lesson 10 – Facing Problems And Dangers – Lesson

Lesson 10

FACING PROBLEMS AND DANGERS

Many new Christians have the idea: “Now that I am saved, all my problems are over.”  Nothing could be farther than the truth.  Satan hates to see anyone saved, and he has now become your enemy.  He wants to defeat you spiritually and keep you from being a witness for the Lord Jesus Christ.  These are big dangers in your Christian life.

Every Christian must recognize the dangers he will face, and then he will know better how to meet them.  It is like traveling on an unfamiliar road and being warned of washouts, detours, and roadblocks.  So there are certain obstacles, dangers, and pitfalls which can cause a new Christian to be hindered in his growth in this new life.

Christian's Burden

God wants us ready to face the dangers.  John Bunyan, in his Pilgrim’s Progress, tells of showing Christian the “armoury” and the equipment to stand against danger.

“The next day they took him and had him into the armoury; where they showed him all manner of furniture, which their Lord had provided for Pilgrims:  as sword, shield, helmet, breastplate, all-prayer and shoes that would not wear out.  And there was here enough of this to harness out as many men for the service of their Lord as there be stars in the heaven for multitude.”

DANGERS THE CHRISTIAN WILL FACE

You will experience persecution.

Many times this truth seems a strange truth to new Christians.  Why would anyone want to persecute someone who wants to live for the Lord and do right?  It does sound strange, does it not?  But the fact is, that is exactly what will happen.  Because you decide to live godly, there will be those who will do all in their power to harass you.

Paul promised it in 2 Timothy 3:12 – “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”

Again he promised in Philippians 1:29 — “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake.”

After one is saved there are those who will mock and make fun of the new convert.  Sometimes it is a family, or it may be friends, or it can be associates at work.  They watch the new Christian and endeavor to discourage him by making fun of him.

Don’t ever let this discourage you.  Derision of a Christian is to be expected. Jesus promised that believers would face persecution.

John 15:19, 20 — “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own; but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.  Remember the word that I said unto you.  The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.”

The Lord Jesus gave the beatitudes in His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:3-9).  He gave seven blessings to the believer:

1.     “Blessed are the poor in spirit.”

2.     “Blessed are they that mourn.”

3.     “Blessed are the meek.”

4.     “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteous-ness.”

5.     “Blessed are the merciful.”

6.     “Blessed are the pure in heart.”

7.     “Blessed are the peacemakers.”

Then immediately after announcing these seven blessings, He adds, “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (v. 10).  The Lord is saying that the person who walks with Him and receives the first seven blessings can be sure there will be persecution.  These blessings are entirely different from anything the world knows.  The world would never say, “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” Neither would the world say, “Blessed are they that mourn.”  This philosophy is cross-grained to anything the world offers.  Therefore, the believer can expect to encounter some persecution because he is living exactly to the world’s ideology and philosophy.

The early church experienced persecution.

Acts 4:1-3 — “And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them.  Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.  And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day: for it was now eventide.”

Acts 4:18-21 — “And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.  But Peter and John answered and said unto them,  Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.  For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.  So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people: for all men glorified God for that which was done.”

Acts 5:41 — “And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicig that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.”

Acts 8:1 — “. . .  And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.”

So, you see, the Bible teaches that persecution can be expected in the life of a believer.  Often such persecution comes because of ignorance or lack of understanding.  The Christian should not allow such persecution to discourage or defeat him.

It will be a normal thing for the unsaved of the world not to understand and to put pressure on us for our faith.  The early church faced great trial and persecution with rejoicing, blessing and victory.

I Peter 4:14 – “If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.”

When loved ones and friends do reproach you for your faith in Jesus Christ, we suggest the following reactions:

1.      Have love and understanding.

2.     Have a definite concern and burden for them because of their lost condition and their inability to understand.

3.     Pray for yourself that you will use good wisdom in the way you treat them and handle the situation.

4.     Pray for them with wisdom and concern fore their spiritual condition.

You face an expert enemy.

The Bible teaches there is a personal devil who will do all in his power to defeat us.  He will attack us, and he longs to have victory over us.

I Peter 5:8 – “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”

He may come as a roaring lion, or he may come as an angel of light.

2 Corinthians 11:14 —  “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.”

When he comes as an angel of light, Satan is using his lying technique to deceive.  God’s Word says he is the father of lies.

John 8:44 — “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do.  He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him.  When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”

Revelation 20:10a — “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, . . . “

Satan is:

1.     The god of this world.

2 Corinthians 4:4 — “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”

As the god of this world, Satan does all in his power to keep folks from hearing and believing the Gospel for salvation.  He endeavored to keep you from being saved and will do the same for others.

2.     The resister who will fight the believer.

2 Corinthians 2:11 — “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.”

This verse presents Satan as a cunning fighter, using every technique he can find to defeat the believer.

3.     The adversary who accuses the brethren.

Revelation 12:10, 12 — “And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven.  Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night . . . for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.”

4.     The enemy that opposes all that is of God.

Matthew 13:38, 39 – “. . . but the tares are the children of the wicked one: The enemy that sowed them is the devil . . .”

Ephesians 6:12 —  “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

5.     The tempter that lures us to sin.

I Thessalonians 3:5 — “For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labor be in vain.”

Satan will trouble us as long as we live.  He works on our minds to influence us.  This is the reason we need to have “the renewing” of our minds as mentioned in Romans 12:2.  To have victory, we must have our minds under the control of the Lord.

Philippians 4:8 is a good rule for us so that we can have mind control.

Philippians 4:8 — “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue,  and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

HOW TO HAVE VICTORY OVER SATAN

James 4:7 — “Submit yourselves therefore to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

I Peter 5:8, 9a — “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:  Whom resist steadfast in the faith, . . .”

RESIST!  That means to say, “NO!”  We can resist him only if we submit to God.  We say “NO!” to the devil in the power of the Lord.  The idea of resisting is to withstand or stand against.  The Greek word for resist is the word from which we get our word antihistamine.  An individual has a cold with watering eyes and running nose.  He takes a dose of antihistamine. That drug stands against the cold, dries up the tissue, and does not allow the cold to be in control.  So it is with us as we meet the devil.  We must stand against his attacks.

In any possible temptation or problem we should ask, “Will this please God, or will it please Satan?”  In every case, Satan’s will is opposite the will of God.  Therefore, no born-again child of God should have any question. He should not want to please Satan.  We must live to please God and to bring glory to His name.

A Very Important Verse

I Corinthians 10:31 — “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”

Years ago, as a new Christian, I took this as my life verse.  If we obey this verse, our problems will be solved concerning Satan’s attacks.

You must face a sinful world.

I John 2:15-17 – “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.  If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the word. And the work passeth away, and the lust thereof” but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”

Please note that these verses do the following:

1.   Command believers not to love the world.

2.   State that if a believer loves the world, he does not have the love of the Father in him.

3.   Reveal that the “world” is the world system.

The world of which the Bible speaks is not the created world.  It is the system of the world that is contrary to the Word of God.

God created the world and declared all that He created was good.  When sin entered into the world, immediately Satan went about to destroy all that was moral and good and right.  Even the material world is marred by the entrance of sin into the universe.  But the Bible word World means more than that.  This world is the world created by men; the business world, the educational world, the societies of the world, the governments of the world, the world civilization, and the manner of life of the world.  This sis the world system.  It is opposed to God, for Satan is the “god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4).  So completely is the world under the control of Satan that 1 John 5:19 states, “the whole world lieth in wickedness.”

This world system is the enemy of the Christian.

James 4:4 –“Ye adulterers and addulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”

Therefore, you can know that the world system is designed to defeat you in your Christian life.  This world makes great demands upon our time and energy.  It will get us involved in making money, striving for success, seeking for comfort and security.   When these become our chief interests, we will not be happy, victorious, fruitful Christians.

Jesus warned:

Luke 21:34 — “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.”

We must be on guard against this enemy, the world, and its temptations. We must protect our children and our homes from the influence of the world.  We need to obey Romans 12:2 — “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.”

You face decisions in your Christian life.

1.     Decisions Concerning Your Participation in the World

Today strange things are taking place in the so-called Christian world. There are those who claim to be saved but who go right on living as the world lives.  For example, there are certain individuals today who are played up as outstanding Christians, but who play in night clubs on Saturday night and preach in churches on Sunday.  Recently, I saw a picture of a well-known sports figure who claims widely to be a Christian; and in the picture, it showed him drinking beer.  Later I read in the newspaper that he was being tried for a case of drunken driving.  This type of Christianity is alien to the Word of God.

You will have to decide that you are going to live differently than the world lives, differently than you did before you were saved.  This means you will need to make decisions about what is helpful toyour spiritual life and what is a hindrance.  I personally believe that a Christian should be outwardly different from the world by:

a.     Not using foul language.

b.     Not reading pornographic material.

c.     Not participating in, telling, or listening to sensuous, filthy jokes.

d.     Not attending Hollywood movies.

e.     Not using alcoholic beverages of any kind.

f.     Not hurting the body by smoking or the use of drugs.

The above is by no means a complete list.  You need to determine that whatever you do will be done to glorify God (I Corinthians 10:31).

2.     Decisions About Your Companions

a.     Be careful about your companions.  They will have a great influence on you.

I Corinthians 15:33 — “Be not deceived; evil communications [companions] corrupt good manners.”

b.     Be careful about lifting people above the Lord.

Many times new Christians begin to exalt certain individuals in their thinking.  A believer can make a mistake by putting even a good Christian on a pedestal and beginning to look at that individual as a model.  You must remember, however, that even the best Christian still has a fleshly nature.  He may stumble and fall and really disappoint you.

If you will determine you are going to look only to Jesus, you will find much greater victory in your life.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face;
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
— Mrs. Helen H. Lemmuel, 1864 – 1961

You face an enemy within — the flesh.

The “flesh” is that sinful nature that remains with the believer.  A child of God has a new nature through the new birth.  But he still has the old flesh nature.

Galatians 5:17 –“For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.”

In Galatians 5:19-21 Paul identifies the works of the flesh, and in verses 22 and 23 he identifies the fruit of the Spirit.  You and I need to pray and long for the fruit of the Spirit to be manifested in our lives. That fruit is nine-fold:  love, joy, peace,  longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.

These nine aspects of the fruit in the life of the believer can be divided into three sections:

1.   Our inner man — love, joy, peace.

2.   Our relationship to others — longsuffering, gentleness, goodness.

3.   Our relationship to God — faith, meakness, temperance.

Galatians 5:16 instructs us that if we will walk in the Spirit, with this fruit of the Spirit being manifested in our lives, we will not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

We need to recognize that one of the biggest enemies we face is ourselves and our fleshly desires.

You will meet trials that will test you.

Jesus said, “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” — John 16:33a

Some new Christians have the idea that when a person accepts Christ, he will not have any more problems.  Oh, no! The devil, the world, and the flesh are still active.  They will do what they can to stop a believer.  Trials, testing, and tribulations will come.

What should you do?

1.     Realize that God has not forsaken you.  He permits testings to come in any life.  These testings are to be used to make us stronger.

Remember: Trials should make us better, not bitter.

2.     Recognize that God has a purpose in the testings.

Romans 8:28 – “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

3.     Rest in the Lord.

Psalm 37:1 — “Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.”

The Lord wants us to trust Him.  He stands ready to meet every need. First Peter 5:7 gives excellent advice in this regard: “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”

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Lesson 10 – Facing Problems And Dangers – Assignments >>

©2012 Mark Davis

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Lesson 10 – Facing Problems And Dangers – Assignments

Lesson 10

ASSIGNMENTS

1.     Memorize 1 Peter 5:8.  We suggest you also memorize Philippians 1:6.

2.     Read First and Second Peter.  Please Note references to our spiritual growth under “NOTES” on a separate page.

3.     Answer the following questions in your own words:

1.     How did the early church face their persecutions? (Acts 4:13, 18 – 20; 5:41)

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2.     What should we ask for when we are scoffed at and mocked? (Acts 4:29)

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3.     What must we do, regardless of the persecution of others? (Acts 5:28, 29)

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4.     How did Moses endure when he could have looked to men for encouragement? (Hebrews 11:27)

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5.     To whom should we look for our example? (Hebrews 12:2)

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6.     In what manner did we walk before we were saved? (Ephesians 2:2)

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7.     Who has control of this world system? (1 John 5:19; 2 Corinthians 4:4)

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8.     What are the three main aspects of worldliness? (1 John 2:15, 16)

a. _____________________________________________________________

b. _____________________________________________________________

c. _____________________________________________________________

9.     What do we need in order to stand against Satan’s wiles? (Ephesians 6:11)

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10.    What word is used three times in Ephesians 6:13, 14 in defense against Satan?

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11.    Name three important parts of our armor. (Ephesians 6:16, 17)

a. _____________________________________________________________

b. _____________________________________________________________

c. _____________________________________________________________

12.    Briefly list the glorious promises we can claim in the midst of every trial and test.

Hebrews 13:5, 6

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1 Corinthians 10:13

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James 1:2, 12

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Philippians 4:7

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1 Peter 1:5 — 7

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NOTES

1.     A blessing I received each day as I read First and Second Peter:

Day 1 — 1 Peter 1  __________________________________

Day 2 — 1 Peter 2  __________________________________

Day 3 — 1 Peter 3  __________________________________

Day 4 — 1 Peter 4 — 5  _______________________________

Day 5 — 2 Peter 1  __________________________________

Day 6 — 2 Peter 2  __________________________________

Day 7 — 2 Peter 3  __________________________________

2.     Below I note all of the references I found in First and Second Peter concerning our spiritual growth:

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©2012 Mark Davis

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<< Lesson 10 – Facing Problems And Dangers – Lesson

Growing in Grace — Table of Contents

Lesson 11 – Knowing And Doing The Will Of God – Lesson >>

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