What Can I Expect Now That I Am A Christian?

I see many people that finally make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ as their savior and they seem to think that since they are saved, now, everything is going to change in their life. All of their problems are gone. They are now going to become debt free. Their job is going to be better and they can finally get along with their bosses. All of their family squabbles will go away and now their family is going to love them for who they are.

Well, I’m sorry to tell you that there is nothing further from the truth than that.  I am proof.

Since I have been saved I’ve had really good things happen to me and I have had some really bad things happen to me. I have been addicted to drugs, smoking and alcohol. Yes, I lived a party life. There were times during that time when I thought things were going really great (at least for me) and then the fun was gone. The problem with that kind of lifestyle is that every thing that you do ends up having a negative effect on you – both mentally and physically. Some of my indiscretions, I feel, I still pay for today both mentally and physically.

The wild times seemed really great at the time (in the back of my mind, I knew that what I was doing was wrong and God was not happy with me and sometimes I even dared Him to strike me dead if I was such a bad person and He didn’t like me anymore – notice He never did) but the fun was only for a while – it could have been a few hours or even a few years, and anything in between.

Some might think that it might be fun for me to go into detail about all of the things I’ve done that was bad, but the only thing that that would do is possibly titillate your senses and bring things back up in my memories that I would rather not think about because those things are “under the blood” of Jesus Christ – He has forgiven me of those things and I am done with them now. I’m sorry to tell you that I am not going into detail regarding my sins. I will suffice it to say that I kind of feel like the Apostle Paul when he said that he was the “Chief of sinners”. If there was anyone that really didn’t deserve to go to Heaven, it would be me!

When we get saved, we are supposed to be changed into a new creation, old things are supposed to be passed away and the best thing is that He replaces those old dead things with new interests (2 Corinthians 5:17). I may be making this sound like it is a walk in the park right here – but it isn’t. Some of those old dead things like to hang on for a while and make our lives miserable for a while longer.

The great thing about it all is that Jesus is right there with us to hold our hands to make the transition easier and so that you can experience the true love of God (1 Corinthians 10:13), from Him and also from others that share your new-found faith that may have gone through something similar. It pays to check with your local church to see if there might be someone in particular that you could get together with that might be able to give you some help. “The help” may be someone, doing anything from just hanging out and having a strong shoulder for you to cry on or it could be someone that feels that the best comfort would be in the pages of God’s Word – in His promises and the things that Jesus did while He was walking on the earth.

The bottom line is that once you become a Christian, life is not going to be a walk in the park – if it is, you are doing something wrong. The thing is that if things are just “peaches and cream”, then you probably aren’t working for God! You see, when we are doing the right thing, the devil is going to do anything and everything to try to keep you from getting your job done for God. If you are NOT working for Christ, the devil is cheering you along on the sidelines because you are doing NOTHING for Christ and therefore you aren’t any threat to him.

Christians, I’m trying to tell you, without pulling punches, that the best thing that you could be doing right now is serving God in everything that you do. How do you do that? Well, you have to examine your life and get rid of those things in your life that don’t have any value in serving the Lord and get them out of your life. In place of those things you MUST replace them with good things that God would approve of in your life, that would make you a better Christian. It will seem at times that the whole situation isn’t worth it for you to do these things.

I’ll tell you this right now, we are made for God’s use not for our own pleasure. If what you are doing is for yourself, you need to rethink it and probably change it. If it serves the flesh, and especially in a sexual manner, that would be unpleasing to the Lord, you need to get rid of it. Break off that relationship that you shouldn’t be in. Yes, it will be hard at first. Anything worth having is worth working for and worth sacrificing for. Sacrifice means that you have to give something up or change something.

Listen to what the Bible says about it all:

Jesus said this:
Matthew 5:11 “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
Matthew 5:12 “Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”
Your reward is going to be in heaven. I know it is hard to equate what you are doing when you don’t see immediate reward for it, but please do it anyway.

Paul said this, starting out talking about some of the Jews that were out in the wilderness after leaving Egypt:
1 Corinthians 10:5 “But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.
1 Corinthians 10:6 “Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.
1 Corinthians 10:7 “Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. [Exodus 32:6]
1 Corinthians 10:8 “Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.
1 Corinthians 10:9 “Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.
1 Corinthians 10:10 “Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.
1 Corinthians 10:11 “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
1 Corinthians 10:12 “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.
1 Corinthians 10:13 “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
1 Corinthians 10:14 “Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.
1 Corinthians 10:15 “I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say.”
Paul is assuming that he is talking to wise people. To people that are intelligent and will take what he is talking about and apply it to their lives to make themselves better in the sight of God.

Remember that, in verse 13 of 1 Corinthians 10, Paul tells us that when we are tempted of the devil (and all temptation is of the devil) that God is faithful and will provide, at the same time of temptation, a way to escape the temptation. As Jesus said above, in Matthew 5:12, our reward may not be evident and obvious here on earth but we will definitely be rewarded in heaven.

You are not the only one that goes through these situations and feelings. You aren’t the first to go through any situation. You CAN get through it! You NEED the help of Jesus to get you through. Just call on Him to help you. He wants you to ask Him for help. Don’t take this lightly. This is a very serious matter. This is a matter that will affect your eternal future and, as a result, it is not something that you should be messing around with. Face this head on with Jesus and kick this temptation to the curb and let the devil know that, with God’s help, you are nothing for him to mess with. He will fail every time if you truly trust in God to help you get through the situation.

As I said before, you are not alone, not only do you have God’s help, but you can contact a pastor at your local church and he will be more than willing to help you get through it as well. We all need to have mentor friends around us to keep us accountable as a support net.

Brother or Sister, I pray with you right now that you will look to Jesus for His help. Call your church or your mentor friend for support. Do NOT let this slip away without facing and defeating your problem.

©2013 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

Words (Photo credit: tempestuousseas)

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?

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

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)

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

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

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

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)

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

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

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

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

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

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 __________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

5.     Man __________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

6.     Salvation _______________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

7.     Satan _________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

8.     The Christian Life _________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

9.     Heaven and Hell __________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

10.    Future Events ___________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

©2012 Mark Davis

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