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Christian Doctrine 2

 Leadership Empowerment School of Ministry

 

Empowering Those who Empower Others with a Knowledge of God and His Ways

 

 

Part One

 

Man

1. Man: His Nobility

The Bible teaches throughout that man is noble – that he is honored and has great value.  Consider the following verses.  What do they say about man?

Genesis 1:26-28;  Gen 9:6;  Psalm 8:4-5;  John 3:16

 

2. His Weakness

A. Despite being created in God's image, man is a fallen being.

 

B. When Adam sinned, judgment was pronounced upon him by God.  Read Gen 3:17-19.

 

C. In pride, man often does not consider his weaknesses.  Yet the Bible is full of references to them.

 

Discussion Groups:

What does the Bible say about the weakness of man?  Can you think of specific scriptures?  Make a list to share with the class.

 

D. Man's sinfulness

Although man is weak in every respect, the weakness of which the Bible speaks most often is the moral weakness of man.

 

3. His Regenerate State

A. When man believes the Gospel and bows before the Lord, something in him changes -- 2 Cor 5:17

 

B. Man's glory was greatly diminished by the fall.  However, much of his glory is restored in Christ.

1. The apostle John states, "it has not yet been revealed what we shall be" (1 John 3:2).

2. There is a greater future glory for regenerate man.  What he has now is only the first installment (Rom 8:23).  There is much more to come.

 

4. His Future

The Bible teaches that man has a wonderful and glorious future with God, if He lives his life on earth in Christ.

 

Satan

 

1. Satan: His Origins. .

The devil, or Satan, was created by God as an angel.  At some point in the past, he rebelled against God, and is now known as the deceiver and the 'accuser of the brethren.'  There are some Old Testament scriptures that may refer to Satan and his beginnings, though it is not very clear if the passages are speaking of an earthly king, the devil, or both.  The most significant of these passages are: Isaiah 14:4-21 and Ezekiel 28:1-19.  In the New Testament, Ephesians 6:10-13 also gives some clues.

 

2. His Power and Influence

A. His Power

In our own strength we have no hope of ever overcoming Satan.  We are totally dependent on God to defeat this enemy.

 

B. His Influence

Satan has a big influence over men's lives, reaching into every area of life from the physical to the spiritual.  He not only dominates the lives of those who do not believe, but he also seeks to influence the behavior of Christians as much as he can.

 

3. His Character and Purpose

A. His Character

The character of Satan is totally corrupt.  All evil finds its origin in him.  There is nothing perverse or wrong that he is not behind. 

 

1. He is deceptive – John 8:44

 

2. He is cruel

 

B. His Goals

Although it is probable that Satan enjoys deceiving and tormenting people, we believe there is one underlying purpose behind all of this: he wants people to reject God and His plans and purposes for their lives. 

 

4. His Defeat

A. As Jesus was about to go to the Cross, He spoke of the defeat Satan would suffer.  John 12:31

 

B. In Col 2:15 we read of a crushing defeat which Christ inflicted upon Satan and his forces

 

C. Christ not only has power and authority over Satan, but He shares this with His followers as well -- Lk 10:17-20.  Christians have been given authority and power to confront and defeat the devil's forces in many different ways.  These include the following:

1. The power and authority to cast evil spirits out (Mk 11:17)

 

2. The ability to stop the devil's attacks (Eph 6:11)

 

3. The ability to take people out of Satan's kingdom and make them into servants of God (Acts 26:17-18)

 

4. No demon or human agent of the devil is equal to God in power.  The Devil, demons, witchdoctors, shamans, all spiritual entities either spirit or human are created beings and far inferior to God in wisdom, power, and authority.  The Christian need not fear any devil or witchdoctor.

 

Sin

The Bible portrays sin in two very different ways: as an act of disobedience and as an evil power which seeks opportunity to control our lives.  The Old Testament lays much more emphasis on the outward act of sin than does the New Testament, while the New Testament speaks more of the power of sin than does the Old Testament. 

 

1. Sin: The Act

A. When we do not obey a command of God, we sin

 

B. The law simplified:  only two commands to keep

-- Mat 22:37-40; (see also Mat 7:12)

1. Love fulfills the law -- Rom 13:10

 

2. Love seeks to meet the needs of others -- 1 Jn 3:17-18

 

2. Sin as a Power             

A. Cain and sin:  Gen 4:6-8

How does the Bible speak of sin as a living, active force?

 

B. Paul and sin:  Rom 7:7-25

 

C. More Biblical descriptions of sin

1. sin once reigned -- Rom 5:21

2. sin has slaves -- Rom 6:17

3. sin pays wages -- Rom 6:23

4. sin has strength -- 1 Cor 15:56

5. sin is deceitful -- Heb 3:13

 

D. Sin is powerful

Sin causes its slaves to disobey God.  People without Christ do not have the power to not sin.

 

3. The Effects of Sin

*. The primary effect:  Death -- Gen 2:17

The first thing God ever told man about sin is that it would bring death.  When Adam sinned, Adam died.  He died spiritually on the day he first sinned, and he died physically some years later, because of this sin.

 

4. Everyone Sins

 

5. Overcoming Sin

 

A. Christ has destroyed the power of sin which once freely worked in us -- Rom 8:1-4

 

B. The death of Christ is the cure for the power of sin -- Rom 6:6; 2 Cor 5:21; 1 Pet 2:24

 

C. We are dead to sin -- Rom 6:11

1. Since we are dead to sin and alive to God we should not let sin dominate us (Rom 8:12).  Instead, we should present ourselves to God (Rom 8:13).  As our focus shifts from ourselves to God, He empowers us to live in a way which pleases Him.  For this reason we are told that it is those who live by the Spirit who fulfill the law's righteous requirements (Rom 8:4)

 

2. Rom 8:23:  The power to shut down the operation of sin in our lives is not found in our own strength, but it is found in God's Spirit.  As we fix our eyes upon God and enjoy relationship with Him, and as we learn to depend on Him more and more we will experience greater and greater victory over the power of sin.

 

D. Why do we sin?

1. Sin nature -- the power of sin at work in us

We sin because it is our nature to do so.

 

2. Meeting needs

In some ways, sin is not our problem so much as it is our answer to our problem.  Sin can be thought of as attempting to meet legitimate needs in illegitimate ways

 

E. Practical suggestions in conquering sin

1. Be quick to repent

 

2. Acknowledge your need for God

 

3. Know you are in a battle, and be ever wary – 1 Pe 2:11Rom 7

 

4. Know that there is a way out  1 Cor 10:13

 

5. Be honest -- do not attempt to be 'spiritual,' or hide your real self from God

 

6. Pray!  "Pray that you will not fall into temptation." -- Lk 22:40

 

7. Hunger for righteousness -- Mat 5:6

a. desire God more than you desire sin

b. take up cross daily -- Lk 9:23

 

8. Sometimes sin comes from direct demonic influence, and the demons need to be cast out

 

9. Faith

We mentioned earlier that sin often is our answer to a real need or desire.  We therefore need to trust God to satisfy us and meet our needs, so that we do not do things our own way.

 

F. When you do sin -- 1 Jn 1:7 -- 2:2

1. Repent from sin and put faith in God

 

2. Accept forgiveness.  Know that God is more faithful to forgive than you are to sin -  1 Jn 1:9

 

3. Do not run from God -- run to Him

 

4. Know that there is hope.  God has not given up on you.

 

5. Failure is not too big for God  Rom 5:20

 

Salvation

 

Class Discussion:

·      What is salvation?

·      How are we saved?

 

1. Salvation: The Provision

A. The dilemma

It seemed that man's rebellion against God left God in a dilemma.  God is Light and in Him there is no darkness (1 Jn 1:5).  He could not justify unrighteous man.  Yet God is also love (1 Jn 4:8), and He longed to justify Man.  How could God justify man without compromising His holiness?  How could God condemn man whom He loved?

 

B. The solution was the cross

On the cross God revealed both His holiness and His love.  He put on Christ the punishment that was due humanity and He made a provision for man by which he could have access to God's favor.

 

2. Salvation: Access to the Provision

A. Jesus was sacrificed for the sins of all people (Jn 1:29, 1 Jn 2:2).

 

B. Only those who acknowledge Christ as their own have access to the benefits of this sacrifice.  This is why Paul says God is the Savior of all men, but especially of those who believe (1 Tim 4:10). Provision has been made for us, but we must draw upon this provision.

 

3. Salvation: What God Saved Us For

A. Relationship with Himself

 

B. Good Works

We are not saved by good works – but we are saved so that we can do good works, and bring glory to God

 

C. A Final Salvation Yet to Come

Although the Bible tells us that Christians have already been saved, it also speaks of us looking forward to salvation.  This final salvation is when we finally are with the Lord in heaven for eternity.  We can call first getting saved initial salvation, and getting to heaven final salvation.

 

4. Salvation: How to gain Initial Salvation

A. Repentance

 

B. Faith in Christ

 

C. Submitting to Jesus as Lord and Master

 

 

5. Salvation: Obtaining Final Salvation

A. Continued Repentance

 

B. Enduring Faith

 

C. Good Works

1. While works have nothing to do with initial salvation (Rom 4:5), they have much to do with final salvation (Jam 2:14).

 

2. The Bible speaks of good works which will help to obtain final salvation.  Some of these passages include:

Gal 6:7-10; 2 Pet 1:5-11.

 

3. Works will be important at The final judgment (Mat 25:31-46;  Rev 20:12-15). 

 

4. Important:  The works of which we speak are not things which are separate from faith.  They are actions which spring forth from our faith.  They are proof of the genuineness of our faith.

 

6. Proclaiming Salvation

A. How does God choose to save people?

 

"For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe." -- 1 Cor 1:21

 

B. Jesus has made provision for all to be saved, and anyone can receive this through faith.  Yet, how will people have faith? see Rom 10:14

 

C. God has commissioned His Church to tell the world of the salvation which He freely offers to all.

 

Part Two:  Home Assignment

 

In this section you will find more information on the topics discussed in class.  Be sure to answer all the questions within each assignment box.  This will be part of your grade for this course.  Also, as you study, write down any questions you would like to discuss in class.

 

Man

 

What is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you visit him? For you have made him a little lower than the angels, and you have crowned him with glory and honor. --  Ps 8:4-5

 

1. Man: His Nobility

A. The nobility of Man is declared in the Bible's opening chapter -- Gen 1:27

Although the verse above speaks of man in his original state before the fall, man as a fallen being is still honored. Look at what God says in Genesis 9:5-6, well after the fall of man.  What reason does God give for commanding the death penalty for murderers?

 

B. God not only made Man in His own image, but He gave him dominion over all of the creatures of the Earth -- Gen 1:26-28.

 

C. Because God considers man to be so important, He is constantly intervening in man's affairs, guiding his destiny, and planning for his redemption. From the opening chapter of Genesis to the final chapter of Revelation we see the great concern which God has for man. Consider the following:

1. In Genesis 9:12-15 God gives a sign to assure man that He will never again destroy the world with a flood.

2. In Genesis 12:3 we find God promising to bless all the nations of the world.

3. In Isaiah 65:17 God promises to create a new Earth for man.

4. In John 3:17 we read that God sent His son to save the world.

5. In Acts 17:26 we read of how God fixed the times and boundaries of all men.

6. In 1 John 2:2 we read that Jesus died for the sins of all men.

7. In Revelation 20:10 we read of the final destruction of man's enemy; the one who deceives the nations.

 

D. As the psalmist says, God is deeply mindful of man (Ps 8:4)

It should not surprise us then to know that He wants us to be concerned for humanity as well.  It is the desire of God that we  be careful and respectful of those beings which He has created in His image.

 

Assignment:

Look at the following verses.  What do they teach about how we are supposed to value our fellow man?

. Leviticus 19:18;   Galatians 6:10;   1 Peter 2:17;  Matt 25:31-46

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. His Weakness

A. Despite being created in God's image, man is a fallen being.

He is filled with moral and mental and physical weaknesses.  His life span is short, his strength is small, and his history is a series of tragedies, which he has brought upon himself.

 

B. The original tragedy was the first man's decision to rebel against God's authority -- Rom 5:12.

This had a negative impact on all who came after.  An illustration of the truth of this passage can be found in Genesis.  Here we find the world which had been a Paradise.  Now it is filled with jealousy and strife, warfare, murder and death.  At one point, God despaired over His creatures and destroyed all men, save for one family (Gen 6-7).

 

C. God has compassion on us, knowing that we are weak

-- Psalm 103:14  (And Gen 2:7)

 

D. When Adam sinned, judgment was pronounced upon him by God.  Read Gen 3:17-19.

 

E. In pride, man often does not consider his weaknesses.  Yet the Bible is full of references to them.

1. Physical and mental weakness

 

Assignment:

What do the following verses tell us about man's weakness?

 

·      James 4:14

·      Ecclesiastes 3:20

·      1 Chronicles 29:15

·      Job 8:9

·      Proverbs 20:24

 

 

2. Moral Weakness

a. His heart is deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9)

 

b. His heart is set on evil continually (Genesis 6:5)

 

c. He is as an unclean thing (Isaiah 64:6)

 

F. Man's sinfulness

Although man is weak in every respect, the weakness of which the Bible speaks most often is the moral weakness of man.

 

1. The first three chapters of Romans emphasizes the sinfulness of man.  See especially Rom 1:18-32;  3:10-26

 

2. Read Rom 7:14-25

 

3. Read Jer 17:9 

 

4. While the writings of other religions exhort us to earn our salvation, the Bible speaks of our complete inability to do so.

 

5. We are therefore told over and over to trust in God and not ourselves

a. Without Jesus we can do nothing (John 15:5)

 

b. We can only overcome our evil ways by the power of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:16).

 

c. Example of the life of Paul

1) Before the Holy Spirit entered Paul's life, he had striven mightily in his own strength to please God (Phil 3:4-6).

2) Yet he achieved only becoming a man who hated God's people (Acts 8:3).

3) After Paul realized what he had done, he also realized nothing good lived in his flesh (Rom 7:18).

He wanted nothing to do with his own righteousness (Phil 3:9), wanted to live only by the power of Christ (Gal 2:20), and did not even wish to be seen before God outside of Christ (Phil 3:9). 

 

3. His Regenerate State

A. When man believes the Gospel and bows before the Lord, something in him changes -- 2 Cor 5:17

 

B. The power of the Gospel -- Acts 26:18

 

C. The person who turns to Christ gains a new master (God) to replace his old one (Satan).

Paul speaks of Christians as those people who have been "... delivered... from the power of darkness and translated... into the kingdom of  the Son of [God's] love" (Col 1:13)

 

Assignment:  The references listed below each speak of the condition of a person before he comes to the Lord and after he has come to the Lord.  We have recorded what the passages say about the person before he comes to the Lord.  Your task is to look each passage up and tell what it says about a person after he has come to Christ.

             

. Before Christ. . . . After Christ

             

1  Strangers and Foreigners.  Eph 2:19.  _________________________

 

2  In darkness. Eph 5:8.  _________________________

 

3  Sheep going astray. 1 Pet 2:25.  _________________________

 

4  Dead in sins. Eph 2:1.  _________________________

 

5  Slaves.  Gal 4:7.  _________________________

 

. . .    

D. Man's glory was greatly diminished by the fall.  However, much of his glory is restored in Christ.

1. The apostle John states, "it has not yet been revealed what we shall be" (1 John 3:2).

2. There is a greater future glory for regenerate man.  What he has now is only the first installment (Rom 8:23).

 

4. His Future

A. The first man's name was Adam.  He rebelled against God and brought death to all of his race.

 

B. The Bible speaks of a "second Adam" -- the Lord Jesus (1 Cor 15:45-47Rom 5:12-17).  It tells us that, just as the first Adam brought death to his descendants, so the Lord Jesus will give life to all those who come to Him.

 

C. The life it refers to in this passage is not only the spiritually regenerated life He gives us at conversion, but a life expressed in a glorious new body, lived in a glorious new Earth. Read the following passages:  Rom 5:2;  2 Pet 3:13;  1 Jn 3:2;  Phil 3:9

 

Making it Personal

¨. . . .         Remember a time when you were greatly helped by confessing your weakness before the Lord.  What did you learn from that time?

¨. . . .         How does it affect you when you think about who you are in Christ?

 

Satan

 

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. --  1 Peter 5:8

 

1. His Power and Influence

A. His Power:  You learned in Doctrine I of the incredible power and ability of angels.  Being an angel himself, Satan also possesses great ability and strength.  In the Bible we see him:

1. stirring up an army to kill the servants of Job (Job 1:12-15)

2. sending fire from heaven (Job 1:12-16)

3. sending a wind that knocked down a house (Job 1:12-19)

4. working signs and lying wonders (2 Thess 2:9)

 

In our own strength, and with our own weapons, we have no hope of ever overcoming Satan.  We are totally dependent on God to defeat this enemy.

 

B. His Influence: Satan has a big influence over men's lives, reaching into every area of life from the physical to the spiritual.  Consider the following:

1. Satan is called the ruler of this world (John 14:20)

2. Satan may at times get permission from God to carry out his plans (Job 1:6-12Lk 22:31)

3. The whole world is said to be under his sway (1 John 5:19)

4. He influences human rulers (1 Chron 21:1)

5. He influences unbelievers (Eph 2:2)

6. He influences Christians (Eph 4:26-27)

7. He influences the whole world (Rev 12:9)

8. The devil even tried to influence Jesus (Matt 4:1-9).

9. He filled the heart of Judas to betray Christ (John 13:21-30).

10. Filled the heart of Ananias to lie to the Holy Spirit (Act 5:3).

 

The devil attempts to influence everyone and everything in every way.  He claims ownership of the world and seeks to control all things in it. 

 

. 

Assignment:

Satan is not satisfied to dominate the lives of those who openly disbelieve, but he enters our churches seeking to influence the behavior of professing Christians as well.  Look up the following passages, and tell how the devil seeks to influence believers in the Church.

. 2 Corinthians 2:3-11;  1 Timothy 3:1-7;  1 Timothy 4:1-6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

a. These passages also give us instructions as to how to keep from being influenced by the devil in these ways.  Look over the same passages and see the method the passage teaches to stop Satan's influences in the situation.

 

b. The Bible tells us not to be conformed to this world which is under Satan's sway (Rom 12:2).  Nor are we to be conformed to those desires to which we once had when we ourselves were under Satan's sway (1 John 5:19).  We have a choice in these matters!

 

3. His Character and Purpose

A. His Character

The character of Satan is utterly corrupt.  All evil finds its origin in him.  There is nothing perverse or wrong that he is not behind. 

 

1. The Deceptiveness of Satan

Jesus said that the devil was a liar and the father of lies (Jn 8:44).  We see in Christ's confrontation with Satan (Lk 4:1-13) that even when Satan spoke the truth, he spoke it out of context in order to persuade Jesus to believe a lie.  In order to see more of how Satan promotes falsehoods, examine the following passages and describe how Satan is said to have deceived someone in that passage.

a. Genesis 3:1-5

b. 2 Corinthians 4:3-4

c. 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10

d. Revelation 20:7-10

 

 

Making it Personal

In what ways do you perceive Satan to be attempting to deceive you?

What thoughts does he bring to your mind?

What is true about these thoughts?  What is false?

 

Whatever the thoughts are and however much truth they contain, Satan's ultimate goal is to deceive you.  No matter how many times he tells you the truth, it is always ultimately so you will believe a lie and base your life on that which is not true.

 

2. The Cruelty of Satan

What is the cruelest deed you have ever witnessed?  What was the cruelest word you've ever heard spoken?  Whatever your answers to these questions, they are very small compared to the cruelty of Satan.  The amount of cruelty the devil shows is only limited by the amount of his power and by the restraining power of God.  If the devil was given more strength and freedom he would cause even more suffering than what we already see in the world. 

 

Assignment:

Look up the following passages and give a brief description of how the devil shows himself cruel in that passage.

. Job 2:7;    Mark 5:2-5;    Luke 13:11-16

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The above passages show us the heart of Satan.  He is a being without compassion.  However, the things the devil tempts us with often seem quite appealing.  He offered Jesus the kingdoms of the world.  We need to recognize the source.  Satan always ultimately only wants to harm us.  When he offers us something, it is always something that will bring us misery and destruction.  He seeks to devour us (1 Pet 5:8).

 

B. His Goals

1. Although it is probable that Satan enjoys deceiving and tormenting people, we believe there is one underlying purpose behind all of this: he wants people to reject God and His plans and purposes for their lives. 

 

2. This desire of Satan's is seen over and over again in the Bible.   Look up these passages and think about the questions beneath each reference.

a. Genesis 3:1-5

1). What did God command Adam and Eve?

2). What did God warn would be the consequences if they disobeyed His command?

3). What did Satan want Adam and Eve to do?

4). What did Satan say in regards to the warning of God?

 

b. Job 1:6-12

*. What did Satan say Job would do if God destroyed his possessions?

 

c. Job 2:1-6

*. What did Satan say that Job would do if he lost his health?

 

The book of Job is a wonderful story of a man who would not forsake God, even under extreme attack.  Satan cruelly abused Job in order to hide the goodness and faithfulness of God.  His purpose, as we have seen, was to provoke Job into cursing God.  However God had His own purpose in the life of Job.  We read about it in James 5:11

 

When we go through trials and afflictions we should always remember that the Lord's ultimate purpose in our lives is to do good for us and to show Himself compassionate and merciful.  Our enemy the devil would have us reject this God of compassion and the mercy which He offers us.  Let us instead reject the devil and refuse to take part in his deeds or in the judgment which will soon come upon him.

 

4. His Defeat

A. As Jesus was about to go to the Cross, He spoke of the defeat Satan would suffer.  John 12:31

 

B. In Col 2:15 we read of a crushing defeat which Christ inflicted upon Satan and his forces

 

C. What weapon was taken from Satan when the crucified Christ disarmed him?  Read Col 2:13-15

 

D. Christ took something else from Satan when He died.  Look up Heb 2:14

In Rev 1:18 we see Christ as the One who holds the keys of Death and of Hell.  He died and rose again that He might be Lord of the dead and of the living (Rom 14:9).

 

E. The life of Jesus, as well as His death, was a source of continual defeat for Satan.

The devil would make people sick and Jesus would heal them (Lk 13:11-16, Act 10:38).  He would have his demons torment people, and Jesus would cast them out (Matthew 8:16).

 

F. Jesus told a parable which illustrated the encounters He had with evil spirits.  See Luke 11:21,22.

 

G. Jesus was the one Man in all of history in whom Satan had no part (John 14:30).  He continually brought defeat to the forces of evil who knew Him and feared Him greatly.

1. Mark 3:11

2. Luke 4:33-34

3. Luke 4:41

 

H. Christ not only has power and authority over Satan, but He shares this with His followers as well -- Lk 10:17-20.  Christians have been given authority and power to confront and defeat the devil's forces in many different ways.  These include the following:

1. The power and authority to cast evil spirits out (Mk 11:17)

 

2. The ability to stop the devil's attacks (Eph 6:11)

 

3. The ability to take people out of Satan's kingdom and make them into servants of God (Acts 26:17-18)

 

Making it Personal

Ø.      What do you think are some lies of Satan which are commonly believed?

Ø.      In what specific ways might Satan be tempting you?

Ø.      In what ways has Satan mixed truth with falsehood in order to deceive you?

 

Sin

 

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God -- Rom 3:23

 

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

 

The Bible portrays sin in two very different ways: as an act of disobedience and as an evil power which seeks opportunity to control our lives.  The Old Testament lays much more emphasis on the outward act of sin than does the New Testament, while the New Testament speaks more of the power of sin than does the Old Testament. 

 

1. Sin: The Act

A. When we do not obey a command of God, we sin

The first sin was when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit in the garden of Eden -- Gen 2:27

 

B. Two types of sin

1. Sins of commission -- doing something God commands not to do  (ex. Adam & Eve)

2. Sins of omission -- not doing something God commands to do  (see James 4:17)

 

C. In the following passages, see what Jesus told us not to do; then see what He told us to do instead.

1. Matt 5:43-44

2. Mat 6:19-20

3. Mat 6:25-33

 

D. The law simplified:  only two commands to keep -- Mat 22:37-40; (see also Mat 7:12)

There are so many commandments and laws in the Bible.  How could we possibly remember to keep them all?  Jesus makes it possible for us -- not by reducing the law, but by explaining it.  If we truly love God and our neighbor, and allow that love to effect all that we do, say, and think, then we will keep from sinning.

 

1. Love fulfills the law -- Rom 13:10

 

2. Love seeks to meet the needs of others -- 1 Jn 3:17-18

 

3. Keeping the law of love:  the Good Samaritan -- Lk 10:25-37

In this parable, the priest and the Levite were very careful to follow the law.  They lived their lives trying to obey God.  Yet in the end they missed the whole point of the law, by not loving their neighbor.  They kept the letter of the law, but not the spirit of the law.

 

2. Sin as a Power             

A. Cain and sin:  Gen 4:6-8

How does the Bible speak of sin as a living, active force?

 

B. Paul and sin:  Rom 7:7-25

 

 

C. More Biblical descriptions of sin

1. sin once reigned -- Rom 5:21

2. sin has slaves -- Rom 6:17

3. sin pays wages -- Rom 6:23

4. sin has strength -- 1 Cor 15:56

5. sin is deceitful -- Heb 3:13

 

D. Sin is powerful

For all of Paul's striving in Romans 7, he could not overcome sin.  Indeed, sin used that which was holy and just and good to deceive Paul.  It brought death through an instrument that was meant to bring life (Rom 7:10-13).

 

3. The Effects of Sin

A. The primary effect:  Death -- Gen 2:17

The first thing God ever told man about sin is that it would bring death.  When Adam sinned, Adam died.  He died spiritually on the day he first sinned, and he died physically some years later, because of this sin.

1. "The soul that sins shall die." -- Eze 18:4

2. "The wages of sin is death." -- Rom 6:23

3. Death spread to all people through Adam -- Rom 5:12

All sin, therefore all die

4. What was our condition before we were joined to Christ?  -- see Eph 2:1             

 

B. Other results of sin:  Because of sin...

1. Man was removed from the Garden of God and kept from the tree of life

2. Woman was made to bear children in pain and sorrow

3. People suffered various diseases and sicknesses

4. God destroyed the world with a flood

5. God divided men by language

6. The people of Egypt forgot their friend Joseph and oppressed his people

7. A whole generation of Israelites died in the wilderness

8. Moses who led Israel out of Egypt, was himself shut out of the Promised Land

9. Israel's greatest king saw his family devastated and his throne taken from him for a time

10. The son of Israel's wisest king saw his kingdom divided

11. God sent armies to destroy His own holy Temple

12. A demented king slew all the young male children of a town in his quest to destroy the Savior of the world

13. Men rejected and crucified the only perfectly good man who ever lived

14. Most men reject Him to this day

 

4. Sin Touches Everyone

A. Everyone sins

1. Rom 3:9-18             

2. Rom 3:23.

3. Rom 5:12.

4. John 8:7-9

5. Isaiah 53:6

6. 2 Chron 6:36

7. Gal 3:22

8. James 3:2

9. 1 Jn 1:8-10

 

B. God cleanses people of sin when they admit sin (1 Jn 1:9)

Those who deny sinning are not cleansed, because they do not admit that they need it

 

C. The power of sin abides in every human being on Earth --  non- Christian and Christian.

For this reason someone once said that we should always be sorrowing for sin, yet never sinning.  We should be aware of this hideous force within us, and the knowledge of its existence should humble us before our God, who alone can keep us from being crushed by it.

 

5. Overcoming Sin

 

Making it Personal:

Think about the following questions:

How do we stop sinning?

As ministers of the Gospel, how do we help others to overcome sin?

 

A. Christ has destroyed the power of sin which once freely worked in us -- Rom 8:1-4

 

B. The death of Christ is the cure for the power of sin -- Rom 6:6; 2 Cor 5:21; 1 Pet 2:24

 

C. We are dead to sin -- Rom 6:11

1. Since we are dead to sin and alive to God we should not let sin dominate us (Rom 8:12).  Instead, we should present ourselves to God (Rom 8:13).  As our focus shifts from ourselves to God, He empowers us to live in a way which pleases Him.  For this reason we are told that it is those who live by the Spirit who fulfill the law's righteous requirements (Rom 8:4)

 

2. Rom 8:23:  The power to shut down the operation of sin in our lives is not found in our own strength, but it is found in God's Spirit.  As we fix our eyes upon God and enjoy relationship with Him, and as we learn to depend on Him more and more we will experience greater and greater victory over the power of sin.

 

D. Why do we sin?

1. Sin nature -- the power of sin at work in us

We sin because it is our nature to do so.  We are born into slavery to sin.  We are only freed by this when we come into the Kingdom of God.  However, even then, sin seeks to control us.

 

2. Meeting needs

In some ways, sin is not our problem so much as it is our answer to our problem.  Sin can be thought of as attempting to meet legitimate needs in illegitimate ways.  God has an answer to our needs, but often times we trust our own answer more than God's answer.  This is sin.  As examples, consider the following:

a. Adam & Eve's thirst for knowledge

b. the Samaritan woman's need for love and acceptance

c. David and Solomon's sexual desires

d. Peter's need for physical safety (when he denied knowing Jesus)

 

E. Practical suggestions in conquering sin

1. Be quick to repent

Sin normally leads to more sin.  The only way to break this pattern is to quickly repent when you do sin.  Repentance should be a life-style for every believer in Jesus.  When we put off repentance to a later time we risk falling deeper into sin.  Do not allow guilt or stubbornness to keep you from repenting immediately.

 

2. Acknowledge your need for God

a. It is only by God's power that we can defeat sin.  See Tit 2:11-14;  Gal 5:16

 

b. Do not trust yourself, or think you can overcome sin through your own efforts -- Lk 18:9-14

1Co 10:12:  So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you do not fall!

 

c. Blessed are the poor in spirit -- Mat 5:3

 

3. Know you are in a battle, and be ever wary – 1 Pe 2:11Rom 7

a. Be wise: do not subject yourself to evil influences.  Consider the children of Israel as they were led to sin by their pagan neighbors.

b. Flee!  1 Cor 6:18; 10:14; Gen 39:7-12

c. Accountability

 

4. Know that there is a way out  1 Cor 10:13

The 'way out' may not be the same for everyone.  In helping people, do not simply give the same answer in every case.  Know that the Lord works differently with different people.  Some possible 'way outs' include:

 

a. an accountability partner or group

b. quoting particular scriptures

c. fasting

d. counseling

 

 

5. Be honest -- do not attempt to be 'spiritual,' or hide your real self from God

 

6. Pray!  "Pray that you will not fall into temptation." -- Lk 22:40

 

7. Hunger for righteousness -- Mat 5:6

a. desire God more than you desire sin

b. take up cross daily -- Lk 9:23

 

8. Sometimes sin comes from direct demonic influence, and the demons need to be cast out

 

9. Faith

We mentioned earlier that sin often is our answer to a real need or desire.  We therefore need to trust God to satisfy us and meet our needs, so that we do not do things our own way.

 

F. When you do sin -- 1 Jn 1:7 -- 2:2

1. Repent from sin and put faith in God

Study Psalm 51 for example of true sorrow and grief over sin, and turning from sin

 

2. Accept forgiveness.  Know that God is more faithful to forgive than you are to sin -  1 Jn 1:9

 

3. Do not run from God -- run to Him

 

4. Know that there is hope.  God has not given up on you.

Consider the woman caught in adultery (Jn 8).  Her case seemed hopeless.  She was guilty, but Jesus offered her hope.  He did not just let her go, but told her go and sin no more. 

 

5. Failure not too big for God  Rom 5:20

You are a new creation -- 2 Cor 5:17

 

Making it Personal:

·      What kind of sin has the Holy Spirit helped you to overcome?  How did He help you?

·      How have you helped someone who has sinned to be restored?

 

Salvation

 

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.

--  Titus 2:11-13

 

1. Salvation: The Provision

A. The dilemma

It seemed that man's rebellion against God left God in a dilemma.  God is Light and in Him there is no darkness (1 Jn 1:5).  He could not justify unrighteous man.  Yet God is also love (1 Jn 4:8), and He longed to justify Man.  How could God justify man without compromising His holiness?  How could God condemn man whom He loved?

 

B. The solution was the cross

On the cross God revealed both His holiness and His love.  He put on Christ the punishment that was due to us and He made a provision for man by which he could have access to God's favor.

 

1. Read the following passages which tell of how God expressed His hatred for sin on the Cross: Rom 6:6;    Rom 8:3;    Heb 9:26;    1 Pet 2:24.

 

2. Now read these passages which tell of how God expressed love and mercy through the Cross: Rom 5:8;    1 Thess 5:9-10;    Heb 2:14-15;    Eph 1:7.

 

3. Our sins have been put on Christ, and no man has ever since had to appear guilty before God.

 

2. Salvation: Access to the Provision

A. In the Old Covenant

1. When a worshiper brought an animal to be sacrificed as a sin offering, he was required to lay his hands upon the animal's head (Lev 1:4).  After this the beast was slaughtered.  The laying on of hands was probably symbolic of a transference of guilt: the sins of the worshiper were put upon the animal who then paid the ultimate price for those sins.

 

2. It was not enough that the animal be sacrificed.  The worshiper had to acknowledge his sin and acknowledge that the animal was bearing his sin.  He had to identify himself with the beast, to claim the sacrifice as his own in order to receive the benefits of it.

 

B. In the New Covenant

1. Jesus was sacrificed for the sins of all people (Jn 1:29, 1 Jn 2:2).

 

2. Only those who acknowledge Christ as their own have access to the benefits of this sacrifice.  This is why Paul says God is the Savior of all men, but especially of those who believe (1 Tim 4:10). Provision has been made for us, but we must draw upon this provision.

 

3. Salvation: What God Saved Us For

A. Relationship with Himself

1. When Adam and Eve sinned,  man came under the power of sin. His whole being was changed by evil.  After Adam and Eve turned from God, God slayed a beast and clothed the two rebels (Gen 3:21).  God had not lost His affection for man, nor had He lost His desire for fellowship with man.

 

2. It is interesting that God clothed the first man and woman with the skin of the animal which He had slain.  Through sin Adam and Eve became aware and ashamed of their nakedness.  This sin brought death to the animal whose skin was used to clothe them.  Because of this the animal was, in a sense, a sacrifice for sin; and in a sense, Adam and Eve were clothed with the sacrifice.

 

3. This is like what happens to a Christian at baptism.  He becomes clothed with Christ (Gal 3:27) who is our sacrifice.  Thus, God sees in the Christian the very righteousness of Christ (1 Cor 1:30).

 

4. The fact that God sees us this way means that the distance between us and God has been removed.  We are no longer far from God, but have been "brought near" to Him (Eph 2:132 Cor 5:18-19).  We have entered into an intimate relationship with God.  This is the reason for Christ's death.

 

5. Since we now have this relationship with God, we are called to have intimate fellowship with Him as well.  Because of the cross, Jesus bids us to "open the door" and fully experience the intimacy into which God has brought us (Rev 3:20).  Because of the cross we can live as near to God as we desire.  How near do you desire to live?

 

B. Good Works

1. We had been alienated from God because of our works  Col 1:21.  But in salvation God desires to change our offensive behavior into behavior which is pleasing to Him.   He has regenerated us for this very cause.  Look up the following references.

a. Eph 2:10

b. Tit 2:14

c. Gal 6:10

 

2. Paul often encouraged leaders to teach believers to do good works

a. "Command those who are rich in this present age... that they do good, that they be rich in good works..." (1 Tim 6:17-18)

 

b. "Remind them to be ready . . . for every good work."

(Titus 3:1)

 

c. "... those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works." (Titus 3:8)

 

d. "let our people also learn to maintain good works... that they may not be unfruitful." (Tit 3:14)

 

3. The Old Covenant gave us the command to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.  Jesus exalted this command above all the other commands given under the Old Covenant -- except for the command to love God (Mat 22:37-39).

 

4. What are the good deeds for which the Lord has purchased us?  There are many examples given in the New Testament.  You can find some of these in:

Rom 12:6-21;   1 Thess 5:11-22;   1 Tim 5:10;   Tit 3:1-2

 

5. A living, genuine faith in Christ will produce good works (James 2:17).  There are no exceptions to this rule.  Those who truly believe in Christ will obey His commands and actively involve themselves in the very works for which He saved us. 

 

C. A Final Salvation Yet to Come

1. Although the Bible tells us that Christians have already been saved, it also speaks of us looking forward to salvation.  It does this in many different ways.  Consider the following:

a. Col 1:13 says that Christians have been brought into the Kingdom of God, while 2 Pet 1:5-11 tells us how we can be sure to enter in the future.

 

b. Rom 8:15 says we have been adopted by God, while Rom 8:23 speaks of our future adoption. 

 

c. We have been redeemed (1 Pet 1:18) and yet look forward to redemption (Rom 8:23).

 

d. We have been saved (Titus 3:4- 5) but still look forward to salvation (Heb 9:28).

 

e. We have eternal life (1 Jn 5:11-12) and yet we seek eternal life (Gal 6:8).

 

2. We can differentiate between the salvation we have already experienced as Christians and the salvation which is yet to come by referring to the former as "initial salvation" and the latter as "final salvation."  Below, on the left side of the page, you will find some of the characteristics of initial salvation.  On the right side you will find characteristics of final salvation. 

 

 

Initial Salvation

Final Salvation

First fruits of the Holy Spirit (Rom 8:23)

Further outpouring of Spirit

Remain in weak, mortal bodies (Phil 3:21)

Glorious new bodies (Phil 3:21)

Sends us into tribulation (Acts 14:22)

Brings an end to all sorrow (Reb 21:4)

Power & authority to overcome Satan (Lk 10:19)

Satan defeated forever (Rev 20:10)

Absent from the Lord (2 Cor 5:6)

With the Lord forever (1 Thess 4:16-17)

Power to heal the sick (Mk 16:18)

No more sickness forever (Rev 21:4)

Will die (Heb 9:27)

Will live forever (Jn 3:16)

 

3. The Bible likens the Christian life to the deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt (1 Cor 10:1-11 and Heb 3:7 - 4:6).  They were delivered from bondage to the Egyptians, but did not immediately enter the Promised Land.  In fact, most of them never did (1 Cor 10:5).  In much the same way we have been brought out from under the dominion of Satan and delivered from bondage to lifestyles which displeased God.  Yet we also must continue to follow God in order to obtain that for which He brought us out.

 

4. It is tragic that most of the Israelites failed to reach the Promised Land, for God's love and help were available to them all.  His love and help are available to us as well today.  He still reaches out in love to all in His desire to deliver and preserve all people.  If we follow Him and continue to follow Him we will obtain these things.  We need never fail.

 

4. Salvation: How to gain Initial Salvation

A. Repentance

1. John the Baptist preached a message of repentance -- Mt 3:2

 

2. Jesus preached a message of repentance -- Mat 4:17; Lk 13:1-5

 

3. The apostles preached a message of repentance -- Act 2:37-38

 

4. God commands everyone to repent -- Acts 17:30.

     

5. Salvation involves a changed life --  1 Cor 6:9-11;  see also 2 Cor 5:17

Repentance is more than being sorry for sin.  Repentance means to 'turn around.'  A truly repentant person is committed to allowing the Lord to bring change into his life.

 

B. Faith in Christ

1. To be saved one must have faith in Christ (Mk 16:16; Rom 10:9

 

2. Baptism

a. In the New Testament people typically placed their faith in Christ by being identified with Him in baptism.  Because of this, baptism is said to save people (Mk 16:16 and 1 Pete 3:21).  and to wash away sins (Acts 22:16).

 

 

b. However, it was not the outward contact with water which saved.  It was the person's inner response to God which brought deliverance from his sins (1 Peter 3:21 and Col 2:12).

 

c. In New Testament times to reject Christian baptism was to reject Christ.  However, when unusual circumstances made baptism impossible, God saved people apart from baptism (Lk 23:39-43Acts 10:44-47).  This is because salvation is not based on an outward ritual, but upon an inner reliance on Christ.

 

d. Baptism is done out of obedience to demonstrate the reality of salvation which has taken place in the life of the new believer.

 

3. Salvation is not based on human effort -- Titus 3:4-5

a. God counts as righteous people whose works had been evil -- Rom 4:5

 

b. The letters of the New Testament are filled with references to justification by faith:

Rom 3:30;  5:1;  9:31-32;    Gal 3:8, 24;    Eph 2:8;    Phil 3:9.

 

 

C. Submitting to Jesus as Lord and Master

1. Confessing Jesus as Lord -- Rom 10:9

This does not simply refer to saying words, or repeating a sinner's prayer.  It means that a decision is made for Jesus to be the Master of your life.  You are no longer in charge; He is.

 

2. Taking up your cross -- Lk 9:23-26

Jesus says that we are lost if we do not deny ourselves.  If we try to save our life -- by pursuing our own ways -- we will lose it in the end.  But, if we give up our life completely, we will find that we truly have life, and are saved.

 

5. Salvation: Obtaining Final Salvation

A. Continued Repentance

1. The Corinthians:  1 Cor 6:9-11

The Corinthian church had become deeply involved in sin and the apostle was warning them that if they continued in this way they would not inherit God's Kingdom, but would fall short of final salvation.  They had been saved, but over time there was no evidence of their commitment to a changed life.

 

2. We find a similar warning in Gal 5:19-21.

 

3. In Eph 5:3-7 we read yet another warning about maintaining our repentance.

a. We are warned here that these types of people will not inherit God's Kingdom.  The apostle tells us not to be deceived concerning this.  Whoever tells us we can live as we please and still achieve final salvation is not telling us the truth, but is speaking "empty words."

 

b. Becoming a Christian does not free us to sin without consequences.  To think so is to be deceived.  Whoever involves himself in the lifestyles which are spoken of in the above passages (as well as those listed in Rev 21:8, 27) will suffer eternal condemnation.  On the other hand, those who persist in saying no to ungodliness (Titus 2:12) will inherit eternal life.

 

B. Enduring Faith

1. The parable of the Sower -- Lk 8:11-15

Jesus spoke of people who believed for awhile.  However, when hard times come these same people fall away.  Such people will not achieve final salvation, even though they had once qualified for initial salvation.  Faith must be maintained in order to obtain final salvation.

 

2. We are kept by the power of God through faith (1 Peter 1:5).  However if we stop believing in Christ we will no longer be kept by God's power.

 

3. Continue in the faith -- Read Col 1:21-23.

 

4. The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy and told him to "lay hold on eternal life"  (1 Tim 6:12). 

 

5. Our faith in Christ will grow as our knowledge of Him grows.

This knowledge of Christ is best gained through obedience to His commands, for as we obey Christ He reveals Himself to us (Jn 14:21).  The more of Jesus we see the more confident we will be in Him.  Our faith will be strong and will secure for us our eternal salvation.

 

C. Good Works

1. While works have nothing to do with initial salvation (Rom 4:5), they have much to do with final salvation (Jam 2:14).

 

2. The Bible speaks of good works which will help to obtain final salvation.  Some of these passages include: Gal 6:7-10; 2 Pet 1:5-11.

 

3. Works will be important at The final judgment (Mat 25:31-46;  Rev 20:12-15).  From the passage in Matthew, consider these questions:

a. What is the basis for the separation of the "goats" and "sheep"?

 

b. What did the "sheep" do to inherit eternal life?

 

c. What did the "goats" do to bring on themselves condemnation from God?

 

4. Important:  The works of which we speak are not things which are separate from faith.  They are actions which spring forth from our faith.  They are proof of the genuineness of our faith.

We see in Hebrews 11 many great deeds which were done by faith.  Faith is always working, if it is alive (Jam 2:17-26).  The faith that God honors works through love (Gal 5:6).

 

6. Proclaiming Salvation

A. How does God choose to save people?

 

"For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe." -- 1 Cor 1:21

 

B. Jesus has made provision for all to be saved, and anyone can receive this through faith.  Yet, how will people have faith? see Rom 10:14

 

C. God has ordained that salvation should be made known by people telling other people about it.  See the following:  1 Thess 2:16 ; 2 Cor 5:19 -- 6:1

 

D. The message of Christ has the power to save those who believe it  -- Rom 1:16

 

E. God has made salvation available to all people, and He desires all to be saved (1 Tim 2:4;  2 Pet 3:9).  But what is still lacking for people to be saved? -- see Col 1:24

 

 

F. God has commissioned His Church to tell the world of the salvation which He freely offers to all.

1. Make disciples of all nations -- Matt 28:19

 

2. Preach the gospel to all creation  --  Mk 16:15

 

3. Repentance and remission of sins to be preached to all nations -- Lk 24:47-49

 

4. Be witnesses to the ends of the earth  --  Acts 1:8

 

G. Making the Gospel attractive to people -- Titus 2:10

The Gospel is attractive, for it is the best possible thing for every person in the world.  However, most of the time people do not recognize this, and so we have to show how appealing it is in truth.  Consider what the following scriptures say about how to make the Gospel attractive:

1. 1 Cor 9:19-22

2. Col 4:6

3. 2 Tim 2:24-26

4. Titus 2:9-10

5. 1 Peter 2:11-12

6. 1 Peter 3:1-2

7. 1 Thess 4:11-12

 

 

God believes people are so valuable that He surrendered His only Son for them.  To God, each person you meet is worth the death of Jesus.  Let us also reflect this great value which God places upon people -- by word and deed -- as we share God's message of hope with them.

 

 

Making it Personal:

·      How can your life reveal more of God's love for people, and the value He puts on them?

·      What could you do in order to make the gospel more attractive to other people?

 

Part Three

 

1. Revision:

 

Discussion Groups:

Revise the material in this course together.  Ask one another the following questions (and more if you want to come up with your own).  Try to answer as many as possible without looking in your notes.

 

1. What is noble about man?

 

2. What is weak about man?

 

3. What is the devil's character:

 

4. What is Satan's primary goal for you?

 

5. Who does the devil influence?

 

6. How can a person overcome the devil?

 

7. What are two different ways sin is described in the Bible?

 

8. What is the primary effect of sin?

 

9. What did you learn about how to overcome sin?

 

10. What do we need to do when we do sin?

 

11. What is the difference between initial and final salvation?

 

12. What 3 things are necessary to become born again (initial salvation)?

 

13. How has God chosen to bring salvation to people?

 

 

2. Questions:

Ask questions that you wrote down during the month as you studied the material, or any other question you may have.