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Foundations of Faith

Practical Lessons for New Christians

 

Leadership Empowerment School of Ministry

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

 

Part One:  The Christian Life

 

 

Chapter One --The New Life

 

The Story of Salvation

1. God created man to have pure communion with him.

In order to have a pure communion with God, man had to be given a choice. With his own mind and heart, man was allowed to either serve God or serve himself (Gen. 2:15-17).

 

2. Man sinned, breaking that communion. – Gen 3;  Rom 3:23

A. Man chose to reject God and to go his own way.

 

B. Man no longer lived in oneness with God. 

 

C. Man was cast out of the perfect garden -- Gen 3:23.

 

3. Man's sin results in his death -- Gen 2:16-17; Rom 6:23

*This death can be seen in three ways:

1. Man's spiritual death -- Eph 2:1, 2

Man's sin results in a state of spiritual death.  Although he may be physically alive, his relationship with God (originally meant to be a living means of pure communion) is now spiritually dead.

 

2. Man's physical death -- Heb 9:27

 

3. Man's eternal death -- Rev 21:8.

When man's physical life ends, his spiritual death will carry him into the judgment of an eternal separation from God.

 

4. God sent His Son as the sacrifice for sin -- 1 Peter 2:24-25.

A. Although man could not save himself, God could save him.

Jesus paid the price for man so that man could be free to know, love, and serve God -- 2 Cor 5:21.

 

B. The work of Jesus can be seen in many ways:

1. He "bought you back" and paid the price through his death on the cross.  (Gal 3:13)

 

2. He appeased God's wrath by His sacrifice. (Rom 5:9)

 

3. He, being the Son of God, was able to suffer your penalty so that you might escape it.  (Matt 20:28)

 

5. After His death, Jesus  rose again and is alive today.

Jesus' resurrection assures us that we will also live forever, and that we can live a new life now -- Rom 6:4-11; 1 Cor  5:12-19.

 

Getting Saved:  John 3:16-17

When you accepted Jesus Christ into your life, you entered into an eternal relationship with God where, one day, that pure communion will be restored.

 

1. God's grace saves -- Eph 2:8

Salvation is a God-centered event!  To understand salvation and all that it has to offer, you must begin with the foundational truth that it was God who brought about the plan of salvation.

 

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith -- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God --  not by works, so that no one can boast.  -- Ephesians 2:8-9

 

2. The role of your faith in salvation.

A. You are saved by God's grace, not by your faith.

Faith is the way you receive God's grace.  It is not what saves you, but you cannot be saved without it.

 

B. Trusting God

We receive salvation when we simply trust God for it.  When we trust in anything else (our own efforts, the faith of someone else,…) we do not truly have faith in God.

 

C. What does it mean "to believe?"

The Bible teaches that man's role in salvation is one of faith.  This faith in Christ for salvation includes two areas:

 

1. Repentance -- Acts 3:19

Repent means to turn around; to change directions.  At some time in life, through the work of God's Spirit, people realize that they should be living a life which draws them closer to God.  As a result of this, they turn around and begin to travel in the right direction.  This is true repentance -- realizing that you are a sinner going the wrong way, thus turning around and beginning to go the right way.  This point of turning only occurs if man can believe in Jesus and realize that only through Him does one draw close to God.

 

2. Lordship -- Rom 10:9, 2 Cor 5:15

a. To believe in Jesus as the Savior on the cross is only half the decision.  You are called upon to make Him Lord of your life.  He must to rule over every part of your life.

 

b. This is not to say that if you fail then you are not saved.  Remember that your salvation continues each day by His grace, not by your works.

 

c. Rom 7:14-25.  Many believers feel that after having repented and having made Jesus Lord of their lives, if they do something wrong they must "get saved" all over again.  However, the Bible teaches that the Christian life is not free from sinful acts.  As a follower of Jesus, you should be fully committed to obeying God in everything, but salvation does not depend upon your ability to be a perfect person.  Your salvation is based on God's grace.  Your response to that grace is to obey Him.

 

d. God sees your heart!

 

3. Knowing You are Saved. .              

*Reasons why you might doubt your salvation.

1. "I do not feel saved."

a. Assurance -  Salvation is not a feeling -- it is a fact!

 

b. There will be valleys as well as mountains to journey through in your life.  Through life's ups and downs, realize that your salvation is a fact created by Almighty God, and stand firm on His word and His promises.

 

2. "I am still sinning."

a. Assurance --  Accepting Christ does not result in a life free from sin

 

b. Understand that God's grace is not 'cheap' (Heb 10:28-31). It cost His Son's life, yet it is there for you when you fail Him.  You should try to live your life after the pattern of Christ's.  But if you fail, it does not mean a loss of salvation.  Instead, it reveals all the more your need for God's loving grace and mercy.

 

4. The Result of Salvation

A. For the future: salvation from penalty of sin -- 1 John 5:11-12; John 5:24.

Man, with faith in Jesus Christ, begins a new life -- confident that the sins of the past will not condemn him at judgment and that he will spend an eternity in a pure communion with God.

 

B. For today: salvation from power of sin -- Gal 5:16; Rom 6:5-14

1. Believers still struggle with sin, but God has made us able to overcome

 

2. This deliverance from the power of sin comes from the Holy Spirit entering your life.             

 

3. Too often Christians have seen salvation only as something for the future.  However, although the complete fullness of salvation will not come until the future, there are many elements of salvation that can be applied to life today.

 

Discussion Groups:

·      Discuss what you do when you lead people to Christ.  What is very important for them to know when they make the decision to get saved?

·      Is it important to tell them about the role of God's grace and their faith?  Why or why not?

·      Is it important for them to understand about repentance and submitting to the Lordship of Jesus?  Why or why not?

·      Think about how you usually lead people to salvation.  Is there anything you can do to improve in this from now on?

 

Chapter Two -- Talking with God

 

The Meaning of Prayer

Rev 3:20 -- The word 'dwell' is important in defining prayer.  You are in God's presence and there is a flow of love and communion.

 

The Purpose of Prayer

The purpose of prayer can best be understood in these two categories: spiritual growth and ministry.

 

1. Prayer in spiritual growth: allowing God to work IN you.

A. Receive from God in prayer -- John 14:13–14; 16:23–24.

He will fill you with love for your enemies, wisdom for life, and joy and peace that comes only from Him.

 

B. Give to God in prayer -- Heb 5:7-9.

During His life on earth, Christ maintained a constant prayer link with God.  Through Jesus' prayers you learn of what you can give to God in your own prayer.  This leads to spiritual growth.

 

2. Prayer in Ministry: allowing God to Work THROUGH you.

A. Prayer is the way through which God chooses to work.  He wants your prayers to help His kingdom go forth in power (Mat 5:10).

 

B. People of God in the Bible used the power of prayer to advance God's Kingdom, not to satisfy personal desires

1. The apostles' prayer -- Acts 4:29-31

a. They did not pray for personal protection or vengeance

b. They prayed for boldness in speaking God's Word

 

2. Paul's prayer request -- Col 4:2-4

a. He did not pray for release from prison

b. That he would speak God's Word as he ought

 

C. God tells us to ask in order to receive -- James 4:2

 

WITHOUT prayer there can be NO MINISTRY

WITH prayer there can be NO LIMIT TO MINISTRY!

PRAYER is MINISTRY!!

 

Attitude In Prayer

1. God looks at motives -- James 4:3

 

2. Know that prayer is powerful!  -- James 5:16-18

 

3. Pray according to God's will -- 1 John 5:14.

 

4. Fill your prayers with thankfulness, not just in words, but as part of your character -- Phil 4:4-6.

 

5. Be honest -- Ps 13

 

6. Be bold without being arrogant, knowing this is God's will -- Gen 18:22-33 and 1 Chron 17:16-27

 

7. Be patient and faithful.  Do not give up, or allow circumstance to bring you down -- Rom 12:12; Lk 18:1-8

Do not demand that God work according to your timing.  His timing is perfect.

 

Chapter Three --  The Victorious Christian

 

The Daily Life of Victory

The life of victory can be examined in numerous ways.  In a general sense, victory in the life of a Christian can be defined as walking in perfect and pure communion with God.  Only one thing interferes with your life of victory, and that is sin.  Read Deut 30:15-20.

 

Sin entered the world as a result of man's choice to seek after his own life rather than to follow God .  Sin destroyed the purpose for which man was created.  The opportunity to sin comes in the form of temptation. The goal of temptation is to entice man into performing sinful acts.

 

Sin is a part of man. It invades every aspect of man's life.  Society exists and develops in a sinful state.  When you entered into a covenant relationship with God through the blood of Jesus Christ, you were made into a new creation.  Born again!  Yet sin still exists in your life. How can one be saved and live a victorious life with God while still sinning? The life of victory is a life that strives to walk in communion with God and overcome sin.  In order to overcome sin in your life it is necessary to realize your situation.

 

Defeating Sin

1. Jesus Lifts Sinner Above Sin

A. Separates sin from sinner

Old Testament vs New Testament

 

B. Woman caught in adultery:  Jn 8:1-11

1. Women of God do not behave that way

 

2. We are better than the sin we do.  Do not think of someone as only an adulteress or only a thief or only a liar.  The person was created in the image of God, and they are better than that sin.

 

3. Guilt pushes people deeper into sin

 

4. The woman leaves trusting in Jesus' ability to help her.  Jesus had seen past her sin, and had given her hope that she could rise above it.  What fear and self-hatred and guilt could not do, Jesus did by separating the sinner from the sin.  He showed the woman she was better than her sin.

 

C. Zacchaeus:  Luk 19:1-9

Zacchaeus changed:  encounter with Jesus lifted him

 

Class Discussion:

What led Zacchaeus to repent?

How can that be applied to your ministry today?

 

2. Sin:  Meeting real needs in wrong ways

A. Needs are real:  eating, belonging, security, being loved,…

 

B. God created us to need

 

C. Devil wants you to meet needs his way rather than in God

 

D. Sin often is our (wrong) answer to the problems we face

 

3. Temptation

A. Temptation keeps us dependent upon God

 

B. Every temptation is an opportunity to do good

The devil uses temptation to try to destroy you.  However, God can turn it around and use it develop the character of Christ in you.  God does not tempt you to sin (Jam 1:13-14).  However, he can use for good what the devil intends for harm.  Every time you choose to do good instead of sin, you are growing in the character of Christ.

 

C. Four steps temptation often follows  (Gen 3:1-7)

1. Satan identifies a desire within you – Jam 1:14, 4:1

It may be a good one (to be valued, to have pleasure, to eat,…) or evil (revenge, to control others,…).   Temptation begins in your mind, not in circumstances (Mk 7:21-23).

 

2. The enemy gets you to doubt God

"Watch out!  Do not let evil thoughts or doubts make any of you turn from the living God." – Heb 3:12

 

The devil wants you to believe that God is withholding something good or necessary from you.

 

3. You become deceived – Rom 7:11;  2 Cor 11:3

"Take heed to yourselves, lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them" – Deut 11:16

 

The devil makes you believe such lies as:

¨        It is only a small sin – it does not really matter

¨        Everyone is doing it.  It is ok.

¨        Nobody will ever know

¨        It will solve your problem

 

4. Finally, you disobey – Duet 30:17

This is the actual act of sin – but notice that it began in your mind.

 

4. Overcoming Sin:

A. Acknowledge your need for God & ask Him for help

Ps 50:15;  Heb 4:14-16;  Lk 22:40

1. It is only by God's power that we can defeat sin. 

See Tit 2:11-14;  Gal 5:16

 

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

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

 

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

 

B. Recognize how you are tempted, and be prepared 1 Pet 5:8.

1. Ask yourself:

a. When am I most tempted?

b. Where am I most tempted?

c. Who am I with when I am most tempted?

d. How do I feel when I am most tempted?  (tired, alone, depressed, under stress,…)

 

2. Avoid these situations as much as possible – Prov 16:17

"Do not give the devil a chance." – Eph 4:27

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. Know Jesus has the answer. There is a way out - 1 Cor 10:12-13

1. The answer for one person is different than for another.

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.

 

2. Know that this is a battle, and be ever wary

1 Pe 2:11;  Rom 7:14-25

 

3. Know that you are vulnerable to temptation

1 Cor 10:12; Jer 17:9

 

D. When tempted, focus attention on something else

1. "Keep me from paying attention to what is worthless."- Ps 119:37

 

2. Sinful or tempting thoughts will come.  The more you try to fight against them, the more they will be there (Rom 7:7-11).  Instead, begin thinking about something else. -- Phil 4:8;  2 Cor 10:5

 

E. Reveal your struggle to a godly friend – Jam 5:16

Do not allow spiritual pride keep you from doing what is necessary to overcome sin.  Do not conceal it; reveal it.

 

F. Resist the devil using Scripture (Lk 4:1-13).  Memorize it.

 

G. 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.

 

H. Hunger for righteousness -- Mat 5:6

1. Desire God more than you desire sin

2. Take up cross daily -- Lk 9:23

 

 

Chapter Four --  Stewardship

 

The Meaning of Stewardship

The word steward means "the manager of a household or estate not his own."  It is important to note that a steward is not an owner, but rather, a manager on behalf of an owner. He oversees possessions that do not belong to him.

 

God's Word Teaches Us about Money.

Is our Heavenly Father concerned with money?  We can be sure that He is, because He provides so much guidance about it in His Word. He cares how we earn money, how we manage it, and how we spend it.

 

1. God Owns All the Money.

A. Haggai 2:8 -- Every piece of silver and gold is the Lord's.

 

B. Deut 8:18 -- It is God who gives the ability to earn money

This is important for us to remember, both when we give and when we receive.  Since all the wealth really belongs to God, we freely offer Him what He asks of us and trust Him to provide for us when we are in need.

 

2. God's Way to Get Money

God has a very practical plan for how we should acquire money.  It is so practical that people often miss it in their attempts to spiritualize things.  He does not  rain down money from heaven in response to our prayers.  How does he want us to get money? He wants us to. . . WORK.

·      Proverbs 6:6-8

·      Proverbs 14:23

·      Proverbs 20:4

·      2 Thess 3:10-13

·      1 Timothy 5:8

 

Of course, if a person is truly unable to work, God has made provisions.  He inspires people to reach out to the poor and needy.  He is merciful and loving.  Even in the Old Testament we see Him telling farmers to leave some crops in the field, to be gathered and taken by the poor (Lev 19:9-10;  Ruth 2:2-3).

 

3. God's Way to Give Money Away

A. God's Word tells us to never love money. A wrong desire leads to evil -- 1 Tim 6:10, Eccl 5:10-11.

 

B. We need to give in response to God's command, in response to His love -- 1 Cor 16:2, Acts 11:27-29

 

C. God also wants us to tithe.

We need to set aside a part of our income for the work of the Lord.  Since all the resources belong to Him, and we are merely stewards, it is natural for us to give to Him.  Our tithe goes to the work of the ministry -- spreading God's Word and providing for His people.

 

1. Malachi 3:10.

 

2. Genesis 14:20 -- Abraham gave his tithe to Melchizedek before the Law was given to Moses.  His motives were love and gratitude to the Lord.  We, too should give out of a cheerful, loving heart.

 

Action Steps:

·       Evaluate your life as a 'steward' of what God has given you.

 

·       What is the most difficult part about giving for you?

 

·       What steps could you take to be a better steward of what you have right now?  Write down some specific ideas:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Five -- Running the Race

 

How to Run the Race

It is important that you realize that regardless of who you are, where you are from, or what you have done, God has a plan for your life.  It is also natural to ask, "What is the plan that God has for my life?"

 

1. How Does God Lead Us?

A. Knowing His general will, as seen in the Bible

God's general will is what He wants for all believers, and is revealed for us in the Bible.  Any specific guidance we receive will be in line with this general will.

 

B. Life circumstances

Sometimes God leads us through things that happen in life.  However, it is important to realize that not everything that happens is because God is doing it.  Many things are the result of the free choices people make, or even the work of the devil.  Sometimes God leads us to go against what our circumstances seem to be telling us.

 

C. Inner voice

God sometimes leads us through a "still, small voice" from within (1 Ki 19:11-13).  We often look for something big, but all the while He is speaking in a very quiet way, such that we have to pay close attention to get the message.

 

D. Dreams / visions

If you have a dream or vision that you believe is from the Lord, seek Him concerning the meaning.  If it is a message from Him, He will make the meaning clear in time.

 

E. Peace (or the lack of it)

When seeking guidance for an issue, we may not hear anything from the Lord.  However, as we continue to move forward we may feel a lack of peace within.  This is often how the Lord is telling us that what we are doing is not what He wants.  On the other hand, if we do feel at peace as we continue to seek Him, we are probably in His will.

 

F. Other people

The Lord also speaks to us through His servants.  However, we must be careful.  If someone tells you he has a message for you from the Lord, do not accept it unless you feel the Spirit within you confirming that it is so.

 

2. Knowing God's Will for Your Life

Certain guidelines can be understood to help you discover God's will for your life.  Here are some of those guidelines:

 

A. Believe that God speaks – Jn 10:1-4

 

B. Trust that God is leading you – Prov 3:5-6;  Jam 1:5-8

Sometimes we do not feel God leading us, but we must believe He is by faith.  We often have to pray, and then make a decision based on what we know from God's Word and what seems best.  We trust that God will intervene if we are making a bad choice.  See Acts 16:6-10.

 

C. Be always allowing God to transform you and make you like Jesus – Rom 12:1-2

1. The closer we walk with Jesus, the more we will become like Him, and the easier it will be to know His will.  We must be continually allowing the Lord to change the way we think about life.

 

2. In order to be led by God, we must first submit to Him.  We cannot first hear what He says, and then decide to follow or not.  We first submit without knowing what He will say, because we trust Him.

 

D. Obey what you do know

1. Be obedient to the commands we already have in the Scriptures – His general will for all believers (love one another, give, be thankful, make disciples,...)

 

2. Obey what He has revealed to you, even if you do not know the whole picture.  Abraham did not know where he was going, but he obeyed when God told him to leave where he was (Heb 11:8).

 

E. Be patient.

 

F. Be willing to be corrected

If you make a mistake in hearing from God, be humble enough to allow someone to correct you.  None of us is perfect, and none of us always hears right.

 

This list does not include everything we can know about God's will, but it can serve as a guide.

 

3. Misconceptions Concerning God's Will.

A. "Everything is going great. I must be in God's will."

Living a life of ease without problems or stress does not necessarily mean that you are walking in God's will.  Often it means the exact opposite.  Following God's will brings fulfillment and inner joy to Christians, but it does not mean life is easy.  See Amos 6:4-7.

 

B. Missing God's will one time does not mean that you will forever miss God's best for your life and ministry

There is the possibility that you will miss God's will at some point in your life.  When that occurs, you simply get back on the path and continue your daily walk with Him.  God forgives and continues working His perfect will in your life.  You must strive for that same goal.

 

4. The Result of Running The Race

The following passage comes from 2 Tim 4:7-8, which Paul wrote shortly before he was to die.  He knew that his time was short and wrote this final charge to Timothy... and to you.  Hopefully when you reach this point in life, you will be able to speak these same words.

 

"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award me on that day -- and not only me, but also to all who have longed for His appearing."

 

 

Action StepsWrite down two or three specific things you will do in your life as a result of this teaching so far:

 

1

 

2

 

3

 

Part Two:  Spiritual Foundations

 

Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. -- Heb 6:1-2

 

Chapter 1 -- Repentance

 

Introduction

Repentance defined:  To turn around;  to change your mind

1. Sorry for wrong-doing

2. Determination to change

 

1. Lifestyle

A. Daily need

 

B. We all do battle with sin:  Rom 7:14-25

 

2. How to Repent

A. Pray for God to reveal sin:  Ps 139:23-24.

1. Not all sin is obvious to us

2. Sin easier to recognize in others

3. Be patient and wait:  He will reveal

 

B. Return with all your heart:  Jam 4:8-10

*  Need to be serious -- this is a serious matter

 

C. Bear fruit worthy of repentance:  Luk 3:7-14

1. This does not mean that these works save you

2. Behaviors testify of what happened within -- turned from sin

 

3. What God Does

A. Draws near to you:  Jam 4:8

 

B. Cleanses you:  Eze 18:31-32,  Isa 1:18,  I Jn 1:9

No condemnation:  Rom 8:1

 

C. Repentance does not always mean there are no bad consequences:  2 Sam 12:11-14

 

4. Attitude of Repentance

A. Poor in spirit:  Matt 5:3

1. Spiritual beggar

 

2. Example of the prophet Isaiah:  Isa 6:1-8

 

3. Put no trust in yourself

 

4. Pharisee & tax collector:  Luk 18:9-14

 

B. Be honest

1. Adam and Eve attempted to deceive God and cover up their sin:  Gen 3:7-9

 

2. God knows your sin --  be very honest.

Be willing to admit to God that you cannot overcome the sin by yourself.  Tell Him that without His help you know you will fall.  In fact, you will do more and more wrong things unless He helps you.

 

C. Hunger for Righteousness:  Matt 5:6

1. To hunger is to have a very strong desire for something.

 

2. Loving God more than sin

 

3. Paul:  Phil 3:4-11

 

4. David:  Ps 51

 

5. Pursue God

a. Seek first His Kingdom:  Matt 6:33

b. Daily, deliberate laying down your life:  Luk 9:23

"...deny himself and take up his cross daily..."

 

6. Choose to feed spirit;  starve flesh

Increase the influence of Jesus in your life

 

Chapter 2 -- Faith

 

The Daily Life of Faith

Romans 4:18-21 -- In this letter to Christians in Rome, Paul uses Abraham as an illustration of faith.  He discusses some of the characteristics of Abraham's faith.  Knowing these characteristics will help you better understand what is involved in a life of faith.

 

1. Knowledge

When you decide to trust someone, you do it based on what you know of that person.  If a stranger asks you for a loan of a day's wages, you are probably not going to trust him with the loan since you do not know him  However, if a close friend (who has previously borrowed and paid back loans) asks for the same loan, you may lend him the money since you know him and can rely on his word.  Abraham was "fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had  promised" (Rom 4:21). 

 

2. Obedience

Abraham, by no means a perfect follower of God's commands, obeyed God's Word.  He is well known for how he packed up his bags and family and traveled to Canaan in obedience to God's Word.  It is important to note that in Abraham's journey God did not reveal all the details of what was to happen.  Abraham probably had many unanswered questions; nevertheless, he stepped out in faith and obeyed what God had revealed to him.  Sometimes Christians demand a full accounting from God before they will take the first step.  God wants you to trust Him.  Even when you do not have all the details, you must still obey the directions which He has revealed to you.  Learn to trust Him even when you have questions concerning His will for your life.

 

3. Hope

A divine hope is one that is rooted in God and His Word.  Based on your knowledge of God's will for your life, you are able to obey Him, because you have a hope that is rooted in Him.  "Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed" (Romans 4:18).  This verse is not a contradiction, but rather reveals the difference between earthly and divine hope.  Abraham had no earthly hope of having a son since he and his wife were very old, yet he had divine hope.  He knew that, through his understanding and obedience to God, God was able to do all things.

 

Hope is a key element in faith.  Many Christians base their faith on an earthly hope by looking at the situation through earthly eyes.  Realize that God is able to do all that He has promised.  See your daily life of faith through God's eyes, and you will have a divine hope.

 

4. Faithfulness

It is easy to trust God and live the daily life of faith when everything is working as you think it should.  However, being faithful to God becomes much more difficult when you face trials or challenging situations in your life. 

 

Christians are often very impatient with God, and many times when God does not work according to their time schedule, they do not remain faithful.  Abraham was known for his great faithfulness to God.  He "did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God" (Rom 4:20).  He waited more than thirty years for God to give him a son.  During that time he remained faithful to God and believed God would be faithful to him.

 

Faithfulness is a key element in faith.  Your daily walk of faith is just that: a daily walk. Even when the circumstances of life seem to pull you in other directions, remain faithful to God, for God is always faithful to His Word, and to you.

 

Faith:  Works Filled with Faith

Introduction

Heb 6:1:  Works that lead to death vs works that are of faith

*  Works filled with death / works filled with faith

 

1. Add Faith to all We Do

A. Whatever not of faith is sin -- Rom 14:23

 

B. Christianity has principles, but is more than principles.  For example:

1. Finances:  giving

a. Add faith -- we trust in God, so we give

 

b. Seek God about spending; business

 

2. Marriage:  More than doing the right thing; 

 

2. Need More Than We Can Do

We need to recognize that we need something beyond what we can do.  A believer from a previous century named brother Lawrence wrote that he did all that he did for the love of God.  Whatever work or activity he was involved with, he made an effort to focus on doing it for the love of God.  This brought God into his daily life, and it gave meaning to all he did.

 

3. Do Everything in Faith – For the love of Jesus

A. Praying, doing good, loving wife, serving church,,...

 

B. Acts prompted by faith:  2 Thess 1:11

Why do you do what you do?  (Bible, prayer, service,...)

 

1. Dead works are ones that are motivated by:

a. fear

b. self-righteousness

c. guilt

d. earn God's favor

 

2. Look beyond actual deeds:  Bring God in

a. Increase Jesus' influence in you

b. In fellowship -- leave imprint of Jesus

c. In raising kids -- God is forming them

 

Faith:  Submission

1. Out of Control

A. Trying to control situations is more like witchcraft.

 

B. Biblical faith -- giving control to Almighty God

 

2. Jesus and the Storm:  Matthew 8:23-27

A. Faith to sleep greater than faith to rebuke -- lack of concern

*  No power to rebuke without faith to sleep

 

B. Not dependent on circumstances

1. Faith in God, not in circumstances changing

* Weak faith depends on circumstances

 

2. If someone not healed; if do not get the job, etc... then we can still have faith.  True faith is not weakened when we do not get what we ask for.  True faith is in God and His wisdom and His goodness, not on what He does for us.

 

3. Failure to attain what is desired does not weaken faith

*  ex.  David:  2 Sam 12:15-23

 

3. Abandoning to God

A. Put yourself in situations where without God you will fail. 

 

B. True faith is not afraid of the possibility of failure.

 

C. Giving control to God

1. Esther:  Esther 4:16

 

2. Job: "Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him." Job 13:15

 

3. God gives desires of heart if we delight in Him --  Ps 37:1-4

 

4. Jesus in Gethsemane:  Matt 26:36-44

a. God's will supreme importance

b. May look like you lose sometimes in some situations, but in the end we all win!

 

4. Suffering

A. Faith does not keep us from suffering:

*  Can lead us into it!  Rom 8:17; Php 3:10

 

B. Giving up control is not always comfortable

 

C. Joseph:  Heb 11:22,  Gen 37 -- 41

1. Sold as slave, put in prison for years!

*  Faith in God kept him from sinning with Potiphar's wife

 

2. Joseph may have thought, "This couldn't be God!  What about my dream?"

*  God wants us to be concerned with how we live.  He will take care of everything else.

 

D. Table in the presence of enemies:  Ps 23:4-5

 

5. Faith to Decrease

A. John the Baptist:  John 3:27-30

 

B. God searching for people with this kind of faith

1. Not shrinking back from suffering

2. Trust God with everything

3. "Whatever" -- decrease, increase, win, lose, succeed, fail

 

6. Conclusion

A. Trusting God brings peace in trouble

 

B. Trusting God gives us even enough strength to suffer and fall

 

C. Trusting God is abandoning our will entirely into His -- the most exciting, fulfilling way to live life

 

Victorious Faith

1. Introduction

A. There are two extremes in faith:

1. Try to control God

2. Not do anything  ("God is sovereign;  Whatever will be will be")

 

B. Faith that rests in God's authority

1. Builds His Kingdom

2. Overcomes evil

 

C. Submitting faith must come first

 

D. Faith defined:  Heb 11

 

2. Faith in Daily Living

A. Faith often seen as displayed by pastor, evangelist,...

1. Ministers can be guilty of not showing how it works in everyday life.  We need to not simply exercise faith on the behalf of people, but we need to actually help them to be able to put it into practice in their own lives.

 

2. Faith does not need to look the same all the time.  Faith is not in a certain style of praying or certain lines to say or even Scriptures to quote.  Faith is trusting God.

 

B. Encourage believers to take risks and use their authority in work, school, home,...

 

C. God will use each in a unique way

1. Peter and 'shadow-healing';  Paul and the use of prayer handkerchiefs

 

2. Jesus spitting to heal

 

3. Faith in God, not in methods

 

3. Delayed Answers

A. Be persistent

1. Widow and unjust judge:  Luk 18:1-8

 

2. Friend at midnight:  Lk 11:5-13

 

3. Faith tested in delays -- so stand firm!

 

4. Jacob wrestled with God:  Gen 32:22-30

a. hold on and refuse to let go

b. not fighting against God, but standing with Him

 

5. ex.  Praying for the salvation of loved ones

B. Continue to believe God is at work – right now!

1. not based on feelings

 

2. not based on circumstances

 

C. God is faithful, even when you are not:  2 Tim 2:13

 

4. Power:  Jesus Responds to Faith

A. Lk 8:43:  Woman with issue of blood who touched Jesus' robe. He said, "your faith has healed you."

 

B. Mt 9:27:  Two blind men came to Jesus, asking to be healed.  He touched them, saying, "According to your faith will it be done to you."  And their sight was given.

 

C. Lk 5:18:  Some people brought their friend who was paralyzed to Jesus.  There were so many people that they had to let him down through the roof of the house.  The Bible says, "When Jesus saw their faith, He said, 'Friend, your sins are forgiven.'"  Afterwards he also healed him.

 

D. Lk 7:2:  A centurion asked Jesus to heal his servant, but said He did not need to go to the house, but could just speak the Word.  Jesus says, "I have not found such great faith, even in Israel."  And the servant was healed.

 

E. Lk 7:36:  A sinful woman came to Jesus while He was eating dinner at someone's house.  The woman washed Jesus' feet with her hair, poured perfume on his feet, and dried them with her hair.  Jesus says to her, "Your faith has saved you.  Go in peace."

 

F. Mt 15:22:  A Gentile woman came to Jesus, begging Him to deliver her demonized daughter.  At first He refused, because she was a Gentile.  But this woman persisted.  Jesus says, "Woman, you have great faith!  Your request is granted."

 

G. Mk 9:14:  A man brought his demonized son to Jesus' disciples, but they were not able to deliver him.  When Jesus came, the man begged Him to help, saying, "'If you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.'  'If you can?' said Jesus.  "Everything is possible for him who believes."  Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, 'I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief

 

H. Mk 10:46:  Blind Bartimaeus called out to Jesus, asking to receive his sight.  Jesus replies, "Your faith has healed you."

 

5. Submission Comes First

A. The expected answer does not always come

1. God's will for people is to prosper, to be whole, to be blessed

 

2. Does not happen every time to every person

 

3. Do not judge  (Job's comforters)

a. You do not know why so and so is not healed!

* sickness of Trophimus:  2 Tim 4:20

 

b. Almighty God is bigger than you!

 

4. Not 'succeeding' makes us uncomfortable, but not God

 

5. Paul's thorn:  2 Cor 12:7-10

 

B. Heroes of faith:  Heb 11:32-39

 

C. Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego:  Dan 3:1-30

 

Chapter 3 -- Baptisms

 

Baptisms:  Water -- Into Jesus

1. Need to be Baptized

A. Jesus was:  Mt 3:13-15

 

B. Jesus commands:  Mt 28:19,  Mk 16:16

 

C. Disciples did:  Acts 2:38, 8:36, 16:14

 

2. Meaning of Water Baptism:   Rom 6:1-14

Baptism is an outward display of the spiritual reality that takes place within a person

 

Baptism is immersion -- as we are immersed in water, we become immersed in Jesus

 

A. Death  (v 3)

* Free from sin (vs 6-7)

a. OT could not separate sin from sinner

b. Death ends sin's reign over us

*Die to our self -- passions, desires, reputation...

 

B. Resurrection life (vs 4-5, 8)

1. Jesus replaces all that we died to with His life

a. gives new passions, desires, dreams, reputation,...

b. resurrection life -- power: Rom 8:11

c. live in Jesus (v 8)  also see Jn 15:1-11

 

2. This is being born again, having abundant life

 

3. Notice death comes before resurrection life

 

C. Daily living out the spiritual reality (vs 11-14)

1. Death to sin (v11) past sin has no power over you:

. Rom 8:1Ps 103:12, 1Jn 1:9

a. God more faithful to forgive than you are to sin

b. Blood of Jesus cleans every stain of sin

c. Allow no place for guilt.  Guilt is not work of God, but of the accuser (devil).  Must believe God's Word.

 

2. Do not continue in sin (vs 12-14)

a. Do not need to continue sinning

(1). Death freed you -- no longer sin's slave

(2). Jesus living in you - how can you sin?

1Cor 6:15, 19-20

 

b. Sin shall not master you!

 

3. Identity in Jesus:  Children of God --  Rom 6:38:12-17

A. Identity not  based on what we do, but on who we are

1. What we do for God does not matter as much as what we allow Him to make us:  Matt 7:22-23

 

2. Position not important to God

a. We are all sinners saved by His wonderful grace

b. Ground is level at the cross

 

3. "Success" (in the eyes of the world or church) is not important to God

a. No need to prove yourself in ministry or to compete

b. Obey, and leave the outcome to Jesus

 

B. Who we are makes what we do significant

*All our work is important when done to God

 

C. Do things because we are in Christ already, not to get there

*Complete in Christ:  Col 2:10

 

D. Identity not based on feelings, but on Word

Rom 9:25-26, Gal 3:26, Eph 2:4-7

 

4. Belonging

A. Baptism is a sign of a believer joining the body of Christ.

 

B. We are called to belong, not only believe – Eph 2:19-22

 

C. We need each other – Rom 12:4-13;  1 Cor 12:14-31

 

D. We love God by loving our brethren – 1 Jn 3:14-16,  4:7-21

 

Baptisms:  Holy Spirit -- by Jesus

1. Meaning of the Baptism with the Holy Spirit

A. Holy Spirit comes at salvation:  Rom 8:9,  Jn 3:5-8

 

B. To be baptized in the Spirit is to be immersed in Him

Another way of saying the same thing is to be filled with the Spirit.  Believers are not always immersed in the Spirit (Acts 8:14-17)

 

2. What Happens

A. Power to be witnesses -- Baptism of purpose:  Acts 1:8

1. Power to live a holy life that attracts people:  Gal 5:22-25

 

2. Power to proclaim and draw people:  Acts 2:1-41

 

3. Ministry out of the overflow of the Spirit within: Jn 7:37-39

 

4. Depend on Spirit even as Jesus did:  Luk 3:22

 

B. Power through gifts of the Holy Spirit:  1 Cor 12:7-11

1. To be witnesses to Jesus, not to build your "ministry"

 

2. Spirit gives as He wills (v 11)

 

C. Does not make you better than others -- but it helps you to grow in Christian maturity

 

D. Daily experience, not a one-time event:  Eph 5:18

1. Be always being filled with the Spirit

 

2. Be under the influence of the spirit

We are sometimes under influence of pride, jealousy,...

 

3. How?

a. Constant surrender

 

b. Focus on Jesus in the midst of every situation

 

c. Continual asking

 

3. How to Receive

A. Jesus is the baptizer with the Holy Spirit:  Luk 3:16

 

B. Happens different ways:

1. Laying on of hands:  Acts 8:17, 19:6

2. Sovereign act of God:  Acts 2:1-4, 10:44-46

3. Do not worry about method

 

C. Ask and receive:  Luk 11:13

1. Sometimes dramatic, but do not count on feelings

2. Believe you have received

3. Begin to speak in tongues

 

D. Are tongues necessary?

1. Most of the time, Bible shows that they spoke in tongues

. . Mk 16:17, Acts 2:4, 19:6

2. Other times it does not say yes or no:  Acts 8:17

3. Not necessary -- but available for all

 

Baptisms:  Suffering -- of Jesus

Are you able to be baptized with the baptism of suffering I must be baptized with?   -- Mk 10:38

 

1. Some Suffering is the Experience of Every Believer

A. God is more concerned with your character than your comfort

 

B. Promised in Scripture:  Jn 16:33; Rom 8:17, 2 Tim 3:12

even sometimes in God's will:  1 Pet 4:12-19

 

C. Experienced by saints: Mk 10:39, Acts 9:16, Php 1:29

 

2. Suffering a Baptism of Character

A. Discipline: Pr 3:12,  1 Cor 11:32, Heb 12:5-11;  Rev 3:19

1. When we do wrong, He does what is needed to change us

2. Our children are disciplined when they misbehave

3. Jonah

 

B. Know Christ:  Php 3:10

 

C. Build character:  Jam 1:2-4

 

3. Suffering Because of Following God

A. Devil out to get you -- bad things happen

*Paul:  2 Cor 11:23-29

 

B. Suffering of obedience:  God telling you to do what you do not want

1. Giving up something -- relationship, job,...

2. Loving the unlovable

3. Leaving security and comfort to serve Him

4. Humbling yourself -- serving others, repenting

 

C. Suffering to minister to someone -- Col 1:24

 

4. How to Respond

A. Rejoice!  Mt 5:11, Acts 5:41; Jam 1:2-3

 

B. Submit to God -- allow Him to do His work

1. Jesus:  "Thy will be done"  Mt 26:39-42

 

2. "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away." Job 1:20-22

 

C. Remember that Jesus is walking through it with you.

1. Be comforted: He is there and He understands, for He has suffered

 

2. God does not promise no suffering -- we need to be clear with people -- but He does promise to walk through it with you:  Matt 28:20

 

Conclusion to Baptisms

1. Water Baptism:. Into Jesus

2. Baptism of Holy Spirit:.   By Jesus

3. Baptism of Suffering. Of Jesus

 

1. Water Baptism:. Identity. Makes us children of God

2. Baptism of Holy Spirit:.   Purpose. Gives us job to do

3. Baptism of Suffering. Character. Refines us

 

 

 

Chapter 4 -- Laying on of Hands

 

1. Passing on Something

A. Examples in Scripture

1. Authority:  Nu 27:18, Acts 13:3

 

2. Position:  Nu 8:10, Acts 6:6

 

3. Spiritual Gifts: Deut 34:9, Acts 19:6, 1 Tim 4:14, 2 Tim 1:6

 

4. Healing:   Lk 4:40, Mk 16:18, Acts 28:8

 

5. Blessing: Gen 48:14, Mk 10:16

 

B. God wants to get stuff to people

1. Hands one way this happens

 

2. Help may not come in form you want, but it will come

 

C. Touch people!

1. Encourage people to lay hands on others in daily lives

 

2. Focus on Jesus, not on the situation

Forget about surroundings.

 

3. Believe in God -- do not focus on results

Your name not on the line -- His is

 

4. Pray for people who do not believe

a. Temple of God is touching him

b. Touch in kindness, love, concern

 

5. Something is happening more than it seems.  There is no power in your hands, but God's power is present.

 

6. Something happening more than what you feel

a. Believe that God is doing something

b. God can move without you feeling Him:  Is 45:15, Ps 13

 

D. Heaven wants to touch earth:  God wants to be involved!

 

2. Association:  Relationships

*Ministry is

1. Touching and lifting people

a. Activities we do are not ministry

b. Ministry about people

 

2. Bringing together hand of man and hand of God

 

3. Incarnation (bringing the presence of God) through us

God wants to become active in people's lives through us

 

Chapter  5 -- Resurrection

 

1. We Will Live Forever

A. Everyone will rise:  John 3:16,  5:28-29

Reality of heaven and hell:  Rev 20:11-15, 21:6-7

 

B. Central to Gospel message:  Acts 4:2, 17:18

Without resurrection all else useless: 1 Cor 15:12-19

 

C. What will resurrection be like?

1. Too far beyond us, so Bible does not say a lot

 

2. Given a new body -- like Jesus' glorified body:   Php 3:21

 

3. No death, mourning, or pain:  Rev 21:4

 

4. New Jerusalem -- our home town!  Rev 21:1 -- 22:5

 

2. Have an Eternal Perspective on Life

A. Put mind on heavenly things:  Php 3:18-20

1. Thinking too much on earthly things causes us to work against God

 

2. Earthly things:  wealth, power, reputation,...

whatever people in the world think about

 

3. Those who focus more on heaven accomplish more on earth

 

B. Effects the way we live:  2 Peter 3:10-13

1. Things of earth are not going to last

Do not invest too much

 

2. Spend our lives on things that count for eternity

loving people, serving,  worshipping & knowing God,…

 

C. Helps us to endure

1. Jesus:  Heb 12:2

 

2. Paul:  Rom 8:18

 

3. Resurrection in the Now

A. Resurrection life more than a future event -- a quality of life available now

1. Better than anything else we can experience

 

2. We have a taste now of what we will have in full:  Heb 6:5

We do not have that life in full, but we can taste

 

3. Spirit a deposit:  2 Cor 5:5

 

B. Resurrection power available in us:  Eph 1:18-21

1. God is doing things we cannot see -- He is at work

 

2. Greatest power God has revealed

 

3. For us today -- we can secure help from heaven

a. Can get us through any problem

 

b. Overcome any work of the enemy (sickness, sin,...)

 

c. No matter how bad, the situation not beyond help of God

* Lazarus:  Jn 11:1-44

 

4. Brings salvation

a. No person too far gone that God cannot give life

 

b. After we die to old life, we get new life

 

C. Hope – 1 Pet 1:3-7

1. Resurrection a symbol of hope

 

2. Never without hope with God

 

Chapter 6 -- Eternal Judgment

 

1. Two Judgments

A. Judgment of World:  Rev 20:11-15

*  God honors people's decision to spend eternity without Him

 

B. Judgment of Elect:   Rom 14:10-12

 

2. Nature of Judgment

A. We will be judged:   2 Cor 5:10

 

B. God loves unconditionally:   Jn 3:16-17

1. We cannot change His love

 

2. False image of God -- always angry

 

C. Should effect the way we live

1. Live knowing that we are going to die

a. Make every moment count

 

b. Live to make a difference

 

c. Invest in what will last:  Relationships

 

2. God will review life -- we will give an account:  Rom 14:12

a. Should scare us a little

 

b. Face material differently when there will be a test

 

D. Different degrees of judgment / reward

Luke 12:47-48;  Matt 10:15, 11:21-24;  Lk 19:26

 

3. Our Lives Effect Eternity

A. When we do evil, it has bad effect on others:  2 Sam 11-17

1. We will be judged by how we effect people:  2 Cor 5:11

 

2. Selfish living, bad choices, bad witness,... have evil effect

Can cause people to not be saved

 

3. Will have to talk to God about wrong choices made

 

4. Evil deeds advance darkness in world

 

B. When we do good, we have good effect:

Matt 5:14-16; 1 Thess 4:11-12; 1 Pet 2:12

 

1. Do not always see results

 

2. What we do here in daily life matters in eternity

a. Saying no to sin makes a difference

b. kindness, choosing to love, be unselfish...  matters!

 

3. Good deeds advance Kingdom of God

 

4. Types of Judgment

A. Obedience

When God commands, we will be judged or rewarded for whether we obeyed

 

B. Mouth:  Matt 12:33-37

1. Can be instrument of evil:  James 3:1-6

2. Can be used to build up:  Prov 12:18,  18:21

3. Words effect us!

 

C. Motives -- why do we do the things we do?

 

D. Potential:  did we live up to all God intended?  Matt 25:1-30

 

5. Positive Rewards: 2 Cor 5:10, Luke 6:35, 12:33, Rev 22:12

A. Do not have to get everything here on earth. God is going to give rewards in heaven.

 

B. Will receive rewards for the good done