This course is designed for new converts and will help you to understand the basic principles, or precepts, of Christianity.
1: Your New Life In Christ
2: The Bible, The Basis of our Belief
3: But Who Is Jesus
4: Our God and Father
5: Living Life By The Spirit
6: The Kind Of Conflict We’re In
7: Prayer, Praise and Worship
8: A Life of Love By Grace through Faith
9: Becoming Like Jesus
10: The People of God
11: The Church in Action – 1
12: The Church in Action – 2
1 Your New Life in Christ
1.1 What has happened to me?
You have begun a new life in Christ. A lot of things will seem different some things will seem the same. Something has become awoken with you and now you are becoming alive in God.
2 Corinthians 5 v 17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things
have passed away; behold, all things have become new”.
This started when you repented. Repentance is Godly sorrow for sin by saying Lord I am sorry, or please forgive me, you allowed God to enter into your life.
You are at the beginning of your real life. You will still go through ‘mountain’ and ‘valley’ experiences, but now you have Christ there with you.
After repenting, your next step will be baptism.
There are 2 types of baptisms
1 Water baptism – Fully immersion in water
2 Spirit baptism – Receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, through the evidence of speaking in tongues.
1.2 Alive Through Forgiveness
Read: Colossians 2 v 13
It is only through Christ’s forgiveness we live. Why? Sin carries the penalty of death where there is no repentance. By saying we are sorry, we step from the penalty of death, to life through Christ’s forgiveness.
Repentance is one of the principles of the Bible, so never stop repenting whenever you do wrong.
1.3 Now and Forever
Key verses: Mathew 28 v 20, John 14 v 2, Romans 8 v 1-2, Colossians 3 v 4
Perhaps the most exciting aspect of the Christian life is that Jesus Christ has done more than just remove and forgive the past. He has taken care of the future, and He walks with you today. Jesus has said-He will never leave or forsake us. Rest assured the Lord Jesus will be with you now and forever. Just stay close to Him.
1.4 Christ in You
Key verses: John 3 v 16
How exciting it is to be a Christian! Imagine God Almighty loving you enough to enter into history and draw you to himself. Nothing in this world can compare with what Jesus Christ has done in your life and the love He has for you.
1.5 Walking in Christ
Besides bringing you eternal life, Jesus Christ has come to change your present life. He wants to change you for the better; He wants you to be like Him.
Jesus said in Luke 9 v 23 “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me”.
To deny yourself is to refuse yourself things/situations that cause you injury in your body, mind or spirit. After you deny yourself you make a conscious decision to follow the path way or guide of the Lord Jesus Christ. In so doing Christ will be more to you and will become more in you.
Jesus has come into your life to make you more like Him and to place within you the desires and motives to live by the Spirit. You may be able to sense some of the changes His presence in your heart has already begun to make.
1.6 What about my Past?
Key Verses: Psalm 103 v 12, 2 Corinthians 5 v 17, Colossians 2 v 13
Perhaps your most troubling concern as a new member of God’s family is your past. The Bible identifies the enemy of the believer as Satan, which means ‘adversary’, or the devil, which means ‘slanderer’. So don’t be surprised that you are tempted to be discouraged and ashamed about the sins of your past. But remember that Jesus, our Saviour, is more than a match for the devil. And He’s already taken care of your past.
Remember, once you have repented, as far as the east is from the west, God will not only remove your sin, but forgive you of them.
1.7 A Saint, a brother, a sister – A Son of God.
Read: Romans 1 v 7, 1 Corinthians 1 v 2
Forget the definition of the word ‘saint’ in some parts of the religious world and the world at large. Learn the New Testament definition: all believers in Christ, from the child to the deathbed penitent. The term is not reserved for believers who achieve some kind of spiritual seniority. “Saint” means one God has called to serve Him, a Christian. That’s you. So when you hear references to ‘the saints’ or read about ‘saints’ in the Bible, consider yourself among that number.
Sometimes you will hear people refer to each other as ‘brother’ or sister or ‘Pastor’, these are names and titles to represent our connection in God. It is not wrong to call someone by their first name, but we are instructed to ‘give honor to whom honor is due’, therefore those in offices, publicly we will refer to them by the office. But above all offices remember we are all Sons of God.
1.8 How Can I Know It’s Real?
Key verses: Matthew 9 v 27-29, Mark 11 v 24
As you believe you will notice thoughts, attitudes, conduct and even you character may change.
The more you open up to the Lord, the more he will open up to you. It is in this openness, you will see and understand more things about yourself, your environment and your God.
You will know that it is real because of the changes that are taking place. Everybody is different and therefore changes will occur at different times in each life. A change could be the new found love of a distant family member, patience towards aggravating individuals, forgiveness toward past hurts willingness to give time and resources to others or even increased sensitivity to other individuals. Once God gains access to you r life there will be change. You will also know it is real because of the unique way in which change happens. God does it all through love.
1.9 The Beginning of Belief
The Christian life is begun by faith and lived by faith. Faith means believing strongly enough to stake one’s life (or action) on what is believed. One of the themes of the Gospel of John is believing that Jesus is who He said He is. (see John 20 v 31). If you believe in a person, you believe the things that person says. Christian faith is about believing what God has said in His Word, the Bible, and acting on it.
Read: 2 Timothy 1 v 12
The Apostle Paul wrote, “I know whom I have believed”. Paul was convinced that his faith was not misplaced: Jesus was the Messiah, the one the Old Testament had said was coming, and He was absolutely trustworthy. The more you get to know Jesus through studying the Bible (especially the Gospels), talking about Him, and learning to pray-the stronger your faith will grow in Him. Learn all you can about Jesus.
1.10 Knowing through Experience by Relationship.
Read: John 7 v 17
Jesus told those who doubted Him to test His preaching. Simply believe not just what I say, but believe what I have done. Constantly we not only hear, but see. It is these situations that add to our experience of God.
By confessing your sin and asking God’s forgiveness, you have begun doing God’s will. Jesus Christ has come into your life and forgiven you of your sin and given you eternal life. The more you know of Jesus, is the more experience you will gain. Knowing of Christ does not come through years but rather through relationship.
Every child of God must develop a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, so we can say like the apostle Paul, “I know whom I have believed”.
1.11 He Keeps His Word
The Bible says ‘God is a God that cannot lie’.
Once we come to Him. He receives us. Hebrew 13 v 5, lets us know that ‘He will never leave us, nor forsake us. When we come to Him, nothing can separate us from Him. We are His as long as we continue to give ourselves to Him.
One thing you will learn in your relationship with God is that He is faithful. He never fails.
1.12 New found Desire
When a person’s spirit becomes alive in God, his desire for God, his Creator, is awakened; he wants to know God intimately. The Psalmist wrote, “As the deer pants for water brooks, so pants my soul for you, O God” (Psalm 42 v 1) don’t ignore that desire; follow it. It will nourish your spiritual life.
James 4 v 8. “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you”.
We are told that as we draw close to God, He in turn will draw close to us. We can never out love God. His love is beyond measure. As work towards being the Christian that He wants us to be our desire will grow. The joy of the Lord is our strength.
(Now talk to Him and express your desire to know Him more fully. Then ask His guidance as you try to become all that He has planned for you.)
2 The Bible, the Basis of our Belief
2 Timothy 3 v 16 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable
for doctrine for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness”.
2.1 The Origin and Divinity of the Bible
Read: 2 Timothy 3 v 16, 2 Peter 1 v 21
The Bible is not just another book written by man; it is inspiring, ‘God breathe’ to man. That’s what makes the Bible unique-its author is actually God. Although God used people to write His book (around forty in fact), its message comes straight from His heart.
God empowered men to write His thoughts, His words and their experiences with him. The Bible touches every area of our life.
God is the source by which men wrote the Bible. The Bible contains many events, and foretells the future. We can look and see the effects of those events, or see the fulfillment of prophecy. Because God’s word never fails, what is told Bible will come to pass. Holy men of God spoke and recorded the Words of God by the Holy Spirit.
2.2 The Reason for the Bible
God gave His Word so that mankind might know the way of salvation. In the Bible we are invited to come to God and have a relationship with Him. It also explains the way we are to come.
Romans 15 v 4 gives us further reason God gave His Word: to teach us that we might be instructed and encouraged as we face the struggles of life.
The Bible is authoritative. After all, it’s God’s Word, revealing His will. Believers should recognise the word as their “all sufficient rule of faith and conduct”. Therefore, when you need direction, look to the Bible. When you are uncertain about some teaching or practice look to the Bible. It is trust worthy; make it your standard.
2.3 The Power of the Word
Read: Hebrews 4 v 12
The Bible has the power to touch every area of our life. The Word is likened to a two-edge sword. This signifies it can be like a surgeon’s knife reaching any part of our anatomy. The beauty of the Word is, that the Word not only touches our physical man (by changing habits) but it reaches to the soul of a man. The Word of God transcends time and is as valuable today, as it was written many years ago.
2.4 The Bible-A Map For Living
When you are traveling to a place you have never been before, two great helps to have along are a guide and a map. In this Christian life, we have both: the Holy Spirit and the Bible. Today let’s look closely at the map, the Bible and find the way we must go. In Psalm 119 v 105, God’s word will be a lamp to our feet. God gives us direction through his Word and by his Spirit as part of the map for our lives there are things you will go on to know concerning your new faith.
2.5 Restraint from the Word
Read: Proverbs 29 v 18
Where would mankind be without God’s Word? This verse gives us a clue. Without the guidance of God’s word, humanity would certainly be in a much worse condition than it is, rather like the people of Israel after they had given up waiting for Moses to come down from Mount Sinai (see Exodus 32 v 7). By living in the manner that God prescribes, people bring glory to God. That ought to be our highest goal.
2.6 For Avoiding Sin
Psalm 119 v 11 Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee.
This verse suggests that memorisation helps us avoid sin. In other words, we don’t want to use our ignorance as an excuse for either doing what we shouldn’t or not doing what we should. Memorise the word and let it be your defense. The word gives us guidelines in which to live. By following the guidelines in the Word and building up our relationship with Christ, there is nothing we cannot overcome.
2.7 Doing The Word
Read; James 1 v 22, 2 v 26
Finally, James points out that it is not enough to hear God’s message: a person’s life must be changed by it. Certainly we thank God for His Word and rejoice in it. But more than that, we follow what it says.
For example our faith should show in how we live. James makes that point in the last half of chapter 2. The Bible tells us how to let it show. The Bible repeats this theme in many places. Our task is to make sure we pay attention and never try to get around its message.
2.8 So You Might Be Reminded
Read: John 14 v 26
Jesus promised His disciples that He would send the Holy Spirit to help them remember what He had taught them. That’s every believer’s promise. But that means you have to learn Jesus’ teachings first. That is, get them in your memory bank like the disciples did. Then you can be reminded in the time that you need them. Memorising scriptures is a good tool to use, to have the word on hand.
Look at Philippians 4 v 8.
2.9 Regular Bible Study
Key verses: Acts 17 v 11, 1 Peter 2 v 2
In addition to memorising verses of Scripture, you need to regularly study God’s Word. As we have noted, it is our map and standard as well as our teacher and encourager. In your early stages, it is important that you have a firm foundation, because you will go through test. Faith with out works is dead, so each person must study, to God.
In Act 17 v 11, The brethren studied to find out if what was being taught was sound doctrine. We must also not just take people’s words, but look in the scriptures for confirmation.
2.10 To Grow Up
Read: 1 Peter 2 v 2
It’s possible for Christians to be spiritually malnourished or immature. The cure is in the study of the Word. That is, we should have a normal and healthy appetite for God’s Word, just like a baby has for milk. (note: The reference to ‘milk’ here is not in contrast to ‘solid food’, as in 1 Corinthians 3 v 2 and Hebrews 5 v 12-14)
If we are going to grow as Christians, we need to be nourished, and that nourishment comes from His Word. It is our food.
Through this study, you have already begun to spend time daily in God’s Word. Ask God to help you maintain this practice and guide you to those verses you need.
3 But Who Is Jesus
Isaiah 53 v 5 “He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.”
Isaiah was a prophet of God. In the scriptures he speaks about some one being wounded for our sins. Isaiah Chapter 53 tells us of the suffering of a man for a people.
This prophecy was 712 years before Christ. In the Bible many other prophets foretell of Christ. Jesus is spoken about throughout the Old Testament. This takes form through prophecy.
3.1 Where Jesus Came From: From before the Beginning
Read: John 8 v 58-59, Revelation 1 v 7 & 8
In John 8 v 58-59, Jesus claimed to be before Abraham. Abraham was born 14 generations before Christ (Matthew 1 v 17). How could Jesus have been before Abraham? Jesus had to be there in another form!
Jesus is called Alpha and Omega, because he was from the beginning and will be at the end of our time. Jesus came from the Father, to the earth to save man from their sins.
3.2 From a Place of Honor
Read: John 17 v 5
John 17 is a prayer that Jesus prayed toward the end of His earthly life. In this verse, His prayer is that He might return to the place of honor He had before coming to Earth. Jesus left this place to be born.
‘No man has seen God, except the son, which came from his bosom’. John 1 v 18
3.3 How Jesus Came
Key verses: Luke 1 v 35, Acts 7 v 54-56, Colossians 1 v 15-20, Daniel 7 v 13 -14, John 1 v 13
The greatest story ever told began one ordinary night in the ordinary village of Bethlehem: The Son of God was born and salvation was brought to humanity (Read: Matthew Chapters 1 & 2 or Luke Chapters 1 & 2).
3.4 Conceived by the Holy Spirit
Read: Luke 1 v 35
Luke tells us something special about Jesus’ entrance into humanity: He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit. God worked a miracle in the body of Mary so that she would give birth to this special child. That is what is known as the virgin birth of Christ. Jesus had no earthly father. Mary was so overwhelmed by the experience that she burst out in praise. (Luke 1 v 46-55)
Jesus was born through the will of …………………………….
3.5 As the Son of God
Read: Colossians 1 v 15-20
As fantastic as it may seem, the helpless infant in the manger was the Son of God, “For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell”. (v19). One of the greatest expressions of Christ’s love for us is that He left His position of honor in heaven and came to be a servant of and sacrifice for mankind. This coming of God as a human into history is called the Incarnation.
3.6 As the Son of Man
Read: Acts 7v 54-56, Daniel 7 v 13-14
Besides being God manifested in flesh, Jesus was thoroughly human. Daniel, in one of his visions, was the first to refer to the Messiah as “son of man”. Jesus used it often of himself, more than eighty times in the Gospels. Stephen, the first person, to be executed for following Jesus, had a vision like Daniel’s. He saw Jesus, the Son of Man, exalted to God’s right hand. Here again the Jews knew what was meant by the expression-The person they knew as Jesus of Nazareth was God manifested in flesh.
Genealogies shows the line of a generation or lineage of a group of people.
The two genealogy show the birth route through Mary and the lineage of Joseph
3.7 How Jesus Lived
Key Verses: John 19 v 4, Hebrews 4 v 15, 1 Peter 2 v 22, Luke 1 v 40 & 52,
As a child, Jesus listened to his parents. In Jesus’ childhood he had to grow like you and me. As a Jew he would have studied, but he grew in the wisdom and grace of God.
As a man he lived a sin free life. He was unselfish and his desire was to do the will of the father.
Learning about Jesus can take a lifetime. But this is the truth about Jesus that makes our salvation possible: He was perfect. He lived a life free of sin. Almost daily we come face to face with our imperfections, but Jesus led a sinless life.
3.8 A Worthy Sacrifice
Read: Hebrews 10 v 12-14
Sacrifices originated from the Garden of Eden. God took skins and made coverings for Adam & Eve. Why did Adam & Eve need coverings? Because when they sinned they lost their innocence and realised they were naked.
From this time, God set up ceremonies and ordinances of how sacrifices were to be offered. Different types of sacrifices are found in the books of Exodus & Leviticus.
Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission, or removal of sins.
Hebrews tells us that Jesus did not just cover our sin but removed them. Jesus is the ultimate sacrifice.
How was Jesus the ultimate sacrifice?
He had no sins therefore he was without blemish. By Christ being sinless and perfect he was also a worthy sacrifice.
3.9 Why Jesus Died
Key verses: Isaiah 53 v 5, 1 Corinthians 15 v 20-22, 2 Timothy 1 v 10,
1 Peter 2 v 24
You probably already know a great deal about Jesus’ death on the cross and His return to life. Even so, let’s look at a few important verses that teach some special truths about the sacrifice of Jesus.
Please tick one of the below:
Jesus sins were: HIS OURS
Jesus was wounded for: HIS CRIMES OUR SINS
By Jesus’ death we are: MADE ALIVE REMAIN IN DEATH
Jesus took our place in the punishment of death so that we could have eternal life.
3.10 To Be Victorious Over Death
Read: 1 Corinthians 15 v 20-22, 2 Timothy 1 v 10
Adam began it; Jesus finished it. That is, death came into the human race by Adam’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden, and life came through Jesus Christ’s obedience in the Garden of Gethsemane (“nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done” Luke 22 v 42).
Though our physical body may one day return to the dust, we know that we will rise on that day when God brings His Kingdom to fulfillment. Because Jesus came back from the dead, Paul says we can expect the same, what a wonderful promise!
3.11 Jesus’ Return
Key verses: John 14 v 3, Acts 1 v 11, 1 Thessalonians 5 v 2, Titus 2 v 13
Your salvation is sure. Nothing can undo what Jesus has done on your behalf. You are blessed because you have believed without an eyewitness of those events that have been written, (see John 20 v 29). But a day is coming when you will see for yourself whom you have believed, and believed in. Jesus Christ is going to return to take us to be with Him forever.
Jesus himself told His disciples that He would return. After all, He was going away specifically to prepare a special place for each of them (and each of us). And then later the angels reminded and reassured them of Jesus’ return: He would come back in the same way they saw Him go into heaven. One day all believers will have the glorious blessing of being received by Jesus and shown to that residence custom-built by Him.
3.12 It Is The Blessed Hope
Read: Titus 2 v 13
In encouraging his young friend and fellow worker Titus, Paul described the return of Jesus Christ as “the blessed hope”.
However, our word “hope” is a little too weak for the Greek word it translates, for it is a certainty, a definite time that is coming. So we put our confidence, and trust in the One who has given the promise. Perhaps “the blessed expectation” would be closer to the Greek.
He is coming back. How wonderful to know that we will be in the presence of our Lord Jesus! And we will be reunited with any friends who may have died in the faith. There we will rejoice with our brother and sisters in Him for all eternity.
3.13 It Will Be Sudden
Read: 1 Thessalonians 5 v 2
One of the things the Bible teaches about Jesus’ return is its suddenness. Jesus himself compared it to lightning (see Luke 17 v 24). The apostle Paul writing to believers in Thessalonica, likened it to the night time coming of a thief-no warning, no announcement. It will be unexpected and unwanted by those who don’t know Jesus as Saviour.
But those like you who know He is coming and are looking forward to His return will joyously welcome it. Why should we be surprised when Jesus comes back? He has told us that He is coming; the angels have proclaimed it as well. No! Christ’s return will be no surprise to believers. As a matter of fact it will be the most joyous occasion we have ever known, for we will celebrate the return of our Master.
4 Our God & Father
1 John 3 v 1 “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be
called the children of God”.
We find out about God through his characteristics and his attributes.
The bible says that God is 3 things:
God is ……………………………………………..
God is ……………………………………………..
God is a …………………………………………..
When we read about God, we see his nature through his words and works.
4.1 God is Holy
Read: Isaiah 6 v 3
In Isaiah’s vision of God’s throne room, the creatures around the throne cried out “Holy, holy, holy”.
This had to be the most over whelming moment in Isaiah’s life: seeing and realising the awesomeness of God’s holiness. Some other scripture verses can help us understand what God’s holiness means.
4.2 None Other Like Him
Read: Exodus 15 v 11
God is the only God and there is no other. One aspect of holiness is being separate, set apart; the Bible teaches us that God is separate from, over and above, His creation. He is “majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders.”
It is vital that all God’s people realise His greatness and His holiness. We cannot really worship God properly unless we have an understanding of who He is.
Read: Leviticus 11 v 45, Revelation 15 v 4
The above verses tell us how we are to respond to God’s holiness. Leviticus 11v 45 tells us that because God is holy, we are to be holy. That is, if we are to be God’s people, we are to be like God. God is sinless, righteous and pure. In fact, He is the definition of righteousness. Because His character is holy, so should ours be; we should lead lives different from those in the world.
Revelation 15 v 4 tells us that fear and worship are proper responses to God. The fear is not fright so much as respect and honor and adoration. Once we understand who God is, we realise what a privilege we have to acknowledge Him in a relationship with us.
4.4 God Is Love
Key verses: Jeremiah 31 v 3, John 3 v 16, Romans 5 v 8, 1 John 3 v 1
Everything God does is because of his love for man. Before Adam sinned God made a plan to save man. God loves the human race.
Look in the book of Genesis God spoke creation into existence. But man was different, with man he created him in his own image, God wanted an intimate or a more personal relationship with man.
4.5 Forever Love
Read: Jeremiah 31 v 3
“I have loved you with an everlasting love”. When God commits himself to a love relationship, He gives a love that will endure for all time. You may question that love during difficult circumstances, but He is loving you then too. His promise is of an everlasting love.
4.6 Love Shows
Read: John 3 v 16, Romans 5 v 8
God’s love is active, not passive. If someone told you, “I love you”, but never showed that love, you might question such a love. But God has and will continue to proven His love to and for us in extraordinary ways.
Because God is holy, He despises sin. But He loves the sinner. Even while mankind was rebelling against Him, God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to sacrifice himself. This is a kind of love the world rarely-if ever-produces.
John 3 v 16 tells us that God gave His Son so that we might not ‘die’. This verse tells us what mankind faces without God: to die in sin and be separated from God for eternity. But He loves His creation so much that He has opened the way to ‘eternal life’
4.7 Love of a Father
Read: 1 John 3 v 1
“And because of that love we are now the son’s of God”. And even though unbelievers may not recognise us as God’s children, that doesn’t change the fact any more than it did when people didn’t recognise Jesus as God’s Son.
4.8 God Has All Power
Key Verses: Psalm 139 v 8, Isaiah 43 v 13, Matthew 19 v 26, Hebrews 4 v 13
God is holy, and He is love. In fact, He is the full definition of holiness and love. But He is more: He is all-powerful, all knowing, and everywhere present – He is the Almighty.
God is …………………………………………………….
4.9 Unlimited Strength
Read: Isaiah 43 v 13
God has no limitations. Human beings do. Perhaps that is one reason we have difficulty comprehending His strength and power.
The Bible is full of the acts of God, many of which we call miracles. Just by a simple command He can alter the course of nature, reverse sickness, and undo death. Nothing is beyond His power. Let that knowledge give you great security. This unlimited God knows what you need and why and when you need it. No power or force exists that can hinder Him from providing for His children.
4.10 Always Everywhere
Read: Psalm 139 v 8
Where is God? Everywhere. The Psalmist tells us that no one can escape His presence. Just as God knows no limitations of power, He knows no boundaries to His being. He is too big to be contained by the universe and yet able, at the same time, to live in our hearts. (see Acts 17 v 24, 28).
This key also encourages us to know that God is with us always. No matter where we go, He will walk beside us. That’s the beauty of this wonderful quality of God.
God is …………………………………………………..
4.11 Knowing All things
Read: Hebrews 4 v 13
What is hidden from God’s sight? “Nothing”. God knows it all! No knowledge or truth is beyond Him. What does that mean to you?
God is …………………………………………………..
4.12 The Possibilities of the Impossible
Read: Matthew 19 v 26
That says it all. No situation that you face will ever be more than God can handle. God is above every situation and circumstance-no matter how challenging, no matter how difficult.
4.13 God is Sovereign
Key Verses: Ezekiel 36 v 27, Joel 2 v 28, John 14 v 3,
4.14 Promise of the Holy Spirit
Read: Ezekiel 36 v 27, Joel 2 v 28
Through the prophets Joel and Ezekiel, God told the people of Israel that one day He would pour out His Spirit upon all people. In the Old Testament, God’s Spirit was given only to the prophets to speak as intermediate messengers between the people and God. But the day would come, in the plan of God, when His Spirit would be given to all who desired to receive. That day came after Jesus’ death and resurrection, according to Acts 2, where Peter uses Joel’s words as a sermon text.
4.15 Promise of Eternal Life
Read: John 14 v 3
God’s plan didn’t end with Jesus’ death and resurrection. Besides including sending the Holy spirit, God’s plan includes a special place He has prepared for us. One day Jesus will take us to this glorious place and we will be with God forever.
5 Living Life By The Spirit
John 14 v 16 “And I pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He
may abide with you forever”.
2 Timothy 1 v 7 “For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind”.
5.1 Jesus’ Promise of the Holy Spirit
Key verses: John 14 v 16 & v 26, 1 Corinthians 6 v 19
When Jesus was preparing for His return to heaven. He knew His disciples would have to face the struggles of life without Him. At the same time, He knew that His Father had never planned for them to be without His presence. So Jesus promised His disciples He would not leave them like orphans. Although Jesus would be leaving something wonderful was in store for the disciples… and for us: the Holy Spirit. Let’s see exactly what this Holy Spirit would do.
5.2 Another Helper
Read: John 14 v 16
The Greek language of the New Testament indicated Jesus said in effect that the Holy Spirit was “another” like himself-not “another” in the sense of a different kind. The Holy Spirit would take Jesus’ place among them. The Holy Spirit would be to the disciples what Jesus himself had been (fulfilling Jesus’ promise to return to the disciples [John 14 v 18].
Holy Spirit is the …………………………….. This word is also translated as Advocate or Counselor.
5.3 Another Teacher
Read: John 14 v 26, 16 v 13
Among other things, the Holy Spirit is the Teacher of Truth. Just as Jesus had taught the disciples, so the Holy Spirit would teach them.
In those times when the disciples needed to apply Jesus’ teaching, the Holy Spirit would remind them of what Jesus had taught them. It would be like having Jesus with them again.
5.4 The Holy Spirit-God’s Spirit
Key Verses: Luke 11 v 13, 24 v 49, Acts 1 v 8, 6 v 3 & 8
Who is the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit is the active movement of God. In Genesis, the Spirit of God moved on the face of the water. This means that there was an activity or action made. We call the Spirit Holy because it describes the character of God.
The Holy Spirit is one of the ways God shows himself.
5.5 A Ready Gift from God
Read: Luke 11 v 13
We have seen that Jesus had promised to send the Holy Spirit to His disciples. This verse also tells us that the Holy Spirit is God’s gift to us. In effect, God has given us himself: His Son as our Saviour and His Holy Spirit as our Helper. A person cannot give anything greater than himself.
5.6 A Command from the Son
Read: Luke 24 v 49
To Jesus, the fullness of the Holy Spirit was not optional for His disciples. His words of instruction were to “tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high”.
This is the only time people waited or tarried for the Holy Ghost. We now have to receive this precious gift.
5.7 Empowering for Service
Read: Acts 1 v 8, 6 v 3, v 5 & v 8
When God commissions us to do His work, He enables us. It is the Holy Spirit that empowers us. Note the association of power and being filled with the Spirit in these verses. There is a power beyond the comprehension of mankind this is the power of the Holy Spirit.
To reach the lost, to heal (temporarily or spiritually), to operate in the gifts of the Holy Spirit, you need the power within. The power of the Holy Spirit is here today for you.
5.8 The Day of Pentecost-How The Holy Ghost Came!
Key verses: Joel 2 v 28, Acts 2 v 1-4, 38-39
Not long after Jesus returned to heaven, the promised Holy Spirit came to the disciples. It was an unusual event (then as well as now). Take the time to read Acts 2, noting the crowd’s reaction and Peter’s explanation.
5.9 The Prophecy of the Spirit’s Coming
Read: Joel 2 v 28, Acts 2
Many portions of the Bible contain prophecies that were later fulfilled. The prophet Joel preached and prophesied at least six centuries before Jesus was born.
The Day of Pentecost was a harvest festival that came fifty days (Pentecost means “Fiftieth”) after the Passover Feast. It occurred about ten days after Jesus returned to heaven. Peter identifies the events on this particular Day of Pentecost as the fulfillment of the verse in Joel. God was pouring His Spirit on His people.
5.10 Receiving the Holy Spirit
Read: Acts 2 v 38-39
So how does one receive this great blessing? Peter told the people of that day that they needed to repent and be baptized in water and then they would be baptized in the Holy Spirit. In other words, it is a repentance that leads to salvation. Since you have already given your life to Jesus and received salvation, He is ready to fill you with the Holy Spirit.
5.11 Evidence of the Holy Spirit Arriving
Read: Acts 2 v 7-12
The Holy Spirit comes in a particular way on the day of Pentecost, a supernatural event happened. Men and women whose natural language was Hebrew from the region of Galilee now spoke in a different language. Over 12 languages were spoken. This phenomena was called ‘speaking in tongues’.
5.12 Speaking in Tongues
Read: Acts 2 v 4, Acts 10 v 44-46
Speaking in tongues was not something for the disciples only, it is the sign that God has taken residence in your heart. God lives in praise. When you repent and praise God, God will inhabit the object from where the praise is coming from.
As the Holy Spirit comes, you feel sensations in your body. Sometimes you may feel a warmth. Your mouth will begin to speak in another language. This is a language of God and from God to you.
In time, you should seek to understand the period, the situation or the reason you are speaking in tongues. Speaking in tongues must never create an atmosphere of confusion.
5.13 Edification of Speaking in Tongues
Read: 1 Corinthians 14
In Corinthians, Paul instructs us that all things must be done decently and in order. At home please read this chapter. When we speak in tongues we communicate on two levels.
We can communicate 1. Man Æ God
2. Man Æ Man
Man to God - When we communicate man to God, we edify our spirits only. We
need to ask God what mysteries, or what is it your Holy spirit is saying to me.
Man to Man – When we communicate man to man, there must be edification. Our understanding must be opened. We must give the true interpretation to the tongues.
If you have a message for the church, after prayer seek the counsel of the pastor.
5.14 Water Baptism
Read: Romans 6 v 3 – 5
In John 2 v 3, Jesus describes being born of water and of the Spirit. We have looked at the baptism of the Spirit, now lets look at baptism of water.
When we baptise, we are following the commandment of Jesus. Through baptism we are joined with Christ into his death, so like as Christ arose, so shall we rise to walk in a new way.
You should go through a more in-depth teaching about water baptism, before you are baptised (if you have not been baptised already)! See Chapter 10
6 The Kind of Conflict We’re In
1 John 4 v 4 “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He
who is in you is greater than he who is in the world”.
2 Corinthians 10 v 4. “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God
for pulling down strongholds”.
6.1 Cosmic Warfare
Key verses: 2 Corinthians 10 v 4, Ephesians 6 v 12
Although you’re still human, you have, nevertheless, entered the realm of the spirit by being born again: You are alive to God. You are also alive to His enemy. You have entered a realm of cosmic proportions; your participation has cosmic significance. But don’t let that intimidate you. Simply become sensitive to God’s Spirit, and He will make you “more than a conqueror”. (see Romans 8 v 37).
Once you accept the Lord Jesus Christ the enemy will target you in every area of your life. Don’t worry God is greater than your enemy.
6.2 The Real Battle
Read: Ephesians 6 v 12
This verse tells us that our true enemy is unseen; the ways of Satan are deceptive and hidden. Nevertheless, you can become aware of them. To understand that a war is raging in the spiritual realm is to gain an understanding of what you face each day.
Your real battle takes place in a spiritual realm against supernatural forces. That is, human opponents are often simply inspired by an unseen evil much greater than themselves. In this respect, other people are not your real problem; they are the enemy’s victims and he is using them
6.3 The Real Weapons
Read: 2 Corinthians 10 v 4
What can you do in the face of evil especially in places that seem beyond your influence? Paul, who faced human authority in high places, reassures us that we have weapons “that are mighty in God” to the “pulling down of strongholds”.
Though he was often in a prison cell, his prayers were unbounded: Evil forces in the spirit world must have considered Paul always armed and dangerous. You can be regarded the same way as you develop your prayer life. (see Ephesians 6 v 13-18).
Four weapons you can use is
6.4 “By My Spirit, says the Lord”.
Read: Zechariah 4 v 6
Zechariah was called by God to motivate His people (back from exile in Babylonia) to rebuild the Temple. But Zechariah was not a king like David or Solomon, who could command fabulous materials and numerous workers to get the job done. Then came God’s word of encouragement: The job would be done through the strength of the Spirit (not through natural resources), which is how believers still win their battles.
There are some battles that only God can win and you need to put your confidence in him whenever we come up against the enemy, we will never win by our power, but by the Spirit of God.
6.5 Know the Enemy
Key Verses: Zechariah 3 v 1, Matthew 13 v 38-39, 1 Peter 5 v 8
Satan leads the evil forces in this world that fight against the Christian and his desire to live for God. In order to fully understand the conflict we are in, we must recognise the author of the conflict. We should not be ignorant to the devices of the enemy. In everything ask God to lead you, and show you the traps the enemy will set.
6.6 The Sower of Evil – Parable
Read: Matthew 13 v 38-39
Satan may be defeated when he works his evil against God’s children, but he has much success against the children of this world. This story tells us that the evil one, Satan, sows his seed among the seed sown by God. Not until the Day of Judgment will the sorting occur, so, “Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart”. (Galatians 6 v 9)
6.7 Know Where the Battle Is
Key Verses: Matthew 15 v 18-20, Romans 8 v 5-8, Galatians 5 v 16-17
In most wars, where opposing armies meet, a line is formed called the front. Usually, the farther back from the front line a person is, the greater his safety. In spiritual warfare, no such front line exists; it is not on the mission field or in the inner city. Satan’s forces bring the battle to each believer. In a sense, we are surrounded, and our minds and hearts are the objective.
The first battle we must fight is that in our minds. If we cannot control our mind the enemy will seek to take an advantage point here.
6.8 The Conflict of Our Natures
Read: Galatians 5 v 16-17
Before you became a Christian, you may not have been aware of any conflict within yourself, perhaps because you simply followed your sinful nature. (see John 8 v 44 and 1 Corinthians 6 v 9-11)
But when a person becomes a Christian, he is given a new nature, and although his sinful nature is still with him, he can resist it. He now can choose the Sprit’s options. Each believer must learn how to discipline themselves through the power of the Holy Spirit.
In Romans 6 v 8-14, Paul wrote of considering ourselves “dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord”. (v11) However, considering ourselves “dead to sin” must be developed as a disposition, for it is not a once-and-for-all decision. So keep making that decision.
6.9 The Conflict in the Mind
Read: Romans 8 v 5-8
The conflict between our natures is connected to the conflict in our minds. If we have a mind-set for God, we will usually choose those things that please God and strengthen our spirit. But if we put our minds at the disposal of the enemy, our thoughts will ultimately lead us to ‘death’. Read verse 6.
6.10 The Conflict of the Heart
Read: Matthew 15 v 18-20
A person can have a very religious appearance, but what matters to God is the heart behind that appearance. Satan may even help a person “keep up appearances”, as long as he has the person’s heart; it is a prize of spiritual warfare. That’s why Solomon wrote , “Keep your heart will all diligence , For out of it spring the issues of life.” (Proverbs 4 v 23) (See also Colossians 3 v 1).
Losing these battles doesn’t mean the war is over so don’t stack arms. John tells us we have a great High Priest, our Lord Jesus: if we will confess our sin to Him, He will intercede for us before the Father. (see 1 John 1 v 9).
Living a spiritual life means a battle, one that will be fought every day of our lives. Spend time each day asking God to help win the day’s battles and that’s a safe way to start every day.
6.11 Know Your Commander in Chief
Key verses: Matthew 28 v 18, Romans 14 v 8-9, Colossians 1 v 18, 1 John 4 v 4
You have been encouraged to get to know Christ better and better. For the spiritual conflict you are in, you should recognise Him as your Commander in Chief. He has won the final victory for us and leads us in the mopping up phase of the conflict.
6.12 All Authority Is His
Read: Matthew 28 v 18
The typical rabbi of Jesus’ day quoted other rabbis to reinforce his teaching. Jesus’ teaching didn’t need such reinforcement, for He taught “them as one having authority, and not as the scribes”. (Matthew 7 v 29). In fact, He has “All authority”. His Father gave it to Him. Thus He is in a position to commission us to do His will, overcoming evil.
Because all authority belongs to Jesus, when we come against the enemy, we must stand on the Lord. In the Name of JESUS we have the victory.
6.13 Supreme Head of All Things
Read: Colossians 1 v 18
God’s Son, Jesus Christ, was commissioned to come to earth to break the back of evil and sacrifice himself for mankind. He fulfilled His mission perfectly. So God gave Him supremacy. Jesus was given supremacy over ‘all things’.
Keep that in mind when you experience temptation or come up against evil. Turn to your Commander in Chief; He’ll see you through. If you stand firm against the devil’s temptation, he will flee. If you fight against him, he will run.
6.14 God is Resident in You
Read: 1 John 4 v 4
Here is a profound and humbling truth: You and I are indwelt by God’s Spirit. John’s readers knew that too. But maybe they felt surrounded by the “many false prophets” (v1) and “the spirit of the antichrist”. (v3). In any case, John felt the need to make a point of the comparative strength of the Spirit in them and the spirit at large in the world. There is nothing that you cannot overcome or conqueror with the Lord leading you. Trust in Him and every weapon that is formed against you will not prosper.
7 Prayer, Praise and Worship
1 Thessalonians 5 v 17 ‘Pray without ceasing …………………….’
Psalm 150 v 6 ‘ Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord’.
7.1 The How and Why of Prayer
Key verses: Matthew 6 v 5-13, Philippians 4 v 6, Hebrews 11 v 6, 1 John 1 v 9
You know by now that communication with God is two-way. We have been studying about how God can speak to us through His Word, but we can also come to Him in prayer and in praise. (This aspect of Christian life is sometimes identified as the church’s ministry to the Lord).
We are instructed by Jesus to pray.
Read: Matthew 6 v 5-13
We are instructed to pray so we can be in our Father’s will. By praying you will be stronger spiritually.
When praying we should not forget to pray for others. Jesus taught us principles in Our Father’s prayer in Matthew.
Praying for others is one way we can help other carry their burdens.
7.2 To Be Obedient
Read: Philippians 4 v 6
Like Jesus, Paul did not suggest prayer, he commanded it this tells us that prayer is vital to the believer-a matter of spiritual life and death. At the same time, prayer is tied to practical matters, as Paul (and James) indicates.
7.3 To Receive Forgiveness
Read: 1 John 1 v 9
Spiritual life from God begins through a prayer for forgiveness. John teaches that we will continue to have a need for forgiveness. So as soon as you recognise your offence, pray for forgiveness.
7.4 Persistence in Prayer
Read: Daniel 6 v 10
Daniel’s prayer life did not consist merely of praying at mealtimes and before bed; he diligently sought the Lord throughout the day-even though he faced persecution as an exile in Babylon. What a great example! (See also Luke 18 v 1)
When you pray don’t stop at obstacles. Press in through. Remember whatever you ask in the name of the Lord Jesus said I will do it.
Develop an attitude of prayer.
7.5 Praying in Faith
Read: Hebrews 11 v 6
Prayer in not an empty ritual it is a matter of faith-believing, trusting-in God. “Without faith it is impossible to please God”, says Hebrews. (see Mark 9 v 21-27)
Do you have needs today that you want to take before God? Now is the time to do just that. Remember, He loves you and already has the answer to every situation.
Believe what you are praying and look for the end results. It is your faith that will draw God. God loves people of faith.
3 Answers in prayer.
7.6 Why Praise?
Key verses: 1 Thessalonians 5 v 18, James 5 v 13, 1 Peter 2 v 9
Praise is the spoken declaration of God’s glory. It is directed to Him alone, though often we can glorify Him by allowing others to hear us offer praise (see Psalm 22 v 22). Throughout the Bible, praise is an acknowledgment of God as the Creator and man as the created (Psalm 8).
7.7 Chosen to Praise
Read: 1 Peter 2 v 9
Just as in the Old Testament God chose the Jews to be His people, in the New Testament He chose the Christian: We have been chosen to offer God praise. In 1 Peter 2 v 5, Peter says we offer “spiritual sacrifices” (in contrast to literal sacrifices) to God, In 1 Peter 2 v 9, people seem to be the audience: We “declare” God’s praises so others get the message. Note that this verse also tells what God has done and why He is worthy of praise. (see Psalm 9 v 11)
7.8 To Express Well-being
Praise can take the form of thanks for what God has done, but it is also includes a recognition of who He is. Tell God how much you love Him and thank Him for His fellowship with you, then praise Him because of who He is, the great God of all things.
7.9 To Do God’s Will
Read: 1 Thessalonians 5 v 18
Paul told the believers at Philippi that he has “learned in whatsoever state I am, to be content”. For it is God’s will that His people have hearts of gratitude, in contrast to unbelievers, whose lives are usually marked by ingratitude. (Romans 1 v 21) Prayer helps us to tune into God’s will. As our prayer life develops, our relationship also develops.
7.10 How Do I Praise
Read: Psalm 34 v 1
There are many forms of praise. In the Old Testament the word praise has a number of meanings.
Barak - To kneel, to bless God as an act of adoration.
Halal - To boast, to rave, to celebrate.
Zamar - Striking with the fingers.
Hilluwl - Rejoicing, a celebration
Yadah - Holding out of hands as to throw a stone away.
to revere, to shout, to praise. Being thankful, thanksgiving.
Shaback - To address in a loud tone, i.e loud command.
Tehillah - A hymn
Towdah - An extension of the hand.
We praise God for everything he has done. Start praising Him for your life. You should let praise become a part of your character. Praise can take many forms, but remember the focus must be the same.
7.11 What Praise will do?
Read: Psalm 22 v 3
God inhabits praises. This means wherever praises are God will come into them. When God draws to praises, he will enter the object that is giving the praise-that means you. Praises draw God. When God is in you anything is possible. Everything God is, is with you. So begin to praise.
7.12 Corporate Praise
Key Verses: 1 Kings 8 v 27, Psalms 50 v 23, 95 v 6-7, 100 v 4, Isaiah 66 v 2-23
In addition to the praise that we bring to the Lord individually, we offer praise collectively when we come together anywhere as the body of Christ, when we gather in His name. As a corporate body, we praise God together and receive directions from him. There is a great blessing in corporate praises, because it is when we magnify him. When the body magnifies God great acts can be seen with in our midst, and all our needs can be met.
7.13 Worship: What Is It?
Read: John 4 v 22 – 24
Worship is more intimate than praise. Everyone is instructed to praise God. Worship on the other hand gives God honor and praise, just because He is God. To become a worshipper you must have a meaningful relationship with the creator.
In the Old Testament people who worshipped bowed down and paid God homage. The word worship actually means to prostrate before God. Worship is to pay homage. The Bible says they that worship, must worship in spirit and truth. We must seek to worship God through his Spirit.
7.14 The Call To Worship
Read: Psalm 95 v 6-7
God desires that His people come together for worship and praise (see also Hebrews 10 v 25). If you have yet to make church attendance a regular part of your life, take the admonition of this verse and become part of a congregation. If you already are a part, join your voice with theirs in praising the Lord.
What are we to do when we gather as God’s people? Listen to His Word and praise Him. Every time you attend church remind yourself that a primary reason for such a gathering is to praise the Lord (See Psalm 96 v 8 -9). Once you begin to praise Him, move up into worship.
7.15 The Place of Worship
God does not live in buildings; He lives in people, thus God can be worshipped by His people anywhere. The early Jewish Christians used the synagogues until they were no longer welcome. Then they used their own homes. Buildings set aside exclusively for meetings of the church (that is, God’s people) did no come until much later. When the Bible uses the word “church” it means the people of God. For example when Jesus said “I will build my church”, He was talking about people, not buildings.
We must first learn to worship God for ourselves, in our private times with him. We must become a vessel of worship, a human temple, where God is our focus.
7.16 Reason For Worship
Read: Psalms 50 v 23, 100 v 4
Here the Psalmist encourages us to praise the Lord. Why? Read Verse 5 of chapter 100.
In Psalm 50 v 23 God speaks of showing us his salvation. That is reason enough to praise Him, but you will learn more reasons as you grow in God.
Yes you must praise God for what he has done, but don’t forget to worship him for just being God.
8 A Life of Love By Grace through Faith
Ephesians 2 v 8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of
yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast”.
Key Verses: Romans 5 v 1-2, v 6-7 Ephesians 2 v 6-7, v 8-9,
Every Christian should know about grace. Grace is God’s unmerited favor and love towards us. God showed His grace by manifesting himself in a body, so the body could die for our sins. This action was done because of love, even though we did not deserve it.
8.2 How Grace Met Us
Read: Romans 5 v 6-8
Mankind was dying because of sin. Do you know because of Adam’s transgression we all have the most deadliest disease? It is called SIN. God knew man could not reach Him, so God decides to reach man. The Bible says ‘While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us’. This shows how great God is, seeking lost man because He loves him.
8.3 Grace through Faith
Read: Romans 5 v 1-2
God presents the opportunity to be saved and leaves it to a person to take Him up on it. By faith, by believing God’s offer of salvation through His Son, you have entered the storehouse of God’s grace, His generous favor (see Ephesians 1 v 7, Philippians 4 v 19).
8.4 Not by Works
Read: Ephesians 2 v 8-9
Some people have great difficulty accepting a gift; they feel they must in some way merit or pay for everything they get. When that thinking is applied to salvation, it is called works – righteousness. That is, the righteousness is earned or merited by good works. It is not a biblical doctrine. Grace is its opposite; it is the biblical doctrine.
We can never pay for what Jesus has done. Instead we should accept Christ’s method of grace, just by believing, accepting and following Him.
8.5 What is Faith?
Key verses: John 20 v 29, 2 Corinthians 1 v 20, Hebrews 11 v 1& 6, 1 John 5 v 4
We have touched on faith in previous lessons, because believing in God is where a person starts his journey as a Christian: “Anyone who comes to God must believe he exists” (Hebrews 11 v 6). As we put our faith in God into practice, it will grow.
We must not only believe God can save us today. You need to move to a level where we know God can save us to eternity. Faith is our persuasion, our hope, our anticipation in and of God. No situation is too big or too small or God. Our faith must be centered on Jesus.
8.6 Believing is Not Seeing
Read: John 20 v 29, Hebrews 11 v 1
The world says, “seeing is believing”. But Jesus said, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed”. Jesus’ blessing includes you. You have believed Jesus died and came back from the dead; that’s part of the salvation message. And you’ve believed it even though you weren’t there to witness it. That’s faith!
Hebrews tells us that being certain of things we have not seen indicates faith. You believe that your sins are forgiven and that you will live for eternity with Jesus Christ in heaven, but have you ever actually seen someone go to heaven? No. But you believe because you have faith.
8.7 Believing on His Word
Read: Corinthians 1 v 20
Some Christians teach that if a person believes hard enough about something that will make it so. Their emphasis is on the strength of one’s faith. But it is the source of the Christians faith that is important. Christians should not just believe on temporal things, but seek the mind of God to base their belief on.
We can have confidence, or faith, in what Jesus has promised, because we know His word never fails. You may want something badly, but believing or hoping does not cause it to happen. The promise of Christ and the work He does should be where we put our faith and trust.
8.8 Faith: The Winning Ingredient
Read: 1 John 5 v 4, Hebrews 11 v 6
“But without faith is it impossible to please Him”. If we cannot take God at His Word and trust Him, we cannot be pleasing to Him. He is worthy of our faith and trust because He is able to meet every need we have.
8.9 Faith: The Winning Ingredient continued
“And this is the victory that has overcome the world-our faith”. This verse means that our confidence and trust in God will help us rise above the wickedness that would drag us down.
Because I trust God, I know that He will see me through every struggle.
8.10 An Outpouring of Love
Key verses: John 13 v 35, 1 John 4 v 8,1 Thessalonians 3 v 12
Every Christian life should be marked with love. Those around us should be able to tell there is something different about us.
The Bible says “God is Love”. This is who He is. Whenever God moves or works he does not step outside of love. We must never mix up God’s love with man’s love. God’s love is pure and always seeks for man. Man’s love can be conditional we love because we want to be loved. It is because God’s love is so pure and giving that Jesus died on the cross.
8.11 Love’s Origin
Read: 1 John 4 v 8, John 13 v 35
Remember who God is? The origin of love is God. God’s love was shown through the life of Jesus. Jesus was begotten of the Father. This means Jesus came out of the Father. Everything the Father is, was passed into the son. Jesus, the son of God places that love into your and I. Once we accept His love, we will begin to give out love.
8.12 Overflowing Love
Read: 1 Thessalonians 3 v 12
Who is to be the ultimate beneficiary of the love of God? God’s love is to flow in us that we will allow the love of the Lord to increase in us so that we may show it to others, this is how we overflow. God pours into us and we pour into others.
If you are like most Christians, you are now a part of God’s kingdom because someone has shared that special love with you.
8.13 Love In Practice
Key verses: Deuteronomy 10 v 19, Matthew 22 v 39, John 13 v 35, 1 Peter 1 v 22
This is a lesson in commands. The following verses contain God’s commands through Christ and the apostles to love one another.
8.14 Love God
Key verses: Deuteronomy 10 v 19
In the law of Moses, the first law was to worship the Lord God. Worship is reverence and honor to God. Our worship is in direct relation to our love. If we love God, we will seek to do his will. When we love God above situations and people we obtain a clear perspective of what is around us and of the people. Center your love on God and he will pour into you and what ever you need it will be done.
8.15 Love Yourself
It is important that you love yourself. Some people have such low esteem and lack self confidence that they find it difficult to believe anybody can love them. If our past has been hurtful or abusive, we can sometimes build walls between ourselves and others. When Gods love flows in your heart, you will begin to see yourself in a different light.
8.16 Love Others
Read: Matthew 22 v 39, 1 Peter 1 v 22
Love begets love. This means love in God, love in yourself will tip over into love of others. Your love can make a difference in some one’s life. When we treat others the way Jesus would, we are truly operating like a son.
Love will drive away fear, love will heal and cover a multitude of sins.
Read: 1 Corinthians 13.
This is the power of love. Now reach and touch someone by your love.
9 Becoming Like Jesus
Galatians 5 v 22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness,
meekness, temperance: against such there is no law”.
9.1 Following the Master
Key verses: John 15 v 5, Matthew 16 v 24
Did you realise that your conversion is just the beginning of the life Jesus has called you to? You, as a child of God, must now pursue living in the manner God prescribes for those who would follow Him.
9.2 Stay Connected to the Vine
Read: John 15 v 5
Since Jesus is the vine and we are the branches, we must depend on Him so we might grow and produce fruit, that is, develop a godly life- become more like Jesus (see Matthew 3 v 8). Many times Christians forget this, losing sight of their need of Jesus. Don’t let that happen to you. If you will learn the truth of this verse, it will always be helpful to you in your Christian life.
9.3 Put Jesus First
Read: Matthew 16 v 24
This verse contains a supreme directive for the Christian life. Jesus tells us that if we truly would follow Him, we must deny ourselves. That means we must turn over to God our desires and ambitions and allow Him to direct us as He sees fit, so that we might serve God’s kingdom not only where we may be needed, but also in the manner that pleases Him. Certainly all there is to know about living like the Lord Jesus cannot be covered in one lesson but it is a life time experience of learning.
9.4 Called to Servant Hood
Key Verses: John 12 v 24, 13 v 1-5, Philippians 2 v 5
As you come to understand more about God and His ways, you will find that the ways of the world are often just the opposite. These scriptures show us that the opposition couldn’t be clearer. For example, in our present society, as men and women try to move in the top of their careers, they often develop a life style of self-centeredness; it seems that at the heart of almost every vocational situation, they have to ask questions like, “How does it affect me?” or “What’s in it for me?”
Not so in the kingdom of God. We have been called to a different way. What ever we do should be through love. Let God’s love be seen in me.
9.5 Be Like the Greatest Servant
Read: Matthew 23 v 11, John 13 v 1-5, Philippians 2 v 5
In this set of verses we are given Jesus as our example. Read John 13 v 6-9 and then imagine the reaction of the other disciples when Jesus washed their feet.
Read: Matthew 23 v 11
If we cannot serve, we will never know how to lead. Follow Jesus example, He was the greatest leader, because he knew how to follow the Father’s will. Which great leader would wash his servant’s feet. Yet the Lord perform this act thus displaying his humility.
Philippians 2 v 5 addresses this humility in a very special way. Why do we become servants? Because this was Jesus’ approach to His earthly life, and the greatest worship we can show Him is to become just like Him.
9.6 Obedience the Key
Key verses: Hebrews 5 v 8
When we discuss becoming like Jesus we must certainly focus on obedience. Some Christians fall into the error of thinking that obeying God is not that important. Don’t believe it! Furthermore, true obedience is inward as much as it is outward. (see, for example, Isaiah 29 v 13 and Matthew 21 v 28-32). Jesus learned obedience.
Jesus was obedient even though he was aware of the suffering he was about to go through. The character the Lord portrayed showed how he put himself aside, humbling himself because he had a task to do.
9.7 The Fruit of the Spirit
Key verses: 1 Corinthians 13 v 4-7, Galatians 5 v 22 & 23, 2 Peter 1 v 5-7
Through the Fruit of the Spirit, we see the character of Jesus. The 9 fruit of the Spirit comes through LOVE.
Corinthians profiles the character of the Christian-every Christian; this is the kind of person we should be. Notice that these qualities are not focused on doing for Christ, but being for Christ. Don’t get them mixed up and major on doing something great for Christ and neglect being like Him. As we change more in the image of Christ, we should see more fruit and less self.
9.8 Describing the Spirit-filled Believer
Read: 1 Corinthians 13 v 4-7, Galatians 5 v 22 & v 23, 2 Peter 1 v 5-7
The following list is the marks of a Spirit-filled child of God as mentioned in these three passages.
1 Corinthians 13 Galatians 5 2 Peter 1
Suffers long Love Virtue
Is kind Joy Knowledge
Does not envy Peace Self-control
Does not parade itself Longsuffering Perseverance
Is not puffed up Kindness Godliness
Does not behave rudely Goodness Brotherly kindness
Does not seek its own Faithfulness Love
Is not provoked Gentleness
Thinks no evil Self-control
Does not rejoice in iniquity
Rejoiceth in the truth
Bears all things
Believes all things
Hopes all things
Endures all things
It’s quite a list, isn’t it? But God will help us to develop these traits in our lives if we will allow Him to work in us.
The Bible tells us that we are to become like Christ. Through the direction of the Holy Spirit and by His power we can. There are many different aspects to the Christian life, but we need to focus on becoming more like Christ. We may have great talents and abilities to do many things, but if we are not becoming more like Christ, then we will have no testimony, no witness, to our world.
The list above should be every Christian’s goal, a goal that can be achieved through the power of God’s Spirit in us. Great talents and abilities to do many things, but if we are not becoming more like Christ, then we will have no testimony, no witness, to our world.
The list above should be every Christian’s goal, a goal that can be achieved through the power of God’s Spirit in us.
9.9 Transformed by His Power
Key verses: Romans 8 v 29, 2 Corinthians 3 v 18, Ephesians 4 v 13
Don’t think you are on your own in becoming like Jesus, God is with you all the way: He has given you His Son, His Spirit is in you, His Word is at your fingertips, and He has made you a member of the body of Christ. Think about Romans 8 v 32.
9.10 God’s Purpose for Us
Read: Romans 8 v 29
According to this verse, God’s purpose is to make us like His Son, a process that begins here and now-not when we get to heaven. The job gets finished in heaven, but it starts here.
9.11 Transformed into His Likeness
Read: 2 Corinthians 3 v 18
We are to be a reflection of God in this world. And we are-as we allow His Spirit to transform our attitudes, our behavior, and our outlook.
Read: 2 Corinthians 3 v 18 & Philippians 2 v 13. Look at the similarities and differences.
9.12 Until We Become Mature
Read: Ephesians 4 v 13
Note the context of this verse. Paul is talking about the body of Christ, the Church, and how God has placed certain members in the Body to help the rest of the members achieve mature Christian character, “the whole measure of the fullness of Christ”.
Here again we are not alone in our growth to maturity in Christ. Be certain that you find a place in the church to serve and be served. Don’t make the mistake of trying to live your Christian life independent of other believers. If you do, your growth will be greatly hindered.
Around the world, millions of people become professing Christians every year. Ministers in some churches, baptise babies, others, young adults who have joined the church of their choice—and others, adult converts reached by missionaries. However, some “believers” do not seek baptism neither recognise its biblical importance.
The Greek word for “baptize” is nearly identical to the equivalent English word; it is spelt “baptizo”. It has several meanings, the most elementary of which are to soak, plunge, dip, or sink in water.
As far as Christian baptism is concerned, the word “baptizo” implies a full immersion, or total covering of the individual by water, before being pulled out.
10.1 What is Baptism?
Read Rom. 6:4; Col. 2:12; Acts 8:37-39
Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Romans 6:3-4
Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him.Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?” Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing. Acts 8:37-39
The Bible is clear about the action involved in baptism: baptism is a burial or immersion in water total immersion in water.
10.2 Origin of Baptism
Read Acts 2:37, Acts 16:33
And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized. Acts 16:33
On Pentecost, in A.D. 31, the day that the New Testament Church was created, the apostle Peter gave a powerful sermon to many listeners. His message was so convicting that 3,000 people believed in Jesus as their Lord and Saviour and were baptized. Before their baptism, many asked him, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37). Peter’s answer was, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
10.3 Baptism Types and Shadows
The term “shadow” means, “A reflection, a phantom, a silhouette”. “A glimpse and shadow”; “A mere outline and shadow”; “Only a pattern or reproduction”. The words rendered “copy” and “shadow” are nearly synonymous and are like our English words “likeness, copy, and imitation”. “It may be fairly well detailed, but it is not the original”. “Many of the Old Testament institutions were ‘types” or ‘previews of coming attractions’”
The word “type” is from the Greek tupos, which primarily denoted a blow, then the impression left by such a mark. In Romans 5:14, Adam is spoken of as a “type” of Him who was to come that is Christ. Consider the following definition of a type or shadow: “A type is essentially a prefiguring of something future from itself. It is a person, institution, office, action, or event, by means of which some truth of the Gospel was divinely foreshadowed under the Old Testament dispensations.
10.4 Baptism as an act of conscience
Baptism is the answering of a good conscience towards God. It shows that you mean to go on with the decision you made to follow Christ. Any act, outside of your conscience with relation to God, unfortunately becomes religious and cosmetic
Read 1 Peter 3:18-21
Belief is the inward reception of Christ, and baptism is the outward testimony of that belief.
Baptism has a spiritual side also. It shows you are dead and buried with Christ in God. And as a dead person the things of life should not bother you.
The term “shadow” means, “A reflection, a phantom, a silhouette”. “A glimpse and shadow”; “A mere outline and shadow”; “Only a pattern or reproduction”. The words The term “shadow” means, “A reflection, a phantom, a silhouette”. “A glimpse and shadow”; “A mere outline and shadow”; “Only a pattern or reproduction”. The words rendered “copy” and “shadow” are nearly synonymous and are like our English words “likeness, copy, and imitation”. “It may be fairly well detailed, but it is not the original”. “Many of the Old Testament institutions were ‘types” or ‘previews of coming attractions’”
The word “type” is from the Greek tupos, which primarily denoted a blow, then the impression left by such a mark. In Romans 5:14, Adam is spoken of as a “type” of Him who was to come that is Christ. Consider the following definition of a type or shadow: “A type is essentially a prefiguring of something future from itself. It is a person, institution, office, action, or event, by means of which some truth of the Gospel was divinely foreshadowed under the Old Testament dispensations.
Now, if New Testament baptism “corresponds” to what happened with Noah and his family, then we need to turn back to Genesis 6-9 to see just what happened. Peter is telling us that we can learn about the significance of baptism by understanding the role of the Ark and the water in the flood. Eight people entered the Ark because of a good conscience before God and the flood waters lifted the Ark from the earth. When they came out of the Ark, they entered a new world (Genesis 8:15-19). Through Baptism, Christians affirm their identification with Christ and declare that they have been resurrected to a new world.
10.5 Why get Baptised?
Read Acts 2:38-39
Some Christians believe that there are no requirements—or no conditions—to being saved. This is untrue and the above verse proves there is at least one condition that must precede-baptism itself.
Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” Acts 2:38-39
This verse is God’s plain command to “be baptized”! Not only is this instruction in your Bible, but the Bible also says repentance must precede baptism or one will not receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Once you have been saved the next step is baptism and baptism is a command from God our father.
10.6 Old Testament Baptism
Read Numbers 8:7
Thus you shall do to them to cleanse them: Sprinkle water of purification on them, and let them shave all their body, and let them wash their clothes, and so make themselves clean.
The word baptism is “a rite of washing with water as a sign of religious purification and consecration.”This rite was practiced frequently in the Old Testament. It signified purity or cleansing from sin and devotion to God. Since baptism was first instituted in the Old Testament many have practiced it as a tradition yet have not fully understood its significance and meaning.
10.7 The Purpose of Baptism
Read Matthew 28:19, Colossians 2:11-12, Romans 6:4
Water Baptism identifies the believer with the Godhead – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 28:19
Water Baptism identifies the believer with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection.
10.8 Why get Baptised?
Read Acts 2:38, Mathew 3:13 -17
Water Baptism is an act of obedience for the believer. It should be preceded by repentance, which simply means “a change of direction.” It is turning away from our sin and selfishness to serve the Lord Jesus Christ. It means placing our pride, our past and all of our possessions before the Lord. It is giving the control of our lives over to Him.
“Peter replied, ‘Each of you must turn from your sins and turn to God, and be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’ Those who believed what Peter said were baptised and added to the church–about three thousand in all.”Acts 2:38, 41
Water Baptism is a public testimony – the outward confession of an inward experience. In baptism, we stand before witnesses confessing our identification with the Lord.
Friend, there are those who say baptism is not necessary. Yet there is not one account of salvation in the new testament after the resurrection of Christ were baptism is not involved.
Jesus got baptized he was not a sinner, but in being baptised he showed His obedience to His Father.
10.9 Who should be Baptised?
Read Acts 2:38; 22:16; Mark 16:15-16; Rom. 6:3-4
And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; Mark 16:15-16
The Bible clearly teaches who should be baptized: to be baptized one should be old enough to understand God’s will and accept for himself the responsibility to believe and repent, making a commitment to serve God faithfully.
10.10 The Disciples Baptism
Read John 1:33, Mark 1:4
And John bore witness, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him. I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.” John 1:33
In the New Testament, the significance of baptism is seen more clearly. John the Baptist was sent by God to spread the news of the coming Messiah—Jesus Christ. John was directed by God (John 1:33) to baptize those who accepted his message.
John’s baptizing is called “a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” Mark 1:4 (NIV). Those baptized by John acknowledged their sins and professed their faith that through the coming Messiah they would be forgiven.
Baptism then is significant in that it represents the forgiveness and cleansing from sin that comes through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Please note baptism does not was away your sins.
10.11 Jesus Baptism
Matthew 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22.
Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?” But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfil all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him. When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:13-17
Baptism of Jesus by John – Story Summary:
John the Baptist was God’s appointed messenger. Before Jesus began his ministry, John had been announcing to the people throughout the regions of Jerusalem and Judea to prepare for the coming Messiah. He was calling them to repent, turn from their sins, and be baptized. He was pointing the way to Jesus. Then, all of a sudden, Jesus appeared on the scene. Jesus came to John to be baptized, but John told him, “I need to be baptized by you.” John himself wondered why Jesus asked to be baptized.
As Jesus came up out of the water, heaven opened, and the Spirit of God, like a dove, descended upon him. Witnesses to the baptism heard a voice from heaven saying, “This is my son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
Jesus was setting an example for his followers. He was foreshadowing his death, burial and resurrection. And lastly, Jesus was announcing the beginning of his ministry on earth.
The word “Trinity” comes from the Latin noun “trinitas” meaning “three are one.” The Trinity expresses the belief that God is one being made up of three distinct Persons who exist in co-equal essence and co-eternal communion as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Although the term “Trinity” is not found in the Bible, most Bible scholars agree that its meaning is clearly expressed. These are some of the verses expressing the concept of the Trinity – Matthew 3:16-17, Matthew 28:19, John 14:16-17, 2 Corinthians 13:14, Acts 2:32-33, John 10:30, John 17:11&21.
10.12 In whose name should we be baptised?
Read Acts 2:38, Acts 4:12, Matthew 28:19
Acts 2:38 records the Apostle Peter’s words on the day of Pentecost, “Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’”
Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” Acts 4:12.
There has been a lot of controversy in Christendom regarding whose name we should use to baptised candidates, should we use the Name of Jesus or the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.
This was a strong affirmation by Peter that “there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Being baptized in the name of Jesus indicates an understanding by the person being baptized that Christ is the Saviour.
Christian baptism is also in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19). Being baptized in this manner simply means we are identifying ourselves with the Trinity. We belong to the Father, are saved by the Son, and indwelt by the Spirit. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Being baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is being baptized in identification with them and their power over and in our lives. Jesus Himself specifically tells us to baptize “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” Matthew 28:19
In the Book of Acts, new believers were baptized in the name of Jesus (Acts 2:38; 8:12; 8:16; 10:48; 19:5). It is, however, essentially the same thing—Jesus, the Father and the Holy Spirit are one (John 10:30; Acts 16:7). Per Jesus’ own instructions, believers should be baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but as the book of Acts proves, baptizing in the name of Jesus is also done. The bottom line is that the name/names in which we are baptized is not as important as the recognition that baptism identifies us with the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, our Saviour. We are buried with Him and risen to walk with Him in newness of life.
In YCF if you the baptism candidate have a strong conviction about the name/names to be used in your baptism ceremony, we will baptise you in either of the scriptural formats indicated above that are related to the divine name and titles, namely, “In the name of Jesus” or “in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost”.
11 The People of God
1 Peter 2 v 10 “Who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had
not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy”.
Ephesians 4 v 11-13 “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some
evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of
ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of faith and of the
knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness
11.1 What is the Church?
Key verses: 1 Corinthians 12 v 27, 1 Timothy 3 v 15, 1 Peter 2 v 9 -10
One of the greatest blessings God has given to us is that of being made one of His people. We are now going to look at further ministry responsibilities of God’s people. Here we consider another of the overall ministries of the church: ministry to itself, that is, to believers.
11.2 The Body of Christ
Read: 1 Corinthians 12 v 27
Paul told the believers at Corinth that each of them made up the body of Christ. Note that in the very next verse, Paul writes, “And in the church …..” From this we may conclude that the body of Christ and the church are synonymous. The Church of Jesus Christ is people, who, just like you, have given their hearts to the Him. We may think of the church as that large brick building with the cross on the front of it but the term in the Bible is really to be defined as God’s people.
11.3 The Head of the Church
Key verses: Ephesians 1 v 22, 4 v 11 & v 15
Just as the New Testament writers used different terms to identify God’s people, they also used different terms to identify Jesus Christ. You have seen that in number of verses, for example, John 1 v 14 (“the Word”), Acts 7 v 56 (“Son of Man”), Revelation 22 v 13 (“Alpha & Omega”).
For the success of any venture, it is essential to know who’s in charge, the one with the final say. In Colossians 1 v 18 we see Christ as the head of all things. As you might expect, that includes the Church. The Bible makes that clear.
11.4 Head of Everything
Read: 1 Corinthians 12 v 1 – 25, Ephesians 4 v 11.
Compare the similarities and differences. Jesus is the head of all principalities and powers.
11.5 The Head of the Body
Read: 1 Corinthians 12 v 18
Jesus is the head of the church. The Bible says he has set us in the body (church) has it pleased Him. God has a position for everyone in the body.
Make sure you focus your attention, and especially your adoration, on Christ. Before we minister to the people, we must first learn to minister before God.
11.6 Ministering Servants
Read: Ephesians 4 v 11
Pastors are set in the body of Christ to tend to the sheep. They are a part of the five-fold ministry and above all ministries is God. Along with pastors there are apostles, prophets, teachers and evangelists. These positions are officiating offices to aid the body to work together.
Along with the officiating office God has given spiritual endowments gifts to everyone that has received the gift of the Holy Ghost. Every one that has received the Holy Ghost has at least one gift. We need to find out what that gift is and work and grow in that gift.
11.7 A Call to Ministry
Key verses: 1 Corinthians 7 v 24, 12 v4-10, Ephesians 4 v 11-13, 1 Peter 4 v 8-10
The life of the Church is filled with opportunities to serve God. Every gift is needed in the kingdom of God.
11.8 Ministries of the Church
Read: Ephesians 4 v 11-13
This familiar passage tells how God has built His church.
Ephesians tell of the officiating offices. He has called certain individuals to special ministries so that they might be used to bring growth to the lives of His people.
11.9 More Ministries
Read: Galatians 6 v 9-10, 1 Thessalonians 5 v 14
Notice the responsibilities that each of us must bear within the church.
11.10 The Motivation of Ministry
Read: Hebrews 13 v 1-2, 1 Peter 4 v 8-10
In keeping with Jesus’ teaching (see John 13 v 34-35) and the character of God (see 1 John 4 v 16), the watchword of the Early Church became “love”.
If we allow the love of God to flow through us to those in need, we can be certain that each need will be met.
Hospitality was important to the Early Church. In starting new churches, the apostles had to carefully appoint and instruct new leadership; they corresponded with and traveled to the many new churches spread about the region. Because commercial lodging was not very reputable, traveling Christians depended on their brother and sisters in Christ for places to stay. Though commercial lodgings has changed, the Bible’s call for Christian hospitality has not.
11.11 Ministry of Reconciliation
Read: 2 Corinthians 5 v 18-19
An additional area of ministry that is of great importance is sharing the salvation message of Jesus Christ with those who have yet to accept Him.
11.12 In Fellowship
Key verses: Psalm 119 v 63, Acts 2 v 42, Romans 12 v 5, 1 John 1 v 7
We are looking at another reason for gathering as believers-to fellowship. Fellowship is a significant aspect of believers getting together and it merits our attention.
11.13 The Basis of Our Fellowship
Read: Psalm 119 v 63
This beautiful Psalm introduces the unique nature of the fellowship of God’s people. This fellowship is not based on any similarities of personality or social status. That is what unbelievers base their fellowship on. According to this Psalm, the fellowship of God’s people is based on a mutual desire to please God.
11.14 Devotion for One Another
Read: Acts 2 v 42, Romans 12 v 5
According to the verse in Acts, fellowship was very important to the early believers. After the Day of Pentecost, they “devoted” themselves to “the fellowship”. They shared their material goods as well as their spiritual wealth (see verse 45).
Romans describes a further aspect of this special relationship among Christians. Because we share the same faith and are a part of the body of Christ, we belong to each other. Not in the sense, of course, that we are one another’s possession, but in the sense, of course that we share a responsibility to love and nurture one another in things of God.
11.15 Conduct for Maintaining Fellowship
Read: 1 John 1 v 7
John says that fellowship is conditional. “if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another”.
It is because of the righteousness of Christ and our desire to live holy lives that we keep in fellowship with each other.
12 The Church in Action – 1
Matthew 28 v 19-20 “ Go ye therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the
name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all
things that I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the
1 Corinthians 11 v 26 “Whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the
Lord’s death until he comes.”
Key verses: Matthew 28 v 19-20, Acts 2 v 42, Philippians 4 v 9, 1 Timothy 4 v 13, 2 Timothy 2 v 2
Our previous study material centered on what the Bible says about the kind of people Christians ought to be. We are now going to look at the church’s ordinances and practices.
12.2 Make Disciples
Read: Matthew 28 v 19-20
Among Jesus’ last words of instruction to His disciples is what has become known as the Great Commission: “Make disciples …… teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you”. No making of disciples can occur without teaching-and obedience to that teaching. It is good to invite a new convert to “experience” the Lord-but instructing and providing him an example is far better. For if he does not know what the Bible teaches and how he is supposed to live, he will have only his experience to go by. So if he wakes up with a headache or gets yelled at by his boss, he may think his “Christianity” is suspect. That is, his bad experience (with his body or his boss) may cause him to doubt his good experience (with the Lord).
12.3 Paul’s Instruction and Example
Read: Philippians 4 v 9, 1 Timothy 4 v 13, 2 Timothy 2 v 2
Almost a generation after the Church began, Paul discipled young churches as well as their leaders. The world would have us believe that it’s okay if what a person says and what he does are two different things (particularly if he is a public official). The Bible teaches the opposite: What one says and does are to be one and the same. Otherwise Paul could not have written this verse to the believers at Philippi
Paul exhorts the young leader Timothy to practice or “give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine”.
In Paul’s second letter to Timothy (which is his last New Testament writing-see 2 Timothy 4 v 6-8) Paul instructs Timothy to carry on the discipling he himself received from Paul (see 1 Corinthians 11 v 1). Here we see the continuing importance of a body of material to be learned, believed, and practiced.
12.4 Water Baptism
Key verses: Matthew 28 v 19, Acts 8 v 38, 10 v 47-48, Romans 6 v 3, Acts 2 v 38
12.5 Instituted by Jesus
Read: Matthew 28 v 19
Here in the Great Commission, Jesus includes water baptism as an essential part of the work of the ministry. It is the command of our Lord, and we should certainly be obedient to Him. Notice how we are to be baptised: in the name of Jesus or in the name of the Father, the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
12.5 Examples of Early Church Baptisms
Read: Acts 8 v 26-39, 10 v 47-48
These two verses mention …… in water. An important part of the life of the church is water baptism. In these instances, an Ethiopian court official and a Roman soldier (and his followers, including his family) are baptised in water after committing their lives to Jesus Christ and accepting His gift of forgiveness and salvation.
12.6 The Symbolism of Baptism
Read: Romans 6 v 3
Water baptism is a symbol of “baptism into Jesus Christ’ death”.
When you gave your life to Jesus Christ, your old self, your carnal nature, was to have been put to death. It was to be buried with its old ways, and the new life was to begin. Therefore, you symbolically “died with Christ” and were raised with Him to a new life.
Water baptism, then, is a symbol of what Jesus Christ has done inside you. It is also an opportunity to testify to others about what has taken place. In the life of the church, people are baptised in water to show what Christ has done in their hearts. It is a special moment to share.
12.7 Holy Communion
Key verses: Luke 22 v 17 -20, 1 Corinthians 10 v 16, 11 v 23-26
Another part of the life and ministry of the church is Holy Communion (also called the Lord’s Supper). Some churches observe this weekly, others monthly. The Bible doesn’t specify frequency, referring simply to “whenever” you do this. Communion is the paramount expression of fellowship in the church.
Just a few hours before Jesus was taken into custody and put to death, He sat down with His disciples to celebrate the Feast of the Passover. The Passover was what God gave the Jews as a way to remember his deliverance of Israel from Egypt. (see Exodus 12)
After they had shared this special meal, Jesus took bread and wine and symbolically portrayed for His disciples what was about to happen in His life and in the plan of God. Jesus identified the bread as His body and the wine as His blood.
The bread and wine became symbols of His sacrifice for us: The bread was His body that would be broken; the wine was His blood that would be spilled. This is the “meal” Christians call the Lord’s Supper or/ Holy Communion.
12.8 A Proper Observance
Read: 1 Corinthians 11 v 23-26
Many years after Jesus returned to heaven, Paul had to teach the believers at Corinth the proper observance of the Lord’s Supper. He exhorted them to drop their self-centered approach and think instead of their fellow believers and the Lord Jesus.
12.9 Participants in His Sacrifice
Read: 1 Corinthians 10 v 16
When believers rightly take the Lord’s Supper, they do much more than just remember what Jesus has done for them. By faith-recognizing the reason for His broken body and spilled blood, trusting in His Atonement for sin-believers become not just bystanders in this sacred ceremony, but participants!
12.10 Praying for the Sick
Key verses: Isaiah 53 v 4, Matthew 4 v 23, 8 v 17, Mark 16 v 17 –18, 1
Corinthians 12 v 7 & 9, James 5 v 14-15
One of the most familiar aspects of the ministry of Jesus and consequently, the life of the Early Church was the concern and prayer for the healing of the sick. For some Christians today, this is a matter of controversy, but the Bible is quite clear in its teaching.
12.11 Jesus’ Ministry of Healing
Read: Matthew 4 v 23
“And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people”.
This verse identifies three aspects of Jesus’ ministry. We are going to look at the aspect of healing the sick. Everywhere Jesus went, the lame walked, the blind saw, the lepers were cleansed.
Read: Mark 16 v 17-18, 1 Corinthians 12 v 7 & 9, James 5 v 14-15
Jesus identified the signs that would accompany belief in Him. One of those signs is healing. Paul told the Corinthians that the Spirit gave gifts of healing as a manifestation of His presence. Healing is a sign of the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Read: James 5 v 14-15.
If we are sick, we should call for the elders, or leaders, of the church to come and anoint us with oil and pray, and expect recovery.
Putting together what Jesus, Paul and James taught, we can conclude that the ministry of healing is a continuing part of the church’s activity today.
12.12 What is My Part?
Key verses: Matthew 5 v 13-16, Acts 10 v 37-38 Ephesians 2 v 10, Colossians 1 v 9 -10, 1 Timothy 6 v 18, Hebrews 10 v 24
Once we begin to understand what the church is all about, we want to find our special place of ministry so that we can begin to bear fruit for the kingdom of God. Let’s see what advice and guidance God has for us.
12.13 The Life-style of Jesus
Read: Acts 10 v 37-38
Here Peter summarizes the life of Jesus, and part of the summary is this: “He went around doing good”. This description of Jesus’ life should be fitting for every one of His followers. Note that we have the same resource: the anointing and empowerment of God’s Spirit.
12.14 The Command of Jesus
Read: Matthew 5 v 13 – 16
As we have noted, the Church is God’s people. And Gods people are God’s people whether they are gathered or scattered. So here Jesus speaks of them as salt and light, in effect, scattered. From this verse, we can identify what Jesus means by our being salt and light and thus our effect on people.
12.15 Good Deeds Encouraged
Read; 1 Timothy 6 v 18, Hebrews 10 v 24
Putting these verses together, we see that encouragement to do good works should be coming from the pew as well as the pulpit.
Make your prayer; Lord, show me where I can be your servant, and use me!
13 The Church in Action – 2
Matthew 28 v 19-20 “Go ye therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the
name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all
things that I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the
2 Corinthians 5 v 18 “And all these things of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus
Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation”.
13.1 The Ministry of Reconciliation
Key verses: Matthew 28 v 19, 2 Corinthians 5 v 18, 1 Timothy 2 v 3-4, 2 Peter 3 v 9
We have previously looked at the church’s ministry to the Lord (that is, worship), considered the church’s ministry to itself (instruction and edification). We are now going to look at ’Ministry to the World’ (often identified as evangelism/missions).
13.2 Make Disciples of All Nations
Read: Matthew 28 v 19
Sometimes we as Christians find it easy to sit back and enjoy the blessings of God, and we forget that God’s intent is that His message is spread. Jesus’ words here have been spoken of as the Great Commission, for He commissioned His disciples to spread the Good News to all lands. We are now responsibly for the ‘carrying’ of his message.
This challenge is for us too. Have you had the opportunity to share your faith? God wants us to be available for sharing the gospel whenever He brings the opportunity. Remember Acts 1 v 8.
13.3 God Gives the Ministry
Read: 2 Corinthians 5 v 18
Every Christian has been given the ministry of reconciliation. That does not necessarily mean travel to foreign countries; it does mean that Christians are to be reconcilers. Our message to the unbelievers, wherever they are, is the same as Paul’s to the Corinthians; “Be reconciled to God” (v20)
Accept this ministry from God and ask Him to help you practice it. It can start with family members, co-workers, and classmates- anyone who is unacquainted with God.
13.4 God’s Will for Mankind
Read: 1 Timothy 2 v 3-4, 2 Peter 3 v 9
We can conclude from these verses that it is God’s will that “all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth”.
“Whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life”. (Revelation 22 v 17).
You heard this invitation and responded. It is God’s will that others should hear it-through you.
13.5 A Heart of Love
Key verses: Deuteronomy 10 v 19, Matthew 22 v 39, Romans 12 v 9, 1 Thessalonians 3 v 12
We have seen that the command to spread the gospel was given by Jesus Christ before His return to heaven. But elsewhere in the Scriptures we have seen that we are to share the message of salvation not only because Jesus commanded us to, but because we have been given a heart of love for mankind. The command has been given and we ought willingly to serve our Lord and be obedient-out of our heart of gratitude and love.
13.6 Love For All
Read: Deuteronomy 10 v 19, Matthew 22 v 39
The Greek word translated “love” in this verse from Matthew is not connected to a hazy, feeling-based definition of that word but to the idea of commitment and devotion that can be a matter of decision, or the will. This is in keeping with the Old Testament (Hebrew) command of Deuteronomy, which was as unusual to the world then as it is now. The trait of humans is to seek their own kind; the trait of God is to seek all peoples. To be Godlike, we ought to share the gospel with all people because we love them. Regardless of their personality or their status, we are to love them with Christ’s love. When we were in our sins, we too were among the unlovely. But Christ loved us.
13.7 Sincere Love
Read: Romans 12 v 9
Our love for the world must come from a sincere heart. Insincerity is easily seen by the world, but those who love from sincerity cannot be faulted.
13.8 Sharing the Faith
Key Verses: Deuteronomy 6 v 6-7, Psalm 145 v 4, Matthew 19 v 13- 14, Luke 21 v 12-15, 2 Timothy 1 v 5
Now that we understand Jesus’ command and the kind of attitude out of which we’re supposed to share, consider the opportunities you may have for such sharing of your faith.
13.9 Within the Family
Read: Deuteronomy 6 v 6-7
This instruction was for parents. Parents are to teach their children about God and His Word. Notice that the setting for this instruction.
If your family are not Christian, watch for natural opportunities to witness. But be especially sensitive in this approach. They will not likely respond positively to being “preached at”, (Consider 1 Peter 3 v 1-3).
13.10 One Generation to Another
Read: Psalm 145 v 4, 2 Timothy 1 v 5
Preschoolers want to imitate primary kids, primary children stand in awe of young teens; high school scholars are impressed with collegians. The older generation influences the younger. Take advantage of that by influencing for Christ those who look up to you.
13.11 Don’t Overlook Children
Read: Matthew 19 v 13-14
Don’t overlook opportunities to bring the good news of the gospel to children. If you enjoy being around children, follow that inclination, perhaps by being part of the Sunday school programme or Youth Club. Children’s experiences with adults stay with them a lifetime. Make a good impression for God in young lives.
13.12 Discipline-The Next Step
Key verses: Matthew 28 v 19, Acts 18 v 26, 1 Corinthians 10 v 31, to 11 v 1
The church must fully understand the commission the Lord has given. God is not finished with a person after he accepts Jesus as Saviour any more than He was finished with you after you accepted Him. God’s work of grace continues through teaching, discipling. Remember each person is an individual people will not change or grow in Christ at the same rate. Be patient.
We are called to be disciples we must only be changed, but transformed.
This is a challenge we are to “make disciples” of all nations. To make disciples means to help others become like Jesus. That involves training in spiritual growth, to develop your life.
You may not realise it but you are already involved in discipling-as an example. But you can go beyond that by contributing to the lives of believers in direct ways: participating in the worship service, welcoming the newcomer, helping where you can, encouraging whoever needs it. (Consider the following verses: Ecclesiastes 4 v 9 -10, John 13 v 35, 1 Corinthians 14 v 26, Galatians 6 v 2, Ephesians 4 v 29, 1 Thessalonians 5 v 11).
Read: Acts 18 v 26
Apollos was a young man who had an intense desire to share the gospel. But he needed more teaching. God used Aquila and Priscilla, two spiritually mature believers, to help him.
God will use people to guide you, and He wants to use you to guide others. We never come to the place where we need no further teaching from God for our Lives.
May the Lord help us to always see both our need for instruction and our need to instruct others-by word and deed.
13.14 Reaching the World
Key verses: Exodus 17 v 11-13, 2 Kings 4 v 8-10, Mark 6 v 7-10, Luke 8 v 1-3, Romans 15 v
23-24, Romans 16 v 1-2
This final section focuses our attention on the co-operative effort the church makes to get the good news out to all people everywhere: our attempt in this age to carry the gospel “to the ends of the earth”. (Acts 1 v 8)
It is true that Paul was a tent maker and could support himself (Acts 18 v 3). And he was careful not to encourage laziness, going so far as to forego what he believed he was entitled to (2 Thessalonians 3 v 6-10). Nevertheless, he believed, with Jesus, that “Those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel”. 1 Corinthians 9 v 14, Luke 10 v 5-7).
So besides developing the life style of a witness, support materially and spiritually- those who’s calling to spread the gospel makes them dependent on it for their livelihood. And finally, consider such a vocation for yourself. It may be God’s calling for you.