- I. What to Know
A. God and Spiritual Powers
1. God’s Being
a) God’s Form
- God is one
- God is spirit
- God cannot be seen by people
- God is everywhere, not just in temples
- A vision of God
- Note: God primarily dwells in heaven
b) God’s Glory
- Glory is a prominent and key attribute of God
- God’s glory is an integral aspect of God’s presence
- God’s glory manifests his presence
- God is surrounded by brilliant light
- God has great majesty
- God’s glory is reflected in his powerful deeds
- God’s glory is evidenced throughout the earth and the heavens
- God’s glory will be explicitly revealed throughout the earth, to all nations
c) God’s Personhood
- God has a mind – knowing and comprehending things
- God has a will
- God has feelings and character . . .
- . . . God feels emotional pain
- God is active
- God communicates . . .
- . . . and people can communicate with God
- God interacts with people, responding to their requests and needs
d) God’s Eternity
- God is alive
- God has always been alive, the first of all things . . .
- . . . God existed even before the world began
- God will live forever
- God transcends time
- God is self-existing
- God does not change
II. God’s Pre-Eminence
a) God’s Greatness
- God is great and awesome
- God is greater than all others
- God is exalted above all others
- There is no one like God . . .
- . . . God does things which show that there is no one like him
- God is in fact beyond our comprehension
b) God’s Power (I): Ultimate Power
- God is mighty in power . . .
- . . . God is Almighty
- God can do all things – nothing is too hard
- God does whatever pleases him
- God’s power is far superior to that of anyone else . . .
- . . . No being can do what God can do
- Power in fact belongs to God
c) God’s Power (II): His Deeds
- God’s great power is shown in his deeds
- God performs great and awesome deeds
- God’s deeds are largely incomprehensible
- God’s deeds are uncountable
- God is glorified in his powerful deeds
d) God’s Knowledge and Wisdom
- God knows everything
- God sees all people, seeing and knowing all that they do . . .
- . . . No one can hide themselves or what they do from God
- God knows all people’s “hearts” and minds
- God knows the future
- God has incredible wisdom
- God’s knowledge and wisdom is far superior to that of people – beyond our comprehension . . .
- . . . God knows much that people do not know
- Note: God can take away worldly wisdom
e) Addendum: God’s ‘Name’
- God’s “name” is synonymous with God himself
- God’s “name” is synonymous with his presence
- God’s “name” is synonymous with God in him helping his people
- God’s “name” is synonymous with God in people relating to him
- God’s “name” is correlated with his authority and power
- God’s “name” is holy
- God’s “name” is great
- God’s “name” is glorious and exalted
- Note: God declared his actual name to be the “Lord”
2. God’s Character
I. Holy Characteristics
- God is holy
- There is nothing bad in God – and he cannot tolerate evil
- There is no one holy like God
- God shows himself to be holy by what he does
- Places where God dwells are also holy . . .
- . . . and God only dwells with those who are holy
- Things of God are likewise holy
- Note: God and his ways are perfect
b) Righteousness and Justice
- God is righteous and just
- God’s righteousness and justice are great – and everlasting
- God’s ways are right and just
- All God does is right and just . . .
- . . . God does no wrong
- God is truthful
- God does not show favoritism
- Note: God loves righteousness and justice
- God is faithful
- God’s faithfulness is great
- God’s faithfulness lasts forever
- God never abandons nor fails
- God does not lie nor change his mind – he keeps his promises
- God’s anger and its consequences are awesome . . .
- . . . This will be evident upon all nations and the whole earth
- God’s anger cannot be quenched
- God’s anger cannot be withstood
- God is slow to anger and often holds it back
- God does not stay angry
- God’s anger arises in response to sin and disobedience
- God’s anger arises in response to people turning away from him
- Other things that arouse God’s anger
II. Loving Characteristics
- God is love – as epitomized in him giving his only Son, to save us
- God’s love is great
- God’s love is steadfast
- God’s love lasts forever
- God is merciful
- God’s mercy is great
- Along with being merciful, God is gracious
- God is compassionate
- Due to his mercy and compassion: God is long-suffering; . . .
- . . . and God is forgiving
- Note: God is patient – allowing people to repent
- God is good
- God shows great goodness
- God exercises kindness
- God is generous
- God gives good gifts . . .
- . . . God is the ultimate source of all gifts
- God is a jealous God
- God’s jealousy arises in response to his people’s sin
- God’s jealousy arises particularly in response to unfaithfulness
- God is jealous for his people and their well-being . . .
- . . . and God is zealous in working for his people’s cause
- Note: In his zeal God punishes his enemies
3. Jesus Christ
a) Jesus Christ’s Eternity
- Jesus Christ is alive
- Jesus Christ existed in the beginning . . .
- . . . Jesus Christ was before all things
- Jesus Christ will be alive forever
- Jesus Christ is self-existing – he is “the life”
- Jesus Christ remains the same
b) Jesus Christ’s Pre-Eminence
- Jesus Christ is greater than all people
- Jesus Christ is greater than all things
- Jesus Christ has divine glory
- A vision of Jesus Christ, indicative of his surpassing greatness and glory
- Jesus Christ has mighty, sovereign power
- Jesus Christ has superlative knowledge and wisdom
- Jesus Christ is everywhere
c) Jesus Christ’s Character
- Jesus Christ is holy
- Jesus Christ is righteous . . .
- . . . Jesus Christ judges in righteousness and with justice
- Jesus Christ is faithful
- Jesus Christ is loving
- Jesus Christ shows grace . . .
- . . . and Jesus Christ is merciful
- Jesus Christ can display anger
d) Jesus Christ’s ‘Name’
- Jesus Christ’s “name” signifies Jesus Christ himself
- Jesus Christ’s “name” is correlated with his authority and power
- Jesus Christ’s “name” signifies him in his attainment of forgiveness of sins
- Jesus Christ’s “name” signifies him in his attainment of salvation and eternal life
- Jesus Christ’s “name” signifies him in his gospel and cause
- Note: God has given Jesus Christ a name that is superior to all others
II. Jesus Christ and God
a) Jesus Christ Is the Son of God (I): General
- Jesus Christ is the Son of God . . .
- . . . Jesus Christ is God’s only Son
- God is Jesus Christ’s Father
- Jesus Christ is the image of God
- Jesus Christ has the form and fullness of God – equality in nature
- Note: The Father loves his Son
b) Jesus Christ Is the Son of God (II): Testimony
- God testified to Jesus Christ being his Son
- Jesus Christ himself testified to being the Son of God
- Others also testified to Jesus Christ being the Son of God
- Jesus Christ’s deeds are evidence that he is the Son of God
- Other events of Jesus Christ’s incarnation are further evidence
c) Jesus Christ Is Identified with God
- Jesus Christ and the Father are one – each is in the other
- To know or see Jesus Christ is to know or see the Father
- Jesus Christ is called “God” . . .
- . . . and Jesus’ usage of “I am” quite possibly alludes to God’s name
- OT references to God are applied to Jesus Christ
- Some actions are attributed to both God and Jesus Christ
- Note: There is one God, the Father – and one Lord, Jesus Christ
d) Jesus Christ Is Treated like God Is
- Jesus Christ is worshiped
- Jesus Christ is honored and glorified
- People pray to Jesus Christ
- People obey and serve Jesus Christ
- People have faith in Jesus Christ
- People put their hope in Jesus Christ
e) Jesus Christ Is Under God’s Authority
- God is both Jesus Christ’s God and his Father
- Jesus Christ is described as being subordinate to God
- Jesus Christ was chosen and sent by God
- Jesus Christ is God’s servant
- God’s seniority is reflected by the things that he has done for Jesus Christ
4. The Holy Spirit
a) The Holy Spirit of God
- The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God . . .
- . . . God refers to the Holy Spirit as his Spirit
- The Holy Spirit is correlated with God’s presence
- The Holy Spirit is from God
- God and the Holy Spirit know each other’s mind
b) The Holy Spirit’s Being
- The Holy Spirit is everywhere
- The Holy Spirit is eternal
- The Holy Spirit has great power . . .
- . . . and the Holy Spirit can enable people to do great things
- The Holy Spirit has great knowledge . . .
- . . . The Holy Spirit even has knowledge of the future
- The Holy Spirit has great wisdom
c) The Holy Spirit’s Personhood
- The Holy Spirit is distinguished from God and Jesus Christ
- The Holy Spirit has a mind
- The Holy Spirit is referred to with personal pronouns
- The Holy Spirit has personal characteristics
- The Holy Spirit communicates . . .
- . . . and the Holy Spirit interacts in other ways
- Note: Like a person, the Holy Spirit can be treated wrongly
II. God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit
a) Mutual Association
- God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are very closely associated
- The Holy Spirit is identified with God . . .
- . . . and the Holy Spirit is also identified with Jesus Christ
- The Holy Spirit is described as both the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Jesus Christ
- God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit work together in unity of purpose . . .
- . . . Most prominently, they work together in saving people
b) Mutual Divine Attributes
- Omnipresence – God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are everywhere
- Omnipotence – they each have infinite, sovereign power
- Omniscience – they each have complete knowledge
- Divine glory
- Eternal existence
c) Mutual Divine Roles
- God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are each ascribed a primary role in creation
- They each give spiritual or eternal life
- They each make God’s people holy
- They each are constantly with God’s people
- They each strengthen God’s people
- They each teach God’s people
- They each give God’s people joy and peace
5. Angels, Satan and Demons
a) Attributes of Angels
- Angels have human-like features, but are very awesome in appearance
- Angels have wings and can fly
- Angels are very powerful
- Angels have great wisdom and knowledge – but their knowledge is limited
- Angels can communicate and interact with others
- Angels have a will
- Angels have emotions – notably joy
- Angels are holy
- Further attributes of angels
b) Angels and God
- Angels are with God, surrounding him and even standing in his presence
- Angels worship God and Jesus Christ
- Angels serve God . . .
- . . . Angels carry out judgments of God
- Angels serve Jesus Christ
c) Angels and God’s People
- Angels help and care for God’s people
- Examples of angels, sent by God, saving God’s people
- Angels give God’s people messages, such as instructions
- Angels also give messages about future events
- Note: Angels played a role in the introduction of the Mosaic Law
d) Further Teaching about Angels
- Angels are very important
- There are different kinds and ranks of angels
- There are thousands upon thousands of angels
- Angels reside in heaven
- Angels are not to be worshiped
II. Satan and Demons
a) Satan’s Evilness
- Satan is evil and is opposed to God’s kingdom
- Satan is opposed to Jesus Christ
- Satan is deceitful . . .
- . . . Those who follow Satan likewise are deceitful
- Note: Possible reference to Satan’s original state and his fall
b) Satan’s Power
- Satan is very powerful
- Satan has great power and authority in the world
- Satan works in and through unbelievers
- Satan is not as powerful as God . . .
- . . . and Satan is not as powerful as Jesus Christ
- Note: Satan stands condemned
c) Satan’s Work against God’s People
- Satan schemes and fights against God’s people
- Satan tempts God’s people . . .
- . . . and Satan can lead them astray
- Satan can afflict God’s people
- Satan can only tempt and afflict as God and Jesus Christ permit
- Satan accuses God’s people before God
- Demons are evil and powerful spiritual beings
- Demons are aligned with Satan
- Demons are deceitful, propagating what is false
- Demons can possess people . . .
- . . . Demons can cause people they possess much harm
- Demons both fear and have to submit to God and Jesus Christ
- Demons face eternal punishment
B. God and the World: Basics
6. God’s Creation
a) God Made All Things
- God has made all things
- God made the heavens and the earth – and everything in them
- God made light, alongside the darkness
- God made the sky
- God made land and sea
- God made vegetation
- God made the sun, moon and stars
- God made all creatures and people
- Note: All that God makes is good
b) God Maintains Creation
- Every creature’s life is dependent on God
- God provides food for all creatures
- God sends rain on the earth, making it productive
- God’s provision of rain and food is abundant . . .
- . . . God’s provision satisfies his creation
- God regulates all aspects of the weather
- God controls the cycle of day and night
- God controls the seasons
- God regulates and maintains the other aspects of nature
- Note: God made the earth and all creation to last
c) How God Made and Maintains Creation
- God made all things with his wisdom
- God made all things with his power
- God made and maintains all things by his word or command
- God made and sustains all things through Jesus Christ
- The Holy Spirit also has a role in creation
d) Implications of God Being Creator
- God is sovereign over all things
- All things belong to God
- All things exist for God
- Creation attests to God’s greatness and glory
- Creation attests to God’s power
- Creation and God’s control over it show his power and wisdom to be incomparable
II. God’s Creation of People
a) Life and Death
- God creates people
- God creates the various aspects of people’s beings
- God gives people life and breath
- People’s lives are very brief
- Each person is destined to die . . .
- . . . All people die no matter who or what they are
- Once a person dies, they do not return
- Note: Blood signifies life – and a person’s life is taken by the shedding of their blood
b) The Human Spirit
- God has made people with a spirit
- The spirit is distinguished from one’s body
- The spirit and the soul are closely associated
- The spirit and soul are at the core of one’s being
- The spirit and soul are linked with one’s emotions
- The spirit and soul are linked with one’s desires
- The spirit is involved in one’s thinking
- The spirit is fundamental to one’s attitude and actions
- People are dead without their spirit
- People’s spirits and souls exist after death
c) The Uniqueness of People
- God has made people in his own image
- People have an able mind, with which to think and reason intelligently
- People have the moral capacity to know good from evil . . .
- . . . People can choose between good and evil
- People are of much more value than other creatures
- God has made people ruler over all other creatures
- People are to care for other creatures
- People are to act responsibly towards all creation
d) Epilogue: God’s Self-Revelation to People
- People cannot in themselves perceive or know God
- God reveals himself
- God reveals himself by what he does
- God’s creation perpetually evidences and reveals God to all people . . .
- . . . God’s ongoing control over nature likewise testifies to him
- God is revealed in his acts of judgment and of salvation
- God is revealed and known through Jesus Christ
- Note: God reveals his plans and will
7. God’s Sovereignty
I. God’s Supreme Authority
a) The Lord Is God – the Only God
- The Lord is God
- The Lord is God of heaven and earth
- The Lord is God of all people
- The Lord is the true and living God . . .
- . . . He is the one and only God
- God’s deeds show that he is the only God
b) God Reigns Supreme
- God reigns
- God rules over all – over all the earth
- God rules over all nations and authorities
- God will reign forever
- God will impose his absolute rule on all
- Note: All things belong to God
c) God Has Power over All Things
- God has power over the forces of evil
- God has power over death, to raise the dead
- God has power over all aspects of nature, including: the earth; the skies; . . .
- . . . and the waters
- God has power over nations . . .
- . . . God can destroy nations
- God has power over rulers and can bring them down
d) God Defeats His Enemies
- No one can effectively oppose God . . .
- . . . The plans of God’s enemies cannot succeed against him
- God takes vengeance on his enemies
- God repays his enemies for their deeds
- God destroys his enemies
e) God Fulfills His Plans
- God carries out his plans
- God’s plans, which he fulfills, were determined long ago – from the beginning
- When the time comes, God’s plans are promptly fulfilled
- God does not change his plans . . .
- . . . though God may have reason to relent from something he proposed
- No one can thwart God’s plans . . .
- . . . Nor can anyone alter what God does
- God works everything for his plans
II. God’s Control over the World
a) God Has Control over Evil
- God exerts control over evil
- God can even use evil
- God can use evil to fulfill his plans and purposes
- God may use evil and wrongdoing to punish
- God may even use evil for the benefit of people
b) God Has Control over Nature
- God directs nature
- Nature serves God
- God can control the elements of nature to bring plentiful provision . . .
- . . . and God can control nature so as to bring depravation
- God has control over all creatures
- God can even perform miracles of nature
c) God Has Control over the Nations
- God is in control of the nations
- God has been in control of the nations throughout history
- God appoints times for events affecting the nations
- God has control over the outcome of conflicts between nations
- God can thwart the plans of the nations
- God establishes all ruling authorities
- God has control over rulers . . .
- . . . God can use rulers in order to accomplish his purposes
d) God Has Control over Each Person
- God has control over people’s hearts and minds
- God has control over people’s actions . . .
- . . . Despite people’s plans, their steps are directed by God
- God controls the good and bad things that happen to people
- God determines the length of people’s lives . . .
- . . . and God finishes people’s lives
- Note: The life of every person is in God’s hands
e) Addendum: God’s Early Dealings with Humankind
- God’s creation of the first people, in an ideal environment
- Humankind’s original sin . . .
- . . . The judgment for sin – including death and expulsion from the Garden of Eden
- The flood and Noah: Escalated sin and judgment; righteousness and salvation
- The Tower of Babel: Sinful pride and the dispersion of humankind
8. God’s Word
a) What God’s Word Comprises
- God’s word primarily is Scripture
- God’s word includes his laws
- God’s word includes his covenants
- God’s word includes his promises
- God’s word includes his prophecies
- God’s word also includes the gospel, proclaimed by his people
- Note: Jesus Christ is the Word of God
b) God’s Communication of His Word
- God has given his word by the Holy Spirit
- God gave his law through Moses
- God has spoken through prophets
- God has spoken through visions and dreams
- God’s word was spoken by Jesus Christ
c) Characteristics of God’s Word
- God’s word is holy, righteous and good
- God’s word is true . . .
- . . . and what God’s word foretells comes true
- God’s word is living and active
- God’s word is powerful
- God’s word is everlasting
- Note: God’s word surpasses everything of this world
d) Functions of God’s Word (I): General
- God’s word makes known his commands
- God’s word makes known his plans
- God’s word plays a role in salvation
- God’s word plays a role in sanctification
- God’s word helps people avoid sin
- God’s word helps people learn to fear God
- God’s word encourages people
- Note: God acts by his word
e) Functions of God’s Word (II): Blessings
- Life . . .
- . . . notably, spiritual and eternal life
- Note: Rejecting God’s word brings his judgment
II. Key Old Testament Covenants
a) God’s Covenant with Abraham
- God called Abraham to go to the land of Canaan – and Abraham went
- Subsequently, God made a covenant with Abraham, promising him: countless descendants; the land of Canaan; . . .
- . . . and that all peoples on earth would be blessed through Abraham
- Abraham believed God, and God credited this to him as righteousness
- God confirmed the covenant and promises with Abraham’s descendants
b) God’s Making of Israel as His People
- God made the nation of Israel . . .
- . . . The people of Israel were Abraham’s descendants
- God redeemed the Israelites out of Egypt to take them as his own
- God chose Israel out of all the nations to be his holy people
- Note: Foreigners were accepted into Israel and able to worship God
c) God’s Covenant with Israel and the Law
- God made a covenant with Israel, based on his law . . .
- . . . If the Israelites obeyed God, then they would be his people and he would be their God
- The core of the law: The Ten Commandments
- By obeying all the law, the Israelites would have righteousness and life
- By obeying, the Israelites would have life and prosperity in the promised land
- If they broke the covenant, there would be dreadful consequences – culminating in exile from the land
d) The Ark of the Covenant and God’s Presence
- The construction of the ark of the covenant
- The ark contained the stone tablets of the covenant
- The ark signified God’s presence amongst the people, where God would meet with Moses
- The ark brought great power and dreadful effects
- The ark was kept in the Most Holy Place, shielded by a curtain . . .
- . . . Access into the Most Holy Place was greatly restricted
- Containing the ark, the tabernacle and later the temple signified God’s presence
e) God’s Faithfulness to His Covenant with Israel
- God faithfully led Israel through the desert and provided for them
- God promised that none of Israel’s enemies would withstand it – which he fulfilled
- Conquering its inhabitants, God gave the promised land of Canaan to Israel – as an inheritance
- God duly cared for Israel in the promised land
- So, God was faithful to his covenants and promises with Abraham and Israel
f) God’s Dealings and Covenant with David
- David was chosen and anointed by God, as ruler over Israel
- David reigned over Israel, as a powerful and righteous king – undergirded by God
- God’s covenant with David, promising that David’s royal dynasty would last forever
- Note: God chose Jerusalem, David’s city, as his dwelling place
9. The Problem of Sin
a) What Sin Is
- Sin is breaking God’s law
- Even unintentionally breaking God’s law is sin
- Doing evil is sin
- All wrongdoing is sin
- Not doing what we should do is sin
b) Sin Is against God
- Sin is action against God
- Even acting wrongfully against other people is sinning against God
- Sin is rebellion against God
- Fo sin involves: turning away from God and his commands; . . .
- . . . and going our own way
- Sin is hated by God
- God can be grieved by sin
c) Sin Is Universal
- All people have sinned
- No one is righteous before God
- People have a sinful nature . . .
- . . . People have minds inclined towards evil
- People are led into sin by their sinful nature . . .
- . . . People are led into sin by their corrupt hearts and minds
- Note: God is aware of all sins . . .
- . . . and God remembers sin
d) Sin’s Intrinsic Ill Effects
- Spiritual defilement . . .
- . . . Spiritual uncleanness
- Separation from God . . .
- . . . and spiritual death
- Enslavement to sin
- Foolishness and spiritual darkness
e) Sin Brings God’s Judgment – Ultimately Death
- When one sins, one becomes guilty
- Sin makes one subject to God’s anger
- God’s anger against sinners is manifested in judgment
- Sin results in physical death
- Sin brings the prospect of eternal “death”
II. The Law’s Provision for Israel’s Sin
a) Offerings for Atonement for Sinners
- The law made provision for the offering of a life of an animal, to make atonement for one who had sinned
- The major offerings for making atonement: The burnt offering; . . .
- . . . the sin offering; . . .
- . . . and the guilt offering
- Atonement was also made annually for all of the people
b) Aspects of Making Offerings for Sin
- All offerings were only to be made at the place God chose for his presence amongst his people
- Animals brought as offerings were to be without any blemish
- The sinner laid hands on the offering, identifying the animal with themself
- The blood of the offerings for sin featured in making atonement . . .
- . . . for the life of a creature is in its blood – and as such blood is not to be eaten
c) The Role of the Priests
- God designated Aaron and his descendants as priests
- The priests were responsible for God’s sanctuary, the offerings and teaching the people
- The offering of incense by the priests
- The priests made offerings for people when they sinned, to make atonement for them
- The high priest made atonement for Israel as a whole
d) Ceremonial Cleanness
- Because God is holy, his people must be holy – which included avoiding uncleanness
- Uncleanness largely came through contact with things that were unclean
- Creatures were designated as either clean or unclean for eating
- Uncleanness would defile God’s dwelling place amidst his people – and so required isolation
- While a person was unclean they could not participate in worship practices
- Cleansing typically involved washing and a purification period
- Uncleanness often required offerings for atonement
- Note: Spiritual purity is paralleled with cleanness, and sin with uncleanness
e) Epilogue: Israel’s Persistence in Sin
- Israel’s sin and rebellion in the desert
- Israel’s sin and unfaithfulness during the time of the judges
- Solomon’s unfaithfulness and the consequent division of the kingdom . . .
- . . . Jeroboam’s subsequent archetypical apostasy in the northern kingdom
- Some kings in Judah did lead the people in godly ways . . .
- . . . but ultimately both kingdoms of Israel failed to keep God’s laws and broke his covenant
10. God’s Judgment
a) God Is the Judge of the World
- God is judge . . .
- . . . God is the judge of the whole earth
- God makes judgments in the world
- God judges nations
- God judges individuals
- God judges his own people
- God judges evil spiritual powers
b) Reasons for God’s Judgment
- To punish sin and unfaithfulness
- To discipline and cleanse God’s people
- To punish the ungodly . . .
- . . . and to exact just vengeance
- To save God’s people
- To vindicate God’s people
- To reward God’s people
- Note: God’s judgments serve as examples and warnings to others
c) God’s Judgment Is Just
- God judges with justice
- God judges righteously
- God does not show favoritism in his judgment
- God judges people with knowledge of all their deeds
- God takes into account thoughts and motives
- God’s judgments are correct
- God judges and repays people according to what they have done
- God gives fair warning of punishment for not obeying him . . .
- . . . Thus God allows for repentance and for punishment to be averted
d) God’s Judgment Reveals God
- God makes himself known by his judgment
- God’s judgment shows his might and his sovereignty . . .
- . . . God’s judgment makes known that he is the Lord
- God’s judgment evidences his glory
- God’s judgment reveals his holiness
- God’s judgment displays his anger
- Note: God’s restraint of his judgment shows his mercy and love
II. The Manifestation of God’s Judgment
a) Means of God’s Judicial Retribution
- Rulers . . .
- . . . and nations
- God’s own people
b) Characteristics of God’s Judicial Retribution
- Awesome power . . .
- . . . and irresistible
- Terrifying . . .
- . . . causing great grief and anguish
- Horrific consequences . . .
- . . . even complete devastation
c) The Wicked and God’s Pending Judgment
- The wicked prosper
- God shows goodness to the wicked – even their prosperity ultimately comes from him
- Questioning of God’s apparent lack of judgment regarding the wicked
- However, the situation of the wicked is precarious
- God does not leave the guilty unpunished
- In due time God does take action . . .
- . . . God’s silence in the face of wickedness is followed by his judgment
- God destroys the wicked
- Note: “The day of the Lord” will bring God’s judgment, with its destruction of the wicked
d) Repayments for the Wicked and the Righteous
- The wicked reap what they sow, brought down by their own evil
- In contrast to the wicked, the righteous reap what is good
- God blesses the righteous
- God takes care of the righteous, in contrast to the wicked
- The future of the righteous contrasts with the end of the wicked . . .
- . . . This will be most evident in the afterlife
e) Epilogue: God’s Judgment of Israel – and His Mercy
- Many times God warned his wayward people, through his prophets
- Eventually God determined to bring destruction on unresponsive Israel
- The temple and Jerusalem were destroyed
- God’s judgment on unfaithful Israel culminated in exile from the promised land
- But, God promised to spare a remnant of Israel
- God also promised to return people of Israel to the land
- Jews did return to the land
- Note: Because God remembers his covenant with Abraham, God is merciful to Israel
C. God and the World: Jesus Christ
11. God’s Promised Messiah
I. The Messiah’s Identity
a) The Promise of a Messiah in OT Scripture
- The OT Scriptures speak of a coming anointed one of God . . .
- . . . The anointed one would have God’s Spirit
- The OT describes him as a remarkable chosen servant of God
- The OT promises that such a one would arise as a great ruler of Israel
- The OT says the ruler will bring justice and salvation to the nations
- The ruler would be a descendant of King David, in accordance with God’s promise to David
- The OT also says that he would suffer and die, for people’s sins – but then be raised and exalted
b) Jesus Is the Promised Messiah
- Jesus Christ is the one chosen by God
- Jesus Christ is the one anointed by God, with the Holy Spirit . . .
- . . . Jesus is the Messiah
- The OT Scriptures testify to Jesus being the Messiah, the Christ
- For the OT speaks of the sufferings and resurrection of the Christ as fulfilled in Jesus . . .
- . . . and the OT speaks of the messianic salvation that would come through Jesus Christ
c) Messianic Prophecies Fulfilled by Jesus
- Prophecy fulfilled in Jesus’ birth and early years
- Prophecy fulfilled in Jesus’ life and ministry
- Prophecy fulfilled in Jesus’ death
- Prophecy fulfilled in Jesus’ resurrection
d) Further Testimony to Jesus Being the Messiah
- Jesus’ deeds showed that he is the Messiah, the Christ
- Jesus himself claimed to be the Christ
- Jesus’ followers acknowledged him as the Christ . . .
- . . . and Jesus being the Christ was a central aspect of their teaching
- Others also acknowledged Jesus as the Christ
- Note: The Christ is understood to be the Son of God
II. The Messiah’s Purpose and Person
a) Jesus Christ’s Mission from God
- God sent Jesus Christ into the world
- God sent Jesus to take away sins . . .
- . . . God sent Jesus to save the world
- Jesus came to bring spiritual light into the world . . .
- . . . Jesus came to bring truth
- Jesus came to enable us to know God
- Jesus came to destroy Satan’s work
- Further objectives of Jesus Christ’s mission
- Note: Jesus Christ’s mission took place at a time chosen by God
b) Jesus Christ’s Humanity
- Jesus Christ became a human being
- Jesus was born, of Mary – after being conceived through the Holy Spirit
- Jesus was a descendant of David
- Jesus had family
- Jesus grew from childhood through to adulthood
- Jesus was called a man
- Jesus had a physical body . . .
- . . . and Jesus had physical limitations
- Like all humans, Jesus experienced difficult times – including temptation
- Note: Jesus’ humanity was vital to his mission to save people
c) Jesus Christ’s Personality
- Jesus was loving – shown ultimately in him giving up his life
- Jesus was compassionate
- Jesus was meek
- Jesus was gentle and humble – as a servant
- Jesus was good
- Jesus was righteous
- Jesus showed righteous anger and indignation
- Jesus was courageous and composed
- Note: Jesus was prepared to associate with notably sinful people
d) Epilogue: God Works through Jesus Christ
- God works in all eras through Jesus Christ, impacting all things everywhere
- God enacts his will in or through Jesus Christ
- God fulfills his promises through Jesus Christ . . .
- . . . Key promises of God have been centered on Jesus Christ
- God saves people through Jesus Christ
- God gave the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ
- God works in and through his people, through Jesus Christ
12. Jesus Christ’s Mission
I. God’s Enablement of Jesus Christ
a) Jesus Christ’s Authority from God
- God granted Jesus sovereign authority
- Jesus had the authority to forgive sins
- Jesus’ teaching had great authority
- Jesus had the authority to state what was required for eternal life
- Jesus had the authority to state what was required to enter God’s kingdom
b) Jesus Christ’s Power from God
- God bestowed the Holy Spirit on Jesus, for his mission
- The Holy Spirit empowered Jesus in what he said and did
- Jesus did many miraculous deeds with God’s power
- Jesus’ deeds led people to praise God
- Jesus’ deeds validated his claims about himself and God
- Jesus’ deeds led many people to believe in him
c) Jesus Christ’s Knowledge from God
- God taught Jesus
- Jesus knew everything
- Jesus knew everything about all people . . .
- . . . Jesus even knew people’s thoughts and intentions
- Jesus knew about future events
- Jesus was also filled with wisdom . . .
- . . . Nobody could match Jesus’ wisdom
- Note: Jesus knew God
d) Jesus Christ’s Direction from God
- God was with Jesus
- Jesus only did works of God . . .
- . . . and God worked through Jesus
- Jesus obeyed God
- Jesus carried out God’s will, doing the work God had given him . . .
- . . . Jesus sought to do God’s will as opposed to his own will
- Jesus spoke what God wanted him to say
II. Ministry, Death and Resurrection
a) Jesus Christ’s Miracles
- Jesus performed miraculous deeds that greatly amazed people
- Jesus delivered people from demons and Satan – demonstrating power over evil
- Jesus delivered people from disease and disorders
- Jesus even raised the dead
- Jesus exercised control over nature, in rescuing and helping people
b) Jesus Christ’s Teaching
- Jesus was a prophet . . .
- . . . As a prophet, Jesus taught and preached to the people
- Jesus preached the good news of the kingdom of God
- Jesus’ teaching was not his own; what he spoke was from God
- Jesus’ teaching is the truth . . .
- . . . Jesus himself is identified with truth
- Jesus’ teaching was amazing – leading people to believe in him . . .
- . . . However, many others did not believe Jesus
c) Jesus Christ’s Rejection and Death
- Jesus was rejected
- Jesus was despised
- Jesus faced intense opposition, with efforts to kill him
- Jesus’ betrayal and arrest
- The unjust condemnation of Jesus – who was innocent of any charge
- The horrific suffering and death of Jesus
- Jesus’ death was planned . . .
- . . . It was God’s will that Jesus die – for everyone
- In accordance, Jesus suffered and died willingly
d) Jesus Christ’s Resurrection and Ascension
- God raised Jesus from the dead, by his power
- Jesus’ body was not found in his tomb
- Jesus was raised in a bodily form
- Jesus appeared to people after his resurrection
- Jesus was taken up to God in heaven
- Because he had willingly suffered death, God exalted and glorified Jesus Christ
13. Salvation through Jesus Christ
I. Salvation from Sin
a) Jesus Christ’s Death as an Offering for Sin
- God provided Jesus Christ as an offering for sin
- Jesus Christ died for our sins . . .
- . . . He gave himself as an offering to God, as a sacrifice for our sins
- Jesus Christ is the “Lamb” who was sacrificed
- Jesus Christ was an unblemished offering – being without sin
- In his death, Jesus Christ bore our sins
b) Jesus Christ’s Death and Atonement for Sin
- Jesus Christ died for us
- Jesus Christ’s sacrifice of himself for us means that our sins can be forgiven . . .
- . . . and that we can therefore be justified and righteous before God
- So through Jesus Christ’s death we can be reconciled to God . . .
- . . . and through Jesus Christ we can have peace with God
- Thus, Jesus Christ was the atoning sacrifice for sins, saving people from God’s wrath
c) Jesus Christ’s Death and Redemption from Sin
- Jesus Christ gave himself as a ransom for us, to redeem us from sin
- God’s people have been bought by Jesus Christ’s death . . .
- . . . They have been freed from sin and are now slaves to God
- Jesus Christ’s death sets us free from sin’s control . . .
- . . . and Jesus Christ’s death cleanses us from sin
- Note: Jesus Christ’s death redeems people from the law . . .
- . . . and Jesus Christ’s death redeems people from the law’s consequences
d) Jesus Christ’s Resurrection and Salvation
- Jesus Christ’s resurrection has a key part in people being saved
- Jesus Christ’s resurrection is linked to the forgiveness of sins . . .
- . . . and Jesus Christ’s resurrection is linked to justification
- Jesus Christ’s resurrection was essential for our resurrection
- Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection were a triumph over Satan and evil
- Note: Jesus Christ’s resurrection affirmed that he was the Messiah, the Son of God
II. Salvation for the World
a) The Savior of the World
- God provides salvation through Jesus Christ
- Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world . . .
- . . . Jesus Christ realizes salvation and redemption
- We can only be saved through Jesus Christ
- Jesus Christ will bring believers’ salvation to completion on his return
b) Life through Jesus Christ
- God provides life through Jesus Christ
- Jesus Christ gives spiritual life
- Jesus Christ gives eternal life
- Through Jesus Christ we can have eternal life as opposed to death
- Jesus Christ saves people from the power of death
c) Salvation for the Gentiles through Jesus Christ
- God has extended his salvation to the Gentiles
- God has provided salvation for the Gentiles through Jesus Christ . . .
- . . . Jesus Christ died for all people
- God has made the way of faith in Jesus Christ open to Gentiles as well as Jews – there is no difference
- God has given the Holy Spirit to the Gentiles as well as to Jews
d) The Gentiles as Part of God’s People
- Gentiles have been accepted by God as being of his people
- Jesus Christ has made Jews and Gentiles one
- Gentiles have been included in the true “Israel”
- Those who have faith are the true, spiritual children of Abraham . . .
- . . . and God’s promise to Abraham is for all who have faith
e) Epilogue: Jesus Christ’s Mission and Israel
- Jesus Christ came foremost to Israel . . .
- . . . and the gospel of Christ was first preached to the Jews
- But the Jews largely rejected Jesus Christ . . .
- . . . and many Jews strongly opposed the spreading of the gospel
- The Jews’ negative response to Jesus Christ brought God’s judgment
- God largely rejected the Jews and accepted the Gentiles, due to the Jews rejecting Christ and the gospel . . .
- . . . The Jews’ negative response contrasted with the responsiveness of the Gentiles
- But God has left a faithful remnant of Israel
- Despite Israel’s current state – which has benefited the Gentiles – Israel will be saved
14. The New Order
I. Jesus Christ and the Law’s Diminished Role
a) Righteousness Not by Law, but Faith in Jesus Christ
- The Mosaic Law cannot bring perfection . . .
- . . . The law only exacerbates the problem of sin
- People are not justified by obeying the law – but by faith in Jesus Christ . . .
- . . . Righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ – not by the law
- By faith Abraham was declared righteous – and so will all who emulate him
- One’s righteous standing is no reason to boast, as it is not due to what one does – but to faith
b) Salvation by Grace, through Jesus Christ
- God chooses people by his grace, through Jesus Christ – not because of works
- God leads people to respond to him by his grace
- People are justified and made righteous by God’s grace, through Jesus Christ – not by law
- People are saved by God’s grace, through Jesus Christ . . .
- . . . People are saved by God’s grace rather than by works and the law
- Eternal life is a gift from God, through Jesus Christ
c) Release from the Law through Jesus Christ
- Jesus Christ fully realized what the law had worked towards
- So through Jesus Christ believers have been released from the law
- With Jesus Christ’s once and for all sacrifice, there is no longer any need to sacrifice for sin
- The regulations and rituals of the law are no longer applicable
- Instead of being under the law, believers are under grace
d) The Relevance of the Law
- The law is not nullified . . .
- . . . The law is still good
- The primary purpose of the law is to make people aware of sin
- The spiritual and moral commands of the law are still to be obeyed
- The law’s principles – such as love, justice and mercy – are of central importance, above its rules
II. Key Elements of the New Order
a) God’s New Covenant
- The first covenant (with its priesthood and law) was inadequate and superseded by the superior new covenant – through Jesus Christ . . .
- . . . Components of the first covenant were merely a shadow of what was to come in the new covenant
- Jesus Christ’s blood ratified the new covenant
- The new covenant is everlasting
- The new covenant is spiritual: It is of the Holy Spirit; . . .
- . . . and it is internal
- Under the new covenant God’s people know him and are forgiven
b) Jesus Christ as High Priest
- Jesus Christ is the high priest of God’s people – representing them before God in the superior heavenly sanctuary
- Jesus Christ was appointed by God as high priest forever, in the superior priestly order of Melchizedek
- Previous sacrifices offered by priests were ultimately ineffective in dealing with sin . . .
- . . . As high priest, Jesus Christ sacrificed for sin once and for all
- As high priest, Jesus Christ continues to intercede for God’s people
- Jesus Christ is a high priest who is perfect – but can still identify with his people’s humanity
c) The Kingdom of God
- The kingdom of God came in Jesus Christ’s mission
- The kingdom of God will come in all its fullness in the future
- The spiritual nature of the kingdom of God
- The dynamism and power of the kingdom of God
- The great cost of participating in the kingdom of God
- Those who will enter the kingdom of God
- Note: The kingdom of God is also the kingdom of Jesus Christ
d) Jesus Christ as Lord of All
- Following his resurrection, God exalted Jesus Christ to his right hand . . .
- . . . and God made Jesus Christ Lord of all
- God has given Jesus Christ authority and power over all things
- God has entrusted everything to Jesus Christ – and made him heir of all things
- Jesus Christ has power over all other powers
- Jesus Christ’s power extends over death
- In the end, all Jesus Christ’s enemies will be made his footstool – totally conquered
15. ‘The Last Things’
I. Jesus Christ’s Return and the Judgment
a) Prologue: Judgments Preceding Jesus Christ’s Return
- Extracts from the first series of judgments: The seven seals
- Extracts from the second series of judgments: The seven trumpets
- Extracts from the third series of judgments: The seven bowls
b) The Timing of Jesus Christ’s Return
- God has set a time for Jesus Christ’s return
- Jesus Christ’s return will be at an unexpected time, while people are living as usual
- Jesus Christ’s return will be preceded by distressful events
- Awesome cosmic events will occur just prior to Jesus Christ’s return
- Jesus Christ’s return is spoken of as being imminent
c) Jesus Christ’s Return
- Jesus Christ will return with his angels
- Jesus Christ will come in great glory
- Believers who have died will be resurrected and all of them will be gathered to him
- On Jesus Christ’s return his followers will be rewarded
- On Jesus Christ’s return evil powers will be crushed
d) The Final Judgment (I): Its Scope and Outcomes
- God will judge every person, for all they have done
- The dead will rise . . .
- . . . They will rise to be judged, and either rewarded with eternal life or be condemned
- Eternal life will be the reward for godliness
- God’s wrath and destruction will be the recompense for ungodliness
e) The Final Judgment (II): The Process
- God has appointed Jesus Christ judge and will judge all people through him
- On his return, Jesus Christ will judge and reward all people according to what they have done
- Those who have believed in Jesus Christ will be saved and have eternal life
- Those who have rejected Jesus Christ – persisting in doing evil – will be condemned
- What people have known will be taken into account
f) Jesus Christ’s Universal Rule
- Prelude: The thousand years
- God will establish the Messiah as ruler over all
- The Messiah will have a universal reign of righteousness and peace
- All nations will turn to God
- All nations will worship God
- All people will acknowledge and submit to Jesus Christ
- God’s people will reign with Jesus Christ
II. The Afterlife
a) The New Creation
- The present heavens and earth will pass away . . .
- . . . The devastation of the heavens and earth in association with God’s judgment of the wicked
- God will create new heavens and a new earth
- God will renew all things
- God’s people will live in the new Jerusalem
- Note: The new Jerusalem is linked with the renewed Jerusalem prophesied in the OT
b) Eternal Life
- As God raised Jesus Christ from the dead, God will also raise his people
- On Jesus Christ’s return, their bodies will be made imperishable, glorious and spiritual – like Christ
- God’s people will be given eternal life
- Eternal life transcends physical death and precludes eternal spiritual death . . .
- . . . There will be no more death for God’s people
- God’s people will have the right to the tree of life and the water of life
- God’s people will have accompanying eternal blessings
c) The Heavenly State of God’s People
- God’s people will enter the kingdom of God . . .
- . . . and they will inherit the kingdom
- God’s people will be in heaven . . .
- . . . Heaven is where their reward is kept
- God’s people will be made perfect
- God’s people will have glory
- God’s people will have great joy . . .
- . . . There will be no more sorrow
- Note: The salvation and redemption of God’s people will be fully realized
d) Being with God
- God will dwell with his people
- God’s people will see God
- God’s people will be with Jesus Christ
- God’s people will have God’s and Jesus Christ’s names written on them
- God’s people will share in God’s and Jesus Christ’s glory
- God’s people will praise God . . .
- . . . and God’s people will serve God
e) The Punishment for the Ungodly
- The ungodly face God’s wrath . . .
- . . . The ungodly face destruction
- The ungodly will be separated from God and Jesus Christ – shut out from the holy city
- The ungodly will be thrown into fire
- There will be darkness and torment
- The punishment is eternal
- Note: There will be varying degrees of punishment
D. God and His Own People
16. The Standing of God’s People
a) Prologue: God Draws People to Himself
- God chooses people (to be his people) . . .
- . . . God chooses people to receive spiritual blessings
- God calls them to himself
- God enables people to believe and turn to Jesus Christ
- Note: God’s mercy and people’s destiny
b) God’s People Belong to God
- God’s people belong to him
- They are God’s people . . .
- . . . and God is their God
- God’s people are called by God’s name
- God’s people belong to Jesus Christ . . .
- . . . God gives his people to Jesus Christ
c) God’s People Are His Family
- Each believer belongs to the household of God
- God is their Father
- They are God’s children
- As God’s children, they are also heirs of God
- God’s people are Jesus Christ’s brothers and sisters
- God’s people are also brothers and sisters of each other
d) God’s People Are His Church
- God’s people form God’s church
- Jesus Christ is the church’s Lord and ruler
- The church is God’s temple, in which God dwells by his Holy Spirit . . .
- . . . As such, God’s people meet together in his presence
II. Being ‘in’ Jesus Christ
a) God’s People Are ‘in’ Jesus Christ
- God’s people are “in” Jesus Christ
- They are “in” Jesus Christ because of what God has done
- Jesus Christ identifies himself with God’s people
- God’s people live with Jesus Christ . . .
- . . . and Jesus Christ is in them
b) The Significance of Being ‘in’ Jesus Christ
- “In” Jesus Christ God’s people are saved
- “In” Jesus Christ they are redeemed and have righteousness
- “In” Jesus Christ God’s people are sanctified
- “In” Jesus Christ they are identified with him in his death, resurrection and life
- “In” Jesus Christ God’s people are given God’s grace
- “In” Jesus Christ God’s people have spiritual “fruits”
- “In” Jesus Christ God’s people have eternal life
- “In” Jesus Christ they will have glory
c) God’s People Are One Body ‘in’ Jesus Christ
- All believers – including Jews and Gentiles, slaves and free – are one body “in” Jesus Christ . . .
- . . . The church is in fact the body of Christ
- God’s people are many different parts making up one body “in” Jesus Christ
- The church body is built “in” Jesus Christ . . .
- . . . and Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of the church
- Jesus Christ is the head of the church body
- Jesus Christ is portrayed as the husband of the church
d) Epilogue: God’s People Relate to God through Jesus Christ
- Jesus Christ’s death and priesthood have opened the way into God’s presence for God’s people
- God’s people have access to God through Jesus Christ – by the Holy Spirit
- God’s people give thanks and praise to God through Jesus Christ
- God’s people ask God for things in Jesus Christ’s “name”
17. Keys to God’s Interaction
a) God Is Always with His People
- God and Jesus Christ are with their people
- God and Jesus Christ are always with their people . . .
- . . . God’s people are always with God – living in his presence
- God is with his people wherever they go . . .
- . . . God also goes before his people
- God is with his people in trouble
- Being with his people in trouble, God sees them through it
- God in fact lives in his people, and they in him
- God’s people are with Jesus Christ even in death
b) God Knows His People and They Know Him
- God and Jesus Christ know their people
- God and Jesus Christ know all their people’s needs and troubles
- God enables his people to know him
- So God’s people know him . . .
- . . . and God’s people know Jesus Christ
- God’s people are friends of God and Jesus Christ
- God’s people have fellowship with God and Jesus Christ
c) God Loves His People
- God loves his people
- God loves his people greatly
- God’s love is with his people always – forever
- God shows his love for his people in delivering them . . .
- . . . and God shows his love for his people in protecting them
- God shows his love in his kindness and blessings to his people
- Jesus Christ loves God’s people – as he showed when he gave his life for them
- Note: God delights and rejoices in his people
d) God Is Faithful to His People
- God is always faithful to his people
- God is faithful even if his people are unfaithful and do wrong
- God shows his faithfulness in helping his people
- God faithfully keeps his promises to his people
- God faithfully maintains his covenants with his people forever
- Note: God remembers his people
e) God Shows Grace to His People
- God and Jesus Christ show abundant grace towards their people
- By grace God’s people are given spiritual blessings and gifts
- By grace God’s people are entrusted with his work . . .
- . . . and by grace they are enabled to do God’s work
- By grace God’s people are strengthened
- By grace God’s people avoid sin
II. God’s Holy Spirit in His People
a) God Gives the Holy Spirit to His People
- God gives his people his Holy Spirit . . .
- . . . God gives the Holy Spirit to those who believe and obey him
- The Holy Spirit lives in God’s people
- Having the Holy Spirit verifies that a person is one of God’s people . . .
- . . . Having the Holy Spirit indicates that God lives in a person
- The Holy Spirit is God’s seal, guaranteeing what is to come
b) God Works in His People through the Holy Spirit
- God saves his people through the Holy Spirit
- God instructs and teaches his people through the Holy Spirit
- God works through his people by the Holy Spirit . . .
- . . . God speaks through his people by the Holy Spirit
- Jesus Christ works amongst God’s people through the Holy Spirit
- The Holy Spirit continues Jesus Christ’s work in his people . . .
- . . . and the Holy Spirit continues Jesus Christ’s work through his people
c) The Holy Spirit Renews God’s People
- The Holy Spirit brings spiritual life
- The Holy Spirit makes God’s people holy
- The Holy Spirit gives God’s people love and faith
- The Holy Spirit gives God’s people joy and peace
- The Holy Spirit teaches God’s people . . .
- . . . The Holy Spirit teaches God’s people about all things
- Having the Holy Spirit is linked with having wisdom and knowledge
d) The Holy Spirit Helps God’s People
- The Holy Spirit helps each believer
- The Holy Spirit leads God’s people
- The Holy Spirit directs them in doing God’s work
- The Holy Spirit empowers God’s people to do God’s work
- The Holy Spirit has a significant role in what God’s people speak
- God’s people worship and pray by the Holy Spirit
18. God’s Transformation of His People
a) God Makes His People Spiritually Alive
- God’s people have spiritual life
- They have passed from their former state of spiritual death to spiritual life
- In union with Jesus Christ, their sinful selves have “died” and they are now spiritually alive
- God’s people are spiritually reborn of God . . .
- . . . They are born again of the Holy Spirit and through God’s word
- God’s people are a new creation
b) God Makes His People Holy
- God makes his people holy . . .
- . . . God’s people are a holy people
- God’s people are primarily made holy through Jesus Christ’s sacrifice
- God’s people are being made like God . . .
- . . . God’s people are being transformed to be like Jesus Christ
- Note: God’s people are his workmanship
c) God Teaches His People
- God teaches his people
- God teaches his people how to live
- God enables his people to know the truth
- God makes known things about himself to his people . . .
- . . . and God makes known other things of his to his people
- God reveals unknown and concealed things to his people
d) God Disciplines His People (I): Reasons
- When his people turn to sin, God punishes and disciplines them . . .
- . . . By punishment and discipline God causes his people to seek him again
- God disciplines his people to rid them of sin
- God disciplines them to save them from sin’s consequences
- However, hard times from God are not always due to sin
- God also tests his people to show if they will obey him
- Further reasons why God disciplines and tests his people
e) God Disciplines His People (II): Insights
- God disciplines his people as his children, who he loves
- God’s discipline is characterized by righteousness and faithfulness
- God’s punishment of his people is warranted . . .
- . . . and God’s punishment is often less than what his people’s sins really deserve
- God’s discipline is temporary . . .
- . . . Due to his compassion, God limits his people’s punishment
- God’s discipline and testing can be intense, but God brings his people through
II. Spiritual Attributes
a) Love, Faith and Hope
- God gives his people love . . .
- . . . God enables his people to love
- God gives his people faith
- God gives his people hope – especially by what he has done through Jesus Christ
- God’s promises give his people hope
- God’s promises to his people include promises for the present life . . .
- . . . and promises for the afterlife – notably the promise of eternal life
- God gives his people peace
- God provides his people with rest
- Jesus Christ gives God’s people peace . . .
- . . . and Jesus Christ gives his people rest
- God’s people have great peace
- God’s people have peace and rest even in death
- Note: God is the God of peace
- God gives joy to his people
- God and Jesus Christ give their people fullness of joy
- The joy is present even in trouble
- Promises of God replacing sorrow with joy
- Note: God’s joy strengthens people
d) Wisdom and Knowledge
- God gives his people wisdom
- God gives his people knowledge
- God’s people are given spiritual sight . . .
- . . . They have spiritual light instead of spiritual darkness
- Note: The exceptional wisdom that God gave to Solomon
19. God’s Care of His People
I. God’s Saving of His People
a) God’s Capacity to Save His People
- God is able to save his people – no matter what the circumstances
- God has mighty power to save his people . . .
- . . . God can perform awesome deeds to save them
- God does not need to use any other means but himself to save his people
- Note: Salvation belongs to God – for he is the only savior
b) God Saves His People – from All Things
- God is the Savior of his people
- God saves them out of all troubles
- God saves his people from all their enemies
- On delivering them, God may even honor his people
- Note: God is the light of his people, giving them light . . .
- . . . God gives them light even in the midst of darkness
c) God Redeems His People
- God is the Redeemer of his people . . .
- . . . God redeems his people
- God redeems his people from enemies
- God sets them free from suffering and things that imprison
- God will redeem his people from death
- Note: God vindicates his people
d) God Helps His People against Enemies
- God helps his people in need, including against enemies
- God consistently helps his people in need
- God helps his people by delivering them from enemies
- God helps his people defeat enemies
- For God fights for his people, giving victory over enemies
- God enables his people to overcome all that is in the world
- God enables his people to overcome Satan
e) God Is Revealed in Saving His People
- God’s saving of his people makes known his salvation to the nations
- God’s saving of his people makes known that he is the only God
- God’s saving of his people reveals God’s great power
- God’s saving of his people reveals God’s glory
- God’s saving of his people evidences God’s love and faithfulness
- God’s saving of his people shows God’s holiness and righteousness
II. God’s Preservation of His People
a) God Meets His People’s Needs
- God cares for his people
- God sustains his people
- God meets his people’s physical needs
- God meets their physical needs even in harsh circumstances
- God satisfies his people’s spiritual hunger and thirst
- God provides for all their needs – they will not lack anything
- Note: God is his people’s portion
b) God Strengthens His People
- God is the strength of his people
- God strengthens his people
- God strengthens his people when they are weak . . .
- . . . God restores and renews his people
- God strengthens his people in the face of adversity
- God strengthens them spiritually, until Jesus Christ’s return
- God encourages his people
- God heals his people
- God also supports and upholds his people . . .
- . . . God even carries them
c) God Protects His People (I): General
- God protects his people
- God protects his people from enemies
- God preserves his people’s lives . . .
- . . . God keeps his people safe and secure
- God protects his people from Satan and all evil
- God and Jesus Christ keep their people as their own – until the end
d) God Protects His People (II): Depictions
- God shields his people
- God surrounds his people
- God is a refuge for his people
- God guards his people . . .
- . . . God watches over his people
- God is a shepherd to his people . . .
- . . . Jesus Christ is a shepherd to his people
e) Epilogue: God’s Care of the Needy
- The needy are often mistreated by the wicked and made to suffer
- However, God rescues the needy
- God secures justice for the needy
- God protects and is a refuge for the needy
- God provides for the needy
20. God’s Plans for His People
a) God Has Plans and Purposes for His People
- God has plans and purposes for his people
- God’s plans and purposes include work for his people to do
- God’s plans and purposes are not dependent upon a person’s background
- In spite of his people’s troubles, God will fulfill his plans and purposes for them
- God may actually use his people’s troubles in fulfilling his purposes for them . . .
- . . . God may even initiate seemingly bad things to fulfill his purposes for his people
- Note: The plans of God’s people are subject to his will
b) God Works through His People (I): General
- God works through his people
- God works through his people in the spreading of the gospel
- God purifies his people to do his work . . .
- . . . Jesus Christ effectively makes them priests to serve God
- God sends his people to do his work . . .
- . . . and God moves his people to do his work
- God works with his people, helping them
- God makes it possible for his people to do the work
c) God Works through His People (II): Empowerment
- God empowers his people to do his work
- God equips his people for the work
- God strengthens his people for the work
- God helps and empowers them to do his work even if they feel inadequate . . .
- . . . Jesus Christ’s power works through his people in their weaknesses
- God’s power for his people is great
- Note: The empowerment to perform miracles
d) God Guides His People
- God guides his people . . .
- . . . God leads his people
- God guides his people always
- God guides his people in difficult circumstances
- God commands and directs them in doing his work
- Examples of God giving guidance through visions
II. God’s Plans for Israel
a) Return to the Land
- God will gather the remnant of exiled Israel from the nations and bring them home
- God will aid them on the journey home . . .
- . . . and the nations also will assist in bringing the exiled Israelites home
- The people of Israel will possess the land – forever
- Judah and Israel will be reunited
b) Physical Renewal
- Israel will be physically restored
- The land will be fruitful
- Israel’s population and area will be increased
- Joy will accompany God’s renewal of Israel . . .
- . . . Israel’s sorrow will be no more
c) Deliverance and Everlasting Peace
- God will save Israel
- God will take vengeance on those who persecute Israel
- Siege and deliverance of Jerusalem – with judgment on its attackers
- Israel will defeat its enemies
- Israel will greatly rejoice in God’s salvation
- God will protect and care for Israel
- The Messiah will rule forever over Israel, in righteousness and peace
- Israel will have peace – and no fear – forever
d) Spiritual Renewal
- God will cleanse Israel of all impurities and sin . . .
- . . . and God will forgive the people’s sins
- Israel will be holy
- Israel will be righteous
- The people of Israel will be given God’s Spirit
- The people of Israel will be given spiritual understanding
e) A Renewed Relationship with God
- Israel will turn to God
- Israel will worship God – and trust in him
- Israel will be devoted to God
- God will be as a husband to Israel, renewing his relationship with her
- The people of Israel will be God’s people and he will be their God
- God will dwell in Jerusalem, living among his people forever
f) Exaltation and Glorification
- Israel will be dominant among the nations, who will serve it
- The nations will come to Jerusalem to worship God . . .
- . . . and nations will be established with Israel as God’s people
- God himself will exceedingly bless Israel
- God will glorify Israel
- Israel’s glory will primarily be God, with the glory of his presence
- Israel’s renewal will bring God glory
II. What to Do
E. Relating to God
21. Being Right with God
I. Getting Right with God
a) God’s Invitation
- God invites all people to come to him and be saved . . .
- . . . For God wants all people to be saved
- God wants us to earnestly seek him – and so find him
- We must believe in God and what he says
- We must be open to believing and responding to God
- Now is the time to seek God and to respond to him
- We must repent
- Confess your sins . . .
- . . . and turn from sinful ways
- In turning from sin, do what is right . . .
- . . . and turn to God
- Repentance is required for the forgiveness of sins
- Repentance leads to life
- Not repenting will result in judgment
c) Belief in Jesus Christ (I): General
- Believe in Jesus Christ
- Believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God
- Further key things to know and believe about Jesus Christ
- One’s response to Jesus Christ is one’s response to God, who sent him
- Superficial belief is not enough . . .
- . . . We are to both believe and repent
d) Belief in Jesus Christ (II): Reasons to Believe
- Jesus Christ’s words and knowledge
- Jesus Christ’s deeds
- Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection
- Testimonies about Jesus Christ . . .
- . . . God himself testified to Jesus and his claims
e) Belief in Jesus Christ (III): Outcomes
- We are forgiven of our sins
- We are granted righteousness and justified before God
- We are saved
- We have eternal life
- We become a child of God
- We are given God’s Holy Spirit
- Note: Those who do not believe in Jesus Christ are condemned and do not have life
f) Reasons for Assurance
- God’s word
- Jesus Christ’s death and his ministry in his risen life
- Having the Holy Spirit
- Obeying God
- Loving other Christians
- Further reasons
II. Staying Right with God
a) The Need to Obey God
- Obedience accompanies belief
- Obedience leads to righteousness
- Obedience leads to holiness
- Obedience brings one into a close relationship with God and Jesus Christ . . .
- . . . God and Jesus Christ are with those who obey
- Obedience and doing God’s will are critical for salvation
- Obedience leads to eternal life
- Not obeying God ultimately ends in eternal destruction
b) The Need for Good Deeds
- We are to persistently do good deeds
- True faith involves good deeds
- Good deeds are critical for salvation and eternal life
- Note: Our good deeds do not earn salvation, for it is by grace
c) Living Free of the Law and Sin – by the Spirit
- Our freedom from the Mosaic Law does not permit us to sin . . .
- . . . In fact, sinning results in enslavement to sin
- We have been freed from the law to live by the Holy Spirit
- Instead of living by the sinful nature, live by the Holy Spirit . . .
- . . . and live in God’s grace
- Note: Inner righteousness and right attitudes are needed, rather than mere compliance with rules
d) Epilogue: Living ‘in’ Jesus Christ
- Live “in” Jesus Christ
- Remain “in” Jesus Christ
- We live “in” Jesus Christ – and he in us – by faith . . .
- . . . and by holding to his teachings
- Speak “in” Jesus Christ
- Act towards others “in” Jesus Christ
- Do God’s work “in” Jesus Christ
- Rejoice “in” Jesus Christ
- Further aspects of living “in” Jesus Christ
22. Having Faith in God
I. Faith and Hope
a) Have Faith in God
- Have faith in God and Jesus Christ
- Live by faith
- Grow in faith
- Have strong faith . . .
- . . . For faith is tested
- Persist in faith
- Reasons to trust (and so have faith) in God: God’s unfailing love; . . .
- . . . God’s power; . . .
- . . . and God’s past deliverance
b) What Faith in God Involves Doing
- To have faith in God: believe in him (and what he says); . . .
- . . . and trust in God
- Have faith that God will fulfill what he promises
- Have faith that God will care for you
- Have faith that God will do what you ask
- Note: Faith involves believing in what we do not see
c) The Importance of Faith (I): Godly Living
- By faith we stand firm
- Faith produces obedience to God
- Faith produces work in service to God
- Faith is vital to prayer, for God to grant requests
- If we have faith nothing will be impossible
d) The Importance of Faith (II): Blessings
- By faith we remain in a right relationship with God and Jesus Christ
- By faith we receive what God has promised . . .
- . . . By faith we will receive the promises and salvation of the afterlife
- By faith our needs are met
- Trusting in God brings joy and peace
e) Have Hope in God
- Put your hope in God and Jesus Christ
- Put your hope in God’s promises
- Set your hope on God’s timely care
- Set your hope on Jesus Christ’s return and what will follow
- Reasons to have hope in God: God’s love and faithfulness; . . .
- . . . and the deeds of God, our Savior
- Other godly sources of hope
f) The Importance of Hope
- Hope is vital for faith
- Hope helps us remain firm
- Further ways hope is important for living the Christian life
- Note: The depressing plight of a lack of hope
II. What Not to Do
a) Do Not Lack Faith
- Do not be lacking in faith . . .
- . . . Do not doubt
- Do not test or question God
- Lack of faith is associated with not obeying God
- Lack of faith can have other detrimental effects
- Lack of faith can even bring God’s punishment
b) Do Not Be Afraid (I): Instructions
- Do not be afraid or discouraged
- Do not be afraid – have faith in God, trusting in him
- Do not be afraid – be confident
- Do not be afraid – be strong and courageous . . .
- . . . Look to God for your strength
- Do not even be afraid of death
c) Do Not Be Afraid (II): Reasons
- God is far more powerful than our enemies
- God is always with his people
- God helps his people
- God saves his people
- God is a refuge for his people, protecting them
- God’s promised blessings
- Further reasons
- Note: Being afraid has grave consequences
d) Do Not Worry
- Do not worry – trust God with your concerns . . .
- . . . Ask God to provide for your physical needs
- Do not worry about the cares of this life for God will provide
- The futility and dangers of worrying about the cares of this life
e) Do Not Trust in Other Things
- Do not trust in other people, but rather trust in God . . .
- . . . People are not worth trusting in
- Do not trust in yourself
- Do not trust in riches
- Do not trust in worldly power
- Do not trust in wickedness
23. Loving, Fearing and Obeying God
I. Loving and Fearing God
a) Love God
- Love God . . .
- . . . Love Jesus Christ
- Love and treasure God’s word
- Love for God and Jesus Christ is shown by obeying them
- Love for them is linked with loving and caring for other Christians
b) The Importance of Loving God
- Loving God is of the utmost importance
- God and Jesus Christ love those who love them
- God cares for those who love him
- Various spiritual blessings from loving God
- Blessings in the afterlife from loving God
c) Fear God
- Fear and be in awe of God
- Fear God to the extent that you tremble before him . . .
- . . . and tremble at God’s word
- Do not fear anyone or anything but God
- Note: God’s people should not live in fear of his punishment
d) Why God Should Be Feared
- God’s surpassing greatness and sovereignty
- God’s great deeds . . .
- . . . including God’s creative work and control over nature
- God’s anger and judgment
- God’s holiness
- God’s love
- God’s forgiveness
e) The Importance of Fearing God (I): Godly Living
- Fearing God is closely associated with obeying him
- Fear of God is associated with righteous living
- Fearing God compels one to avoid sin and evil
- Fearing God ensures we deal rightly with others
- Not fearing God is linked with ungodliness – and the consequences
f) The Importance of Fearing God (II): Blessings
- God delivers and protects those who fear him
- Fear of God leads to life
- Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom
- Further present-day blessings of fearing God
- Future blessings for those who fear God
II. Obeying God
a) Obey God
- Keep God’s commands and obey him
- Obey all God’s commands
- Obey God always – forever
- Do God’s will . . .
- . . . Do what pleases God
- Obey Jesus Christ
- We should obey God because he is our God . . .
- . . . It is no good expressing commitment to God and Jesus Christ without obeying them
- We should obey God because of the great things he has done for us . . .
- . . . and we should obey Jesus Christ because he died for us
b) Learn God’s Commands – and All His Word
- Learn God’s commands
- Ask God to teach you his commands
- Persistently read and study God’s commands – and all of God’s word
- Listen carefully and pay attention to God’s word and commands
- Listen carefully to Jesus’ teaching
- Pay attention to all Christian teaching
- Accept God’s word
- Note: Not listening to God’s word has ill consequences
c) How to Obey God
- Do what you learn of God’s law and word . . .
- . . . Do not just listen to God’s word
- Ask God to help you follow his ways and commands
- Submit yourself to God
- Obey God wholeheartedly
- Rejoice and delight in God’s commands
- Be careful to obey God
- Note: God’s and Jesus Christ’s commands are not too difficult
d) Blessings of Obeying God
- General promises of blessing
- God’s and Jesus Christ’s love
- God’s help
- The realization of God’s promises
- Peace and rest
- Other present-day spiritual blessings
- Note: Ill consequences of not obeying God
e) Epilogue: Follow Jesus Christ
- Follow Jesus Christ . . .
- . . . Be a disciple of Jesus Christ
- Follow Jesus Christ’s example
- Follow Jesus Christ’s example of love and service of others
- Make Jesus Christ your Lord . . .
- . . . Live for Jesus Christ, pleasing him
- Be willing to give up everything to follow Jesus Christ
24. Connecting with God
I. Being Close to God
a) Seek God
- Seek God – with all your heart
- Seek God wholeheartedly and you will find him
- Seeking God should be accompanied by obedience to him
- Seek God and his help through prayer and fasting
- Blessings of seeking God
- Not seeking God has detrimental results
- Note: Desire God and things of God
b) Focus on God
- Keep thinking about God
- Keep thinking about what God has done
- Think about Jesus Christ – and his example
- Look forward to what is to come in the afterlife . . .
- . . . Do not dwell on the past
- Further godly things to focus on
c) Meet with God and Live before Him
- Prepare yourself to come before God, as shown in the OT practice of consecration
- Draw near to God . . .
- . . . Come before God, meeting with him
- Continue to live before God, in his presence . . .
- . . . “Walk” with God
- Act before God – in awareness of his presence and scrutiny
d) Know God
- Know God and Jesus Christ
- Knowing God is linked to obeying his commands
- Knowing God is linked with loving and caring for others
- Knowing God aids godly living
- Knowing God and Jesus Christ is vital for spiritual growth
- Further blessings of knowing God
- Note: Not knowing God leads to sin and evil
II. Praying to God
a) The Importance of Prayer
- Prayer is portrayed as an offering to God
- Prayer is very powerful . . .
- . . . If we ask God for things, he will give or do them
- We help others by praying for them
- We are called on to pray
b) Praying before God
- Pray before God, in his presence
- Approach God with confidence
- Be reverent . . .
- . . . and humble yourself before God
- Pray to God as a caring father
- Pray in the Holy Spirit
c) Physical Aspects of Prayer
- Pray aloud . . .
- . . . or pray in your heart
- Pray anywhere
- Pray anytime
- Pray constantly
- Spend long periods alone in prayer – like Jesus did
- Keep alert to pray
- Postures used in prayer
- Note: Do not pray for show and do not babble on
d) Making Requests
- Ask for things in Jesus Christ’s “name”
- Ask earnestly . . .
- . . . Even fast when making requests of God
- Ask persistently
- Believe and do not doubt that what you ask will be granted
- Give thanks when asking
- Note: “The Lord’s Prayer” – the prayer Jesus gave as an example
e) Epilogue: God’s Response to Requests
- God answers those who obey and please him . . .
- . . . God does not listen to those who do evil rather than good
- God grants anything we ask that is in accordance with his will . . .
- . . . Further verses regarding prayer and God’s will
- Sometimes God may not appear to answer, or does not answer immediately
- Sometimes God and Jesus Christ refuse requests
- Examples and affirmation of God answering prayer
25. Exalting God
a) Glorify and Honor God
- Glorify God, giving glory to him
- Honor God
- Glorify and honor God by thanksgiving and praise
- Glorify God by how you live . . .
- . . . Glorify and honor God by good deeds and bearing fruit
- Not glorifying and honoring God has detrimental outcomes
b) Do Not Dishonor God
- Do not blaspheme God
- Do not by your actions bring disgrace on God . . .
- . . . Live a life worthy of God
- Do not show disrespect for things of God
- Additionally, do not treat God with contempt . . .
- . . . and do not scoff at God
- Note: We must treat God as holy
c) Praise and Thank God
- Praise God
- Calls for all things everywhere to praise God
- Praise God constantly
- Praise God forever
- Give thanks to God
- Give thanks to God always
- Blessings of giving praise and thanks to God
d) How to Give Praise and Thanks (I): General
- In righteousness
- Through prayer
- In singing . . .
- . . . along with making music
- With dancing
- With lifting up of hands
- Loudly and with shouts
- By making offerings
- Note: Give praise and thanks to God with and among other people
e) How to Give Praise and Thanks (II): Rejoicing
- Rejoice in God
- Rejoice in God and Jesus Christ always
- Rejoice when giving praise and thanks to God
- Be glad and joyful when praising and thanking God
- Joy should characterize singing and shouting to God
- Note: Delight in God and in things of God
II. Reasons to Exalt God
a) Aspects of God’s Being
- God’s glory
- God’s eternity
- God’s greatness
- God’s power
- God’s wisdom and knowledge
- God’s “name”
b) Aspects of God’s Character
- God’s holiness
- God’s love . . .
- . . . along with God’s faithfulness
- God’s righteousness and justness
- God’s mercy
- God’s goodness
c) What God Does in the World
- God’s deeds in general
- God’s creative work
- God’s provision of water and food
- God’s reign
- God’s word . . .
- . . . and the spreading of the gospel
- God’s judgments
d) What God Does for His People
- God’s great deeds for his people
- God’s salvation through Jesus Christ and the associated blessings . . .
- . . . in which we should rejoice
- God’s deliverance from difficulties . . .
- . . . in which we should rejoice
- God’s strength for his people
- Further things that God does for his people
e) Epilogue: God’s Vast Blessing of His People
- God and Jesus Christ greatly bless their people
- God does many great things for his people
- God blesses his people in many ways
- God’s people lack no good thing
- Ultimately, God gives his people all things
- Note: God gives his people blessings that last
F. Church Life
26. Being One Body
a) The Church as One Body
- God’s people form local groups, called churches
- The many church members form one body – the body of Christ
- As one body, church members meet together
- Church members function together as one church body
- The church body grows – spiritually and numerically
b) Be in Unison
- Be united as one
- Live in peace with each other
- Submit to one another
- Avoid foolish arguments and quarreling
- Sometimes disputes and differences may be necessary
- Note: Have any internal legal disputes judged by people of God
c) Be in Fellowship
- Have fellowship together . . .
- . . . Believers have fellowship collectively with God and Jesus Christ
- Participate together in church activities
- Share together in the sufferings that come because of Jesus Christ
- Share together in the joy that comes in being of the church
- Share in each other’s troubles and joy
- Keep in touch about each other’s welfare – and keep the others informed of your own
- Note: Believers share together in spiritual blessings
d) Love Each Other (I): General
- Love one another
- Love one another more and more
- Loving other Christians is indicative of being of God and Jesus Christ . . .
- . . . Not loving other Christians has negative implications
- Love is vital for Christian service and living
- Further blessings of loving each other
e) Love Each Other (II): How
- Love is expressed with actions
- Love each other as Jesus Christ loved us, even laying down his life
- Love each other sincerely and earnestly
- Love each other as brothers and sisters
- Keep each other in your hearts . . .
- . . . Long for each other
- Note: Obedience to God and other aspects of the faith are essential for love
II. Caring for the Body
a) Pray for Each Other (I): General
- Pray earnestly for other Christians
- Pray constantly for other Christians
- Pray for those facing persecution
- Pray for those spreading the gospel
- Always thank God for other Christians because of their faith and love
- Thank God because of the service of other Christians
b) Pray for Each Other (II): What to Ask
- Ask that other believers will live as God wants
- Ask God to forgive them when they do sin
- Pray for their spiritual growth
- Pray for them in their work for the kingdom, asking God to aid them in the work
- Ask God to help and take care of them
c) Encourage Each Other
- Encourage each other
- Strengthen each other
- Encourage and strengthen each other by what you say
- Encourage others to continue in God’s grace
- Encourage each other by what you do . . .
- . . . Do not do anything that will cause another to “stumble”
- Comfort each other
- Comfort those in need by visiting them
d) Help Each Other
- Be concerned for each other
- Consequently, help each other
- Meet each other’s needs . . .
- . . . Share what you have with those in need
- Help others who are doing God’s work
- Note: What one does for another Christian, one does for Jesus Christ
27. Worshiping God
a) Worship God
- We must worship God
- Worship God alone – do not worship anything or anyone else
- Worship God for his glory and sovereignty
- Worship God for his marvelous deeds – including his creation of everything
- Worship God because of his care of his people
b) Worshiping before God
- Worship before God, in his presence
- Worship God in spirit and by the Holy Spirit
- Worship God in reverence and awe . . .
- . . . Even bow down before God
- Worship God with praise
- Worship God with thanksgiving
- Worship God through prayer and even with fasting
c) Worshiping Together (I): General
- Worship God together
- Offer praise and thanksgiving together
- Pray together
- Repent together for corporate sin
- Offerings should be made during collective worship
- Have order and propriety in collective worship
d) Worshiping Together (II): OT Feasts and Festivals
- The Israelites were to celebrate together three annual festivals or feasts
- Celebration of God’s deliverance: The Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread
- Celebration of God’s provision: The Feast of Weeks (or Pentecost); . . .
- . . . and the Feast of Booths
- Israel was also to celebrate new moon festivals
- The feasts and festivals were celebrations and generally times of rejoicing
- They included sacred assemblies and days of no regular work
a) Reasons to Give to God
- We are required to give offerings to God
- Offerings are an important part of worshiping God
- Offerings acknowledge God’s provision for us . . .
- . . . In fact, all we have to give God has been given to us by him and ultimately belongs to him
- Offerings express thanksgiving to God for his deliverance
- Offerings support the service of God
- Offerings are often to help the needy – bringing thanks and praise to God
- By giving to God, we ourselves will be blessed
- Note: God has given us the ultimate gift – Jesus Christ himself
b) What to Give to God
- Give the “firstfruits” to God
- Give the best to God . . .
- . . . Do not give what is inferior to God
- Give all that you can
- The practice of giving an amount in proportion to one’s income – such as a tenth
- Offer spiritual sacrifices to God
c) How to Give to God
- Give in a way that is acceptable to God
- Give willingly
- Give joyfully
- Give generously
- Give regularly . . .
- . . . and give on special occasions
- Note: The practice of making of vows to God, which have to be kept
d) Righteousness and Making Offerings
- We must live righteously to acceptably worship God . . .
- . . . Our offerings are not acceptable to God if our lives do not please him
- Moreover, God desires righteousness more than offerings and sacrifices
- We should in fact offer ourselves to God, in service to him
28. Serving God
I. Preliminary Instructions and Insights
a) Be Prepared to Serve God
- We are called to serve God and Jesus Christ
- Be willing to do God’s work
- Be prepared and ready to do God’s work
- Live a godly life in readiness for doing God’s work
- Consecrate yourself to serve God . . .
- . . . Be set apart as holy
b) Be Devoted to God’s Work
- Devote yourself to God’s work
- Serve God only – do not serve anything or anyone else . . .
- . . . Seek to please God rather than people
- Put Jesus Christ before everyone else
- Put God and his work before your own interests
- Give up your life to live for God and Jesus Christ . . .
- . . . Be willing even to endanger your life
- Be willing to give up everything for God and Jesus Christ
c) Reasons to Serve God
- He is our God, who has done great things for us
- We are God’s servants
- God cares for his servants
- Your work for God will be productive
- You will be rewarded for your work
- Whoever does not produce good “fruit” will be cut off from God and Jesus Christ
- Further warnings and consequences regarding not doing God’s work
- Note: Do not work for things that do not satisfy or do not last
d) Being Guided by God
- To be guided by God, live a godly life
- Ask God to guide you (as in troubled times)
- God’s will is understood through godliness and prayer
- Other sources of godly and wise guidance
II. Doing God’s Work
a) Do God’s Work – the Best You Can
- Do the work assigned to you . . .
- . . . Carry out God’s will
- Work hard at God’s work . . .
- . . . Endure associated persecution and hardships
- Do quality work which bears “fruit” – “fruit” that will last
- Persist at serving God
- Complete the work you have been given
b) Do the Work through God
- Apart from God and Jesus Christ we can accomplish nothing
- Pray to God for help in the work – and ask others to pray
- Do God’s work through God and his power
- Do the work by faith
- Do the work in God’s “name” . . .
- . . . Do the work in the “name” of Jesus Christ
- Serve God through the Holy Spirit
- Note: Commit to God whatever you do
c) The Manner in Which to Serve God
- Serve God in holiness and righteousness
- Serve God with humility
- Serve God with all your heart
- Be strong and courageous, as God is with those doing his work
- Do not be afraid as you do God’s work . . .
- . . . Instead, fear God and serve him faithfully
d) Working with Other Believers
- Serve each other
- Do God’s work together
- Encourage each other in doing God’s work
- Keep each other informed about the work and associated challenges
- Note: Churches send out workers, to aid the spread of the gospel
e) Spiritual Gifts
- God gives each of his people a spiritual gift, through the Holy Spirit
- God’s people are given different spiritual gifts
- The various spiritual gifts
- Make good use of spiritual gifts, using them appropriately
- Use your spiritual gift to build up the church
- Further instructions about spiritual gifts
29. Significant Practices
I. Symbolic Rites
- God’s people are baptized in (or into) the “name” of Jesus Christ
- Baptism into Jesus Christ signifies being united with him – with the corresponding implications
- Baptism signifies belief
- Baptism signifies the washing away of sins
- Baptism signifies or is linked with receiving the Holy Spirit
b) The Lord’s Supper
- Observe the Lord’s Supper – in remembrance of Jesus Christ and his death
- Sharing in the Lord’s Supper also symbolizes sharing in the blood and body of Jesus Christ
- Further insights on the Lord’s Supper
- Do not participate in the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner
c) Circumcision: Its Needlessness
- Circumcision was the sign of God’s covenant with Abraham – and included in the Mosaic Law
- Circumcision does not bring salvation
- For believers, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of any consequence
- It is our hearts that must be circumcised – as is ultimately accomplished by God
II. Other Significant Practices
a) Confession of Jesus Christ
- Confess (or acknowledge) Jesus Christ, before others
- Things to confess about Jesus Christ
- Outcomes of confessing Jesus Christ
- Note: If we deny Jesus Christ, he will deny us
b) Keeping the Sabbath Holy
- On finishing creation, God rested on the seventh day – and made it holy
- Keep the Sabbath holy by resting on it
- Observance of the Sabbath was given as a sign between God and his people Israel
- Further reasons for keeping the Sabbath holy
- It is permissible to do good and necessary things on the Sabbath
- On the Sabbath God’s people assemble for worship . . .
- . . . During Sabbath worship there is teaching
- Verses alleged to indicate that Christians do not need to keep the Sabbath
- Note: Early Christians met together on the first day of the week
- Fasting involves abstaining from food and drink, for a period of time
- Fasting can be done regularly – as an adjunct to prayer and worship
- Fasting can be done on particular occasions, in petitioning God – as in seeking God’s help . . .
- . . . or as in asking God to relent from punishing sin
- As such, fasting expresses one’s distress in trouble or remorse over sin
- Note: Fasting in itself is not significant
d) The Laying on of Hands
- In conveying the gift of the Holy Spirit
- In conveying blessing
- In conveying God’s healing
- In commissioning for ministry
- Note: The OT use of oil to anoint and consecrate people for God’s service
30. Church Leadership
a) Introductory Insights
- Churches have leaders
- Ultimately it is God who chooses church leaders . . .
- . . . Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit play a role in the making of leaders
- Leaders will be accountable to God for their work
- Leaders will be richly rewarded for good work
b) Required Characteristics
- Wisdom and competence
- Strength and courage
- Willingness to serve
- Deep love for church members
c) Managing the Church
- As a leader, provide good leadership
- Delegate work to capable people
- Be gentle and sparing in the use of authority . . .
- . . . but exercise authority where necessary
- Be an example for church members to imitate
d) Caring for Church Members
- Be a shepherd taking care of God’s flock
- Pray for church members
- Strengthen members in the faith
- Follow up and pastor members
- Work hard at helping church members
- Be prepared to suffer hardship for church members
e) Dealing with Sin in the Church
- Confront church members over sin . . .
- . . . and warn them to stop sinning
- Expel unrepentant sinners . . .
- . . . This is partly for the benefit of the offenders themselves
- Have multiple witnesses in disciplinary procedures
- Restoring a person who has sinned
- Note: Unchecked sin corrupts others
f) Women in Leadership
- In the OT Israelite nation, some women had roles as leaders
- In the NT church, some women had significant ministerial roles
- Controversial passages on women not speaking in church
- Note: The oneness and interdependence of women and men “in” Jesus Christ
g) Church Members’ Duties to Leaders
- Love your leaders
- Respect your leaders
- Listen to your leaders and their teaching
- Obey your leaders
- Give your leaders material support . . .
- . . . Leaders deserve material support
II. Teaching in the Church
a) What to Teach: God’s Word
- Teach and preach God’s word
- Teach God’s commands and ways
- Teach the truths of the faith
- Read God’s word in church assemblies
- Use God’s word as the authoritative standard in determining what is true . . .
- . . . and use God’s word in determining what actions are legitimate
- Note: Do not add to or subtract from God’s word – nor distort it
b) How to Teach
- Explain God’s word and truths
- Where applicable, use illustrations in teaching
- Do not teach beyond what the hearers can understand
- The manner in which to teach
- The teaching needs to be correct . . .
- . . . and the teaching needs to be complete
- Keep reminding church members of teachings
- Note: Church members can themselves instruct one another
c) Traits of False Teachers (I): Their Teaching
- False teachers speak lies and delusions of their own, in God’s name
- Their teaching is hollow – of worldly, human origin
- False teachers say what their listeners like to hear – appealing and pleasant things . . .
- . . . False teachers do not confront their listeners with their sin
- False teachers teach different doctrine to what is correct
- False teachers distort the truth
- False teachers typically deny Jesus Christ
- Other notes about the teaching of false teachers
- Note: False teachers and their teaching are savage and destructive
d) Traits of False Teachers (II): Characteristics
- The consciences and minds of false teachers are corrupted
- False teachers typically follow their sinful desires
- False teachers are generally greedy for personal gain
- False teachers are deceitful
- False teachers are often arrogant and contemptuous
- False teachers lack understanding
- Note: False teachers stand condemned
e) Guarding against False Teachers
- Watch out for false teachers and their teaching . . .
- . . . Do not be deceived by false teachers
- Test teachers by comparing their teaching with the Scriptures
- False teachers can also be recognized by their “fruit” and actions
- Do not tolerate false teachers and their teaching . . .
- . . . Have nothing to do with false teachers
- Note: False teachers often succeed in leading people astray
G. Relating to People
I. Loving Qualities
- What love is
- The supremacy of love
- Live a life of love . . .
- . . . Do things in love
- Love others as you love yourself . . .
- . . . “Love your neighbor as yourself” sums up God’s law
- Love your enemies and do good to them
- Be generous
- Lend to others
- Share with others
- Practice hospitality
- Generosity actually brings oneself great blessing
- Show mercy
- Be merciful and God will show you mercy
- Be compassionate
- Forgive others . . .
- . . . Forgive and God will forgive you
- Do not judge others . . .
- . . . If you judge others, God will judge you accordingly
- Note: Human judgment is typically superficial and inadequate, in contrast to God’s judgment
- Be gentle
- Be patient
- Be meek . . .
- . . . Do not take revenge, but instead wait for God to act
- Seek peace, including peace with others . . .
- . . . and seek peace amongst others
II. Antitheses of Love
a) Selfish Attitudes
- Do not pursue selfish ends
- Do not be greedy
- Do not covet
- Seek the interests of others before your own . . .
- . . . Do so even at great cost to yourself, as Jesus Christ did
b) Ill Feelings
- Control and avoid anger
- Do not hate
- Get rid of bitterness and malice
- Do not be jealous . . .
- . . . Do not envy
- Do not show contempt
c) Adverse Speech
- Do not quarrel
- Do not curse
- Do not mock
- Do not slander
- Do not gossip
- Do not grumble, particularly against others
d) Adverse Force
- Do not use violence . . .
- . . . God hates and punishes violence
- Do not murder
- Do not rape
- Do not kidnap
- Do not oppress
I. Justice in Action
a) Do What Is Just and Right
- Practice justice and so act justly
- Do what is right . . .
- . . . Do no wrong to others
- Strive to do what is right in the eyes of both God and people
- Acting justly brings blessing
- Injustice brings God’s judgment
b) Administering Justice
- Administer and maintain justice
- Judge justly
- Do not show favoritism in judging . . .
- . . . Nor show favoritism in other matters
- Further instructions about legal judgments
- Have the same laws for foreigners as for the native-born
- Note: Avoid going to court
c) Justice and the Needy (I): Instructions
- Do not mistreat the needy
- Defend the cause of the needy
- Give to the needy . . .
- . . . Provide the needy with food and clothing
- Even sell your possessions so as to give to the poor
- Note: Treat foreigners the same as your native-born
d) Justice and the Needy (II): Insights
- Defending and providing for the needy are a vital part of true religion
- Providing for the needy is associated with righteousness
- Providing for the needy brings oneself blessing . . .
- . . . but giving to the needy must be done in an appropriate manner
- Blessings include one’s own needs being met . . .
- . . . There will also be reward in the afterlife
- God will punish those who mistreat the needy
- God will punish those who ignore the needy
e) OT Structured Provisions for the Needy
- The providing of produce for the needy
- The prohibiting of taking interest or profit from the poor
- The canceling of fellow Israelites’ debts every seven years
- The release of Israelite servants every seven years
- The year of jubilee
- The right of redemption for Israelite servants and of ancestral land
II. Being True
- Be faithful
- Be trustworthy and reliable
- Stand by others . . .
- . . . Do not desert others
- Do not betray others
- Consequences of unfaithfulness
- Be truthful . . .
- . . . Speak the truth
- Be honest
- Be sincere
- Have integrity . . .
- . . . Integrity brings security
- Do not deceive
- Do not lie
- Do not give false testimony
- Do not use flattery
- Do not plot evil schemes
- Avoid hypocrisy: Not acting in accordance with what you say; . . .
- . . . and false external practices – doing things for show
- Deceptive practices bring oneself harm
- Deceptive practices ultimately bring God’s judgment
d) Dishonest Gain
- Do not pursue dishonest gain
- Do not steal
- Do not defraud
- Do not take excessive interest or extort money
- Do not accept bribes
- Ill-gotten gain does not last
- Ill-gotten gain has ill consequences
e) Addendum: Oaths
- The practice of swearing oaths, in God’s name – not to be done falsely
- Swearing an oath to assert the truthfulness of a statement
- Swearing an oath to confirm a pledge . . .
- . . . Such oaths are barred by NT teaching
I. Being Wise
a) Prologue: The Precedence of Godly Wisdom
- Godly wisdom is superior to anything else
- Worldly wisdom is flawed and inferior to the wisdom of God . . .
- . . . Worldly wisdom is ultimately futile, even detrimental
- So get godly wisdom and be wise . . .
- . . . Seek out wisdom and knowledge
b) Wisdom through God
- Fearing God is the beginning of wisdom
- Ask God for wisdom . . .
- . . . For it is God who gives wisdom
- Obeying God’s commands brings wisdom
- Note: Wisdom involves doing what is right – and shunning evil
c) Wisdom through Others
- Pay attention to instruction . . .
- . . . For wise people heed and learn from instruction
- Listen to advice
- Accept rebuke . . .
- . . . Additional insights on accepting rebuke
- Heed discipline and correction
- Further insights on gaining wisdom
d) Wise Speech (I): Instructions
- Be quick to listen and slow to speak
- Be careful when speaking
- Use few words
- Speak gently
- Speak graciously
- Do not sin in what you say
- Note: Instructions and insights on giving rebuke
e) Wise Speech (II): Insights
- The righteous speak wisely . . .
- . . . One’s words are determined by the “heart”
- Wise speech is of great value
- The speech of the wise imparts wisdom and knowledge
- Further ways wise speech benefits others
- Beware: The tongue has great power, capable of evil and destructive effects
f) Wise Personal Practices
- Be self-controlled . . .
- . . . Self-control comes from God and wisdom
- Do not act in haste
- Work hard . . .
- . . . Ensure you have adequate provisions
- Enjoy life and be happy
II. Antitheses of Wisdom and Knowledge
- Fools spurn and lack wisdom
- Foolishness is characterized by failure to comprehend God and his ways
- Foolishness is characterized by failure to comprehend other spiritual truths
- Foolishness involves acting contrary to God
- Foolishness encompasses sin
- Foolishness encompasses doing wrong
- Results of foolishness . . .
- . . . Ultimately, foolishness results in ruin – even death
b) Foolish and Ungodly Practices
- Being quick-tempered is foolish and ungodly
- Indulging in pleasure is foolish and pointless . . .
- . . . and indulging in pleasure is ungodly
- Drunkenness and gluttony are unwise, causing one trouble . . .
- . . . Drunkenness should be avoided, particularly as it leads to ungodliness
- Further ungodly practices that are notably foolish
c) Spiritual Ignorance (I): Causes and Results
- Spiritual ignorance is caused basically by sin and ungodliness
- Spiritual ignorance is caused partly by the ungodly being closed-minded . . .
- . . . God may even judicially blind ungodly people
- Thus, the ungodly lack spiritual wisdom . . .
- . . . and the ungodly are in spiritual “darkness”
- Spiritual ignorance results in further sin
- Spiritual ignorance and lack of spiritual perception result in unbelief
- Spiritual ignorance and lack of spiritual understanding culminate in dire consequences
d) Spiritual Ignorance (II): Knowledge Lacked
- The ungodly do not know God or Jesus Christ
- The ungodly do not comprehend God’s word
- The ungodly do not know how God wants them to live . . .
- . . . and they do not know or understand many other spiritual truths
- The ungodly are ignorant of and deceived about their sin
- The ungodly are misguided about their standing with God and Jesus Christ
- The ungodly are skeptical of God knowing their deeds and of his judgment
- The ungodly are largely oblivious of God’s pending punishment – which they will bear
e) Epilogue: Blessings of Wisdom
- Understanding . . .
- . . . and discernment
- Righteousness and justice
- Protection . . .
- . . . and life
- Note: Living without wisdom has harmful consequences
34. Common Relationships
I. Family Relationships
a) Prologue: Getting Married
- Issues in deciding whether to stay single or to marry: General; . . .
- . . . Forsaking marriage for Jesus Christ
- Do not marry outside of God’s people – particularly as it can result in being led astray
- A person should have only one spouse
- Remarriage and adultery
b) Spouses (I): General
- A husband and wife should be as one, which involves sexual union
- Husbands should love their wives
- Wives should submit to their husbands
- Do not commit adultery – which brings God’s judgment
- Avoid divorce – it is contrary to God’s purposes
c) Spouses (II): Romantic Love
- The marvel of love
- Spouses and their love belong exclusively to each other
- Further insights on love
- Examples and declarations of love
- Desire for and enjoyment of sexual intimacy with one’s lover
d) Parents’ Duties to Children (I): Love and Care
- Parents should love their children
- Parents should have compassion on their children
- Parents should care for their children
- Parents should provide for their children
- Parents should pray for their children
e) Parents’ Duties to Children (II): Godly Training
- Parents should raise their children to live as God wants
- Parents should discipline their children
- Parents should teach their children about God and his deeds, inspiring them to obey God . . .
- . . . Parents should promote faith in their children
f) Children’s Duties to Parents
- Children are to honor and respect their parents
- Children are to obey their parents
- Children should heed their parents’ teaching – which brings great benefits
- Children are to help their parents
- Note: One should assist any relative in need
II. Civil Relationships
a) Citizens’ Duties to Authorities
- Citizens should submit to and obey the governing authorities . . .
- . . . For the authorities have been established by God and they will punish wrongdoers
- Citizens should defy any command that conflicts with God’s will
- Citizens should honor authorities
- Citizens should pray for authorities
b) Authorities’ Duties to Citizens (I): General
- Governing authorities should act and rule according to God’s law and ways
- Authorities should rule as servants of God and of their people
- Authorities should rule wisely . . .
- . . . Authorities need to be wise
- Note: Further traits that should characterize authorities
c) Authorities’ Duties to Citizens (II): Justice
- Authorities should rule justly
- Authorities should defend the needy
- Authorities should not rule unjustly . . .
- . . . Unjust rule brings God’s judgment
- Various insights on unjust rule
d) Servants and Masters
- Servants should obey and respect their masters
- Servants should be trustworthy and faithful
- Good service is rewarded
- Masters must treat servants justly
- Masters should pay servants their wages
- Note: Slavery is to be avoided and slave trading is evil
35. Spreading the Gospel
a) Tell People the Gospel
- Tell others the gospel message . . .
- . . . Tell them the gospel about Jesus Christ
- Tell all people, everywhere
- Continue to tell others the gospel despite suffering for doing so
- Do not be ashamed of the gospel, even despite suffering for it
- Try to persuade people to believe and respond to the gospel
b) What Things to Explain
- Who Jesus Christ is
- Jesus Christ’s life and deeds
- Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection
- The outcomes of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection
- The kingdom of God
- What God is like and what he has done . . .
- . . . including what God has done for you
- What else you have seen and heard (of God and Jesus Christ)
- How people should respond
c) How to Spread the Message
- Present the gospel accurately and plainly
- The manner in which to present the gospel message
- Spread the gospel by the Holy Spirit
- Spread the gospel boldly . . .
- . . . Spread the gospel boldly with God’s help
- Work hard at spreading the gospel message
- Note: Spreading the gospel is not to be done for profit . . .
- . . . Take measures not to be a financial burden
d) Supplementary Actions
- Pray for your proclamation of the gospel . . .
- . . . and pray for others who proclaim the gospel
- Pray for the salvation of unbelievers
- Rather than insist on your own rights, act in the interests of others for the sake of the gospel
- Live and act in a way that is consistent with the gospel
- In acting consistently with the gospel, you will not be discredited . . .
- . . . You will have credibility, attracting others to the gospel
- Support others spreading the gospel
- Note: Guard the gospel message
a) Insights on the Gospel Message
- The gospel is not made up by men – it is true
- The gospel reveals God’s hidden mystery concerning Jesus Christ
- The gospel is of God’s grace
- The gospel is good news
- The message of Jesus Christ is a stumbling block for many people
- Those who do not believe and respond to the gospel will be condemned
b) The Need to Spread the Gospel
- We have been entrusted with the task of telling the gospel to others . . .
- . . . We are responsible for telling others
- Through believers spreading the gospel message others come to believe . . .
- . . . and there are many ready to respond to the gospel – but they need someone to tell them
- The gospel brings salvation, saving those who respond to it
- The gospel brings life to those who respond
c) God and the Gospel’s Effectiveness
- The gospel is the power of God to save – though it may seem foolish to the world
- The gospel is not dependent on us and our presentation of it – but on the Holy Spirit and God’s power
- The Holy Spirit testifies about Jesus Christ to people, fostering belief
- God and Jesus Christ at times confirm the gospel message by miracles . . .
- . . . Miracles lead people to turn to God
d) Further Insights regarding the Gospel
- Believers are to be light for the world
- Insights regarding spreading the gospel
- Those who spread the gospel will be blessed
- The gospel has spread far and wide . . .
- . . . The gospel will be preached to all nations before the end
36. Standing Firm
a) Be Faithful to God
- Be faithful to God and Jesus Christ
- Hold fast to God and his ways
- Serve God faithfully
- Do not be unfaithful to God by not keeping his commands
- Do not forsake God
- God protects and blesses those who are faithful to him
- God punishes those who are unfaithful
b) Remember God and His Word
- Ensure you remember God
- Remember what God has done
- Remember God’s word and commands
- Persistently meditate on God’s word and commands . . .
- . . . Keep God’s word and commands in your heart and thoughts
- Note: Forgetting God has dreadful consequences
c) Hold to the Faith
- Continue in the faith
- Stand firm
- Hold to Christian teaching . . .
- . . . Continue to live by Christian teaching
- Grow in the faith and in your knowledge
- Grow in all aspects of your Christian life . . .
- . . . and produce spiritual “fruit”
d) Persist until the End
- Stand firm until the end
- Persist so that you will receive the reward . . .
- . . . Be like an athlete, striving for a prize
- Be careful not to turn away from God . . .
- . . . Do not rebel against God
- Some people do fall away
- Falling away brings dire consequences
e) Be Ready for Jesus Christ’s Return
- Wait eagerly for Jesus Christ’s return and for all that will follow
- As we do not know when Jesus Christ will come, keep watch and be ready
- To be ready for Jesus Christ’s return, live a godly life . . .
- . . . and live a constructive life
- Do not live an ungodly life, leaving you unprepared for Jesus Christ’s return
- Do not be deceived by false claims, for Christ’s return will be only after certain events – and obvious to all
II. Spiritual Warfare
a) The Existence of Spiritual Warfare
- Believers are involved in conflict of a spiritual nature
- Believers have spiritual enemies . . .
- . . . Believers have Satan as an enemy
- Believers have human enemies, spiritually opposed to them
- Believers face internal spiritual conflict
- God and Jesus Christ aid believers in spiritual warfare, enabling them to overcome
b) Engaging in Spiritual Warfare
- Be on your guard against spiritual dangers
- Resist Satan
- Use spiritual weapons and armor
- Spiritual weapons and armor include: faith; . . .
- . . . God’s word; . . .
- . . . and prayer
c) Counteraction of Demons
- Distinguishing between the Holy Spirit and demons
- Jesus Christ drove out demons . . .
- . . . Jesus Christ gave some of his followers similar authority over demons
- Demons are driven out of people in Jesus Christ’s “name”
- The Holy Spirit, faith and prayer also figure in the driving out of demons
d) Ungodly Spiritualistic Practices
- Do not practice witchcraft or other occult practices
- Do not consult anyone who does perform occult practices
- Do not have other “gods” or idols
- Other “gods” or idols are lifeless . . .
- . . . and so they are useless
- Worship of idols is correlated with worship of demons
- Having other “gods” is detrimental to our relationship with God
- Having other “gods” will culminate in God’s retribution
- Note: Other “gods” and idolatry are not restricted to physical images
37. Rejecting Sin
I. Encountering Sin
a) Consequences of Sin for God’s People
- Prelude: God’s people still sin
- Sin deprives God’s people of his blessings
- Sin deprives God’s people of rest
- God punishes sin, which can mean physical suffering and emotional anguish . . .
- . . . along with various other troubles
- Sin defiles God’s people – making them spiritually unclean
- God turns away from those who persist in sin
- Further implications of deliberately or habitually continuing to sin
b) Addressing Sin (I): Return from Sin to God
- Stop sinning, turning away from sin
- Do not be stubborn, resisting God and persisting in sin
- So get rid of sin . . .
- . . . and get rid of things involved in sinful practices
- Return to God
- Return to God with all your heart
- In returning from sin to God, do what God wants
c) Addressing Sin (II): Deal with Sin before God
- Confess your sin to God
- Be sorrowful over your sin
- Humble yourself before God over your sin – and its consequences
- Ask God for forgiveness and restoration
- In petitioning God, express your anguish over consequences of your sin – even with fasting
- Note: Accept God’s discipline for sin
d) God’s Response to Repentance
- Prelude: God seeks to draw his wayward people back to himself
- When we repent God forgives our sins . . .
- . . . Being merciful and compassionate, God saves us from the consequences of our sin
- When we repent God restores our relationship with him
- Note: Not repenting and returning to God brings judgment
II. Avoiding Sin and Being Holy
a) Avoiding Sin
- Take care not to sin
- Ask God for help to avoid sin . . .
- . . . For God and Jesus Christ are willing and able to help us withstand temptation
- Use God’s word to avoid sin
- Avoid sinful desires . . .
- . . . Sinful desires lead to sin
- Renew your mind and take care what you think about
- Get rid of sinful influences
- Avoid all evil
- Hate evil and sin
- Along with hating evil, love what is good
b) Alternatives to Sin
- Instead of living by the sinful nature, live by the Holy Spirit
- Instead of living in darkness, live according to the light
- Instead of living as a slave to sin, live as a slave to righteousness and God . . .
- . . . In avoiding sin be focused on doing what is right
- Pursue righteousness
- Be good
c) Be Holy (I): General
- Be holy, because God is holy
- Be pure . . .
- . . . Be blameless
- Make every effort to be holy and pure – particularly in view of what is to come
- Some things that lead to holiness
- Some things that lead to purity
- We should be holy and pleasing to God because of what he has done for us
d) Be Holy (II): Being Set Apart
- Be set apart for God
- Do not love this world
- Do not conform to this world
- Do not live as other people do . . .
- . . . Worldly behavior to be avoided
- Avoid bad company . . .
- . . . Bad company is corruptive and harmful
- Avoid compromising alliances
- Note: God’s people are not of this world . . .
- . . . God’s people are in effect strangers in this world
38. Major Pitfalls
a) Pride in Thought
- Do not be proud or conceited
- Do not be arrogant
- Do not think you are better than others
- Do not be wise in your own eyes . . .
- . . . Seeing yourself as wise is in fact associated with foolishness
- Do not be self-righteous
- Do not embrace praise from people – particularly in preference to praise from God
- Note: Pride can easily stem from riches and power
b) Pride in Action: Self-Exaltation and Boasting
- Do not exalt yourself . . .
- . . . Honor others, rather than yourself
- Do not dress lavishly for outward appearances
- Those who exalt themselves will be humbled – and those who humble themselves will be exalted
- Do not boast about yourself . . .
- . . . Only boast about God
- Boasting about oneself typically is bad
- Boasting is of no benefit . . .
- . . . Boasting leads to trouble
c) Outcomes of Pride
- Pride is very detrimental to a relationship with God . . .
- . . . Arrogance is also detrimental – notably in not obeying God’s commands
- Pride and arrogance lead to ill treatment of others
- Pride is associated with self-deception and flawed understanding
- Pride leads to one’s downfall – in contrast to humility
- God punishes the proud and arrogant . . .
- . . . God humbles the proud
d) Antithesis of Pride: Humility
- Be humble, particularly before God
- Humbly acknowledge your unworthiness before God
- Fast as a means of humbling yourself before God
- Be humble towards others
- Humility is important for obeying and serving God
- God cares for and blesses the humble
II. Riches and Sex
a) Riches and Godliness
- Riches are a barrier to a relationship with God
- Riches in fact draw one away from God . . .
- . . . Contrastingly, the poor are given prominence as recipients of the gospel and God’s kingdom
- Desire for riches can lead to mistreatment of others
- So, do not love money . . .
- . . . Be content with what you have
- Note: Wealth ultimately comes from God
b) Further Warnings about Riches
- Riches are not secure . . .
- . . . and we do not know what the future holds
- Life does not last and the dead cannot take their riches with them
- Hoarding riches will bring ill consequences in the afterlife
- Other shortcomings of riches
c) Sexual Sin
- Avoid sexual sin . . .
- . . . Be pure
- Sexual sin has ill consequences
- Sexual sin ultimately results in God’s judgment
- Note: The sexually immoral who believe and repent are forgiven
d) Prohibited Forms of Sex
- Sex apart from marriage
- Homosexual acts
e) Epilogue: Be Wary
- Be alert and sober
- Watch yourself . . .
- . . . Watch and guard yourself against sinning
- Examine and evaluate yourself
- Keep a clear conscience . . .
- . . . A good conscience is vital for governing ourselves in pleasing God
- Evaluate all things
- Do not be deceived, nor deceive yourself
- Beware: Sin is deceptive
39. Hard Times
a) Prologue: God’s People Still Have Hard Times
- Trouble is characteristic of human life
- The wicked oppress the righteous and the poor
- Examples of God’s people undergoing hard times
- Examples of God’s people even attributing their plight to God
- Note: The desire to contend with God over one’s plight
b) Mourn Loss
- Mourn and weep over loss – particularly deaths
- Mourn and weep before God
- Openly express your sorrow and grief
- Fast in mourning
c) Keep in Mind God and His Word
- In hard times, remember God . . .
- . . . and remember what God has done
- Seek God in hard times
- Do not forget God’s word
- Keep meditating on God’s word and obeying it
- Put your hope in God’s word
- Take comfort in God’s word
- Delight in God’s word
d) Trust in God
- In hard times, trust in God
- Commit yourself to God and take refuge in him . . .
- . . . For God saves and protects those who take refuge in him
- Accept hard times from God
e) Hope in God and Wait for Him
- In hard times, put your hope in God
- Look resolutely and expectantly to God
- Wait for God
- Wait for God patiently and quietly
- Wait with confidence and in the knowledge that God will act
II. Praying in Hard Times
a) Express Your Anguish to God
- Tell God of your plight and how you feel . . .
- . . . Pour out your heart to God
- Prayer anxiously speaking of God’s seeming remoteness and of apparent isolation from him . . .
- . . . Consequent longing for God amidst suffering
- Prayer despairingly speaking of God as even the source of one’s suffering
- Prayer desperately asking God how long suffering and God’s apparent inaction or anger is to continue
b) Ask God for Help (I): General
- When facing trouble, pray to God . . .
- . . . Cry out to God for help
- Ask God for mercy
- Ask God for strength
- Ask God to guide you
- Ask God to protect you . . .
- . . . and ask God to deliver you
- Ask God to hear and answer your prayer
- Persist in prayer to God
c) Ask God for Help (II): Things to Appeal To
- God’s righteousness
- God’s steadfast love and faithfulness . . .
- . . . along with God’s mercy
- Your devotion to and relationship with God . . .
- . . . and God’s promises to his people
- The sake of God’s “name”
- Note: Believe that God will answer your prayer – and tell him so
d) Praise and Rejoice in God
- Praise and thank God amidst trouble
- Rejoice in God amidst trouble
- Determine and promise to praise and thank God for deliverance
- Praise and thank God when he answers prayer made in hard times
- Rejoice in God’s deliverance from hard times
e) Epilogue: God Does Respond to Suffering and Cries
- God is near us in hard times and when we pray
- God does not ignore the suffering and cries of the afflicted
- God comforts his people in hard times
- God hears the cries of the godly and rescues them . . .
- . . . God has compassion on them, saving and blessing them
- Further testimony to God answering prayers in suffering and trouble
- Further specific examples of God answering prayers in suffering and trouble
I. The Persecution of God’s People
a) God’s People Face Persecution
- Following God and Jesus Christ results in persecution . . .
- . . . It brings all kinds of hardships and suffering
- Spreading the gospel can lead to opposition . . .
- . . . and spreading the gospel can result in persecution
- God’s people are hated
- God’s people may face plots against them
b) Types of Persecution
- Verbal abuse
- Lies and slander
- Ostracism and expulsion
- Beatings and violence
- Threat of death . . .
- . . . and even death
c) The Antichrist and the Final Persecution
- Scripture speaks of the coming of an antichrist
- The antichrist will be of Satan and opposed to God
- The antichrist will have great authority and be worshiped
- Persecution of God’s people will increase in the end times – especially due to the antichrist . . .
- . . . Martyrdom will be prominent
- “Three and a half years” is given for the rule of the antichrist and intense persecution
- The end of the antichrist
- The outcome of submitting to the antichrist
d) God’s Care of Persecuted Believers
- God’s all-surpassing purpose, work and love for his people – despite adversity
- God and Jesus Christ strengthen their people amidst trials
- God and Jesus Christ will rescue their people from trials . . .
- . . . as indeed they have rescued believers in the past
- God will ultimately save believers from the persecution of the end times
- Note: God will take vengeance on those who persecute his people
II. What to Do in Persecution
a) Be Faithful to God and Endure
- Remain faithful to God and Jesus Christ
- Continue to do what God wants
- Endure persecution and suffering
- Endure persecution and suffering patiently
- Consider and follow Jesus Christ’s example in suffering . . .
- . . . and share in Jesus Christ’s sufferings
- Note: Be on your guard against persecutors and avoid persecution when appropriate
b) Have Faith in God and Pray
- Have faith and hope in God . . .
- . . . Faith and hope enable one to endure persecution and suffering
- Do not be afraid of persecutors or suffering
- Do not worry about what to say – you will be given what to say
- Pray to God, asking for help
- Bless and pray for those who persecute you
- Rejoice because trials develop Christian character and virtues
- Rejoice because of rewards for suffering and enduring persecution . . .
- . . . and look forward to these rewards
- Other reasons to rejoice in persecution and difficulties
- Further examples of rejoicing during persecution and difficulties
d) Epilogue: Blessings for Faithfulness in Persecution
- Blessings amidst suffering
- God’s kingdom
- Eternal life
- Future glory
- Other blessings in the afterlife . . .
- . . . Blessings for one “who conquers”