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I.  What to Know
A.  God and Spiritual Powers
1.  God's Being
I.  Basics
a) God's Form God is one God is spirit God cannot be seen by people . . . . . . In some sense, God is said to have been "seen" God is everywhere, not just in temples Visions of God God's presence has been manifested in a cloud God's presence has been manifested with fire Note: God primarily dwells in heaven . . . . . . God's temple is 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's glory is spoken of as manifesting his presence in his temples God is resplendent with light God has great splendor and 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 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 . . . . . . Things God does 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's deeds are glorious God is exalted and 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 frustrate and take away worldly wisdom – and bring down the wise 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 God's "name" is praised and blessed God acts for the sake of his "name" Note: God declared his actual name to be the "Lord"
2.  God's Character
I.  Holy Characteristics
a) Holiness 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 God is just God's righteousness and justice are great – and everlasting God's ways are right and just . . . . . . Examples of God's righteous and just ways 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 c) Faithfulness God is faithful God's faithfulness is great God's faithfulness lasts forever God never forsakes God does not lie nor change his mind – he keeps his promises d) Anger God's anger and its consequences are awesome . . . . . . This has been and 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 forsaking him Other things that arouse God's anger
II.  Loving Characteristics
a) Love 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 b) Mercy God is merciful God's mercy is great and never ending Along with being merciful, God is gracious God is compassionate Due to his mercy, graciousness and compassion: God is long-suffering; . . . . . . and God is forgiving Note: God is patient – allowing people to repent c) Benevolence 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 d) Jealousy 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 jealousy and zeal God punishes his enemies and the ungodly
3.  Jesus Christ
I.  General
a) Jesus Christ's Eternity Jesus Christ is alive Jesus Christ existed in the beginning . . . . . . Jesus Christ was before all things Further references to Jesus Christ existing prior to his advent 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 Visions 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 and jealousy 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 – with Christians being devoted to it 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 testifies to Jesus Christ being his Son The Holy Spirit testifies to Jesus Christ being the Son of God Jesus Christ himself testified to being the Son of God – which is why he was crucified 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 evidence that he is the Son of God 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 Titles of God are applied to Jesus Christ . . . . . . Other OT references to God are applied to Jesus Christ Some actions are attributed to both God and Jesus Christ Some things are said to be both God's and Jesus Christ's Further evidence of Jesus Christ's identification with God 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 Jesus Christ is offered praise and blessing People pray to Jesus Christ People obey, follow and serve Jesus Christ People believe and 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 portrayed as being subordinate to God's authority . . . . . . Jesus Christ's authority was even granted to him by his Father Jesus Christ was God's to give – as a sacrifice for sin Jesus Christ was chosen, anointed and sent by God Jesus Christ is God's servant, largely spoken of in reference to his mission Jesus Christ is also spoken of as being God's servant following his ascension God continues to be glorified in and through Jesus Christ and his work God the Father's seniority is reflected by things he has done for Jesus Christ Note: God's will is the prominent will in Scripture – sovereign in all the world, throughout the ages
4.  The Holy Spirit
I.  General
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 wisdom and knowledge . . . . . . The Holy Spirit even has knowledge of the future 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 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 Note: Possible references to God in plural form 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 Holiness 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 sanctify God's people They each are constantly with God's people, living in them They each strengthen and empower God's people They each guide and teach God's people They each give God's people joy and peace
5.  Angels, Satan and Demons
I.  Angels
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 and emotions – notably joy Angels are holy – but not perfect 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 Note: "The angel of the Lord" is identified with God 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 Other teachings about angels
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 references 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 God's people astray Satan can afflict God's people Satan can only tempt and afflict as God permits Satan accuses God's people before God Note: Satan hurled down from heaven to the earth d) Demons 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
I.  General
a) God Made All Things God has made all things God made the earth . . . . . . God made the heavens as well as the earth Along with making the earth and the heavens, God made everything in them God made light, alongside the darkness God made the sky God made land and sea – partitioning the land off from the 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 played a role in creation – and still does d) Implications of God Being Creator God is the Father of all things, notably of all people 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 . . . . . . God made this point very clear to Job
II.  God's Creation of People
a) Life and Death God creates people . . . . . . Children ultimately come from God God creates the various aspects of people's beings God gives people life and breath Human life is of great value 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 – along with one's "heart" The spirit and soul are at the core of one's being . . . . . . They embody and are central to one's state of mind – as often depicted in hardship 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 can make judgments People have the moral capacity to know good from evil and right from wrong . . . . . . 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 to people God reveals himself by what he does God's creation of the world and heavens perpetually evidence and reveal 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 . . . . . . God's deeds show that he is indeed the Lord b) God Reigns Supreme God reigns . . . . . . God is enthroned in heaven 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 devastate or destroy nations God has power over rulers and can bring them down . . . . . . Examples of God bringing rulers 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 purposes and plans God's plans were determined long ago – from the beginning When the time comes, God's plans are promptly fulfilled God does not change his purposes and plans . . . . . . though God may have reason to alter something he did – or relent from something he proposed No one can thwart God's purposes and plans . . . . . . Nor can anyone alter what God does God works everything for his purposes and plans
II.  God's Control over the World
a) God Has Control over Evil God exerts control over evil God can use evil God can use evil to fulfill his purposes God can use evil and wrongdoing to punish God can 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 perform miracles of nature . . . . . . God can miraculously use nature for his purposes 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 brings people down and exalts others 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 and the judgment – 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
I.  General
a) What God's Word Comprises God's word primarily is Scripture God's word includes his laws God's word includes his covenants and promises God's word includes his prophecies God's word 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 . . . . . . Further mention of Scripture coming 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 Other roles of God's word Note: God acts by his word e) Functions of God's Word (II): Blessings Life . . . . . . including spiritual and eternal life Light Knowledge Wisdom Hope Joy Freedom Note: Rejecting and not keeping 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's covenant required Abraham to obey God, which he did God confirmed the covenant and promises with Abraham's descendants Note: God made circumcision the sign of the covenant with Abraham and his 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 . . . . . . The Passover and God's deliverance of Israel from Egypt God chose Israel out of all the nations to be his holy people . . . . . . Israel was God's chosen servant Foreigners were accepted into Israel and able to worship God Note: The tribes of Israel 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 The whole law included: religious laws; . . . . . . judicial laws; and social laws By obeying all the law, the Israelites would be holy By obeying all the law, the Israelites would be righteous and live By obeying, the Israelites would have life and prosperity in the promised land If the Israelites disobeyed the law and broke the covenant, there would be dreadful consequences . . . . . . Their destruction would culminate in exile from the promised land d) The Ark of the Covenant and God's Presence The ark of the covenant – which contained the stone tablets of the covenant The ark signified God's presence amongst the people Signifying God's presence, the ark was where God would meet with Moses and the people The ark brought great power and dreadful effects The ark was kept in the Most Holy Place, shielded by a veil – in the tabernacle and later the temple . . . . . . Access into the Most Holy Place and the whole sanctuary was greatly restricted Containing the ark, the tabernacle and later the temple signified God's presence . . . . . . Thus the temple became the focus of worship and prayer to God Note: God's presence amongst the Israelites was dependant on their continued obedience 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 . . . . . . Description of the promised land: Its goodness and location 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 . . . . . . However, David was not free of sin and trouble during his reign God's covenant with David, promising that David's royal dynasty would last forever The royal line of any king descended from David would continue if he obeyed God as David did Note: God chose Jerusalem, David's city, as his dwelling place . . . . . . As such, God's temple was built in Jerusalem – by Solomon, David's son
9.  The Problem of Sin
I.  General
a) What Sin Is Sin is breaking God's law Even unintentionally breaking God's law is sin Doing evil and acting wickedly 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 For 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 hearts and 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 Shame and disgrace Spiritual defilement . . . . . . Spiritual uncleanness Separation from God . . . . . . and spiritual death Captivity to sin . . . . . . involving enslavement to sin Foolishness and spiritual darkness Further intrinsic harmful consequences Note: Sometimes God "gives people over" to sin e) Sin Brings God's Judgment – Ultimately Death When one sins, one becomes guilty God holds one responsible for one's sin Sin makes one subject to God's wrath God's wrath against sinners is manifested in punishment Sin results in physical death – through Adam's original sin Sin brings the prospect of eternal "death" Note: Sin can lead to consequences that affect others – notably children . . . . . . but it is the one who sins who will die for their sin
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 The parts of an offering's body were burnt or eaten Note: Procedures for the Day of Atonement, involving the high priest entering the Most Holy Place c) The Role of the Priests God designated Aaron and his descendants as priests . . . . . . With their appointment, God is said to have made a covenant with the priests The priests were responsible for God's sanctuary, the offerings and teaching the people . . . . . . The other Levites were given to the priests to assist them The priests made offerings for people when they sinned, to make atonement for them The high priest made atonement for Israel as a whole The offering of incense by the priests Note: Priests and Levites were given parts of the people's offerings, God being their inheritance 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 . . . . . .  Other sources of uncleanness Uncleanness would defile God's dwelling place amidst his people – and so required isolation and cleansing 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 wilderness Israel's sin and unfaithfulness during the time of the judges Israel's sinful demand for a king – and the choice of Saul Solomon's unfaithfulness and the consequent division of the kingdom under his son, Rehoboam . . . . . . 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 Note: The people polluted and defiled the land by their sin
10.  God's Judgment
I.  Basics
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 – including rulers 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 repays people's deeds with fitting recompense God gives fair warning of punishment for not obeying him . . . . . . Thus God allows for repentance and for punishment to be averted Note: In effect, it is people's own actions that brings God's punishment on themselves 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 – and also brings him glory God's judgment reveals his holiness God's judgment displays his anger Note: God's restraint of his judgment shows his compassion and love
II.  The Manifestation of God's Judgment
a) Means of God's Judicial Retribution Angels Nature Rulers . . . . . . and nations God's own people b) Characteristics of God's Judicial Retribution Awesome power . . . . . . and irresistible Inescapable Terrifying . . . . . . causing great grief and anguish Horrific consequences . . . . . . even complete devastation c) The Wicked and God's Pending Judgment The wicked often 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 The destruction of the wicked is often sudden 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 . . . . . . The wicked are brought down by their own evil deeds 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 The wicked and ungodly are bereft of hope Discourses on perils that the wicked typically face Note: Further contrasts between the righteous and the wicked e) Epilogue: God's Judgment of Israel – and His Mercy Many times God called and 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 However, God would not completely destroy Israel . . . . . . 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 – rebuilding the temple and Jerusalem's walls Note: Because God remembers his covenant with Abraham, God cares for and 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, who would have God's Spirit on him . . . . . . They describe 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 OT speaks of the ruler crushing the wicked The ruler would be a descendant of King David, in accordance with God's promise to David The OT also says 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 and appointed by God Jesus Christ is the one anointed by God, with the Holy Spirit . . . . . . Jesus is the messianic Holy One of God 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 Prophecies fulfilled in Jesus' birth and early years Prophecies fulfilled in Jesus' life and ministry Prophecies fulfilled in Jesus' rejection and betrayal Prophecies fulfilled in Jesus' death . . . . . . Further OT Scriptures fulfilled or reflected in Jesus' death Prophecies fulfilled in Jesus' resurrection Prophecies fulfilled in Jesus' ascension and exaltation Other messianic OT Scriptures applied to Jesus Christ 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 his followers' 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 power and work Further objectives of Jesus Christ's mission Note: Jesus Christ's mission took place at a time chosen by God . . . . . . and aspects of Jesus Christ's mission occurred at designated or appropriate times b) Jesus Christ's Humanity Jesus Christ became a human being Jesus was born, of Mary – after being conceived through the Holy Spirit . . . . . . Jesus' mother Mary was a very godly woman, blessed by God 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 showed great strength of character, being courageous and composed Note: Jesus was prepared to associate with and even support 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 reconciles people to himself 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 . . . . . . God would do for Jesus whatever he asked Jesus' deeds led people to glorify 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 Jesus saw and heard things from God 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 him 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 Note: In doing God's will, Jesus brought glory to God . . . . . . and Jesus was glorified by God
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 Note: Jesus initially did not want his deeds – nor his identity – to be widely known . . . . . . but still large crowds came to him from all around 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 and powerful – leading people to believe in him . . . . . . However, many others did not believe Jesus Note: Jesus' use of parables and figurative speech 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 The events following Jesus' death and his burial Jesus' suffering and death (and resurrection) were planned . . . . . . It was God's will that Jesus die – for everyone Jesus suffered and died willingly d) Jesus Christ's Resurrection and Ascension God raised Jesus from the dead, by his power . . . . . . The Holy Spirit is linked to Jesus' resurrection 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 offered himself 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 saves people from God's wrath Note: Further points about the significance of the shedding of Jesus Christ's blood 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 – and Jesus Christ 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 its 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 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 significant things about him
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 – in conjunction with God . . . . . . 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 Note: The book of life 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 The gospel about Jesus Christ is preached also to the Gentiles . . . . . . Through the gospel Gentiles come to faith 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"  . . . . . . God's people are now of the heavenly Jerusalem Those who have faith are the true, spiritual children of Abraham . . . . . . and God's promise or blessing to Abraham is for all who have faith Note: Believing Jews still have a privileged status, amongst God's people 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 or made righteous by obeying the law – but by faith in Jesus Christ . . . . . . This is the way of the righteousness from God, who justifies by faith – not by law By faith Abraham was declared righteous and received the promise – 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 and calls people by his grace and mercy, 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 and mercy, through Jesus Christ . . . . . . People are saved by God's grace and mercy rather than by works and the law Eternal life is a gift from God, through Jesus Christ Note: Jesus Christ's grace and mercy are integral to salvation 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 . . . . . . Believers are released from the food regulations of the law Instead of being under the law, believers are under grace and Jesus Christ's law 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 Prelude: The OT Scriptures speak of God instituting a new covenant with his people – through the Messiah 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 – of an internal nature and of the Holy Spirit Under the new covenant God's people know him and are forgiven Other contrasting aspects of the new covenant with the old 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 . . . . . . Those to whom the kingdom of God belongs Those who will not enter nor inherit 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 death and 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 The first series of judgments: The seven seals The second series of judgments: The seven trumpets The third series of judgments: The seven bowls The guilt and consequent judgment of "Babylon the Great" b) The Timing of Jesus Christ's Return God has set times for the end of the age and related events . . . . . . God has set times for Jesus Christ's return and subsequent events 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 Note: The time of Jesus Christ's return is referred to as "the day of the Lord" c) Jesus Christ's Return Jesus Christ will return with his angels Jesus Christ will come in great glory On Jesus Christ's return believers who have died will be resurrected . . . . . . and all his followers 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 Prelude: There will be a final "day" of God's judgment God will judge every person, for all they have done . . . . . . All that is hidden will be revealed and judged 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 . . . . . . God's people will be judged and rewarded according to what they have done People will have to give an account of themselves Those who have believed in Jesus Christ will be saved and have eternal life Those who have rejected Jesus Christ – not obeying and 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, forever 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 Description of the new Jerusalem Note: The new Jerusalem is linked with the renewed Jerusalem prophesied in the OT . . . . . . This association is seen in the descriptions of the two cities 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 God's people 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 serve him Note: The feast in the kingdom of 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
I.  Basics
a) Prologue: God Draws People to Himself God chooses people (to be his people) . . . . . . God chooses people to receive spiritual blessings God calls people . . . . . . God calls people to the blessings and other aspects of the faith God's choice and call were determined before creation God's choice and call are in accordance with his purpose God enables people to believe God enables people to come to him, in repentance 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 belong to Jesus Christ . . . . . . The Father gives his people to Jesus Christ God's people are called and identified by his name and Jesus Christ's name c) God's People Are His Family Each believer belongs to the household of God God is their Father God's people are his children As God's children, they are heirs of God God's people are Jesus Christ's brothers and sisters God's people are brothers and sisters of each other Some of God's people have parent-child relationships d) God's People Are His Church God's people form his and Jesus Christ's church Jesus Christ is the church's Lord and ruler The church is God's temple or house, in which God dwells by his Holy Spirit . . . . . . As such, God's people meet together in his presence Being God's, the church is holy
II.  Being 'in' Jesus Christ
a) God's People Are 'in' Jesus Christ God's people are "in" Jesus Christ God's people 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 his people b) The Significance of Being 'in' Jesus Christ "In" Jesus Christ God's people are saved "In" Jesus Christ they have righteousness and are redeemed "In" Jesus Christ God's people are sanctified "In" Jesus Christ they are identified with him in his death, resurrection and life – meaning release from sin and the law . . . . . . This identification also has other implications – present and future "In" Jesus Christ God's people are given God's grace "In" Jesus Christ God's people have peace and other spiritual "fruits" "In" Jesus Christ God's people have eternal life "In" Jesus Christ they will have glory and other blessings in the afterlife Further blessings of being "in" Jesus Christ 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 by and "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 God fosters unity and peace in the church body The church's unity is linked with it having one God, one Lord and one Spirit 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 the Father for things in Jesus Christ's "name" Further references to God's people relating to him through Jesus Christ
17.  Keys to God's Interaction
I.  Basics
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 and Jesus Christ in fact live in their people . . . . . . and God's people live in him and Jesus Christ God's people are with Jesus Christ even in death Note: Examples of people being successful because God was with them b) God Knows His People and They Know Him God and Jesus Christ know their people God knows all his people's needs and troubles God and Jesus Christ enable their people to know them So God's people know him . . . . . . and God's people know Jesus Christ God's people are friends of him and Jesus Christ God's people have fellowship with him and Jesus Christ c) God Loves His People God loves his people God loves his people greatly God's love is with his people 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 completely faithful to his people God is faithful even if his people are unfaithful and do wrong God shows his faithfulness in helping and blessing 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 toward their people By grace God's people are given spiritual blessings and gifts By grace God's people are entrusted with his work . . . . . . By grace God's people are enabled to do his work By grace God's people are strengthened By grace God's people avoid sin Further notes on grace in the lives of God's people
II.  God's Holy Spirit in His People
a) God Gives the Holy Spirit to His People Prelude: Prophecies of God giving his 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 Examples of people receiving the Holy Spirit Examples of people being filled with the Holy Spirit Note: The concept of asking for the Holy Spirit 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 and through his people c) The Holy Spirit Renews God's People The Holy Spirit brings spiritual life The Holy Spirit sanctifies God's people 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 God's people 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
I.  General
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 Note: God's promise of a new or renewed heart and spirit – so that his people will be committed to him 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 Note: God's word and truth dwell in his people – but not in others 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 his people 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 and remain faithful 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 faithfulness and justice 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 and testing are temporary . . . . . . Due to his mercy and 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 eternal life b) Peace God gives his people peace God provides his people with rest Jesus Christ gives his people peace and rest God's people have great peace God's people have peace and rest even in death Note: God is the God of peace c) Joy God gives joy to his people God gives his people fullness of joy The joy is present even in trouble Promises of God replacing sorrow with joy Note: 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 and knowledge that God gave to Solomon, Daniel and others
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 his people 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 is the one who their salvation is in God saves his people out of all troubles God saves his people from all their enemies On delivering them, God may even honor or exalt his people Note: God is the light of his people, giving them light . . . . . . God gives his people light even amidst 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 his people 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 upholding them and delivering them from enemies God helps his people defeat enemies For God fights for his people, giving victory over enemies . . . . . . as God fought for the Israelites in their conquest of Canaan God enables his people to overcome all that is in the world, including Satan Further examples of God saving his people from enemies Further promises of God saving his people from enemies 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 Lord – 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 . . . . . . God's righteousness is closely associated with his salvation
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 satisfies his people's physical needs God meets their physical needs even in harsh circumstances . . . . . . Further specific examples God satisfies his people's spiritual hunger and thirst God will provide for all his people's 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 his people c) God Protects His People (I): General God preserves 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 all evil, including Satan 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 is a rock for his people God guards and keeps his people . . . . . . God watches over his people, keeping his eyes on them God is a shepherd to his people . . . . . . Jesus Christ is a shepherd to his people Further depictions of God's protection e) Epilogue: God's Care of the Needy The needy experience hardship . . . . . . 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 Other ways God cares for the needy
20.  God's Plans for His People
I.  General
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 Further examples of God appointing people to a specific role 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, making them holy, to do his work . . . . . . God effectively makes them priests, to serve him 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 . . . . . . Jesus Christ gave authority to his disciples and other followers for God's work God strengthens his people for the work God helps and empowers them to do his work even if they feel inadequate . . . . . . God'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 his people in doing his work Examples of divine guidance through dreams and 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 Judah and Israel will be reunited in the land – and share in God's blessings The people of Israel will possess the land – forever b) Physical Renewal Israel will be physically restored The land will be blessed and fruitful Israel's population will be markedly increased, taking up more area 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, suffering and deliverance of Jerusalem – followed by 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 Davidic Messiah will reign over Israel The Messiah will rule forever over Israel, in righteousness and peace Israel will have peace – and no fear – forever . . . . . . Never again will Israel be invaded or destroyed 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 Note: References to a temple of God in Jerusalem in the future f) Exaltation and Glorification Israel will be dominant among the nations, who will serve it The nations will know and acknowledge God's presence in and care of Israel The nations will come to Jerusalem to worship God . . . . . . and nations will be established with Israel as God's people The nations will bring their wealth to Jerusalem, as the city of God 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 Note: Israel will have no more shame
II.  What to Do
E.  Relating to God
21.  Being Right with God
I.  Getting Right with God
a) God's Invitation God and Jesus Christ invite all people to come to them and be saved . . . . . . For God wants all people to be saved, making salvation open to everyone God wants us to earnestly seek him – and so find him We have the choice of whether or not to respond to God and Jesus Christ We must believe in God and what he says We need to be open to believing and responding to God Now is the time to seek God and to respond to him Other preliminary points to consider Note: Apart from God, life is pointless b) Repentance We must repent Confess your sins . . . . . . and turn from sinful ways In turning from sin, do what is good and right . . . . . . and turn to God Repentance is required for the forgiveness of sins Repentance leads to life Repentance leads to spiritual enlightenment Not repenting will result in judgment and eternal punishment Note: The great rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents 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 Believing in Jesus Christ is integral to believing in God . . . . . . 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 and purified 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 Other results of believing in Jesus Christ Those who do not believe in Jesus Christ are condemned and do not have life . . . . . . Further implications of not believing in Jesus Christ f) Reasons for Assurance God's word, including his promises Jesus Christ's death and his ministry in his risen life Having the Holy Spirit Obeying God and doing what is right Loving other Christians Further reasons Note: God's people are free from condemnation
II.  Staying Right with God
a) The Need to Obey God Obedience accompanies belief and faith Obedience leads to righteousness Obedience leads to holiness and purity Obedience brings one into a close relationship with God and Jesus Christ . . . . . . God and Jesus Christ are with those who obey – they in God and he in them Obedience and doing God's will are critical for salvation Obedience and doing God's will lead 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 . . . . . . One's Christianity should be proven by one's deeds Good deeds are critical for salvation and eternal life Note: Our good deeds or works do not earn righteousness and salvation, which are 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 Living by the Spirit brings life – in contrast to living by the sinful nature and to the law 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 and take pride "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 Pursue faith – and grow in faith Have strong faith . . . . . . For faith is tested Persist in faith Reasons to trust in God: God's steadfast love; . . . . . . God's power; . . . . . . and God's past deliverance b) What Faith in God Involves Doing To have faith in God and Jesus Christ: believe in them and what they say; . . . . . . 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 and Jesus Christ 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 Further points on the importance of faith in living the Christian life d) The Importance of Faith (II): Blessings By faith we remain in a right relationship with God and Jesus Christ Like Abraham, 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 leads to his deliverance and protection Trusting in God brings joy and peace Further blessings of trusting in God 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 steadfast love and faithfulness; . . . . . . and the deeds of God, our Savior Other godly sources of hope Further general points on 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 . . . . . . Do not be afraid or dismayed Do not be afraid – have faith in God and Jesus Christ, trusting in them Do not be afraid – be confident and bold Do not be afraid – be strong and courageous . . . . . . Look to God and Jesus Christ 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 to not be afraid Note: Being afraid has grave consequences d) Do Not Worry Do not worry – trust God with your concerns . . . . . . Ask God to provide for your needs Do not worry about the cares of this life for God will provide; focus instead on things of God 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 Do not trust in idols
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 and Jesus Christ 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 Further examples of people fearing 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 . . . . . . Ominous commands to be silent before God in the face of his judgment God's holiness God's love and 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 and Jesus Christ 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 . . . . . . along with physical and material blessings Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge Further present-day blessings of fearing God Future blessings for those who fear God
II.  Obeying God
a) Obey God Keep God's commands Do all that God 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 and Jesus Christ because of the great things they have done for us Note: Implications of not obeying God b) Learn God's Commands – and All His Word Learn God's commands Ask God to teach you his ways and 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 Receive and believe God's word Note: Not listening to God and his word has ill consequences c) How to Obey God Do what you learn of God's and Jesus Christ's 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 Delight in God's commands Be careful to obey God Note: God's and Jesus Christ's commands are not too difficult or burdensome 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 Future 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 Further aspects of Jesus Christ's example to follow Make Jesus Christ your Lord . . . . . . Live for Jesus Christ, pleasing him Be willing to give up everything to follow Jesus Christ Blessings of following Jesus Christ Note: Follow God and his commands . . . . . . and imitate God, as children of God
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 and his love 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 Approach God . . . . . . 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 and Jesus Christ is linked to obeying their commands Knowing God is linked with loving and caring for others Knowing God and Jesus Christ aids godly living Knowing God and Jesus Christ is vital for spiritual growth Further blessings of knowing God and Jesus Christ 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 and Jesus Christ 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 Note: It is vital for prayer that we live righteously . . . . . . and so it is vital for prayer that we act rightly towards others c) Physical Aspects of Prayer Pray aloud or in your heart Pray anywhere Pray anytime Pray constantly Spend long periods alone in prayer – like Jesus did Keep alert to pray Postures and gestures 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 and praise 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 and Jesus Christ grant anything we ask that is in accordance with their 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 affirmations of God answering prayer Further promises and prophecies of God answering prayer
25.  Exalting God
I.  Instructions
a) Glorify and Honor God Glorify God, giving glory to him Honor God Exalt God Glorify and honor God by thanksgiving and praise Glorify and honor God and Jesus Christ by how you live . . . . . . Glorify and honor them by doing godly work and good deeds Live so that others will glorify God because of what you do Not glorifying and honoring God has detrimental outcomes Note: God honors and gives glory to his people b) Do Not Dishonor God Do not blaspheme God Do not by your actions indirectly blaspheme or profane God By ungodly actions we bring dishonor to God before other people . . . . . . Live a life worthy of God and Jesus Christ – and all that is of them Do not profane or defile things of God Additionally, do not despise God . . . . . . and do not scoff at God Note: We must treat God as holy c) Praise and Thank God Praise God Bless God Calls for all things everywhere to praise and bless God Praise and bless God constantly Praise and bless God forever Give thanks to God Give thanks to God always Blessings of giving praise and thanks to God Note: God has formed his people to bring himself praise and honor d) How to Give Praise and Thanks (I): General In righteousness Wholeheartedly 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 and be glad in God Rejoice in God always Exult and glory in God Rejoice and exult 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 steadfast 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 . . . . . . in which one should rejoice 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 and exult 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 bestows much favor on his people God does many good and 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
I.  General
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 – with no overriding distinctions As one body, church members meet together Church members function together as one body The church body grows – spiritually and numerically Note: All God's people together are the universal church b) Be in Unison Be united as one Live in peace and harmony with each other Submit to one another Avoid foolish controversies and quarreling Disagreements and quarreling cause divisions . . . . . . Quarreling can even cause ruin 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 share in each other's joy Keep in touch about each other's welfare – and keep the others informed of your own Note: Believers share together in spiritual blessings and privileges . . . . . . Believers will share together in future blessings and privileges 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 genuinely and earnestly Love each other as brothers (and sisters) Keep each other in your hearts . . . . . . Long for each other Greet or send greetings to each other . . . . . . and welcome 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 and praise 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 and show mercy when they do sin Pray for their spiritual growth and maturity 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 Pronounce godly blessings on other believers . . . . . . Pronouncements of blessings of God's and Jesus Christ's presence Note: Prayer for the blessing and peace of Jerusalem c) Encourage Each Other Encourage each other Strengthen each other Encourage and strengthen each other by what you say . . . . . . Exhort others to continue in God's grace Encourage and strengthen 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 Care about and 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
I.  General
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 and fall 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 generally times of rejoicing The feasts and festivals included sacred assemblies and days of no regular work Offerings to God were a prominent part of feasts and festivals
II.  Offerings
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 glory 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 Note: The OT grain and peace offerings 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 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 Ensure that you are ready to do God's work Live a godly life in readiness for doing God's work Consecrate yourself to serve God . . . . . . Be holy and set apart Note: The purification of the priests and Levites for consecration and preparedness for God's service 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 God and Jesus Christ before everyone else Put God's and Jesus Christ's interests before your own interests and other matters Give up your life to live for God and Jesus Christ . . . . . . Be willing even to endanger your life Be willing to give up everything – even life's most basic and dearest things c) Reasons to Serve God He is our God, who has done great things for us We are God's and Jesus Christ's servants God cares for his servants . . . . . . God rescues his servants Your work for God will be productive You will be rewarded for your work . . . . . . You will be rewarded particularly in the afterlife 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 – and so are in effect meaningless d) Being Guided by God To be guided by God, live a godly life Ask God to guide you (as in troubled times) God and Jesus Christ's will can even be understood through godliness and prayer Other sources of godly and wise guidance Note: In the OT, inquiring of God was at times done through an intercessor . . . . . . and it sometimes involved the use of lots
II.  Doing God's Work
a) Do God's Work – the Best You Can Do God's work 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 the work 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 and in God's "name" . . . . . . Do God's 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 Serve God with zeal . . . . . . but zeal must not be misguided 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 Further points on the manner in which to serve God 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 and for other work . . . . . . The practice of workers going out in pairs 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 . . . . . . Examples of the Holy Spirit enabling believers to speak in other languages and to prophesy Make good use of spiritual gifts, using them appropriately Use your spiritual gift to build up the church Further instructions about spiritual gifts Other insights concerning spiritual gifts
29.  Significant Practices
I.  Symbolic Rites
a) Baptism God's people are baptized in 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 . . . . . . Receiving the Holy Spirit is sometimes spoken of as being "baptized" with the Holy Spirit Further notes on baptism Note: John the Baptist's baptism, for repentance b) The Lord's Supper Observe the Lord's Supper – in remembrance of Jesus Christ and his death Participating in the Lord's Supper also symbolizes participating 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 Denunciation of people advocating circumcision
II.  Other Significant Practices
a) Confession of Jesus Christ Confess Jesus Christ, before others Things to confess (or acknowledge) about Jesus Christ Examples of people making confessions 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 Observe the Sabbath as 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, with reading of Scripture Blessings for keeping the Sabbath holy – and judgments for not 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 c) Fasting Fasting involves abstaining from food and drink 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 Fasting can be done to express 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
I.  General
a) Introductory Insights Churches have leaders Typically churches are together overseen by a central leadership group Ultimately it is God who chooses 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 Note: Examples of the ordination of leaders b) Required Characteristics Godliness Wisdom and competence Strength and courage Willingness to serve Deep love for church members . . . . . . and concern for church members c) Managing the Church As a leader, supervise church affairs 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 Exhort and urge members on in aspects of the Christian life Follow up and pastor members by visiting them . . . . . . or by writing letters to them Serve church 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 Rebuke members for their 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 . . . . . . and some women were prophetesses In the NT church, some women had significant ministerial roles . . . . . . One such role was prophesying 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 and revere your leaders Honor your leaders Listen to your leaders and their teaching Obey your leaders Give your leaders material support . . . . . . Leaders deserve material support Church members can bring their leaders great joy, in loving them and others Church members can bring leaders joy by firm faith and obedient, godly lives
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  . . . . . . Examples of spiritual truth being taught from Scripture 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 and oppose the truth False teachers typically deny Jesus Christ – and so are of the antichrist Other notes about their teaching Note: False teachers and their teaching are savage and destructive – causing controversies and divisions d) Traits of False Teachers (II): Characteristics The minds and consciences 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 conceited and contemptuous False teachers lack understanding and knowledge Note: False teachers stand condemned . . . . . . False teachers face destruction e) Guarding against False Teachers Watch out for false teachers and their teaching . . . . . . Do not be deceived or led astray by false teachers Test teachers by comparing their teaching with the Scriptures and sound biblical doctrine False teachers can 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 . . . . . . False teachers can lead many astray
G.  Relating to People
31.  Love
I.  Loving Qualities
a) Love What love is The supremacy of love Live in 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 . . . . . . Do not repay evil with evil, but with good b) Generosity Be generous Lend to others Share with others Practice hospitality . . . . . . Examples of hospitality Be kind and gracious . . . . . . Insights on and examples of kindness Generosity brings oneself great blessing c) Mercy 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 d) Gentleness Be gentle Be patient, bearing with others Be meek Do not take revenge . . . . . . Rather than taking revenge, wait for God to act Seek peace, including peace with others . . . . . . and seek peace for others – in part through prayer Live and act in a quiet manner
II.  Antitheses of Love
a) Selfish Attitudes Do not pursue selfish ends . . . . . . Examples of selfishness 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 Be considerate and reasonable b) Ill Feelings Avoid anger Do not hate Get rid of bitterness Do not bear malice Do not be jealous . . . . . . Do not envy Do not show contempt c) Adverse Speech Do not quarrel Do not curse Do not scoff 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
32.  Justice
I.  Justice in Action
a) Do What Is Just and Right Practice justice Practice righteousness along with justice . . . . . . 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 partiality in judging . . . . . . Nor show partiality in other matters Further instructions about legal judgments Have the same laws for foreigners as for the native-born OT laws of compensation 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 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 Defending and providing for the needy are associated with righteousness Defending and providing for the needy bring one 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
a) Faithfulness Be faithful . . . . . . Examples of faithfulness Be trustworthy and reliable Stand by others . . . . . . Do not desert others Do not betray others Results of faithfulness Consequences of unfaithfulness Note: Insights on friendship . . . . . . Jonathan and David's close friendship b) Truthfulness Be truthful . . . . . . Speak the truth Be honest Be sincere Have integrity . . . . . . Integrity brings security and other blessings c) Deceitfulness 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 practice extortion 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 oaths to assert the truthfulness of a statement Swearing an oath to confirm a pledge . . . . . . Such oaths are barred by NT teaching Note: References to God's or Jesus Christ's presence and approval regarding a matter
33.  Wisdom
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 and knowledge are 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 . . . . . . Those who have wisdom and understanding keep God's law Note: Wisdom involves doing what is right – and shunning evil c) Wisdom through Others Pay attention to instruction . . . . . . Wise people listen to and learn from instruction Listen to advice – which is important for making plans Accept reproof Additional insights on accepting reproof and discipline Outcomes of ignoring reproof and discipline Further advice and insights on gaining wisdom d) Wise Speech (I): Instructions Be quick to listen and slow to speak Be careful when speaking Use few words – in contrast to fools 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 Other ways one's words can be beneficial 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 Do not be idle . . . . . . Idleness leads to poverty and associated troubles Enjoy life and so be joyful
II.  Antitheses of Wisdom and Knowledge
a) Foolishness Fools spurn and lack both wisdom and knowledge Foolishness involves failure to comprehend God and his ways Foolishness involves failure to comprehend other spiritual truths Foolishness involves acting contrary to God Foolishness encompasses sin Foolishness encompasses wickedness and doing evil Further characteristics of fools 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 Further practices typical of fools Unwise practices comparable to foolishness Note: Warnings against putting up security for another's debt c) Spiritual Ignorance (I): Causes and Results Spiritual ignorance is caused basically by sin and ungodliness Spiritual ignorance and lack of perception is caused partly by the ungodly being closed-minded . . . . . . God and Jesus Christ may even judicially blind ungodly people Thus, the ungodly lack spiritual sense and knowledge . . . . . . and the ungodly are in spiritual "darkness" Spiritual ignorance results in further sin and ungodliness 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, Jesus Christ or the Holy Spirit 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 insight . . . . . . and discernment Prudence and discretion Knowledge – including knowing what to do Righteousness and justness Protection . . . . . . and life Strength and success Prosperity Honor Further blessings of wisdom 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 marry: General; . . . . . . Forsaking marriage for God and 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 Note: Finding a good wife is a great blessing – a gift from God . . . . . . but a quarrelsome or ungodly wife is troublesome 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 . . . . . . Warnings against being enticed by an adulteress – which leads to ruin 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 Adoration of lover's beauty Desire to give oneself to one's lover Further 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 Note: Points on relating to children in general 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's laws . . . . . . Parents should promote faith in their children Note: Godly parents bring great blessing to their children f) Children's Duties to Parents Children are to honor and respect their parents . . . . . . Children should not dishonor or mistreat their parents Likewise, all older people should be treated with respect Children are to obey their parents Children should heed their parents' teaching – which brings great benefits Children are to help their parents . . . . . . One should assist any relative in need Note: Children are a blessing to their parents from God . . . . . . and children can bring their parents much joy
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 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, submit to and respect their masters Servants should be faithful Good service is rewarded Masters must treat servants justly Masters should pay servants their wages Note: Miscellaneous instructions and insights regarding slaves
35.  Spreading the Gospel
I.  Instructions
a) Tell People the Gospel Tell people the gospel message . . . . . . Tell people the gospel about Jesus Christ Tell all people, everywhere Continue to tell people 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 That Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God . . . . . . Further key things about who Jesus Christ is Jesus Christ's person and deeds – as witnessed and testified to by NT believers Jesus Christ's death and resurrection . . . . . . NT believers testified to Jesus Christ's death and resurrection having witnessed them 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 Further notes on 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 the proclamation of the gospel, including others who proclaim it 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 and the faith will not be discredited . . . . . . You will have credibility, attracting people to the gospel Support others spreading the gospel . . . . . . Give hospitality and aid to visiting preachers and workers Note: Guard the gospel message
II.  Insights
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 gospel and the task of telling 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 Further blessings that spreading the gospel brings to those who respond c) God and the Gospel's Effectiveness The gospel is the power and wisdom 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 witnesses about Jesus Christ to people, fostering belief God and Jesus Christ at times confirm the gospel message by miracles . . . . . . Miracles lead people to believe the message and 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
H.  Persevering
36.  Standing Firm
I.  General
a) Be Faithful to God Be faithful to God and Jesus Christ Hold fast to God and his ways Serve God and Jesus Christ faithfully . . . . . . Examples of faithful service Do not be unfaithful to God by not keeping his commands Do not forsake God God and Jesus Christ protect and bless those who are faithful to them God punishes those who are unfaithful God punishes those who forsake him 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, abiding in it . . . . . . 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 and be diligent 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 Note: Dreadful consequences of Israel's rebellion against God e) Be Ready for Jesus Christ's Return Await Jesus Christ's return – and for all that will follow As we do not know when Jesus Christ will come, "stay awake" 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, notably Satan 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 Beware of 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" and idols are lifeless and fallacies . . . . . . Other "gods" and idols are useless Worship of idols is correlated with worship of demons Having other "gods" and idols is very detrimental Having other "gods" and idols is detrimental to our relationship with God Having other "gods" and idols culminates 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 and peace 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 . . . . . . God rejects them and thrusts them from his presence 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, like the Israelites were, 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 – not insincerely 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 him When we repent God forgives our sins . . . . . . Further references to God forgiving sin 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 . . . . . . Unrepentant churches face Jesus Christ's 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 and counter evil Avoid sinful passions and desires . . . . . . Sinful passions and desires lead to sin Renew your mind and take care of your "heart" 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 and truth . . . . . . Insights on living in darkness and living in God's light and truth Instead of living as a slave to sin, live as a slave to God and righteousness . . . . . . In avoiding sin be focused on doing what is right Pursue righteousness . . . . . . Be righteous and upright Be good Note: Further actions that counter sin and evil c) Be Holy (I): General Be holy Be holy because God is holy Be godly Be pure . . . . . . Be blameless Make every effort to be holy and godly, particularly in view of what is to come Things that lead to holiness Things that lead to purity We should be holy and pleasing to God because of the things he has done for us The godly, blameless and pure are accepted by God and Jesus Christ The godly, blameless and pure are cared for and blessed by God d) Be Holy (II): Being Set Apart Prelude: The world is basically evil Be set apart for God Do not love this world Do not conform to this world Do not live as other people do . . . . . . Worldly and human behavior to be avoided Avoid bad company . . . . . . Bad company is corruptive and harmful Avoid compromising alliances with unbelievers and the wicked Note: God's people are not of this world . . . . . . God's people are in effect exiles and temporary residents in this world – even homeless in it
38.  Major Pitfalls
I.  Pride
a) Pride in Thought Do not be proud or conceited Do not be arrogant Do not be haughty . . . . . . Do not think you are better than others Do not be wise in your own eyes . . . . . . Seeing yourself as wise is associated with foolishness Do not be self-righteous . . . . . . Self-righteousness causes one to overlook sin Do not embrace glory from people – particularly in preference to glory 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 and Jesus Christ Boasting about oneself typically is bad Boasting is of no benefit and even destructive c) Outcomes of Pride Pride is very detrimental to a relationship with God . . . . . . and acting presumptuously is linked with 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 brings down and humbles the proud d) Antithesis of Pride: Humility Be humble, particularly before God Humbly acknowledge your unworthiness before God and Jesus Christ 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 Not humbling yourself can bring dire consequences
II.  Riches and Sex
a) Riches and Godliness Riches are a barrier to a relationship with God Riches 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 Note: Advantages of riches, as opposed to poverty c) Sexual Sin Avoid sexual sin . . . . . . Be pure Sexual sin has ill consequences Sexual sin ultimately results in God's judgment Further insights on sexual sin Note: The sexually immoral who believe and repent are forgiven and granted righteousness d) Prohibited Forms of Sex Lust Fornication Prostitution Homosexual acts Incest Bestiality e) Epilogue: Be Wary Be sober-minded 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 Warnings against complacency
39.  Hard Times
I.  General
a) Prologue: God's People Still Have Hard Times Trouble is characteristic of human life The wicked seek to oppress the righteous and the poor Examples of God's people undergoing hard times Examples of God's people even attributing hard times 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 – living righteously Put your hope in God's word Take comfort in God's word and delight in it d) Trust in God During 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 Do not complain against nor contend with God because of hard times e) Hope in God and Wait for Him During 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 . . . . . . For God cares for and blesses those who wait for him
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 his apparent inaction or wrath is to continue b) Ask God for Help (I): General When facing trouble, call on God . . . . . . Cry out to God for help Ask God and Jesus Christ for mercy Ask God for strength Ask God to guide you Ask God to preserve and protect you Ask God to deliver you Ask God to hear and answer your prayer . . . . . . Ask God to quickly answer and help you Persist in prayer to God Note: Prayer asking for retribution for wicked enemies 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 hear you and 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, and in delivering them God hears the cries of the godly and rescues them . . . . . . God has compassion on his people, 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
40.  Persecution
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 Ridicule Verbal abuse Lies and slander Ostracism and expulsion Imprisonment Beatings and violence Threat of death . . . . . . and even death Further forms of persecution 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 contrasting outcomes for submitting and not 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 . . . . . . Examples of God and Jesus Christ rescuing believers from trials 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 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 and Jesus Christ . . . . . . Faith enables 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 Pray for and bless those who persecute you c) Rejoice 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 and in the present life The future rewards of: eternal life; . . . . . . God's kingdom; and glory Other blessings in the afterlife . . . . . . Blessings for "one who conquers"