Transforming Truth. Delivered.

1. How do we know God exists?

This is a good question and needs to be resolved.  If someone does not believe in God nor miracles then it is fruitless to tell them about God resurrecting Jesus from the dead.
 
With out the existence of a personal, moral God then there can be no sin and no need for salvation. 
 
Four basic arguments for the absolute need for God to exist:
a)  Creation
            1) Since there is a universe it had to have a creator. 
            2)You can not have a watch without a watch maker
            3) Paul uses this in Romans 1:19-20
            4) Plato developed this as the immovable mover.
            5) Follow the Kalam Cosmological Argument:
b)  Design– all design implies a creator
c)  Moral law– describes what ought to be seen among men but is not always there.  It is a standard of behavior that exists because of God.
d)  Being– The human concept of perfection exists, yet it is not seen in creation.  Since we strive for perfection in all areas but have never seen it then perfection must exist.  The concept of God encompasses the concept of perfection.
                       
                                                                        The Universe Exists
                                                           
                                    Was there a beginning?

 

            No beginning                                      There was a beginning
            -impossible since it exists                                        -if universe is eternal then it
                -impossible since everything                                   would have run out of energy long ago
                     in universe has beginning                                  
               
                                                  Was the Universe Caused?                                                                                                                                                                                    
                  Not Caused                                                           It was Caused
                                                                                                -everything is caused
 
                                     What was the Cause?

 

       A random directionless force                   A Personal Agent
                - Can shaking the parts of a watch                         
                    put the watch together?  No.                   
                - Can a tornado build a house when
                     it hits a lumber yard? Never.   
 
                                    What is this Agent like?
            Limited to Universe                             Separate from Universe         
     -worship creation or of  things in creation is  idol worship
       -here god is found in  things, nature, animals                                  
        -many religions make it this far, but fail to see the true holy God.                                                                                        

 

            Three religions line up here:                Many Idol Religions
                 1. Islam                                               1. Buddhism
                 2. Judaism                                          2. Hinduism
                 3. Christianity                                     3. Ancient Religions

2. How do we know the Bible is true and reliable?

Before we can say the Bible is inspired from God and that it is the
revelation from God, we must first show that the Bible contains authentic documents.
 
An authentic document would be a written letter or book that is:
Written by the person who claims to be writing it
Written at the time it appears to have been  written
Sent to or given to the people who where to receive it
 
The opposite would be a writer from a later date writing a false document to be passed of as supposedly being from someone else at an earlier time. 
 
The authenticity of the Bible would be destroyed if someone where to go into the Bible and add things under the pretense of making the additions seem to have been there from the first writing.
 
The New Testament:
The is abundant and accurate copies of the letters and books of the New Testament.  Copies made by hand are called manuscripts (MSS)
                117-138 AD          John Rylands Fragment     John 18:31-33,37-38
                200 AD                  Bodmer Papyri                     Jn., Lk., Jude, 1,2 Peter
                325-350 AD          Codex Vaticanus                 NT and most of OT
                340 AD                  Codex Sinaiticus                  NT and 1/2 of OT
                350 AD                  Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus  NT and part of OT
There are 5,686 Greek manuscripts from 100-1400 AD.  There is a total of 24,633 manuscripts of portions of the New Testament.  Compared to:         10 manuscripts of Julius Caesar’s Gallic War
                20 manuscripts of Livy’s Roman History
                20 manuscripts of Tacitus’ Annals
The most of any writing from the ancient world other than the Bible is 643 of Homer’s Iliad.  The New Testament has 24,633.
Elapse time of ancient texts with their manuscripts:                                   
               
Author/Time                       Earliest MSS       Elapse Time                       
        Julius Caesar, 50 BC                   900 AD                     950 years
                    
      Tacitus, 100 AD                1100 AD          1000 years                  
      Aristotle, 350 BC               1100 AD          1450 years                  
      Gospel of John, 85 AD      117 AD            27 years                     
Effects must have an adequate cause.  Something happened in  30 AD that effected history.  After 30 AD history records that the synagogues were infected with Christian teaching; by 40 AD it had spread to synagogues in Rome; by 65 AD Nero was killing Christians; by 95 AD Christianity was illegal; by 150 AD Christianity was in Africa, India, and Spain; by 325 AD it was a legal religion in the Roman empire; by 350 AD it had taken over as the religion of the Roman empire.  All this happened before the church ever formed an army or a denomination.
 
The believers of the first century took the writings of Paul very serious.  In fact, people died for the scriptures and for what they said.  The chance of someone in the church who was forging documents or changing the scripture was highly unlikely.  Peter calls Paul’s writings scripture in 2 Peter 3:16.  Paul knows he is writing the rest of God’s revelation in  Colossians 1:25.  Luke knew legends and false stories where spreading that where not true so he “carefully investigated everything from the beginning. . .to write an orderly account” around 60 AD.  John writes at the end of the New Testament in 96 AD “if anyone adds to them. . .if anyone takes words away. . .” and adds a curse to them.  No one in the first century would have tampered with them or tolerated someone doing so.
 
By 85 AD we have letters with the New Testament being quoted by men like Clement who quotes from Matthew, Mark, Luke, Acts,     1 Corinthinas, 1 Peter, Hebrew and Titus in a letter to the Corinthian church.  This continues for the next two centuries until there are preserved 32,000 New Testament quotes written before 325 AD.  In fact, if we did not have any Bible manuscripts we could reconstruct the entire New Testament just from the quotes of church writers between 85–325 AD.
 
There were too many people watching and coping the New Testament letters for a false document or an alteration to occur with out someone taking note of it.  Indeed there where false books written during the first and second century:  Gospel of Thomas, Acts of Peter, and more at http://gbgm-umc.org/umw/bible/noncanon.stm
 
The Old Testament:
The biggest attack on the Old Testament is that the first five books were not even written until 700 BC instead of by Moses around 1400 BC.  The reason for this is from the school of liberalism that states:
            a)  Writing was unknown in Moses day
            b)  Cultural evolution does not line up with the Old Testament
            c)  Miracles come from mythology because they are impossible
            d)  Prophecy is always a forgery because it can not happen
      
Each of these is wrong.  First writing has since been proven to have been around long before Abraham.  B-D are based on        philosophical presuppositions and not on archeology, anthropology, history, or any other facts.
If the first five books where not written until 700 BC but where forged documents at this time then all these things would have had to have been passed of    onto an entire generation who had never heard of Moses, the Law, the priesthood, the temple ect:
            a.  A priesthood                       b.  A system of worship
            c.  A temple                             d.  Power of the priesthood
            e.  A national history               f.  A legendary leader named Moses
            g.  All the Bible stories             h.  Tithes, offerings to support priests
            i.   Holy Scriptures                   j.   Circumcision of all the men
            k.  An annual Passover instituted to remember something they had never heard of.
Archaeology:
            a.  Hittites from Genesis 15:20 discovered in 1906
            b.  Walls of Jericho from Joshua 6 discovered in 1950 with burnt grain and walls that fell from the inside out
            c.  Belshazzar from Daniel 5:16 found on an inscription
            f.  More at http://www.christiananswers.net/archaeology/  or go to generationword.com and select Bible school then scroll down to the web sites under “apologetics.
            e.  The Flood is recorded not only in scriptures but in legend  form in over 200 different ancient cultures.                           
                        See more at:http://www.seekgod.org/links/noahsark.html
 

Below is a copy from Institute of Christian Research of the  variety of ancient cultures and their stories of the Flood
 
© Copyright 2004 Institute for Creation Research. All Rights Reserved.

 
One of the strongest evidences for the global flood which annihilated all people on Earth except for Noah and his family, has been the ubiquitous presence of flood legends in the folklore of people groups from around the world. And the stories are all so similar. Local geography and cultural aspects may be present but they all seem to be telling the same story.
 
Over the years I have collected more than 200 of these stories,
originally reported by various missionaries, anthropologists,
and ethnologists.
 
While the differences are not always trivial, the common essence of the stories is instructive as compiled below:
 
Is there a favored family?                   88%
Were they forewarned?                      66%
Is flood due to wickedness of man?   66%
Is catastrophe only a flood?                95%
Was flood global?                               95%
Is survival due to a boat?                    70%
Were animals also saved?                   67%
Did animals play any part?                 73%
Did survivors land on a mountain?     57%
Was the geography local?                   82%
Were birds sent out?                           35%
Was the rainbow mentioned?                           7%
Did survivors offer a sacrifice?           13%
Were specifically eight persons saved? 9%
 
Putting them all back together, the story would read something like this:
 
Once there was a worldwide flood, sent by God to judge the wickedness of man. But there was one righteous family which was forewarned of the coming flood. They built a boat on which they survived the flood along with the animals. As the flood ended, their boat landed on a high mountain from which they descended and repopulated the whole earth.
 
Of course the story sounds much like the Biblical story of the great flood of Noah's day. The most similar accounts are typically from middle eastern cultures, but surprisingly similar legends are found in South America and the Pacific Islands and elsewhere. None of these stories contains the beauty, clarity, and believable detail given in the Bible, but each is meaningful to their own culture.
 
Anthropologists will tell you that a myth is often the faded memory of a real event. Details may have been added, lost, or obscured in the telling and retelling, but the kernel of truth remains. When two separate cultures have the same "myth" in their body of folklore, their ancestors must have either experienced the same event, or they both descended from a common ancestral source which itself experienced the event.
 
The only credible way to understand the widespread, similar flood legends is to recognize that all people living today, even though separated geographically, linguistically, and culturally, have descended from the few real people who survived a real global flood, on a real boat which eventually landed on a real mountain. Their descendants now fill the globe, never to forget the real event.
 
But, of course, this is not the view of most modern scholars. They prefer to believe that something in our commonly evolved psyche forces each culture to invent the same imaginary flood legend with no basis in real history. Instead of scholarship, this is "willful ignorance" of the fact that "the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished" (II Peter 3:5,6).
 

*Dr. John Morris is President of ICR.
 

Note:  The biblical account of the Flood is accurate because it is the written diary and records of Noah himself that was handed down through Abraham to Moses.  That is why the diary entries begin with the day, the month and the year.

3. Do science and the Bible conflict?

Nature and the Bible can not conflict if there is a creator who has     revealed himself in creation and in the written word.
 
Nature:
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” 
                                                            Psalm 19:1-4
 
“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities, - his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” 
                                                            Romans 1:19-20
Bible:
“You have laid down precepts that are to be fully obeyed.”
                                                            Psalms 119:4
Now to him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all nations might believe and obey him. . .”                                                         Romans 16:25
 
The conflict is not between nature and the Bible. 
The conflict is between men who study nature & men who study the Bible.
 
Science is man’s study of God’s created natural world.
Theology is man’s study of God’s inspired scriptures.
 

FACTS THAT NEED TO BE ACCEPTED TO UNDERSTAND:
Both groups are subject to error.
Either group is subject to correction by the other.
The Bible is not a science textbook.
Science is constantly changing.
 

Both Groups have made errors in the past.                             
            a) Bible believers and scientist believed the earth was flat.
                Galileo (1564-1642) was charged as a heretic in 1633 and  kept under house arrest by the church for 8 years for supporting the Copernican theory      that the earth revolved around the sun.
 
            b) Science once believed in the eternal cosmos.  It was known                       as the Static Universe theory and said the earth had no                beginning.  Einstein proved this wrong in the 1920’s.             The Bible had said for years that God created the                    universe.  The Big Bang theory was then developed to                        explain the beginning of the universe.
 
Where the Bible was ahead of scientist:
Life produces after its kind.
            Genesis 1:24 “Each according to its kind.
            An Agnostic Paleontologists: “Most species exhibit no                                    directional change during their tenure on earth.”
The  earth is round.
            Isaiah 40:22 “He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth.”
            The return of the Lord will be at night, in the morning and                  during the work day:
            Matthew 24:40,41 “Two men will be in the field; one will be            taken and the other left.  Two women will be grinding                   with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.”
            Luke 17:34, “I tell you, on that night two people will be in one                     bed; one will be taken and the other left.  Two women                       will be grinding grain together; one will be taken and              the other left.”
The earth hangs in space.
            At a time when the earth was believed to be covered with a    solid dome (1400 BC) the Bible says:                                      Job 26:7, “He spreads out the northern skies over empty space;                     he suspends the earth over nothing.”
The sea has paths and channels.
            Matthew Fontain Maury (1806-1873) was the first to recognize                      that the seas were circulating systems when he heard                        Psalm 8:8, “. . .and the fish of the sea, all that swim the                                  paths of the seas.”
 
 
 
5)  Disease can be spread by physical contact.
            In the 1840’s a doctor in Austria decided to try a new rule.     Doctors and nurses had to wash their hands between patients.         The number of deaths went down immediately.  Thirty years             later science discovered germs in the 1870’s. 
            Numbers 19:11 “Whoever touches the dead body of anyone              will be unclean for seven days.  He must purify himself              with the water. . .” 
            Lev. 14:8, “The person to be cleansed must wash his                          clothes. . .bathe with water; then he will be  . . .clean.”
 
Archeological Evidence for Scripture’s accuracy:

http://www.parkstreet.org/pulpit/Historicity2.pdf
http://www.biblehistory.net/
http://lionofjudah.tribulationforces.com/general/archaeology.html
http://www.biblestudysite.com/arch.htm

 
a. Hittite civilization (Genesis 15:20) discovered in 1906 b. Quirinius Governor of Syria (Luke 2:1-3) confirmed as a double duty by coin c. Correct titles of government praetor, proconsul, first man, politarc (Luke’s )            
d. John alone mentions The Pool of Bethesda (John 5:1-15), it was found as described e. The walls of Jericho (Joshua 6) with the exception of part of the Northern wall -
                Rahab’s house??? (Heb. 11:30-31) - found in 1950. They were burned and          fallen from the inside out. f. Census taking in first century (Gospels) method of family counting used is accurate g. Pilate the Governor’s (John 19) existence confirmed by inscription found in 1961 h. Jesus’ direction of travel (Mark 7:31) probable route through mountains makes sense i. Daniel accurately recorded Belshazzar’s position (5:16) as co-regent j. Nazareth’s existence (John 1:46) confirmed by family lists and tombs in vicinity 1962 k. Method of crucifixion  confirmed in 1968 l. The method and fact of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19) verified m. Lysanius the Tetrarch (Luke 3:1) confirmed as correct name for that time period n. John alone mentions the Pool of Siloam (John 9:7) found as described o. Jacob’s Well (John 4:12) found as described p. Cities of  Lycaonia included Iconium (Acts 14:6) confirmed as correct q. Erastus the city treasurer (Romans 16:23) inscription found in Corinth in 1929 r. Ecclessia meeting in theater (Acts 19:23) found s. The proper title “meris” used of Philippi of Macedonia t. Jesus’ probable home unearthed in Capernaum (Mark 1:29-34) u. Millstones (Luke 17:2) unearthed in Capernaum v. First century Galilean boat found to hold crew of 13  1986
w. John (3:23) correctly identifies John the Baptist as being in Aeno x. John (2:1) distinguishes the two Canas, and the two Bethanys (1:28; 11:18) y. John (4:5-6) specifies the city of Sychar in Samaria where Jacob’s well is found.  z. Evidence has also been found for the Tower of Babel and the confusion of languages
 a. The method and destruction of the city of Tyre is 100% accurate (Ezekial 26)  b. Christ was tried by Pilate in the "Gabbatha" (or pavement) found (John 19:13) c. Personal and place names in the Patriarchal accounts are genuine "Canaan"       "tehom” (Ebla) d. In 1977 an inscription mentioning Dan was found near the high place (1 Ki 12:28-29) e. The Mesha Inscription found in Jordan mentions the tribe of Gad (Joshua 13:24-28) f. The Babylonians recorded the fall of the "city of JUDAH" to Nebuchadnezzar, 597 bc g. The palace at Jericho where Eglon, king of Moab, was assassinated by Ehud . h. The east gate of Shechem where the forces of Abimelech approached the city found i. The Temple of Baal/El-Berith in Shechem, j. The pool of Gibeon where the forces of David and Ishbosheth fought found k. The royal palace at Samaria where the kings of Israel lived l. The Pool of Samaria where King Ahab's chariot was washed after his death found m. The water tunnel beneath Jerusalem dug by King Hezekiah during the Assyrian              siege found n. The royal palace in Babylon where King Belshazzar held the feast o. The royal palace in Susa where Esther was queen of the Persian king Xerxes found p. The royal gate at Susa where Mordecai, Esther's cousin, sat found q. The Square in front of the royal gate at Susa where Mordecai met with Halthach              found r. The foundation of the synagogue at Capernaum where Jesus cured a man with an             unclean spirit and delivered the sermon on the bread of life . s. The house of Peter where Jesus healed Peter's mother-in-law and others  found t. The tribunal at Corinth where Paul was tried found u. The theater at Ephesus where the riot of silversmiths occurred found v. Herod's palace at Caesarea where Paul was kept under guard found w. Graves of Caiaphas the High Priest (John 18:13), Caesar Augustus (Luke 2:1-7),           Cyrus the Great (Isaiah 45),  Darius-I the Great (Ezra 6) known x. The cave of the Patriarchs (Sarah, Abraham, Isaac, Rebekah, Leah and Jacob) known y. Grave of David and Solomon known z. Grave of Uzziah (an inscription was found on the Mount of Olives in 1931 which           reads, "Here were brought the bones of Uzziah, King of  Judah - do not      open."...evidently because of  leprosy)

4. How could God allow suffering and evil?

Sooner of later each of us must ask this question.
This is the greatest challenge to faith in a good God.
 
Two approaches:
            1)  The apologetic question of the skeptic who doubts God’s
                        existence.
            2)  The theological question of the believer who has                           experienced an evil in their life.
 
Two areas of evil:
            1)  Moral Evil—murder, crime, hate that result from free                    creatures.
            2)  Natural Evil—earthquakes, fires, hurricanes that can result                        from events outside of the control of free agents. 
The logic that leads to the question goes something like this:
            1.  A good God would destroy evil.
            2.  An all powerful God could destroy evil.
            3.  Evil is not destroyed.
            4.  Therefore, there cannot possibly be such a good and                                 powerful God.
 
Since God is both good and all-powerful he can destroy evil and                   desires to destroy evil, but it is clear he has not.
Just because he has not destroyed evil does not mean he will not                   eventually destroy evil.
 
This logic goes like this:
            1. God is absolutely good so He will defeat evil.
            2. God is omnipotent so He can defeat evil.
            3. Evil is not defeated at this time.
            4. Therefore, God will totally defeat evil in the future.
 
Now we ask, “Why wait?”
Apparently God has a reason. 
With in God’s plan and purpose he can not violate his character.    While the Bible says:
            “with God all things are possible.”  Matthew 19:26
The Bible also says there are things that God can not do:
            “God, who does not lie. . .”                 Titus 1:2
            “God cannot be tempted by evil.”       James 1:13
            “nor does He tempt anyone.”              James 1:13
God can not do anything that is outside of his character.
God must do things that a rational being does in a rational world:
            - He can not undo the past.
            - He can not create a round square
            - He can not make the false true
 
So, it may be that it is impossible for God to achieve his purpose with           out the existence of evil.
It may be true that God could not eliminate evil without at the same   time making it impossible to accomplish His goals.
 
Would it have been better to have no creation and no world than to have       the world with evil in it?
This is the response of Job and of Solomon.                          
Could God have made a different world without evil?
By eliminating evil God would have had to eliminate other things also:
           
                        God
           
            Nothing                 Something

 

                                  Not Free             Free

 
                          No sin      Sin
 
                                               All saved        Some saved
 

God could have made no free will and had a amoral world. 
But, this would eliminate a moral world.
Where there is no game there is not victory.
Once there is freewill there is the chance of victory and the chance of           defeat.
 
 
 
Our world may not be the best of all possible worlds but it is the best             way to the best world.
                                                                        Best Possible World
 
Creation    Fall    Age of Free Choice        Judgment   
                                                                       
                                                                        Eternal Judgment of Evil
 
There is a difference between:
            1)  Us not knowing the purpose for evil
            2)  God having a purpose for evil.
Just because we do not know the purpose does not mean a purpose does       not exist.  Just because we do not know a person, a place or a      thing does not mean they or it would not exist. 
But, we do know God.  Our trust is not in knowing all but is in the     all-knowing One.
This is what the book of Job teaches.
This is made more difficult in our Christian world where some are     preaching miracles, prosperity and health for the faithful.
The logic that spins from this false teaching is that evil happens to:
            1)  those who have no faith or knowledge to prevent it.  This                         becomes a 21st century form of the second century                   Gnosticism. 
            2) who deserve it for a variety of reasons.
 
Confusion occurs because sometimes these are true:
            1) “My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.”                                                                                              Hosea 4:6
            2) “The soul who sins is the one who will die.”  Ezekiel. 18:4
But, there are more options for the reason for evil than just individual           responsibility.
Consider Job.  Three times Job’s righteous character is identified.      Once by the author of the book, once by God himself, and     finally by Job.  They all say the same thing:                                        “This man was blameless and upright; he feared God                        and shunned evil.”     Job 1:1, 8; and 23:11, 12
When Job complained of being treated unfair God said these things:
            “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
                        Tell me, if you understand.
             Who marked off its dimensions?                                
                        Surely you know!”                       Job 38:4
 
            “Surely you know, for you were already born!                                                You have lived so many years!”     Job 38:21
 
            “Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him?
                        Let him who accuses God answer him! . . .
             Would you discredit my justice?
                        Would you condemn me to justify yourself?. . .
             Do you have an arm like God’s, . . .
             Then I myself will admit to you
                                    that your own right hand can save you.”
                                                                        Job 40:2, 8, 9, 14
Some of the reasons for evil:
            1)  Warn us of greater evils.
                        - Lev. 26 cycles of discipline
            2)  Pain keeps us from self destruction
                        - Adam labor would be his source of food
            3)  Some evil brings a greater good
                        - Joseph said to his brothers, “You meant evil against                                     me, but God meant it for good.”
            4)  Some evil causes spiritual growth and understanding
                        - Job
            5)  Some evil helps defeat evil
                        - Jesus on the cross
            6)  Reasons unknown to finite creatures known only by God:
            “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things                revealed belong to us and to our children forever.”    Dt. 29:29
 

5. Aren't other religions good, also?

Hinduism
Hinduism is one of the oldest of the living religions. It has no founder, no one deity,
no absolute authority, and no creed. Hinduism developed some 3,500 years ago out of
an earlier nature worship.
God
Hindus worship numerous deities, the most important of which are Brahma,
Shiva, and Vishnu. Personal deities, however, are only reflections of the impersonal
Absolute or Reality, which is Brahman. Everything that exists has evolved from
Brahman and ultimately, after countless eons of time, will return to Brahman.
Scriptures 
Hindus have many holy books, the most prominent of which are the
Vedas. No scripture is fully authoritative or final as far as Hinduism is concerned.
Man
“Karma” means deed and is a Hindu adaptation of the idea of sowing and reaping. Transmigration means that men are constantly dying and being reborn to lower or higher planes of existence. Bad deeds (or, karma) becomes like a weight which pulls men down and good works insures that the individual will be reborn on a higher plane -- perhaps even as a deity of some sort.
Salvation 
The only hope for man is that he will be "enlightened" by recognizing that in his own soul (atman) he is Brahman, and after "many existences" will return to the "universal Brahman." 
 
Buddhism
Guatama Buddha founded his religion in India some five hundred years before Christ. He rejected the notions of Brahman and replaced them with the teachings of nirvana and "no-soul."
God
Buddha rejected both Brahman and the many deities of Hinduism. Later, however, Buddhism developed its own deities, and for many Buddhists, Buddha himself became a god.
Scriptures
Like Hinduism, Buddhism has many scriptures. Among the most prominent is the Tripitaka (Three Baskets), which includes the teachings of Buddha himself.
Man
Buddha taught man's problem is that he has a thirst or desire to "exist apart," to be unique and permanent. He can rid himself of this desire, and the inevitable "suffering" that it occasions, by treading an "eightfold path" of discipline which leads to "enlightenment."
Salvation
"Salvation" is hardly the right word for it, but enlightenment for the Buddhist ultimately results in nirvana, a final state of "peace" in which all individuality and desire is transcended.
 
Chinese Religion
The basic notions of traditional Chinese religion were furnished by the ancient
Chinese and by Confucius, Lao-tze, and, later, by Buddhists.
God  
Before it was recorded in history the Chinese have had the idea of a high God, often called Shang Ti. Throughout history numerous other deities have been worshipped. The worship of ancestors is also very prominent.
Scriptures 
Though their status as scripture will be disputed by some, the most prominent       religious books among Chinese are the Classics and Four Books of Confucius, the Tao-Teh-Ching of Lao-tze, and various Buddhist sutras.
Man 
Both Confucius and Lao-tze taught that man is basically good. The problem is, How can he be kept good?  Confucius said that he can be kept good by education. Lao-tze advocated that people return to nature and learn how to live in accordance with the Tao (Law, Way) that results in nature's "harmony."
Salvation
In essence, Chinese religion was very much oriented to this world rather than the next. But certain Chinese elements have blended with Buddhist ideas to cause the Chinese to be concerned about the next life and the need to placate the spirits and provide offerings for the safe passage of the dead to the other world.
 
Islam
Islam, the latest of the major religions to develop, was founded by Muhammad, who lived A.D. 570-632.
God
Muhammad misunderstood the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, thinking it was similar to the belief of pagans who worshipped many gods. He preached the religion of one, absolute God (Allah), the Creator, Judge, and Ruler of the universe.
Scripture
Muhammad's teachings are contained in the Koran (Reading), which is believed to have been dictated to him from a book in heaven. Of the various books "sent down" by Allah, only the Pentateuch of Moses, Psalms of David, Evangel of Jesus, and the Koran remain. Among these, only the Koran is uncorrupted.
Man 
Man is the creation of Allah and is responsible to obey him completely. He will be judged and assigned to one or another of seven heavens and seven hells.
Salvation  Specifically, man's responsibility is to believe in Allah and his Koran and to keep the Five Pillars: 1) recitation of the creed, 2) prayers, 3) fasting, 4) almsgiving, and 5) a pilgrimage to Mecca. Upon his death, a man's works will be put in the balances and he will be judged accordingly.
 
Buddhists
Deny the existence of a personal God
Believe salvation is by self-effort only
Believe Jesus was a teacher but Buddha was greater
Hindus
Believe in two major gods (Vishnu, Siva) plus millions of lesser gods
Believe salvation is by  devotion, works and self-control
Believe Jesus was one of many sons of God.  All men are as divine as Jesus. 
Muslims
Believe in one God, Allah
Believe salvation is earned and people pay for their own sins
Believe Jesus was the greatest of the prophets below Muhammad.  Jesus did not die for sin.
Christian
God created man in his image.  He loves them and wants a relationship with them.
Jesus died for the sins of men.  Through faith in Jesus’ work men can be saved
Jesus is God and became a man.  He was sinless and died to redeem sinful men.
 
All these religions leaves one logically wondering if ultimate truth is known?
 
All religions:
stress goodness and avoid evil
Seek to worship the power or person behind the physical world
 
These religions should in the proper perspective earn our interest, study,     respect so we can assure our position and speak the Truth to them more clearly.
 
At times these religions inspire us and set examples for us:
The faithfulness to prayer and fasting by the Muslim
The honorable self-discipline of the Buddhist
We should shudder when we consider the dark deeds done through out history in the name of Christianity by the worldly church.
 

6. What difference does Jesus make?

The answer is always Jesus.
The long history of Israel points to his coming (From Adam to Malachi)
God’s progressive revelation being revealed through promise, prediction or types and shadows of the One man who was to come.                                
            “When the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born         of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law,       that we might receive the         full rights of sons.”                
                                                             Galatians 4:4
3)  The undeniable historical reality of Jesus that includes:
            a) His teaching
            b) His impact on his generation
            c) His death is recorded even in secular writing of His day
            d) The undeniable fact that something of immense                            proportions happened around 30 AD (recorded in                 the documents of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul             and Peter as Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.)
           
            “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance:           that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the        Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the      Twelve.  After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the       brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though    some have fallen asleep. . . this is what we preach, and this is             what you believe.”                               1 Corinthians 15:3-11
The fact that Paul could call on over 500 eye witnesses of the resurrected Jesus 20 years after the resurrection.  Paul was   inviting a generation to believe his message or prove it wrong if they could.
 
 
Other religions could be from the following groups:
They may be the remains of the truth of God revealed early in man’s history that has been distorted through time and worldliness.  This happened to Adam’s message, Noah’s message, Israel’s message and the church’s message.
They may be the mark of an eternal Christ speaking to men in their own cultures and religions.
They may be imitation religions whose source is the devil as he tries to replace the Christ and mislead men to follow a deception.
They may originate in the soul of man who is looking for the Creator and needs to please him.  In their ignorance men have replaced the truth of God with a imitation from man.
 
 
 
The Christian’s response to the other religions:return to list at top 1)    We can not accept them as a divine stepping stone to truth.
We can use some of the elements of their doctrines or practices to connect their understanding to the truth that is in Christ. (Example:  The reality of the sinfulness of man that is seen in sacrifices or the teaching of judgment for disobedience)
We must not ridicule what other men mistakenly believe in their ignorance to be their hope.  We will always need to clearly speak the truth which at times will directly confront ignorance just as light overpowers darkness.
We must plead with all men to consider Jesus Christ and the doctrines of his revealed Word.
 
Jesus is the answer the seekers in world religions is looking for:
            Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life.  No                    one comes to the Father except through me.”                                                                John 14:6
            Jesus said, “All things have been committed to me by my                  Father.  No one knows the Son except the Father,                        and no one knows the Father except the Son and                   those to who the Son chooses to reveal him.”                                                                            Matthew 11:27
            The Apostles taught, “Salvation is found in no one else,                    for there is no other name under heaven given to                        men by which we must            be saved.”      Acts 4:12
 
 
What difference does Jesus make?return to list at top
Our Advocate “We have one who speaks to the Father in our defense.”                                                                                                1 John 2:1
Atoning Sacrifice “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins.”                                                                                                      1 John 2:2
Takes us to Glory “In bringing many sons to glory. . .”                                                                                                                              Hebrews 2:10
Source of Grace “. . His glorious grace, which he has freely given us in                  the one He loves.”                               Ephesians 1:6
Bread of Life “If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever.”                                                                                                            John 6:32,35,48,-51
Cornerstone of Faith “Christ Jesus himself  as the chief cornerstone.”                                                                                   Ephesians 2:20
Deliverer “The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness                                   away from Jacob.”             Romans 11:26
Eternal Life “He is the true God and eternal life.”                                                                                                                      1 John 5:20
Foundation “No one can   lay any foundation other than the one already                            laid, which is Jesus Christ.”                1 Corinthians 3:11
Gate “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.”                                                                                                              John 10:7
Good Shepherd “I am the good shepherd.”                                                                                                                                  John 10:11
Guarantee “Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant.”                                                                                                       Hebrews 13:20
Wisdom “Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God.”                                                                                        1 Corinthians 1:30
Holiness “. . .that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.”                                                                                                           1 Corinthians 1:30
Hope “Christ Jesus our hope.”                                                                                                                                                                          1 Timothy 1:1
King “You are right in saying I am a king.”                                                                                                                                   John 18:36
Living One “I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for                                              ever and ever!”                    Revelation 1:18
Mediator “Jesus the mediator of a new covenant.”                                                                                                                    Hebrews 12:24
Peace “For he himself is our peace.”                                                                                                                                                               Ephesians 2:14
Perfecter of our Faith “Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith.”                                                                                     Hebrews 12:2
Redeemer “The Redeemer will come to Zion.”                                                                                                                                             Isaiah 59:20
True Light “The true light that gives light to every man.”                                                                                                                          John 1:9
Truth “I am the way and the truth and the life.”                                                                                                                                         John 14:6
Counselor “He will be called Wonderful Counselor.”                                                                                                                  Isaiah 9:6
Word “The Word became flesh.”                                                                                                                                                    John 1:14
Word of Life “This we proclaim concerning the Word of life.”                                                                                                                1 John 1:1
 

7. Is Jesus the only way to God?

Christianity is a narrow religion. 
Christianity teaches that there is only one way to God or heaven.
 
Logically, if there is some other way(s) to God why did Jesus have to die?  In fact, he pleaded with God in the Garden for another way when he said:
            “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from        me. Yet not as I will, but as you will. . . My Father, if it is   not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it,     may your will be done.”                     Matthew 26:39,42
 
Remember this is not your doctrine from your own mind, but this is the doctrine of God that you had to have your mind renewed with.  You may not have liked it either when you heard it.  It is not arrogance on your part, but humility and submission to the truth of the word of God.  Some would ask why God would only provide one way of salvation?  The obvious response would be why did God have to provide even one way.  He could just let us try to be good enough on our own.
           
Instead of calling God narrow minded why not instead be thankful that Jesus has already provided that one way? 
 
I think those who reject God’s offer of Christ work on the cross are too narrowed minded because God did not save them by using one of their ideas.
 

8. Why become a Christian?

The way some churches and Christians preach you would think that only people who are unhappy need Jesus.  With church sermon menu’s continuously offering you messages on:
“Secrets of a Great Marriage”
“How to be Debt Free Like Solomon”
“Eight Steps to an Addiction Free Life”
“Join a Small Group and Find a Friend”
“How to be a Fisher of Men” (or, “Dating God’s Way”)
“The Rod and the Word: Raising Children God’s Way”
 
When I was looking for a church for my family I heard a lot of sermons like these and came to the conclusion that I really did not need to be in church.  I was happily married.  I was making enough money.  I was not addicted.  I didn’t want anymore friends.  My children knew that I had already heard the rod and the word message.  It appeared that people like me had no need for church or Christianity. 
 
It is wrong to promote church as a problem solving station. 
Christianity and the Church are the light of the world. 
Without a relationship with Jesus and knowledge of his word we are living in a world without really understanding what it is all about.
 
First, God is absolutely holy and we are sinful.  We need                 salvation through Jesus Christ just to begin a relationship      with God.
Second, God created us with a purpose and a plan.  Our ignorance of God and of his plan leaves us destined to pursue              something much far short of our potential.
Third, to live only for this age, for this world will result in our         suffering great loss when the age of the Messiah is                      revealed.
 
Christianity, the true church and Jesus Christ reveals what life is really all about and who you really are. 
“You are the salt of the earth.  But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?  It is no longer    good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled       by men.”                                             Matthew 5:13
 
            “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself          and take up his cross and follow me.  For whoever wants            to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for          me will find it.  What good will it be for a man if he gains           the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?  Or what can   a man  give in exchange for his soul?  For the Son of Man is   going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and        then he will reward each person according to what he has        done.  I tell you the truth some who are standing here will     not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in       his kingdom.”                                      Matthew 16:24-28
 
I think it is true that if all the church is doing is teaching you to balance your check book or resolve conflicts with co-workers then you really don’t need that church.  Neither does God.  He has moved on to a church that he and you both need.
 
The best advice you could get is to find a church that does more than solve your earthly problems. 
 

9. What difference does following God make?

A new attitude toward life
A new attitude toward our nation
A new attitude toward marriage
A new attitude toward family
A new attitude toward work
A new definition of success
Purpose:  Everything we think, say or do matters in God’s plan for us, others and history
Perspective: Life and events make sense
Hope: Knowledge that God makes things work out in the end
Right and wrong:  A basis for morality.
Promise: Replenished to continue to serve because we know we do not labor in vain.
l)    Fearless of Death
Rewards:  God notices and records everything. He will                    reward all the unknown things we accomplished or               resisted.
 
            “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world,       but be transformed by the renewing of you mind.  Then    you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—       his good, pleasing, and perfect will.”             
                                                                        Romans 12:2

 
"Expecting the world to treat you fairly
                because you are an honest man
is like expecting the bull not to attack you
                because you are a vegetarian."

10. What happens to those who have never heard the gospel?

Acts 4:12—No other name, no other way
There is a difference between using a computer and understanding a computer.
There is a difference between building a house with a power saw and building a power        saw.
There is a difference between having your life changed by the power of the Christ’s             work and understanding (knowing) Christ’s work on the cross
Romans 1:20
Acts 14:15
Acts 14:17
Romans 2:12-15
Lost in a dark cave and see a flicker of light.  If you do not move towards that light it           will not get brighter.  If you remain lost it is your fault.
John 3:19 for those who reject the light.
Acts 10:34-38, 1-48, if we seek God he will reveal himself to us:
                1)  OT, 2)  Abraham, 3)  Melchizedek, 4) Jethro, 5) Magi, 6) Balaam, 7) Job
 
Romans 2:6-7 seek immortality
2 Timothy 1:10 Jesus brought immortality to light
 
Methods of Special Revelation:
                1)  Preachers, Romans 10:14-15
                2)  Angels, Revelation 14:6
                3)  Bible
                4)  Visions, Paul on road to Damascus
                5)  Dreams, Nebuchadnezzar
                6)  Other miraculous methods
                7)  Other natural phenomenon

11. Why would a good God sen someone to hell?

This is a fairly simple question when you consider that God is perfect, holy and absolutely righteous.  He is eternal and is the source of reality and truth. 
 
Man on the other hand is a created being.  Man’s righteousness is relative, which means it must be compared to something.  It can be compared with other men’s righteousness, or with the righteousness of other believers, or with your past righteousness.  
 
Ultimately our righteousness must be compared to the absolute righteousness of the Eternal Being.  With out possessing this absolute righteousness a person can not enter into the kingdom of God or enter into eternity with God. 
 
Because all men have fallen into relative righteousness and failed to meet God’s level of absolute righteousness they are called sinners. 
 
                Isaiah 64:6 “All of us have become like one who is unclean,                                    and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags.”
 
All mankind was destined for eternal separation from God.
To deliver us from this hopeless situation God had an eternal plan to pay for
our sinful condition, redeem us from the judgment and cloth us with
his absolute righteousness, if we would accept it.
 
                Romans 5:6, “You see, at just the right time, when we were still                               powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. . . While we were                  still sinners, Christ died for us.”
 
Jesus Christ death and resurrection was God’s merciful remedy for man’s   sinful state and ultimate damnation.
 
                John 3:17 “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn                       the world, but to save the world through him.  Whoever                                believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not                            believe stands condemned already because he has not                              believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”
 
Why will men go to Hell?  Is it because God sends them there?  No. 
If a heart cries out to God that heart will be saved.
 
                Romans 10:13, Joel 2:32, “Everyone who calls on the name of the                        Lord will be saved.”
 
Men go to hell because they reject God’s answer for man’s problem of being a created being with relative righteousness, or “mere men.”  Heaven is the abode of the Almighty God.  Man does not belong there. 
Men were never even allowed to be there until Jesus had entered heaven as the resurrected man.
 
Why do men go to Hell? 
                John 3:19, “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but                           men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were                            evil.  Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not                          come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.”
 
As C.S. Lewis said, “The gates of Hell are locked from the inside.”
 
The question, “Why would a good God send someone to Hell?”, is really a bad question because it assumes God’s character is at fault or needs to be explained.
 
God is good. 
God paid the price for man’s redemption. 
God has extended time and sent the message into the world. 
God urges each man by the Holy Spirit to come to their senses and be saved.
In response to this man says “no” and turns his back on God.
 
I think the question is:
                “Why would man choose Hell instead of humbling himself
                                before a good and loving God?” 
 

12. How can I tell the difference between true and false teaching?

Jude 3      2 Peter 3:16
 
Characteristics of Cults:
New Truth—the leader promotes the idea that God has revealed something new and special to them.
New Interpretations of Scripture—the group holds to the belief that they have the key to correct interpretation of the mysteries in the Bible.
Non-biblical source of authority– The Bible is the correct source of Christian authority.  Cults will have another source of authority.
Another Jesus—They will use the name of Jesus, but they follow that with false teaching and false descriptions of Jesus.
                “For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we                         preached,  . . .”   (2 Cor. 11:4)
Rejection of Orthodox Christianity
Continual Changes in their Theology—false theology does not have the rock solid foundation of the truth so it is continually moving around trying to avoid the natural contradictions that continually appear.   A cult could not do a question and answer series because questions are the doorway to the truth.  Questions expose contradictions and illogical conclusions.
Strong Leadership
Salvation by Works
False Prophecy
 
Ask these questions:
1)     Does the teaching recognize Jesus as the Son of God?
Does the teaching present Jesus Christ as the only way of salvation?
Does the teaching agree with scripture?
Do people, activities, programs, works bring glory to God or to men?
Is their ultimate hope to be pleasing to God and spend eternity with him?  Or, is their goal materialistic, self-advancement, or fleshly?
What is their hope based in?  Works, following a teaching, or in Jesus?
Is the church or group aligned with historical Christian doctrine? Or, is their teaching more aligned with their surrounding culture than with scripture?
 
1 John 4:1-4
 

13. Does God approve of 'alternative lifestyles' (homosexuallity)?

Romans 1:21-32
 
1:21—  “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile. . .”
Fail to respond positively towards the truth revealed in creation.
Man needs God but refuses to submit to his truth and his goodness
They are void of His truth and His reality
“Futile” is passive and means this rejection of God moved them to a position of worthless thinking.  “Futile” refers to that which is without success.
1:21—  “. . .and their foolish hearts were darkened.”
“Foolish” means “without understanding”. 
“Hearts” refers to the seat of feeling, intelligence, and moral choice.
Because they reject God they have no understanding in their intelligence, their emotions and their morality.
 
JUDGMENT ONE -they now must evaluate life with an empty soul.
1:22— “Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools. . .”
They believe they are wise and compare their views with other “wise” men
In reality they are locked into a state of indiscernible stupidity
1:23— “and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal men and birds and animals and reptiles.”
Notice the declining order: man to birds to animals to reptiles.
Spiritual Principle:  Man becomes like his God.
 
JUDGMENT TWOthey are now hopelessly enslaved to their sin natures
1:24— “Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.”
“Gave them over” means “to deliver over” as a judge would hand a convicted criminal over to their sentence
1:25— “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, . . .”
They are out of touch with truth and reality
1:25—  “. . .and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised.  Amen.”
 
JUDGMENT THREE-  punishment: sin of homosexuality complete with  penalty
1:26— “Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts.”
1:26— “Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones.”
 
1:27— “In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another.”
 
1:27— “Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.”
 
JUDGMENT FOURgiven to the sentence of operating in complete depravity
1:28—Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.”
 
1:29-31— They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, . . .
                evil          greed       depravity    envy             murder             strife
                deceit       malice      gossips       slanderers     God-haters      insolent
                arrogant   boastful  senseless      faithless        heartless          ruthless
                invent ways of doing evil           disobey their parents
 
JUDGMENT FIVEpersonal death and cultural overthrow
1:32— “Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death. . .”
 
1:32— “they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.”
Imagine a culture whose people not only are demanding that they have the right to be homosexual but they are also protesting for the right (for the freedom) to be all that is listed in verses 1:29-31
2 Timothy 3:1-9
 
Homosexuality and its acceptance is a sign of the times. 
We are approaching the most disastrous days of our culture.
 
Identifying sinful activities as sin is part of loving people
It is the faithful Christian’s responsibility to hold to the truth of the Word and call
homosexuality a sin in hopes that the person may find deliverance.  The alternative      is to continue in the path of judgment and ultimate disaster of the individual and           of the society.
 
Christians are responsible to present the answer.
“Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God?  Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.  And that is what some of you were.  But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
                                                1 Corinthians 6:9-11
Homosexuality is listed along with other sins.
No one should try to justify any of the other sins as acceptable.
Homosexuals were delivered, washed, sanctified, and justified and then welcomed into the church of Corinth as believers in fellowship
Homosexuals were not considered to be living an acceptable lifestyle for a Christian in Corinth.
 
Sodom and Gomorrah
Genesis 19:1-29
 
Ezekiel 16:49-50  “Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom:                       She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned;       they did not help the poor and needy.  They were haughty and           did detestable tings before me. Therefore I did away with them     as you have seen.”
 
Sodom and Gomorrah had gone through the accepting homosexuality and had moved on to the next level of self love Paul writes about in Romans 1 and 2 Timothy 3.  They approved of this self-love and their culture was overthrown.
 
The U.S. at the stage of accepting homosexuality but it can get worse. 
Our job is to be a light to our society. 
If we accept the standard of our culture we are aiding in the decline   and failing to be the salt that will preserve our nation.
 
Should homosexuals be ordained into the ministry? 
If you are asking this question you and your denomination need to take        a serious look at your hearts and ask yourself if you really   believe in a God who is holy and true. 
 
If you are even considering this question as serious then you have     clearly abandoned the standard of the Creator and replaced it             with our societies expectation. 
 
You can read about yourself in Romans 1:21-32. 
You need to plan on renewing your mind to the divine viewpoint or
            face a continuous series of personal and social disasters.

14. Can I lose my salvation?

Hebrews 4-9
“enlightened” refers to being empowered by the Spirit to understand their sinful condition and their need of salvation
“tasted the heavenly gift”  refers to the gift of salvation achieved by Jesus Christ work on the cross.
“shared in the Holy Spirit” refers to the gift of the Holy Spirit who is the one who enters the believer at the point of salvation (Rm. 8:9) and seals them for the day of salvation (Ep. 4:30)
“tasted the goodness of the word of God” refers to the instruction and understanding of God’s revealed message.        “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may
                 grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is    good.”    1 Peter 2:2
“powers of the coming age”  the supernatural empowerment given to each believer by God through the Holy Spirit to serve him as members of the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12-14)
 
“It is impossible . . .if they fall away, to  be brought back to repentance.”
It does not say:
            1) they can not be forgiven
            2) they can not be restored
“Repentance” is referring to the born again experience or to their point of salvation when they repented and believed in Christ.
 
This says they can not get born-again again. 
Once they have been saved they can not get saved again because    they are still saved.
They are saying that they were saved by Christ work but their most recent sin/failure used up all that Christ did and they need more.
 
The example of the land not producing can be seen in
1 Corinthians 3:10-15
            “For no one can lay any foundation other than the one         already laid, which is Jesus Christ. . .If it is burned up,       he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only            as one escaping through the flames.”

 
SALVATION OF THE BELIEVERreturn to list at top
 

   Phase One                 Phase Two               Phase Three
 
Salvation of Spirit              Salvation of Soul                                Salvation of Body
 
Occurs once at a                  Occurs through                     Occurs at the Rapture
      point in time                      out your lifetime                              
 
Achieve by believing           Achieved by renewing        Achieve by God’s
   in Jesus Christ                       your mind to Word             divine command
 
To all who received               “Be transformed by the           “For  a time is coming him, to those who                               renewing of your mind”          when al who are in their
believed in his name,                        Romans 12:2                  graves will hear his voice he gave the right to                        “continue to work out             and come out.”  Jn. 5:28 become children of God”         your salvation with
            John 1:12                    with fear and trembling
                                                                Phil. 2:12
Results in Eternal Life             Results in Eternal                    Results in Resurrection                                                    Rewards                                         Body 
 
This can not be lost                 This can be lost                       This will occur
 
Consider the work of the Holy Spirit in regeneration:
Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the            day of redemption.”                                            Ephesians 4:30
Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the         Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.”   2 Cor. 5:5
Not only so but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan          inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the                                 redemption of our bodies.”                               Romans 8:23
 
Things to consider:
Not everyone who says “Lord, Lord” is a believer.
Not everyone who walks the aisle is accepting the Lord.
Responding to a preacher’s message may not be a response for salvation but could be for a variety of reasons all of which are not salvation through Jesus Christ.  (For example: life is a mess, want a favor, hoping for deliverance from some bondage.)

Eternal Security is revealed in these truths:

Positional Righteousness -Every believer is in eternal positional union with Christ (Rom. 8:1; Eph. 1:3-6; Jude 1)  (Spiritual or Carnal Believer)
If Christ died for us while we were sinners will he not do enough to keep us saved? 
“He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”  (Romans 8:32)         
Nothing can separate us from God including the present or the future which includes the sins committed in the present or the future. (Rm.8:38)
God is faithful for he can not deny himself even when we are unfaithful. 
“If we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.” (2 Tm. 2:13) (“Disown” or “Deny” in 2:12 is to deny us rewards
You can not be un-born from a natural family and your natural father can never be changed.  We are born into God’s family (Gal. 3:26) and born of God (John 1:12)
We are part of the body and one part can not say to another part “I do not need you.”  The head (Jesus) can not then say to another part of the body “I don’t need you.” (1 Cor. 12:21)
Greek Verb Tense:                                                                                                                               - “
Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved” is in the aorist                  tense and means saved once and for all. (Acts 16:31)
                - “For it is by grace you have been saved” (Ep.28) is in the perfect                          tense and means saved in the past with the result that you                                 keep on being saved forever.  Also, Col. 2:6; Rom. 8:1
If you can get saved and sin to lose it then Jesus work on the cross is no different than the offering of bulls and goats. (Hebrews 10:14.)
I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned, he has crossed over from death to life.”   John 5:25
If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”   2 Coir. 5:17
 

15. What is the unforgivable sin?

Matthew 12:31,32
John 16:8-11
1 John 5:6-10
The unforgivable sin is the rejection of Jesus Christ as savior.
The Spirit enlightens the natural man to understand it, but the natural man rejects the testimony of the Spirit and is left to perish.
 

16. What do I say to my patients?

It may be hard for them to hear and understand about a loving God if they have never understood the love of God on the cross.
 
You may want to assure them that God is good.  He is the answer.  Evil happens as a result of:             1)  The fallen, cursed earth that we live in . . .
                   but Jesus has died on the cross to deliver us from it.
            2)  The sin and free will of man. . .                                                   But God is supreme and he is fair.
            3)  Satan who is against God and man. . .
                         but “greater is He who in me than he who is in the               world.”  (1 John 4:4)
 
We know that in all things God works for the good of                       those who love him.”               Romans 8:28
                                   
Comfort them with the comfort Christ has given you.                       “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father      of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our   troubles, so that we can comfort  those in any trouble with the comfort            we ourselves have received from God.  For just as the sufferings of        Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort          overflows.”                           2 Cor. 1:3-5 
If you see some one in need don’t say be blessed, but do something.  Sometimes there is nothing to say, but you are ministering to their needs with out explaining things.  Instead you are simply there for them or helping them.                   “Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food.  If one     of  you says to him, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,       but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?” Jm.2:15                                                                                                                            “I will show you my faith by what I do”     James 2:18
You are the hand of God in their lives:                                              “I tell you the truth, what ever you did for one of the least         of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”  Matt25:40

17. How did Satan come to be?

Ezekiel 28:12-19  Isaiah 14:12-17
Psalm 148:2,5  Angels were created      Job 38:5,6  Angels were created before the universe.
Four Beginnings
John 1:1 – The story’s beginning with God’s existence               
Job 38:4-7 – The angels where in existence at the universe’s creation
Genesis 1:1 – The creation of the universe                    
Genesis 1:26,27 – The creation of man
 
Genesis 1:1 – “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
“Created” is the Hebrew word “Bara” to “create something out of nothing.”
 
Four Words for “Create” or “Make”
Bara - create something out of nothing (Gn. 1:1, 27) 
Asah – make something from something (Gen1:26)
Jatsar – mold (2:7)                                                                            
Banah – build (2:22)
 
Words used in Isaiah 45:18.
“For this is what the Lord says – he who created (“bara”) the heavens, he is God; he who fashioned (“jatsar”) and made (“asah”) the earth, he founded it; he did not create it to be empty (“tohu”) but formed it to be inhabited.”
 
Genesis 1:2 –       
“Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface                                of the deep, . . .(NIV)
“And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the                               face of the deep.” (KJ)
“Now the earth had become waste and wild, and darkness was on the face          of the roaring deep,  (Rotherham’s)
 
was” – the Hebrew word “hajah” is “had become.”  It is translated into               English as “was.”
“formless” – the Hb. word “tohu” which means “chaotic, catastrophe”                Wilson’s OT Word Studies says, “a vast desert, waste and barren,   a void place.”
“empty” – the Hebrew word “wavohu” is described by Wilson as “emptiness,     voidness, and means empty and void.”
formless and empty” together the phase is a word play on sound:                        “tohu wavohu.”  The words are used together two other times in  the Old Testament.  Isaiah 34:11 and Jeremiah 4:23.  Both times          they refer to a the result of a previous overthrow.
darkness” – the Hebrew word “choshek” and means “darkness.”         Strong’s Concordance’s Hebrew and Chaldee Dictionary state:                  Figuratively it means “misery, destruction, death, ignorance, sor-
                 row, wickedness.”
“deep” – the Hebrew word “tehom” and means “an abyss as in a surging mass  of water, especially the deep, main sea or the subterranean                                 water-supply. 
In his 1872 translation Rotherham adds this additional comment in his footnotes:
“In the beginning  [
of the present order of things]  God created [that is, shaped or formed according to his own divine idea] the heavens [above] and the earth. [below]  Now the earth [emphasized idiomatically for the purpose of singling it out for first remark] had become waste and wild [probably by previous catastrophe] and darkness [emphasized as about to be dealt with] was on the face of the roaring deep; but [preparing the mind for a new order of things] the Spirit of God was brooding [with quickening effect] on the face of the waters.”
 
Before “tohu wavohu”
 
Ezekiel 28:12-15       
Model of Perfection (KJ “sealest up the sum”)- a copy of  Jehovah, with             authority
Full of Wisdom – wiser than any other creature.  The word means full and          abundant
Perfect in Beauty – perfect means complete. Other cherubim in Ezekiel 1:4-20
In Eden – capital and center of earth activities.
Every precious stone –the best of creation, and similar to high priest 12 stones
Settings and mountings were gold – Gold speaks of deity.  A priest for God.
Fiery stones – sin could not stand in the presence of God
Blameless – This  creature was blameless
 
Isaiah 14:12               
Morning star – Hb is “hay-lale” meaning brightness from Hebrew word for         “praise”  The Hb. was translated into Greek to a word that meant    “Light Bearer.”  When the Greek was translated into Latin it was the      Latin word “Lucifer” and in 1611 the translators of the KJ left the   word untranslated.  NIV uses “morning star” and Rotherham uses         “shining one.”  See Job 38:7, the “morning stars” sang together.                 Cherubim are music makers and singers
 
Ezekiel 28:16 “
Through your widespread trade
NAS “your trade they filled your midst with violence, & you sinned.”  
Roth. “ thy traffic they filled the midst with violence & thou didst sin.”
KJ  “the merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou  hast sinned”        
NIV “filled with violence and you sinned.”
Violence” HB. “chamac” meaning unjust gain, cruelty, damage, false,               injustice, oppression. It comes from the Hb. word that means “to be        violent.”  The next chronological occurance for this word is in                  reference to men’s violence before the flood of Noah.                     It was the reason for God  sending judgment in Noah’s day. (Gn. 6:11,13)
1 Timothy 6:10 “For the love of money is a of all kinds of evil.”    
Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters”                                     
Rm. 1:25 “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, & worshipped and served   created things rather than the creator – who is forever praised.”
 
Jehovah Confronts the Sin
Ezekiel 28:16, KJ:  Therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God; and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.”
“Profane” in Hebrew means the staining of what is beautiful and glorious. 
“Destroy” refers to Lucifer’s position as the Guardian Cherub,  not his person.  
Lucifer Rejects any offer of Restoration or Grace
 
Ezekiel 28:17 – “Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted   your wisdom because of your splendor.”
Lucifer rejects grace due to Pride.
                1 Timothy 3:6,  “He (reference to one who wants to be a church leader) must       not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil.”
 
Lucifer’s process of chain sinning:
1) Love of  created things – “Widespread trade” (“Love of money”  1 Tim 6:10 and             “worshipped and served created things” Rm1:25)
2) Violence    (unjust gain and oppression) Sin exposed and expelled
3) Pride because of his God created beauty
4) Corrupted his Purpose (Wisdom)
5) Rebels against God saying, “I will be like the Most High
 
Lucifer’s 5 “I wills” in Isaiah 14:13,14
 
Angels Make Their Choice
                a.  Satan and his angels -  Revelation 12:7, 9 and Matthew 25:41
                b.  Angels sinned – 2 Peter 2:4 and Job 4:18
                c.  a third of the angels went with Lucifer – Revelation 12:4 “swept” means to                      drag forcibly as with a net.
 
Court Case and Lucifer is Sentenced
Matthew 25:41, “Depart from me you who are cursed into eternal fire prepared for the         devil and his angels.”
 
Lucifer Appeals the Verdict
Since it is clear that Lucifer sinned and it is clear the sentence is the Lake of Fire that            was prepared for the devil then the question must be asked, “What is Lucifer                 doing in the garden with Adam and on the earth with man?”
Gen. 3:1, “Now the serpent was more craft than any of the wild animals the Lord God         had made He said to the woman. . .”
Job 1:6,7, “One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan         also came with them.  The Lord said to Satan, ‘Where have you come from?’            Satan answered the Lord, ‘From roaming through the earth and going back         and forth in it.’ ”
Matthew 4:1, “Then Jesus was led  by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the             devil.”     
1 Peter 5:8, “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
Ephesians 2:2, “. . .when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the           kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are                                 disobedient.”
 
Court cases are common in heaven
                Zechariah 3 and the trial of Joshua the High Priest                                 Daniel 7:9-14, “. . .The court was seated and books were opened. . .”
                Councils and meetings are common in heaven  2 Chronicles 18:18;       Job 1:6
                The title “Satan” means “adversary, accuser, attorney.”   An attorney is                                 someone who goes to court and appeals.
Satan’s accusations against the character (glory) of God:
                1) God is ultimately responsible for Lucifer’s creation.  God is omniscient and               knew Lucifer’s actions before creation.  Why did God create him then?
                2) God is not just if Satan gets sent to the lake of fire.
                3) God is not love since he did not take responsibility.
                4) God is incapable of maintaining order and creation.
                5) God’s character is inconsistent.
Lucifer is Cast to the Earth Resulting in Genesis 1:2 from Ezekiel 28:17; Luke 10:18;
Lucifer is on the earth today as prince of power of the air: Gen. 3:1; Job 1:7; 1 Peter 5:8
 
God was going to prove his character (or, his glory) through man:
Men would prove God was worthy to follow by rejecting the things that Lucifer loved and choosing God.  Men would choose God instead of the world.
Jesus would demonstrate the wisdom of God by dying on the cross to save men from the same damnation that Satan faced.
Jesus would demonstrate that God was more than just power and justice when he died on the cross for mankind.  Jesus revealed God’s love and mercy.  Character traits that Satan and the angels can never personally understand.
 
Ephesians 3:9-11, “His intent was that now, through the church the manifold wisdom of     God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms,  according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ            Jesus our Lord.  In him and through faith in him we may approach God with                 freedom and confidence.  I ask you therefore, not to be discouraged because         of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.”
1 Corinthians 4:9, “We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as         well as to men.”
 

18. Why did Jesus death pay for our sins today?

Before Jesus came the OT believers would place their hands on an animal and acknowledged his sin before God.  The animal was then sacrifice as a substitute for the worshiper.  
 
The sacrifices never removed sin, but merely covered the sin. 
The Hebrew word for “atonement” (kaphar) means “covering”.
It does not mean “taken away.”
 
God accepted the sacrifices because he stood in anticipation for Chirst’s death on the cross.
 
Hebrews 10:4, “It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take         away sins.”
 
Romans 3:25, “God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through         faith in his blood.  He did this to demonstrate his justice, be       cause in his forbearance he had left the sins committed before           hand unpunished.”
 
Adam sinned once and brought condemnation on all men.
 
Romans 5:18, “Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was    condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of        righteousness was justification that brings life for all men.      For just as through the disobedience of the one man that many      were made sinners, so also through the obedience of one man            the many will be made righteous.”
 
 
Jesus died for sins once and paid for all the sins of men.
 
Hebrews 9:26, “But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the          ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. . .Christ      was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and          he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring         salvation to those who are waiting for him.”
 
Once the sacrifice of Jesus was made the sins of mankind were                     punished and paid for.
 
In a sense the OT was a time when men where living on credit                       concerning the payment for their sin.
Since Christ death has occurred the ultimate payment has been made on        the credit account of sin.  In other words, the payment of            Christ’s death was such an incredible price that it is surely      enough to pay for all the sins of all mankind that is yet to come.
           

19. Why do we need to go to church?

Church needs to be relevant to your life.
 
Two categories for attending church:
Worship God—to have an encounter, an experience with God, his truth, his character. (1 Timothy 3:15, “Pillar and Foundation of Truth”
Fellowship with other believers (Hebrews 10:25, “Let us not give up meeting together.”)
 
A church should be doing two basic things (Revelation 3:15,  hot water for healing, cold water for refreshing)
Healing and helping the broken lives of people
Refreshing and encouraging the Christian warriors who are doing the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:12)
 

20. Why do we need to study the Bible?

Christianity is based in reality and truth.
These are revealed in the scriptures.
The scriptures have been deposited into the church for safe keeping for men of this time.
Paul tells Timothy (and the rest of us) to guard the good deposit:
   "What you heard form me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus.  Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you-Guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.”  (1 Tm.1:13,14)
 
If we lose the truth, we lose the sphere of reality we are to operate in as believers.  We will then lose Christianity.
 
Peter tells us:             “There were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you.  They will secretly introduce destructive heresies." (or, “deviations to the truth)
                                                2 Peter 2:1
 
If you do not study the Bible you will end up with a religion like the Samaritans had.  Jesus said to them:
    “You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.”

21. Why did God command us to be baptized?

Baptism is an outward sign of an inward change.
Baptism is not required for salvation.
Church attendance is not required for salvation.
 
Obedience to God’s plan requires that we be involved in a church.
Obedience to God’s plan also tells us to be baptized.
 
God commanded us to be baptized so we would have a sign or a picture of what has happened to us spiritually.  Baptism is a sign of:
Our participation in Jesus’ death
Our participation in Jesu’ resurrection
Our inward cleansing from sin and guilt
Our outward washing of regeneration
Our being baptized into the body of Christ
Our being baptized by Jesus with the Holy Spirit
Our being separated from the world and set apart (made holy) for God’s plan
 
Romans 6:3, 
            “Or don’t you know tat all of us who were baptized into Christ          Jesus were baptized into his death?  We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, Just as Christ         was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we      too may live a new life.”
 
Galatians 3:27,
            “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed    yourselves with Christ.”
 
1 Corinthians 12:13,               
             “For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body.”
 
Acts 22:16,
             “Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his           name.”
 
Colossians 2:12,         
            “Having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him          through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from   the dead.”
1 Peter 3:21,
            “This water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not           the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good          conscience toward God.”
 
Types of baptisms:
The baptism of John (Acts 10:37; 18:25; Matt. 21:25)
Jesus own baptism into the office of the Christ
Jesus’ baptism on the cross (Luke 12:50; Mark 10:38,39)
Baptized into Moses (1 Co. 10:2)

22. What disciplines do we need to study to be effective in our witness for Christ in this community?

Webster’s meaning of the word “discipline” is:
Teaching; instruction
That which is taught to pupils
Training which corrects , molds, strengthens, or perfects
Punishment; chastisement
Orderly conduct as in troops noted for their discipline
Rule of system of rules affecting conduct or action
 
So, “disciplines” are understood to be the teachings and instruction that will mold and strengthen our character so that our conduct becomes orderly and in agreement with that of Christ character and his purpose.
 
By definition then, if our goal is to have Christ’s character and fulfill our purpose we will need to be instructed in”
Matters concerning the character of Christ.  Including:       - how he thinks
            -what are his motives
            -what does he value
            -what is his reality
            -what is his truth
Matters concerning God’s purpose so we can be about his business.
            -history past, where has God been, where have believers been,                      where has the church been
            -history future, where are we going, what is God going to be              doing to get us and the kingdom there
 
 
These remain the same for every person, every where, in every time:
            A)  God’s character and thoughts
            B)  God’s purpose and plan
 
Every believer needs to know and understand these.
These are the sphere of truth and reality that God’s kingdom operates in.
 
To separate yourself from these is to severe yourself from the head of the body.
 
Now, the application of these in your community is going to vary endlessly depending on:
            A)  You and your gift, calling, background, personality, etc.
            B)  Those to whom you are ministering and their background,                        perspective, understanding, interests.
           
 
            “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given             for the common good.”     1 Corinthians 12:7
 

23. What does a good pastor/church or shepherd/flock look like for today?

A good pastor and a good body of believers that minister to the church on Sundays (and during the week) should focus on making God real to the people who worship at that local church.
 
The people of the church (or, the flock) should then be the ones who take the reality and truth that they have experienced into their daily lives.
 
The pastor and ministries in the church should be healing the broken, refreshing the weary (Rev. 3) and ministering to “strengthen, encourage, and comfort” (1 Cor. 14:3)  the church or the flock.  The flock, or the body of believers, are the ones who are going to empowered to do the work of the ministry.
 
The pastor does not do the work of the ministry.
The pastor prepares God’s people for the work of the ministry.
 
“It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”  
                                    Ephesians 4:11-13
“prepare” (karartismos) “equipping”  A technical medical term for setting of a bone.
                Describes a dynamic act by which persons or things are properly                         conditioned and placed in order.
“works of service” (ergon diakonias) ergon is where we get our word energy.                      Diakonias is where we get our word for deacons or servers.                                  Thus, the translation “works of ministry.”
“built up” (oikodomen) oikodomen is a compound word that comes from “oidos”                meaning “house” and “demo” meaning “build.”  The word an expression              for development.  Translators would use: edifying, deification or building up.
 
POINT:  Notice who is building up the house of the church?
                The pastors or those the pastors are preparing?
                The pastors and teachers prepare or equip the people or the flock.
                The people or the flock build up the church.
 
The church
should NOT look like this:
                                     
Pastor/Teacher
                                                            Here the pastor/teacher has
            x                        x                    the vision and does the work
                                    x $ x                of the ministry.  The people
    x                           $ x x x x             (or, flock) are simply there to x                 x x x x $ x x         support the vision and ministry
        x                  x $ x x x x x x x      of the pastor and usually with                                                  money.  Here, the sheep are
                                                            fleeced.                       x
The church
should look like this:          x                        x                           x
                                                                               
x       x      x      x      x      x    
In this model the pastor/teachers                   x  x   x  x  x  x  x  x
“prepare God’s people” (not the pastors people)    x  x  x  x  x  x  x x
For the gift and ministry God has called each             x  x  x  x  x  x
person to.   The people do the “work of the                   x  x  x  x
ministry”   and build up the body of Christ.                        x  x  x
Here the pastor/teacher is the servant to those who              x
are doing the work.  They return to the local church
for refreshing and healing.   Here the sheep are             
Pastor/Teacher
Empowered and led by the Spirit
“unity in the faith” - meaning an understanding of the doctrinal concepts of the                 faith “once for all entrusted to the saints”  (Jude 3)                                            This is the
purpose and plan of God
“knowledge of the Son of God” - meaning an understanding of how God thinks,
                what are his motivations.  The
character of God.
“mature” -(teleion) that which has
reached the set goal, mature, perfect.
“whole measure” (metron halikias) metron is that which is used to measure.  A    graduated rule for measuring.  Halikias means full age, a mature age.           Together they mean the
measurement of completeness.

24. Does God cause our death?

The sovereignty of God decides:
            1) the time of our death
            2) the manner of our death
Psalm 68:20, “Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign Lord            comes escape from death.”
 
Matthew 6:27, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his            life.”
 
Our time of death is not determined by health or age. 
If someone dies young or in good health it is just as much in God’s will         as any other time.
Psalm 31:15, “My times are in your hands.”
 
God decides your time of death and nothing can remove you until that time.
Revelation 11:7, “Now when they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them.”
 
Your attitude toward God and your conformity toward scriptural truth and reality will affect God’s decision:
Psalm 102:19-24
Psalm 118:18
Isaiah 38
 
Your spiritual condition is reflected in your attitude toward death.
A believer should face death as he faces life. 
            1)  Stay in fellowship with God,
            2)  Understand that he is in control,
            3)  Test and circumstances will
                        a.  Reveal your faith
                        b.  Strengthen your faith
Death is the last and sometimes greatest test for the believer.
Faithfulness to God at the time of death will result in:
            1)  God being glorified
            2)  The believer being rewarded
Death of a mature believer is viewed as promotion:
Philippians 1:21 “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
 
 
Types of Death in Scripture:
Spiritual death—no relationship with God in time.  We are born physically alive but spiritually dead.
Physical death—separation of the human soul from the body.
Second death—the continuation of spiritual death (#1) into eternity that results in being cast into the lake of fire with all unbelievers and fallen angels forever
Positional death—where the Holy Spirit baptizes all believers into Christ’s death on the cross.  So, positionally before God believers are then seen as being dead in relationship to sin and  with the sin nature.
Operational death—failure to produce the good deeds God has prepared for you.
Temporal death—the state of the believer who is out of fellowship with God through personal sin

25. If God knows everything about us why do we need to pray?

Two reasons that both involve human will:
What do you want?
            God has given you freedom to choose:
                        a) Salvation
                        b) Obedience
                        c) righteousness
                        d) decisions: foods, activity, jobs, friends, spouse
                 . . .and. . .
                        e) the option to ask God to help you, assist you, to be                         involved in your life.
            Matt. 7:7—ask and be given, seek and find, knock and
                        it is opened.
                                    - The opposite would also be true:
                                                don’t ask—not given
                                                don’t seek—won’t find
                                                don't’ knock—won’t open
 
2) Submit your will to His will and plan
            Matt. 26:42,  if it is possible do it my way, if not I submit to               your will and let your will be done in my life.

26. How do we know what our spiritual gift is?

George Barna Poll:
            88% of believers have heard of the spiritual gifts
            39% know what their spiritual gift is
The Church should help believers:
            1) Discover Gift
            2) Develop Gift
            3) Deploy Gift
1 Corinthians 12:4
            1) There are a variety of gifts
            2) There are a variety of ministries
            3) There are variety of effects
Gifts are not talents but gifts may manifest through talents.
Piano is a talent that a gift may manifest.
A person with the talent of playing piano may manifest their gift of:
            a)  encouragement through piano
            b)  teaching through piano
            c)  leadership through piano
            d)  helps through piano
 
Spiritual Gift Inventory:
            (developed by Earl D. Radmacher, Th.D)
 
Preaching (Prophecy)
            The God-given ability to set before people the Word and        wisdom of God persuasively through personality as a herald       ( 1 Co. 12:10; Rom. 12:6)
 
strong emphasis on biblical authority
speak clearly, organize material well
encourage and challenge people in matters of biblical conduct
look for response, results
comfortable in working with groups of people
confident
ability to confront people when they are doing wrong
 
Exhortation
            The God-given ability to draw alongside of someone in order to         comfort to encourage, to rebuke, and to lead into insight           toward action (Rom. 12:8)
 
people-centered
stick with people through thick and thin
see creative alternatives when facing problems
enjoy people, understand their feelings and attitudes
can be confrontive without being offensive
comfortable in either group or one-to one setting
not easily discouraged, persistent
see problems and struggles as an opportunity for growth
have a deep concern for people who are going through difficulties
 
Teaching
            The God-given ability to lay down in systematic order the      complete ladder of a doctrine and to apply it incisively and diligently to life (1 Cor. 12:29; Rom. 12:7)
 
Employ a logical, systematic approach to biblical study
Heavy emphasis on responsible action in light of what is known
Ability to explain things clearly and concisely
Summarize, evaluate, or pick out main points in a presentation quickly
Set an example in behavior ( a model for others)
Careful in study
Give attention to detail
Like to be prepared, to avoid impromptu situations
Prefer group setting to one-to-one setting
 
Word of Wisdom
            The God-given ability to locate formerly unknown principles as         well as to combine known principles of God‘s Word and to      communicate them to fresh situations (1 Cor. 12:8; 1 Cor. 13:2)
 
Understand complex matters quickly
Easily pick out main points ( a view to the practical)
Can come up with alternatives when faced with difficult situations
Consistent
Try to discern God’s mind in daily activities
Assist people sometimes at the risk of being misunderstood
Very responsible in tasks undertaken
Ability to make decisions quickly and to put ideas into words
Confident
Able to take details and to put them together to make a complete picture
 
Word of Knowledge
            The God-given ability to arrange the facts of Scripture, to       categorize these into principles, and to communicate them to repeated or familiar situations (1 Cor. 12:8; 1 Cor. 13:2)
 
Enjoy study, digging for facts of details
Persistent, thorough
More task-centered than people-oriented as a rule
Tend to become impatient with people who fail to learn
Very precise
Patient, stay with a project until completed in all its details
Continually looking, searching for new information or data
Enjoy talking to well-informed people
Logical, scientific, serious
Tend to avoid games or discussion on deeply personal matters
 
Faith
            The God-given ability to see through mountainous problems to          the Ultimate Resource with the vision that it is timely to rely         absolutely on both God’s ability and willingness to perform in           this particular matter (1 Cor. 12:9; 1 Cor. 13:2)
 
Can quickly change from one task to another
Confident
Persuasive in getting others to join in on a project
Challenge people to assume greater responsibilities to accomplish what needs to be done
Set a pace for others
Determined in spite of difficulties when working on a project
Make decisions quickly, act quickly
Willing to tackle the seemingly impossible
A strong rest in God
A leader
 
Giving
            The God-given ability to make and to give things most liberally          and beyond all human expectation (Rom. 12:8; 1 Cor. 13:2)
 
Dislike emotional appeals, want the facts
Ability to invest wisely
Set and achieve long-range goals
Use resources to get the most out of them
Work to aid those needy people who are worthy of assistance
Determine merits of a project before investing or getting others to invest
Dislike waste
Make decisions quickly, but hold back when uncertain
 
Mercy
            The God-given ability to be sensitive or empathetic to people who are in affliction or misery and to lift internal burdens with    cheerfulness (Rom 12:8)
 
Perceptive to people in need
Find it hard to say “no” when asked to help
Jump in quickly to help. . . Sometimes without evaluating fully
Lay aside personal desires to help others
A peacemaker
Avoid arguments or controversial situations
Rely heavily on feelings (sometimes hold them inside)
Give up personal plans to help others
Love people in spite of their faults
Cheerful
Try to find the best in people without doubting them
 
Helps
            The God-given ability to see tasks and to do them for or with             someone in order to lift external burdens (1 Cor. 12:28)
 
Choose short-range projects on which to work
Like to be told what to do
A hard worker
Stick to a task until it is finished
Like to be reassured that efforts are needed and appreciated
Consider any job important whether large or small
Support an d help those in leadership
Take orders well
Join in quickly to assist when needed
 
 return to list at top
 
Ruling
            The God-given executive ability to stand before people and to           inspire followers by leading them aggressively but with care        (Rom. 12:8)
 
Assume responsibility to see that a job is done Develop efficient plans
Confront people enthusiastically
Get a high level of productivity out of people
Able to delegate responsibilities to others
Good organizational skills
Creative in finding new approaches
Stay with a program until the work is accomplished
 
Administration
            The God-0given legislative ability to stand behind people in   order to collect data, to set policy, to develop plans which h will guide a course of action with skill and wisdom (1 Cor.     12:28)
 
Follow plans precisely
Plan carefully
Get the most out of available resources
Work hard to achieve efficiency
Stay on a course once it has been established
Ability to confer, negotiate, supervise
Express opinions freely
Keep calm in spite of obstacles
Guide the efforts of the team on a project
 
Discerning Spirits
            The God-given judicial ability to stand over people in order to           detect a genuine or non-genuine motive by distinguishing the         spirit-source behind any person’s speech or act (1 Cor. 12:10)
 
Evaluate situations quickly and accurately
Good intuitive sense
Quickly spot weak points in a presentation
Willing and able to speak out
See hidden motives or agendas
Keen insight in seeing biblical principles and in bringing them into practical situations
Pinpoint difficulties in a situation when things aren’t going well
Can apply principles to the decision-making process

27. What happens in the end times?

Church age will end in apostasy
Tribulation will be terrible times, most terrible in history
 
Jesus will set up his kingdom
 
The universe will be burnt up and God will create a new heaven and a new earth that will be our home and the home of righteousness forever.
 
View of millennium:
A-millennial—viewpoint that the present age of Christ’s rule in the church is the millennium; holds to one resurrection and judgment marking the end of history as we know it and the beginning of life eternal
 
Post-Millennial—Viewpoint that Christ will return after a long period of expansion and spiritual prosperity for the church, brought about by the preaching of the gospel; the Spirit’s blessing, the church’s work toward righteousness, justice, and peace.  The period is not a literal thousand years but extended time of spiritual prosperity.
 
Historical pre-millennial - Viewpoint that Christ will reign on earth for a thousand years following His second coming; saints will be resurrected at eh beginning of the millennium, non believers at the end, followed by judgment
 
Dispensational Pre-Millennial—Viewpoint that after the battle of Armageddon Christ will rule through the Jews for a literal thousand years accompanied by two resurrections and at least three judgments
                                                 
                   Rapture           Second Coming
 
 
 
 
Church                 Tribulation         Millennium            New Earth
                                   7 years            1000 years

28. What happens at the death of a believer?

Phil. 1:23 “I am town between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far”
1 Cor. 15:54—No sting of death
Psalm 23—pass through the shadow of death
Luke 16:22—Angels come to get

29. What happens at the death of a non-believer?

Luke 16:22-23—No angels
1 Cor. 15:54—experience the sting of death
Psalm 23—shadow of death becomes reality

30. What are we to think of Jesus' teaching on divorce in Mark 10:2-12?

All Pharisees agreed that according to Deuteronomy 24:1-4:
            1) Divorce was permitted
            2) Only the husband could initiate divorce
            3) Divorce implied the right to remarry
Shammai said that Dt. 24:1 referred to the woman having done something morally shameful or disobedience to the Jewish law.
 
Hillell added to Shammai’s interpretation anything which caused annoyance or embarrassment to the husband as grounds for divorce.
 
The fact that the Pharisees came and “tested” Jesus means their question is a trap.  This is the final six months of Jesus ministry.
 
The trap was probably to bring Jesus against Herod Antipas and Herodias just like John the Baptist came against them in Mark 6:17.
 
Jesus bi-passed the teaching of Shammai and Hillell and went right to OT scripture.
 
Genesis 2:24 indicates that divorce was never in the plan of God.
 
The Pharisees responded with the exception that Moses had given Israel
In Deut. 24:1.  Here divorce is given as an option but the reasons are not clarified.
 
The reason for divorce was allowed by God was due to man’s sinfulness.  Divorce was not accepted by God but used to limit sinfulness and to control its consequences. 
 
Moses’ permission was a departure from the original purpose of creation. 
 
“The two shall become one” shows the indissolubility of marriage. 
Divorce shows mans inability to live in God’s plan and purpose.
 
In verse 9 “let man not separate” refers to the husband and not the judicial authorities since a husband would simply announce he was divorcing  his wife.
 
Verse 10 shows that the disciples themselves did not grasp this.
 
Jesus adds here the concept that the husband is committing adultery against his former wife.
 
In the law a man could commit adultery against another married man by seducing his wife and a wife could commit adultery against her husband.
 
Jesus teaching elevated the position of the wife in the marriage relationship.
 
Verse 12 could be seen as Jesus agreeing with John the Baptist pronouncement against Herodias.