General, Natural revelation, Psalms 19:1-4; Romans 1:20. God has revealed the fact of His existence through His creation. In the same way we can look at a watch and conclude there is a watchmaker, so we can look at the universe and the intricacies of the world around us and conclude that it all could not have happened by chance any more than a watch could be formed by chance.
Supernatural revelation, first given to apostles then to us when we read what they wrote, Ephesians 3:3-5. This passage clearly tells us that not every Christian or every person in the world has received direct revelation from God. Paul states that what was revealed to him and the other apostles was written down. How did the Ephesian Christians come to know what was revealed to the apostles? Verse 4 tells us that when they read they can have the same understanding as Paul. We gain that same understanding today when we read the scriptures. It is a mistake to "listen" for some message from God apart from the Bible.
No hint of mythical characters. The writers saw, heard and touched Jesus. I John 1:1-2; Acts 1:1-3; I Corinthians 15:6-8. Even if we were unsure of the inspiration of the New Testament, this book still deserves our careful consideration. Few historical books have been written by eyewitnesses. If what the apostles wrote is not from God then we must conclude that the apostles are liars since they all claimed that what they wrote was given to them by God.
Even unbelievers could not deny the things done, John 11:47; 12:9-11; Acts 4:13-16. There is more evidence that Jesus lived than there is that Americans landed on the moon. How do you know that men landed on the moon? Did you see it on television or read it in a book? We believe men went to the moon because we were told of it by men who had a reason to lie to us. When America went to the moon, it was during the Cold War and a moon landing gave America a great advantage over the Soviet Union. Though I believe we actually landed on the moon, those who testified to us had some credible reasons to lie. On the other hand, the apostles had no reason to lie about Jesus. They were martyred for their testimony. Further, even the enemies of Jesus testified to His miracles and they certainly would not have had a reason to lie.
"Inspiration" (II Timothy 3:16-17) THEOPNUESTOS "God-breathed". The Old and New Testaments claim inspiration nearly 4000 times. Claims do not prove a fact but claims tell us something about those who have made the claim. If I told you I could bench press 1000 pounds, you would learn something about me. I am either the strongest man who ever lived (not likely), or I am a liar or a lunatic. The same thing can be said concerning the writers of the Bible. Either they told the truth when they claimed to be inspired or they were liars or they were lunatics. We cannot simply say they were good men and the Bible is a good book, but it is not inspired. No, this is not a good book if the men who wrote it lied 4000 times! It is especially not a good book if it is not inspired when we consider that we are told that if we do not obey its commands we will spend eternity in hell! So, here are our options: (1) the Bible is the word of God; (2) the Bible was written by liars; (3) the Bible was written by lunatics. If either of the latter two options are true, how could the greatest words and the greatest standard of morality ever written have been penned by such men?
I Corinthians 2:6-13 Revealed verbally; man could not learn it by his senses. Paul claims that he and the other apostles wrote the actual words taught by the Holy Spirit and that they did not use "words taught by human wisdom."
II Peter 1:16-21 The Word is confirmed by the seeing and hearing of the apostles. It was not of any private disclosure. Peter also claims that the words penned by the prophets did not come by their own will, but revealed the words given them by the Holy Spirit.
John 10:34-36 The scripture cannot be broken. Jesus often argued from the written word and in this passage even claims that the scripture is infallible. Jesus was not saying one could not violate commands written in scripture, but that the scripture could not be changed in any way.
Matthew 22:29-33 Jesus believed in every word of scripture being inspired. Jesus argued the resurrection from the dead based on the verb tense used in Exodus 3:6. God had said, "I am the God of Abraham..."not "I was the God of Abraham." If the written word was not inspired, Jesus could not have made an argument based on the verb tense of a word.
Its continuity: It was written over a period of 1600 years, through 60 generations, and by 40 writers from every walk of life. It was written on three continents and in three languages: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. The writers discussed hundreds of the world's most controversial subjects and yet there is a unity without contradiction binding the whole together. Try that with just 10 writers today.
The Bible is the only book ever written that contains a large body of prophecies relating to individual nations, cities, peoples, and a messiah. In all of Greek and Latin literature there is not one specific prophecy of a great historic event to come or of a savior to come. There are hundreds of specific prophecies concerning the coming of Christ that Jesus fulfilled perfectly. But where are the prophecies of the coming of Mohammed or Buddha or any other religious leader?
Many claim that the manuscript copies were polluted by Catholicism or by miscopying. However, our earliest New Testament manuscript was 130 AD and our earlies complete manuscript was penned 325 AD, long before the Roman Catholic church came into existence. Besides, the entire New Testament can be reproduced from the quotes of Christian writers between 100 AD and 200 AD.
When we compare the Bible manuscripts to the manuscripts of other classical writings, we cannot doubt Bible accuracy. The New Testament manuscripts are as old as 130 AD, only 30 years after the last apostle died. But manuscripts of Plato's writings appear 1000 years after Plato lived, and we have only 7 copies of his writings. If we can trust the manuscripts of Plato's writings, we can certainly trust the Bible. No other book of classical writings has even one-tenth of the manuscript evidence behind the New Testament.
Concerning the copying done, of 14,000 manuscripts, there are 150,000 variant readings. However, these represent only 10,000 places in the New Testament (the same word misspelled in 3,000 manuscripts is 3,000 variants). Of these, all but 400 are questions of spelling in accord with accepted usage, grammatical construction, or order of words. Of the 400 only 50 are of any great significance. And of the 50, not one alters even one article of faith which cannot be abundantly sustained by other undoubted passages.
The Dead Sea Scrolls prove the accuracy of the copying done. Dated 300-100 BC, they are nearly identical to the 900 AD manuscripts used to translate the King James version of the Old Testament.
Prayer can be a difficult action to perform because we may not know how to pray to God. But this is nothing to be ashamed of because the disciples of Jesus needed to be taught how to pray. In Luke 11:1 the Bible says, "Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples." Prayer is offering our words to God. Prayer is our avenue to the entrance before the throne of God. What we say and how we say it before the Lord matters. Consider this: if you were standing before the president of the United States, you would be careful what words you spoke. You would want to know the proper etiquette when speaking to the president. We are approaching the throne of God. How should we come before God? What is the etiquette? What should we say? And these are the questions the disciples are asking. In Matthew 6 Jesus teaches his disciples how to pray. First Jesus instructs his disciples how not to pray.
Jesus begins by instructing his disciples to not pray like the hypcrites. What were the hypocrites doing in prayer? What was making these people hypocrites? Jesus elaborates for us.
To be seen by people. The hypocrites were praying on the street corners and synagogues so that they could be seen by other people. When these people would pray, they would make sure they were in a very public place so that they could be seen to do it by all around them. Their purpose in prayer was to receive the recognition of men. Jesus continues by saying that people who pray for this reason have their reward. Their prayers will not be answered because all that they are really praying for is to receive the praise of other people.
Jesus says to shut the door and pray in private to the Lord. Is Jesus saying that we should never pray in public? No, because men are command in 1 Timothy 2:8 to pray in every place.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 commands all of us to pray without ceasing. We read of a public pray among the disciples in Acts 4 and we see Daniel praying openly to God. So what is Jesus teaching?
1. Our prayer life is not to consist of public prayer only. The hypocrites apparently would not pray unless it was in a public place, going out of their way to be in public. But we need to have a private prayer life. We need to talk to God in all place and at all times which means taking time away from our schedules to spend quiet time with God. We need to talk to God privately and publicly.
2. Our prayer life is not for human recognition. The danger of praying on the street corner is problem not much of a temptation to us today because we would not receive recognition from the public. People would look at us funny, and probably would not praise us. But we do need to consider some situations where we may have the wrong motive. When we do have public prayer, we need to make sure that we are not praying for recognition. For us men who pray in the assemblies, we must be sure that we are not praying so that people around us think highly of us. Public prayer is not for the reason to be seen by others. We should want to talk to God in all places, but the motive for our prayer is what Jesus is identifying. Prayer is to talk to God and not for personal recognition.
Jesus also teaches that we are not to pray like the heathen, like the Gentiles. What were the Gentiles doing wrong?
Praying vain repetitions. Jesus taught that we should not pray with empty phrases or vain repetitions. The heathen thought that they would be heard if they repeated the same thing over and over again or that if they threw in some catch phrases that they would be heard by God. But there is not some particular word or formula that is going to force God to listen to what we are saying. He wants to hear our prayers and he wants to give us the things we need. Therefore we are to simply tell God our requests. Prayer is a corridor through which He bestows on us what He wants to give us. We need to pray from our heart and not say things that we think God wants to hear.
Making lengthy prayers. The heathens were also notorious for making long prayers believe this would make God listen to their prayers. The heathen also thought that they need to say long, flowering prayers to be heard by God. But this is not true. We read of many short prayers, such like the model prayer that Jesus is about to pray. We also read of long prayers by David in the psalms. Jesus is teaching that being lengthy does not mean that we will be heard. Again, we are to pray from our heart. Sometimes you will have a lot to say, sometimes you will have few things to say. Now Jesus is going to turn his attention to teach his disciples how to pray.
This does not mean to recite this prayer. Many have come along and suggested that the only way we should pray to God is by repeating these words. But Jesus did not mean to recite these words that are recorded over and over again. How do we know? First, if that is what he meant, then he is violating what he said two verses earlier to not pray with vain repetition. To many, this is exactly what the model prayer has become...empty repetition. Second, Jesus did not say to his disciples in teaching them to pray to use exactly these words. He said that his disciples ought to pray in this manner. This prayer is to be a model or pattern as to how to pray. The elements contained in the model prayer are to remind us of what should to be contained in our prayers.
Jesus shows us the intimacy that we have as disciples of God. He is our Father and we are his children. When we begin our prayer, we need to recognize who God is and our relationship to him. Hallowed is similar to the word "holy," meaning to separate from profane/common things and dedicate to God. God is holy. His name is holy and he is deserving of our awe and reverence for he is in heaven. Thus in this very statement we see the balance of our relationship with the Lord. He is our Father, which denotes a close, intimate relationship, yet he is to be hallowed by us, kept holy and deserving our awe and respect. We must recognize our position before our God when we speak to him.
The pattern here tells us that we need to pray according to the will of God. We must pray for the things of God and the will of God to take place in all aspects of this world. We ought to be praying for spiritual things in our lives as well as in the lives of the people in this world. We want them to accept what God has done for them and be obedient to his word so that they can be fellow heirs and fellow partakers in the kingdom of God. What we must see from how this prayer begins is that we are not the focus of the prayer. Instead, God is the focus in the prayer. We begin by praising him and giving him the awe and worship that he deserves. Then we pray that God's desires and will will be established on earth and we will do what we can to help God's will to be fulfilled. We must focus upon what is the will of the Lord.
Now we can ask God for the needs of this day. This runs against what we usually want to pray for. We want to pray that we have the luxuries of life. But Jesus teaches that our focus is to simply be on today and that our needs for today will be met. God is the one who is the giver of all blessings and he is the one who will take care of our needs. We are to put our trust in God to provide what we need today, even though there may be times when we cannot see what will happen tomorrow. For today we will be satisfied. If we have enough for today then that is all that is necessary. Trust in God to give us what we need for today.
Now Jesus tells us to pray for the forgiveness of sins. But notice the condition that Jesus places upon our prayer for forgiveness. We only can ask for forgiveness when we have also shown forgiveness toward others. Quite simply, we should not and cannot expect to receive from God what we are unwilling to give others. And this point is so important that Jesus repeats this again in verse 14. Forgiveness of our debts and trespasses are certainly conditional upon the forgiveness that we offer others. Too often we hold a grudge against people who have wronged us and have created a debt against us through things that may have been said or done. Sometimes we have hurt others by things that we have not said or done. We must always remember that we have all sinned against each other at one time or another. We need forgiveness as much as the next person. Will we not forgive others for their offenses yet expect others to forgive us? Our unwillingness to forgive others is noted by God and he has promised that he will not forgive us if we have not forgiven others. We also learn the need for us to ask God for forgiveness. 1 John 1 tells us to confess our sins to the Father and he is faithful and just to forgive us. We need to tell him our sins and ask him for forgiveness.
We need to ask God for deliverance from temptation, to help us with our weaknesses, and to strengthen us against the works of the devil. We need to seek to be near God so that we can overcome Satan's fiery darts that he throws at us. 1 Corinthians 10:13, "No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it." There is a way of escape available to us that we can avoid temptation. We need to pray for God to help us take advantage of the way of escape and that we will not succumb to the devil. This is our mentality to fight against the works of the flesh and the weaknesses that we have.
We are encouraged by the Lord to pray to Him about anything that is happen in our lives. We can set aside time in our schedules to pray to God and we can say prayers while on the job or during our commute. We must remember that Jesus is a person and not a procedure. Let us come before him and freely tell him what is happening in our lives and let him bear our burdens.
What must I do to be saved? This is a very important question to ask and this lesson is going to show you the answer to this question by looking at what the scriptures teach about how to be saved. We are going to look at the first century church, as recorded in the book of Acts, and see what they did to be saved. Whatever they did for salvation is the same thing we must do today for salvation.
The question that we are asking, "What must I do to be saved?" is the very question the people asked in Acts 2:37. Peter has preached a sermon to the people in Jerusalem telling them that they crucified Jesus, who is the Son of God. Look at the response of the people in hearing that they had sinned against God by crucifying Jesus: Acts 2:37, "Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" The people were greatly moved by what they had heard and wanted to know what they must do to have their sins forgiven. Notice Peter's response in Acts 2:38, "Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." Here is the answer given to the people that everyone must repent and be baptized to have their forgiveness of sins.
This is a good time to learn what it means to "repent" and be "baptized." Repentance is defined by Thayer as "to change one's mind for better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one's past sins." We see that repentance is turning our heart and mind against the sins that we have committed and give effort to not commit them again. We learn that repentance is not simply being sorry about our sins, but it is a sorrow about our sins that leads us to strive not to commit violations against God's law. Baptism is defined by Thayer as "to dip, to immerse, to submerge." Peter was telling the people that they needed to turn their hearts back to God and dedicated themselves to try to not commit sin and then be immersed and they would receive the forgiveness of sins. We will now go through the book of Acts showing examples of people having forgiveness of sins by doing this very thing.
Acts 2:14-47 The people at Pentecost
In Acts 2:40-41, the people that Peter had been preaching to, after they heard that they needed to repent and be baptized, did exactly what Peter said. Acts 2:40-41 reads, "With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, 'Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.' Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day." Those that received the message of Peter did as he said and there were three thousand that were saved that day. Acts 2:46-47 tells us that the Lord added those who were baptized to His church. Acts 2:46-47 says, "So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved." Here is the first example of what people did in the first century to receive forgiveness of sins.
Acts 8:5-13 The Samaritans
In Acts 8:5 we see that Philip is preaching Christ in the city of Samaria. Read what the people did in Acts 8:12, "But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized." Here we see that when the Samaritans believed what Philip was teaching about Christ, they also were baptized.
Acts 8:26-40 The Ethiopian Eunuch
In Acts 8:27 we see a man who was returning back to Ethiopia after worshipping in Jerusalem. By the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Philip runs into this man who was reading from the prophet Isaiah (8:32-33). In verse 35 we see that Philip preached Jesus to the Ethiopian eunuch. Now notice what happens in Acts 8:36-39, "Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, "See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?" Then Philip said, "If you believe with all your heart, you may." And he answered and said, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing." Philip and eunuch are riding in the chariot. The eunuch asks what is preventing him from being baptized since there is water. Philip responds that if the eunuch believes with all his heart, he can be baptized. Notice they both go down into the water and come up out of the water, showing us that baptism is immersion in water. It is also important to be mindful of the fact that Philip preached Jesus to both the Samaritans and to the eunuch. We logically conclude that preaching Jesus also included baptism since the Samaritans and the eunuch are baptized, and the eunuch asked to be baptized. These events verify what Peter taught in Acts 2, that repentance and baptism in the name of Jesus Christ forgives us of our sins.
Acts 9:1-19; 22:6-16 Paul
In these two passages we have the account of the conversion of Saul, whose name was later changed to Paul. Paul in Acts 22 recalls the events that occurred in Acts 9. Paul was going along the road to Damascus in order to persecute the Christians who were living in Damascus. Along the way, a great light from heaven shines around Paul and Jesus speaks to him (Acts 22:6-10). The glory of the light that shined around Paul blinded him and he had to be led by the hand to Damascus. In Damascus, a man named Ananias heals Paul of his blindness and tells Paul that he has been chosen by God to be a witness to all men (Acts 22:11-15).
Now, we want to stop the story for a moment and consider what has happened. Imagine if this had happened to you. You were walking along and the glory of the light of Christ blinds you, Jesus speaks directly to you, you fasted to God for three days, and you are healed of your blindness. Would you think you are saved? Many today would teach that you would be saved, but Paul was not. Read Acts 22:16, "And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord." Ananias says to Paul, what are you waiting for? Get up and be baptized to wash away your sins. Here we see that even the apostle Paul, after all the miraculous things that happened to him, still had to be baptized to have his sins forgiven.
Acts 10 Cornelius and his household
In this chapter we read of a man named Cornelius who was a devout man who feared God, gave generously to the people, and prayed to God always (Acts 10:1-2). But simply praying to God, fearing God, and doing good deeds toward the people was not what God had said to do for the forgiveness of sins. Many groups teach that all one has to do is pray to God to have forgiveness of sins, but we see that is not true from this text. Peter comes to Cornelius and his household and preaches to them. Notice their response in Acts 10:45-48, "And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then Peter answered, 'Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?' And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days." Here we see that despite all the things that were happening, Cornelius and his household were commanded to be baptized, just like Peter commanded in Acts 2:38, for the forgiveness of sins.
Acts 16:13-15 Lydia
Here is a woman named Lydia who is a seller of purple in the city. She also was someone who worshipped God and she listened to the things being taught by Paul (Acts 16:14). Read Acts 16:15, "And when she and her household were baptized, she begged us, saying, 'If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.' So she persuaded us." After she heard the teaching of Paul she also was baptized, like everyone else in the book of Acts.
Acts 16:25-34 The Philippian jailor and his household
Paul and Silas are in prison for preaching the name of the Most High God and casting out demons in the city. While in prison, there is a great earthquake so that the prisoners chains were loosed and the prison door was opened. The jailor must have learned from some things from Paul and Silas for he asks in Acts 16:30, "And he brought them out and said, 'Sirs, what must I do to be saved?'" Let us read what happens in the following verses. Acts 16:31-34 says, "So they said, 'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.' Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized. Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household." Paul and Silas teach the same thing that Philip did to the eunuch in Acts 8, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Notice that Paul and Silas spoke the word of the Lord to them after that, teaching them about Jesus. What happens next? Immediately the jailor and his family are baptized. The same response as the people in Acts 2 when asking what must I do to be saved. Believe on the Lord, repent of your sins and be baptized.
Acts 19:1-5 Disciples in Ephesus
Some claim that baptism is not important or has no bearing upon our salvation. But as we have seen thus far, baptism is tied to the forgiveness of sins, just like belief and repentance. Here in Acts 19, Paul comes across some disciples in Ephesus and asks them if they received the Holy Spirit when they believed. The disciples respond that they have not heard whether there is a Holy Spirit, for they had been baptized into John's baptism (Acts 19:1-3). Notice what Paul says in Acts 19:4, "Then Paul said, "John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus." What is the response of these disciples? Read Acts 19:5, "When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus."
We should notice a couple points from what occurs here. First, we must notice that belief and baptism are tied together and cannot be separate. They must be together. Paul quotes from John the baptist that people should believe on Him who could come after him, that is Christ Jesus. When the disciples heard that they needed to believe on Christ Jesus, what did they do? They were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Belief and baptism are together. This is why Jesus said in Mark 16:16, "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned." Even Jesus himself put belief and baptism together. They cannot be separated.
Second, this passage shows us the importance of being baptized into the correct faith. These disciples had already been baptized before, but it was into John's baptism and not in the name of Jesus Christ. Because of this, they had to baptized again in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins. If baptism is not important, why were these disciples baptized again? If baptism is not necessary, why were these baptized again? Baptism is necessary for the forgiveness of sins.
All of these passages clearly show us what we must do to be saved. Once we believe on Jesus, that is going to lead us to repent from our sins and be baptized so that we can have forgiveness of sins. Peter clearly tells us that at the point of baptism is when our sins are washed away. 1 Peter 3:21, "Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you--not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience--through the resurrection of Jesus Christ...." This is what Ananias told Paul, to be baptized and wash away your sins. This is the command of Jesus and the example left to us. We can be forgiven of our sins and look forward to being in heaven with the Lord when we follow these steps. Why not repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins today
In this lesson we want to look at what the responsibilities and duties given to each Christian. Jesus has given us commands for how we ought to live our lives. Notice 2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." Once we become Christians, we are to be a new creature where all old things in our lives are to have passed away. Paul said the same thing in Ephesians 4:17-24 that we are to put off the old man and put on the new man. Let us look at the things that Christ has asked us to put out of our lives, and what things we are to be doing for God.
Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:25-5:7,12 the things that we are to put out of our lives. We are to put away: lying; prolonged sinful anger; stealing--rather give; corrupt communication; bitterness, wrath, anger, malice -- instead be kind, tender hearted, forgiving, and walk in love; fornication, uncleanness, covetousness; filthiness, foolish talking, coarse jesting -- for it is a shame to even speak of those things which are done by them in secret. Here Paul tells us some of the things that we are to be cleaning out of our lives because we are now in Christ and no longer live for ourselves.
We are also commanded to put on modest apparel and godliness. Notice 1 Timothy 2:8-10, "I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting; in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works." At the end of this lesson are definitions for the word "modest," "propriety," "moderation," and "godliness."
Notice some other things that we are not have in our lives. Galatians 5:19-21 says, "Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God." At the end of the lesson is a definition for "lewdness" and "revelries." 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 also mentions these sins that we must not practice.
Ephesians 5:22-23 speaks about the responsibilities of the husband and wife. First, to the wives we see in Ephesians 5:22-24, "Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything." And to the husbands the text continues in Ephesians 5:25-29, "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church." What we see is the mutual respect and love that is to be shown toward one another in the marriage relationship. Wives are to be submissive to their husbands and husbands are treat and love their wives as if their wives were their own bodies. Children are also given responsibilities, as seen in Ephesians 6:1-4, "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. "Honor your father and mother," which is the first commandment with promise: that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth." And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord." Children are to be obedient and respectful to their parents and fathers are given the duty to raise up their children in the Lord, not provoking them to wrath.
We see from Colossians 4:2-4; 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18; and Philippians 4:6-7 that we need to pray to the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 says, "pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." We are also to dedicate ourselves to Bible study. Notice 2 Timothy 2:15, "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." We must spend time reading God's word for us to be able to rightly discern God's word.
We also are to come together to meet certain responsibilities. Hebrews 10:22-26 says, "let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins," Here we see that we are to assemble together so that we can hold fast to the confession of our hope by exhorting each other, and stirring up each other to love and good works. This is why we meet together on Sunday, so that we can fulfill these requirements. We are not to be like others who neglect the assembling of the saints together.
We also come together to partake of the Lord's Supper. 1 Corinthians 11:23-29 tells us, "For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me." In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me." For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes. Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord's body." Here we are commanded to take of the Lord's Supper at from Acts 20:7 we see that the disciples in the first century did this on the first day of the week (Sunday). Notice Acts 20:7, "Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight." So we come together to fulfill this command.
Not only this, we come together to give a portion of what God has given us. In 1 Corinthians 16:1-2 we read, "Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come."
2 Corinthians 9:5-7 also gives us instructions about giving with a cheerful heart to the Lord.
We have a responsibilities to teach others that we meet about God. Notice 1 Peter 3:15, "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;" Also read Colossians 4:5; Acts 8:3-4; and Hebrews 5:11-14. These passages teach us that we need to grow in the Lord and use what we have learned to teach others about God.
Matthew 6:31-34 says, "Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." Also read Luke 14:15-24,33 which tells us that we cannot make excuses for why we did not put God first and expect to be a disciple of Jesus. Matthew 10:37 teaches us that God comes before family. This does not mean that we neglect our family for that is a sin, but the number one priority in our lives must be service to God. These are the things that God has asked us to do for Him since he has shown us mercy and grace by sending His Son to die for our sins.
THE DEFINITIONS: For a practice to be right, it cannot fall in the category of these things that are expressly forbidden in the New Testament. Definitions taken from Vine, Thayer, and Webster.
MODEST -- I Timothy 2:9: "Orderly, well--arranged, decent, modest, not forward or boastful especially in manner of dress, arising from a lack of display or boldness, moderate."
PROPRIETY -- I Timothy 2:9: "A sense of shame, modesty; has come to describe an awkward diffidence, such as we sometimes call sheepishness; through the idea of downcast eyes; bashfulness i.e. towards men."
MODERATION -- I Timothy 2:9: "That habitual inner self-government, with its constant rein on all the passions and desires which would hinder temptations from arising to others; self-control."
LEWDNESS or LASCIVIOUSNESS or WANTONNESS -- Galatians 5:19; Romans 13:13; one can be lured and enticed by wantonness, II Peter 2:18: "Denote excess, absence of restraint, indecency, producing lewd emotions." It is used specifically of "gluttony, filthy words, indecent bodily movent, unchaste handling of males and females." Excessively gay or merry, unchaste, lewd, unrestrained, undisciplined, or shameless conduct; marked by arrogant recklessness for the feelings of others.
REVELRIES or REVELLING or RIOTING -- Galatians 5:21; Romans 13:13: "To be festive in a riotous or noisy manner; merrymaking, a carousal, the state or consequence of drunkenness; of feasts and drinking parties that are protracted till late at night and indulge in revelry." "To break up, disrupt, especially of the mind and body by indulgence, a carousal as if a letting loose excess".
BANQUETINGS -- 1 Peter 4:3: a drinking party (NASB); "drinking; not simply a banquet but a drinking bout."
CALLOUS or PAST FEELING -- Ephesians 4:17-19; I Timothy 4:2: We should always beware of allowing ourselves to become hardened to sin. There comes a time when things that used to look bad to us no longer do because our conscience has become dull. When this happens it is easy for us to sin either because every one else is doing it or it is no longer against our conscience.
In this lesson we wan to learn what happens after death, what hell is, and what heaven is.
We first will begin with a study of hell. Read Matthew 13:37-43, "37 He answered and said to them: "He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 "The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. 39 "The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. 40 "Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. 41 "The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, 42 "and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43 "Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!" This is the interpretation of the parable of the tares which is recorded earlier in Matthew 13:24-30. Notice from verse 41 the two kinds of people who will cast into hell: (1) all things that offend and (2) those who practice lawlessness. Jesus teaches us clearly that everyone who does not live by the commands of God will be cast into hell. Also notice how hell is described in verse 42 as "a furnace of fire" where "there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
Let us look at another passage where Jesus teaches us about hell. Read Matthew 22:1-14, "1 And Jesus answered and spoke to them again by parables and said: 2 "The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son, 3 "and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come. 4 "Again, he sent out other servants, saying, 'Tell those who are invited, "See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding."' 5 "But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business. 6 "And the rest seized his servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them. 7 "But when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. 8 "Then he said to his servants, 'The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. 9 'Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.' 10 "So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests. 11 "But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. 12 "So he said to him, 'Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?' And he was speechless. 13 "Then the king said to the servants, 'Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' 14 "For many are called, but few are chosen."
This is the parable of the marriage feast. The first seven verses talk about the Jewish rejection of the gospel. The last seven verses talk about the rest of the world given the opportunity to come to Christ. Some questions and points that need to be noticed from this text in learning about hell:
1.What did the Jews do wrong in verses five and six? We see that the Jews made light of the invitation given by God and decided to follow after their own desires and pay more attention to worldly things. Because of this, God was greatly angered.
2.What was the man who came to the wedding without a wedding garment doing wrong? This man without a wedding garment was not prepared for the feast that the king had prepared.
3.What picture is Jesus giving us about hell in verse 13? Jesus tells us a little more about what hell is like in verse 13. Here we see not only the "weeping and gnashing of teeth" that we saw in the previous scripture, but we also see the description of "outer darkness."
It is also important to notice from verse 14 that many (the whole world) receives the gospel call, but few are chosen because few will respond by preparing themselves properly for the occasion.
Now read Matthew 25:31-46,"31 "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33 and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. 34 Then the king will say to those at his right hand, 'Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.' 37 Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38 And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39 And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?' 40 And the king will answer them, 'Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.' 41 Then he will say to those at his left hand, 'You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.' 44 Then they also will answer, 'Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?' 45 Then he will answer them, 'Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.' 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."
Notice that hell was not meant to be for us, but was originally prepared for "the devil and his angels" (verse 41). We also see in this text that hell will last as long as heaven lasts...for eternity (verse 46).
Finally, read Mark 9:43-48, "43 If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having two hands, to go to hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched-- 44 where 'Their worm does not die, And the fire is not quenched.' 45 And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame, rather than having two feet, to be cast into hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched-- 46 where 'Their worm does not die, And the fire is not quenched.' 47 And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire-- 48 where 'Their worm does not die, And the fire is not quenched.'"
Notice that the above passage teaches us that no matter how dear something is to us, if it causes us to stumble, we must cut it off rather than enter into hell. The word Jesus uses for hell is GEHENNA, meaning the valley of Hinnom. In Jesus' day this valley was a virtual garbage dump south of Jerusalem. The valley had a history of child sacrifice and much uncleanness. Bodies of animals, criminals, and the poor were dumped there. Fires constantly burned and worms constantly fed on the flesh. Jesus says in this passage that hell will be a place like this but different in that the fire will not be quenched and the worm will not die.
THIS CERTAINLY SHOWS THE ETERNAL NATURE OF HELL.
Contrary to popular belief, when one dies he does not go straight to heaven or straight to hell. Instead a person goes to Hades (meaning "the unseen"). The Old Testament called it Sheol. This can be seen from the following passages.
Read Luke 16:19-31. "19 There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. 20 "But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, 21 "desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 "So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 "And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 "Then he cried and said, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.' 25 "But Abraham said, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. 26 'And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.' 27 "Then he said, 'I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father's house, 28 'for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.' 29 "Abraham said to him, 'They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.' 30 "And he said, 'No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.' 31 "But he said to him, 'If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.'"
Notice in this story that Jesus tells us that both Lazarus and the rich man are in Hades but one is being comforted and the other is being tormented. Lazarus could not come over because there was a great gulf (vs. 26) between the two. We also notice how awful the torment is because the rich man did not want any of his family to come where he was (vs. 27-28).
Now read Acts 2:27: "For You will not leave my soul in Hades, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption." Also read Luke 23:43, "And Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise." We see that Jesus went to Hades when he died but he went to the side of comfort, called Paradise. Though when we die, the Bible teaches we will go to Hades if we have been righteous, there is some sense in which we will be with the Lord in Paradise (Philippians 1:23-24; 2 Corinthians 5:6-8)
Now it is important to understand more clearly what Judgment Day is since it appears that when we die we are already judged as to whether we will go to heaven or hell. Judgment Day is actually a sentencing day in which all the rewards and punishments are handed out. It does appear that there could be varying degrees of punishment in hell, though hell is still eternal for all who go there. The passages in Luke 12:47-48 and Matthew 11:23-24 show this point. Matthew 11:23-24, "And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades; for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. "But I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you."
It is difficult for us to understand exactly what heaven is like since we cannot visualize a spiritual place. From the following passage, discover for yourself a picture of heaven. Revelation 7:14-17, "And I said to him, "Sir, you know." So he said to me, "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. "Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them. "They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; "for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes." There are many wonderful things about heaven.
Read 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10: "7 and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, 8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, 10 when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed."
According to this passage, those who do not know God and those who do not obey the gospel will be punished with everlasting destruction. We want to be obedient to all his commands to avoid this punishment and be in heaven with the Lord.