30 Days to Understanding the Bible Session 16

Faith Church May 1, 2004

Chapter 28

 

In ancient Persia, if you came into the presence of the king unbidden, it could cost you your life.  (Ester 4:11) The chasm between monarch and mortal has always been difficult and dangerous to cross.  If so with kings, how much more so with God?

 

INPUT:  Is this true with God? (Yes)

God is in a sense is a monarch, and there are certain rules that apply in our ability to approach Him.   How then does one approach God?  On what basis might we be accepted into His presence and establish a relationship with Him?  How can we be properly related to God?

 

INPUT:  What is the difference between God and most earthly Kings

(God earnestly desires our fellowship.)

 

God’s strategy in developing His relationship and that fellowship with man has been consistent throughout the ages.  The four main principles of the program of God are.

 

1.  Revelation

2.  Requirement of Faith

3.  Reward of Blessing

4.  Redemption of Others

 

Now, let’s talk about each one of those individually. . .

 

1.  Revelation from God

INPUT:  How important is revelation from God in order to be in proper relationship with Him?

 

INPUT:  If we didn’t have his word, but just had creation and the universe.  Could we look at the universe and creation and then come to proper conclusions about God?  Why/Why not?

 

Romans 1:19-20—Creation tells us that there is a God and He is powerful but does not tell us anything about establishing a right relationship with Him

Ps 19 is almost a contrast in God’s revelations—Creation/Word:  Ps 19:1-6 –speaks of the glories of creation, but Ps 19:7-14 speaks of God’s word which “restores” the soul

Deut 8:3—We live by the word of God alone

Matthew 7:24-27—The only authority on which we can stand is to hear and obey the authority of Christ’s Words

 

 

 

 

 

(Note the following question may arise “Can people in remote places never having heard the gospel look upon creation and be saved?”  The answer is no.  Every man is without excuse according to Romans 1:19-20.  God has sufficiently revealed himself in creation to show man that He exist and is powerful, but all men have rejected or distorted the true God to some degree.  Most cultures in remote places do have religions and have certain beliefs  in “gods”.  Creation may have even motivated them to worship something, but their views of Gods are far removed from the true God.   There are none who look at creation and consequently seek after the one true God (Romans 3).  If the Holy Spirit is somehow working in a persons heart to seek god in a remote location, God will see to it that that individual receives appropriate revelation to believe and be saved.  God may send a missionary, a Bible, a track, etc.)

 

INPUT:  Now, How does the nature of the revelation sometimes ask us to function in a way contrary to our natural inclinations? 

If we are to keep our life we must loose it,

If we want to be great, we must be a servant,

If we are to be strong, we must be gentle,

It is better to give than receive,

Pursue the kingdom of God first and our material needs will be met,

Reality is that which is not seen, while that which is seen is counterfeit,

We must live for the next world instead of this one. .

 

Because revelation many times asks us to function in a way contrary to our natural inclinations that is why  we need. . .

 

2.  The Requirement of Faith

Many of the things God asks of man in the revelation take man in the opposite of direction of his natural inclinations.

Therefore, man will only respond if he believes or is persuade about God’s truths.  Such is the nature of faith.  You believe something you can’t see.  You act to do something, even though it is unnatural because you are persuaded and convinced that it is true. 

 

That persuasion, assurance, believe, trust is “faith. . .”

Now, let’s talk a little bit about faith –let’s talk about saving faith

 

INPUT:  First off, what is man’s natural inclination in regard to saving himself?

(doing good deeds—working his way)

 

INPUT:  What has God revealed about this?  What knowledge has he given man?

(Rom 3:23,6:23—we all sin, Eph 2:8-9—can not work, Knowledge about Christ and his work:  1 John 5:1—Christ was “of God”, 1 John 4:2 –Christ was man, Romans 10:9—we must acknowledge Christ as “God/Lord/Master”, 1 Cor 15:1-5, 1 Peter 3:18—Christ died for sins and then rose again)

 

Now, "Faith" is not just knowing facts; however, faith does involve knowing and believing that the facts about the person and work of Christ are TRUE

So saving Faith consists of at least this so far

Knowledge/Revelation

Belief that that revelation is true

 

INPUT:  Is that all that saving faith consists of?

Faith is not only believing that these "facts" are true.

 Note that evil demons know the facts about Jesus (read Acts 19:15—demons know the facts about Jesus and they know that they are true).

Biblical faith involves the additional aspect of personal trust/dependence upon these truths for your salvation from sin. 

 

INPUT:  How does  John 1:12 state this?    (received him).

 

This word has the meaning "take hold of" or "grasp".  Thus, one must "grasp" or "take hold" of  Him (Christ) as one's own personal Savior.

 

Thus Biblical faith that results in salvation must include the following  elements:

Knowledge--            (revelation) of the facts about Christ and His redemptive work.

            Belief--           that these facts are true.

            Trust --           in these truths for your personal salvation.

                       

Illustration:  have an individual stand up and close his eyes, spin that individual around so that he is disoriented, now set up this scenario—this is an individual who is tired, weary and blind, his salvation is to find a chair and sit.  Instruct the individual to find a chair with his eyes closed (stay close to him so he doesn’t hurt himself).  After bumping around for a little bit say, “that’s us trying to find our own salvation.”  Now, without the individual knowing, because his eyes are still closed, while you are talking grab a chair and put it behind him.  Instruct him now, “My friend, there is a chair right behind you (knowledge/revelation), You can have your rest”  Point out that “resting” faith occurred the moment in his heart when he believed what you said was true and decided to trust you—the actual sitting down was the expression of faith)

 

INPUT:  Are these three elements present in the type of faith that we are to live by?  How? (Take trials for example, Knowledge:  Romans 8:28, James 1:2,  I have to believe yes these are true but also have to trust personally in them for me to experience the blessing of faith)

 

(Below are some discussion questions that you might want to hit if you get a lot of questions on the nature of saving faith.  These questions are design to help discuss the nature of faith)

 

INPUT:  How might you respond to someone doubting their salvation who said. . .

  • "I don't think I prayed with the right words"

The words don’t save, it is the response of the heart trusting in Christ, please let us remember that simply saying a prayer does not save,  it is the person’s heart response to revelation from God.  The actual prayer for the sincere of heart is simply  the verbal expression of saving faith.

  • "I don't think I remember repenting"

Repent simply means to “change one’s mind”  when I in faith turn to Christ for my salvation from sin, there has to be a corresponding change of mind  You can see that "faith" includes repentance.  In fact they are used together at times. Read Acts 20:21, Heb 6:1.

 

(Draw diagram below and ask which is correct--The Correct Diagram below is the second one.)

  • "I don't remember mourning a lot when I was saved"

(Some might say if you genuinely repented then you should be remorseful about the past life—again, repent simply means a change of mind—it does not necessarily include remorse)•               

  • "I don't feel like I'm saved"

Faith is not a feeling it is a persuasion, an assurance, a conviction, a person trust in the word of God regardless of how you may fell

  • "I understand salvation much more clearly now; I'm not sure I understood it back       then"

This could be someone who didn’t understand salvation to begin with and therefore was not saved, however, a person like this could be a believer who came to a place in his life where he started growing in his understanding of the multifaceted aspects of Christ’s salvation  His new understanding of the richness and the Christian walk may make him doubt if he was every saved.  However, we are all to be “growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  I will not completely understand every facet and nuance of my salvation at conversion.

  • What would you say to the person who professes, "I have always been a Christian"?

There may be confusion about being a Christian meaning outward participation in church going, and adherences to beliefs of a church.  But the element of personal trust may be missing.  One cannot have always been a Christian, there has to be a time when I was unsaved and then became saved—conversion.

 

3.  Reward of Blessing

INPUT:  What kinds of blessing does God give to faithful believers presently?

Presently—Gal 5:22-23  (fruit of the spirit now!), “Blessedness”, Peace, fulfillment in

life, etc. 

But also Eternally--Please turn to 2 Peter chapter 1  2 Peter 1:1-11

1 Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ:2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord;3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.4 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.5 Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge;6 and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness;7 and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love.8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.9 For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins.10 Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble;11 for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.

 

INPUT:  What is the reason or motivation behind all a believer’s faithful growing walk?

Rich/Abundant entrance into the Kingdom of Jesus Christ—Future element—“Will Be” and not just an entrance to the Kingdom of God—All believers will be in the Kingdom of God on earth, but not all believers will have a “abundant” entrance supplied to them.

 

Believers walking by faith may receive these kinds of rewards. . .

 

Material rewards Matthew 19:29-- “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name’s sake, shall receive many  (100) times as much, and shall inherit eternal life.”

Position/”Rank” in the Kingdom  —  The “least” or the “servant” now shall be the “greatest” in the Kingdom (Matt 5:19,19:30, Lk. 22:24-30, Mk 10:43-45), many things to be set in charge over (Matt 24:47, Matt 25:21), cities to be ruled over (Luke 19:17)—all dependent upon our faithfulness as believers

 

Emblematic  Rewards—White Robes (Rev 6:11), A white stone (Rev 2:17), and at least 5 crowns mentioned in Scriptures

The Crown of Life (James 1:12, Rev 2:10) 

The Crown of Rejoicing (Phil 4:12, 1 Th 2:19)

The Crown of Mastery (1 Cor 9:24-27)

The Crown of Righteousness (2 Tim 4:8)

The Crown of Glory (1 Peter 5:4)

 

Verbal Acclamation, praise, and honor from Christ(1 Peter 1:6-7, 2 Peter 1:10-11; Matt 25:21; 1 Cor 4:5)

 

When God reveals himself, and individuals respond in faith, and God rewards, then, others are redeemed.  Why is it this way?

 

4.  Redemption of Others

When we live as we ought, it calls attention to the Lord and encourages others to become Christians..

That’s why in our philosophy of ministry statement when we talk about evangelism we don’t first talk about a skillful presentation of the Gospel. 

When it comes to evangelism, we believe that a changed life enables us to reach those without Christ in a way that is faithful and creative.  The changed and changing life is the best testimony to God

 

Matthew 5:16

Phil 2:14-15

John 13:34-35

Faith Church