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Is Jesus Coming Back?

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The second coming of Christ is mentioned more than 300 times in the New Testament! The Apostle Paul refers to it at least 50 times in his Epistles alone. It is claimed that the second coming of Jesus is mentioned 8 times as often as his first coming 2000 years ago. Whole books (1 and 2 Thessalonians) and entire chapters (Matthew 24; Mark 13) of the bible are devoted to it. It is without doubt one of the most important doctrines of the New Testament. Jesus is coming twice in the future, not once. He will come once for His beloved church (Rapture) and the second time to judge the world in Power and Glory.

How will the manner of His coming be?

  1. Personal – (John 14:3, Acts 1:10,11; 1 Thess 4:16, Rev 1:7;22:7)
  2. Literal – (Acts 1:10, 1 Thess 4:16-17; Rev 1:7, Zech 14:4)
  3. Visible – (Heb 9:28, Phil 3:20, Zech 12:10)
  4. Glorious – (Matthew 16:27, 2 Thess 1:7-9, Col 3:4, Matt 25:31).

 

When exactly is He coming back (the first time)?

  1. No-one knows, as it is hidden in the counsels of God (Matt 24:36-42, Mark 13:21-22). Although we may know His coming is near by the signs that are abundant.

 

How will he come (the first time)?

  1. Suddenly – (1 Cor 15:52; Matt 24:27)
  2. Unexpectedly – (2 Peter 3:4, Matt 24:48-51), Rev 16:15)

 

What are we supposed to be doing in the mean time? – Luke 19:13

 

What are the signs of His first coming?

Scriptures teach that the appearing of Christ again will usher in the Millennial age where he has total rule and sovereignty for a thousand years, prior to God creating a New Heaven and Earth (Isa 65:17, 2 Peter 3:13, Rev 21:1). In the time period prior to His first coming there will be a cross over or transitional period characterized by the following:

  1. Physical disturbances (signs in the moon, heavens, stars) – Luke 21:25
  2. Wars (Rumors of wars) – Matt 24:6
  3. Economic instability
  4. Moral decay
  5. Religious apostasy – 2 Thess 2:3.
  6. Infidelity
  7. General panic, perplexity and loss of leadership – Luke 21:25

 

What is the precise order of events just prior to His first coming?

  1. After 70 AD, the Jews will be wanderers among all nations, driven from their land and persecuted. Their land will come under Gentile control until the ‘times of the Gentiles’ be fulfilled (Luke 21:24). One major indication that the time of the Gentiles is drawing to an end is the reformation of Israel as a nation (1948) and gaining Jerusalem back (1967). Never before in History has a dispersed nation been re-born.
  2. During this 2000 yr. time period (approx.) from 70 AD until Christ’s coming, Christ’s servants (the Church) will carry on His work by preaching the Gospel to all nations, in every language and occupying until he returns (Luke 21:24).
  3. It will seem like Christ is delaying his coming (Luke 18:1-8), when some will prepare themselves diligently, whilst others will be negligent (Matt 25:1-11) and fall away.
  4. At a time when ‘no soul knows the day nor the hour,’ Christ will appear (Matt 24:36, 42, 50). This event is called the “Rapture” in common vernacular although the word Rapture is not found specifically in scripture (1 Thess 4:17). In times past, this event was known as the “Great Assembly” or the ‘gathering’ of the saints. At this time, He will gather his servants and judge them according to their works (because their salvation is assured) (Matt 25:19, 2 Cor 5:10).
  5. There is some speculation as to the timeframe between the ‘Rapture’ and the commencement of the following 7 year tribulation period (Matt 24:21), but most scholars agree that it is simultaneous. The definition of when the tribulation starts is the signing of a peace treaty between the Jews and the Antichrist (Dan 9:27).
  6. The Second Coming of Christ will occur at the end of the Great Tribulation as he arrives on Mount of Olives (Zech 14:4) for the world to see. Utter oblivion and catastrophe, as it was in the days of Noah and Lot, are the pre-cursors to his 2nd Coming (Matthew:37-39, Luke 17:28-29). When Christ appears in his second coming, it will be in outward glory and power to judge and rule over the nations of the earth.

 

Who is the Anti-Christ? (short response: a punk)

The spirit of the Antichrist is already in the world (1 John 4:3, 2:18, 2:22) and its goal is to deny that Christ came in the flesh (1 John 4:3) and that God has no Son (1 John 2:22). There is a final Antichrist who is to come (2 Thess 2:3). The Antichrist will be the paragon of evil, who will oppose and attempt to usurp any form of Yahweh’s rule in the earth. It is believed he will arise from the old world (Rev 13:1) and become ruler over a resurrected Roman Empire and super-state of coalesced nations. He will assume great power politically (Dan 7:8,25), commercially (Dan 8:25, Rev 13:16-17), and religiously (Rev 17:1-15). Knowing that man must have a religion of some kind, he will establish one based on the divinity of man and supremacy of the State. As the embodiment of the State, he will demand worship, and will appoint a priesthood to enforce and foster this worship (2 Thess 2:9-10, Rev 13:12-15).

The Antichrist will carry his doctrine to the extreme of the supremacy of the state. He will have complete control over world commerce, with all people requiring a “Mark of the Beast” to buy and sell (Rev 13:17). With the advent of modern technology in the use of RFID chips and electronic tattoos the resources are literally in place today to fulfill this prophecy. The Antichrist will teach that the State and its laws are supreme to God’s. He will command worship and even man’s conscience must be subordinated. The OT shadow of this was revealed by King Nebuchadnezzar’s totalitarian regime in Daniel chapter 3. A modern example would be the French Revolution, where God was cast out and a goddess was made of, “La Patrie” (the State). Said one of the leaders, “The State is supreme in all things. When the State has spoken, the Church has nothing to say.” Loyalty to the State was and will be elevated to the place of religion by the Antichrist and his False Prophet. When all is said and done, his ‘rear end’ will be thrown into the Lake of Fire for his evil deeds (Rev 20:10).

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What is Stewardship?

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Scriptural reference

Read the following passage together:

 

Matthew 20:1-16 (KJV) – laborers in the vineyard

 

Questions

  1. Who do you think the householder represents in this passage?
  2. Who do you think the laborers represent?
  3. Is the householder fair?
  4. If you were the first laborer would you be disappointed with your wage? If so, why?
  5. Did the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th laborers get paid more than they deserved? Discuss with your group.
  6. Discuss verse 16 together and what it means to you.
  7. Do you feel injustice for the 1st laborers? Can you relate to them?
  8. Do you think the 2nd, 3rd laborers etc. got more than they deserved?
  9. Do you think the 1st laborers misjudged the householder and should have trusted him to pay them what he thought was right, before agreeing to set terms of payment that had no flexibility?

 

Life Application

This passage does not discuss salvation. It talks of three hired laborers who worked for God (the householder). These men were already positioned for service and waiting for work before the householder arrived. We do not work for salvation in any way and I don’t believe this passage refers to it. These men were laborers and we do not labor for salvation. It is discussing the different kinds of people who are serving the living God and the attitude they bring in service.

The 1st laborers came to the householder with an agenda. They agreed to work for him for a set payment in advance. Presumably they negotiated before agreeing upon terms of payment. They not only limited God in his ability to remunerate them but their attitude was, “if I do this for you, you must do this for me in return”. They had an expectation that limited God, they expected only x and God was trying to give them y in abundance. Could it be that God wanted to reward the 1st group more but they limited him with their expectations? They could have answered him like the other groups, “whatsoever is right, that shall we receive“. God is an abundant and generous God and had the first group agreed on what was right instead of the set amount (a denarius) they might have received much more.

The remaining laborers however did not agree for a set wage in advance but trusted God to reward them accordingly as he was a generous and faithful boss. Their faith in God was rewarded as each of the remaining laborers got much more than they deserved. This shows Gods unending generosity. The final laborers got a full day’s pay even though they worked for only one hour. This was grossly unfair to the 1st laborers but God was still fair as they agreed to the terms. God is not unfair if he shows generosity to others. He can do as he wills. He was not unfair.

It should be noted that a denarius was a liberal wage for a day’s work in those days, so the householder was already generous from the start.

 

Who are chosen to be stewards?

V 16) Many are not called to salvation, all are called to salvation. The ones who are chosen for greater works and greater rewards are those who don’t come to God with a set agenda and trust him to reward them fairly and liberally. The laborers who trusted God got so much more than they deserved!!! This should be our attitude, we trust him with our finances, lives, time etc., and he will reward us for our service to him.

The ones who trusted God also were rewarded first v 16. Those who have faith in him for rewards Heb 11:6, will be rewarded in abundance. Those who agreed upon simple payment, were rewarded last with their agreed amount.

We need to check our hearts today that we have the right attitude in service to god. Our expectation should be that he will take care of us as we serve him, his rewards will be generous and we should not negotiate terms before we embark upon service. If so our negotiated terms can limit his generosity towards us. If he comes knocking on your door today for service, we should answer, “yes sir!”, knowing that he will take good care of us and our rewards for service will match his generous nature.

 

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What are the operations of the Holy Spirit today?

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There are five operations of the Holy Spirit in relation to man, let’s look at each of them together:

  • Conviction.

  • Regeneration.

  • Indwelling.

  • Sanctification.

  • Endowment with power! (often ignored)

 

  1. Read John 16:7-11, how does Jesus describe the work of the Holy Spirit? Look up the word ‘conviction’ in the dictionary and consider how it relates to the conscience spoken of in Romans 2:15.
  2. What does a Comforter mean to you? Look up John 14:26 and John 15:26 in the Amplified Bible and meditate on the numerous attributes of the Holy Spirit. Consider the plethora of ways He is willing to assist you in your journey in life.
  3. Although man is spiritually dead from birth due to his sinful heritage from Adam, Scripture reveals that God is not far from us at any moment (Acts 17:27). Based on your history, would you consider your salvation experience merely a theological doctrine or a powerful transformation in which you saw changes in your own life? Describe these profound experiences with a close friend.
  4. Indwelling: This is such a powerful and exciting topic to study! Look up the following passages and highlight them in your bible. If you are afraid of marking your bible, then buy another inexpensive one and go for it! (See John 14:17, Rom 8:9, 1 Cor 6:19, 2 Tim 1:14, 1 John 2:27, Col 1:27, 1 John 3:24, Rev 3:20). We are spirit, soul and body. Those who are without Christ have a soul and body yet they’re spiritually dead in trespasses and sin (Col 2:13). When we receive Jesus, the Holy Spirit comes along to permanently abide in us! Indwelling means He is present in a new way, sustaining a personal relationship with the individual. When we are saved, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in our hearts forever! Consider now, the Holy Spirit lives IN you!
  5. How do we define ‘Christian’? Consider this definition, “He is a man in whom the Holy Spirit dwells. His body is a temple of the Holy Spirit in virtue of which experience he is sanctified as the Tabernacle and consecrated by Father God’s indwelling”.  He is also called a ‘saint’ because it is his duty to guard the sanctity of the temple of His Body (1 Cor 16:9, Rom 12:1).
  6. Sanctification: this sounds like a religious word but it basically means that after your spirit man has been regenerated from death to life at the point of salvation, your soul (mind, will and emotions) are slowly transformed by the word of God and conformed to the image of Christ. This process is called sanctification. Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith (Heb 12:2). As we walk with him, we grow in fruit and character. This is also known as ‘maturity’ in Christ.
  7. Sanctification II: Because we live in this world, we must contend with our own flesh (which still has the potential to sin), the world system, Satan and his cohorts. The soul is transformed in a progressive manner. The Holy Spirit acts directly upon the soul producing special virtues (Gal 5:22-23) as we have been born of the ‘incorruptible seed’ of the word of God (1 Peter 1:23). As newborn babes, we need the milk of the word to grow (1 Peter 2:2).
  8. Endowment with Power: This topic is too large to be covered in this study alone, although we will touch upon it. Look up Acts 1:8 in your Bible and discuss it together.
  9. Consider this, although Jesus had commissioned the disciples to do his works already, they were still not equipped with the necessary power to perform all that He desired for them, otherwise Christ would not have said so (Acts 1:8). Recall up to this point the disciples had:
    1. Been sent out to preach, armed with some spiritual power for that service (Matt 10:1).
    2. Their names were written in Heaven (Luke 10:20).
    3. They were clean through the words Jesus spoke (John 15:3).
    4. They were branches connected to the vine (Jesus) (John 15:5).
    5. They knew the presence of the Holy Spirit was with them (John 14:17).
    6. They had felt the breath of Christ and had received a measure of the Holy Spirit (John 20:22).

Despite all of this, they were not equipped for influential service in ministry until they received POWER (Acts 1:8). The above facts re-iterate that one may be in touch with Christ (be ‘saved’) and be a disciple of Christ but lack the necessary power to function in ministry to full effect.

This necessary power encounter occurred in Acts 2:1-4, after they had tarried in Jerusalem, and after that (Acts 8:12-16). These power encounters with the Holy Spirit occur today and have not ceased. People who say they have ceased are ignorant or in unbelief (see also Acts 10:44-46 and Acts 19:1-6). In layman’s terms when we are saved we have a ‘measure’ of the Holy Spirit but when we receive the enduement of power we are ‘filled’ with the Holy Spirit to overflowing (John 7:38).

This second encounter with the Holy Spirit in addition to salvation has been both hidden and heavily contested down the millennia because it is the truth. A powerful Christian is a severe threat to Satan. This impartation is described as a baptism (Acts 1:5). Jesus in his own words described this necessary power encounter by being, “baptized with the Holy Ghost”. It is also described as, “the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38, Acts 10:45). Know this; Scripture clearly states that being ‘endued with Power’ has nothing to do with your salvation whatsoever that is settled. It is a separate and distinct encounter to equip you for service in Christ’s army.

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Am I righteous in God’s eyes?

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Am I righteous?

Yes, as long as you’re in Christ Jesus.

What does it mean to be righteous? A dictionary definition of Righteousness is, “to be right, equitable, innocent, holy, in right standing, or justified.” To the Christian, righteousness is further described as, “to be able to stand before a Holy God without a sense of inferiority or condemnation.”

 

How does a person obtain ‘right standing’ with God the Father?

This is a question that is often asked by many and the Bible has a clear answer for us:

The righteousness of God, or in other words, being in ‘right standing’ with God is revealed through His word (Rom 3:20-31). God has made us righteous through Jesus, and only through Him.  Romans 3:22-24 says, “Even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe.  For there is no difference (vs. 23), for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (vs. 24) being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”

Jesus lived a perfect life as a man (2 Cor 5:17-21; I Tim 2:5; Phil 2:5-11) and took the sins of the world upon Himself (John 1:24; 1 Pet 1:19). All have sinned and the wages of sin is death (Rom 6:22-23). But because of the love of God, Jesus became sin for us who knew no sin (2 Cor 5:21) and paid for our sins with his own blood. We could never pay for our sins or work hard enough to become holy or righteous. When you put your faith in Jesus and what He did for you, your faith in Him is accounted for righteousness.  Romans 4:5 says: “But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness.” Romans 4: 9 says: “faith was accounted to Abraham for righteousness.”

To be in right standing with our Heavenly Father, we must put our faith in Jesus, and His full redemptive work at the cross.  Jesus paid for our salvation with His precious blood (Heb 9: 12-14; I Pet 1: 18-19) and through faith in Him, we no longer walk as sinners separated from God (Eph 2:13-14; 2 Cor 5:21).

 

Am I a sinner saved by grace?

You cannot find that statement in the Bible.

The truth is you were a sinner, but if you have been born again (John 3:3) your identity has been changed!  You’re no longer a sinner that is ‘saved by grace’; you are a new creation in Christ (2 Cor 5:17-21). The word sinner implies that someone lives a lifestyle of sin and is still a slave to it. This person is not repentant of their lifestyle of sin, nor free from it.  Romans 6:20, 22 says: “For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness, but now having been set free from sin and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness.

Note: I did not say we would never sin again or make mistakes.  When we do sin and miss the mark, we ask God to forgive us and repent of the sin we committed (1 John 1:9; 1 John 2: 1, 2). Even though a person is saved by God’s Grace (Eph 2:8-9) and God calls you righteous and holy, that person does not have the right to live in sin and violate God’s word. The word is clear when it comes to sin and not living a lifestyle of sin.  Jesus told the people to repent and turn from sin (Mt 4:17; John 5:14) as it’s harmful.

Your position or identity in Christ is now righteous and holy, but only ‘in Christ’. 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 says this about the believer in Christ, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, behold, all things have become new.” Verse 21 says: “for He made Him who knew no sin, to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” You are a new creation in Christ; He paid for your sins and lived a holy and perfect life for you and me, because we couldn’t.

No longer does God see you as a sinner, but righteous and holy in Christ. Eph 4: 24 says, “and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.”

 

Identity of righteousness: our righteousness or God’s?

There is a dangerous and erroneous doctrine that teaches good deeds, long prayers or penance, are required in order for us to make it to Heaven.

Though doing good deeds, giving, and praying are all things Christians should do, that will not result in a person becoming a saint and qualifying them for Heaven.  Phil 3:9 says, “and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith.”  God knows that we could never be good enough or work hard enough to become righteous and holy, that is why Jesus came. He lived a perfect, holy and righteous life, died for us and then gave us the gift of righteousness. You cannot work for grace (Rom 4: 4-5; Eph 2:8-9) or salvation; it is a gift from the Father. In God’s amazing grace He gave us the gift of righteousness and we are made right with the Father when we accept this gift through faith in Christ.  Romans 5:17 says, “For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.

When you focus on Jesus’ perfect life and God’s grace and mercy, you focus on His holiness and righteousness.  At this point we stop focusing on our unrighteousness and how we’ve missed it and made mistakes in life. The enemy wants you to focus on yourself and not Christ in you (Col 1:27). When we do this we fall into the trap of guilt and condemnation, “but there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Rom 8:1). Jesus has made us kings and saints and has qualified us to become such.  He did it all for us as our King of kings (1 Pet 2:9; Rev 1:6; Col 1:12; Eph 2:19).

Only in Him (Christ) do we have redemption and forgiveness of sins (Eph 1:7; Phil 3:9; Psalm103:3;12,-13). God does not want us to try to become self-righteous and approach him with our own works and good deeds.  Paul discussed this in Romans chapter 7 regarding works and attempting to fulfill the Law of Moses.  In fact, the law was a standard used to show us just how unrighteous we are apart from Jesus.

 

How does God see me?

Mankind was created perfect and holy in the image of God (Gen1:26).

God saw that everything He created was good (Gen 1:31).  When sin entered and mankind fell, mankind was no longer in right standing with God, and therefore was in need of a savior.  Because of God’s love for mankind He sent Jesus to save the world from sin (1 John 2:1-2; John 1:29; 3:16) and redeem us back into right standing with God the Father (Eph 1:7).  God is Holy and just and sin is not acceptable in His sight.  He said, “the wages of sin is death“, “and all have sinned” (Rom 3:23; 6:23). God also said, there is not one person righteous in and of himself apart from Christ (Rom 3:10). When we put our faith in Jesus, His righteousness becomes our righteousness. God is a Spirit and sees our spirit, soul and body (John 4:24; 1 Thess 23).  When a person believes in Jesus and puts their faith in Him as their Lord and Savior, they become “born again” (John 3:3), and a “a new creation” (2 Cor 5:17-21). At this point, God sees them “in Christ,” and not the old person they used to be (Rom 6:1-23; Col 2:12-13; 2 Cor 5:17-21).

The Bible says, “You died” spiritually, and are made alive in Christ (Col 3:3; Eph 4:24; Cor 1:27-28).  Christ lives in you and through you, and you are in Christ (Gal 2:20; Gal 3:26-28; Gal 4: 7,19; 2 Cor 5:17-21).  We are spiritually different and are changed through the power of the Holy Spirit.  We still choose to do right and live right before God and mankind, though all our righteous acts could never make us right with the Father by ourselves.  Even though God is pleased with the right things we do, our faith in Jesus is what truly pleases Him and makes us righteous in His sight.  Jesus freed us from sin and unrighteousness (Rom 3:22-27). Remember, this was a gift from God because of His grace and mercy (Rom 5:17)!

God sees you as righteous and calls you a justified and righteous person only in Jesus. To agree with God and confess that you are a righteous person in Christ is one of the most humble statements to declare. It takes true humility to repent, turn to Christ and admit you need Jesus and His righteousness. He lived a perfect and holy life for you and me. It is pride that will reject His gift of righteousness and not receive it (Jas 4:6; 1 Pet 5:5-6).  Let’s commit to seek His kingdom first and His righteousness and the knowledge of our righteousness in Him (Mt 6:33; Eph 6:14; 2 Cor 6:7)!

 

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Why should I pray in the Holy Spirit?

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The Spirit within vs. the Spirit upon

  1. There are many terms to describe this supernatural experience (Acts 2:4): praying in tongues (1 Cor 14:2), praying in the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 14:15, Jude 20), praying from your heart (John 7:38) and praying in your Heavenly language (1 Cor. 13:1, 1 Cor. 14:2). Please look up these passages in your Bible and meditate upon them.
  2. Every born again believer should be filled with the Spirit and pray in tongues (Mark 16:17). This is different from being born of the Spirit (John 3:3-6). These are two different experiences: having the Spirit within, and having the Spirit upon (oneself). One is for salvation, the other for empowerment to minister. You don’t have to have the Spirit upon to be saved you are already saved and choose empowerment for ministry.
  3. There is no evidence Jesus prayed in tongues, it was a gift for the church. The disciples didn’t speak with tongues until he ascended on high and gave ‘the gift’ of the Holy Spirit. The disciples had to be ‘born again’ before this gift was poured out, and Jesus had to go to the Father first (John 16:7). The disciples were born of the Spirit when Jesus was raised from the dead (John 20:22), when he breathed on them and said “receive the Holy Spirit“. But Jesus then said “wait and you will be endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49).  Jesus told his disciples to wait in Jerusalem and they would receive power when the Holy Spirit would come upon them and be witnesses.
  4. In John 14:17, Jesus said “You know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” Every born again believer has the Spirit of God living inside of them, guiding them into all truth and bearing witness of the Word of God (John 14:16,17,26, John 16:13-14, Rom 8:16).
  5. But after Jesus ascended and went to Heaven, the disciples waited for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon them for power and to be witnesses, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Have you ever felt inadequate to minister to your friends in full effect? Discuss.
  6. When the Holy Spirit came upon the 120 in the upper room, they were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues (Acts 2:3-4). The first thing Peter did after he received the infilling of the Holy Spirit, was preach with power and 3,000 people got born again! When the Spirit of God comes upon someone an anointing resides upon that individual. This is a powerful witness, to do signs, wonders, and miracles. This gift of the Holy Spirit is given to do the works of Jesus (John 14:12) and available for every Christian.
  7. In Acts 8:16 and Acts 10:44, it says “The Holy Spirit fell upon all“. In Acts 19:6 we read, “And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.” Ask yourself this question, if the disciples were fully equipped in their initial state then Jesus wouldn’t have told them to tarry in Jerusalem for a separate encounter with the Holy Spirit. It is clearly requisite for impactful and influential ministry.
  8. The Spirit of God inside a believer is for guiding them and leading them to all truth (John 16:13), being filled with the Spirit is for doing the works of Jesus with power, witnessing, laying hands on the sick and casting out demons (Mark 16:16-18).

 

The initial evidence of being filled with the Holy Spirit

  1. In Acts 2:4 we read “they were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues,” in Acts 8:16-18 and Acts 10:44-46 we see “the Holy Spirit fell upon all” and “For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God” and finally in Acts 19:6, “Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.”
  2. In Acts 9:17 Ananias laid his hands on Paul (Saul) that he may receive sight and ‘be filled with the Holy Spirit’ (1 Cor14:18). Please note that prophecy is also an evidence of being filled, not tongues exclusively; although prophecy is not mentioned in all references of Spirit infilling.

 

Why should we pray in tongues

  1. We don’t always know what we should pray for, or how to pray as we should with our own understanding. The Spirit helps us pray God’s will out for our life (Rom 8:26-28).
  2. You pray directly to God (1 Cor 14:2), you talk to God, and spend time with Him (1 Cor. 14:2). You give thanks well (1 Cor. 14:16-17). You edify yourself, encourage yourself, strengthen yourself and build yourself up in faith (1Cor 14:4, Jude 20), when you are praying in the Spirit.
  3. You can pray out God’s will and future for your family, job and church (Rom 8:26-28). You can interpret what you’ve prayed in tongues by revelation from the Spirit (1 Cor. 14:5-6). You can pray or sing in the Spirit and be refreshed with peace and joy. You may find rest for your soul (Isa 28:11-12, 1 Cor. 14:14-15).
  4. It’s a sign for unbelievers (1 Cor. 14:22). God can and will reveal through tongues supernaturally what others need to hear (Acts 2:6-12, Acts 10:46).

 

Can everyone speak in tongues? Yes.

  1. This gift and promise is for all who have received Christ as Lord and Savior (Acts 2:39, 1 Cor. 14:5, Acts 10:34, Heb 13:8, Mal 3:6, Mark 16:16-18).

 

Has tongues ceased? Was it just for the early church? NO.

  1. One day we will not need prophecy, or knowledge or tongues as it mentions in 1 Cor. 13:8-13, but we are still on earth and Jesus hasn’t come back yet, so we still utilize all three today. 1 Cor. 14:39 says “Do not forbid to speak with tongues” (1 Thes. 5:20, Mark 16:17, Mal 3:6, Heb13:8, Acts 15:17-21, Acts 2:39, 1 Cor. 14:5). This gift is for every believer, it did not pass away after all the disciples died. This is a theology that man has taught and not God’s word.

 

What am I saying? Could I curse or say something unholy in tongues? NO.

  1. 1 Cor. 12:3 says “no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed“. You are magnifying God in tongues (Acts 10:46). You’re praying God’s will for your life or praying for someone who needs help whenever and wherever, commonly called intercession (Rom 8:26-28). You are saying the right thing that needs to be said at that time. The Holy Spirit helps you pray to God the Father, and the words come to the throne of God in perfect form. God is Spirit (John 4:24) and whether you pray in the spirit or your native language, you are speaking to God and He hears your prayers and answers them.
  2. Your understanding (mind) is unfruitful (1 Cor. 14:13-18). Your spirit is praying, not your head. When you pray in tongues, you are praying from your heart, the utterance is not understood by you or the listener (1 Cor. 14:2, 1 Cor. 14:16) unless interpreted.

 

Can a believer ever know what they are saying in tongues? Yes.

  • You can pray to interpret (1 Cor. 14:13), and there is a gift of tongues used in a public setting (1 Cor. 12:10, 1 Cor. 14:26-40). This is a huge benefit to the one praying and interpreting or to the one the interpretation is for, because you receive God’s pertinent revelation for your life. (Note: The revelation given should bear witness with your spirit and line up with God’s Word. Every word of prophecy or interpretation is to be tested and compared to God’s word).

 

How do I get filled with the Holy Spirit?

Praying in tongues will ‘build up’ the believer daily, and we all need to be constantly filled with God (Jude 20). When praying in the spirit we are edified, this is the same word used for edifice and is a foundational precept. If you’re not filled with God’s Spirit, you will be filled with something else such as worry, doubt or stress. We are constantly leaking as the cares of this world and the stresses of life can wear us down. Life drains us with its constant demands and agendas. We need times of refreshing in the presence of the Lord (Acts 3:19). The strong feeling of refreshment you attain from praying in the Spirit is something you need to counteract Satan and his strategies. We are commissioned to lay hands on the sick, cast out demons, and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. With the power of the Holy Spirit in your life, you will see the things Jesus said you would (Mark 16:16-18, John 14:12). That is not to say that those who are not ‘Spirit filled” cannot do the works of Jesus, they can, but remember that if the disciples were equipped for ministerial power in their initial state, Jesus would have no need for them to be endued with ‘power from on high’. Yet, he made it abundantly clear that they needed this endowment (Luke 24:49). The Baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues was ’the promise of the Father’ and surely necessary and crucial for effective powerful ministry.

Jesus said the Father would give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him (Luke11:13). You do not have to wait or tarry for the Holy Spirit today, He has already been given to us. You can have hands laid on you by other spirit filled believers to receive this gift, or you can ask God to fill you directly at His word. When the disciples began to speak in tongues (Acts 2:4), the Holy Spirit didn’t speak for them. They needed to speak but God gave the utterance. God is a gentleman and won’t make anybody do something against their own will. He won’t speak for you. If you don’t want it or are ignorant of it, you won’t get it. So trust in the Lord and speak from your heart. Jesus said “out of your heart would flow rivers of living water” (John 7:38). This utterance which comes from within needs to be vocalized, and as you yield to it, more will flow.

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The Holy Bible

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Key Considerations

  1. Did you know there are two types of God’s word (stemming from the Greek)? There is the ‘Logos’ word (the total summation of God’s word written in the Holy Scriptures) and the ‘Rhema’ word which is the spoken word of God. Jehovah God spoke the Rhema word into existence, so that it could be written (Logos) in order for it to be spoken by us (Rhema).
  2. Did you know that the Bible contains 66 books, written by 40 authors, covering a span of 1600 years? The timespan in which it was written covers from 1500 BC to 100 AD approximately.
  3. Did you know that the chapters and verses in your bible were not in the original manuscripts? The Hebrews recorded scripture on long parchments or scrolls that were rolled and bundled. Hebrew is read from right to left as opposed to English. The saying goes that all languages lead to Jerusalem, i.e. all languages spoken by nations that are geographically west of Jerusalem read from left to right and all languages spoken by nations geographically located east of Jerusalem read from right to left! According to scholars, chapters and verses were introduced by Cardinal Hugo de S, Caro in 1238 AD. Verses were not added until 1551 by Robertus Stephanus.
  4. Did you know the Bible is historically accurate? There are several secular historians that wrote about distinct key events surrounding the New Testament Period, these would include Titus Flavius Josephus (born in Jerusalem in 37 BC and witness to the fall of Jerusalem), Philo Judaeus (Hellenistic Jewish Philosopher) and Tacticus (Roman historian who would have no benefit from telling the truth). Reports of Christ’s Resurrection were widespread and historically documented for example and are not anecdotal.
  5. Did you know the Bible (largely the King James Version) is the most sold book of all time? It regularly tops the best seller’s lists. The Bible has been translated into more than 1200 languages, in line with Christ’s mandate that the Gospel should be preached to all the nations of the earth, and then the end shall come (Matt 24:14).
  6. Did you know the most prolific authors of books in the Bible are the Apostle Paul (13 books alone, excluding Hebrews possibly) and Moses (5 books), Apostle John (5 books), Peter (2 books), Luke (2 books).
  7. Did you know the bible never contradicts itself? This has been contested down the years by numerous critics. People claim there are contradictions but they have to take verses out of context to do so. When looking at the totality of scripture and understanding all its teachings, there are no contradictions. This is incredible when you consider how 40 different authors synergistically combined their writings in one comprehensive volume. Think of the Gospels and you will understand that the four authors were writing to unique audiences (Matthew – Jews, Mark – Romans, Luke – Greeks/Gentiles, John – church) having witnessed events from their own perspective. If you asked four people to describe the same car accident for example, each one would explain their own viewpoint, details and perspective. The exclusion of some events by some authors in the Gospels does not mean they didn’t occur, merely that they were emphasized and inspired that way, each harboring their outlook.
  8. Did you know the bible claim to be God’s word and makes no bones about it. The Bible says more than 3000 times, “Thus Saith the Lord”. The term, “and God said”, is used over 2600 times.
  9. Did you know God’s word is eternal? Compare these passages (Matt 24:35 and Isa 40:8).
  10. Did you know that Scripture has many uses? Check out this scripture, 2 Tim 3:16 and meditate upon it, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” What does reproof mean?
  11. Did you know that the Holy Scriptures were divinely inspired? Compare these scriptures (2 Tim 3:16 and 2 Pet 1:21). Was the Holy Spirit involved intimately with the recording of Scripture?
  12. Consider the difference between illumination and inspiration. Illumination refers to the influence of the Holy Spirit, common to all Christians, which assists them in grasping the true meaning of the word and application for their lives (1 Cor 2:4, Matt 16:17). We are ‘illuminated’ to the already ‘inspired’ scriptures. This illumination is common to all but it is different from inspiration. The authors of the Bible were inspired by the Holy Spirit to write inerrant scriptures; this is a one-time affair. There are degrees of illumination and insight into scriptures but in the case of inspiration in a biblical sense this has ceased as the full Canon of scripture is complete (1 Peter 1:10-12, Gal 1:9, Rev 22:18-19). The scriptures emphasis is always on inspired words, not inspired men. The word of God is to be esteemed, not man.
  13. Did you know that Jesus Christ himself endorsed the Old Testament, quoting it and lived in harmony with its teaching? He also endorsed its truth and authority (see passages Matt 5:18, John 10:35, Luke 18:31-33, 24:25,44 and Matt 23:1-2, 26:54).
  14. Did you know that not only was the Old Testament divinely inspired, but the New Testament is too? Everywhere the New Testament claims to be a fuller and clearer revelation of God than that given in the Old Testament, and authoritatively declares the cancellation of the old laws, leaving the royal law in tact (James 2:8), that is to love God first and foremost, and to love your neighbor as yourself (Deut 6:5, Matt 22:37).
  15. Did you know that the New Testament speaks of its own divine inspiration? Peter seems to place the writings of Paul on a level with those of the Old Testament (2 Pet 3:15-16), and Paul and the other apostles claim to speak with a Divine authority (1 Cor 2:13, 1 Cor 14:31, 1 Thess 2:13, 1 Thess 4:2, 2 Pet 3:2, 1 John 1:5, Rev 1:1).

Throughout the annals of time, the Bible has been fiercely contested as the true word of God. It has remarkable preservation in the face of persecution and the opposition of science. As the saying goes, “The hammers (critics) break, yet the anvil (Bible) remains.” Intellectual defenses of the Bible have their place; but after all the best argument is a practical one. The Bible has worked. It has influenced civilizations, transformed lives, brought inspiration and comforted billions. Its work continues today and is applicable to all generations.

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Death and the Afterlife

Study-guide

 

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  1. Explore the common phrases for ‘death’ in the Bible (See John 11:11, Deut 31:16, 2 Cor 5:1, Luke 12:20, Job 16:22, Gen 49:33, Psalm 115:17, Acts 5:10, Gen 3:19, Job 14:2, Phil 1:23).
  2. How did death enter the world and what is ‘the last enemy’? (Rom 5:12, 1 Cor 15:26)
  3. Is death still an issue for a Christian? Do those in Christ now have ‘immortality’? (2 Tim 1:10)
  4. There are two terms,’ immortality’ and ‘incorruption’ which are both used with reference to the resurrection of the body (1 Cor 15:53-54). Look both words up in a dictionary, then compare with the term mortal. Are Christians mortal in your opinion? Try to delineate which terms apply to the soul or body.
  5. Are all people resurrected or just Christians? (John 5:29)
  6. Is Immortality a future event, present or past? (Rom 2:7; 1 Cor 15:53). Eternal life in contrast to Immortality concerns man’s spirit and soul and is a present possession for the believer, unaffected by the death of the body. All people are eternal beings, but only those who receive Christ will have ‘eternal life’. Immortality always refers to the glorification of our mortal bodies at the resurrection, as Jesus demonstrated in his earthly sightings after the cross.
  7. Are the dead floating around the earth in some other dimension or under the control of God who has the keys to both destinations (Heaven and Hell)? (Rom 14:9, Rev 1:18)
  8. Are the dead vagrants? Floating around in some ‘middle ground’ or immediately in the presence of Heaven with the Lord or Hell? (2 Cor 5:8, Luke 16:22)
  9. Investigate the concept of purgatory or ‘middle ground’ between Heaven and Hell in your Bible and find scriptural references to justify this doctrine…………………. (Hint: you won’t find any).
  10. Is it ok to talk to your dead relatives? Is this practice mentioned in Scripture? What does God have to say about this practice, also known as ‘Necromancy’ or ‘Spiritism’? (Study Lev 19:31, 20:6-7; Isa 8:19, Deut 18:7-12)…………(Hint: Abomination is not a good word).
  11. Are the supposedly ‘dead people’ that mediums and Necromancers talk to really departed loved ones? or more sinister and seducing evil spirits, trying to deceive humanity? (1 Kings 22:22, 1 Tim 4:1)
  12. Is there such a thing as soul sleep? As some Christian denominations believe. This is described as the soul existing in an ‘unconscious state’ after physical death until the resurrection. Scour the word of God and find evidence for this concept if you can. Does the bible teach that souls are conscious or unconscious after physical death? You might start with these Scriptures (Isa 14:9-11, Psalm 16:10, Luke 16:23,;23:43, 2 Cor 5:8, Phil 1:23, Rev 6:9).
  13. Is it beneficial for a Christian to die, providing he has done all that the Lord has asked of Him on earth? (Phil 1:21). Does man have a ‘second chance’ after physical death or not? (Heb 9:27)
  14. Meditate upon the many names for Heaven: 1) Paradise (Garden) reminding us of our ancestors walking with God (Rev 2:7, 2 Cor 12:4). 2) Fathers House and mansions (John 14:2). 3) A Heavenly Country (Heb 11:13-16). 4) A city (Heb 11:10, Rev 21:2).
  15. Consider the many Blessings of Heaven:-
    1. Light and Beauty (Rev 21:23, 22:5).
    2. Fullness of Knowledge (1 Cor 13:12) – The mysteries of the universe will be made plain, knowledge will be perfected, theological issues resolved.
    3. Rest (Rev 14:13, 21:4) – No more weariness, worries, sorrow, grief, pain or suffering.
    4. Service – (Rev 7:15, 22:3).
    5. Joy Everlasting (Rev 21:4).
    6. Social Joys (Heb 12:22; 23; 1, Thess 4:13-18) – In Heaven friends and relatives will be faultless, including you. No more bickering or strife!
    7. Fellowship with Christ (John 14:3, 2 Cor 5:8, Phil 1:23) – In that day we shall be like Him!

 

Synopsis

Though physical death continues for all on earth, it becomes a door to life in the case of those who accept Christ. It was never God’s intent for man to experience death. Death entered through sin. When Adam and Eve ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, they died both spiritually and physically (Gen 3:6) simultaneously. Spiritually because they were immediately disconnected from God (Gen 3:7) and physically because at that moment physical death began in their bodies. Had they eaten from the tree of life in that condition, they would have lived forever in a fallen corruptible state. That’s why God mercifully banned them from the Garden of Eden (Gen 3:24), as He planned to redeem them later on, through His Son. Since man is spirit, soul and body, the redemption must include all three facets of man’s tripartite being and whilst man may become right with God spiritually (Eph 2:1), he is still subject to physical death due to his racial inheritance from Adam. In the beginning God created man both spirit and body, and when spirit and body came together, they became a ‘living soul’. Physical death is separation of the body from the spirit (which we will all encounter), spiritual death or the second death (Rev 20:14,20:6, 2:11, 21:8) is separation from God (eternally), which no-one needs to encounter as Christ gave his blood for everyone’s redemption (John 14:6, John 3:16), should they choose him in this lifetime.[1]

 

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[1] Some Excerpts taken from, “Knowing the Doctrines of the Bible” by Myer Pearlman (Pentecostal Classics, Gospel Publishing House, Springfield, Mo. 1937, 25th Printing 2010).