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“Be diligent to show yourself approved to God”

Donnie L. DeBord, M.Div.

 

God really does exist and he loves you

We can see that God exists by the intricate design of the universe.

  • John 8:32—God expects us to have faith based on facts.
  • Genesis 1:1; John 1:3—God designed and built the earth.
  • Hebrews 3:4—The earth must be built by someone.  We know God exists because we exist.
  • Acts 14:17—God left evidence of Himself in His creation.  We know God exists because of the design in the universe.
    • Romans 1:18-20—God proves His existence in nature (Psalm 19:1).
  • 2 Timothy 3:16—God proves His existence through the Bible.
    • The Bible has characteristics that are beyond human production.
    • The fulfillment of prophecies is beyond human abilities (Psalm 22; Isaiah 53)
    • The perfect historical accuracy of the Bible is beyond human production.
    • The Bible’s ability to be applicable to every generation demonstrates its Divine origin.
  • John 3:16—God has given his best for us because he loves us (1 John 3:16)
  • Revelation 22:17—God has invited all people to Heaven.

God has told us about himself

Before we can serve God, we need to know about who He is.

  • Hebrews 11:6—We must believe in God.
    • We know God exists because the universe exists and because there is design in the universe—Hebrews 3:4.
  • John 4:24—God is a spirit.
  • 2 Peter 3:8—God is eternal.
  • Matthew 3:16-17—There are three equal but separate divine beings.  We refer to them as the Father, Son, & the Holy Spirit (1 Peter 1:1-2).
  • John 1:1-4—Jesus is divine (Gen.1:26-27; Titus 2:13).
  • Hebrews 1:1-14—Jesus is not an angel, He is better than the angels.
  • Acts 5:3-4—the Holy Spirit is divine.
  • 1 Peter 1:2-5—God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit work together to make a way for us to be saved.

 

God’s only guide for Christians

Will you agree that God’s Word is the only authority for religion?

  • 2 Peter 1:20-21—The Holy Spirit inspired the words of the Bible.
  • 2 Timothy 3:16—The Bible is God’s Word.
  • John 17:17—We are sanctified by the truth of the Bible.
  • 2 Peter 1:3—The Bible tells us all we know about life and religion.
  • John 12:48—God’s Word is the Judge.
  • 2 Timothy 2:15—We must interpret the Bible correctly (Acts 17:11).
  • 2 Thessalonians 2:15—We must adhere to the Bible’s teaching.
  • John 8:32—We are saved from sin by obeying the truth of the New Testament (1 Peter 1:22-25; Romans 6:1-17).
  • 2 Timothy 4:1-5—Our mission is to preach only God’s Word.
  • 2 John 9-11—We cannot condone or overlook those who promote error (that which is contrary to New Testament teaching).

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The Bible’s Authority Supersedes:

Religious Traditions—Matthew 15:6

Preachers—Galatians 1:6-10

Mothers, Fathers, and Grandparents—2 Corinthians 11:4

God’s plan for today is in the New Covenant

God has established the New Testament (or New Covenant) for His people to follow today.  Christians are not under the authority of the Old Testament.

  • 2 Timothy 2:15—In order to interpret the Bible correctly, we must recognize the difference in the Old Testament and the New Testament.
  • Jeremiah 31:31-34—God said the New Testament was coming, and the OT was going away.
  • Matthew 26:28—Jesus’ death ratified the new covenant and made the OT obsolete.
  • Hebrews 8-9—The NT was established through Christ.
  • Hebrews 1:1-2—The NT is God’s final message to man before the judgment day.  Therefore we should not follow anything, other than God’s NT.
  • 2 Corinthians 3:6—We serve under the New Covenant, not the Old Covenant.
  • 2 Thessalonians 2:15—We are to hold to the traditions or pattern of the NT.
  • Jude 3—We are to defend the New Testament pattern against alterations.

The OT preceded the NT, and it was replaced by the NT–Matthew 26:28.

God loves us, but our sin separates us

God desires to have a relationship with us, but our sin breaks our relationship with Him.

  • 1 John 3:4—Sin is transgression of God’s law.
  • Isaiah 59:1-2—Sin separates us from God.
    • Genesis 3—Sin separated man from God in the Garden of Eden.
    • 1 Timothy 1:19-20—Sin separates man from God and the church.
  • Romans 6:23—Sin causes death, but God offers life.
  • Romans 3:23-25—All mature people have sinned (1 John 1:8).
  • 1 John 3:4—Sin is the result of our own choices.
  • Ezekiel 18:4-20—The soul that sins shall die in sin.
  • Matthew 16:24-25—Each one of us must choose Christ for ourselves (Joshua 24:15).
  • John 3:16—God wants each one of us to be saved, even though we were sinners (1 John 2:2; 2 Peter 3:9; Hebrews 2:9).
  • Isaiah 53:4-6—Jesus’ death atones for our sins.
  • Acts 4:12—Jesus is our only hope.
    • We cannot be saved by works.  We can only be saved through obedient faith in God—Titus 3:5; Ephesians 2:8, 10.
  • Romans 1:16—We may be saved by putting our faith in Christ and obeying the Gospel. (Acts 2:38, 42).

 

God’s prepared places

God has prepared places for us to be after this life.  Heaven is God’s prepared place for His prepared people.  Hell is the prepared place for unprepared people.

  • Hebrews 11:6—God has fixed one day of judgment that determines where we will spend eternity.
    • Matthew 24:36-51—No one knows when the day of judgment will be (Matthew 25:1-30).
  • Matthew 13:24-30; 36-43—God will separate Christians from non-Christians at the end of the world (1 Thessalonians 5:1-11).
  •   John 14:1-7—God has a prepared place for His prepared people.
    • Revelation 21:1-7—Heaven is home for Christians and God Himself.
    • Revelation 22:3-5—Heaven is a place of eternal worship.
  • Luke 12:5—God has also prepared a place for those who are not Christians.
    • 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9—God prepared Hell for those who do not believe and do not obey His Word.
    • Revelation 21:8—God prepared Hell for those who practice sin.
  • Matthew 25:46—Both of God’s prepared places are eternal.
  • 1 Corinthians 15:50-58—God prepared us a way to Heaven—the way is Christ (John 14:6; Psalm 1).

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God’s plan for our salvation

God has a plan for us to be saved from our sins.  Over the centuries there have been many different “plans of salvation” offered.  The only plan in which we can place our trust is God’s plan of salvation.

  • 1 Timothy 2:4-6—God wants all people to be saved.
  • Ephesians 2:8—God has extended His grace to us through Christ.
  • Hebrews 5:9—In order to accept God’s grace, we must obey his plan of salvation (Matt.7:21-27; Jn. 14:23-24).
  • In order to be saved, we must:
    • Hebrews 11:6—believe in God.
      • James 2:24—Faith alone is not enough.  We cannot single out one command and exclude others.
      • Hebrews 5:9—We must also obey God.
      • 1 Peter 1:22—We are purified by obedience to the truth.
    • Acts 17:30—We must decide to abandon sin and live as a Christian.  This is called repentance.
    • Romans 10:9-10—We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God.
    • We must be baptized so that our sins will be forgiven:
      • Baptism is commanded—Matthew 28:19-20.
      • Baptism is necessary for salvation—Mark 16:16.
      • Baptism is the point at which our sins are forgiven—Acts 2:38 (Matt. 26:28).
      • Baptism gives us hope of the resurrection—Rom. 6:1-5.
      • Baptism puts us in Christ—Colossians 2:11-12; Galatians 3:26-27.
      • Baptism is a requirement of salvation—1 Peter 3:21.
      • Baptism is the point at which God adds us to the church—1 Corinthians 12:13; Acts 2:41.

God’s people are members of his church

God has designed the church to be the institution of the saved on earth. The church is the baptized body of believers over which Christ is head and in whom the Holy Spirit dwells.  The church’s purpose is to glorify God through worship, evangelism, and service.

  • Ephesians 1:1-5—God planned the church before the world began.
  • Matthew 16:18—Jesus promised to build one church (Mark 9:1).
  • Acts 20:28—Jesus purchased the church with His own blood.
  • Colossians 1:18—Jesus is the head of His church.
  • Acts 2:47—God adds His people to His church (1 Corinthians 12:13).
  • 1 Corinthians 6:19—The church is God’s temple today (Romans 8:9).
  • Acts 11:26—Members of the church are called Christians.
  • 1 Corinthians 1:10-17—The church is not composed of divisions, it is anti-denominational.  God does not approve of denominationalism.
    • Ephesians 4:4—The church has unity.
    • Salvation is in Christ—2 Timothy 2:10.
    • To be in Christ is to be in the church which belongs to Christ—Colossians 1:18 (Ephesians 1:22-23; Acts 20:28).
  • Matthew 28:19-20—The mission of the church is to preach the Gospel to all the world (Mark 16:15-16; 2 Timothy 4:1-4; 2 Timothy 2:2).
  • Colossians 3:17—The church abides by God’s teachings in the New Testament (2 Thessalonians 2:15).
  • Revelation 21:1-22—The church will one day be at home with God.

 

God’s plan for daily living

Jesus came that we might have a great life (John 10:10).  He has told us how to live a great and fulfilling life.

  • Psalm 1—Christians are guided by and benefit from God’s Word.
  • Psalm 19:7-11—Christians develop a desire to study God’s Word.
  • 1 Corinthians 13:1-13—Christians live a life characterized by love.
  • Galatians 5:16-26—Chrisitians live a holy life free of impurity (Ephesians 5:10-20).
  • Matthew 28:19-20—Christians have a God given purpose.
    • Christians share Christ with others—Matthew 5:13-16.
    • Christians train others to be Christians—2 Timothy 2:2.
  • Romans 1:15-16—Christians are eager to tell others about the Gospel.
  • 2 Corinthians 5:20-6:1—Christians are ambassadors for Christ to the lost.
  • Ephesians 5:21-6:4—Christians build and keep Christian homes (Hebrews 3:4; Matthew 7:24-29).
    • Christians who choose to marry obey God’s laws of marriage:
    • Marriage is honored—Hebrews 13:4.
    • Marriage is permanent—Matthew 5:32, 19:9.
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18—Christians live in hope and expectation of Heaven (1 Cor. 15).

God’s plan for worship

As we understand all that God has done for us, we cannot help but praise him for all that He has done.  God has described how He wishes to be worshiped.  We must honor His wishes.

  • Hebrews 10:25—We have been given the privilege of worshiping God.  We must assemble regularly in order to encourage one another and to be encouraged.
  • John 4:23-24—We must worship correctly, or according to God’s pattern.
    • Leviticus 10:1-2—Nadab and Abihu were executed by God because they offered unauthorized worship.
    • Matthew 15:6-9—We must worship according to God’s pattern and not according to the traditions of men.
  • Colossians 3:17—All things must be done in the name of the Lord.  In other words, we must have authority for what we practice in worship.
  • John 17:20-21—We can have true Christian unity by worshiping only as God has directed.
  • How has God commanded we worship Him?
    • Praying—1 Thessalonians 5:17; 1 Timothy 2:1-5
    • Teaching—1 Timothy 4:13; 1 Timothy 2:12-15
    • Giving—1 Corinthians 16:2; 2 Corinthians 8:1-5
    • Communion—Matthew 26:26-29; 1 Corinthians 11:17-34; Acts 20:7
    • Singing—Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16 (Notice that instruments are not authorized or commanded in the NT.  Therefore they should not be used.)

God’s plan for church leadership

In order for the church to be effective, it must be organized properly.  God has given us His pattern for church leadership.

  • God has placed Jesus as the head of the church.
    • God has given all authority to Christ—Matthew 28:18-20.
    • Jesus’ Words are the final judge—John 12:48.
    • Jesus is the only Lawgiver and Judge—James 4:12.
  • God decided the church should be overseen by a group of men referred to as elders, bishops, or pastors.
    • These three terms describe one office.  Acts 20:17-28 uses all 3 words to describe the one office.  In Titus 1:5-7, we see the terms “elder” and “bishop” used interchangeably.
    • The men who hold this office are given specific qualifications—1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-11.
    • In the Bible there are always at least two elders in every congregation.  Therefore, there must be at least two men to compose an eldership today—Titus 1:5; Philippians 1:1.
    • They are to guard and teach the local congregation—1 Peter 5:1-4; Titus 1:9.
    • These men should be esteemed for good work and rebuked if they are not serving as they should—1 Timothy 5:17-21.
  • God decided the church should be served by deacons.
    • These men are also given specific qualifications—1 Timothy 3:8-13.
    • Their title “deacon” means servant.  So these men serve the needs of the local church under the direction of the eldership.
  • God has allowed us to have men who devote all their time to preaching.
    • These men are evangelists.  They are not pastors—Ephesians 4:11.
    • Their work is described in 2 Timothy 4:1-8.

now what?

Knowledge is useless without application.  It is important that you act on your knowledge.  Apply the Bible’s lessons to your life.  Let yourself be shaped by God’s Word and tell others about the grace of Jesus and his plan for our lives.