Be Baptized

Lesson Goal: Help the disciple understand the nature and meaning of Christian baptism, and determine whether or not they are ready to follow the Lord Jesus into the waters of baptism.

Instructor’s Notes: The word “baptism” is a word that has an unclear meaning in our English Bibles. The Greek word from which we derive the English word “baptize” is “baptizo.” This Greek word means, “to immerse.” This is why Jesus went into the Jordan River to be baptized (i.e. immersed) and why Philip and the eunuch “went down into the water” for the eunuch’s baptism (Mark 1:9-10, Acts 8:38).

The examples of Jesus and the Ethiopian eunuch, along with the definition of the Greek word “baptizo,” show us that Christian baptism is by immersion, but this conclusion is also confirmed by the biblical significance of baptism. Romans 6:3-4 teaches that through the act of Baptism we are identifying with the death and resurrection of Christ by being “buried with him through baptism” and walking in “newness of life” after baptism. Baptism is an acting out of the Christian faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection by being immersed in water and then coming up out of the water. In baptism we are reenacting a death, burial and resurrection; if one were “baptized” by the sprinkling of a little water on the head this would not express the meaning that is intended by Christian baptism.  Continue reading “Be Baptized”

Believe

Lesson Goal: Help the disciple understand the nature of saving faith and determine whether or not he has placed his hope in what Jesus Christ has done for him and is not trusting in his own righteousness or sincerity to save him.

Instructor’s Notes: When a person is convicted of their sin by the Holy Spirit, God shines a spotlight on the sinfulness of their hearts. The purpose of this is to show the person that they are under the wrath of God and that they can do nothing to save themselves. The conviction of the Holy Spirit brings them to see that their righteousness is unacceptable to God (Isaiah 64:6).

When the person is convinced of their own helplessness the Holy Spirit will begin to open their spiritual eyes to the truth contained in the Gospel message. He begins to reveal to them that though they have no righteousness of their own, God has sent Jesus Christ to be a perfect Savior. God brings the person to despair in themselves so they can place their trust in Another. Continue reading “Believe”

Repent

Lesson Goal: Help the disciple understand the nature of repentance and determine whether or not they have repented.

Instructor’s Notes: When one repents their entire mindset about life changes, particularly their view of God, sin and themselves. They begin to realize that they are not as good as they thought they were, but are actually rebels against a good and holy Creator. This radical alteration in thinking leads to a fundamental shift in the focus of their lives. Whereas before their own desires and plans were the driving force of their life, God and His will now become the main focus of their lives. They determine that they will no longer live for themselves but will learn to obey everything that Jesus taught.

It is important to understand that genuine repentance is not perfect. True Christians often fail to perfectly obey God’s will out of ignorance, and sometimes due to willful disobedience. But in general they live in obedience to the commands they know and are determined to learn more about God’s will for every area of their lives. Disciples must understand that true repentance is not equal to absolute moral and spiritual perfection. Instead it is a real determination to live a new life of obedience to God and to leave behind the rebellious self-centered life. This determination is not a process, it is a decision we make in response to the conviction of the Holy Spirit, but walking out this determination is a lifelong process with many ups and downs. Continue reading “Repent”

Convicted by the Holy Spirit

Lesson Goal: Help the disciple understand the nature of divine conviction and discern whether or not they have been convicted by the Holy Spirit.

Instructor’s Notes: The conviction of sin comes in different ways to different people. To some it might be very dramatic and last for an extended period of time during which the person is very aware that they are under God’s wrath and in bondage to sin. This experience might greatly influence their day to day life as they wrestle with their guilt and fears; they might have trouble sleeping, eating or concentrating on day to day activities. Other people might experience the Holy Spirit’s conviction in a more subtle way. They might grow concerned about the state of their soul and their relationship with God over a period of time, but not to the point where it interferes with their day to day activities. For others the conviction of sin and judgment might come in a moment of time which immediately leads them to repent of their sins and trust in Christ.  Continue reading “Convicted by the Holy Spirit”

Intro to Pre-Baptism Instruction

 

Biblical Conversion

Acts 2:36-39

“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

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?”

Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”

This passage teaches us how God brings people to salvation in Christ. It shows us the order of conversion. In these lessons we will discuss each point in this conversion process in order to help the candidate for baptism, and the instructor, discern whether or not the candidate meets the conditions for baptism. There will also be a lesson discussing the practical issues related to baptism and a post-baptism lesson designed to help the disciple recognize the influence of the Holy Spirit in the life of a genuine believer. The 6 lesson topics are as follows:

  1. Conviction of sin by the Holy Spirit
  2. Repentance from rebellion against God
  3. Saving faith in Jesus Christ
  4. Baptism in water
  5. Practical instruction about the baptism ceremony
  6. Evidences of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling

Continue reading “Intro to Pre-Baptism Instruction”

A Tract for Nominal Christians

Consider Jesus Christ’s question to you, “Why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord, ‘ and don’t do the things I say?” (Luke 6:46)

Jesus taught that he who sins is a slave to sin and that a slave will not live in the Father’s house forever (John 8:34-35). He also taught that many people who believe that he is Lord will be rejected by him on Judgment Day because they lived in disobedience (Matthew 7:21-23). He told us that on the Last Day those who have done good will be raised to everlasting life and those who have done evil will be raised to everlasting judgment (John 5:28-29). And in the last chapter of the Bible he warned us that when he returns he will pay back each person according to their deeds (Revelation 22:12).

In light of his teaching and his warnings are you ready for the Day of Judgment? Don’t comfort yourself by saying that you have been baptized, or that you are a member of a church, or even that you are a church leader. None of these will save you on that Day when “God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ” and all will “appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be repaid for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil” (Romans 2:16, 2 Corinthians 5:10).

“But I was born a Christian,” some will say. But that is a lie according to God’s word. The Bible teaches that everyone was born in sin and has lived in sin. For this reason Jesus said, “Unless you are born again you will never see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). Maybe you feel relieved when you hear that because you were “born again” in the waters of baptism. But Jesus went onto say, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 5:5). Being baptized is good, but it is not enough to get you to heaven. You must be born again by the Spirit of God; you must receive a new heart with new desires. Since you were born a sinner you can do nothing but sin against God. For this reason you are under the condemnation of God up until this moment. You need God to change you from within so you can live a holy life.

Jesus said that only the pure in heart would see God, and in the book of Hebrews we are taught that we will never see God if we don’t live a holy life (Matthew 5:8, Hebrews 12:14). When someone asked Jesus what we must do to inherit eternal life he answered that we must love the Lord our God with all of our heart soul, mind and strength, and we must love our neighbor as ourselves (Luke 10:25-28). Romans 13:8-10 tells us that if we love God and others we will not break God’s commandments. In fact, 1 John 2:3-4 tells us that if someone says that they know God but don’t obey his commands they are a liar. In the next chapter, 1 John 3:4-9 tells us that anyone who lives in sin is a child of the devil, and that anyone who is born again by God’s Spirit stops sinning against God.

Consider your situation in light of what Hebrews 10:26-27 warns:

For if we deliberately sin after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire about to consume the adversaries.

Don’t imagine that God will somehow overlook your sins. God is holy. He hates sin so much that He created a place of eternal torment for those that practice it. You cannot escape the wrath of God because you were born in a Christian family, because you were baptized or because you faithfully attend church and truly believe Jesus is the Savior of the world. None of this will save you on the Day that God will judge you according to what you have done!

In Romans 3:23 we are taught that the wages of sin is death. This means that what you have sown you will reap. You have sown sin and you will reap death and destruction from a holy God. All your life you have gone to church on Sunday, prayed, heard the teaching of the Bible, sang songs and then went home back into the same sins. Your judgment will be worse than those who have never heard of Christ because you knew he was the Lord but refused to obey his commands. Instead you imagined that you could do what you wanted without any consequences.

Consider what Hebrew 10:28-31 warns:

If anyone disregards Moses’ law, he dies without mercy, based on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment do you think one will deserve who has trampled on the Son of God, regarded as profane the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know the One who has said, Vengeance belongs to Me, I will repay, and again, The Lord will judge His people. It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God!

You must do two things to escape the wrath of God that is coming upon you.

  1. You must repent!

Repentance is the decision in your heart to stop sinning and rebelling against a holy God. God is good and you are evil. He is not going to destroy you because he is mean. No, he is very, very good! But that is a problem for you. A good God hates sin and will not tolerate it. But you live in sin. Out of your heart comes many evil things like evil thoughts, immorality, lust, watching pornography, pride, violence, anger, hatred, cursing, drunkenness, drug use, jealousy, lying, stealing, selfishness, hypocrisy, adultery, fornication, etc. You are full of sin! And God hates all of it! He is not evil, you are!

With the decision to turn from sin must come action. You must do whatever you need to do in order to avoid temptation. If certain friends influence you to sin, leave them. It is better to go to heaven without them than go to hell with them. You must take action to leave sin!

  1. You must place your trust in Christ!

Repentance only gets you away from sin, but it doesn’t wash you clean from your sin. You still have a life of sin behind you and a heart filled with sinful desires to get freed from. Only Jesus Christ can forgive your past and change your heart.

You might have believed your whole life that Jesus is the Savior of the world, that is good, but even the demons believe that. You must believe from your heart that Jesus died to wash you clean from your sins. You must believe he did it for you, not just for the world. If you still aren’t sure whether you are going to heaven when you die, then you have not yet believed in Christ. If you truly believed that Jesus died to wash away your sins you would not fear death, but would rejoice that you have eternal life. Place your trust in what he did for you! You must believe in the blood of Jesus Christ!

But Jesus did not just die to wash away your past sins, he also rose from the dead in order to give you a new heart and life. He overcame sin, death and the devil in order to set your free. He said that anyone that sins is a slave to sin and will not go to heaven, but he also said that if he sets you free from sin you will be truly free (John 8:33-35). The decision to turn away from sins must come from your heart, but the power to walk out that decision will come from the Holy Spirit that God will give you the moment you truly trust in Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. You must receive that power by walking out repentance while trusting in Jesus Christ to transform you on the inside.

What sin are you willing to go to hell for?! No sin is worth it! Leave your sins and turn to the holy God. God loves you so much that he sent his Son to die for your redemption, will you love your sin more than such a wonderful God?!

What will you trust to wash away your sins? Do you think going to church, or being a faithful church member can cleanse you of all the evil things you have thought, said and done?! Only the sacrifice of Christ can wash away your sins and only his Holy Spirit can give you a new heart with new desires so you can love God supremely and love others as much as you love yourself.

Flee the wrath of God by turning away from your sins and placing your trust in the Savior!

The Problem (Evangelistic Bible Study – Lesson 1)

The Sinfulness of Man – Part 1

Read and Discuss:

Romans 3:23

All people have sinned. All have rebelled against God and His commands.

Jeremiah 17:9

The problem of sin does not start in people’s actions, but in their heart. God sees the heart is wicked. Even if people can control their actions, their thoughts and desires condemn them.

Genesis 8:21

The sinful desires of people start early in life. It is not something people have to learn to do; though know it naturally. Continue reading “The Problem (Evangelistic Bible Study – Lesson 1)”

The Solution (Evangelistic Bible Study – Lesson 2)

The Cross of Christ – Part 1

Read and Discuss:

Romans 6:23

Our problem is that God is holy, hates sin and will punish it; and that we are sinful, love sin, and so will suffer the eternal wrath of a holy God. Though there is no way for us to solve this problem, God in His great love for His enemies has made a way so that we cannot only escape the wrath of God, but so that we can receive eternal life as well. This gift of forgiveness and eternal life comes through Jesus Christ. Continue reading “The Solution (Evangelistic Bible Study – Lesson 2)”

The Response (Evangelistic Bible Study – Lesson 3)

Repent – Part 1

Read and Discuss:

Luke 13:3, John 5:14

Jesus makes it very clear that we must repent of sin or we will perish. People cannot live self-centered and sinful lives and be followers of Jesus Christ. Continue reading “The Response (Evangelistic Bible Study – Lesson 3)”