Whether you have been a Christian for years or just beginning your journey, our 7-week Foundations class is just for you! The Tower of Pisa in Italy has leaned for hundreds of years because someone failed to lay the correct foundation. In Foundations you will receive the right foundation so that your life won’t lean in the wrong direction in your Christian journey. Here is a breakdown of the 7 weeks and the topics we will be covering:
Week 1: Introduction & First Things First: The Bible & Prayer Week 2: God’s Love for You/Your Love for Others Week 3: The 2 Roads: Judgment & Mercy Week 4: Our Response to God’s Love: Repentance & Faith Week 5: Baptism in Water/The Power of the Spirit Week 6: The Cost of Being a Follower of Jesus: The Lordship of Jesus Week 7: Finding your Position: Christian Community
So, if you are ready…let’s go for it! “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” - 2 Corinthians 5:17
The following are spiritual training lessons to help you, along with the assistance of a spiritual coach (discipler-mentor), learn the truths of God and to grow in the Christian life. Upon completion of these short training sessions, you will understand in a greater way how to obtain new life in Jesus Christ, and how to follow Him to personal victory. The best way to carry out these sessions is to look up each scripture given in the Bible and allow God to reveal Himself to you!
First Things First: The Bible & Prayer Session #1 Your Bible: The authenticity of the Holy Bible has been attacked at regular intervals by atheists and theologians alike but none have explained away the scientific and mathematical seal beneath its surface. It would seem the divine hand has moved to prevent counterfeiting in the pages of the Bible in a similar manner to the line that runs through paper money. Bible numerics and the probability of random fulfillment of the thousands of its prophecies appear to be God’s watermark of authenticity. In the original languages of the Bible, mostly Hebrew and Greek, there are no separate symbols for numbers. Letters of the alphabet are also used to indicate numbers. (ex. XI, XII, etc.) Vital research on this numeric seal was completed by a native of the world’s most renowned atheistic nation, Russia. Ivan Panin was born in Russia on December 12, 1855. As a young man he was an active nihilist and participated in plots against the Czar and his government. He was a mathematical genius who died a Harvard scholar and a citizen of the United States in 1942. The works of Ivan Panin have been put before the experts many times. His discovery of perfect mathematical sequences of multiples of 7 throughout the Bible could not be a mere coincidence. The random chance of these secret patterns, as well as the laws of probability applied to the fulfillment of Biblical prophecies appearing as coincidence would be astronomical. Panin once challenged nine noted rationalists and Bible critics through the medium of the New York Sun newspaper. He dared them to publicly refute or give explanation for a few of his presented facts. Four made lame excuses. The rest were silent. Panin issued a challenge throughout leading newspapers of the world asking for a natural explanation or rebuttal of the facts. Not a single person accepted. This complex system of numbering visibly and invisibly saturates every book of the scriptures emphasizing certain passages and illustrating deeper or further meaning in types and shadows. The 66 books of the Bible, 39 in the Old and 27 in the New were written by 33 different people. Those authors were scattered throughout various countries of the world and from widely different backgrounds. Many of them had little or no schooling. The whole Bible was written over a period of 1,500 years. Despite the handicaps, the biblical books are found to be a God breathed harmonious record, each in accord with the other. Panin says the laws of probability are exceeded into the billions when we try and rationalize the authorship of the Bible as the work of man. He once said: “If human logic is worth anything at all we are simply driven to the conclusion that if my facts I have presented are true, man could never have done this”.
“We must assume that a Power higher than man guided the writers in such a way, whether they knew it or not, they did it and the Great God inspired them to do it”. Some have heralded Albert Einstein as a scientist who patently rejected the existence of God and the Bible in His early years. However, later on in his life there seemed to be a change that occurred. The assumption that Einstein patently rejected the Bible’s teachings is contradicted by the auctioning (6/8/13) of a copy of the holy book that he once inscribed. Albert Einstein said: “In the view of such harmony in the cosmos which I, with my limited human mind, am able to recognize, there are yet people who say there is no God. But what makes me really angry is that they quote me for support for such views…I want to know how God created this world. I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know his thoughts. The rest are details.” (Princeton University) God’s thoughts are found in this amazing supernatural book called The Bible! Jesus Christ Himself validated the authenticity of the Bible as the Words of God. He often quoted from Scripture and said that it would never pass away. There are more original manuscripts of the Bible than any other piece of ancient literature including Shakespeare, Plato, or Aristotle combined! Other great thinkers and scientists of all time believed in the Bible in its historical and literal sense. They saw no conflict between what they knew from science and the Bible. These include: • • • • • • • • • •
Sir Francis Bacon (inventor of the Scientific Method) Isaac Newton (invented Calculus, Law of Gravity, & the 3 Laws of Motion) Nicolaus Steno (the father of Stratigraphy) Robert Boyle (the father of Modern Chemistry) Johannes Kepler (founder of Physical Astronomy) Michael Faraday (one of the greatest physicists of all time) Gregory Mendel (the father of Genetics) Louis Pasteur (the father of Bacteriology) Christopher Columbus Presidents and Forefathers Abraham Lincoln, John Adams, George Washington, Patrick Henry, Franklin & Theodore Roosevelt, Daniel & Noah Webster and many more.
This is simply a random sampling of many greats throughout history who strongly held to the fact that the Bible is God’s inspired Words. To deny this reality a person is either in denial, ignorant to the power within its pages, or as a few atheist scholars have openly admitted; that to believe in the Bible is to believe in the Author/Creator of it. This then would mean that if a Creator does exist, He has an intrinsic right to set standards of behavior, and simply put: people do not like these standards! The NASB, NKJ, NIV, or ESV versions of the Bible are known for accuracy of translation from the Greek and Hebrew texts. They are excellent study Bibles and easy to understand.
Do you own a Bible? _________________________________________________________________ Which translation of the Bible do you own? ______________________________________________
Why Study the Bible? Please Read 2 Timothy 3:16-17 How were the scriptures given to us? ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ What is scripture profitable for? 1. ____________________________________ 2. ____________________________________ 3. ____________________________________ 4. ____________________________________ What are some of the advantages to studying the Word of God? Psalm 1:1-3 _________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ Psalm 119:2-3 ______________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ Psalm 119:11 _______________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________
Psalm 119:98-100 ___________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ Psalm 119: 105 _____________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ Psalm 119:165 ______________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ Joshua 1:8 __________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ Proverbs 4:20-22 ____________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ Hebrews 4:12 _______________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ When you meditate on the Word of God it will cause you to be careful to do all that He commands. And when you obey God’s commands He prospers every area of your life. Read Deuteronomy 28:1-2. Jesus says in Matthew 4:4 “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Much in the same way as we eat food daily to keep our physical bodies from becoming weak, we are also spiritual beings and need spiritual bread, which is the Word of God, to live out the Christian calling.
Why Pray? Christianity was never intended to be a sterile religion. Its original design in the Garden of Eden was relationship. Prayer is the conversation with God that builds relationship! All great men and women of the Bible, history, and the present church PRAY Without exception, growing Christians are praying Christians! As its been said; “There are only 2 types of Christians - those who seek God and those who don’t”. We long to be those Christians that seek God with our whole heart demonstrated through prayer/worship. What do these verses say about prayer and pursuing God? Hebrews 11:6_______________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ Luke 5:16, 6:12 _____________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ Mark 1:35, 6:46 ____________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ Psalm 34:8 _________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ John 15:1-8 _________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ Hebrews 4:16 _______________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ Luke 18:1-6 _________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________
It’s interesting that so many people say, “I don’t have time,” or “I am too busy to seek the Lord.” In reality, it is quite the opposite! If you are too busy, how can you not make time for the Lord? Thinking we are too busy is not Biblical and is not Kingdom minded. Even the Son of Man, who only had three years to fulfill His ministry purposes here on earth, knew how important it was to seek the face of the Father!! And yet Jesus, knows the Father much more intimately than we possibly could. If we only knew that seeking the Lord and being in the Word of God are equivalent to being on life support! But we have become so good at relying on ourselves and being in control.
What is the “Secret Place” According to Matthew 6:6? ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ We must have a specially selected place for prayer, but once we get there this plague of wandering thoughts begins, as we begin to think to ourselves, ‘This needs to be done, and I have to do that today.’ Jesus says to ‘shut your door.’ Having a secret stillness before God means deliberately shutting the door on our emotions, and remembering Him. God is in secret, and He sees us from ‘the secret place’—He does not see us as other people do, or as we see ourselves. When we truly live in ‘the secret place,’ it becomes impossible for us to doubt God. We become surer of Him than of anyone or anything else. Enter into ‘the secret place’ and you will find that God is right in the middle of your everyday circumstances all the time. Get into the habit of dealing with God about everything. – Oswald Chambers Why is singing and worship so important in our prayer time according to Psalm 100:4, John 4:23-24? ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________
Conclusion The Bible is God’s love letter to us! In it we learn His character, His ways, His wisdom, and His greatness. Through regular study, application, and meditation in His word, our faith grows as we get close to Him. Through prayer (which includes worship), we become intimate with our heavenly Father and His Son Jesus. Prayer moves us from “religion” to a dynamic “relationship”, from “knowing about God”, to really “knowing” Him!
God’s Love for You/ Your Love for Others Session #2 2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore if any man is in Christ he is a new creation, the old things have passed away: behold new things have come.” When you become a Christian by surrendering your life to Jesus Christ, you take on His name and His very nature. You begin a process of renewal that will last a lifetime. One of the first things that you experience in becoming a new creation is a new relationship with God. In this relationship you are accepted as a son or daughter, not on the basis of your past achievements, but on the basis of your new birth in Christ.
God’s Love for Us Please read the following passages. What do these verses say about God’s love for you? Romans 8:35 _______________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ 1 John 3:1 __________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ 1 John 4:19 _________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ Ephesians 2:4 _______________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________
Jeremiah 31:3 _______________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ Exodus 34:6 ________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ Isaiah 30:18 ________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ Romans 8:38-39 _____________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ 1 John 4:8 __________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ One of the greatest expressions of God’s love is that He is the Father. God wants those who have genuinely received Christ to see themselves as sons of God, heirs of His promises, fellow-heirs with His Son Jesus. He wants us to trust that we have a heavenly Father who cares, provides, comforts, and guides us. Please read John 1:12 To whom does God give authority to become children of God? _____________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ Please read Galatians 4:6-7 and Romans 8:15-16 Because we are sons, what spirit has God sent into our hearts? _____________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ What spirit has He not given us? _______________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________
Instead of giving us the spirit of slavery, God has given us a Spirit of Sonship by which we cry out, “Abba Father”. (Abba means Father in Hebrew). Let us examine the difference between a slave and a son within a household: SLAVE · Exists solely to serve the household. · Derives his value by what he can do. His value is based upon what he performs or produces. · Is subject to profit or loss analysis. If he does not profit his master, he can be done away with. · Receives no relationship of commitment. He is kept so long as he benefits his master. SON · · · ·
Exists by birthright. Derives his value from his potential- not by what he can do, but by what he can be. Fulfills a purpose or destiny, instead of simply having profit or loss value. Builds his life around a father figure not some arbitrary authority. Relationship is a principle part of the son’s life.
God has not given us the spirit of slavery, where His love for us is based on our performance as a Christian. Instead, He has given us the Spirit of Sonship, where our acceptance is based solely on our surrender to Christ. Ephesians 2:8: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, not of works, lest any man should boast, it is a gift from God.” Please read Hebrews 12:4-11. According to this scripture, what form does God’s love sometimes take? ____________________________________________________________________________________ Why does God discipline His children? (Verses 6, 10) ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ All discipline is for the moment sorrowful, but afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. God deals with us as legitimate sons. He disciplines us because He loves us and wants us to share in His holiness.
God’s Plan for Your Life Please read Jeremiah 29:11-13, Psalm 84:11, and Proverbs 3:5-6. What are God’s promises concerning your future? _______________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ Please read John 17:24, 1 Corinthians 1:9, and Ephesians 1:3-6. Why did God make you? _____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ God created each person with a specific purpose in life, that is, to have fellowship with Him and to be like Christ. By seeking God on a daily basis, you come to know Him more intimately. As you grow as a Christian, let the love that God has for you and the love that you have for Him form the foundation of your life. Let it be the bedrock of all your motives and actions. If you allow this love relationship to grow, you will always have a burning desire to please the Lord. You will have a heart to separate yourself from the world’s evil influences, and to come into the church where God has called you to fulfill His purposes for your life. If you will keep your initial awareness of God’s love for you and the fire of your first love for Him in the center of your life, your heart will never grow cold and you will experience life beyond your greatest expectations. 1 Corinthians 2:9: “…Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him. “
Our Love for Others God has done powerful things in your life and NOW is the time to share with others. Though you may feel like a young Christian, you still know more than others who do not know Jesus. Like a doctor that has a cure for a deadly disease, you have the answer that can save others from the deadly problem of sin. No doctor would keep silent about his discovery, nor should you about the changes that the Lord has made in your life. Please read Revelation 12:11.
How did the saints of God overcome the schemes of the devil? ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ Please read Luke 24:47-48; Matthew 28:18-20. What were the marching orders that Jesus gave His followers? ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ Please read Acts 1:8. Why does Jesus give us His power? ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ Please read Matthew 10:32-33. If we openly talk about Jesus to others what will Jesus do for us? ____________________________________________________________________________________ Please read Matthew 9:36. How did Jesus feel while observing lost humanity? ____________________________________________________________________________________ Please read Matthew 9:37-38; Luke 5: 31-32. What did He say about it? ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ Please read Luke 15:1-10. When is there the most joy in Heaven? ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________
Read James 5:20. When we help turn a person to Christ what is the result? ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ We are not responsible to try to convince people or convict them of sin. This is the responsibility of the Holy Spirit (John 16:7-11). Our job is to simply speak about what Christ has done in our lives and to make disciples (Christ followers). Remember, the Bible says in Romans 1:16: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”
Conclusion The gospel is God’s way to get His power into men’s lives. By sharing your testimony, you can be a part of God’s power team. Also, 2 Timothy 1:7 (KJV) says: “For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
The Two Roads: Judgment & Mercy Session # 3 We now understand that God is love and has great plans for His creation. Moving on from this basis, it is also important to realize that the Bible describes many other aspects of the nature of God. False or incomplete concepts of God are dangerous. When you live your life with a concept of God that is at odds with what the Bible says, the horrible consequences of such deception can be eternal. Therefore, it is wise to learn what the Bible says about God. Bob Dylan sang a song that says, “Ya gotta serve somebody. It may be the devil. It may be the Lord. But ya gotta serve somebody…” Jesus said there are only two distinct eternal destinies. In other words, either you are on the team or you’re not! According to Matthew 7:13-14, along which path is the majority of the people of the world walking? ____________________________________________________________________________________ Where will they spend eternity? ________________________________________________________ According to Jesus’ word in Matthew 7:20-23, who are those who are not on His team and will not enter the Kingdom of God? ____________________________________________________________________________________ Either Jesus was speaking the honest truth or He was lying. Let’s delve a little deeper into the heart of man to find the answer. See 2 Timothy 3:1-5, Mark 7:6-9, Matthew 13:24-30. According to John 10:10, Jeremiah 29:11-13, what has been God’s plan from the beginning for us? ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ Before we can fully experience what the Bible says about going to Heaven (getting on the Winning team), first we need to find out who cannot enter Heaven, regardless of how many “so-called” good works are done in this life. Read 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Galatians 5:19-21, Ephesians 5:3-6. Who are those who will not go to heaven?
____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ Note that Paul was writing to churches (civilized, religious people). What does the Bible say about our great final exam? Read 2 Corinthians 5:10, Acts 17:3031, Romans 2:4-6, Revelation 20:11-15. ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ According to Matthew 12:36, can we hide anything from God on this day? ____________________________________________________________________________________ As it’s been said: “The Game Film Shows it All!” Everyone has sinned and we find ourselves separated from God because of our rebellion and selfwill. Though God has shown us His love and put His law in our conscience, we have hardened our hearts, made excuses and rationalizations, or justifications, and ignored the right path. The result is the tragedy and heartache we see around us every day. Through this choice to ignore God’s better way, all of us deserve eternal punishment forewarned by God: separation from Him now in the present, and eventually, Hell. The good news is that we can escape God’s judgment and get on the winning team!
God’s Answer As you can see, God is a God of justice as well as a God of love. In order to maintain His perfect righteousness and justice, the foundation of His throne (or lordship), God must rule justly. However, God is also merciful and therefore desires to forgive your sin. Because God is righteous, He cannot forgive sin arbitrarily or unfairly. He must forgive sin in a way that satisfies His justice and His mercy at the same time. This is accomplished in Jesus. God’s mercy extends as far as the crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the surrender of your life to Him. There is no mercy outside of Christ. There is no forgiveness of sin outside of Christ. There is abundant mercy in Christ. There is abundant forgiveness of sin in Christ. God, being a God of love, has not left us without a solution.
According to John 3:16-18, Romans 5:8-9, 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, what is the only provision of God for your sin? ____________________________________________________________________________________ According to John 3:19-21, what will be the basis for mankind’s judgment? ____________________________________________________________________________________ According to John 14:6, Acts 4:12, and 1 Timothy 2:5, who is the only mediator (go between agent) between God and man? ____________________________________________________________________________________ According to 2 Corinthians 5:21 & 8:9, what is the “Great Exchange”? ____________________________________________________________________________________ What do the following verses say about God’s mercy and grace? Romans 5:1-2 _______________________________________________________________________ Ephesians 2:8-9 _____________________________________________________________________ Romans 6:14, 11:6 __________________________________________________________________ 1 Corinthians 6:11 ___________________________________________________________________ Titus 2:1 ____________________________________________________________________________
Conclusion Only Jesus can forgive you and free you from a life of sin. He died, and by this made a way for us to enter Heaven and to be able to enjoy a restored relationship with God our Creator! Jesus took our place and our punishment. He exchanged His righteousness for our sin. He took our curse and gave us His blessing. Because of His sinless life, He was the only one qualified to pay the penalty for man’s sin and to bridge the gap between God and man. Therefore, our salvation is based on what Jesus did for us on the cross. It has nothing to do with what we do for Him. God’s grace/unmerited favor brings forgiveness and freedom from the poison of sin, and helps us walk in victory!
Our Response to God’s Love: Repentance & Faith Session #4 What is the initial step we must take to receive the forgiveness (pardon) for our sins in which Jesus made possible? See Matthew 4:17, Acts 3:18-20 & 26, Luke 13:3-5. ____________________________________________________________________________________ Romans 2:4 says, “It is the kindness of the Lord that leads to repentance.“ Although it is God that draws you to repentance, you must remember that the choice to repent is yours. Repentance is turning away from all that the Bible calls sin. It is more than making resolutions with good intentions, or just “feeling sorry” or trying harder. It is dealing with your very nature. It is the only way to change your spiritual condition from a state of sin and death to a state of forgiveness and life. Adam and Eve chose to sin and live their lives on their own, apart from God’s commands. Hence, independence from God is the root of all sin. Since the root of all sin is rebellion, the initial decision you must make is the total surrender of your life to Christ, in order to change your spiritual condition. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.” (John 14:6) Without the total surrender of your life to Jesus Christ, repentance for sin is meaningless and unproductive. Many try to repent for individual sins without surrendering their lives to Christ. This only leads to frustration and discouragement. In order to repent you must first find a place of godly sorrow. Please read 2 Corinthians 7:9-10 and Psalm 51:4 Many people have become sorry for the sins they have committed because they got caught or because they are suffering from the consequences of their sin. This is worldly sorrow. What does worldly sorrow lead to? _____________________________________________________ What does godly sorrow produce? _____________________________________________________ Godly sorrow comes when one realizes that he or she has sinned against God and deeply regrets offending Him. This sorrow will produce true repentance that will lead to salvation. Please read Psalm 51, David’s prayer of repentance for committing adultery.
In your own words describe what repentance personally means to you. ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ Please read Psalm 32:3-5 and Proverbs 28:13. What happens when you conceal your transgressions or sins? ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ Repentance then is an internal change, a 180-degree turn from sin and a choice (decision) to follow Christ. Anything less will not bring about lasting results. Please read 1 John 1:9 and Psalm 32:5. What happens when you confess your sins to the Lord? ____________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ Please read James 5:16. What happens when we confess our sins to one another? ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________
James 4:6-7 “God is opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble; submit therefore to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you.” Confessing your sin to God is your first step toward repentance. As you humble yourself before God and others, God will pour out His grace and His love on you, so that you may be forgiven and healed. As you put your trust in Christ, He will give you the strength and the ability to repent. Please read Mark 1:14-15, Romans 10:8-11, John 1:12, John 5:24. second step to receive what Jesus did for us on the cross?
What is the
____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ According to Jesus, true “believing” is a complete trust in (clinging to, confidence in) Him and in the price He paid for us when He died on the cross. This type of trust means that you stop trusting in your own good works to earn a place on His winning team. Please read Ephesians 2:8-9, Acts 15:11, Romans 3:23-24, Romans 5:1, Titus 3:5-6. ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ Works are the things we try to do to somehow feel better about ourselves before God. They can even be good religious works, but if they aren’t based in repentance and faith in Christ, they are “dead works”.
Conclusion There’s no way possible we can be good enough to save ourselves. Only by the grace and mercy of God can we be forgiven as we repent (turn from sin) and believe (trust in) Jesus to bring us into right standing (righteousness) with God.
Baptism In Water/Receiving the Power Session #5 Baptism in Water Once we are on the right team, it is time to get new uniforms! As we read in Acts 2:38, what are the three things Peter told the men who wanted to join Jesus’ team? 1. _________________________________________________________________________________ 2. _________________________________________________________________________________ 3. _________________________________________________________________________________ Baptism in water is the second of these important steps. Many of us have been baptized as infants or as children, but the scripture shows us that baptism is something that must come after repentance. Until we have come under the Lordship of Jesus, water baptism cannot take on its full meaning. What does the Bible say in Acts 2:41 was the first thing those who received the word did? ____________________________________________________________________________________ Again in Acts 8:12, what did the people do who believed the good news? ____________________________________________________________________________________ A few verses later, we read that Philip began preaching Jesus to an Ethiopian eunuch. What was the eunuch’s response in Acts 8:36-38. ____________________________________________________________________________________ Immediately, the eunuch wanted to be baptized. So Philip took him down into the waters to be baptized. The Bible shows us that those who believed in Jesus immediately wanted to be baptized in obedience to His word.
In another example, a man asked in Acts 16:30-33: “…Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved, you and your household.’ And they spoke the word of the Lord to him together with all who were in his house. And he took them that very hour of the night and washed their wounds and immediately he was baptized, he and all his household.”
Why Water Baptism? Baptism is the, “I’m all in” response to the good news of Jesus Christ. Similar to when someone decides to get married after counting the costs, they willingly forsake all other candidates and put on the ring of matrimony. This demonstrates their true commitment to their spouse. In the same way, water baptism is an outward demonstration of an inward commitment to forsake all false gods, and follow Christ alone!
Following Jesus’ Example In baptism, the Bible compares our experience to that of Jesus. Just as Jesus was crucified and died, we too die to our old lives and desires. What does Galatians 2:20 say about our relationship with Christ? ____________________________________________________________________________________ After Jesus was crucified, He was buried. The Bible compares our baptism to His burial. Read Romans 6:1-9 and read Romans 6:4 aloud: “Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in the newness of life.” In baptism we are buried with Christ and as He rose from the dead, we too rise up from baptism in newness of life. It is a pledge of a good conscience toward God, and a uniting with the finished work of Christ on the cross and the power of His resurrection! Colossians 2:12 says: “Having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in working of God, who raised Him from the dead.”
How does Colossians 2:12 say we can be raised up with Him? ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ That’s right! When we are baptized, our faith is that God will fulfill His promises for baptism. We do not put our faith in the one who baptizes us, but in God who raised Jesus from the dead! Baptism is not a suggestion. Acts 10:48 says that Peter ordered them to be baptized. What were Jesus’ last words to His followers in Matthew 28:19? ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ After we are baptized we have a new freedom. Like shaking a big lineman off our backs, we can now run toward the goal! Acts 22:16 says, “And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on His name?”
Receiving the Power (Filling of the Spirit) In Acts 2:38, Peter tells the people to repent, to be baptized, and receive the Holy Spirit. Before Jesus died on the cross, He told His disciples many things about the Holy Spirit. In John 14:26, Jesus described the Holy Spirit this way: “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” Please read John 14:26. What did Jesus call the Holy Spirit? _____________________________________________________ What did Jesus say the Helper would do? ________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________
In John 16:13, Jesus called the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth. What did He say the Spirit of truth would do? ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ After Jesus rose from the dead, He appeared to His disciples. Read John 20:19-22. When Jesus breathed on them what did they receive? ____________________________________________________________________________________ Jesus gathered His team of disciples and told them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Read Acts 8:12-17. Explain why we know the believers in Samaria were already Christians when they received the filling of the Holy Spirit: ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ Read Acts 1:4-5. What did His team need? ___________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ Acts 1:8 says: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you: and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” His team needed the same thing we need today – Power! Jesus wanted to give His team the power to spread the gospel throughout the whole earth. The disciples did receive this power on the day of Pentecost. Read Acts 2:1-4. What happened when they were filled with the Holy Spirit? ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________
The Bible says the disciples were speaking in other tongues. Men from every nation were there and heard the disciples speaking in their own languages. In Acts 2:11, what were the disciples speaking about? ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ The people were amazed to hear the disciples speaking of the mighty deeds of God! The disciples had received the power to be witnesses for God. They were boldly declaring God’s works. We too can receive this power to be His witnesses. Read Acts 19:1-2, 6. What was the response of the Christians in Ephesus when Paul spoke of the Holy Spirit? ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ Later, Peter, one of Jesus’ disciples, was preaching and the Bible says the Holy Spirit fell on those who were listening. According to Acts 10:46, how did the people know the Holy Spirit had fallen on them? ____________________________________________________________________________________ Acts 19:6 gives us another example: “And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying.” All of these believers were filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied and spoke in tongues. Speaking in tongues and prophecy is one of the manifestations of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. You may ask, “Is all this available for me today?” Yes, it is! If Jesus’ team needed the power of the Holy Spirit in their day, we still need it today. Hebrews 13:8 says: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, and forever.” Speaking of the gift of the Holy Spirit, Acts 2:39 says: “For the promise is for you and your children, and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord your God shall call to Himself.” God has called us to Himself and His promise is for us!
How Can I Receive The Holy Spirit? Jesus answers this question in Luke 11:10-13: “For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it shall be opened. Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” This verse makes it clear that if we ask, God will give us the power of the Holy Spirit. The Bible says in Mark 11:24: “Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they shall be granted you.” Just as in the books of Acts, when we are baptized in the Holy Spirit, we receive the abilities of all the gifts of the Holy Spirit as the Spirit wills. Please read: 1 Corinthians 12:8-10. What are the gifts of the Holy Spirit? a. ________________________
i. _________________________ Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 14:5 that he wished that all would speak in tongues. He desired also that they would prophesy, for the one who prophesies edifies the whole church. Yet, the gift of tongues is the only gift given to build up the individual believer. What did Paul say were some of the different purposes for speaking in tongues or for praying in the Holy Spirit? 1 Corinthians 14:4 says: ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________
Jude 20 also says: ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ As we pray in the Holy Spirit, we build ourselves up and encourage ourselves in God. Faith arises in our hearts! According to, 1 Corinthians 14:14-17 as we pray in the Holy Spirit, what else are we doing? ____________________________________________________________________________________ According to Romans 8:26-27, how does the Holy Spirit help our weaknesses? ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ Another exciting aspect of praying in the Spirit is that the Holy Spirit prays through us according to the will of God. Even though we do not know how to pray for a certain situation, the Holy Spirit prays perfect prayers to God on our behalf. As we can see, powerful things happen when we pray in tongues. What an exciting opportunity to receive God’s power in our lives!
The Cost of Being a Follower of Jesus Session #6 Please read Mark 8:34-36. What did Jesus say that you must do if you desire to follow Him? ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ What will happen to those who seek to save their own lives? ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ Please read Matthew 19:16-30. What did the rich young ruler want? (vs.16) ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ Jesus’ response was that he should keep the commandments. What was the rich young ruler’s response? ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ Notice that although the rich young ruler had been morally good and obedient, he still recognized that his relationship with God was not right and was lacking. What requirement did Jesus make of him? (vs.21) ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________
Jesus put his finger on the man’s idolatry, upon his god-the thing he was truly serving. What action by the rich young ruler proved that he was serving another god? ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ Notice that Jesus did not run after this man to make a compromise to give him another chance. The first and greatest commandment is found in Exodus 20:3 “You shall have no other gods before Me.” What is the responsibility of man to be a true Christian (Christ-follower)? Luke 14:25-27, Matthew 16:24-26, Matthew 10:37-39: ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ In order to be true a true follower of Christ, you must be willing to take up your cross daily and to forsake anything you love more than God. For the rich young ruler, money was the idol in his life. It was the very thing that was holding him back from serving the Lord. Jesus challenged him to give up his idol, but he was not willing to do so. He wanted the things of this world more than a relationship with God. Take this time to pray and ask the Lord if there is anything in your life that is holding you back from serving Him with your whole heart. See 2 Corinthians 5:15, Galatians 2:20, Philippians 2:21, Psalm 139:23-24: What does being crucified with Christ mean to you? ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________
Conclusion To be a follower of Jesus each of us must allow Him to lovingly take control of our entire being. This means not having any idols or false gods (money, careers, sports, friends, etc.) in our lives. As we surrender to His leadership, He forgives us and gives us eternal life. He also begins an ongoing process of maturing us (sanctification) and developing each day more and more the nature of God in our souls (mind, will, intellect, and emotions). The fact is that we all begin our walk in God with character issues and deficiencies. The good news is that through the grace (help) of God and Christ’s resurrection power, we allow Him to bring lasting victory into these areas. Regardless of when you received Christ, you still may have the same habits, desires, experiences, memories, and other factors which are part of your old self that do not produce good fruit. Before you met Jesus, you experienced years of learned behaviors and thoughts. While the Lord may heal and work through some areas instantly, not all of our habits, thoughts, and actions are immediately transformed. The good news is, however, that we are all continuing to be sanctified in and through the power of Jesus (2 Corinthians 3:18, Romans 12:2). Sanctification is the process of moving towards becoming more like Christ.
Finding Your Position: Christian Community Session #7 What would it be like for a player to be on a team, to be in great shape, to be dressed-out, and yet not to have a position to play? He may even play great during practice, but what would be the use if he did not have a position to play in the game? He would be left out, and the team would miss out too. That is much like a new Christian who has repented, been water baptized, and filled with the Holy Spirit but is not a part of a church. God’s team is His church. The church is not a building or a solemn meeting on Sunday. The church is people – exciting and active like a winning team. God’s winning team had many locations and His representatives are all over the world. His church is working around-the-clock to see God’s kingdom established on the earth. God wants to show us our positions on this team. In Acts 2:41, a group of men and women repented and after they were baptized, it says “… there were added that day about three thousand souls.” What were they added to? They were added to God’s kingdom and to the fellowship of believers in Jerusalem. Read Acts 2:42-47. What were some of the things that this fellowship of believers were doing? a. Acts 2:42 ________________________________________________________________________ b. Acts 2:43 ________________________________________________________________________ c. Acts 2:44 ________________________________________________________________________ d. Acts 2:45 ________________________________________________________________________ e. Acts 2:46 ________________________________________________________________________ f. Acts 2:47 _________________________________________________________________________ What a powerful team! And more were being added every day.
How Do You Know Which Church? God has already helped you solve this problem. The scriptures describe the church as being the body of Christ. And the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 12:18: “But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired.” We need to find the church that God has already chosen for us. God wants us to be a part of a church where we can be trained and equipped to be a part of His “power team”. Ephesians 4:14-15 shows us that God wants us to be stable, not tossed here and there by every new teaching and idea. God wants us in a place where we can be continually encouraged and taught to love and to obey God with all our hearts. We need to be where we can hear God’s word preached. God also wants us to have people in our lives who will speak the truth in love to us. Write out Ephesians 4:15: ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ We need men and women who will tell us what God’s word says even if it goes against what we may want to hear. John 8:31-32 says that it is through the truth of God’s word that we are truly made free. Read Hebrews: 13: 17, 1 Peter 5: 1-5. What role does church leadership (spiritual coaches/ pastors) play in our lives? ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ Read Romans 13:1-5. What should be our attitude toward them? ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________
What is My Part? We have seen how the church can help us, now let’s talk about the role we play. Ephesians 4:14-16 compares the church to a body with Jesus being the Head. Though we have pastors and other ministers (who help lead and give us counsel), Jesus is the Head and the central focus of the church. – Not man, nor programs! Read Ephesians 4:14-16 aloud: “As a result we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow in all aspects into Him, who is the Head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and being held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.” As Christians, we can see that each of us is a part of Jesus’ body. Let’s say that one person is the shoulder and another is the arm. Ephesians 4:16 says that the whole body is fitted and held together by “that which every joint supplies.” The joint is where the two parts meet – their relationship. So it is relationships that hold the whole church together. Church is not to be an impersonal gathering. It is to be a place where we build strong, loving relationships. Ephesians 4:16 also emphasizes the importance of “the proper working of each individual part.” The shoulder must make sure that he is in line with the plans of the Head, Jesus. Can you imagine a shoulder or arm or any part that would not cooperate to fulfill its function? The whole body would suffer.
Every Part Is Important As we think about it, we realize that every part of the body is important. Life is much more difficult if any individual part is missing. That is why for God’s team to be a proper working team we must fill our position in it. We have a vital part to play! We may not realize our importance now, but we are important to God and His body, the Church.
To Find Your Position To find your position, pray that God will direct you to the place He has for you. Often when you are born again, or spiritually coached through a ministry or ministered to by a particular church, this is the place God has put you. As you trust Him, God will direct you. God has a position for you!
Read Hebrews 10:24-25 and Luke 16:1-6. What does God say about the importance of “showing up” and participating when the team (church) gathers together? ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ Microchurches are the key to discipleship/spiritual coaching here at the Greenhouse Church. They are the place where worship, mission, and community interplay with everyday life. The way of Jesus cannot be lived alone, so we have set up microchurches to help us better worship God, be in community, and be on mission. Is it better to be on the giving or receiving end of things (time, treasure, talents) in regards to being part of Christ’s church? Explain why referencing Luke 6:38 and Acts 20:35. ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ Read Matthew 20:20-28 and Galatians 5:13-14. How do you practically “get in the game” and participate? ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ What does Philippians 2:1-5, Proverbs 14:14, and Jeremiah 18:12 say about someone who doesn’t want to be a team player? ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ To truly be on Team Jesus you must make it a priority in your life to show up every time the team comes together. Consistently missing church meetings/spiritual coaching sessions reveals a selfcentered heart attitude. Proverbs 18:1 (Ampl.) states: “He who willfully separates and estranges himself (from God and man) seeks his own desire and pretext to breakout against all wise and sound judgment.” Doctors tell us that cancer is really just an independent cell in your body that is wanting to do its own thing!
Read John 15:13, Romans 8:16-18, Philippians 1:29, and 2 Corinthians 5:15. How important is sacrifice and commitment to a winning team? ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ Read Ephesians 2:19-22 and Ephesians 4:15-16. Is it really possible to be committed to the Head Coach (Jesus) and not His Team/Body, i.e. the Church? ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ Read Hebrews 11:6. Who does God reward? ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ Read Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:15, Luke 9:1-2, 2 Timothy 2:2-3 and list 7 aspects of the mission of Christ’s Team/Church. ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________
Conclusion: Community is a family. As a Christian, you are not alone! The church is your family. By your confession of faith, you have been born into a worldwide family joined together not by race, color, or birth, but by the blood of Jesus (Galatians. 3:26-28). Your unity with other Christians is based on your shared faith in Christ. Community is a place to grow spiritually. Community acts as a furnace for spiritual growth (Proverbs. 27:17, Hebrews. 10:24). If a hot coal is left alone it will cool off and eventually go out. A coal, however, will burn brightly when paired and surrounded by others. The Lord places in our lives spiritual fathers and mothers, pastors, mentors, and spiritual coaches. They help us grow spiritually, find our place in God’s family, and flourish in the gifts/talents the Lord has given us to serve Him. This is true Christian community! This is being a part of His winning team!