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This Christian Journey:

 

Impact Three

Assurance, Sin , Baptism,
and the Lord's Supper

Dr. Walter D. Huyck Jr. D. Min. D.R.S.

www.thischristianjourney.com

Unit One, Unit Two, Unit Three, Unit Four, Unit Five

 

UNIT ONE

ASSURANCE,
THE SECURITY OF THE BELIEVER

Once a person sincerely accepts Jesus Christ as his or her personal savior, is it possible for them to loose their salvation? There are many who teach that if one sins after their salvation experience, that they must be saved again for their sins will cause them to go to hell.

Just what is the Scriptural truth about this issue? To help you focus your thoughts, answer a few basic questions.

1. What is it that saves a person?

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2. Is this something they have done or something Jesus has done?

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Keep in mind that Romans 6.23 tells us that eternal life is a gift from God; to possess that gift all that one must do is accept it. There is no real personal work that is done. The gift is not earned; it is given. Also, the gift is only conditioned on acceptance; there is no prerequisite to receive the gift. The gift is eternal and, by any definition, that is a long time. Nowhere in the Bible is it ever said that one receives eternal life until they sin again. No, they just receive eternal life.

Lets consider what Jesus had to say about this gift that He provided for us.

3. Read John 10.24-29; what are the three characteristics of the sheep?  These are listed in verse 27.

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4. Who do these sheep appear to be? _______________________

5. Would every human being alive fit into this category?  Is everyone a sheep? (vs 26) _____

6. What has been given to these sheep (vs 28)? _________________

7. What will they never do (vs 28)? __________________________

8. Where are these sheep held (vs 28-29)? _____________________

9. Who can remove them from this position? ___________________

Clearly, these sheep are born-again believers; the adopted sons of God. We know this because they know their shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ; He knows them, and they hear His voice. Every human being has access to this fold, but not every human being is a part of this fold: only those who have been saved. These sheep are held in the all-powerful hand of our Heavenly-Father, and no one is able to remove them from his omnipotent hand. One could say they are eternally secure in the hand of God.

Someone might argue, "Sure, no one can remove them from God's hand, but there is nothing to keep them from jumping out of God's hand!"The problem here is this individual’s understanding of what God means by in the Father’s hand. This argument presumes that we Christians are merely standing in the palm of God's hand. As if God were holding out his hand nice, flat, and steady so we can just stand there. However, the Bible presents a starkly different spiritual reality.

Isaiah 49:16 Behold, I have __________________ thee upon the ___________________ of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.

Here we discover that we are not standing upon God's hand but we have been graven upon the palms of His hand. We are actually embedded in the very flesh of God's hand. This is a beautiful word picture that has the nails that were driven through our Lord's hands in view. When those nails were driven through His flesh we were embedded into the flesh of our Lord. Thus we are as secure as His flesh is to His hands. You are safe and secure in our Lord Jesus Christ.

10. Read John 6.47.  When did Jesus say a person receives everlasting life, after they die or at salvation? ____________________________

11. Read John 1.12.  What does a person become, when they receive Jesus Christ?

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12. Read Galatians 4.4-7.  In what way does this scripture indicate that they became God's child?

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According to these passages, when a person receives the Lord Jesus Christ they become an adopted child of God. Consider that, both in Jesus day and according to our law, an adopted child has more rights than a natural born child. They are guaranteed, by law, an inheritance and can never be legally disowned. How much more secure could a person be than to be adopted into the family of Almighty-God.

Now, let’s consider one of the arguments that are presented against the security of the believer. Turn in your Bible to Luke 9.57-62. As we go through this passage we need to remember some basic principles of Biblical interpretation.

  1. Never use a difficult or obscure passage of Scripture to redefine another more obvious and simple passage of Scripture.

  2. Never remove a passage from its setting or context.

  3. If your understanding of a passage is correct, you can usually support that passage with other passages of Scripture.

Keeping these things in mind, let’s consider some of the arguments against the security of the believer. Read Luke 9.57-62 carefully. Many who claim that a person can loose their salvation quote this reference in an attempt to support their view.

13. What was Jesus saying to the seeker in verses 57-58?

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14. What do you think Jesus was trying to tell the follower in verses 59-60?

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15. Had the follower in verses 61-62 started following Jesus yet?

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16. What do you think Jesus was trying to tell this follower (consider Luke 14.28-30 as you answer)?

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An older man that had indeed used a mule driven plough once explained the usage of such a device to me. He stated that when one begins to plough and as they are headed away from the barn, the mule pulls very slowly, but once the end of the field is reached and they turn around and head back, the mule starts pulling very quickly. He often pulls so quickly that the farmer has a hard time keeping up. To steer one of those ploughs is a task indeed, especially when it is moving quickly. Should the farmer lose his concentration for just a moment and look back, the plough could veer off the row quickly and plough under a large amount of the crop before control is regained.

When Jesus stated that a farmer that had put his hand to the plough and looked back was not fit for the kingdom of God, He was not speaking of his personal salvation but of his work for God after his salvation. One must concentrate and focus themselves on the work at hand or great damage could be the result of their labors. Also, keep in mind that the 'Kingdom of God' does not necessarily refer to heaven, but is indicative of God's chosen people in this life, here and now. This passage actually has very little to do with the security of the believer.

There are other passages of Scripture that are commonly used to support the view that ones salvation can indeed be lost (2 Peter 2.20-22; Hebrews 6.4-6; Luke 15.4; Luke 15.11-24, etc...). However, when these passages are diligently studied, the result is always the same: that salvation is sure and is an anchor for our souls (Hebrews 6.18-19).

This does not deny the possibility that a person can say the words that would lead one to think that they have been saved and not truly have understood what they were doing, or not have been sincere about what they asked for from God, and may never have been truly saved at all; after all, Scripture does say “they went out from us, but they were not of us” (1 John 2.19). While it is impossible for any individual to lose their salvation, it is entirely possible that they were never saved at all.

  For the wages of sin is death; . . .
Romans 6:23

  

UNIT TWO

CHRISTIAN LIVING,
THE AFFECTS OF SIN

While it would be to every Pastor’s advantage to teach his people that their sin could cause them to loose their salvation, thereby compelling them to live godly lives, it would be Scripturally unsound to do so. Not only that, but this Pastor takes great comfort in knowing that Christian's stand securely in God's hand, as God's child, never to be condemned again.

The next logical question is: if one cannot possibly loose their salvation, once they are truly saved, then what affect does sin have on them? If God will forgive their every sin, then why not just do what ever you like and leave the rest to God?

Before we get into the affects of sin on a Christian’s life, it is best to understand God's plan for each of His children after salvation.

1. Why do you think God saved you?

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2. What do you feel God wants you to do now?

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Though sometimes we may feel like God gives us salvation through Jesus Christ and then leaves us to do as we like, Scripture reveals that there is a divine plan for our lives after salvation.

Read Titus 2.14 carefully.

3. According to this passage, what is God's plan for your life?  What does He want you to be?

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4. What does He want you to do?

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5. When does He want this to happen?

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God wants to make you so pure in our Lord Jesus Christ that lost people around you will look at you and say "He's different."Now, we don't like to stand out and appear peculiar, but that is God's goal none-the-less. How will your purity be revealed to the world around you? Through your good works. These will be the works that God will work through you as His dear child.

6. Read 1 Peter 2.9.  How are we described in this verse?

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7. Read Romans 8.29.  According to this verse what does God desire for us to become?

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This verse reveals the specifics of our peculiarity; we will be different because we have become more like our Lord Jesus Christ. God's ultimate goal for each and every Christian is that they might come to be like His dear son.

8. According to 1 John 3.2, what will be the ultimate outcome of our Christian experience?

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This is truly a high calling, and it is God's revealed will for every Christian. The truth of the matter is that most Christians do not feel that they could ever reach this high calling, but God would never put anything on us that we could not perform (1 Corinthians 10.13). Many even refuse to try and reach this high mark that God has placed before them because they just feel it is too much to expect.

However, if you never try, then you never achieve, and, while the calling is high and the climb is steep, the rewards are almost overwhelming. The best way to achieve this goal then is to set short term goals and to strive on a daily basis to reach those goals. So, let’s consider some things that will help us reach God's mark.

The first step is to know how to rightly place our steps so that we can achieve God's goals for us.

9. Read Psalm 119.9.  In what way can we cleanse our way?

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10. Compare this with 2 Timothy 2.15.  What dose this require from us?

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A Christian should never under-estimate the importance and value of the Word of God in their life. Every child of God should spend time feasting on the Bible every day. Christians should read, study, memorize and meditate on the Word of God habitually and constantly.

11. Read Proverbs 3.5-6.  According to this verse, when does God actually direct our paths?

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As you learn to acknowledge God in your daily life, you will come to know the blessedness and assurance of His divine guidance in all of your decisions.

12. What does Romans 13.14 tell us to do, and what do you think this means?

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13. Read Ephesians 4.21-27.  What does this passage tell us to put off?

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14. What are we to put on, and what does this mean for your life?

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We are commanded to put off the old man and to put on the new man; the earlier passage told us to put on the Lord Jesus Christ. This speaks of the decision and decisiveness of becoming like our beloved Lord. You must decide you want to be like Him and then strive to achieve that goal. This is repentance in a nut shell; it is turning away from the old way of life and turning toward the new way of life. As you strive to make this seemingly impossible transition, your All Powerful Lord comes to your aid and helps you to become what you could never be on your own. It is your determined choice that brings God's supernatural transformation to bear on your behalf.

God intends for us to be radically different after salvation from what we were before our salvation, and the truth of the matter is He has provided all that we need to become all that He wants us to be. However, we often have a difficult time finding our way, so just what are we to do then?

15. Read James 1.5.  When we need knowledge or wisdom, how can we find all that we need?

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So, there really is only one reason why we do not become all that God intends for us to be: we don't want to. When you became a Christian, God left your will intact. You may be a child of God now, but you can be a rebellious child too. Truth be known, most Christians do not realize what they are missing by not striving to become all that God wants them to be. The joy, peace, and goodness of God are only found in His presence. You may be saved, however, you may not have experienced the abundant life available to you through Jesus Christ, yet.

The clearest example of the reality of your Christian life is demonstrated in your daily living. Do you find sin acceptable in your life? Do you find yourself justifying your sin with the age old excuse: “Well, I'm only human?” Do you have an overwhelming desire to please God - a zeal? While God does indeed forgive sin, consider for a moment what sin can do to a Christian's spiritual life.

16. Does God find sin acceptable for a Christian?

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17. Read 1 John 2.1.  Why did John say he was writing?

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18. Go back a few verses and read 1 John 1.5-7.  What do you think the darkness is, and what do you think the light is?

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19. Go back a little more and read 1 John 1.4.  What was John's stated purpose in this verse?

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God's goal is that we stop sinning, and God never asks us to do anything He does not empower us to do. While we know that there is no such thing as a sinless Christian, we also know that God never gives us excuses for our sin.

20. What should our perspective towards sin be?

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21. Read Isaiah 59.1-2.  What is the Scriptural affect of sin?

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22. Read Luke 15.11-24.  How did the Father refer to the prodigal in verse 24; he called him his? _____________

23. How does one become a child of God?

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24. This son in verse 24 is described as being lost, yet we know that a child of God is secure in God's hand in what way is he lost?

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Clearly, sin separates us from fellowship with our Heavenly Father. The prodigal son left his father’s protection and provision to do his own thing just as sinning Christians leave the protection and provision of their Heavenly Father to do their own things. The end is the same in both instances: sin will always lead to misery and insecurity. You must understand that :

Sin will take you farther than you want to go,
Keep you longer than you want to stay,
Cost you more than you want to pay.

This is how it is for many Christians, especially in our day; they have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior.  They are God's children, but they have never learned to give up their own wills and desires in order to allow God's will and desire to come into their lives. So, they are guaranteed everlasting life yet live defeated, dead Christian lives all because the supposed pleasure of their sin holds more value than the spiritual riches of God's presence. They are holding the short end of the spiritual stick and don't even know it. Too bad for them lets pray that they too will come to their senses soon.

25. After considering what we have just studied, what do you intend to do?

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 UNIT THREE

What To Do With Your Sin

Your Heavenly Father desires an intimate relationship with you, but your sins will cause a chasm of separation between the two of you.  As a born again believer, you have a deep inner desire to remove this obstacle from your spiritual life so that you can be close to God.  The question is how do you go about recovering from your rebellion and sin?

Understanding Your Sin

Understanding your sin is the first step in re-establishing a right relationship with your Heavenly Father.  All sin begins with your most basic beliefs about God, which affects the way you think, and then manifests itself in your outward actions.

James 1:13-15 13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 14 But every man is tempted, when he is _______________ of his ___________, and ____________. 15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

 Jesus Said:

Matthew 15:18-20 18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the ______________; and they defile the man. 19 For ____________ the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: 20 These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.

Ken Collier has developed a great illustration (on the next page) that will help you to understand how your basic beliefs impact the way you think, which in turn results in the sin in your life.  Consider this illustration as you read on in this study.

Sin In Our Lives

Notice in the leaves on the left side of the tree are listed many sinful actions.  They are represented as bitter fruit and are referred to in Scripture as the works (fruit) of the flesh. 

Galatians 5:19-21 19 Now the ________________ of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall __________ inherit the kingdom of God.

These fruit are the result of the tree and all that occurs within the tree.  Hence, the trunk supplies what the branches  need in order to produce the fruit.  It is the same for our lives.  Sin in our lives is the outward manifestation of a deep inward reality.  Our actions are the result of the way we think, as represented in the trunk of the tree.  The trunk is supplied by the roots of the tree, which represent what we really believe about God or, in some cases, our unbelief.

This illustration reveals that our sinful actions are the symptom of our inner spiritual condition.  When you get right down to the root of any sin problem, you discover that all sin is the result of some misunderstanding, false belief, or lack of belief about God.  Therefore, all sin becomes an attack upon the character of God.

 

Renewing Guide Chart


Righteousness In Our Lives

On the other side of the tree you will notice a different kind of fruit.  These are the result of the right kind of thinking in our lives and are nourished by the right kind of beliefs about God.  When the Word of God is properly discerned then we will be guided into the right kind of thinking and the outward manifestation of our lives will glorify, magnify, and honor God.

Therefore, from this illustration we come to understand that our actions are the result of our thinking and our thinking is the result of what we believe about God.  Jesus said,

Matthew 7:15-20 15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16 Ye shall ___________ them by their _______________. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every ______________ tree bringeth forth _____________ fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth _________________ fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

Therefore, we learn that the sin in our lives flow from the content of our heart and corrupts the fruit of our lives, which is sin.  From our previous study we know that our sin separates us from our Heavenly Father and will bring deep conviction into the Christian’s life and could even bring loving and firm chastisement into the Christian life (Hebrew 12.4-16).

So, what must a Christian do to recover from sin in their life?

 

Recovering From Your Sin

The steps leading to a lasting recovery from your sin are represented on the overlay illustration on the next page.  This illustration reveal the steps that a sinning Christian needs to take to find reconciliation with his or her Heavenly Father.

Renewing Guide Chart 2

Repent— To repent is to turn.  It is the act of a Christian turning away from their sin and turning towards God.  It is more than just feeling sorry for one’s sin.  It is a conscious decision to do something about one’s sin.  Repentance involves confession.  The Bible states:

1 John 1:9 If we ___________________ our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Confessing one’s sin is the act of acknowledging that one’s actions  violated the commands of God, which are based upon the character of God.  It is to audibly proclaim your sinfulness directly to your Heavenly Father and to seek His forgiveness.

Conversion is God’s response to a sinner’s sincere confession.  It is where God covers the transgression of the sinner with the blood of His dear Son and our gracious Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.  The Bible states:

1 John 1:7 . . .  and the _____________ of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

Our sins require that a penalty be paid.  It was Jesus Christ who paid that penalty for us, so we would not have to pay that penalty ourselves.  As our sins are cleansed by His precious blood we  gain renewed access to God and a restored fellowship with our Heavenly Father.

Reconcile— If you do nothing else but confess your sin, then you will find it difficult to keep from returning to your sin.  Sin is the result of your stinkin’ thinking’, therefore, you must ask God to help you to reconcile your mind to Him.  The Bible says:

Ephesians 4:22-24 22 That ye ___________ concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23 And be _______________ in the spirit of your mind; 24 And that ye ____________ the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

You must deal with the thought processes that led you to make the decision to sin in the first place.  You cannot just ignore the trunk of the tree.  You must get to the heart of your sin problem. 

How do you reconcile your thoughts?  You ask yourself and ask God to help you discover what you were thinking that caused you to view this sin as acceptable for your life.  You must also discover how those thoughts attacked the character of God.

Renew— Now you are at the root of your sin problem.  Now you must compare what you have believed about God, that led you to your stinkin’ thinking’, to what God’s Word reveals about Him.  You must discover the truth about God, and you can only do that through your Bible.  The Bible says:

Romans 12:1-2 1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the __________________ of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

 If you were a thief, then you must admit that your actions attacked the goodness and sufficiency of God.  You should look up those Scriptures that deal with these characteristics of God and study them until your mind is renewed in the truth of God’s goodness and sufficiency.  Remember, every sin at its root is an attack upon the character of God.  A list of who God is will be provided at the end of this week’s study.  Knowing the truth about God will change the way you think about life and will change the way you live your life.

Replace— Now you must replace what you used to think about God with what the Bible reveals to be true about God.  You must choose to believe God first, regardless of your circumstances and regardless of what that belief might require.

Reveal— Once you have replaced your stinkin’ thinking’ with sanctified thinking’, based upon the Word of God, then your action will follow your heart.  Your actions are the outward manifestation of your inward spiritual condition.  If you try to just change your fruit by just changing your actions, without dealing with your heart (your thinking and beliefs), you will eventually return to your sinful lifestyle.  You cannot change the fruit without first changing the source that grows the fruit.

 

Living In The Presence Of God

Living in the presence of our Heavenly Father is every Christian’s desire.  It is a hunger instilled in every new Christian by the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.  Learning how to realize the reality of God in our lives is the result of understanding the character of our Heavenly Father.  His character can only be discovered through the diligent study of His written Word.

Since an understanding of the character of God is important in the renewing of every born again believer, the following chart is provided to help you as you strive to renew your relationship with your Heavenly Father.  Use it as you reconcile yourself with God.  This chart was prepared by Ken Collier and is provided for your spiritual growth and benefit.

 God's Character Chart

God's Character Chart 2

God's Character Chart 3

 

  

UNIT FOUR

WATER BAPTISM

Scripture records two types of baptism: physical water baptism and spiritual baptism. The focus of this unit will be a study of physical water baptism.  A study of spiritual baptism will come latter when we study the Holy Spirit.

If a newly born Christian were to approach you and ask you why they should be baptized and wanted to know what it was all about, how would you respond?

1. Why does a Christian need to be baptized?

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2. What does it mean?

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3. How does it affect one’s salvation and life?

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religions go so far as to call baptism a sacrament. A sacrament is something that is necessary for salvation. Most evangelical denominations refer to baptism not as a sacrament, but as an ordinance. An ordinance is something that is commanded yet carries no saving power in itself. Lets consider what God has to say about baptism in His Word.

4. Read Matthew 28.19.  What does this passage of Scripture say about baptism?

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5. Does this appear to be a request or a command?

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There are some denominations that teach that baptism is not only commanded and required but also that it actually washes away sin. In light of this teaching, read 1 Peter 3.21.

6. What is baptism called in this passage?

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A figure is as illustration or a picture. Therefore, to refer to Baptism as a figure means that it is representative of something else.

7. Does it put away the filth of the flesh? _______________________

8. How can it give us a good conscience toward God?

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The only way that baptism can give us a good conscience toward God is through obedience. It is the first thing that a Christian is commanded to do after salvation, and if any Christian is going to be obedient to God, he or she must be baptized; otherwise, they will walk in a continuous condition of disobedience. Please notice that baptism does not wash away your sins, that is only done by the precious blood of Jesus Christ (1 John 1.7).

While baptism in itself cannot save us, it does illustrate the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Read Romans 6.3-6.

9. How does Romans 6.4 describe water baptism?

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10. According to verses 5 and 6, what affect should this have on our lives?

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So, baptism illustrates the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. In our personal lives, it should illustrate a great spiritual reality that has already occurred in our lives; that is, when we accepted Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior, we died to self.  Our old man is passed away, and we now can live in newness of life for the Holy Spirit of God now dwells within us. What an overwhelming picture of a deep spiritual reality. This makes Baptism a personal illustration of the Gospel of our Lord. In this illustration, we act out His death, burial, and resurrection.

11. Read Luke 23.39-43, was the thief on the cross baptized?

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12. Where did he go when he died?

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There are many who will try to convince you that baptism is still a requirement for salvation, and if you pull out the reference to the thief on the cross, they will tell you that his story does not count. The heart of the conflict over salvation lies in one’s perception of what baptism really is. We have already established that baptism is an illustration or a symbol of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Many have used the symbol of a wedding ring to describe baptism. If a man is married, he will usually wear a wedding ring as a token expression, or a symbol, of the fact that he is married. Now, if he were to take the wedding ring off, without getting divorced, would it mean that he is not married? No, it just means that he took his ring off, and now no one that he comes across will know that he is married unless he tells them. Also, by taking his ring off, he may inadvertently cause his wife to question his dedication to their marriage; this is also true for baptism.  If one refuses to obey such a simple command as baptism, then what type of a commitment toward God is he or she demonstrating?

Well, lets consider a few more Scriptural facts pertaining to baptism.

13. Read Acts 8.36-37. What is the only requirement for baptism?

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14. Read Acts 10.44-48 and compare it with Matthew 28.19-20 and Acts 8.36-37. When should a Christian be baptized?

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The only Biblical requirement for Baptism is that one be born-again. The fact is that a person must be a born-again believer in order to be scripturally baptized. How can one act out the gospel of Christ if they have never accepted it for themselves. Any act of baptism prior to salvation is really nothing more than a bath without soap.  It is utterly meaningless. If you were baptized prior to your salvation, then you should seek to be baptized now that you are saved and know what it represents.

15. How should a Christian be baptized?

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Some denominations sprinkle their members claiming them to have been baptized. However, this is not really Scriptural. The word for Baptism in the Greek is baptizo (gk) and means to dip repeatedly, to immerse or to submerge. This is done in water. Remember what baptism symbolizes: the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

16. When we bury someone, do we sprinkle a little dirt on them or do we cover them up?

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So the Scriptural facts are clear. Every Christian is commanded by God  through His Word to be baptized. This baptism should be done immediately following their salvation and is the Christian’s first act of obedience toward God. This baptism illustrates the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. This Baptism is done in water and requires total, momentary immersion of the born-again Christian. And this baptism is a symbol containing no saving element in and of itself.

 

Convincing Facts

One controversial Scripture that often comes up in the debate over the doctrine of Baptism is Acts 2.38 which states:

Then Peter said unto them, repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Our opponents would claim that this verse clearly indicates that one can not be saved apart from baptism, but does it really say that? Let’s consider this verse in depth.

First, the verse tells us to repent. Repentance is a turning, in this case a turning from disbelief to belief in Jesus Christ as ones personal Lord and Savior. This clearly is a reference to salvation.

Second, we are to be baptized. We all agree that a Christian is commanded to be baptized. However, is this necessary in order to have salvation?  Our opponents say it is necessary 'for' the remission of sins indicating that the word 'for' indicates that it is the cause of the remission of sins. However, the word 'for' often, and in Scripture, almost always, means 'because of'. For instance, John 3.16 states "For God so loved the world . . .," which clearly means, 'because of' God’s love for the world. Thus, in this verse it clearly means that we are to be baptized 'because of' the remission of our sins which occurred at our salvation by the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ.

So, again, even this controversial verse supports the traditional, conservative, Scriptural view of Baptism as a symbol of the saving work of Jesus Christ in one’s personal life.

  

 

UNIT FIVE

THE LORD'S SUPPER

The focus of this unit of study is the Scriptural truths surrounding the Lord's Supper, or Communion. Most people have at least been in a Church service where communion took place. It is usually done, in evangelical Churches, at the end of a regular service and is the tradition of each member taking a bit of juice and a piece of unleavened bread in remembrance of the atoning sacrifice made by Jesus Christ. So, what does it all really mean?

1. What do you think the Lord's Supper is all about?

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2. Can the Lord's Supper save you? ___________________________

3. What do you think about the juice and the bread?

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Read 1 Corinthians 11.23-32 carefully. Then read Luke 22.14-20. These two passages describe the Lord's Supper for us. The Lord's Supper was actually instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and has remained with the Christian Church throughout its history.

Like baptism, the Lord's Supper is something that Jesus commanded us to do; thus, it is an ordinance. There are some religions that call the Lord's supper a sacrament in that they believe that the Lord's Supper in and of itself can bestow salvation upon those who partake of it. However, Jesus did not indicate this, and the tradition of the Church has stood opposed to this view.

4. In 1 Corinthians 11.24, how is the bread described?

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5. Does this bread actually become the body of Christ, or is it a symbol of His body? _______________________________________

6. What reason is given in this verse for partaking of bread in this manner?

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We are told to take the bread as a symbol of what Jesus Christ has done for us. He gave His body to pay the penalty we owed for our sins (Romans 6.23). He clearly stated that this was to be done in remembrance of what He had already done, not so that we could experience the physical reality of His crucifixion as some religions teach, believing that the bread and wine actually become the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Thus, the bread is a testimony to us of the torment of sin and the suffering sacrifice Jesus became for us.

7. In 1 Corinthians 11.25 how is the cup described?

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8. How are we told to partake of this cup?

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The cup is a symbol of the shed blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, as indicated by the statement that we are to partake of it also in remembrance of what Jesus did for us. This blood is described as a new testament, which is a new covenant that was established when Jesus shed His blood for all mankind. That covenant is the promise of salvation to all who would simply accept the free gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ.

According to Romans 3.25, when one places his faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ, then the payment that was provided in that blood is placed in the balance for that individual; thus, Jesus shed His blood to pay the penalty you and I owed for our sins (Romans 6.23). Jesus literally took our place, suffered what we deserved to suffer and freed us from the sin debt we owed. It is His blood that stands as a testimony before God forever that our debt has indeed been paid in full.

9. Consider 1 Corinthians 11.27-29. Who should partake of the Lord's Supper?

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10. What should a person do before partaking of the Lord's Supper?

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The Lord's Supper should be taken only by Christians, and even then a Christian should strive to deal with any matters of personal purity toward God prior to taking the Lord's Supper. This does not mean that a person has to be perfect before he or she can take the Lord's Supper; it means that he or she should honestly deal with any sin in their life in an honest manner before God. This is distinctly personal and is not necessarily something that must be proclaimed before the Church but is something that must be done in ones heart, personally, between them and God.

Therefore, we are called to two things in the Lord's Supper:

1. Remembrance.

2. Personal Purity.

11. According to 1 Corinthians 11.26, how often should we partake of the Lord's Supper?

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Some Churches hold communion the first Sunday of every month, others hold it the first Sunday of each quarter.  Others hold it every Sunday, and still others may hold it only once a year. The Bible only states 'as often as ye', therefore it becomes a matter of the desires of the individual assembly. The important thing to remember is what communion represents.

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