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Body:Personal Evangelism 101

Fencing lessons in how to wield

the sword of the Spirit properly

by

Brent Hunter

Additional copies can be purchased at:

The Florida College Bookstore, 119 Glen Arven, Temple Terrace, Fla 33617 where the author has served as a Bible, Communications, and Marriage and Family instructor

since 1978.

PHONE: 1-800-423-1648 / 1-800-922-2390 (Fla Residents only)

You may FAX your order in at :1-813-899-6788

Another booklet by the same author will soon be available again at the F.C. Bookstore entitled: "A Church Member's Guide To Greater Spirituality."

Any questions, suggestions, criticisms or requests for the author to present the highlights of this material in a weekend meeting as time permits, should be sent to: 9425 Alanbrooke St, Tampa, Fla 33637 Phone: 813-988-8756

REVISED: 7/95

Personal Evangelism 101

Special Acknowledgments:

THIS BOOKLET IS Affectionately DEDICATED TO....

Walt Hunter, my father, who as an elder in the church since 1964, and throughout my upbringing, has constantly been a tremendous example to me, and to so many others, as to how important the work of soul winning really is. He knows what effective personal evangelism is all about because he has lived it so well. His life is a wonderful illustration of the adage, "It is better to see a sermon, than to hear one." Thanks for the sermon Dad!

I EXPRESS SPECIAL THANKS TO...

The Eastside church in Bowling Green, Kentucky where this material first began in its "embryonic form" in 1976-1977, and to the North Street church in Tampa, Florida where this has been taught on a regular basis to all our new members and converts since 1979. I have counted it a blessing to be used by the Lord in His service. The support and feedback from the brethren at these two places has been invaluable to me.

Bob Buchanan, whose enthusiasm for lost souls, and whose influence and encouragement for me to preach the gospel as a young man, helped me to dedicate myself to His service instead of to worldly pursuits.

Harold Comer, who guided me during my time at the University of North Alabama where I spent 18 hours a day in the dorms learning how to be a "foot soldier" for the Lord, the hard way, under his able tutelage. I have gleaned much from his wisdom.

The many brethren, who by their comments and letters over the years, have helped with this most needed revision. Their suggestions have enabled me to clarify, correct, and elaborate numerous points that have helped make this material more useful and Biblical.

My heartfelt thanks also goes out to Roger Hillis , Linda Vickers and Tom and Laura Burch who generously gave of their time to help with the typesetting, and wording of various editions of this workbook.

REVISED 7/95

HOW TO DO PERSONAL EVANGELISM

THE "NUTS AND BOLTS"

by Brent Hunter

Course Description - This is a practical "how to" approach to evangelism. It is designed to deal with "what to say and how to say it." If you have not been exposed to this training at least once, please give yourself the opportunity to see how every Christian can and should be a soul winner. Once one has taken the class, it may be worthwhile to take it again every four or five years or so to refresh the student's memory and just as importantly, to renew one's motivation and inspiration for this, the greatest of all works!

The author's recommendation is that the entire congregation go through this course at the very beginning. It then should be a part of the regular curriculum of a local congregation and be offered on a rotating basis regularly during the regular Bible class period. The reason it needs to be offered regularly is so that all new converts and new members can receive this training as they come into the congregation. To work, it must become a part of the on-going training program of the congregation. The author has designed this material with that in mind. Find a teacher that has had some successful experience in evangelism if at all possible, so he has some personal credibility to teach this class. Class discussion is encouraged and desired. Most classes deal with what the truth is; this class deals with how to share the truth the class members probably already know. I can say this, because we are dealing primarily with teaching first principles only. However, even though this is so, the class is not designed for non-Christians or to be taught in a class with first time visitors. They will most likely find talking about them and how we are going to reach them, with them in the audience as embarrassing and offensive. It is in short, designed to be a series of "fencing lessons" to help Christians wield the "Sword of the Spirit" more effectively! It is time we stop just talking about the battle, and start fighting it. But to do that we need sort of a "spiritual boot camp." This is it!

Format - Most sessions will be lecture-discussion; however, occasional role-playing will be utilized. This builds competence and confidence.

Purposes of this course are as follows:

1. To help each individual to be more effective in setting up and teaching Bible studies.

2. To equip the student with some methods of teaching the Bible that have proven effective as well as with P.W. tools to make finding and using key scriptures easier.

3. To explain the congregation's Personal Evangelism Program so each member of the congregation will be more understanding and supportive of its aims and goals.

4. To give the student confidence in teaching so they personally can become a more effective soul winner!

TABLE OF CONTENTS

How Do I Feel About Personal Evangelism? 1

The Greatest Need 3

Appendix #1: "A Parable of a Lighthouse" 7

Appendix #2: "Fishing: Theory vs. Practice" 8

Appendix #3: "There's More to the Game than Just the Huddle" 9

Appendix #4: "Foot Soldiers" 10

Appendix #5: "Some Hot Advice for Cold Christians" 11

Appendix #6: "Tell Them of My Way" 12

Finding Prospects 14

Appendix #1: "Eighty - Five Years Later" 17

Appendix #2: "Betrayed" 18

Appendix #3: "Acres of Diamonds" 19

Appendix #4: "Religious Survey" 20

Appendix #5: "A Sample Letter to New Residents in Nearby Zip Codes" 21

Appendix #6: "Small Group Bible Studies For Non - Christians" 22

Different Types of Prospects & Suggested Bible Study Approaches . . . . . . . . . 23

Suggested Bible Studies:

Why the Bible was Written 31

Counting the Cost of Discipleship 36

God, Man and the Cross 40

The Biblical Significance of Baptism 52

Undenominational Christianity Series:

Lesson #1: "Where Did All the Denominations Come From?" 53

Lesson #2: "The Restoration Plea" 69

Lesson #3: "The Silence of Scripture" 72

Lesson #4: "Bible Baptism" 77

Beatitudes in Conversion 80

The Nathan Principle 85

Biblical and Psychological Principles to Remember in Teaching 92

Asking for a Decision: 3 Sample Requests 95

Answering Objections 99

Overcoming the Fear of Rejection and Steps for Developing Courage 112

Making the Approach, the Set-up, and Suggestions

for the Members, Local Preacher and Congregation 119

Appendix #1: A Sample "Written Approach" Letter 125

Appendix #2: The "Personal Work Card" 126

Appendix #3: Personal Work Scriptures 128

Appendix #4: Track Man! 130

Bonus Feature Section:

#1 - Extra Motivational Lesson-"Be Fruitful and Multiply". . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131

#2 - Food For Thought on Achieving Balance - "Staying with the Baggage". . . . . 137

#3 - A Final Challenge -"The Eternal Revenue Service Form No. 0002" 138

HOW DO I FEEL ABOUT PERSONAL EVANGELISM?

How many people have I helped lead to Christ?___

How many people do I NOW have my heart set on to win to Christ? _______

To what extent have I gone to try to win these people? ____________

Approximately how many hours (or minutes) per week do I average talking to people about the Lord? _________________

How often do I pray for certain individuals to obey the Lord, or to be restored to faithful Christian duty? __________________

Do I ever pray FERVENTLY that I might become a better soul winner?_____

DO I SINCERELY TRY to help that prayer be answered? _________

Am I generally embarrassed to converse with people about Christ? _____

Do I know enough Scripture to help one become a Christian? __________

Do I honestly feel that I am my brother's keeper, and that his salvation may depend LARGELY upon me? __________________

Have I offered the excuse, "I DON'T KNOW HOW," for not doing personal work? _______

Do I think I can ever really learn how until I try? ________

When do I plan to begin? __________________________________

Has it ever occurred to me that many will die and go to God unprepared while I'm wasting time thinking I don't know how? _____________

Am I interested enough in Heaven, and does it mean enough to me that I earnestly desire others to go with me? ___________

Does a checkup list like this help me to do better? _______

REMEMBER:

1. God knows what I really CAN or CAN'T do!

2. I can't deceive God!

3. I will be held responsible for not making some attempt!

Dear Personal Evangelism 101 student:

AFTER PONDERING YOUR ANSWERS TO THE ABOVE, THINK ABOUT THE OBSERVATIONS THAT FOLLOW. Then move on to the first lesson, "The Greatest Need." I think you will have to agree that the title for lesson one is a correct and accurate one. If you do not feel that you are a part of the solution, will you begin praying with me, every night before you go to bed, "Lord, revive the church, beginning with me?" I have added that short petition to my prayers for a number of years now and it really makes a difference! It helps one to not focus on them and what they are to do but on me and what I ought to do. Obviously, if everyone would focus on themselves, the "they" would take care of itself! Don't ever forget that the best way to build unity and help the "they" to be more active is for them to see you doing it! Pray and be compassionate towards those that are not as active as they should be. It is the best way to help them.

Brent Hunter

A RECENT SURVEY ...

INDICATES THAT THE AVERAGE CONGREGATION baptizes only 5% of its membership annually...If children of members are deducted, the figures drop to 2%.... Elders, deacons, teachers in 184 congregations averaged only one visit to an outsider per week, per congregation!..Less than one-third of the congregation (288) had any kind of systematic program of visitation...The same number of congregations had no working program for working with new converts..Less than 10% had an active prospect file...The number of personal classes that members had with non-Christians averaged less than 1% of the membership... Members gave less than 4% of their estimated income to the church and all works related to Christianity...And here is the SHOCKING FACT, less than 5% of us won a soul to Christ last year (See Proverbs 11:30). EVERY MINUTE 156 PEOPLE IN THE WORLD DIE WITHOUT HOPE!

It would appear obvious from these STARTLING STATISTICS that we need all of the "stirring up" we can get. The Mormons of Salt Lake City surpassed us in total membership in the late 1970's for the first time in history. WE HAVE REACHED A SORRY HOUR INDEED when people do a better job of selling Joe Smith that we are doing in presenting Jesus Christ as THE SAVIOR OF OUR SOULS AND THE LORD OF OUR LIVES!

WHAT IS TRUE SUCCESS?

Please remember, success is not always determined by the response of the people to the message. For example, Noah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and often even Jesus, taught truth and yet found few receptive hearts. However, even Isaiah said in Isaiah 55:11 that his word as it goes forth from his mouth "shall not" return to me void but that "it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it." I am convinced that if you sow enough seed, in enough hearts, that God will produce an increase (I Corinthians 3:6)! Aren't you?

Remember: WE HAVE BEEN TAUGHT TO TEACH, WON TO WIN, AND SAVED TO SERVE!

THE GREATEST NEED

INTRODUCTION:

"A Parable of a Lighthouse"\"Fishing: Theory vs. Practice" (See appendix 1 & 2)

Illustration -"Too Much Time in the Huddle" (See appendix 3)

The greatest need today is for the church to get back to its mission and "seek and save the lost" (Luke 19:10)!

God could have done anything he wanted with His Son but He made Him a soul-winner!

The first twelve men Christ chose were soul winners except Judas -- and he was a traitor to the cause.

The church has many capable workers in the huddle but is in desperate need of personal workers out in the field (Luke 10:1-2).

Christ needs you. He is the head but you are His hands and feet (Ephesians 1)

He can't get His work done unless you do!

Let's not betray that coveted trust He gives us --to teach the lost (Hebrews 5:12).

We are to be the light and salt of the world (Matthew 5:13-14)

Salt both seasons and preserves.

We need personal contact. How can we preserve anything sitting on a shelf?

What we all need is more genuine concern for the lost.

Paul's heart had "great grief and unceasing sorrow" over those lost (Romans 9:1-3).

Illustration -- If everyone had a terminal illness and you found the cure, would you share it or keep it to yourself?

Walk down the street in your neighborhood and look at the houses. How many are lost (Jude 22; Matthew 7:12)?

The Need is Fulfilled through the Lord's Plan of Evangelism.

The early church carried out the great commission in 29 years!

Jesus spoke Mark 16:16 in A.D. 33

Paul wrote Colossians 1:23 in A.D. 62

The Lord's plan is most effective.

Obviously, the Lord adds people to His church as they are saved (Acts 2:41;47), but in regards to church growth (as those who are converted teach others, who teach others, who teach others, etc.) the Lord's plan is multiplicative.

If just one individual converted five per year, and after a year each of his converts did the same, at the end of the second year there would be 25, the third 125, the fourth 625, the fifth 3,125, the sixth 15,625, and so on until the fourteenth year when SIX BILLION people would be reached. Since the whole world has less than 5 Billion people, in just 14 years the whole world would be Christian.

If every member of the church converted just one a year, (assuming we begin with @ 2,000,000) and they in turn converted just one, in just 18 years the whole world could be converted.

Teaching is the second half of Christianity

Evangelism is not complete until the evangelized become the evangelist (II Timothy 2:2)!

This is only a theoretical example of course, (Matthew 5:13-14) shows that since not all have honest hearts, in actuality many will reject the gospel message! However, if more had an opportunity to hear, no doubt countless more would respond!

The Scope of the Need -- the Field is the World (Matthew 13:38).

Red and yellow black and white, they are all precious in His sight!

We are to teach every creature (Matthew 13:38).

Opportunities are unlimited (John 4:35-38).

The Great Commission did not limit who we were to teach.

When Jesus said "the fields are white unto the harvest," he was not referring to white and middle class!

We will discuss this more under the lesson entitled "Finding Prospects."

Eight Reasons Why "I"-You- Need to be a Personal Worker.

It is a direct command (Matthew 28:18-20).

We'd never dream of forsaking the Lord's supper or lying or stealing, yet we think very little of disregarding our Savior's last words to go teach. It is not an optional thing (See Hebrews 5:12).

The Great Commission stipulates all who hear and believe are to be baptized and then tell others.(Though originally given the twelve this is certainly implied.)

Let's not make the great commission, the great omission (Acts 4:19-20)!

"Go ye" means "go me".

Christ said "go" not "invite". Instead of an outreach we have an indrag!

Remember, all of us, male and female, are priests. We are part of a "royal priesthood." (I Peter 2:8). What did the priest do? They studied the law and taught (blessed) the people! If we are to be more than priests in name only, we must study God's word, and bless people with the gospel so they can receive the forgiveness of their sins!

Is our model physical Israel (which had a national focus, mainly concerned about keeping the lineage pure so Christ could come) or spiritual Israel, the church, (which had an international focus, and looked outward as well as inward)?

The very reason why we are not taken by the Lord right away once we come to Him, is so that once we have been called out, we can go back into the world and call others out as well!

It is necessary for self-preservation (John 15:16).

Like the barren fig tree we must produce -- or be cut down (Luke 13:6-9)!

Ex. Employer-Employee. If employee was not doing his job right --"but they're not causing any trouble" -- how long would you keep him!

Personal evangelism is one of the best means of personal growth.

If we don't teach their blood is on our heads (Acts 18:6, Ezekiel 3:18)!

People won't listen? Maybe so, but at least you are no longer responsible.

We are called to faithfulness -- not results (Romans 5:1, I Corinthians 3:6)

Noah preached 120 years -- no results -- yet he never quit. If he had, do you think it would have pleased God?

Illustration -- "Some hot advice for cold Christians" (See Appendix #5)

It should be a natural result of our Love for others.

What greater gift could you give to someone you love than to help him save his soul?

If we really loved our fellow man we wouldn't keep the gospel to ourselves.

We love to share our favorite health remedy with all who have the ailment.

Yet, we too often rarely share the greatest remedy on earth -- the gospel (James 5:20, Romans 1:16)!

Because of the value of a soul.

We will never really consider the lost until we stop and count the cost!

In this day and age man knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. Our soul is our most valuable possession (Matthew 16:26, I Peter 1:18-20).

Because we need to be like the early church.

The church is said to have a two-fold purpose - gather the saved and scatter the seed.

The early church went everywhere preaching (Acts 8:4, 26:20)!

This is what they lived for -- it was the impelling force of their lives.

Because of the terror of the Lord (II Corinthians 5:11).

Do we really believe in Hell and that our friends are going there (Mark 16:16)?

It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10:31).

Because we are a Debtor.

Paul was a debtor to teach (Romans 1:14-17).

With all Christ has done for us, this is the least we can do for Him -- share the gospel with others (II Corinthians 5:14-15).

Because of the Joy of Being a Personal Worker.

First, there is the joy you give your heavenly Father.

You can cause the angels to rejoice (Luke 15:7).

You can make God smile and have a joyous effect on Deity!

Second, there is the personal joy you experience.

Paul referred to his "joy and crown" (Philippians 4:1)

John states he had "no greater joy than to hear of my children walking in the truth" (III John 4).

There isn't a more satisfying feeling than to see someone you've taught obey the truth and then continue to witness a transformed life!

You in one sense become immortal and live through others...shine as the stars even after you die (Daniel 12:3).

We need to have more vision in the church!

"It doesn't take much vision to see how many seeds are in each apple -- but it does take vision to see how many apples are in each seed!"

You Must Fulfil this Need or the Church will decline and suffer greatly.

The "lifeblood" of any congregation is its teaching program.

If a church becomes apathetic about this they are doomed (Rev. 3:15-16).

The church would not edify as it should and would soon lose its influence.

Internal problems always arise when we look inward instead of outward.

Without personal workers the church will stagnate and die!!

What Have You Been Doing For the Lord in Regards to Saving Lost Souls?

Are you wise (Prov. 11:30)? Do you have beautiful feet (Rom. 10:14-15)?

Are you following Christ and His mission (I Corinthians 11:1)?

A Few Objections considered

"Not enough talent?" Consider Matt. 25:14-30 the parable of the Talents.

They all had some talent...what are you doing with what you have?

Everyone can be involved in some way.

"Afraid"? So was the one talent man and He was called into judgment.

The gospel is the power -- it works!!

Just let it shine through you.

"Don't know much"- Share what you do know.

(Best way to learn truth is to practice it as you learn it.)

CONCLUSION:

Trust in God my friend. He believes you can do it, so do it!

Do you? Will you?

This is perhaps the greatest test of our spirituality (Matthew 7:16).

The answer lies in ten of the shortest yet most powerful two letter words in the language: "If it is to be it is up to me."

God doesn't need POWER (He dipped his hand into chaos and spoke into existence the universe)! He doesn't need BEAUTY, (one look at the grand crayon or beautiful sunset makes that abundantly clear), but he does need YOU (committed men and women who are willing to do His cause and His bidding on the planet earth)!

(Appendix #1 to the "Greatest Need")

A PARABLE OF A LIGHTHOUSE

The Need for Personal Evangelism

On a dangerous seacoast where shipwrecks often occur there was once a crude little life-saving station. The building was just a hut, and there was only one boat, but the few devoted members kept a constant watch over the sea, and with no thought for themselves, they went out day or night tirelessly searching for the lost.

Many lives were saved by this wonderful little station, so that it became famous. Some of those who were saved, and various others in the surrounding areas, wanted to become associated with the station and give of their time and money and effort for the support of its work. New boats were bought and new crews were trained. The little life-saving station grew.

Some of the new members of the life-saving station were unhappy that the building was so crude and so poorly equipped. They felt that a more comfortable place should be provided as the first refuge of those saved from the sea.

They replaced the emergency cots with beds and put better furniture in an enlarged building. Now the life-saving station became a popular gathering place for its members, and they re-decorated it beautifully and furnished it as a sort of club.

Less of the members were now interested in going to sea on life-saving missions, so they hired life boat crews to do this work.

The mission of life-saving was still given lip-service but most were too busy or lacked the necessary commitment to take part in the life-saving activities personally.

About this time a large ship was wrecked off the coast, and the hired crews brought in boat loads of cold, wet and half-drowned people.

They were dirty and sick, and some of them had black skin, and spoke a strange language, and the beautiful new club was considerably messed up. So the property committee immediately had a shower house built outside the club where victims of shipwreck could be cleaned up before coming inside.

At the next meeting, there was a split in the club membership. Most of the members wanted to stop the club's life-saving activities as being unpleasant and a hindrance to the normal pattern of the club.

But some members insisted that life-saving was their primary purpose and pointed out that they were still called a life-saving station. But they were finally voted down and told that if they wanted to save the life of all various kinds of people who were shipwrecked in those waters, they could begin their own life-saving station down the coast. They did.

As the years went by, the new station experienced the same changes that had occurred in the old. They evolved into a club and yet another life-saving station was founded.

If you visit the seacoast today you will find a number of exclusive clubs along that shore. Shipwrecks are still frequent in those waters, but now most of the people drown!

(Appendix #2 to "The Greatest Need.")

FISHING: THEORY VS. PRACTICE

Jesus to you and me: "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men" (Matthew 4:19).

Now it came to pass that a group existed that called themselves fishermen and there were many fish in the waters about them. In fact, the whole area was surrounded by streams and lakes and the fish were hungry. Week after week and month after month and year after year the group that called themselves 'fishermen' met in meetings and talked about those called to fish, the abundance of fish, and how we might go about fishing. Year after year they carefully defined what fishing meant, defended fishing as an occupation, and declared that fishing be the primary talk of fishermen. These fishermen built large beautiful buildings for local fishing headquarters and their plea was that everyone should be a fisherman and that everyone should fish. However, the one thing they did not do, they did not fish!

In addition to meeting regularly these men determined to send out fishermen to places where there were many fish. This sending committee was headed by those who had great vision and had courage to speak about fishing and to promote the idea of fishing in far away streams and lakes held meetings to define fishing, to defend fishing, and to decide what new streams should be thought about. But the one thing the staff and the committee members did not do, they did not fish!

Large, elaborate training centers were built whose original and primary purpose was to teach fishermen how to fish. Over the years courses were offered on the needs of the fish, the nature of the fish, how to find fish, and the psychological effects of fishing. Those who taught had doctorates in 'Fisheology'! But the teachers did not fish! They only taught about fishing.

Further, the fishermen built large printing houses to publish fishing guides. Presses were kept busy day and night to produce material solely devoted to fishing methods. A speakers' bureau was also organized to schedule special speakers on fishing. After one stirring meeting entitled 'The Necessity Of Fishing,' two young men left the meeting and actually went fishing and one of them actually caught two fish! He was honored for his great catch and was scheduled to appear at all the big meetings to tell how he did it. So he quit fishing in order to have time to tell his experiences to the other fishermen!

Now it is true that many of the fishermen sacrificed and put up with all kinds of difficulties. Some lived near the water and had to put up with the smell of dead fish. Some had to endure the ridicule of some who made fun of these fishermen's clubs because they claimed to be fishermen but they did not fish.

And they wondered about those who thought it was of little use to attend meetings and talk about fishing. I mean, after all, were they not following the Master who said, "Come and I will make you fishers of men"? Imagine their chagrin when someone actually suggested that they were not really 'fishermen.' Yet it did make sense. Can we rightfully call a person a fisherman if year after year he never catches a fish?

Can a person really be following Jesus if he is not fishing?"

(Appendix #3 to "The Greatest Need")

THERE'S MORE TO THE GAME THAN

JUST PLANNING A PLAY IN THE HUDDLE

"Don't get penalized!"

by Bob Buchanan

In an editorial during football season several years ago, Reuel Lemmons wrote one of his more agreeable articles entitled "Let's Get Out of the Huddle." Part of what was said follows:

"A few days ago we were watching a great game on television. There was fierce competition: The score was close. Time was running out. The team that was ahead was in the huddle. They stayed there--in the huddle. They stayed and they stayed. The referee blew his whistle and penalized the team for delaying the game. They had stayed too long in the huddle.

"Huddles are necessary, but games aren't won in the huddle; they are won on the line. Strategy sessions are important, but we can stay in the huddle too long. Many an important piece of work is discussed in elders' meetings and postponed until next meeting, only to be discussed again and postponed. Elders should realize that the Great Referee may severely penalize them for staying too long in the huddle.

"And congregations do the same. They huddle every Sunday. They leave the huddle to rehuddle next Sunday. They never manage to get to the line of scrimmage. In fact, the whole church is gaining a worldwide reputation for huddling. We flock to ourselves; we talk to ourselves; we huddle with our heads down around the Lord's table. And some of the team are even careless about making the huddle. Worship is essential and important, but only if it inspires us to get out and do something.

"The enemy is rolled back, not from the huddle but from the line of scrimmage. It takes all the effort every individual is capable of putting forth to win..."

"Are we concerned about trying to be what our Master was? His goal and purpose was to 'seek and save the lost'. If we are imitators of Christ, why is this not our goal also? If we want to be like our Master (Paul commanded that we do so), why don't we get out of the huddle and teach a lost and rapidly expiring world?"

"Instead, we had rather huddle back of the line of scrimmage and just TALK about the battle rather than sit down and open The Book on someone's kitchen table and quote a 'thus saith the Lord'.

"The early church is our pattern and on close examination we find that they gathered for worship, but then scattered everywhere preaching the Word. So it should be with us -- we have got to take the message into the market place and homes of our fellow man if we are going to teach.

"ONE OR TWO GOSPEL MEETINGS A YEAR WILL NOT DO THE JOB. Why don't we baptize more people now? Could it be that the other 11 months (when there is no meeting) NOBODY IS TEACHING?

(Appendix #4 to "The Greatest Need")

FOOT SOLDIERS

Reuel Lemmons

An Army general, making a speech recently to an assembled group of military leaders said, "All the technology in the world will never eliminate the need for the foot soldier."

He was right. Satellites, and guided missiles, and poison gas, and battleships, and automatic weapons, and computers, and high explosives and all the rest will never eliminate the need for intelligent human beings going in to really possess the land.

Soon after reading the above quotation, we attended a number of meetings where church leaders gather -- planning sessions, leadership seminars, elders' meetings, workshops and the rest. We heard practically every plan imaginable proposed that would convert the world without our having to get out and do it personally. It is amazing what the human brain can come up with if it will eliminate personal involvement.

We want our "programs" to convert the world. We buy buses, and advertise, and bring in "experts" to enthuse us. We appoint committees and delegate authority -- anything to keep from having to get out and eyeball a sinner and tell him that he is a sinner, and that only Jesus can save him.

We develop our mission strategy, and school our "teams" for years in the mechanics of teamwork in evangelism. And we find congregations to "sponsor" those who go. We then raise vast sums to send them, and to support them. Anything to keep from having to go ourselves.

We have read with interest the recent reports of how much the church has shriveled in the past ten years, and although we do not agree with the implication of those findings, we cannot doubt that in many areas of the nation the church is much less, and the congregations much fewer than ten years ago. Why? We believe it is because the church has learned to depend upon the contribution plate and gadgets and programs, and that the foot soldiers are disappearing. We want to pay our way, rather than put out the work it takes.

We want to import an enthusiast merchant to temporarily arouse our spiritual adrenalin periodically, while we frown on total commitment. There is a lot of difference in enthusiasm and commitment.

"It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe." And he made preachers out of every one of us. We do not have an option. We are all -- men and woman alike -- under the greatest of all commissions. This was the choice of God, which demonstrates the wisdom of God -- that they can't believe in whom they have not heard, and they can't hear without a preacher. The power is still in the foot soldiers. The Lord's army is not a machine, directed by armchair generals from an elder's room; it is a world covering horde of saved-by-grace people who appreciate it!

Even buying Bibles to send to the far reaches of the earth will not substitute for Christian soldiers going there. Hearts may be softened and the ground prepared by mass media but ninety-nine percent of all conversions come from someone being there -- some Aquila or some Priscilla who guide the struggling pilgrim to the cross.

We are personally glad that the Eunuch, when he started home from Jerusalem, did not have to wait for Philip to get his degree in missiology, nor for the church somewhere to put him in their budget. Maybe this is some of the New Testament pattern that needs restoring. It was foot soldiers that then went every where preaching the gospel. The kingdom has never, in any age, improved upon this method of evangelism. We still need the foot soldiers.

It is strange but true, that the world is today perhaps more ready to listen than we are to preach. We who are saved are loath to go, while they who are lost are anxious for us to come. What a paradox! Where are the lips that have been touched with a live coal from the altar!

The Lord didn't lay the task of evangelism upon machinery; he laid it upon men. All the mass media however helpful, cannot substitute for one saint communicating the one gospel to one sinner. That's the way the world will be saved -- if it is ever saved. God did not give his commission to angels, or even to a committee, but to men -- to individual men (and women). The church is shrinking because members of the church are shirking. And Heaven isn't prepared for shirkers.

We do not need enthusiasm in the pulpit like we need commitment in the pew. The Lord needs a commitment from every one of us that he will replace himself in the remainder of this year -- not in three hundred years. We could double the size of the church between now and January if we would. We are part of our own problem when we could provide the solution - foot soldiers.

(Appendix #5 to "The Greatest Need")

SOME HOT ADVICE FOR COLD CHRISTIANS

A story is told of a man making his way across a mountain in a terrible blizzard. He became colder and weaker with each step. His body ached and became numb. He staggered and almost fell, but he plunged on in a daze. Again he stumbled, and failing to stop his fall this time, he said, "This is the end." But in falling, his hand struck the prostrate form of another man who had fallen in the storm. He arose to his knees and began to chafe the hands of the unconscious man and to rub his face until he revived.

He saved another's life, but in doing so he saved his own. The exercise kept life in his own body and both survived. How many Christians are there who are freezing to death spiritually? How many who could save themselves by saving others?

We are indeed saved to save others, and in doing that we save ourselves, or keep ourselves saved. We are ministered to that we might minister to others, and in ministering to others we are benefitted as much as they -- perhaps more so. Unless we have a desire to share the joy of salvation with others, it is doubtful that we have truly received that joy. Unless we are truly concerned about the lost and want them to have forgiveness, peace and hope, there is every reason to question our own condition. As Christians, we should be sowers who sow the Word of God in the hearts of men and women. As Christians, we should go out into the "streets and lanes of the city" and out into the "highways and hedges" and constrain lost souls to come to the feast of God's kingdom. Christians are those who come to Christ and learn of Him and who then go and tell others of the Lamb of God.

Jesus said to Peter, "...and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren." (Luke 22:32) Paul told Timothy, "...for in so doing, thou shall save thyself and them that hear thee" (I Timothy 4:16).

(Appendix #6 to "The Greatest Need")

TELL THEM OF MY WAY

by Darrel Hymel

I had a dream the other night the judgment day was here,

It came in the twinkling of an eye, I had no time for fear.

I found myself in one great line, with men from every land,

Men from every race and age stood like grains of sand.

Christ held the book within his hands and God was on the throne,

He set about to judge each man, by the things which each had sown.

Then Christ took the book of life and read the names therein,

There were many that once were there but were blotted out by sin.

And I wondered if I'd find mine still for it had once been there,

Would my name be covered with stain, or would my name be bare?

I stood in fear before the throne and thought back on all my life,

How I fought to keep God's word and flee from sin and strife.

I never failed to read God's word, my love, it never died,

I taught my children right from wrong, I told them not to lie.

I never failed to worship God on Sunday and Wednesday night,

I often traveled many miles to hear a word of light.

I gave my goods to feed the poor and never ceased to pray,

I'd always kept my tongue in check until this very day.

So surely the Lord will know me and tell me to walk on in,

But Lord, please have mercy on all these lost in sin.

And as I thought, the crowd moved up, and I was fifth in line,

The men that stood before me were ready to pay their fine.

The first man stepped up to meet the Lord, and fell upon the floor,

Then I saw just who it was. It was the man next door.

Jesus took the book of life but could not find his name,

My neighbor said, "I have not heard." I knew I was to blame.

Next in line was Sister Anne who once in Christ had been,

Because I failed to admonish her, she continued in her sin.

Her name had once been written in the pages of that book,

But I never even took the time to see why she forsook.

Then a black man came before the throne, he had worked with me for years,

He knew his name would not be there and his eyes were filled with tears.

This man had never learned the truth and neither had his kin,

For I would not talk with them for the color of their skin.

And then the man before me I suddenly recognized,

And as he stepped before the throne he looked into my eyes.

He was my roommate from college days--he had been my greatest friend,

We'd always helped each other out, no matter what, through thick and thin.

But I never told him of the Lord -- it seemed so trivial then,

For we were young and had plenty of time to talk of God and sin.

And finally upon the judgment day, I meet with him once more,

But now there's nothing I can say to open to him the door.

And now I stood before the Lord, my soul was filled with fright.

"Why hadn't I taken the time to teach them what was right!"

Again the Lord, he took the book and looked there for my name,

Where once had been a pure white page my brothers' blood now stained.

And then the Lord, he said to me,

"I've here one dark blot, You hid my name from all these men,

Depart, I know you not. You met them every day in life

And knew they were astray, But you never even cared enough

To tell them of my way."

FINDING PROSPECTS (Matthew 7:7)

We will find in life exactly what we are looking for!

The wise man (Solomon) said, "He that findeth a wife findeth a good thing" (Proverbs 18:22).

Once a fellow decides he wants a wife, 98 per cent of the time he is successful!

He may have to go through quite a few before he gets a "yes," but he keeps on looking and asking.

He eventually finds a wife because that's what he is looking for and is conscious of it at all times.

We as Christians need to be looking for receptive hearts to teach and become Prospect Conscious. What you're looking for you'll find.

A good prospector sees in every rock the potential for gold. A bad prospector sees a rock as only a rock until proven otherwise.

A good prospect is anyone and everyone who will listen!

Unfortunately, some of the best "prospects" we make "suspects".

Illust: The Hippies, the worldly...

Would you have thought Saul of Tarsus a good prospect?

Overlook no one.

Remember, it is their decision -- not yours. Be careful not to prejudge.

We literally are standing in the midst of our own "Acres of Diamonds" in our own backyard (see appendix #3).

If we'd just lift up our eyes -- and look -- we'd find the fields white unto the harvest (John 4:35)! (See "Eighty Five Years Later" in appendix #1).

The key is to become Prospect Conscious.

Warm contacts (friends) are better than cold ones (strangers). For this reason, most of the time, door knocking is found to be the least effective method of prospecting.

Here are some sources of prospects:

Visitors at services (meet and be friendly to visitors).If they have enough motivation to visit us -- we ought to visit them.

DON'T BE SELFISH AND TALK TO THE SAME PEOPLE.

Look for visitors as well as brethren you don't know well.

Mates of members (Sometimes our best prospects are in our own backyard!)

New residents in the community. (Check the new Real Estate listings for listings for people who have moved into the community.)

Newcomers are often lonely, looking for new friends and a church home.

Notice move-ins on your own street and be neighborly.

Relatives of members (those who have some knowledge of the church).

Unfaithful members

Periodically go through those withdrawn from and let them know they have not been "written off" (Galatians 6:1)

Look for traumatic experiences which might have humbled them.

Friends and neighbors of members

Canvassing census or door knocking. (See sample religious survey in the appendix #4 at the end of this lesson).

All age groups should participate.

This is not high pressure door to door work; just an invitation to attend, take a Bible Correspondence Course, and ideally come hear about some specific topic of interest.

Small group Bible studies in members' homes during the week for non-Christians.

Christians commit to attend one of these studies and bring visitors.

People are more likely to come into a home than a church building.

It is one of the best ways to find "truth seekers" and to qualify your prospects I know of.

Co-workers.

Courting couples.

Members' children.

If a person has not obeyed by 15, chances are slim they will in the future. One should decide early on to "remember their Creator in the days of their youth".

A peer or respected member outside the family is probably best.

Use "Why the Bible was Written" lesson. A sample copy is provided for you.

Inquirers. The use of ads and other intelligent use of the media causes people to inquire.

Prospects furnished by new converts. These are great! Each convert is an "open door" to scores of prospects.

Classmates -- if you attend school.

College and High School contacts are ideal.

Young people are less set in their ways, often open and honest and very responsive to the gospel.

Young people who are Christians are not the church of tomorrow, but TODAY.

The apostle John was a teenager when first called by Jesus. Mary, if she was engaged at the typical age young girls got engaged in her culture, would have been 14-16 when she gave birth to Jesus. Joseph was 17 when he withstood Potiphar's wife.

Let's not underestimate what our young Christians can do in the kingdom. Often they do little because we expect little -- Very tragic!

Make a list of the people you know that you would consider good prospects. Include in the list what you know about the religion held by each one (if any). Narrow the list to three and finally one or two. Then make a list of things that would hinder you from contacting that person. Begin praying for that person and let God open up doors of opportunities for you. He will help you to overcome obstacles. Remember to concentrate on a few at a time. One of the devil's chief weapons is to get us so busy we can't show anyone individual attention.

YOUR PERSONAL PROSPECTS LIST:

PROSPECT (FRIEND)

RELIGION

POSSIBLE OBSTACLES

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

ALWAYS KEEP A PROSPECT LIST CURRENT! HAVE A WEEKLY, MONTHLY, AND YEARLY GOAL. Keep a list of names and add to it. Check off as you teach or find they are not ones who are open right now. Keep praying and try again later.

THINK--WHO DO YOU KNOW THAT YOU WOULD REALLY LIKE TO SEE IN HEAVEN that if they died right now, as far as you know, do not know the Lord?

NOW NARROW THE LIST DOWN TO ONE OR TWO PEOPLE

List their names below and begin praying for them today!

1.

2.

(Appendix #1 to "Finding Prospects")

Personal Contact is Essential

EIGHTY-FIVE YEARS LATER

(written in 1979)

It was 1894. The proprietor of a small confectionery shop in the tranquil southern city of Vicksburg, Mississippi, was dreaming. It was not the kind of dream that comes in the night with sleep, but the kind that comes in the day to men of vision. It was the dream of sharing a tasty soft drink with people who could never come to his soda fountain.

Eight years before, a man named John S. Pemberton of Atlanta had delighted soda patrons of his city with a new carbonated drink which his bookkeeper had dubbed Coca-Cola. Sales soon multiplied. By the time Asa G. Candler acquired Pemberton's business and had formed the Coca-Cola Company in 1892, hundreds of satisfied customers were drinking Coke - but always at a soda fountain, nowhere else.

But a man of vision named Joseph A. Biedenharn asked why Coca-Cola couldn't be made available to people where they were, rather than require them to come to his busy soda fountain. So in 1894, in the back of the Biedenharn Candy Company, Joseph Piedenharn bottled the first Coke. The bottles were rather crude (by our standards) but they worked for the purpose intended. The straight Hutchinson bottles with the wire bales and the rubber stoppers were somewhat difficult to handle (they had to be stored upside down!), but the dream of getting Coke out to the people was realized.

Soon the requests for the newly bottled coke multiplied. At first Biedenharn had been assigned Mississippi as his territory, but he soon was soon sending Cokes into Monroe, Louisiana. From there his territory widened to include Shreveport, then Texarkana, then Wichita Falls...on and on. Through the years bottled Coca-Cola has reached beyond the South and this nation to encircle the globe. Headlines of a few months back heralded the advance of Coke into China, showing the vision of the company's leaders to send their soft drink into every home in the world.

All of this has been said to make one point: Coke could not reach the masses until it got out of the soda fountain establishments and into the homes and businesses where people live every day. And, brethren, neither can the gospel of Christ reach the teeming world masses until we get it out of our church buildings and into our members in such a way that they gladly take it into every home and business they visit! We can not bottle up the gospel of salvation and ship it in cases to thirsty souls, but we can each so drink of Jesus that He makes in us a well of living water and then go out to share that refreshing drink with all we meet. This we must do! Eighty-five years after the first Coca-Cola was stoppered almost every segment of the world's population has heard of Coke. How long will it be till every creature has heard of Christ?

(Appendix #2 to "Finding Prospects")

BETRAYED

Friend, I stand in judgment now

And feel that you're to blame somehow,

On earth, I walked with you day by day,

And never did you point the way.

You knew the Lord in truth and glory

But never did you tell His story,

My knowledge then was very dim,

You could have led me safe to Him.

Yes, I knew He'd made the earth,

But knew not of that second birth,

And now I sit this day condemned,

Because you failed to mention Him.

You taught me many things that's true,

I called you "friend" and trusted you,

I learn, now, but it's too late,

You could have kept me from this fate.

We walked by day and talked by night,

And yet you showed me not the light.

You let me live, and love, and die,

And knew I'd never live on high.

Yes, I called you "friend" in life,

And trusted you through joy and strife,

And yet, on coming to this end,

I can not now call you "my friend".

**Author Unknown**

(Appendix #3 to "Finding Prospects")

ACRES OF DIAMONDS

Let me share with you a true story from the pages of the late 19th century. A farmer settled in Africa and heard of others that had made millions through the discovery of diamonds. The African continent was rich in diamonds and he could hardly wait to sell his farm and search for diamonds himself. The farmer sold his farm and spent the rest of his life wandering the vast African continent searching for those "gleaming gems" which brought such high prices on the markets of the world, but without success. Finally, years later, as an old man, broke and desperate, he threw himself over a bridge and drowned.

Meanwhile, the man who had bought his farm was plowing and cultivating the land, working with what he had, and he found a large unusual stone. This particular field was literally covered with them. He wasn't sure what they were so he took one of them to an expert to have it examined. It turned out to be great diamond of enormous value! Today, it is one of the world's richest diamond mines.

Imagine, the first farmer sold his farm for practically nothing in order to look for diamonds elsewhere. If he had only taken the time and study to find out what diamonds looked like in their rough state, and first thoroughly explored the land he presently owned, he would have the riches that he sought -- right in his own back yard!

I believe each of us, at this very moment, is standing in the middle of our own acres of diamonds -- if we would just take the time and have the patience to first thoroughly explore the circumstances in which we now find ourselves. Don't you see? Right now, the contacts, friends, neighbors, loved ones, and business associates, that we know and see regularly, are the riches that we seek in their rough state, literally right in our own back yards!

"Lift up your eyes, and look unto the fields, they are white unto the harvest" (John 4:35).

( Appendix #4 to "Finding Prospects" )

RELIGIOUS SURVEY

Hello, I'm and this is . We are Christians who worship here in this community. We would like to know about you and your family and your spiritual needs. Would you mind if we asked you a few questions?

HINTS:

1. Relax. The world will not come to an end if this particular prospect isn't interested.

2. Walk briskly.

3. Have a happy look about you.

4. Knock 3 times.

5. Step Back.

6. Turn slowly and smile.

7. Speak low and slow.

8. Remain flexible.

9. Make the visit short.

Remember: "Perfect love casts out fear"

(I John 4:18).

1. Do you attend church? If so, how often? Seldom

Fairly Often Regularly Does your entire family attend?

2. Do you find your Bible difficult to understand?

What subjects do you wish you could hear more teaching about?

3. In what ways if any, would you like to see the church where you attend improve? (Or if they do not attend, is there anything that would cause them to begin attending?)

4. How often do you study the Bible in your own home? Seldom Fairly often Regularly

5. We at the North Street church are undenominational, and offer the following services which may be of interest to you(Free of charge).

A Bible Correspondence course (6 lessons)

Home Bible study at your convenience

Home Bible study for your children

Series of home videos in your home on the theme of the Bible Arrangements(optional)

6. Name

Address

Phone Number

# of Children Ages

We are having a special series of lessons this month to start the month off right. (Show them the topics on a handout that has been prepared to announce an upcoming month where all the Sunday morning and evening lessons are designed to reach the community and ask them if any of them sounds interesting. Invite them to come. Thank them for their time.)

Be friendly...and courteous...you are a representative of Christ!

(Appendix #5 to "Finding Prospects")

A Sample Letter to New Residents in nearby Zip Codes

The North Street church of Christ

Undenominational Christianity

Tampa, Fla 33604

PHONE: 238-5259

January 25, 1994

Dear Newcomer:

Hello! Welcome to the Tampa Bay Area! The Christians who meet at 610 E. North Street in Tampa hope your recent move was successful and wish you all the best in your new home.

We hope you'll want the Lord to be a part of your life at your new address.

Enclosed you'll find a complete schedule of the adult classes currently being offered on Sunday morning and Wednesday evening. We've also enclosed what we call a "Lord's Business Card" that is used by our members to tell their friends about us. We hope that you'll find it helpful in locating us and in remembering our schedule of services. We have a complete program of Bible classes for all ages including a fully-equipped learning center for younger children. A variety of other activities, such as home Bible studies are also offered during the week.

If you have any questions, would like any further information, or need transportation, or directions to services, please don't hesitate to call one of the members listed below:

Brent Hunter (minister) 988-8756

Royce Chandler (minister) 988-0791 Daryl Mathis 987-2834

Doug Hoffman (elder) 985-6037

Denny Halberg (deacon) 626-1617

Jerome Harris (deacon) 221-1822

Buddy Parks (deacon) 988-5634

Roland Lewis (elder) 988-2644

We're looking forward to meeting you!

Sincerely in Christ's love,

The Lord's people who meet at 610 E. North Street

(Appendix #6 to "Finding Prospects")

SMALL GROUP BIBLE STUDIES

FOR NON-CHRISTIANS

In an effort to reach non-Christians and find out who is really interested in the gospel, members conduct weekly Bible studies in a variety of locations around the city. Usually these studies are conducted in private homes or in some other place that will be informal and encourage prospects to ask questions. Many people will come to someone's home that would not come to a church building. This is one of the best ways to establish contacts for future studies. The studies are designed for non-Christians and tailor-made to meet their needs. This is a sample of how eight of these studies were being presented and divided up by different members during the week a few years ago. At our peak we have had twelve small group Bible studies going on at once. This was the most effective way we have found to generate contacts and find out who is really interested. A majority of our contacts for conversion were coming from these studies. They are highly recommended.

SMALL GROUP BIBLE STUDIES

(First Principle discussions designed for non-Christian visitors)

MONDAY: 6:30 pm - 7703 Leon Ave. Tel: 988-8936,

MONDAY: 7:15 pm - 5811 N. Cherokee. Tel: 238-6333

TUESDAY: 8:30 pm - 4429 Dolphin Dr. Tel: 989-3002

TUESDAY: 7:15 pm - 11705 Wesson Cir.,

WEDNESDAY: 3:30 pm - Univ. Ctr., rm. 158 (USF)

THURSDAY: 8:30 pm - 13147 N. 20th St. #208

FRIDAY: 7:30 pm - 1805 E. Okaloosa Ave Tel: 932-9890

SATURDAY: 6:30 pm - 8501 N. 50th Street #112

Here is a short description of how these are to be conducted. Each of these studies needs a minimum of five to seven Christians who will commit to come to the studies and invite non-Christians. If you could make a commitment to get involved in this effort, it would be most commendable. As these groups grow the group will be able to split into additional groups and therefore have additional opportunities to reach the lost. It is also a great opportunity to train teachers to work in this effort, as they work under someone who is more experienced first. The biggest challenge is usually to get members over thirty to get involved in this effort. It is important that not just the young get involved, so that the congregation is not divided and so all age groups can be reached with the gospel. Normally, one is most effective in reaching his peers first.

DIFFERENT TYPES OF PROSPECTS AND SUGGESTED

BIBLE STUDY APPROACHES TO REACH THEM

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to this session of "Personal Evangelism 101." We are here to deal with the real "nuts and bolts" of personal evangelism. We hope to answer the question of "What exactly do I say?"

This is a serious effort to "speak where the Bible speaks and be silent where the Bible is silent" and also to do what the Bible says do.

It's high time we stop talking about the battle and start fighting the battle!

Spiritual soldiers of Christ are just like physical soldiers in that they need disciplined training before they can be effective against the enemy.

Some have the Sword of the Spirit but they don't know how to use or properly wield it.

Illustration - A sincere, well-meaning but unskilled surgeon can do more harm than good.

The same principle applies to the sincere but unskilled church member.

This series is designed to give you "fencing lessons" to teach you how to "wield the sword" of the Spirit effectively.

There is scriptural authority to study "how to teach" (Colossians 4:6; Matthew 10:16). We need to be smart, wise and shrewd, as well as accurate!

The first key to being wise and shrewd is to understand the need to analyze your prospect and then tailor your lesson(s) to the prospect's needs and background. What may work for one won't work for another.

Illustration- Why did the Holy Spirit give us four gospel accounts? Each gospel has a slightly different approach in order to reach four different audiences

Illustration-Each of the major sermons in Acts varies according to the audience addressed. (Acts 2- Jews; Acts 10- Gentiles; Acts 17- Pagans).

There are FOUR CLASSES OF PROSPECTS we will deal with (we assume each already believes in God and the Bible).

The WORLDLY - biblically ignorant prospect who knows little or nothing of Christ and the gospel, and who usually has obvious sin problems in his life.

This group is perhaps the most neglected, yet the "unchurched" are the greatest hope for substantial growth.

They are often the easiest to teach because they already admit they are sinners and need a Savior and they are similar to a "blank page" in that you can teach them right from the start instead of having to do so much "unteaching" before you are able to get them to see Divine truth clearly.

Illustration - A recent Gallup poll reported that approximately 50 percent of the U.S. population is unchurched and 25 percent of those believe in God and plan on one day getting their life right with God. Their biggest problem is that they are turned off to "organized religion." What a great opportunity for those of us who represent simple New Testament Christianity and a viable alternative to denominationalism!

Be careful! Don't argue about baptism and the church with the prospect before he even understands that he is a sinner and that Christ is the answer to the sin problem.

First things first! We are not interested in just getting people wet.

The basic lesson called "Why the Bible Was Written" is designed to fit his needs. This only takes 45 minutes and is simple enough for anyone to use. This lesson can be found in the appendix #1 at the end of this lesson and is a one lesson approach.

The "God, Man and the Cross" series by Glenn McClister, which can be found in the appendix #3, is also highly recommended for this type of prospect. It consists of four lessons.

The Dedicated Sincerely Deceived Prospect

This is usually the devout denominational person.

This person understands basically about sin, the need of the gospel and other things about the Bible and has lived a more or less moral life (or has at least had biblical moral instruction).

Usually, they understand the gospel, but not how to obey the gospel.

They do not understand the terms of entrance into the kingdom nor the nature of the kingdom.

The problem here is that there is a lot of unteaching that has to be done.

They are often very satisfied with their present religion and do not believe they are a sinner and therefore are not seeking truth!

This type is difficult and requires a lot of patience.

I recommend three series of lessons designed for this prospect.

The four lesson series called "Undenominational Christianity" is found in the next lesson.

The five Jule Miller or four We Care Video Series

Journey to Eternity (a series of charts complete with detailed outlines to go with the charts - 7 lessons total)

The Fallen Away Church Member

The real need here is prevention. Statistically, the church has a 50 percent dropout rate! We must be determined to give more attention to the spiritual care of our present members.

The Lord is just as pleased about one restored as one converted (Luke 15:7). Perhaps even more pleased since Peter tells us that "the last state is worse than the first" (2 Peter 2:20-21).

It is not just up to the elders or the preacher, but everyone who is spiritual (Galatians 6:1). Everyone is responsible to be his brother's keeper.

Ivan Stewart's 1st and 2nd Admonition should be placed in the back of every member's Bible. Each takes 15 to 20 minutes to go over. These are available at the Florida College Bookstore.

Remember that attendance is not the only gauge of faithfulness; in fact, it may be a poor gauge. Asking about one's prayer life is probably more important to determine one's spiritual strength.

The first thing that will slip when one is weak is prayer.

Probing into this area will determine more than anything else the quality of their relationship with God. If that relationship is weak, then that is the real source of their problem.

Let me suggest that you do not say that such a one has "quit the church." Talk about the person "quitting the Lord." We must not allow people to think they can "quit the church" and still have Jesus.

Mail them the poem "The Beginning of Forever." (see appendix). It will really make them think!

The Institutional Prospect

Often ignored is this prospect, yet the present generation makes an ideal contact because they have been kept in the dark.

The key is to break down barriers and open up lines of communication by speaking "the truth in love" (Ephesians 4:15) with "great plainness of speech" (2 Corinthians 3:12).

Explain terms by referring to Bible passages: liberal (going beyond the doctrine of Christ, failure to adhere strictly to a standard - 2 John 9; Jude 3), institutional (adding new works and levels of organization to the church - 1 Timothy 3:14-15; Acts 20:28), digression and apostasy (departures from the truth - 1 Timothy 4:1), doctrines and commandments of men (Matthew 15:8-9).

Unexplained terms may appear to be prejudicial labels or slurs. Your patient appeal to scripture will open honest hearts. Dishonest hearts will be offended and turn away no matter what terms you use (Matthew 15:12-13).

Illustration - A friend says, "I hear the church you attend is anti - Is it?" You reply, "Anti what?" If we are in error, we want to learn better. Can we study together with our Bible open?

Illustration - You say to a friend, "You go to an institutional church. We are non-institutional." "Oh, they reply, " What do you mean by that?" Then you can study together from the word of God.

"The Emergence of the Church of Christ Denomination" by Ed Harrell is an excellent pamphlet to give to them. (You may order this from the Florida College Bookstore.)

Many of these people are sincere and honest but have never been approached correctly or even given a chance to come to a more perfect understanding. (Illustration - the Lassen Street congregation in Los Angeles, where I grew up, in the early eighties had about 180 members and over 40% came out of institutional backgrounds! This is hard to find, but a good example of what can be accomplished.)

FIVE DIFFERENT APPROACHES TO BIBLE STUDY

(Remember, these first two approaches are for the person who knows little about Christ and the Bible, and needs to be taught about the King before it is appropriate to teach them about the Kingdom).

"Why the Bible was Written" is unique because it is so simple and because it is the only one lesson approach recommended.

It is a basic presentation of the gospel and the church.

The teacher simply serves as a "guide" as you ask the prospect to find the reference, read the passage, and have him answer the questions concerning it. It overcomes the objection, "that's just your interpretation" because in each case it is not your interpretation but his.

It only takes about 45 minutes to complete and is so simple anyone can do it. This is the beauty and power of this lesson.

If you have never done any personal work before; this is an excellent place to start!

You will need to have separate copies of the lesson made so you can have your own copy and leave the filled out copy with the prospect.

Make sure you ask the prospect to read the text aloud out of his own Bible (as long as it is a reputable translation). There is nothing more powerful than someone reading the truth aloud out of his own Bible!

Keep the prospect involved and ask him frequently to express his ideas in his own words.

Remember to get his/her salvation experience before you let him teach himself what the Bible says about salvation.

Because this is a "one lesson approach" some special comments need to be made concerning one lesson approaches.

It is scriptural (Acts 16:33).

The jailor was a raw pagan and knew nothing of Christianity, yet after one study he was converted.

In the Bible immediacy was the rule rather than the exception.

However, this is difficult today because of the need to do so much UNTEACHING with many prospects.

This usually only is appropriate when the prospect has not been ingrained with some false concepts about Christ and the church--as was the case with the Jailor.

Also, one should not "press" for a commitment after just one study but instead only agree to baptize them if they insist, which occasionally does happen.

It has the advantage of qualifying your prospect to help you determine whether he is genuinely interested.

If after one basic overview he is ready for more then he is probably a true seeker. Unfortunately, some are just intellectually curious and you don't want to waste five or six weeks of valuable time with a non-seeker.

If you are confident the prospect is a true seeker and sincere, go with one of the Multi-lesson series. It is often helpful to go with the one-lesson approach first and then, if interested, continue with multi-lesson approach when in doubt.

NOTICE: This is a one lesson approach, not a one shot approach, (Matthew 28:18-20.) The Divine imperative is on the second "teach".

"Don't dip and leave 'em". Additional teaching is necessary afterwards in order to ground and further stabilize the new convert in God's Word.

If you follow-up and continue to ground and teach new converts you will be able to keep a much larger percentage than you will be able to otherwise.

The God, Man and the Cross series consists of four lessons (five if you include the "Counting the Cost" lesson). The abbreviated version (pages 40-51) is what would be used with the prospect. If you desire to order a set of these on cassettes they are available from the North Street tape library. Call Todd Stephenson at 1-813-985-6613 or write to him 119 Glen Arven Ave. N., Temple Terrace, FL 33617.

It begins with God, Man and the Cross itself, which is a three lesson presentation of the gospel message. It discusses God and Man as they are revealed to us in Genesis, chapters 1-3 and then presents four lessons on the cross.

The lesson entitled "The Biblical Significance of Baptism" is designed to follow God, Man and the Cross. It sums up the laws of spiritual growth discussed in the series. It should be followed up with the "Counting the Cost of Discipleship" lesson.

The series then is divided up into these five parts.

Lesson #1 -- Five points on God, five on man.

Lesson #2 -- The first two lessons of the cross.

Lesson #3 -- The last two lessons of the cross.

Lesson #4 --"The Biblical Significance of Baptism"

Lesson #5 --"Counting the Cost of Discipleship"

Remember, this series is for the type of person who knows little about Christ, is ignorant of the Bible and its teaching, and usually still has obvious sin problems in his life.

One must first know about Christ before he is taught concerning the church.

It is a mistake to teach people only about the New Testament church and not about its head. It is also a mistake to teach Christ without His kingdom. We must strive for balance.

Depending on the person, it may be advisable to teach some of the "Undenominational Christianity" series before baptizing him as well; if not, make sure he receivess this teaching as soon as possible after baptism.

NOTE: (These next two Bible study approaches are designed for someone who is already familiar with the gospel story -- one who has known about the King but needs to be more perfectly instructed regarding the Kingdom).

The "Undenominational Christianity Series" consists of four lessons (five if you include the "Counting the Cost" lesson). Copies of these lessons can be found on pages 53-79). They are available on cassette tapes. If you would like to order them from the North Street library, call Todd Stephenson at 1-813-985-6613 or write to him 119 Glen Arven Ave. N., Temple Terrace, FL 33617.

These lessons stress the need to return to the pattern of the New Testament Church.

The series consists of the following lessons:

"Where did all the Denominations Come From?"

"The Restoration Plea"

"The Silence of the Scriptures"

"Bible Baptism" or if necessary "Baptism is Necessary for Salvation."

"Counting the Cost of Discipleship" (see appendix #2 of this lesson).

The lesson "Where Did All the Denominations Come From?" is self-explanatory. It must be learned well enough so that the one presenting the material is not bound to the detailed manuscript.

The "Restoration Plea" can be omitted if one of these lessons needs to be cut because much of the same sort of information is also in the "Denominations" lessons.

The "Silence of the Scriptures" is the most important and necessary of the three. This is the primary reason why we are not part of the Protestant reformation but instead "simply Christians" interested in restoration.

Jule Miller Filmstrips Series

This series has some good information in it, but in our video age is outdated. I think in our modern "video age" that the use of videos is more professional and effective. They are now readily available on video, so trade up if you haven't already done so. I personally have come to prefer the "WE CARE MINISTRIES" video series by Larry West, which is discussed briefly in point "E" below.

Five strips (or videos) - change the order and show them 1,2,3,5,4. This way they are taught about the church before they are baptized. If you can get them coming with you to services toward the end of the studies it is best.

This is an indirect teaching method -- something else is doing the teaching for you.The Advantages

It's easy for the beginning teacher.

It's easy for the new convert to share with others.

The Disadvantages

It's impersonal and not much eye contact -- to some appears "too professional."

It's difficult to tell whether they are absorbing the material. WATCH THEM CAREFULLY!

Use the "stop and start method".

Dim the lights but don't make it too dark. (No problem if you have a self-contained screen projection or video).

Keep them involved!

What do you think? (Have them explain it in their own words).

Remember silence does not mean consent or understanding.

Watch the tendency we all have to want to do too much of the talking. This should be a Dialogue, not a Monologue. Watch the prospect not the strips!

Be familiar enough with all the strips so that when they ask questions you know whether to answer now or come back to it at a later time.

Before the person is baptized go over "Counting the Cost of Discipleship" with him.

WE CARE MINISTRIES VIDEO-"What if the Lord were to come right now?"

This series is short and is very well done. It has four parts to it that run only about 25-30 minutes a piece.

"Why are we all lost?"

"What is the gospel?"

"What are the identifying characteristics of the New Testament Church?"

"There's a great day coming. Are you ready?"

This series can be ordered from: We Care Ministries, P.O. Box 2000, West Monroe, LA 71294. The first tape is $80.00 and any additional tapes are $20.00.

They even work well in some cases just passing them around and asking interested individuals to listen to them on their own time. They work better if you can listen to them with the prospect and discuss them together, (and "Counting the Cost" after the last tape); however, some will listen to the tape on their own who will not allow you to study with them.

Have the congregation order a good number of them and have them available for the members to check out, or purchase your own private copy. However, it is cheaper if you can get together under one name, so that subsequent copies can be purchased at the cheaper rate.

NOTE: These series are just suggestions. If you have your own or others that is fine.

My experience has been that just about anything works as long as it is used and used properly!

Why are we not "bringing in more sheaves?" Too often there is no harvest because the seed has been left in the barn.

"COUNTING THE COST OF DISCIPLESHIP" LESSON

You will notice that at the end of each series of lessons, regardless of which ones are being referred to, you will find a "Counting the Cost" lesson. There are several reasons for this:

It is Biblical (Luke 14:25-33)!

Jesus emphasized the need to "count the cost" before one makes the decision to be one of His disciples so that they will know before they make a commitment what will be expected of them.

The New Testament makes it clear that repentance is to be a meaningful part of what it means to "turn to God" and this lesson helps them to do this in a meaningful and serious manner (Luke 13:3, Acts 26:20).

It will help to decrease the amount of people who fall away because they didn't understand fully the nature of the commitment they were making.

It is an expedient way to eliminate people just "getting wet" and not being really serious about being truly converted and living the Christian life. Like the rich young ruler (Mark 10:21-22) it would be better to have some turn away and not even claim to be a disciple, than to pay a partial price and think that is acceptable in God's eyes.

Over time it will result in a congregation that is more unified in their commitment and therefore in their ability to work together and be fruitful!

(Appendix #1 to "Different Types of Prospects...")

WHY THE BIBLE WAS WRITTEN

A UNIQUE BOOK

The 66 books of the Bible were written by some 40 men from six countries over a period of 1600 years. These men were separated by time, distance, culture, and language, yet the Bible is characterized by unity and harmony. Would this be true of any other book written under similar circumstances? Why is it true of the Bible? The only reasonable explanation is to accept what the Bible claims for itself.

(II Timothy 3:16) The Bible is inspired by

But, WHY DID GOD CAUSE THE BIBLE TO BE WRITTEN? Let's look at some of the reasons.

(1) TO REVEAL GOD

The universe bears witness to the existence of a Supreme Being who designed it and created it. (Psalms 19:1) The Bible reveals:

--- His identity

--- His nature

--- His will for man

(2) TO GUIDE US

Over and over again, history has demonstrated man's inability to guide himself guidance morally and spiritually. Confusion, chaos, and misery have always followed his attempts to do so. We need an authoritative standard; we need God's wisdom to direct us. The Bible is actually our manufacturer's guide book. Since God is the one who made us, He knows what is best for us. (II Timothy 3:16-17)

Is the Bible a complete and adequate guide book? yes-no

Do we need additional revelations? yes-no

(3) TO ANSWER LIFE'S GREATEST QUESTIONS

1. WHERE DID I COME FROM? (Genesis 1:27)

2. WHY AM I HERE? (Ecclesiastes 12:13)

The most important thing in life is to fear and keep His .

3. WHERE AM I GOING? (Ecclesiastes 12:7)

What happens to man's spirit at death? (John 5:28-29)

Will both the good and evil be raised? yes-no (Matthew 25:31-33)

When Christ returns, He will sit on His throne and people from all will be gathered before Him.

He will put some on His and others on the . (vs. 34)

What will He say to those on the right? (vs. 41)

To those on the left? (vs. 46)

After facing Christ in the Judgment, we will go away into eternal or eternal

.

(4) TO REVEAL SIN AND ITS CONSEQUENCES

(Romans 3:23) This includes you and me, doesn't it?

We sin in thought, in word, in deed, and by failing to do things we should. The average person sins many times daily. If we committed an average of only three sins a day, in a year we would have the guilt of more than a thousand sins upon us. Think of the sins committed in a lifetime!

(Romans 1:18) What is God's attitude toward our sins? (Isaiah 59:1-2) Sin creates a separation between us and God.

MAN

(Sinful)

GOD

(Holy)

The Bible reveals that God is perfect, holy, and sinless. It is impossible for Him to allow man with the guilt of sin upon him to live in His presence and have fellowship with Him. Man's separation from God because of sin is the underlying cause of all the problems and sorrows in the world. The entire human race is searching for peace within, but it cannot be found out of fellowship with God. Guilty sinners will be separated from God in eternity as well as in this life.

Because God loves us, He wants to forgive us and receive us back into His fellowship, but His holiness and justice demand that the penalty of our sins be paid. Sin is so terrible and offensive to God that all efforts to pay its penalty are insufficient. It is impossible for us to earn forgiveness.

THE SIN PROBLEM CANNOT BE SOLVED BY:

--- human wisdom

--- education

--- morality

--- keeping the Ten Commandments

--- doing good deeds

IS THERE NO HOPE FOR US? IS THERE ANY WAY OUT OF THE SIN DILEMMA?

(5) TO REVEAL GOD'S ANSWER TO THE SIN PROBLEM

(Romans 5:6-10) Note: This was written to saved people, reminding them of how salvation is made possible.

(vs 6) Are we able to solve the sin problem by ourselves? yes-no

(vs 8) How did God demonstrate His love for us?

(vs 9) We can be justified (made free from sin's guilt by Christ's . (vs 10) A guilty sinner is an enemy of God. yes-no

(vs 10) As sinners we can be reconciled to God (made God's friends) through .

MAN (Sinful) + GOD (Holy)

Since Christ was sinless, God accepted his death on the cross as payment for the penalty for our sins. This makes it possible for God to forgive us and yet maintain His holiness and justice.

HOW CAN WE RECEIVE FORGIVENESS THROUGH THE DEATH OF CHRIST?

(Romans 5:1) We are justified (made free from sin's guilt) by

WHAT IS SAVING FAITH? IS IT:

(James 2:19) Just believing in the one true God? yes-no

(John 12:42-43) Just believing in the facts about Jesus? yes-no

(Hebrews 5:8-9) Christ saves those who have enough faith in Him to Him in order to be saved.

(Acts 17:30-31) God requires us to This means to make a decision to turn from sin and serve God.

(Mark 16:15-16) Jesus promises to save us: ( ) before we are baptized ( ) after we are baptized.

(Romans 6:3-4) Is one in Christ (in union with Him) before he is baptized? yes-no

Baptism is a ( ) burial ( ) sprinkling ( ) pouring.

(Acts 8:35-39) Baptism involves going down into the water and coming up out of the water. This is because in being baptized a person is ( ) buried in water ( ) has water sprinkled on or poured on him.

Have you been baptized (buried, immersed in water)? yes-no

If yes, was it your understanding at the time that one is saved before baptism or after baptism?

REVIEW: In order to receive forgiveness through the death of Jesus Christ, we must:

WHAT RELIGION OR CHURCH SHOULD A PERSON BELONG TO AFTER BEING SAVED?

(Matthew 16:18) How many churches did Jesus promise to build?

(Ephesians 1:22-23) Jesus' church is also called His

(I Corinthians 12:27) Christians are members of Christ's body, his Church.

(Ephesians 4:4-6) There is one body, just as there is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God. yes-no

Since the one body is the church, how many churches does Jesus have?

When a person believes in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, repents, confesses his faith in Jesus, and is baptized, his sins are forgiven. Jesus recognizes him as a member of His spiritual body, His church. Every religion, denomination, and church on earth other that Jesus' church, His body, was originated by man. They all teach man-made doctrines which are not in harmony with God's word, the Bible.

(Matthew 15:9) Those who teach the commandments of men as religious doctrines worship God in vain. yes-no

(Matthew 7:21-23) Many religious people who call Jesus "Lord" will hear Him say, "Depart from me" some day. yes-no

In order to go to heaven, we must do the will of .

God's will is revealed in .

Rather than embracing some man-made religion, it should be our desire to follow Christ as members of His body, His church. yes-no

(Matthew 28:18-20) After being baptized, we are expected to continue learning and doing what Christ commands us. yes-no

(I John 5:13; Revelation 2:10) Faithful Christians have the assurance of eternal life in heaven? yes-no

Do you know if you died today you would go to heaven? yes-no

Do you want this assurance? yes-no

(Romans 10:17) Are you willing to hear God's word? yes-no

(Romans 10:9-10) Do you believe in Jesus Christ? yes-no

(Acts 17:30) Are you willing to repent? yes-no

(Romans 10:9-10) Are you willing to confess? yes-no

(Mark 16:16) Are you willing to be baptized? yes-no

After being baptized are you willing to continue learning and doing what Christ has commanded? yes-no

HOW SOON SHOULD ONE OBEY THE LORD AFTER LEARNING WHAT TO DO IN ORDER TO BE SAVED?

(Acts 2:37-41) How soon were these people baptized?

(Acts 8:35-39) How soon was this man baptized?

(Acts 16:30-33) How soon was the jailer baptized?

(James 4:14) If you delay your obedience, are you assured of a future opportunity?

(Appendix #2 to "Different Types of Prospects...")

COUNTING THE COST OF DISCIPLESHIP

In Luke chapter 14 Jesus gave the ground rules for becoming one of His disciples. In vs.25-33, He said that a person who desires to become a follower of His needs to calculate the cost. This means that before making the lifelong commitment of becoming a Christian, one must evaluate himself and see if he is willing to pay the price and take the commitment seriously. There is no one who cannot afford to pay the price, but there are many who are not willing to pay such a high price.

Jesus gave us His life and He expects our life in return. We are to present ourselves as a "living sacrifice which is our reasonable service" (Romans 12:1). The greatest and most important of all the commandments is to "love the Lord thy God with all the thy heart, soul, and mind" (Matthew 22:36-37). It is important to understand that even good moral people will be lost if they love God second or third or fourth rather than giving him first place. We must love Him so much that we will allow nothing to interfere with our putting Him first. The disciples "left all" in order to follow Jesus (Luke 5:11). We may be called upon to do the same some day. Nothing, including our physical possessions, is to become more important to us than God. Indeed, we become simply "stewards" of all we possess and we are accountable to God for our use of the blessings He has given us (I Peter 4:10).

There will be much that you will learn and come to understand as you grow and study. However, at the very beginning you need to be willing to surrender your will to His, and be committed to follow and obey truth--whatever it takes and wherever it may lead you. Your love for the Lord will be the driving force that will empower you to "keep the commandments" (John 14:15). This is why John could say that, even though following the commandments of God will be challenging, "they are not grievous" (I John 5:3).

In Exodus 19:4-8, we have an example of the type of faith you need to have in the Lord at the start, even before you come to know everything that the Lord expects of you. God reminded the children of Israel what he had done for them, how he had redeemed them from Egyptian bondage and saved them by bearing them upon "eagle's wings." Then God set before them the wonderful promises He had in store for them, (See vs 5-6, and notice similarity to I Peter 2:5-9), if they would simply obey His voice and keep His covenant. Then, even before the people knew what the specific laws were, they demonstrated their faith and trust in God by committing to obey God's laws. "And all the people answered and said, all that Jehovah hath spoken we will do." (Exodus 19:8).

Likewise, once we have come to appreciate the Lord Jesus and all He has done for us, and have been convicted of our sins and therefore our need for salvation, and truly desire the wonderful promises of God in our life, then we demonstrate our faith and trust in God by "confessing Christ as Lord " (Romans 10:9-10). Someone has said "unless He is Lord of all, He is not Lord at all." When one accepts Christ as his Lord he is stating that he is willing to do whatever the Lord asks, even before he has had the opportunity to learn every detail of what a future life of service to God may involve. Jesus made this clear, when He gave the great commission and ordered His disciples to go into all the world and make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, "teaching them to observe whatsoever I have commanded you and lo I will be with you always even unto the end of the age." Notice that a lot of teaching must come after one has become a Christian. But the commitment to surrender your will to His and do whatever He asks, as you learn the Lord's will for you life, comes before you make the decision to become a Christian. We cannot make your decisions for you, or do your thinking for you, nor do we wish to. Difficult issues will have to be studied out and wrestled with as you fulfill your lifelong commitment to the Lordship of Jesus.

However, some general principles should be understood in the very beginning. Our commitment to the Lord can be divided up into three general areas: 1) A commitment to a personal relationship with God, 2) A commitment to the family of God, His church, and 3) A commitment to the lost people in the world who do not know Jesus. These basic responsibilities are clear in the scriptures and your willingness to be faithful to these responsibilities is a part of "Counting the Cost of Discipleship" that Jesus referred to in Luke 14. With these thoughts in mind, lets look at some scriptures dealing with these three areas of commitment.

TO A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD COMMITMENT

Obviously, you cannot have a relationship with someone you do not communicate with! A Christian needs to schedule regular times for communicating with God.

A personal study of God's word is how you can maintain personal relationship with your Creator.

Let God speak to you regularly through His Word. (II Timothy 2:15, Hebrews 4 :12).

The Beroeans were "more noble than those at Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, examining the scriptures daily, whether these things were so" (Acts 17:11). This is a wonderful example and one you would do well to emulate.

Prayer is the way we express our feelings, thoughts and needs to the Heavenly Father (Luke 5:16, Colossians 4:2, I Thessalonians 5:17). You should set aside a special time for prayer along with your Bible study. It is essential that you talk with God every day once you become one of His children.

A daily offering of your life and resources to the cause of Christ is part of your relationship with Him ( Romans 12:1). Here are a few examples.

Your time. (Ephesians 5:15).

Your money. ( Matthew 6:19; II Corinthians 8:2-5;9:6-7)

Your thoughts. (Philippians 4:8)

Your supreme love. (Matthew 22: 37-38, II Corinthians 5:14-15).

Dealing with sin in your every day life is part of the commitment.

We are to be dead to sin at the point of baptism (Romans 6:3,6,11).

We are to put to death daily our sinful tendencies (I Corinthians 15:31, Galatians 5:24). This is a part of our growth in Christ and our sanctification before God. This is serious business because Hebrews 12:14 tells us that "without sanctification no man shall see the Lord."

Galatians 5:17-21, Colossians 3:2-17, Ephesians 4:20-5:14--all list various sins that are not to be a part of the Christian's life.

Those that apply to you now need to be repented of and changed.

You need to learn to "abhor evil" (Romans 12:9) and put away "all filthiness and overflowing of wickedness" (James 1:21).

Our primary purpose in life is to become like Christ (Luke 6:40; Romans 8:29; I John 2:6). A daily relationship with God is essential in fulfilling this purpose.

COMMITMENT TO THE FAMILY OF GOD, THE CHURCH.

All Christians are equally important, therefore every Christian must be involved and willing to do his part (I Corinthians 12; 12-27).

The work isn't to be left up just to the "leaders" (Ephesians 4:12,15,16).

We need to have deep relationships within the body. Our best friends should be Christians since we are members of one another (Romans 12: 5,10; I Thessalonians 5:11,15).

It is important that you understand your responsibilities to the assemblies of the saints (Hebrews 10:23-25).

Since we cannot condone false doctrine, we cannot worship and abide in the "apostles' doctrine" (Acts 2:42) by worshipping with just any religious body (II John 9-11).

Why? (Mark 7:6-8, Galatians 1:6-10).

In practice this means that wherever you go, you must find a faithful congregation to worship and work with. This is important to remember when traveling or if you move to another location.

You need to understand clearly what you had been practicing, or not practicing, in the past that was unscriptural and understand that to continue in error once you have "come to a knowledge of the truth" is to cut yourself off from God's grace (Hebrews 10:26).

Our Relationship with the Elders must be one of submission.

Elders are our leaders and we should respect and obey them in matters of judgement (Hebrews 13:17).

Do not receive an accusation against an elder unless there are two or three witnesses (I Timothy 5:19).

We are not to "drag our leaders through the mud". It is a very serious thing to speak evil of an elder, especially if it is done falsely. Consider your words carefully when speaking about others, especially our elders, deacons, evangelists, and Bible class teachers.

If you are single, you should only consider marrying a fellow Christian who will help you get to heaven and with whom you will be able to share the things that are most important to you in this life. (Genesis 6:2,5-6; Deuteronomy 7: 2-4; I Kings 11:14).

This implies you must be extremely careful whom you date and why (I Corinthians 15:33).

All relationships must be kept pure as a Christian.

If at present, you have a non-Christian girlfriend or boyfriend, try to get them in contact with other Christians who will help you bring them to Christ.

If you are married and your mate is not a Christian, you should try to "sanctify the mate" by leading him or her to Christ (I Corinthians 7:14-16; I Peter 3:1).

COMMITMENT TO THE LOST: THOSE WHO DO NOT KNOW JESUS.

Jesus came to the earth for the purpose of seeking and saving the lost. Therefore, as His disciples, saving the lost should be one of the primary purposes of our Christian life as well.

We cannot belong to Christ without also belonging to the cause of Christ.

It was Jesus' last command to His apostles (Matthew 28;18-20).

Ours is the same mission as the Christians in the first century, the spreading of the gospel throughout the entire world (Mark 16:15)!

The proclamation of the gospel is to be a natural outgrowth of your walk with Christ. It is a part of the fruits you are to bear on a daily basis.

There is time to study and grow and be trained, but there will come a time when you ought to be a teacher (Hebrews 10:12).

In the meantime, take advantage of opportunities to share what Christ has done for you in a positive way, and to do what you can to lead others to someone who can teach them.

We have classes to help you overcome fear and to help you learn how to be effective in soul winning. We also have small group Bible studies for evangelism you can become a part of.

We are to represent Christ to others (II Corinthians 3:2). We would not want to be a bad reflection on Christ or misrepresent Him in anything we do or say. For example:

We need to dress modestly (I Timothy 2:9).

Avoid "obscenity, and coarse joking, which are out of place" (Ephesians 4:29, 5:4).

Anything that would discredit the Lord or His church should be avoided. (II Corinthians 6:3-4).

CONCLUSION:

Obeying the gospel will require substantial changes in your life.

A believer is to "repent and be baptized"(Acts 2:38). One is to "repent and turn to God, doing works worthy of repentance" (Acts 26:20).

Only you know for sure the changes that you need to make to demonstrate true repentance.

Whatever your sins may be, laziness, materialism, carnality, immodest dress, or promiscuity, true repentance demands that a "turning away" from these take place. Being completely honest with yourself and making a commitment to turn from these things now is what it means to "count the cost" before you decide to be a disciple of the Lord Jesus.

(Appendix #3 to "Different Types of Prospects...")

GOD, MAN AND THE CROSS:

A Presentation of the Gospel Story

An abbreviated version

Introduction:

Turn to Genesis 1.

The Bible never tells us something without a reason.

We are told what we are told about God & man in Genesis because of what those things reveal to us about God & man.

What are we told about God and what does this reveal to us about Him?

What are we told about man and what does this reveal about him?

GOD

1. Creator, Authority - Genesis 1:1

A. God's might stands behind His commands.

B. Therefore, God has the right -- Jeremiah 18:1-5.

C. Same true of Jesus -- Matthew 28:18-20.

2. Holy - Isaiah 6:1-5

A. Holy means "separated, set apart" -- from what? Sin.

B. How holy God is -- James 1:13.

3. Life (source of) -- Genesis 1:11, 20, 26: Genesis 2:7.

A. Contact with God means life -- in all senses of the word.

B. Illust. -- Creation scene on ceiling of Sistine Chapel -- Michelangelo.

C. Jesus -- John 10:10; I John 5:11,12.

4. Love -- Genesis 2:8,9, 16

A. Eagles and eaglets?

B. No. "Paradise" -- even used today.

5. Truth -- Genesis 2:17

A. God to be believed -- Hebrews 6:18.

B. Proven true -- Genesis 5.

MAN

1. Created, in Rebellion -- Genesis 3:6

A. Rams ram, bears sleep, earth spins -- all creation obeys God.

B. Except man -- how presumptuous! Romans 9:20; Daniel 4:29-33.

C. They, we say to God, "Who are you to tell me how to live?"

2. Sinful -- Genesis 3:6

A. First narrative of human action, longest description in Genesis account.

B. Adam a representative man -- I Timothy 2:14.

C. Conclusion? Romans 3:9-18, 23.

3. Dead -- Genesis 3:22-24

A. Separated from God -- contact broken - Isaiah 59:1-2.

B. Death in all senses.

1. Literally -- physical mortality -- Genesis 5.

2. Figuratively -- depression, despair, shame, guilt, pain, meaninglessness.

3. Even earth "died" -- Genesis 3:17-19, cf. "futility" in Romans 8:20.

4. Selfish - Genesis 3:6

A. cf. I John 2:16

B. Notice - Eve thinking of herself.

C. 2 Timothy 3:2, 4 -- "lovers of self", "lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God" -- true of Eve and us.

5. Deceived -- Genesis 3:4-13

A. Escape - Genesis 3:4, Did they escape?

B. Satisfaction - Genesis 3:6 -- lost garden, every day thereafter.

C. Excuse - Genesis 3:9-13 cf. Matthew 5:3-12 Greek words for "poor".

In summation, sin alienates man from:

1. God

2. Others

3. Himself, and

4. The daily demands of life and living.

Sin puts man at WAR with all of these. Most important is war with God. If there is peace with Him, there will be peace with all the other areas. But, in the words of Bildad in Job 25:4, "How then can man be just with God? Or how can he be clean who is born of woman?" God's answer? THE CROSS.

We learn at least four great lessons from it.

THE FOUR LESSONS OF THE CROSS

I. God's demand for Justice (Romans 3:25-26).

Justice = All sin is punished (death). No sin goes unpunished. How can God's demand for justice be met? Two ways:

Alternative #1

Individually

All have sinned

Romans 3:23

All sins equal

James 2:10-11

Sins = Death

Romans 6:23

-- Remember Genesis 3:22-24? Death is separation from God. What is the ultimate separation? Hell.

-- Why does sin separate man from God? Because God is Holy.

-- How many sins does it take to separate one from God? How many did it take Adam and Eve?

-- To live in Heaven, be with God, must be perfectly sinless, absolutely holy like God is.

-- Answers "good man" objection -- these people sinless? Can demand salvation? Don't need God?

Result? DEATH TO ALL

-- Would still be just (above)

-- But God didn't want this alternative. 2 Peter 3:9. Praise Him! Grace!

Alternative #2

Substitutional

Qualifications:

1. Human

A. Hebrews 10:4 -- Only a man can die for another man.

B. Therefore Hebrews 2:14-18.

C. What did this mean to Jesus? Hebrews 5:8; Philippians 2:5-8 (form=essence). What does God know about obedience?

D. Illust. Gave My Life For Thee, stanza 2 (see appendix).

E. Chorus of Ivory Palaces (see appendix).

2. Sinless

A. Why? If not, back to alternative #1 -- "fine job"

B. Matthew 4:1-11 -- Jesus loved me more, saved Himself to die for me.

C. Hebrews 7:26-28 -- "Fitting" to our needs.

3. Die the sinner's death. Illust. L.E. Maxwell, Born Crucified, pg. 51 (see appendix).

A. Paradox -- only one who could was the only one who shouldn't.

B. Statements of the paradox -- I Peter 2:22-5; Isaiah 53:4-6 (re-read); 2 Corinthians 5:21.

C. Why would someone do this? Because He loved me so! (see song "He Loved Me So", stanzas 1 & 2 in the appendix).

Takes us to lesson 2 of the cross.

How should I react to this lesson?

1. Shame, "I am a sinner" -- 1 John 1:8; Romans 3:9-18.

-- I killed a man -- Jesus.

Shameful for me to have to admit that my sin put Jesus on the cross. Rembrandt illustration. (Rembrandt usually painted himself into his painting. When he painted Jesus on the cross he painted himself in the crowd as one of the ones who yelled "Crucify Him".)

-- Ever wonder why the disciples didn't understand Jesus' death? Even John at the foot of the cross didn't understand.

-- What would it have been like to stand in that crowd and be the only person there to understand why Jesus was dying? To see the whip laid across His back? See the soldiers punch Him in the mouth? To see every drop of blood? Hear the nails being driven into His wrists? See the soldier ram the spear in His side? you'd beg them to stop -- couldn't stand to watch.

2. Change of life, "I don't want to be that old self anymore".

-- Knowing who I am and what I did makes me want to change. Illust. Kierkegaard's definition of sin --"despair at not willing to oneself." Imagine self-hate of a drunk driver who has killed a little girl -- almost want to kill himself. The cross makes me want to kill my (old) self (never right to literally do it).

-- Last line of article "What it cost God to forgive man" -- (it cost Him His Son) -- "Knowing that it cost God this much, how can we ever sin again?"

-- Shall I Crucify My Savior? Stanzas 2 & 3 (see appendix).

II. Proof of God's Love -- John 3;16; I John 4:9,10

A. Two principles of all spiritual growth so far: (we never out-grow the cross).

1. The cross makes you see yourself as a sinner.

2. Romans 5:6-8 - The more you see yourself as a sinner, the more you see the love of God.

a). See Richard Nixon illust. in appendix.

b). Contrast here between human and Divine love (cf. Luke 7:47b).

B. God loves us in spite of ourselves, in spite of the way we treat Him.

1. Hosea 1:4-9 - What it means to be "play" God -- to be God is to suffer.

2. Matthew 23:37 (cf. Luke 19:41) -- "All I ever wanted was to be your friend, to protect you and care for you (like in the garden)."

3. God is the Father of the Prodigal Son who ran away from home (Luke 15:11-32). Powell. Unconditional Love, p. 102; Henley & "Invictus" (see appendix).

4. Letter from a Friend, Illustration (see appendix).

5. How would you react if you were treated so badly? Snubbed so often? Illustration, "Long Long Time", Linda Ronstadt (see appendix).

6. But God is "long-suffering" (2 Peter 3:9) BECAUSE HE LOVES YOU!

7. Back to Luke 15, Powell, p. 104. Any wonder why? See Luke 15:7;10!

8. The cross is proof that God loves me -- I'll never doubt it (Romans 5:6-8) -- Stress second principle again.

How should I react to this lesson?

1. Love for God -- I John 4:19

A. Includes keeping His commandments - John 14:15, 21.

B. God's love does not negate His demand for justice -- will not overlook sin -- for this reason, obedience is always necessary.

C. Obedience does not merit salvation -- all the good works in the world will not restore a relationship with God after one of our sins has separated us from Him.

D. We obey out of a natural response to the love He has shown, out of gratitude and love for Him.

2. Faith, Trust in God -- Romans 8:31-39

A. The cross is proof.

B. If He freely gave (without us having to ask or being able to) the most precious thing in the world to Him, can we ask for anything that would be harder for Him to give?

C. Doesn't mean we'll get anything we ask for -- must still ask for good things, right things (James 4:3)

D. But we know he'll give us what we really need -- Matthew 6:33-34 - if we put Him first! Isn't that great!

IN THE NEXT TWO LESSONS, WE SHIFT FROM LOOKING AT THE CROSS AS A LITERAL HISTORICAL EVENT TO LOOKING AT IT AS A WAY OF LIFE, A MODEL OF CONDUCT, A PATTERN FOR HOW TO LIVE.

III. The Pattern of Jesus' Life

A. The cross was Jesus' destiny.

1. Before the creation - Revelation 13:8 (KJV)

2. From the beginning of His ministry - John 1:29

3. Towards the end of His ministry - Luke 9:51

4. Use of the term "hour" in the gospels

a.) Coming - John 2:4; 7:30; 8:20

b.) Arrived, Generally - John 12:23; 13:1; 17:1

c.) Arrived, Specifically - Matthew 26:45; Luke 22:53

5. Mark 14:3-8

B. What did the Cross mean to Jesus? What does it tell us about His life?

HISTORICAL EVENT WAY TO LIFE

1. Voluntary Action - 1. Love

Luke 22:20; John 10:18;

Matthew 26:50-4.

2. Shame, Reproach, Humiliation - 2. Obedience, Humility,

Philippians 2:5-8. Servant-hood

3. Pain, Suffering, Sorrow, Fear - 3. Faith

I Peter 2:23; Hebrews 12:2.

4. Death - 4. Death to Self, to Sin;

Mark 14:36. Self-denial.

To go to the Cross, Jesus had to have these characteristics.

C. Did Jesus have to have these attitudes once or every day?

1. He knew the cross was His destiny.

2. He had to make the choice every day.

Examples:

a.) Matthew 4:1-11

"No" to "Yes" to

1. Walking by sight 1. Faith

2. Glory, Honor 2. Humility, Servant-hood

3. Riches, Comfort 3. Poverty, Self-denial

4. The whole point? 4. Love

b.) Matthew 16:21-23 Jesus had to choose every day every minute, with each temptation, to remain on the road to the Cross, stay within its shadow. This was the pattern of His entire life.

3. Illustration - Knowing when, where and how you are to die.

a.) The weight it would be.

b.) Jesus knew this - Luke 9, "hour", Mark 14, Matthew 16.

c.) Isaiah 53:3

d.) If you could avoid it -- would you?

e.) Jesus could have avoided it at any time (just one sin, legions of angels) but He didn't. He died anyway.

The Cross was the pattern of Jesus' entire life. He lived his life in the shadow of the Cross.

IV. The Pattern of a Disciple's Life

A. Because Jesus our Master walked in the shadow of the Cross, we must walk there as well. I John 2:6; Luke 6:40; Matthew 10:24-25 (Question...)

1. Love -- I John 3:16; 4:11

2. Humility, Obedience, Servant-hood -- Philippians 2:1-5; Romans 15:1-3; John 13:3-16

3. Faith -- Hebrews 11:6; 12:1-3 (exp. vs. 3)

4. Death to Self, to Sin -- Galatians 2;20; 6:14. Paul's way of saying he is a good disciple -- 2 Corinthians 5:14; 4:7-11 (coke and water)

Mark 14:36 -- "My Way", "Have it your way"

Jesus is the full extent of our moral obligation. His life is our standard, what God expects of us.

Matthew 5:17,18. Cold, legal code vs. personal example.

B. Luke 9:18-24 (cf. Matthew 16:13-25)

1. vs. 18-20 -- End of step one of disciples' training program.

2. vs. 21 & 22 -- Begin step two of the program.

3. vs. 23 & 24 -- Raises the standard of discipleship.

Luke 14:25-35 -- Jesus makes the cost of discipleship unmistakably clear. Will you follow Jesus all the way to the Cross?

C. Can you, will you pay the price of discipleship? Matthew 13:45-46 (illust), see appendix "The Pearl of Great Price".)

1. How can Jesus ask so much? I Corinthians 6:19, 20 (illust., see appendix "This Much".)

a.) He is God (remember the first lesson?)

b.) He is not asking you to do something He Himself did not do (He did much more, in fact).

c.) He died for you.

2. He wants total surrender, not just a part (chicken & pig illust., see appendix).

3. No compromise accepted. (Padded cross illust., see appendix).

4. Two songs -- "Shadow of the Cross," "I Gave My Life For Thee" (optional).

(Appendix #3a to "God, Man and the Cross")

MUST JESUS BEAR THE CROSS ALONE (first two stanzas)

Must Jesus bear the cross alone, And all the world go free?

No, there's a cross for ev'ry one, And there's a cross for me.

The consecrated cross I'll bear Till He shall set me free,

And then go home my crown to wear, For there's a crown for me.

I GAVE MY LIVE FOR THEE (first two stanzas)

My Father's house of light, My glory-circled throne,

I left for earthly night, For wand'rings sad and lone;

I left, I left it all for thee, Hast thou left aught for Me?

IVORY PALACES (chorus)

Out of the ivory palaces, Into a world of woe,

Only His great eternal love Made my Savior go.

L.E. Maxwell, Born Crucified, p. 51 --

"A Christless cross no refuge were for me;

A crossless Christ my Savior could not be;

But, O CHRIST CRUCIFIED, I rest in thee!

HE LOVED ME SO (first two stanzas)

Why did my Savior come to earth, And to the humble go?

Why did He choose a lowly birth? Because He loved me so!

Why did He drink the bitter cup Of sorrow, pain and woe?

Why on the cross be lifted up? Because He loved me so.

SHALL I CRUCIFY MY SAVIOR? (stanzas 2 - 3)

"Are temptations so alluring? Do earth's pleasures so enthrall?

That I cannot love my Savior, well enough to leave them all?

'Twas man's sins that crucified Him, shall mine crucify Him yet?

Blackest day of nameless anguish, can my thankless soul forget?

Shall I crucify my Savior? Crucify my Lord again?

Once, oh once I crucified Him. Shall I crucify again?

RICHARD NIXON, Farewell to Personal Staff, day after resignation --

"Not until you have been in the lowest valley, can you appreciate how truly magnificent it is to be on the highest peak."

Unconditional Love, by Powell, page 102

They asked: "What does God think of a sinner?"

So He told the story of unconditional love. We call it the Parable of the Prodigal Son. It is the story of a kind and loving father and his two sons. The younger son feels that he has outgrown his father, and wants no part of his father's life-style or home. He lays claim to his inheritance and leaves his father without even looking back over his shoulder. The father allows his son this liberty of choice, but he waits on the front porch of the little farmhouse every night, hoping and watching the road from the city. Others coming back from the city deliver shattering reports. "Hey, Mister, You should see you little blue-eyed boy -- seducing every available and vulnerable woman, when he isn't too drunk or involved in some other stupidity."

But the father continues to wait there every night until darkness settles over the land. When it is dark, he goes inside and goes to bed, saying a tearful prayer for his boy, his lost but always dear son.

Then one night, there on the front porch, his heart nearly explodes with excitement. He sees a figure coming down the road...he can tell. It is his son! His son is coming home. The father runs down the road, his heart pounding and his eyes filling with tears, the tears of relief. All Scripture scholars say that no father in that time and culture would have run to his son. It would have seemed totally strange and out of place. It could have happened only to someone whose explosion of joy overcame all sense of time and place and social custom.

The father hugs his boy tightly, huge racking sobs of joy shaking his body. Warm tears roll down his cheeks. The boy is saying something about not being worthy to come home as a son, and asking only to hire on as a field worker. The father hears nothing of this. His heart is saying: "I don't care where you've been or what you've done. All I really care about is that you are home...you're home!" The father swallows hard, swallows the warm tears gathered in his throat, and calls for rings and robes and music makers. He orders the fatted calf killed and roasted over an open fire. This is to be a party to end all parties. "My boy is home!"

(When the older son became angry, the father says), "Would you please try to understand what goes on in the heart of a father when his lost child comes home?"

The question hung there in the emotionally charged atmosphere: "Would you please try to understand what goes on in the heart of a father when his lost child comes home?" Jesus looked squarely around the horseshoe of hostile faces and said: "This is what God thinks of a sinner!"

The question was answered. He would offer His life in the end for that answer. But He would die as He has lived, unconditionally loving.

INVICTUS by Wm. E. Henley

Out of the night that covers me,

Black as the pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be,

For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance

I have not winced, nor cried aloud,

Under the bludgeoning of chance

My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears

Looms but the horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years

Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate

How charged with punishment the scroll,

I am the master of my fate,

I am the captain of my soul.

Letter from a Friend

I am writing to say how much I care for you. I want you to know me better.

When you awoke this morning, I exploded a brilliant sunrise through your window, hoping to get your attention. But you didn't even notice.

Later, you were walking with friends. I bathed you in warm sunshine and perfumed the air with flowers. Still, you didn't notice me. So I shouted to you in a thunderstorm, and I painted a beautiful rainbow. You didn't even look.

Tonight, I spilled moonlight on your face and sent a cool breeze to refresh you. As you slept, I watched over you and shared your thoughts, but you remained unaware of my presence.

I hope you will talk to me soon. When you're ready, I will be near. I love you very much.

Your friend,

Jesus

Long Long Time, written by Gary White, sung by Linda Ronstadt--

"Caught in my fears blinkin' back the tears,

I can't say you hurt me when you never let me near.

And I never drew, one response from you,

All the while you fell all over girls you never knew.

Cause I've done everything I know, to try and make you mine.

And I think it's gonna hurt me for a long, long time."

The Pearl of Great Price Illustrated from Juan Carlos Oritiz's Disciple

"I want this pearl, how much is it?"

"Well," the seller says, "it's very expensive."

"But, how much?" we ask.

"Well, a very large amount."

"Do you think I could afford to but it?"

"Oh, of course, everybody can buy it."

"But, didn't you say it was very expensive?"

"Yes."

"Well, how much is it?"

"Everything you have," said the seller.

We make up our minds. "All right, I'll buy it," we say..

"Well what do you have?" he wants to know. "Let's write it down."

"Well, I have ten thousand dollars in the bank ."

"Good, ten thousand dollars. What else?"

"That's all. That's all I have."

"Nothing more?"

"Well, I have a few dollars in my pocket."

"How much?"

We start digging. "Well, let's see: thirty, forty, sixty, eighty, a hundred, a hundred-twenty dollars."

"That's fine. What else do you have?"

"Well nothing. That's all."

"Where do you live?" He's still probing.

"In my house. Yes, I have a house."

"The house, too, then." He writes that down.

"You mean I have to live in my camper?"

"You have a camper? That too. What else?"

"I'll have to sleep in my car."

"You have a car?"

"Two of them."

"Both become mine, both cars. What else?"

"Well, you already have my money, my house, my camper, my cars. What more do you want?"

"Are you alone in the world?"

"No, I have a wife and two children..."

"Oh, yes, your wife and children too. What else?"

"I have nothing else. I am left alone now."

Suddenly the seller exclaims, "Oh, I almost forgot. You, yourself, too. Everything becomes mine -- wife, children, house, money, cars, and you, too."

Then he goes on. "Now listen, I will allow you to use all these things for the time being. But don't forget that they are mine, just as you are. And whenever I need any of them you must give them up, because (now) I am the owner."

This much-- I asked Jesus one day, "How much do you love me?" He stretched out His arms to show me how much and they nailed Him to the cross.

Total Commitment:

One day a chicken and a pig were going down an old dirt road, when they noticed a sign telling of a banquet to be given for a charitable organization. Both the chicken, and the pig thought they should help, but could not think of a way. Suddenly, the chicken said, "I know, I'll donate a dozen eggs, and you donate the ham." "Hold on," said the pig. "For you that's just a contribution; but for me, it's a total commitment!"

The Padded Cross (The Musings of a Would-Be Disciple)

Well, here I am, Lord. You said, "Take up your cross" ,and I'm here to do it. It's not easy, you know, this self-denial thing. I mean to go through with it though, yes sir. I'll bet you wish more people were willing to be disciples like me. I've counted the cost and surrendered my life, and ...well...

You mind if I look over the crosses? I'd kind of like a new one. I'm not fussy, you understand, but a disciple has to be relevant these days. I was wondering, are there any that are vinyl padded? I really want to attract others you see, and if I could show them a more comfortable cross, I'm sure I could win a lot more. Got to keep up with the population explosion and all. Oh, and do you have one that's sort of flat so it will fit under my coat? We shouldn't be too obvious.

Funny, there doesn't seem to be much choice here - just that coarse, rough wood. I mean, that could hurt! Don't you have something more distinctive, Lord? I can tell you right now, none of my friends are going to be impressed by this shoddy workmanship! They'll think I'm a nut or something! And my family will just be mortified!

What's that? It's either one of these or forget the whole thing? But Lord, I want to be your disciple! I mean, just being with you...that's all that counts. But, life has to have a balance, too..but you don't understand...nobody lives that way today!

Who's going to be attracted by this self-denial bid? I mean, I want to, but let's not overdo it! Start getting fanatical like this and they'll take me to the funny farm...know what I mean?

I mean, being a disciple is challenging and exciting and all, and I want to do it...but I do have some rights, don't I? Now, let's see. No blood, o.k.? I just can't stand the thought of that, Lord...

Lord? Now where do you suppose He went?

(Appendix #4 to "Different Types of Prospects...")

THE BIBLICAL SIGNIFICANCE OF BAPTISM

I. FOUR PRINCIPLES OF ALL SPIRITUAL GROWTH

A. The Cross makes you see yourself as a sinner and hate sin (repent). I Peter 2:22-5; Isaiah 53:4-6; 2 Corinthians 5:21; I John 1:8; Romans 3:9-18.

B. The more you see yourself as a sinner, the more you see the love of God. Romans 5:6-8; Luke 7:36-47.

C. The more you see the love of God, the move you love God. I John 4:19

D. The more you see the love of God, the more you trust God. Roman 8:31-32, 35-39.

II. PICTURES OF BAPTISM IN THE NEW TESTAMENT.

The importance of baptism in the New Testament is illustrated by the use of metaphors by the inspired writers. A metaphor is defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary (Simon & Schuster: N.Y., 1974 p. 439) as: "A figure of speech in which a word denoting one subject or idea is used in place of another to suggest a likeness between them (as in 'the ship plows the sea')."

A. Baptism is washing away sins - (Acts 22:16; I Peter 3:21 (see also I Corinthians 6:11; Ephesians 5:26-7; Titus 3:5; Hebrews 10:22,23). Paul didn't have his sins washed away until he was baptized. Baptism is really the way we call on God for salvation.

B. Baptism is circumcising, cutting off, sin - Colossians 2:11-13. The circumcision is not physical. It involves cutting off sin. While uncircumcised we are dead spiritually.

C. Baptism is clothing yourself, putting on clothes - Ephesians 4:22-24; Colossians 3:9-10. "If the old self is sinful me, who is the new self?" Romans 13:14 - We are to spiritually clothe ourselves with the life and character of Jesus Christ. How do we do this? Galatians 3:27.

D. Baptism is birth - John 3:1-7 (cf. I Peter 1:3,23; I John 2:29; 3:9; 4:7; 5:1,4,18).

E. Baptism is uniting with the Death, Burial and Resurrection of Christ - Romans 6:1-11; Colossians 2:12-13. Metaphor refers to the physical action of baptism itself and the spiritual experience of the one being baptized as well.

III. COUNTING THE COST OF FOLLOWING CHRIST

A. It is the job of a disciple to follow the Master - Luke 6:40; 9:23; 14:25-33. We must count the cost before we make the commitment.

B. We unite with the Cross, begin to pay the price at baptism - Romans 6:1-11; Colossians 2:12-13. We kill our sins at this time.

C. Calculate your cost. What will you have to sacrifice? Put to death? Romans 1:24-32; Galatians 5:19-21; Colossians 3:5-9.

D. Are you willing to pay the price to be saved and be a disciple of the Master

Undenominational Christianity Series

Where Did All the

Denominations Come From?

Introduction

Go down one of the main streets in any city and you will notice scores, even hundreds, of religious groups wearing different names, adhering to different doctrines, worshiping in different ways and yet all claiming to be the true church of God. Have you ever wondered, "Where did all these different groups, doctrines and denominations come from?"

This situation is particularly perplexing to the Bible student because both Biblical and secular history say that, in the beginning, it was not this way. In the beginning, there was only one church. In Ephesians 4:4, Paul says "There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling." According to Ephesians 1:22-23, the body is the church. Everyone understands Paul when he says, "one Lord, one Spirit, one God". But the Bible also teaches that there is only one body or one church. And yet today there are more than 400 major denominations, 1200 including all the splinter groups! So we return to the initial question: "If the New Testament mentions only one church, where did all the denominations come from?"

Notice this quote from Jesus: "...and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it." (Matt. 16:18) "My church" is singular. Jesus did not come to earth to establish 1200 different and conflicting religious organizations. To the contrary, He prayed for the unity of His believers (Jn. 17:20-22). Notice that He prayed that His believers would enjoy the same unity that He enjoyed with the Father in Heaven. The present denominational division certainly does not represent an answer to Jesus' prayer; it is certainly not His will! The oneness and unity in belief and teaching, true of the New Testament Church as taught in Ephesians 4:3-6, is certainly not represented on earth today by all the conflicting beliefs and practices of all the many denominations.

In 1 Corinthians 1:10, Paul begs the brethren at Corinth to be united. What was the reason for the division at the church of Corinth? Where does all division come from? They were following men rather than uniting in following only Christ and what is taught in the Bible (vs. 11-15)? If it was wrong then, it is just as wrong today! Can we honestly say that Paul would condone the division in the religious world today, any more than Jesus would?

Although there were many different congregations of the Lord's people throughout the Roman Empire in the days of Paul (there were churches in Rome, Corinth, Galatia, Ephesus, Philippi and others, (he could still say that he taught the same thing in all the churches (1 Cor. 4:17). There was one common body of belief, teaching and practice in the New Testament church (1 Cor. 14:33; Eph. 4:3-6; Col. 4:16; 2 Thess. 2:15). They were one in doctrine and practice. But in the religious world today, one could not teach the same thing in all the different churches because they all teach different doctrines. No one, not even the apostle Paul, could go from denomination to denomination teaching the same thing. That is why preachers for different denominations go to their own seminaries - to be taught the doctrines of the particular denomination to which they belong - so they will be accepted by that denomination.

How Did It Get This Way?

Apostasy was foretold by inspired men during the New Testament period.

The seeds of apostasy were already being sown during the infancy of the early church while the New Testament was still being written.

The apostles, Paul and Peter, warned of departures from the doctrine and practice given to them by Christ.

Acts 20:28-32

2 Thessalonians 2:3-12

1 Timothy 4:1-3

2 Timothy 4:1-4

2 Peter 2:1-2

Indeed, the apostles had their hands full keeping the church from apostasy even while they were still alive.

Judaizing and early Gnostic teachers sought to lead the early Christians astray (Galatians; 1 John).

Some taught that the Second coming and the Resurrection were impossible (1 Corinthians 15:12-19), some that they were already past (2 Timothy 2:18), still others taught that they were not coming (2 Peter 3:1-4).

Congregations were plagued by:

Divisions (1 Corinthians 1:10-15; 3:3)

Immoral living among the members (1 Corinthians 5:1-3; 6:9)

Negligence in assembling together (Hebrews 10:25)

The profaning of the Lord's Supper (1 Corinthians 11:18-29)

Apathy and Spiritual Deadness(Revelation 2:4; 3:2,15-17)

They had other problems as well.

There were indeed black and ominous clouds rising on the not-too-distant horizon. The story of the apostasy of the church begins with its persecutions at the hands of its Jewish and pagan enemies.

Persecution of the early church

Jewish persecution

This persecution began almost immediately after the beginning of the church on the day of Pentecost and can be best regarded as an extension of the persecution Christ Himself received from His kinsmen in the flesh.

It began with the Sadducees (Acts 4:1-3)

F.F. Bruce says in his history of the early church The Spreading Flame (Eerdmans: Grand Rapids, 1979, p. 72): "Of the other Jewish parties only one seems to have been actively hostile to them. This was the party of the Sadducees, the party with which the high-priestly families were closely associated. The objections to messianic movements which had impelled the chief priests to get rid of Jesus continued to operate, and on the theological plane the Sadducees could not look with great favor on a religious group whose very existence was based on that very faith in the resurrection of the body which the Sadducees rejected as new-fangled and absurd."

The Pharisees, however, soon joined in the opposition led by, among others, Saul of Tarsus (Acts 8:1), later known as the Apostle Paul.

Just as the Lord's persecution began with the Jews and went to the Romans, the next persecutions of the church were Roman.

Roman persecution

Nero's persecution (ca. 64 A.D.)

Around this date a fire began in Rome that soon raged out of control. It burned for five days and over half of the city of Rome was destroyed.

The people blamed Nero the emperor, thinking he had ordered the fire (his idea of urban renewal).

Nero blamed the Christians.

This persecution, like the Jewish one before it, was a local persecution, limited in scope to the area in and around Rome.

Domitian's persecution (ca. 95 A.D.)

This emperor is the one that many believe is symbolically referred to in the book of Revelation.

Many Christians left the church during this and subsequent persecutions. They thought, "Better to be a live pagan than a dead Christian."

Tragan's persecution (98-117 A.D.)

The letter written from Pliny the Younger, then governor of Bithynia was addressed to this emperor.

The martyrdom of Ignatius of Antioch occurred during this period.

Marcus Aurelius' persecution (161-180 A.D.) The martyrdom of Polycarp and Justin occurred during this period.

Diocletian's persecution (284-305 A.D.)

After a period of rest that lasted approximately 92 years, this emperor resumed persecution against the church.

He was determined to wipe out all Christians and Bibles.

Constantine's Edict of Toleration (313 A.D.) This marked the official end of persecution.

Changes in church worship

The simple worship of the early church was corrupted gradually before the time of Constantine. J.L. Mosheim giver four reasons for these corruptions in his book Ecclesiastical History (Applegate, Pounsford & Co.: Cincinnati, 1869, pp. 56-57):

"Bishops augmented the number of religious rites by way of accommodation to the infirmities and prejudices both of the Jews and heathens, in order to facilitate their conversion to Christianity."

"They were designed to remove the opprobrious calumnies which the Jewish and pagan priests cast upon the Christians, on account of their worship... because they had no temples, altars, victims, priests, nor anything of that external pomp in which the vulgar are so prone to place in religion."

"The profound respect that was paid to the Greek and Roman mysteries (i.e. mystery religions), and the extraordinary sanctity that was attributed to them."

"...the custom of teaching their religious doctrines by images, actions, signs, and other sensible representations which prevailed among the Egyptians, and indeed, in almost all the eastern nations, was another cause of the increase of external rites in the church."

However, after 325, A.D. and the conversion of the Emperor Constantine, the flood gates of apostasy were opened wide to human religious invention.

"When the pagan Emperor became a Christian Emperor, the pagan empire, by virtue of the change in its ruler, became Christian empire." (Don Shackelford, A Survey of Church History. Gospel Teacher Pub., 1962, p. 22)

One might at first think this triumph of the church was good but, in fact, it was not. Great apostasy resulted. A.G. Newman says in his book A Manual of Church History (The Judson Press, vol. 1, p. 313): "When he (Constantine) offered temporal inducements to the profession of Christianity, he not only brought multitudes of unregenerate people into the churches, but he also aided in making it a part of public opinion to regard the profession of Christianity as a mere form, and to attach a magical significance to the ordinances...The doors of the church were thrown open so wide, that the distinction between Christianity and the world was obliterated."

In 380 A.D., the emperor Theodosius made Christianity the official state religion of the Roman Empire.

It was the pagans who were now persecuted. Many of them became Christians. They thought, "Better to be a live Christian than a dead pagan."

Many people converted during this time did not become Christians because of their sincere commitment to Christ.

With Constantine's conversion it became the socially "in" thing to be a Christian as well as a necessity to anyone wishing to rise to any level of success politically.

Constantine offered gifts to those who became Christians. Theodosius added the further incentive of escaping persecution. These people brought with them into the church many of the practices and customs of their pagan religions.

Some of the changes made in church worship during this period include:

Heathen feasts becoming church festivals

Hagiolatry (the worship of saints)

Mariolatry (the worship of Mary, the mother of Jesus)

The use of images and sacred relics

The consideration of the Lord's Supper as a sacrifice rather than a simple memorial meal

The sign of the cross

An official clergy-laity distinction

Instrumental music

Changes in church organization

See chart # 1 - "Changes in Church Organization"

After you have gone through the chart, isn't it obvious that the line of Popes cannot be traced back to the apostle Peter as the Catholic church would have us believe?

Changes in Church Teaching and Doctrine

Some changes in church teaching and doctrine which occurred during this period include infant baptism, the substitution of pouring and sprinkling for immersion as the mode of baptism, and celibacy of the clergy.

Other changes included forbidding the eating of meats on certain special days, penance, auricular confession, and indulgences.

Growth of the Catholic Church

During all these changes, most of the people in the church simply went along with the departures from New Testament teaching and allowed the innovations and human ideas.

Some remained faithful, fought against the apostasy and were excommunicated (or worse).

In the hands of the faithful, however, the Lord's church never ceased to exist no matter how small or historically obscure it became.

Daniel 2:44

Hebrews 12:27-28

Meanwhile, the Catholic church continued to grow in political power until it became the sole source of authority in the "Holy Roman Empire". The Pope claimed the right to rule not only the church but the world and its affairs as well, crowning and censuring kings. As an example, the Pope crowned Charlemagne on December 25, 800 A.D.

On July 16, 1054 the power struggle that had been going on between the eastern and western halves of the Catholic church came to a climax when the eastern section formally split with the western, following the Bishop in Constantinople as its head, becoming what is known today as the Greek Orthodox Catholic church. Interestingly, one of the issues in the split was the use of instrumental music in worship which the Greek church prohibits to this day.

The Protestant Reformation

The Middle Ages witnessed the unchallenged rule of the Catholic church.

The church allowed the priests to read the Bible, but Bible reading by the common man was prohibited.

It was further discouraged by:

the scarceness of copies of the Bible

translations in languages only accessible to the clergy and well-educated (mostly in Latin)

statements by church officials discouraging private study (This is still somewhat true of the Roman Catholic Church).

John Wycliffe (1320-1384)

He was called the "Morning Star of the Reformation" because he was one of the first to criticize the Roman Catholic Church and to actively try to make the Bible and the individual study thereof available to everyone.

He determined to make the scriptures available to "every plowboy in England."

He translated the Bible out of Latin into the English of his day and encouraged the reading thereof.

He also criticized the Papacy, priestly absolution (the power to forgive sin), transubstantiation, and the celibacy of the clergy.

In 1414 A.D., the Roman Catholic church condemned the reading of Wycliffe's translation of the Bible by the common man.

Martin Luther (1483-1546)

Pope Leo X, in order to pay for the expense of building St. Peter's basilica in Vatican City, had authorized the sale of indulgences.

Indulgences were written Papal guarantees of the forgiveness of sins. They were sold for money, the price depending upon the seriousness of the sins to be forgiven.

They offered forgiveness of the worst sorts of crimes and even sins not yet committed.

They could be bought for others, especially deceased relatives who were supposedly suffering torment in purgatory, in order to shorten the length of time they would have to spend there.

Super-salesman Johan Tetzel was commissioned to sell them in Germany, pocketing part of the profits for himself. He entered the area of Germany over which Luther had jurisdiction as a priest in 1516. Although already distressed by some to the practices and teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, Tetzel's sale of indulgences to his parishioners was the "last straw" for Luther. They amounted to the purchase of a license to sin with papal approval.

Therefore, on October 31, 1517 Luther nailed his list of debate propositions against the sale of indulgences to the local bulletin board, the door of the great Cathedral at Wittenberg.

With the nailing of these now famous ninety-five theses, the protestant reformation had begun.

Luther could not back down from his stand against the abuses he saw and was finally excommunicated.

Like Wycliffe before him, Luther also believed that the scriptures were the only rule of faith and practice.

"Sola Scriptura" was the Latin phrase for it and getting back to the Bible was a major thrust of the Reformation.

In 1522, Luther also translated the Bible into the language of his countrymen: German.

We must commend Luther and all the Reformers for their belief that religious practice must conform to Biblical teaching. However, they were reformers, not restorers.

Luther did not intend to begin another church. He specifically told his followers not to call themselves Lutherans.

He only wanted to reform the apostate Catholic church. Luther and all the other Reformation leaders did not try to discard all the human religious innovations of the centuries and simply restore the New Testament church.

Although they discarded many of the practices of the Catholic church, they also retained many doctrines and practices which are not taught in the Bible and were not historically a part of the New Testament church.

Therefore, this "back to the Bible" movement of the Reformation was incomplete. They did not take the concept far enough (see the lessons entitled: "The Restoration Plea," "The Silence of Scriptures," and "Biblical Authority").

Protestant denominationalism and all its division with which we are familiar today began with Luther and the Reformation movement. As we shall see, many other protest ("protestant") movements against the Catholic church began after Luther.

One feature common to all of these denominations is the dependence upon human creeds. This is a part of the practice of the Catholic church which was not discarded by the Reformation.

The first creed came in 325 A.D. At that time, the Roman emperor Constantine called the first ecumenical council of the church.

A dispute in the church regarding the nature of Christ on earth called the Arian controversy came to a climax around 318 A.D.

Greek gnosticism taught that the physical body was corrupt and sinful and therefore denied that God could be incarnated and dwell within such a body.

This doctrine was specifically denounced as the teaching of the Anti-Christ by John in 2 John 7.

See also 1 John 1:1-3

Many Christians were influenced and led astray by it.

So, all the leaders of the church throughout the world met together with Constantine, who was not yet even a Christian, as the chairman of the meeting.

They debated and eventually settled the issue.

When it was over, they drafted a statement of their conclusions and beliefs known as the Nicene Creed.

There was nothing wrong with forming a conclusion as to what the Bible teaches. There was nothing wrong with all of them agreeing on the conclusion. And there was nothing wrong with taking that conclusion and writing it down. However, they went beyond all that and made their human conclusion regarding what the Bible teaches equal to the Divinely inspired Bible itself!

Before the Nicene Creed, everyone understood that the Bible was the only thing that we are supposed to use as our guide.

2 Timothy 3:14-17

2 Peter 1:3

From 325 A.D. onward, however, to be a member of the church and to avoid being branded as a heretic, one had to accept not only the Bible but this human creed as well!

The fact that the Nicene Creed is, on the whole, an accurate statement of Biblical truth is irrelevant. What is at issue is not what the creed said, but what was done with it, how it was used.

Thus, the human creed was bound on men and its acceptance became one of the terms of fellowship.

It is characteristic of the use of creeds to make them equal with the Bible or even to exalt them above the Bible.

Creeds are nothing more than human opinions of what the Bible teaches and can never have the right to be treated as "holy writ" of Divinely-inspired Scripture.

The Catholic Church denies that the Bible alone is enough.

They teach that the official clergy of the Catholic church (especially the Pope) has the right to say what the Bible teaches.

This is why they condemned the reading of the Bible by the common man and its translation into the language of the people.

They turn to their councils and traditions first and the Bible second. See chart # 2.

The Greek Orthodox Catholic Church has its own creed book called the Divine Liturgy. Like the Roman Catholic Church, they too exalt human creeds.

Luther himself wrote two creed books: the Longer and Shorter Catechisms.

We are asked to accept not only the Bible but Luther's opinions as well in his Shorter Catechism. This creed is being made equal to the Bible.

Another Lutheran creed book is called the Book of Concord.

Let's look at some of the other important major denominations that began during and after the Reformation with some of their creedal statements:

The Church of England (1534) (Also known as the Anglican or Episcopalian Church)

Henry VIII, a member of the Catholic Church (just like almost everybody else at the time), was married to Catherine of Aragon. She was the daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain and the niece of Charles V, then King of Spain.

It was a political marriage, intended to end the long strife between England and Spain.

There was only one problem. Henry wanted a son as heir to the throne and Catherine gave birth to girls only.

Henry blamed Catherine for this and determined to free himself from her to marry someone who could give him an heir.

He requested an annulment from the Catholic church.

The Catholic church had always taken a strong stand against divorce.

However, if you had wealth and connections, as most kings did, you could get the church to grant you an annulment which said that the marriage never really existed in the eyes of the church.

However, Charles V, considered it an insult to see the English King discard his Spanish niece.

He was a devout Catholic with much influence in the Papal court and sent a note to the Pope saying in effect, "Don't do it, or else..."

So the Pope dragged his feet on the matter, being caught in the middle and reluctant to go one way or the other.

Meanwhile, back in England, Henry had fallen in love with Anne Bolyne, giving him more reason than ever to want to be free from his marriage to Catherine.

He finally called all the Catholic clergy in England together and said in effect, "We are breaking away from Rome, from now on I will be the head of the church and your first order of business is to issue me a divorce."

So the Church of England was born.

Their creed book is called the Book of Common Prayer.

The Presbyterian Church (1536)

In Switzerland, John Calvin found that the New Testament taught that the local congregation of the church was to be governed by elders (a form of church government discarded by the Catholic church centuries before).

He began teaching that the local church ought to be governed by elders.

The Greek word for "elder" is "presbuteros".

Due to their teaching regarding the form of government of the New Testament church, Calvin and his followers became known as "Presbyterians.".

Calvin's chief work was entitled The Institutes of the Christian Religion and was written when Calvin was 27 years of age.

The name of the Presbyterian creed book is the Westminster Confession of Faith. Being a Presbyterian requires receiving their creed only as what the Bible teaches.

The Baptist Church (1611)

John Smythe and Roger Williams, members of the Church of England, realized that the Bible does not teach sprinkling as the mode of baptism and they found no scriptural authority for baptizing infants, as was the practice of the Catholic church, the Lutherans, the Presbyterians, and the Church of England.

They discovered that the Bible teaches immersion as the manner of baptism and adults as the proper subjects of baptism.

So they tried to get people, most of whom had been baptized as infants, to be re-baptized by immersion as adults.

They were called Anabaptists because they were trying to get people to be baptized twice.

They were very heavily persecuted and most of them fled to America where the prefix "ana" was dropped, thus giving them the name "Baptists".

One of their creed books is called the Standard Manual for Baptist Churches.

It is studied in Baptist seminaries and can be found in the study of most Baptist preachers.

Where did the Baptists get the idea of voting people into the membership of the church? It is not taught in the scriptures.

They got it from their creed books.

The Methodist Church (1739)

John and Charles Wesley were members of the Church of England and student at Oxford. They were tired of the ritualism and formalism that they found in the Church of England so they started a "holy club" on campus.

They got some people who were interested in being more spiritually-minded and in praying together to follow certain methods of rules of worship.

The other students at Oxford made fun of them for being "Bible-beaters" and called them a bunch of "methodists."

This is probably one of the most tightly organized and efficient human denominations on the earth today and their creed book is called the Book of Discipline.

They meet regularly to work on it and revise it.

Compare the Book of Discipline (which states that "man is saved by faith alone, which is a holy doctrine filled with much comfort,") to James 2:19-20 (which says "man is not saved by faith alone.")

This is not a matter of interpretation. The question is: are we going to follow the Bible or human creeds?

A great Revival Period in America in the 1800's gave Birth to Several New Religions

The Mormon Church (1830's)

Joseph Smith received a "revelation" and claimed to have found ancient, golden plates written in "reformed Egyptian" (later proven by linguists to have no relationship to Egyptian writing at all) which taught, among other things, that the American Indians were the lost tribes of Israel and the chosen people of God.

One of their four official creed books is the Book of Mormon.

The Mormons get around the obvious contradictions between the Bible and their teachings by saying the Bible has been mistranslated.

On the other hand, they are so bold as to say that the Book of Mormon is "the Word of God." This is the ultimate in making human writings equal to and above the Bible.

Christian Science (1875)

Mary Baker Eddy had a "revelation" which told her, among other things, that pain is just an illusion.

It flourished in New England and Christian Science reading rooms are found throughout the country.

Their creed book is called Science and Health, with Key to the Scriptures.

Jehovah's Witnesses (1879)

Begun by Charles Taze Russell.

First called "Russellites"

His followers later called themselves "Jehovah's Witnesses."

They have predicted the end of the world on five separate occasions, the last one being in 1975.

They are very tightly controlled by the Watchtower Society and are not supposed to study the Bible without the aid of Watchtower Society literature to interpret it for them.

Can we see how outrageously men exalt their own creeds over the Bible?

And none of them is any worse than the others. Calvin's claim is just as bad as those of the Jehovah's Witnesses.

So that's where the denominations came from. Perhaps now you can understand why there are 400 major denominations, along with many splinter groups of the major denominations. There are 57 different kinds of Baptists alone!

Getting Back to the Bible Alone - Recovering Three Important Principles

What does God think of all these human creeds and denominational division?

Matthew 15:1-9

The Pharisees considered their human laws as equal with God's laws.

In Mark 7:1-13, Jesus even went so far as to say that when the Pharisees had a choice between their human laws and creeds and God's laws, they voided God's law in favor of their own traditions!

That is exactly the situation we have today.

Denominationalists follow their own creed in spite of the fact that they differ from New Testament teaching and practice.

What is the effect of this?

"in vain do they worship me" (Matthew 15:9)

"Vain" means "worthless, empty."

Doesn't it make sense that if you are going to bother to be religious, you might as well do it so that you can be pleasing to God and go to heaven? Jesus says that to follow men rather than God is to make religion "vain". It has no positive effect on God whatsoever.

Shouldn't people want to get rid of all these creeds and all this denominational division and get back to just the Bible?

If 2 Peter 1:3 and 2 Timothy 3:14-17 are true, then what good are human creeds?

Barton W. Stone was a person who believed in the importance of getting back to the Bible.

He began his preaching career as a Presbyterian but was later excommunicated for his views. He renounced all ties to any human denomination so he could be simply a Christian. Not a Presbyterian-Christian, or a Methodist-Christian, or anything like that, but simply a Christian. Nothing more and nothing less.

On the day of his ordination in the Presbyterian church in 1798, when asked by his examiners how far he was willing to go in accepting the Westminster Confession of Faith, he replied, "As far as I see it consistent with the Word of God."

Can any Christian rightfully say more?

Does anyone have a right to ask us to say more; to ask me to accept not only all of the Bible but also a human creed book as my authority in religion?

Let's look at three important principles to help us get back to the Bible.

The Seed Principle

In Luke 8:11, Jesus says the seed is the word of God.

Every seed brings forth fruit after its kind (e.g. tomatoes, onions, dogs, kangaroos, people).

Spiritually the same principle applies.

Notice the warning in Matthew 15:13 - false teaching may grow and flourish into a plant but Jesus will eventually root it up!

1 Peter 1:25 says that Christians are born again through the "incorruptible" seed of the word of God.

3000 year old grains of wheat found in the pyramids, when planted, grow the same wheat found in Egypt today. There has been no change in 3000 years.

We can do the same today.

The word of God has not been corrupted.

It is still in the Bible just like it was 2000 years ago and if we plant that same seed in a human heart, once it germinates, the same result will occur that happened back then.

You just don't read in the Bible about the Methodists, Catholics, and Baptists and all the division we have today. You just read about Christians.

It takes the Bible plus something else (like a creed book) to make someone more than just a simple Christians.

The Authority Principle

Colossians 3:17 - "do all in the name of the Lord".

Meaning of "in the name of" (e.g. "open up in the name of the law", i.e. with the force and authority of the law behind it).

We must be able to show the authority of Jesus and His word for what we do - give a book, chapter, and verse for what we teach and practice.

The Counterfeit Principle

Some ask, "How can it be so simple?" "If it is as simple as that, why are so many people involved in error?" This takes us to the counterfeit principle.

Suppose I wanted to counterfeit fifty dollar bills. If I were going to make a counterfeit bill, I would make sure it resembled the real thing as much as possible. I would make sure there were no obvious mistakes.

The reason why there is so much counterfeit money in circulation is because people don't bother to examine their money when they get it. As long as it looks like it's genuine, they accept it. So counterfeiters have a heyday.

But I could know if the money I have is real if I really wanted to. Why? Because I have a copy of the genuine, authentic bill and I can closely compare the two.

Counterfeiters, however, don't have to be nearly so careful because most people don't do that.

Satan's major job in the world is to deceive (Revelation 12: 9).

What better way to do it than with counterfeit religion - with things that, to the casual observer, appear to be true religion but in reality are not?

1 John 4:1 says we must test for false teachers.

One of Satan's biggest lies is that anything is O.K. as long as you are sincere. If that is true, then you might as well believe a false teacher as a true one, as long as you are sincere. The Bible says to test teachers!

We must be more interested in our religion than in the genuineness of our money.

It does make a difference (read 2 John 9).

You can know if what you believe is the truth. You have got the truth in the Bible - close comparison with it will let you know. A doctrine may be accepted by people today, but that doesn't mean it will be accepted by God. The only way to know that is to study His word.

Conclusion

Our plea is to get back to just the Bible and to not be deceived with a counterfeit.

In the following studies, we will look more closely at specifically how to restore the New Testament church and specifically what it means to get back to the Bible and believe, teach and practice only what it says.

Chart # 1

Changes in Church Organization

1 Local Congregation

Elder (Bishop)

Elder (Bishop)

Elder (Bishop)

Deacon

From This

2 Local Congregation

Presiding Elder

or Bishop

Elders

Deacons

To This

3 Diocese

City Bishop

Country Bishop

Elders

Deacons

To This

4 Council or Synod

Metropolitan

City Bishop

Country Bishop

Elders

Deacons

To This

5 Exarch

Five Patriarchs

Metropolitans

City Bishops

Country Bishops

Elders

Deacons

To This

6 World-wide

One, Universal Pope

Other Patriarchs

Metropolitans

City Bishops

Country Bishops

Elders

Deacons

To This

Chart # 2

Ecumenical (General) Councils

This is a list of the first seven Roman Catholic Councils with some of the doctrines discussed or adopted by them:

The Nicean Council (A.D. 325). It was held at Nicea in Bithynia. The council was called to halt the Arian advances throughout the Roman Empire. They sought to establish the "true divinity" of Christ. The Nicene Creed came from this council. They also discussed: discipline, the right of metropolitans, the time of Easter, and the validity of "heretical" baptism.

The Council of Constantinople (A.D. 382). This council was called to discuss the doctrines concerning the Holy Spirit.

Council of Ephesus (A.D. 431). Debated the doctrine of the two natures of Christ. Mary was declared to be the "mother of God".

Council of Chalcedon (A.D. 451). Discussed the doctrine of the person of Christ, considered second in importance to that of Nicea.

The Council of Constantinople II (A.D. 553). Further discussions of the nature of Christ. It issued fourteen anathemas against the Nestorian heresy.

The Council of Constantinople III (A.D. 680). Assembled to condemn the doctrines of Monothelitism.

The Council of Nicea II (A.D. 787). It sanctioned image worship.

Undenominational Christianity Series

The Restoration Plea

The Present Religious Situation is One of Division

"Review some of the major points in the lesson "Where Did All the Denominations Come from?

God's Desire for the Present Religious Situation is for Unity

Jesus's prayer for all believers - John 17:18-23

Apostle Paul's statements

1 Corinthians 1:10

Ephesians 4:1-6

Specific problems that were causing division were addressed and condemned.

Examples

Dividing over foods and days - Rom 14:1-6; 15:5-7

Dividing over allegiance to human teachers - 1 Cor. 1:11-15

Dividing over conflicts in relationships - 1 Cor. 6:1-9

Dividing over the worship (Lord's Supper) - 1 Cor. 11:17-22,23-34

Dividing over what is necessary for salvation - Gal. 1:6-9; 5:1-4

Applications

If unity was unimportant, why were these divisions addressed at all?

Types of division condemned by Paul but tolerated by denominationalism and ecumenicalism:

Allegiance to human teachers and creeds

Worship, what is necessary for salvation - Did Paul say, "Well, we are all believers, let's overlook these doctrinal differences?" "As long as we are all Christians, it doesn't matter if we disagree and divide over these matters!?"

All present denominational divisions began as divisions over these issues at some individual congregation.

See chart # 1

1

Church

Original Unity

2

Church

Issue

3

Issue

Denom Denom

#1 #2

If Paul condemned step two, how can he possibly be thought to condone step three?

If the divisions occurred over these issues, can the original unity be regained if the issues are not addressed?

Can we overlook the cause of division and heal division?

In New Testament times there were only Christians and non-Christians. All Christians worshipped together, in the same way and all taught the same things as necessary for salvation.

Today - "Who are you?" "I'm a Methodist." "Oh, I'm sorry. I was looking for a Christian." "But I am a Christian. I'm a Methodist Christian."

This is not New Testament unity!

Those who advocate overlooking denominational division are like the false prophets condemned by God for crying, "Peace, peace" when there is no peace.

Ezekiel 13:1-16

Jeremiah 6:13: 8:10-11

God's Plan for Unity is the Restoration of the New Testament Church

If we were to take Jesus' desire for unity seriously and begin a unity movement, on which religious matters or issues would we have to agree to have unity?

All matters?

Jude 9 - The reason for a dispute over the body of Moses between

Satan and Michael the Arc Angel?

The meaning of "spirit" every time it occurs in Romans 8?

Obviously not. If so, we would never unite.

As a general rule of thumb, we must agree on the practical, group-related matters to unite.

Organization (practical matters concerning group organization)

Worship, Work (practical matters concerning group action)

What is necessary for salvation (practical matters concerning group membership)

How can we decide these religious matters?

Will an appeal to ecclesiastical (church) authority solve division?

Church creed book, official doctrine, group consensus?

Pope, pastor, preacher, study-leader?

Will reliance upon our own personal opinions, wants, needs solve divisions?

Our own study of the Bible (Acts 17:11)

Three things that don't make something right:

How long it has been believed

How many people believe it

How sincerely it is believed

One thing makes it right - if it is in the Bible. To rely upon anything else is to elevate it above the Bible.

What if something is not found in the Bible? How do we react to the silence of scripture?

The silence of scripture is not permissive. (More detail is found in the next lesson - "The Silence of Scripture.")

We lose the Bible as a reliable guide if we act on the silence of scripture. There are only two possible reasons for the leaving of something out of the Bible by God: Either He did it intentionally or unintentionally.

It is impossible to unite on the silence of scripture.

If someone insists on practicing something not commanded or even found in the Bible - who is causing the division? And we know that causing division is condemned, as seen in Jesus' prayer.

Our need for the Bible in deciding religious matters illustrated:

Three possible biblical justifications for denominationalism. The question is: Are they true?

Is Christ divided? 1 Corinthians 1:13

Does truth come from you? Are you the authority? 1 Corinthians 14:36

Are you the only one who knows what is right? 1 Corinthians 14:33-36

Why is each of these untrue?

There is only one Bible (in terms of its teaching on any given subject)

It is the authority in religious matters (not creeds, men, personal opinions, or anything human).

It is available to all.

For these three reasons, we all ought to be united.

Conclusion

What if there were no Bibles in the world? How would we know that what we were doing was right? How would we convince anyone else of it and get them to unite with us? This is the situation when we begin to speak of things not found in scripture. We might as well close the Bibles during our discussions of those sorts of topics.

"...if we would preserve the unity of the church, and keep out corruptions and innovations of every kind, we must confine ourselves to the teachings of the apostles, and to the practice of the apostolic church. We are driven to this position and confined to it (H. Christopher, Lard's Quarterly, vol. 4, 1867, p. 351)

"If the Christians in all sects could be drawn together, then would the only real, desirable and permanent union, worthy of the name of the union of Christians, be achieved. How to affect this has long been a question with us and many others. To us, it appears, the only practicable way to accomplish this desirable object, is to propound the ancient gospel and the ancient order of things in the words and sentences found in the apostolic writing - to abandon all traditions and usages not found in the Record, and to make no human terms of communion . . . a union amongst Christians can be obtained only upon scriptural grounds. " (Alexander Campbell, Millennial Harbinger, vol. 3, p. 195)-

Undenominational Christianity Series

The Silence of Scripture

Introduction

Infant baptism

Entrance into the church by vote of the members

Official clergy-laity distinction

Celibacy, special garments for clergy

Bingo games, carnivals, bake sales, etc. as a means of raising money

Church-supported seminaries, missionary and benevolent societies to do the work of the church

Instrumental music in worship

Lord's supper one a year, every six months, etc.

Observance of special "holy days"

Popes, cardinals, archbishops, ecumenical councils, governing boards and committees, synods - for organization

What is so special about all of these things? None of them is found in the New Testament. This is not an opinion but rather fact. It can be verified by New Testament scholars, early church history scholars and one's own study of the New Testament. And yet, many denominations practice some or all of these things. Why?

The answer lies in the different views on the silence of scripture. This study will try to answer the question. "What do we do when something is not found in the Bible?" or "How do we react to the silence of scripture?"

There are two attitudes toward the silence of scripture:

A. Denominational view - "We can practice things not found in the New Testament. We must avoid only those things specifically condemned in scripture." There are two attendant positions:

The practices are justified because they cannot be proven wrong.

It goes beyond what is written in the Bible to prohibit the practice. It is making a law where there is no law in the Bible

B. Alternative view - "We can practice only what is found to be taught in God's word." Four reasons will be offered in support of this view:

This attitude is the one taught by example in both the Old and New Testaments.

We lose the Bible as a reliable guide to religious practice otherwise.

The use of this attitude is the only way we can know that what we are doing is right.

The use of this attitude is the only way we can prove to others that what we are doing is right.

Examples of this attitude in both the Old and New Testaments

A. Old Testament

Exodus 14:10-14

Leviticus 24:10-16

Numbers 9:1-14

Numbers 15:32-36

Analogy - Numbers 9:15-23; Deuteronomy 8:3

B. New Testament

Acts 15:23-24 - his reasoning pulled the rug out from under them

1 Corinthians 4:6

2 John 9-11

We lose the Bible as a reliable guide

A. Some say, "If the Bible doesn't condemn it, why can't we allow it?" What this really says is, "let's stop expecting people to give a book, chapter, and verse for what they practice."

B. Once we allow the practice of one thing not authorized in scripture, why not another?

Where can we stop? The flood-gates are opened.

And, once one thing that is not found in the Bible is allowed to be practiced, can we prohibit the practice of anything else not found in the Bible on the grounds that it is not authorized by the word?

What is to stop one from making up things not specifically condemned and introducing them into the church?

C. Once that has happened, we have lost all picture of what the Lord's church is and is not supposed to be. The example of the New Testament church is useless.

D. There is an inherent dilemma for those holding the denominational view of the silence of scripture. There are only two possible explanations for God's silence: either the silence is intentional or unintentional on God's part.

If God intentionally left something out of the scriptures, then it is obvious that He did not mean to condone it and it should not be practiced.

But what view of the Bible are we left with if we say that there are things that God unintentionally left out of the Bible? Thing that really are all right but He just forgot to let us know that they are? If this is true the Bible cannot be trusted as a reliable guide to religious practice.

The only way we can know that what we're doing is pleasing to God (See chart # 1)

A. Find a "book, chapter, and verse" authorizing it.

This is the universally preferred method.

This would settle the matter once and for all.

"Men don't divide over what the bible says as much as over what it doesn't say." (Example - there is no controversy over whether to sing or have elders and deacons. The controversy is over whether to use instruments and have synods and archbishops.)

It is the most reasonable approach. There are two objections to the reliance upon human opinion to decide religious matters:

All human opinions are equal. Why is your human opinion better than mine or anyone else's? How can any one human opinion have authority over any other?

All human opinions are irrelevant. You may think some religious practice to be alright, but what does your human opinion matter? What difference does it make what you think about it? We are talking about being pleasing to God - isn't it most reasonable to demand some communication from Him as proof that what we are doing is pleasing to Him?

B. Assume that since God didn't condemn it, it must be O.K. This approach is based on two false prior assumptions:

God's silence = God's permission. This conclusion is false as shown by the previous verses of scripture.

Any human addition to the practice of the New Testament church is right until proven wrong. Three responses:

This is not the example given to us in the Old and New Testament passages quoted earlier.

Should we assume that the New Testament church is right and any deviation from it is wrong or assume that the human additions and deviations are right? The safe course is to stay with the New Testament (it is inspired) and its teaching on religious matters. The burden of proof is on those who would ignore or add to it. We cannot simply assume that something different from the Bible is right!

Denominationalists deny that this is their assumption. Response:

You obviously think it is right or else you would not practice it. You would not practice something that you think is wrong.

You can either prove it is right or you have assumed it is right. If you cannot give a book, chapter, and verse for the practice you cannot prove it is right. Therefore, you must practice it because you have assumed it is right until proven wrong.

This is not judging people. It is simple logic.

C. Which approach are we going to use? (back to the initial list in introduction)

Shall we assume a thing is right and practice it until proven wrong or shall we suspend judgment and action until we know whether it is right (like the Israelites did in the wilderness)?

The real question is: Are we going to stick to the Bible as our only source of authority or not? If so, either give a book, chapter, and verse and practice it or don't practice it. If not, forget using the Bible all together. Why use the Bible to justify some things and not other?

The only way we can prove to others that what we're doing is pleasing to God.

A. Jesus and Paul both prayed for unity among Christians.

John 17:18-23

1 Corinthians 1:10

Ephesians 4:1-6

B. To demand the right to practice something not mentioned in scripture and thus cause division is sinful. Although the Bible may be silent regarding the particular practice in question it is not silent regarding the sinfulness of causing division.

Proverbs 6:19

Romans 14:1-6

1 Corinthians 1:11-15

1 Corinthians 6:1-8

1 Corinthians 11:17-22

Galatians 1:6-9

C. It is sinful to practice something which causes division regardless of whether it is specifically condemned or not.

Conclusion

The only way to end denominational division is to agree to use only the Bible as our guide in religious matters. Unity can be achieved only on the Bible. What if there were no Bibles in the world? How would we ever agree on what to do to be pleasing to God? Isn't it the same situation, though, when we argue for something not found in the Bible?

Note: The author wishes to acknowledge his debt to brother Almon Williams of Florida College who first taught him much of the material found in this outline and without whom this outline would not have been possible.

Chart #1 for "The Silence of the Scriptures"

Which approach will let me know that what I'm doing is pleasing to God?

1. Find a Bible "book, chapter and verse" authorizing it.

A) Universally preferred method

B) Most reasonable

2. Assume that since God didn't condemn it, it must be O.K.

Based on two false prior assumptions:

A) God's silence = his permission

B) Any addition to the practice of

the New Testament church

is right until proven wrong.

Undenominational Christianity Series

Bible Baptism

(Ephesians 4:4-6)

Introduction:

A. Begin by looking at a major Biblical principle for learning truth. One must take all God has to say about a subject before one can determine "what the truth is" on that subject.

1. Paul said he was determined to "declare the whole counsel of God" (Acts 20:27).

2. David expressed "the sum of thy word is truth" (Psalms 119:160).

B. This principle is especially important in understanding what is involved in answering the questions, "What must I do to be saved?" and "What is the place of baptism in God's overall scheme of things?"

The Definition of Baptism

A. How do representative scholars from major denominations define water baptism?

B. How do Greek Lexicons define it ? (Greek baptizo): "to plunge, immerse, or dip."

C. How is water baptism defined by its use in the New Testament?

Why was Baptism Mentioned in Almost Every Example of Conversion in the Book of Acts?

A. Jesus said it is necessary for salvation.

B. It is necessary for "the remission of sins & receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38).

C. It is through baptism that we are born again.

D. It unites us with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection (Romans 6:3-11)

E. It puts us into Christ

F. It gives us "spiritual circumcision" (Colossians 2:9-13)

G. It saves us (1 Peter 3:20-21).

Rebaptism (Acts 19:1-5)

A. These people were unscriptually baptized. They were no doubt just sincerely mistaken due the to the fact they did not have complete information.

B. Once Paul realized their baptism was not correct, he immediately instructed them to be rebaptized correctly.

C. Would God expect any less of us today?

Beatitudes in Conversion

Introduction

The Beatitudes are one of Christ's earliest recorded sermons. They have been called the fruit of knowing God, the mind of Christ, and the essence of His teaching. Everyone should certainly desire to understand the Beatitudes and their depth. This study will look at the Beatitudes individually and then as a whole. Please realize from the beginning that this is only a glimpse of the depth that lies within the Beatitudes.

The Beatitudes:

A. "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 5:3).

"The Greek indicates that one must have a spirit of poverty to enter the kingdom, and must keep a spirit of poverty to stay" (The Beatitudes Are For Today, George L. Lawlor, p. 37).

What does it mean to be poor in spirit?

Seeing oneself as a sinner:

Awareness of falling short of the glory of God.

Luke 18:9-14 ". . . have mercy on me the sinner . . ."

Romans; 1: 2: 3:23 "all have sinned . . ."

Luke 18:19 ". . . no one is good except God alone . . ."

Seeing oneself as dependent upon God for everything:

John 3:27; 2 Corinthians 3:4-5

1 Corinthians 15:10 - One who is aware that God without man is still God, but man without God is nothing.

How can a spirit of poverty be cultivated?

Isaiah 6:1-5 -- As one comes to know God in His holiness and power, he becomes aware of his lack of holiness and weakness (Luke 5:1-11). This is the beginning of being poor in spirit.

Striving to live as Jesus lived, love as He loved, and give as He gave will inevitably cause a person to see how far short of the Lord's moral glory he falls.

A spirit of poverty does not come by humiliation, but by humbling oneself. As an individual comes to know God in all His glory and purity and richness of spirit, he begins to see that even at his best, he is poor in spirit. Every bit of goodness is from God (James 1:17) and so even as Christians grow in Christ and are "transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit" (2 Corinthians 3:18), we have no righteousness of our own and thus are still poor in spirit (Philippians 3:9).

B. "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted" (Matthew 5:4).

Of the nine Greek words for sorrow, Jesus uses the one which means to weep over the dead. This is how deeply all should mourn over sin.

This is genuine repentance.

Godly sorrow (2 Cor. 7:10) causes me to realize that my sin crucified Christ. I should feel sorrow for the pain that I have caused God.

This is the emotional side of repentance. Repentance is included in what it means to mourn.

Mourning is the response of one who sees how much he has hurt God. Understanding how perfect God is in His love and mercy, one begins to mourn over what he has done to such a perfect Father. But He is not angry; He reaches out in mercy (Revelations 3:20).

C. "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth" (Matthew 5:5).

The word "meek" is also translated from the Greek as "gentle" or "strength under control." In the Greek culture, it was often used to describe a well- trained horse.

It includes total surrender, total dependence, and total submission to the will of God. "Poor in spirit" is the knowledge and emotion of dependence upon God. Meekness is the act of depending upon God.

It is learning to "let go and let God." It is realizing that God is man's only hope, strength, etc.

2 Corinthians 3:5

2 Corinthians 8:5

Romans 12:2

"Meekness is not weakness" is often stated in reference to this beatitude. Many people have mistakenly decided that meekness denotes the idea of not being able to be strong when there is a need to be strong. To the people of the time, meekness referred to someone who was strong and able to defend himself instead of surrendering his or her rights. When a sinner sees that God is the only one who can give His life meaning, he surrenders in meekness.

D. "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be satisfied." (Matthew 5:6).

The Greek words Christ used here describe a "hunger and thirst" to the point of death.

Matthew 6:33 - Seek the kingdom and His righteousness: the kingdom and the king. Who is the righteousness of God? Jesus.

John 6:51 is a commentary on Matthew 5:6. It is not speaking of the Lord's supper, but of an assimilation of the attributes of Christ into self, a hungering and thirsting after Christ and His nature.

God is perfect in every way (Matthew 5:48). Those who come to know Him will long to become like Him. God promises that those who hunger and thirst (to the point of death) will be filled with His righteousness (Matt. 5:6).

E. "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy" (Matthew 5:7).

The Greek definition carries the idea of compassion in action. It is a sympathy that brings about help.

This includes continually serving people in need, even when it is beyond one's own convenience.

God says that those who show mercy on others will receive His mercy.

"Mercy" is love in action. It is loving and serving others unconditionally, not because they are lovable, but because they need love. This is the essence of God's love for man.

Mercy is something that God gave freely on a cross. Truly the cross is compassion in action. As recipients of God's mercy, Christians must continue God's mercy by allowing Him to reach others through them. He has shown His mercy to the highest degree. Can Christians not show mercy to others?

F. "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God" (Matthew 5:8).

"Pure in heart" needs no explanation from the Greek. It refers to cleanliness, a lack of defilement, utter sincerity, and single-mindedness.

One who is "pure in heart" is striving to be holy as God is holy (1 Peter 1:15).

Continual God-consciousness is included (2 Corinthians 10:5).

In short, it is one who is trying to think the thoughts of God, see as God sees, etc.

It is one who sees everything in this world as empty and vain without God.

Purity in heart is the only way to truly serve God. "No one can serve two masters" (Matt. 6:24). If one's heart does not have a pure longing for God and a desire to remove anything that interferes with that longing, he is not serving God only. If one is not serving God only, he is not serving God.

G. "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God" (Matt. 5:9).

The Greek speaks of those who are at peace with God.

The world is at war with God. Reconciliation is only possible because of the death of Jesus (Romans 5:10).

All Christians are given the ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18).

As a person begins to see through God's eyes, he begins to strive for peace with his fellow man, not a peace built in humanity, but a peace from God. It is a "peace that passes understanding" (Philippians 4:7). It is a peace that God gives to those who entrust themselves to Him.

An Overview of Attitudinal Conversion and Continued Growth

A. Attitudinal Conversion. The Beatitudes show the process that sincere hearts go through in coming to Christ. First, one comes to know God (to some degree) and understand His love and His desire to save each person.

As a result of coming to know God's love and seeing how pure and perfect He is, he becomes aware of how imperfect and how much of a sinner he is.

He becomes ashamed of what he has been and how little he has given to God. He mourns sorrowfully and decides to change his life.

He surrenders to God in baptism. He turns his rights and his will over to Him.

As he begins to obey, he sees that God is the way to happiness and purpose in life and he begins to hunger and thirst to become like Him.

As a new convert grows more like God, he sees the richness of what he has and reaches out in mercy to his fellow man. He desires to help others experience the joy that he has come to know.

As he hungers and thirsts after Christ and reaches out to his fellow man he becomes pure in heart. His focus is more and more of "setting (his) eyes on Christ (Hebrews 12:2).

As that focus is perfected, he strives not only to reach out to mankind, but to be a peacemaker between man and God to help mankind come to know God in a father/child relationship. And the process of conversion begins all over again.

B. Continued Growth. The beauty of God's word is that it never stops appealing to anyone. Verses that had one level of depth to a new Christian have a deeper meaning as one grows in Christ. The Beatitudes are no exception.

As one becomes a peacemaker between man and God, he is more and more overwhelmed as God uses him in such a magnificent way. He is once again in the midst of a poverty-struck spirit.

As he becomes impressed with God's grace in working through him, he is even more convicted of how unworthy he is and of how many things God must still transform within him.

As he is more convicted and realizes that God is the only one who can perfect him, he surrenders even more.

He desires God to work more fully in him and so his hunger and thirst increases for God to fill him with His righteousness.

As he is filled more fully with God's righteousness, he is convicted of His mercy shown to him and so his hunger and thirst increases for God to fill him with His righteousness.

His mind is set more and more on things above and his heart and life is made purer as he surrenders to God.

Because he is surrendering, he is at peace with God. And as a result, he desires peace between God and all of those whom he loves.

As Christians grow in Christ, we continually repeat the Beatitudes in our lives. As our knowledge and love for God grows, so grows the depth of our Christianity.

Conclusion

The first four Beatitudes describe man reaching up to God. The next three describe the result. One first comes to know God and reach to Him (the first four) and God turns him to his fellow man (the last three).

God

Poor in Spirt

Mourn

Meek

Hunger and Thirst

Man

Merciful

Pure in Heart

Peacemaker

There is a process that goes on in the heart that can be pictured simply in the following way:

Poor in Spirit

Mourn

Meekness

Emptying

Hunger and Thirst

after

Righteousness

Filling

Merciful

Pure

Peacemaker

Overflowing

As a person comes to know God and sees himself as God sees him, he willingly empties himself. Then God, as he hungers and thirst for His righteousness, fills him. As He does this, he overflows with the love, joy, and peace that God has given him. "Blessed be the God, and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ" (Ephesians 1:3).

Undenominational Christianity Series

The Silence of Scripture

Introduction

Infant baptism

Entrance into the church by vote of the members

Official clergy-laity distinction

Celibacy, special garments for clergy

Bingo games, carnivals, bake sales, etc. as a means of raising money

Church-supported seminaries, missionary and benevolent societies to do the work of the church

Instrumental music in worship

Lord's supper one a year, every six months, etc.

Observance of special "holy days"

Popes, cardinals, archbishops, ecumenical councils, governing boards and committees, synods - for organization

What is so special about all of these things? None of them is found in the New Testament. This is not an opinion but rather fact. It can be verified by New Testament scholars, early church history scholars and one's own study of the New Testament. And yet, many denominations practice some or all of these things. Why?

The answer lies in the different views on the silence of scripture. This study will try to answer the question. "What do we do when something is not found in the Bible?" or "How do we react to the silence of scripture?"

There are two attitudes toward the silence of scripture:

Denominational view - "We can practice things not found in the New Testament. We must avoid only those things specifically condemned in scripture." There are two attendant positions:

The practices are justified because they cannot be proven wrong.

It goes beyond what is written in the Bible to prohibit the practice. It is making a law where there is no law in the Bible

Alternative view - "We can practice only what is found to be taught in God's word." Four reasons will be offered in support of this view:

This attitude is the one taught by example in both the Old and New Testaments.

We lose the Bible as a reliable guide to religious practice otherwise.

The use of this attitude is the only way we can know that what we are doing is right.

The use of this attitude is the only way we can prove to others that what we are doing is right.

Examples of this attitude in both the Old and New Testaments

Old Testament

Exodus 14:10-14

Leviticus 24:10-16

Numbers 9:1-14

Numbers 15:32-36

Analogy - Numbers 9:15-23; Deuteronomy 8:3

New Testament

Acts 15:23-24 - his reasoning pulled the rug out from under them

1 Corinthians 4:6

2 John 9-11

We lose the Bible as a reliable guide

Some say, "If the Bible doesn't condemn it, why can't we allow it?" What this really says is, "let's stop expecting people to give a book, chapter, and verse for what they practice."

Once we allow the practice of one thing not authorized in scripture, why not another?

Where can we stop? The flood-gates are opened.

And, once one thing that is not found in the Bible is allowed to be practiced, can we prohibit the practice of anything else not found in the Bible on the grounds that it is not authorized by the word?

What is to stop one from making up things not specifically condemned and introducing them into the church?

Once that has happened, we have lost all picture of what the Lord's church is and is not supposed to be. The example of the New Testament church is useless.

There is an inherent dilemma for those holding the denominational view of the silence of scripture. There are only two possible explanations for God's silence: either the silence is intentional or unintentional on God's part.

If God intentionally left something out of the scriptures, then it is obvious that He did not mean to condone it and it should not be practiced.

But what view of the Bible are we left with if we say that there are things that God unintentionally left out of the Bible? Thing that really are all right but He just forgot to let us know that they are? If this is true the Bible cannot be trusted as a reliable guide to religious practice.

The only way we can know that what we're doing is pleasing to God (See chart # 1)

Find a "book, chapter, and verse" authorizing it.

This is the universally preferred method.

This would settle the matter once and for all.

"Men don't divide over what the bible says as much as over what it doesn't say." (Example - there is no controversy over whether to sing or have elders and deacons. The controversy is over whether to use instruments and have synods and archbishops.)

It is the most reasonable approach. There are two objections to the reliance upon human opinion to decide religious matters:

All human opinions are equal. Why is your human opinion better than mine or anyone else's? How can any one human opinion have authority over any other?

All human opinions are irrelevant. You may think some religious practice to be alright, but what does your human opinion matter? What difference does it make what you think about it? We are talking about being pleasing to God - isn't it most reasonable to demand some communication from Him as proof that what we are doing is pleasing to Him?

Assume that since God didn't condemn it, it must be O.K. This approach is based on two false prior assumptions:

God's silence = God's permission. This conclusion is false as shown by the previous verses of scripture.

Any human addition to the practice of the New Testament church is right until proven wrong. Three responses:

This is not the example given to us in the Old and New Testament passages quoted earlier.

Should we assume that the New Testament church is right and any deviation from it is wrong or assume that the human additions and deviations are right? The safe course is to stay with the New Testament (it is inspired) and its teaching on religious matters. The burden of proof is on those who would ignore or add to it. We cannot simply assume that something different from the Bible is right!

Denominationalists deny that this is their assumption. Response:

You obviously think it is right or else you would not practice it. You would not practice something that you think is wrong.

You can either prove it is right or you have assumed it is right. If you cannot give a book, chapter, and verse for the practice you cannot prove it is right. Therefore, you must practice it because you have assumed it is right until proven wrong.

This is not judging people. It is simple logic.

Which approach are we going to use? (back to the initial list in introduction)

Shall we assume a thing is right and practice it until proven wrong or shall we suspend judgment and action until we know whether it is right (like the Israelites did in the wilderness)?

The real question is: Are we going to stick to the Bible as our only source of authority or not? If so, either give a book, chapter, and verse and practice it or don't practice it. If not, forget using the Bible all together. Why use the Bible to justify some things and not other?

The only way we can prove to others that what we're doing is pleasing to God.

Jesus and Paul both prayed for unity among Christians.

John 17:18-23

1 Corinthians 1:10

Ephesians 4:1-6

To demand the right to practice something not mentioned in scripture and thus cause division is sinful. Although the Bible may be silent regarding the particular practice in question it is not silent regarding the sinfulness of causing division.

Proverbs 6:19

Romans 14:1-6

1 Corinthians 1:11-15

1 Corinthians 6:1-8

1 Corinthians 11:17-22

Galatians 1:6-9

It is sinful to practice something which causes division regardless of whether it is specifically condemned or not.

Conclusion

The only way to end denominational division is to agree to use only the Bible as our guide in religious matters. Unity can be achieved only on the Bible. What if there were no Bibles in the world? How would we ever agree on what to do to be pleasing to God? Isn't it the same situation, though, when we argue for something not found in the Bible?

Note: The author wishes to acknowledge his debt to brother Almon Williams of Florida College who first taught him much of the material found in this outline and without whom this outline would not have been possible.

Chart #1 for "The Silence of the Scriptures"

Which approach will let me know that what I'm doing is pleasing to God?

1. Find a Bible "book, chapter and verse" authorizing it.

A) Universally preferred method

B) Most reasonable

2. Assume that since God didn't condemn it, it must be O.K.

Based on two false prior assumptions:

A) God's silence = his permission

B) Any addition to the practice of

the New Testament church

is right until proven wrong.

Undenominational Christianity Series

The Silence of Scripture

Introduction

Infant baptism

Entrance into the church by vote of the members

Official clergy-laity distinction

Celibacy, special garments for clergy

Bingo games, carnivals, bake sales, etc. as a means of raising money

Church-supported seminaries, missionary and benevolent societies to do the work of the church

Instrumental music in worship

Lord's supper one a year, every six months, etc.

Observance of special "holy days"

Popes, cardinals, archbishops, ecumenical councils, governing boards and committees, synods - for organization

What is so special about all of these things? None of them is found in the New Testament. This is not an opinion but rather fact. It can be verified by New Testament scholars, early church history scholars and one's own study of the New Testament. And yet, many denominations practice some or all of these things. Why?

The answer lies in the different views on the silence of scripture. This study will try to answer the question. "What do we do when something is not found in the Bible?" or "How do we react to the silence of scripture?"

There are two attitudes toward the silence of scripture:

Denominational view - "We can practice things not found in the New Testament. We must avoid only those things specifically condemned in scripture." There are two attendant positions:

The practices are justified because they cannot be proven wrong.

It goes beyond what is written in the Bible to prohibit the practice. It is making a law where there is no law in the Bible

Alternative view - "We can practice only what is found to be taught in God's word." Four reasons will be offered in support of this view:

This attitude is the one taught by example in both the Old and New Testaments.

We lose the Bible as a reliable guide to religious practice otherwise.

The use of this attitude is the only way we can know that what we are doing is right.

The use of this attitude is the only way we can prove to others that what we are doing is right.

Examples of this attitude in both the Old and New Testaments

Old Testament

Exodus 14:10-14

Leviticus 24:10-16

Numbers 9:1-14

Numbers 15:32-36

Analogy - Numbers 9:15-23; Deuteronomy 8:3

New Testament

Acts 15:23-24 - his reasoning pulled the rug out from under them

1 Corinthians 4:6

2 John 9-11

We lose the Bible as a reliable guide

Some say, "If the Bible doesn't condemn it, why can't we allow it?" What this really says is, "let's stop expecting people to give a book, chapter, and verse for what they practice."

Once we allow the practice of one thing not authorized in scripture, why not another?

Where can we stop? The flood-gates are opened.

And, once one thing that is not found in the Bible is allowed to be practiced, can we prohibit the practice of anything else not found in the Bible on the grounds that it is not authorized by the word?

What is to stop one from making up things not specifically condemned and introducing them into the church?

Once that has happened, we have lost all picture of what the Lord's church is and is not supposed to be. The example of the New Testament church is useless.

There is an inherent dilemma for those holding the denominational view of the silence of scripture. There are only two possible explanations for God's silence: either the silence is intentional or unintentional on God's part.

If God intentionally left something out of the scriptures, then it is obvious that He did not mean to condone it and it should not be practiced.

But what view of the Bible are we left with if we say that there are things that God unintentionally left out of the Bible? Thing that really are all right but He just forgot to let us know that they are? If this is true the Bible cannot be trusted as a reliable guide to religious practice.

The only way we can know that what we're doing is pleasing to God (See chart # 1)

Find a "book, chapter, and verse" authorizing it.

This is the universally preferred method.

This would settle the matter once and for all.

"Men don't divide over what the bible says as much as over what it doesn't say." (Example - there is no controversy over whether to sing or have elders and deacons. The controversy is over whether to use instruments and have synods and archbishops.)

It is the most reasonable approach. There are two objections to the reliance upon human opinion to decide religious matters:

All human opinions are equal. Why is your human opinion better than mine or anyone else's? How can any one human opinion have authority over any other?

All human opinions are irrelevant. You may think some religious practice to be alright, but what does your human opinion matter? What difference does it make what you think about it? We are talking about being pleasing to God - isn't it most reasonable to demand some communication from Him as proof that what we are doing is pleasing to Him?

Assume that since God didn't condemn it, it must be O.K. This approach is based on two false prior assumptions:

God's silence = God's permission. This conclusion is false as shown by the previous verses of scripture.

Any human addition to the practice of the New Testament church is right until proven wrong. Three responses:

This is not the example given to us in the Old and New Testament passages quoted earlier.

Should we assume that the New Testament church is right and any deviation from it is wrong or assume that the human additions and deviations are right? The safe course is to stay with the New Testament (it is inspired) and its teaching on religious matters. The burden of proof is on those who would ignore or add to it. We cannot simply assume that something different from the Bible is right!

Denominationalists deny that this is their assumption. Response:

You obviously think it is right or else you would not practice it. You would not practice something that you think is wrong.

You can either prove it is right or you have assumed it is right. If you cannot give a book, chapter, and verse for the practice you cannot prove it is right. Therefore, you must practice it because you have assumed it is right until proven wrong.

This is not judging people. It is simple logic.

Which approach are we going to use? (back to the initial list in introduction)

Shall we assume a thing is right and practice it until proven wrong or shall we suspend judgment and action until we know whether it is right (like the Israelites did in the wilderness)?

The real question is: Are we going to stick to the Bible as our only source of authority or not? If so, either give a book, chapter, and verse and practice it or don't practice it. If not, forget using the Bible all together. Why use the Bible to justify some things and not other?

The only way we can prove to others that what we're doing is pleasing to God.

Jesus and Paul both prayed for unity among Christians.

John 17:18-23

1 Corinthians 1:10

Ephesians 4:1-6

To demand the right to practice something not mentioned in scripture and thus cause division is sinful. Although the Bible may be silent regarding the particular practice in question it is not silent regarding the sinfulness of causing division.

Proverbs 6:19

Romans 14:1-6

1 Corinthians 1:11-15

1 Corinthians 6:1-8

1 Corinthians 11:17-22

Galatians 1:6-9

It is sinful to practice something which causes division regardless of whether it is specifically condemned or not.

Conclusion

The only way to end denominational division is to agree to use only the Bible as our guide in religious matters. Unity can be achieved only on the Bible. What if there were no Bibles in the world? How would we ever agree on what to do to be pleasing to God? Isn't it the same situation, though, when we argue for something not found in the Bible?

Note: The author wishes to acknowledge his debt to brother Almon Williams of Florida College who first taught him much of the material found in this outline and without whom this outline would not have been possible.

Chart #1 for "The Silence of the Scriptures"

Which approach will let me know that what I'm doing is pleasing to God?

1. Find a Bible "book, chapter and verse" authorizing it.

A) Universally preferred method

B) Most reasonable

2. Assume that since God didn't condemn it, it must be O.K.

Based on two false prior assumptions:

A) God's silence = his permission

B) Any addition to the practice of

the New Testament church

is right until proven wrong.

Undenominational Christianity Series

Bible Baptism

(Ephesians 4:4-6)

Introduction:

A. Begin by looking at a major Biblical principle for learning truth. One must take all God has to say about a subject before one can determine "what the truth is" on that subject.

1. Paul said he was determined to "declare the whole counsel of God" (Acts 20:27).

2. David expressed "the sum of thy word is truth" (Psalms 119:160).

B. This principle is especially important in understanding what is involved in answering the questions, "What must I do to be saved?" and "What is the place of baptism in God's overall scheme of things?"

The Definition of Baptism

How do representative scholars from major denominations define water baptism?

Adam Clark (Methodist): "Alluding to the 'immersion' practiced in the case of 'adults', wherein the person appeared to be buried under the water, as Christ was buried in the heart of the earth. His rising again the third day, and their emerging from the water, was an emblem of the resurrection of the body." - Commentary on Colossians 2:12

John Calvin (Founder of Presbyterianism): "The very word 'baptize' however, signifies immerse, and it is certain that immersion was the practice of the ancient church." -Institutes, Vol. III, p. 343.

John Wesley (Founder of Methodism): "We are 'buried with him.' Alluding to the ancient manner of baptizing by immersion." - Notes.

Cunningham (Episcopalian): "Baptism means immersion; and it was immersion . . . Unless it had been so, Paul's analogical argument about our being buried with Christ in baptism would have had no meaning. Nothing could have been simpler than baptism in its first form. When a convert declared his faith in Christ, he was taken at once to the nearest pool or stream of water and plunged into it, and henceforward he was recognized as one of the Christian community." - The Growth of the Church, p. 173.

Tholuck (Lutheran): "For the explanation of this figurative description of the baptismal rite, it is necessary to call attention to the well-known circumstance that in the early days of the church, persons, when baptized, were first plunged below and then raised above the water." - Commentary on Romans.

How do Greek Lexicons define it ? (Greek baptizo): "to plunge, immerse, or dip."

How is water baptism defined by its use in the New Testament?

1. Matt. 3:15-16

2. John 3:22-23

Examples of Baptism in the Book of Acts (see chart)

ACTS OF THE APOSTLES

RECORD OF CONVERSIONS

EXAMPLES

BELIEVE

REPENT

CONFESS

BAPTIZE

PENTECOST 3000

Acts 2

REPENTED

v. 37-38

BAPTIZED

v. 38-41

POST PENTECOST

Acts 3:11-26;4:1-4

BELIEVED

4:4

REPENTED

3:19

SAMARITANS

Acts 8:1-12

BELIEVED

V. 12

BAPTIZED

v. 12

SIMON

Acts 8:13

BELIEVED

V. 13

BAPTIZED

v. 13

ETHIOPIAN EUNUCH

Acts 8:29-38

BELIEVED

V. 37

CONFESSED

V. 37

BAPTIZED

v. 38

SAUL (PAUL)

Acts 9:1-19

BAPTIZED

v. 18

CORNELIUS, HOUSE

Acts 10:34-48

BELIEVED

v.43

BAPTIZED

v. 48

SERGIUS PAULUS

Acts 13:12

BELIEVED

v. 12

LYDIA & HOUSEHOLD

Acts 16:14-15

BELIEVED

v.14

BAPTIZED

v. 15

PHILIPPIAN JAILOR

Acts 16:25-34

BELIEVED

v. 31

BAPTIZED

v. 33

THESSALONIANS

Acts 17:1-4

PERSUADED

v. 4

BEREANS

Acts 17:11-12

BELIEVED

v. 12

12 EPHESIANS

Acts 19:1-7

BELIEVED

v. 4

BAPTIZED

v. 5

John 6:29

John 3:16

Heb. 11:6

Rom. 10:9-10

Luke 13:3

Acts 26:20

Rom 10:9-10

Matt. 10:32

Gal. 3:27

Rom 6:1-3

1 Pet. 3:21

Mark 16:16

Why was Baptism Mentioned in Almost Every Example of Conversion in the Book of Acts?

Jesus said it is necessary for salvation.

Mark 16:15-16

Matthew 28:18-20

It is necessary for:

The remission of sins

Receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38)

It is through baptism that we are born again.

John 3:3-5 (water and spirit) = Acts 2:38 (water and spirit)

Compare Titus 3:5

It unites us with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection (Romans 6:3-11)

It puts us into Christ

Galatians 3:26-27

Ephesians 1:3-7

It gives us 'spiritual circumcision" (Colossians 2:9-13)

It saves us (1 Peter 3:20-21).

Rebaptism (Acts 19:1-5)

Beatitudes in Conversion

Introduction

The Beatitudes are one of Christ's earliest recorded sermons. They have been called the fruit of knowing God, the mind of Christ, and the essence of His teaching. Everyone should certainly desire to understand the Beatitudes and their depth. This study will look at the Beatitudes individually and then as a whole. Please realize from the beginning that this is only a glimpse of the depth that lies within the Beatitudes.

The Beatitudes:

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 5:3).

"The Greek indicates that one must have a spirit of poverty to enter the kingdom, and must keep a spirit of poverty to stay" (The Beatitudes Are For Today, George L. Lawlor, p. 37).

What does it mean to be poor in spirit?

Seeing oneself as a sinner:

Awareness of falling short of the glory of God.

Luke 18:9-14 ". . . have mercy on me the sinner . . ."

Romans; 1: 2: 3:23 "all have sinned . . ."

Luke 18:19 ". . . no one is good except God alone . . ."

Seeing oneself as dependent upon God for everything:

John 3:27; 2 Corinthians 3:4-5

1 Corinthians 15:10 - One who is aware that God without man is still God, but man without God is nothing.

How can a spirit of poverty be cultivated?

Isaiah 6:1-5 -- As one comes to know God in His holiness and power, he becomes aware of his lack of holiness and weakness (Luke 5:1-11). This is the beginning of being poor in spirit.

Striving to live as Jesus lived, love as He loved, and give as He gave will inevitably cause a person to see how far short of the Lord's moral glory he falls.

A spirit of poverty does not come by humiliation, but by humbling oneself. As an individual comes to know God in all His glory and purity and richness of spirit, he begins to see that even at his best, he is poor in spirit. Every bit of goodness is from God (James 1:17) and so even as Christians grow in Christ and are "transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit" (2 Corinthians 3:18), we have no righteousness of our own and thus are still poor in spirit (Philippians 3:9).

"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted" (Matthew 5:4).

Of the nine Greek words for sorrow, Jesus uses the one which means to weep over the dead. This is how deeply all should mourn over sin.

This is genuine repentance.

Godly sorrow (2 Cor. 7:10) causes me to realize that my sin crucified Christ. I should feel sorrow for the pain that I have caused God.

This is the emotional side of repentance. Repentance is included in what it means to mourn.

Mourning is the response of one who sees how much he has hurt God. Understanding how perfect God is in His love and mercy, one begins to mourn over what he has done to such a perfect Father. But He is not angry; He reaches out in mercy (Revelations 3:20).

"Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth" (Matthew 5:5).

The word "meek" is also translated from the Greek as "gentle" or "strength under control." In the Greek culture, it was often used to describe a well- trained horse.

It includes total surrender, total dependence, and total submission to the will of God. "Poor in spirit" is the knowledge and emotion of dependence upon God. Meekness is the act of depending upon God.

It is learning to "let go and let God." It is realizing that God is man's only hope, strength, etc.

2 Corinthians 3:5

2 Corinthians 8:5

Romans 12:2

"Meekness is not weakness" is often stated in reference to this beatitude. Many people have mistakenly decided that meekness denotes the idea of not being able to be strong when there is a need to be strong. To the people of the time, meekness referred to someone who was strong and able to defend himself instead of surrendering his or her rights. When a sinner sees that God is the only one who can give His life meaning, he surrenders in meekness.

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be satisfied." (Matthew 5:6).

The Greek words Christ used here describe a "hunger and thirst" to the point of death.

Matthew 6:33 - Seek the kingdom and His righteousness: the kingdom and the king. Who is the righteousness of God? Jesus.

John 6:51 is a commentary on Matthew 5:6. It is not speaking of the Lord's supper, but of an assimilation of the attributes of Christ into self, a hungering and thirsting after Christ and His nature.

God is perfect in every way (Matthew 5:48). Those who come to know Him will long to become like Him. God promises that those who hunger and thirst (to the point of death) will be filled with His righteousness (Matt. 5:6).

"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy" (Matthew 5:7).

The Greek definition carries the idea of compassion in action. It is a sympathy that brings about help.

This includes continually serving people in need, even when it is beyond one's own convenience.

God says that those who show mercy on others will receive His mercy.

"Mercy" is love in action. It is loving and serving others unconditionally, not because they are lovable, but because they need love. This is the essence of God's love for man.

Mercy is something that God gave freely on a cross. Truly the cross is compassion in action. As recipients of God's mercy, Christians must continue God's mercy by allowing Him to reach others through them. He has shown His mercy to the highest degree. Can Christians not show mercy to others?

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God" (Matthew 5:8).

"Pure in heart" needs no explanation from the Greek. It refers to cleanliness, a lack of defilement, utter sincerity, and single-mindedness.

One who is "pure in heart" is striving to be holy as God is holy (1 Peter 1:15).

Continual God-consciousness is included (2 Corinthians 10:5).

In short, it is one who is trying to think the thoughts of God, see as God sees, etc.

It is one who sees everything in this world as empty and vain without God.

Purity in heart is the only way to truly serve God. "No one can serve two masters" (Matt. 6:24). If one's heart does not have a pure longing for God and a desire to remove anything that interferes with that longing, he is not serving God only. If one is not serving God only, he is not serving God.

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God" (Matt. 5:9).

The Greek speaks of those who are at peace with God.

The world is at war with God. Reconciliation is only possible because of the death of Jesus (Romans 5:10).

All Christians are given the ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18).

As a person begins to see through God's eyes, he begins to strive for peace with his fellow man, not a peace built in humanity, but a peace from God. It is a "peace that passes understanding" (Philippians 4:7). It is a peace that God gives to those who entrust themselves to Him.

An Overview of Attitudinal Conversion and Continued Growth

Attitudinal Conversion. The Beatitudes show the process that sincere hearts go through in coming to Christ. First, one comes to know God (to some degree) and understand His love and His desire to save each person.

As a result of coming to know God's love and seeing how pure and perfect He is, he becomes aware of how imperfect and how much of a sinner he is.

He becomes ashamed of what he has been and how little he has given to God. He mourns sorrowfully and decides to change his life.

He surrenders to God in baptism. He turns his rights and his will over to Him.

As he begins to obey, he sees that God is the way to happiness and purpose in life and he begins to hunger and thirst to become like Him.

As a new convert grows more like God, he sees the richness of what he has and reaches out in mercy to his fellow man. He desires to help others experience the joy that he has come to know.

As he hungers and thirsts after Christ and reaches out to his fellow man he becomes pure in heart. His focus is more and more of "setting (his) eyes on Christ (Hebrews 12:2).

As that focus is perfected, he strives not only to reach out to mankind, but to be a peacemaker between man and God to help mankind come to know God in a father/child relationship. And the process of conversion begins all over again.

Continued Growth. The beauty of God's word is that it never stops appealing to anyone. Verses that had one level of depth to a new Christian have a deeper meaning as one grows in Christ. The Beatitudes are no exception.

As one becomes a peacemaker between man and God, he is more and more overwhelmed as God uses him in such a magnificent way. He is once again in the midst of a poverty-struck spirit.

As he becomes impressed with God's grace in working through him, he is even more convicted of how unworthy he is and of how many things God must still transform within him.

As he is more convicted and realizes that God is the only one who can perfect him, he surrenders even more.

He desires God to work more fully in him and so his hunger and thirst increases for God to fill him with His righteousness.

As he is filled more fully with God's righteousness, he is convicted of His mercy shown to him and so his hunger and thirst increases for God to fill him with His righteousness.

His mind is set more and more on things above and his heart and life is made purer as he surrenders to God.

Because he is surrendering, he is at peace with God. And as a result, he desires peace between God and all of those whom he loves.

As Christians grow in Christ, we continually repeat the Beatitudes in our lives. As our knowledge and love for God grows, so grows the depth of our Christianity.

Conclusion

The first four Beatitudes describe man reaching up to God. The next three describe the result. One first comes to know God and reach to Him (the first four) and God turns him to his fellow man (the last three).

God

Poor in Spirt

Mourn

Meek

Hunger and Thirst

Man

Merciful

Pure in Heart

Peacemaker

There is a process that goes on in the heart that can be pictured simply in the following way:

Poor in Spirit

Mourn

Meekness

Emptying

Hunger and Thirst

after

Righteousness

Filling

Merciful

Pure

Peacemaker

Overflowing

As a person comes to know God and sees himself as God sees him, he willingly empties himself. Then God, as he hungers and thirst for His righteousness, fills him. As He does this, he overflows with the love, joy, and peace that God has given him. "Blessed be the God, and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ" (Ephesians 1:3).

THE NATHAN PRINCIPLE

How to convict the sincerely deceived of Religious Error

INTRODUCTION

Nathan approached David in a very unique way in 2 Samuel 12:17.

We can learn from Nathan and receive great insight how to convict people of error if we will study the account carefully.

Notice: David is objective. His mind is clear because he's not thinking about himself or his situation.

David understands well the principle of injustice that is involved "and David's anger was kindled greatly." "As Jehovah liveth, the man that hath done this thing is worthy to die". He showed no mercy upon.."This man that has done this thing and showed no pity"(vs. 5)!

Nathan then approached David, still filled with righteous indignation. I picture him walking up the steps to his throne, sticking his finger in his face, and telling David - "Thou art the man" (vs. 7). No doubt a hush fell over the crowd at this decisive moment. For David, it must have been like being hit with a ton of bricks.

Suddenly he is hit with the realization that he had just pronounced his own death sentence!

He was guilty of the same thing in principle.

David agreed to the principle - Nathan simply made the application.

Now it becomes simply a question of honesty. Is David to be consistent and admit his error or be stubborn and refuse to see it?

Being a "man after God's own heart" he sincerely confessed.

A very simple and short confession, "I have sinned" (vs 13).

The idea is to get the person to listen and make an objective decision about some vital principle of truth before he\she is emotionally involved.

Our pride and egos often get in our own way and cloud our reasoning.

Illust: Discussing Marriage/Divorce and Remarriage with someone who is personally involved. It's difficult to be objective in a study when you know that if you take a certain position either yourself, or someone you know or love dearly, will be put in a difficult situation.

We need to stop using our Bibles as some sort of PANIC BUTTON, to rush to for answers when in a panic. It would be much better if we would study out key issues first, when we can be objective about the study, and then have the courage to act upon our prestudied convictions when the inevitable crisis does come!

The Nathan Principle has revolutionized my personal teaching.

Once the foundation principles are affirmed, the application is made to the point of error (usually at a later time, as issues arise).

When the application is made, the prospect has already admitted the principle, so now it's just a question of being consistent.

Throughout your personal work studies, get the person to objectively accept certain key principles first, then at a later time simply refer back. It may be weeks later, or as in the case of Nathan and David, it may be in the same setting.

Don't start by arguing! Get the appointment to study.

Most start off with the conclusion - "Instrumental music is wrong -- this is why." Barriers are already up!

It is usually better to start with the principle first which they can clearly see and then at the appropriate time make the application, and say in essence -- "Thou art the man."

You saw it back here, remember, can't you see the same principle applies here?

Usually, you wait much later in the study to show them the parallel when you come to the point of controversy.

The unique thing about this lesson is not the material itself, but the method of approach. We are not so much teaching the "sword of the spirit" as to "how to wield it."

What's the best way to establish these principles? The way Jesus did with parables (analogies, illustrations, etc.) They serve as "windows to let light in" so people can see Divine truth clearly.

EXAMPLES OF HOW "THE NATHAN PRINCIPLE" MAY BE USED. (Note: The first three are to be used before any study, regardless of what first principle study you are using. I suggest you put a few brief reminders in the back of your Bible to remind you, until it becomes second nature to you. The rest of the Nathan Principles are best "plugged in" when you are presenting a multi-lesson approach which includes a survey of the Old Testament, and you simply cover them as you go.)

Before each study draw a line and then ask, "How long is this line?"

Note that they all will make sincere guesses.

One guess is as good as another.

Your opinion is just as good as mine; one belief is just as good as another.

Now -- measure it with a ruler.

There is only one right answer. All the guesses, though sincere, that don't match up to the ruled line are wrong.

Is that being narrow or too closed minded?

What if, even after it's pointed out what the ruler says, someone still refuses to admit they have been mistaken?

That's right, you show yourself to be either ignorant,(of the fact that a ruler is the universally accepted standard of measurement), or stubborn,(refusing to admit you have been wrong), or both!

The Bible is our Rule and when we find a Bible answer to a Bible question, we must be willing to accept it no matter how sincere we were in our previous beliefs. Remember, this is a Bible study, we are interested in what the Bible says, not what our opinions or what traditions of men teach.

God gave the Israelites ten commandments, not ten suggestions (or vague guidelines).

Religion is more than just wishful thinking or imagination, it is based on Authority (Colossians 3:17).

When someone says, "Open up in the name of the law." he means by the authority of the law!

Baseball without rules would be a riot.

A nation without rules would be anarchy.

An Army without regulations would become a mob.

And Religion without authority becomes chaos and filled with division.

Let's agree never to say, "I think so," "I was always taught," "My church teaches," but instead only be interested in what the Bible says.

Make sure as the teacher, you are careful not to violate this principle yourself.

If you say, "The church of Christ teaches," then you leave the door open for them to say, "Well my church teaches." At that point there is very little you can say, because you have by your speech established the wrong standard of authority.

The church does not disseminate its own doctrine. It is simply instructed to "Sound out the word of the Lord" (I Thessalonians 1:8).

When Jesus walked among the lampstands in the book of Revelation, it clearly demonstrates this principle. The churches were simply holding up the truth and proclaiming it. They were not candlesticks producing something as their own.

IT IS IMPORTANT to say "Paul says," "Jesus teaches," "Peter wrote," etc. rather than "I think" or "the church of Christ teaches," etc.,.

Later in the study you might have to go back and remind them of this principle. Truth is exclusive, and once it's pointed out to you, if you refuse to obey, you become dishonest (etc.)

The truth of God saves us, not the opinions of men.

Illust: Sprinkling in contrast to immersion.

ESTABLISH THAT WE ARE ONLY INTERESTED IN TRUTH BECAUSE ONLY IT CAN SET US FREE (John 8:32).

The Devil is the deceiver. He is good at his job. He does not want us to come to an understanding of truth. With this in mind, at the start of our study, it is important to recognize three things that have nothing to do with truth.

The number of people that believe a thing (50,000 people can say something foolish and it is still foolish).

The amount of time it has been believed.

The degree of sincerity of the believer.

Using the illustration of the world being flat and applying it to the above three points helps to clarify the issue. Does the fact that because years ago most everyone believed the world was flat, and the fact that this had been sincerely believed for thousands of years, change the facts? Did this make a round world flat? Of course not.

THE BASIC PRINCIPLE OF DENOMINATIONALISM CAN BE OBJECTIVELY EXPLAINED FROM ECCLESIASTES 5:1. (This is a concept difficult for many to grasp. In order to begin to carve a new "cognitive niche" in the person's mind, it is important to lay the foundation at the beginning. This is designed to help teach that we are not interdenominational, but undenominational).

What's the difference between the Baptists, the Methodists, the Catholics, etc., and those of us that claim to be un-denominational?

We all agree on the fact that there is a God.

We disagree on how we come to terms with God.

They say, "I believe in God, so now I want to find out what I am going to do with Him."

Go to the church of your choice.

Come to terms with God on my terms.

But we say, "I believe in God, so now I need to find out what He wants to do with me."

Go to the church of His choice.

Come to terms with God on His terms, not mine.

"To draw nigh to hear (listen) is better than to give the sacrifice of a fool not knowing you are doing evil" (Ecclesiastes 5:1)

We must humble ourselves and admit that we don't have all the answers --"listen!"

Many religious people make impressive sacrifices, but they are "foolish" if they are not following God's will.

If one is going to bother to be religious, for God's sake, you might as well make sure you practice a religion that will get you to heaven! The only way to make sure of this, is to come to terms with God on His terms and make sure you are doing it God's way!

This is what is involved in the undenominational plea. Not to unite on compromise, but GOD'S ETERNAL TRUTH!

USE THE OLD TESTAMENT TO ESTABLISH KEY PRINCIPLES AND THEN USE THEM LATER TO ESTABLISH IMPORTANT POINTS IN THE NEW (Galatians 3:24)

Noah (along with the Patriarchs) was saved by three ingredients.

Grace (Genesis 6:8) (Noah "found favor"--=grace)

Faith (Hebrews 11:7)

Obedience (Genesis 6:22)

We, of course, are saved by these things too, though under a different covenant. They are not mutually exclusive.

The Law of Exclusion is demonstrated with Noah and the Ark. God commanded gopher wood. Would Noah have obeyed God if he had used Pine, Oak, or Birch? NO!

God commanded 300 cubits. Would he have obeyed God if he made it 301 cubits? NO!

Here -- Noah was doing what God said, plus he was adding, doing something additional to what God said.

People often argue "they are singing, using vocal music, but just doing even more with instrumental music."

The illustration of Jacob and Joseph helps to deal with Emotionalism.

In Genesis 37:32-35 Jacob hears a lie (is deceived) and believes it! He has a tremendous emotional response as a result.

In Genesis 45:26, Jacob hears the truth but refuses to believe it because of his previous belief. There is no emotional response.

Conclusion: Our emotional response to a message has nothing to do with whether the message we heard was true or false!

Later if your prospect proclaims, "Yes, I know I'm saved because I feel it in my bones," simply remind him that Jacob thought he knew for sure that Joseph was dead too!

However, when he saw the evidence (the wagons from Egypt, Genesis 45:27) he lined up his feelings with the facts.

I don't doubt you had an emotional experience; the question is, does that emotional experience prove you were right? (This is an important point. Don't tell someone they did not have an emotional experience. They ought to know! Telling them they did not is like telling them that "water isn't wet.")

Teach the necessity of baptism from the Old Testament using Exodus 14:13; and I Corinthians 10:2.

Point out that Moses told them to "wait for the salvation of Jehovah"(v. 13) and then after they passed through the Red Sea and Pharaoh's army was destroyed then we learn "Thus Jehovah saved Israel that day"(v.30)

Were they saved before or after their coming out of the Red Sea?

Obviously after.

Paul in I Corinthians 10:2 compares their baptism of the sea and the cloud to our baptism today.

Notice also it was "a great work" but Jehovah's work (v. 31). Same thing with our baptism (Colossians 2:12)

Requiring obedience as one of several conditions of our salvation, doesn't cause us to merit our salvation, nor does it discredit grace in any way.

Show the proper understanding of New Testament church government including local autonomy and an undenominational structure by explaining about the original governmental system under the judges.

The period of the judges was characterized by Tribal Independence.

The only bond that held them together was the fact that they belonged to the same family (all children of Israel) and followed the same covenant (the law of Moses).

God Alone was to be their king.

Now notice Isaiah 1:26, prophecy concerning the coming kingdom and establishment of the church. "I will restore thy judges as at the first and thy counselors as at the beginning." What is there about the judges that will become a part of the New Testament church?

Is it possible that this is a reference to God's ultimate plan for congregational independence or autonomy?

The only bond that will hold brethren together is the fact that they belong to the same family (all children of God and brethren in Christ) and follow the same covenant (the New Testament).

Now, Christ alone is our King.

By explaining the governmental system under the judges (which no one is defensive about) and getting them to understand that --the task of explaining the organizational structure of the church later on is much easier!

Lessons about Grace and Faith from Jericho (Joshua 6).

Notice the city was a "gift from Jehovah" ( 2:16), yet required obedience in order to receive the "gift".

Baptists claim if salvation is a free gift there is nothing you can do to receive it--Not so!

Though Jericho was "a gift", God did put conditions on how to receive it. It did not make it any less of a gift.

If I give you a check for $1,000,000 that doesn't mean you merit the gift or decrease the value of it, simply because I tell you that you have to drive to a certain bank across town to cash it!

Baptists claim also that once He gives us a free gift, He won't take it away because that makes God an "Indian Giver"--Not so! They later lost Jericho and the whole promised land because of disobedience.

It took a lot of Faith for them to march around the walls (Hebrews 11:30)

Yet God did not bless Faith until it was manifested in complete obedience.(Walls did not get a little weaker each time they marched around them. Nothing happened until they completely obeyed all that God asked them to do).

Partial obedience is not acceptable! (Applications numerous.)

No logical connection between the action required and the promise received.

What did marching around walls have to do with taking a city?

These were steps of faith. They brought the promised result.

c. Illustration Baptism. Don't try to explain why it makes sense to be baptized from a human perspective. The point is, God said it! We must obey and believe it as a test of our faith in HIM!

Samuel's wicked sons were used as an excuse to violate God's law (I Sam 8)

The people used one wrong as an excuse to do another wrong!

Two wrongs never make a right, but one wrong is often used as an excuse to do more wrong.

This is very prevalent in people's thinking today. Example:

"There are hypocrites in the church, therefore, I'm not a member."

"People don't take care of orphans individually, so church supported institutions must do it."

"People don't give enough to support the church, so we need to get into business and raise money other ways." (etc.)

Many of these arguments are nothing more than "the ends justify the means".

King Saul gave a religious reason for disobeying God (I Samuel 15:20-22).

King Saul rationalized that since his lack of obedience was in order to "offer sacrifice" that he was justified.

Samuel rebuked Saul telling him "to obey is better than to sacrifice" (I Samuel 15:22)

This is very prevalent today also.

"The Missionary Society is okay because it's converting lots of people."

"The organ in worship is acceptable because it's pretty and very edifying." (etc.)

Conclusion

Many other examples could be given but this should suffice.

In your teaching look for key principles like this and establish them first, then subsequently teaching is much easier.

Remember--in matters of religion keep the discussion as objective as possible.

The devil dislikes this because it makes it more difficult for him to deceive people and cloud their thinking with pride and emotion.

Use the "Nathan Principle" and effectively overcome one of the greatest barriers in personal teaching.

Undenominational Christianity Series

The Silence of Scripture

Introduction

Infant baptism

Entrance into the church by vote of the members

Official clergy-laity distinction

Celibacy, special garments for clergy

Bingo games, carnivals, bake sales, etc. as a means of raising money

Church-supported seminaries, missionary and benevolent societies to do the work of the church

Instrumental music in worship

Lord's supper one a year, every six months, etc.

Observance of special "holy days"

Popes, cardinals, archbishops, ecumenical councils, governing boards and committees, synods - for organization

What is so special about all of these things? None of them is found in the New Testament. This is not an opinion but rather fact. It can be verified by New Testament scholars, early church history scholars and one's own study of the New Testament. And yet, many denominations practice some or all of these things. Why?

The answer lies in the different views on the silence of scripture. This study will try to answer the question. "What do we do when something is not found in the Bible?" or "How do we react to the silence of scripture?"

There are two attitudes toward the silence of scripture:

Denominational view - "We can practice things not found in the New Testament. We must avoid only those things specifically condemned in scripture." There are two attendant positions:

The practices are justified because they cannot be proven wrong.

It goes beyond what is written in the Bible to prohibit the practice. It is making a law where there is no law in the Bible

Alternative view - "We can practice only what is found to be taught in God's word." Four reasons will be offered in support of this view:

This attitude is the one taught by example in both the Old and New Testaments.

We lose the Bible as a reliable guide to religious practice otherwise.

The use of this attitude is the only way we can know that what we are doing is right.

The use of this attitude is the only way we can prove to others that what we are doing is right.

Examples of this attitude in both the Old and New Testaments

Old Testament

Exodus 14:10-14

Leviticus 24:10-16

Numbers 9:1-14

Numbers 15:32-36

Analogy - Numbers 9:15-23; Deuteronomy 8:3

New Testament

Acts 15:23-24 - his reasoning pulled the rug out from under them

1 Corinthians 4:6

2 John 9-11

We lose the Bible as a reliable guide

Some say, "If the Bible doesn't condemn it, why can't we allow it?" What this really says is, "let's stop expecting people to give a book, chapter, and verse for what they practice."

Once we allow the practice of one thing not authorized in scripture, why not another?

Where can we stop? The flood-gates are opened.

And, once one thing that is not found in the Bible is allowed to be practiced, can we prohibit the practice of anything else not found in the Bible on the grounds that it is not authorized by the word?

What is to stop one from making up things not specifically condemned and introducing them into the church?

Once that has happened, we have lost all picture of what the Lord's church is and is not supposed to be. The example of the New Testament church is useless.

There is an inherent dilemma for those holding the denominational view of the silence of scripture. There are only two possible explanations for God's silence: either the silence is intentional or unintentional on God's part.

If God intentionally left something out of the scriptures, then it is obvious that He did not mean to condone it and it should not be practiced.

But what view of the Bible are we left with if we say that there are things that God unintentionally left out of the Bible? Thing that really are all right but He just forgot to let us know that they are? If this is true the Bible cannot be trusted as a reliable guide to religious practice.

The only way we can know that what we're doing is pleasing to God (See chart # 1)

Find a "book, chapter, and verse" authorizing it.

This is the universally preferred method.

This would settle the matter once and for all.

"Men don't divide over what the bible says as much as over what it doesn't say." (Example - there is no controversy over whether to sing or have elders and deacons. The controversy is over whether to use instruments and have synods and archbishops.)

It is the most reasonable approach. There are two objections to the reliance upon human opinion to decide religious matters:

All human opinions are equal. Why is your human opinion better than mine or anyone else's? How can any one human opinion have authority over any other?

All human opinions are irrelevant. You may think some religious practice to be alright, but what does your human opinion matter? What difference does it make what you think about it? We are talking about being pleasing to God - isn't it most reasonable to demand some communication from Him as proof that what we are doing is pleasing to Him?

Assume that since God didn't condemn it, it must be O.K. This approach is based on two false prior assumptions:

God's silence = God's permission. This conclusion is false as shown by the previous verses of scripture.

Any human addition to the practice of the New Testament church is right until proven wrong. Three responses:

This is not the example given to us in the Old and New Testament passages quoted earlier.

Should we assume that the New Testament church is right and any deviation from it is wrong or assume that the human additions and deviations are right? The safe course is to stay with the New Testament (it is inspired) and its teaching on religious matters. The burden of proof is on those who would ignore or add to it. We cannot simply assume that something different from the Bible is right!

Denominationalists deny that this is their assumption. Response:

You obviously think it is right or else you would not practice it. You would not practice something that you think is wrong.

You can either prove it is right or you have assumed it is right. If you cannot give a book, chapter, and verse for the practice you cannot prove it is right. Therefore, you must practice it because you have assumed it is right until proven wrong.

This is not judging people. It is simple logic.

Which approach are we going to use? (back to the initial list in introduction)

Shall we assume a thing is right and practice it until proven wrong or shall we suspend judgment and action until we know whether it is right (like the Israelites did in the wilderness)?

The real question is: Are we going to stick to the Bible as our only source of authority or not? If so, either give a book, chapter, and verse and practice it or don't practice it. If not, forget using the Bible all together. Why use the Bible to justify some things and not other?

The only way we can prove to others that what we're doing is pleasing to God.

Jesus and Paul both prayed for unity among Christians.

John 17:18-23

1 Corinthians 1:10

Ephesians 4:1-6

To demand the right to practice something not mentioned in scripture and thus cause division is sinful. Although the Bible may be silent regarding the particular practice in question it is not silent regarding the sinfulness of causing division.

Proverbs 6:19

Romans 14:1-6

1 Corinthians 1:11-15

1 Corinthians 6:1-8

1 Corinthians 11:17-22

Galatians 1:6-9

It is sinful to practice something which causes division regardless of whether it is specifically condemned or not.

Conclusion

The only way to end denominational division is to agree to use only the Bible as our guide in religious matters. Unity can be achieved only on the Bible. What if there were no Bibles in the world? How would we ever agree on what to do to be pleasing to God? Isn't it the same situation, though, when we argue for something not found in the Bible?

Note: The author wishes to acknowledge his debt to brother Almon Williams of Florida College who first taught him much of the material found in this outline and without whom this outline would not have been possible.

Chart #1 for "The Silence of the Scriptures"

Which approach will let me know that what I'm doing is pleasing to God?

1. Find a Bible "book, chapter and verse" authorizing it.

A) Universally preferred method

B) Most reasonable

2. Assume that since God didn't condemn it, it must be O.K.

Based on two false prior assumptions:

A) God's silence = his permission

B) Any addition to the practice of

the New Testament church

is right until proven wrong.

Undenominational Christianity Series

Bible Baptism

(Ephesians 4:4-6)

Introduction:

A. Begin by looking at a major Biblical principle for learning truth. One must take all God has to say about a subject before one can determine "what the truth is" on that subject.

1. Paul said he was determined to "declare the whole counsel of God" (Acts 20:27).

2. David expressed "the sum of thy word is truth" (Psalms 119:160).

B. This principle is especially important in understanding what is involved in answering the questions, "What must I do to be saved?" and "What is the place of baptism in God's overall scheme of things?"

The Definition of Baptism

How do representative scholars from major denominations define water baptism?

Adam Clark (Methodist): "Alluding to the 'immersion' practiced in the case of 'adults', wherein the person appeared to be buried under the water, as Christ was buried in the heart of the earth. His rising again the third day, and their emerging from the water, was an emblem of the resurrection of the body." - Commentary on Colossians 2:12

John Calvin (Founder of Presbyterianism): "The very word 'baptize' however, signifies immerse, and it is certain that immersion was the practice of the ancient church." -Institutes, Vol. III, p. 343.

John Wesley (Founder of Methodism): "We are 'buried with him.' Alluding to the ancient manner of baptizing by immersion." - Notes.

Cunningham (Episcopalian): "Baptism means immersion; and it was immersion . . . Unless it had been so, Paul's analogical argument about our being buried with Christ in baptism would have had no meaning. Nothing could have been simpler than baptism in its first form. When a convert declared his faith in Christ, he was taken at once to the nearest pool or stream of water and plunged into it, and henceforward he was recognized as one of the Christian community." - The Growth of the Church, p. 173.

Tholuck (Lutheran): "For the explanation of this figurative description of the baptismal rite, it is necessary to call attention to the well-known circumstance that in the early days of the church, persons, when baptized, were first plunged below and then raised above the water." - Commentary on Romans.

How do Greek Lexicons define it ? (Greek baptizo): "to plunge, immerse, or dip."

How is water baptism defined by its use in the New Testament?

1. Matt. 3:15-16

2. John 3:22-23

Examples of Baptism in the Book of Acts (see chart)

ACTS OF THE APOSTLES

RECORD OF CONVERSIONS

EXAMPLES

BELIEVE

REPENT

CONFESS

BAPTIZE

PENTECOST 3000

Acts 2

REPENTED

v. 37-38

BAPTIZED

v. 38-41

POST PENTECOST

Acts 3:11-26;4:1-4

BELIEVED

4:4

REPENTED

3:19

SAMARITANS

Acts 8:1-12

BELIEVED

V. 12

BAPTIZED

v. 12

SIMON

Acts 8:13

BELIEVED

V. 13

BAPTIZED

v. 13

ETHIOPIAN EUNUCH

Acts 8:29-38

BELIEVED

V. 37

CONFESSED

V. 37

BAPTIZED

v. 38

SAUL (PAUL)

Acts 9:1-19

BAPTIZED

v. 18

CORNELIUS, HOUSE

Acts 10:34-48

BELIEVED

v.43

BAPTIZED

v. 48

SERGIUS PAULUS

Acts 13:12

BELIEVED

v. 12

LYDIA & HOUSEHOLD

Acts 16:14-15

BELIEVED

v.14

BAPTIZED

v. 15

PHILIPPIAN JAILOR

Acts 16:25-34

BELIEVED

v. 31

BAPTIZED

v. 33

THESSALONIANS

Acts 17:1-4

PERSUADED

v. 4

BEREANS

Acts 17:11-12

BELIEVED

v. 12

12 EPHESIANS

Acts 19:1-7

BELIEVED

v. 4

BAPTIZED

v. 5

John 6:29

John 3:16

Heb. 11:6

Rom. 10:9-10

Luke 13:3

Acts 26:20

Rom 10:9-10

Matt. 10:32

Gal. 3:27

Rom 6:1-3

1 Pet. 3:21

Mark 16:16

Why was Baptism Mentioned in Almost Every Example of Conversion in the Book of Acts?

Jesus said it is necessary for salvation.

Mark 16:15-16

Matthew 28:18-20

It is necessary for the remission of sins and

receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38)

It is through baptism that we are born again.

John 3:3-5 (water and spirit) = Acts 2:38 (water and spirit)

Compare Titus 3:5

It unites us with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection (Romans 6:3-11)

It puts us into Christ

Galatians 3:26-27

Ephesians 1:3-7

It gives us "spiritual circumcision"(Colossians 2:9-13)

It saves us (1 Peter 3:20-21).

Rebaptism (Acts 19:1-5)

These people were unscriptually baptized, although they did not realize it. It was a sincere mistake based upon not having the complete information.

Once Paul realized their baptism was not correct, he immediately instructed them to be rebaptized correctly.

Would God expect any less of us today?

Beatitudes in Conversion

Introduction

A. This is an optional study designed to assist someone in understanding the true heart of conversion. What has to happen on the inside of a person as well as on the outside.

B. I am concerned that some times people are "convinced" ( of proper Biblical doctrine and have changed some outward behaviours), but have been really been "converted" (from the inside out and changed themselves into the image of God's dear Saviour).

C. In my judgment, the Beatitudes are the key to making sure that the internal spiritual process of conversion as Jesus taught truly takes place inside a person. It also helps the prospect understand where they need to grow and what they need to strive to become in the future.

D. The Beatitudes have been called "the fruit of knowing God," "the mind of Christ," and "the essence of His teaching." Everyone should certainly desire to understand the Beatitudes and their depth. This study will look at the Beatitudes individually and then as a whole.

The Beatitudes:

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 5:3).

"The Greek indicates that one must have a spirit of poverty to enter the kingdom, and must keep a spirit of poverty to stay" (The Beatitudes Are For Today, George L. Lawlor, p. 37).

What does it mean to be poor in spirit?

Seeing oneself as a sinner:

Awareness of falling short of the glory of God.

Luke 18:9-14 ". . . have mercy on me the sinner . . ."

Romans; 1: 2: 3:23 "all have sinned . . ."

Luke 18:19 ". . . no one is good except God alone . . ."

Seeing oneself as dependent upon God for everything:

John 3:27; 2 Corinthians 3:4-5

1 Corinthians 15:10 - One who is aware that God without man is still God, but man without God is nothing.

How can a spirit of poverty be cultivated?

Isaiah 6:1-5 -- As one comes to know God in His holiness and power, he becomes aware of his lack of holiness and weakness (Luke 5:1-11). This is the beginning of being poor in spirit.

Striving to live as Jesus lived, love as He loved, and give as He gave will inevitably cause a person to see how far short of the Lord's moral glory he falls.

A spirit of poverty does not come by humiliation, but by humbling oneself. As an individual comes to know God in all His glory and purity and richness of spirit, he begins to see that even at his best, he is poor in spirit. Every bit of goodness is from God (James 1:17) and so even as Christians grow in Christ and are "transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit" (2 Corinthians 3:18), we have no righteousness of our own and thus are still poor in spirit (Philippians 3:9).

"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted" (Matthew 5:4).

Of the nine Greek words for sorrow, Jesus uses the one which means to weep over the dead. This is how deeply all should mourn over sin.

This is genuine repentance.

Godly sorrow (2 Cor. 7:10) causes me to realize that my sin crucified Christ. I should feel sorrow for the pain that I have caused God.

This is the emotional side of repentance. Repentance is included in what it means to mourn.

Mourning is the response of one who sees how much he has hurt God. Understanding how perfect God is in His love and mercy, one begins to mourn over what he has done to such a perfect Father. But He is not angry; He reaches out in mercy (Revelations 3:20).

"Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth" (Matthew 5:5).

The word "meek" is also translated from the Greek as "gentle" or "strength under control." In the Greek culture, it was often used to describe a well- trained horse.

It includes total surrender, total dependence, and total submission to the will of God. "Poor in spirit" is the knowledge and emotion of dependence upon God. Meekness is the act of depending upon God.

It is learning to "let go and let God." It is realizing that God is man's only hope, strength, etc.

2 Corinthians 3:5

2 Corinthians 8:5

Romans 12:2

"Meekness is not weakness" is often stated in reference to this beatitude. Many people have mistakenly decided that meekness denotes the idea of not being able to be strong when there is a need to be strong. To the people of the time, meekness referred to someone who was strong and able to defend himself instead of surrendering his or her rights. When a sinner sees that God is the only one who can give His life meaning, he surrenders in meekness.

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be satisfied." (Matthew 5:6).

The Greek words Christ used here describe a "hunger and thirst" to the point of death.

Matthew 6:33 - Seek the kingdom and His righteousness: the kingdom and the king. Who is the righteousness of God? Jesus.

John 6:51 is a commentary on Matthew 5:6. It is not speaking of the Lord's supper, but of an assimilation of the attributes of Christ into self, a hungering and thirsting after Christ and His nature.

God is perfect in every way (Matthew 5:48). Those who come to know Him will long to become like Him. God promises that those who hunger and thirst (to the point of death) will be filled with His righteousness (Matt. 5:6).

"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy" (Matthew 5:7).

The Greek definition carries the idea of compassion in action. It is a sympathy that brings about help.

This includes continually serving people in need, even when it is beyond one's own convenience.

God says that those who show mercy on others will receive His mercy.

"Mercy" is love in action. It is loving and serving others unconditionally, not because they are lovable, but because they need love. This is the essence of God's love for man.

Mercy is something that God gave freely on a cross. Truly the cross is compassion in action. As recipients of God's mercy, Christians must continue God's mercy by allowing Him to reach others through them. He has shown His mercy to the highest degree. Can Christians not show mercy to others?

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God" (Matthew 5:8).

"Pure in heart" needs no explanation from the Greek. It refers to cleanliness, a lack of defilement, utter sincerity, and single-mindedness.

One who is "pure in heart" is striving to be holy as God is holy (1 Peter 1:15).

Continual God-consciousness is included (2 Corinthians 10:5).

In short, it is one who is trying to think the thoughts of God, see as God sees, etc.

It is one who sees everything in this world as empty and vain without God.

Purity in heart is the only way to truly serve God. "No one can serve two masters" (Matt. 6:24). If one's heart does not have a pure longing for God and a desire to remove anything that interferes with that longing, he is not serving God only. If one is not serving God only, he is not serving God.

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God" (Matt. 5:9).

The Greek speaks of those who are at peace with God.

The world is at war with God. Reconciliation is only possible because of the death of Jesus (Romans 5:10).

All Christians are given the ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18).

As a person begins to see through God's eyes, he begins to strive for peace with his fellow man, not a peace built in humanity, but a peace from God. It is a "peace that passes understanding" (Philippians 4:7). It is a peace that God gives to those who entrust themselves to Him.

An Overview of Attitudinal Conversion and Continued Growth

Attitudinal Conversion. The Beatitudes show the process that sincere hearts go through in coming to Christ. First, one comes to know God (to some degree) and understand His love and His desire to save each person.

As a result of coming to know God's love and seeing how pure and perfect He is, he becomes aware of how imperfect and how much of a sinner he is.

He becomes ashamed of what he has been and how little he has given to God. He mourns sorrowfully and decides to change his life.

He surrenders to God in baptism. He turns his rights and his will over to Him.

As he begins to obey, he sees that God is the way to happiness and purpose in life and he begins to hunger and thirst to become like Him.

As a new convert grows more like God, he sees the richness of what he has and reaches out in mercy to his fellow man. He desires to help others experience the joy that he has come to know.

As he hungers and thirsts after Christ and reaches out to his fellow man he becomes pure in heart. His focus is more and more of "setting (his) eyes on Christ (Hebrews 12:2).

As that focus is perfected, he strives not only to reach out to mankind, but to be a peacemaker between man and God to help mankind come to know God in a father/child relationship. And the process of conversion begins all over again.

Continued Growth. The beauty of God's word is that it never stops appealing to anyone. Verses that had one level of depth to a new Christian have a deeper meaning as one grows in Christ. The Beatitudes are no exception.

As one becomes a peacemaker between man and God, he is more and more overwhelmed as God uses him in such a magnificent way. He is once again in the midst of a poverty-struck spirit.

As he becomes impressed with God's grace in working through him, he is even more convicted of how unworthy he is and of how many things God must still transform within him.

As he is more convicted and realizes that God is the only one who can perfect him, he surrenders even more.He desires God to work more fully in him and so his hunger and thirst increases for God to fill him with His righteousness.

As he is filled more fully with God's righteousness, he is convicted of His mercy shown to him and so his hunger and thirst increases for God to fill him with His righteousness.

His mind is set more and more on things above and his heart and life is made purer as he surrenders to God.

Because he is surrendering, he is at peace with God. And as a result, he desires peace between God and all of those whom he loves.

As Christians grow in Christ, we continually repeat the Beatitudes in our lives. As our knowledge and love for God grows, so grows the depth of our Christianity.

Conclusion

The first four Beatitudes describe man reaching up to God. The next three describe the result. One first comes to know God and reach to Him (the first four) and God turns him to his fellow man (the last three). This is illustrated by the following chart:

REACHING UP TO GOD

REACHING OUT TO MANKIND

Poor in Spirit

Mourn

Meek

Hunger and Thirst

Merciful

Pure in Heart

Peacemaker

There is a process that goes on in the heart that can be pictured simply in the following way:

THE PROCESS THAT GOES ON INSIDE A TRUE DISCIPLE'S HEART

Poor in Spirit

Hunger and Thirst

Merciful

Mourn

after

Pure

Meekness

Righteousness

Peacemaker

EMPTYING

FILLING

OVERFLOWING

As a person comes to know God and sees himself as God sees him, he willingly empties himself. Then God, as he hungers and thirst for His righteousness, fills him. As He does this, he overflows with the love, joy, and peace that God has given him. "Blessed be the God, and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ" (Ephesians 1:3).

BIBLICAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL PRINCIPLES TO REMEMBER IN TEACHING

BE A SINCERE AND GENUINE "SEEKER OF TRUTH" (Jude 3).

The prospect must sense that you have an "open mind".

Remember there may be some areas where you can learn from the prospect - do not come off like you have "arrived" in all areas.

Why is this so important? You expect the prospect to be willing to change if he/she is wrong, and to have an open mind that he/she might be mistaken, you must set the example!

NEVER ARGUE BUT AGREE AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE (II Timothy 2:23-25).

This is especially true at the beginning when it is important to establish common ground (Matthew 5:25).

"Speak softly and carry a big stick," is a good motto in personal evangelism as well as in foreign policy.

The "big stick" here is the Bible!

Obviously there are times when one must "Contend earnestly for the Faith" (Jude 3; Acts 15:2) in an effort to defeat error. If someone wants to label this as inappropriate because it is in their mind an "argument" then so be it. However, I am using the term "never argue" in the context of a special definition.

One must eventually discuss points of difference, but not argue about them. HOW CAN YOU TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A DISCUSSION AND AN ARGUMENT?

By the term argument I mean simply "when ONE OR BOTH PARTIES STOPS LISTENING".

This short-circuits the communication process.

It happens in interpersonal relationships of all sorts, but particularly in discussions involving the highly emotional and very sensitive issue of one's soul.

When you suspect that they have "turned you off" and are just waiting for you to finish so they can say what's on their mind, stop and ask them if they can tell you what you just said.

If they can't, ask them to please have the courtesy of listening to what you're saying so they can at least see whether or not it has merit.

Reassure them that you give them that courtesy and would appreciate the same treatment in return.

Then resume a CALM, MEANINGFUL DISCUSSION.

MAKE SURE YOU DO LISTEN TO WHAT THEY ARE SAYING.

If you don't, you can't understand why they believe what they believe and effectively deal with it.

Remember - "we learn by listening".

Respond as positively as possible.

Say, "That's a good question" - it usually is!

Say, "I see what you mean - if I were in your shoes I'd be wondering the same thing".

If true, respond, "I used to think that at one time too." (Those of you who have been converted need to help us understand how those in other groups think.)

TALK LOW AND SLOW (Proverbs 15:1)

The louder he gets the softer you get! The gospel is the power. Calmly let it shine through you (Romans 1:16).

What does it indicate when they raise their voice? Usually they are beginning to recognize that they are wrong and it upsets them.

Illust: Old preacher wrote in his notes --"Pound here, weak point".

Calmly ask, "But isn't that what the scripture says?"

ASK LOTS OF QUESTIONS THAT WILL BE ANSWERED POSITIVELY IN A WAY THAT WILL HELP THEM MAKE A DECISION (Acts 26:2,3)

You do want to do what's right, don't you? (Go to Heaven, please God, etc.)

What is keeping you from obeying these truths you acknowledge to be right?

Has everything we've studied together been from the Bible?

Have you understood everything so far?

BE POLITELY PERSISTENT, BUT NOT OVERBEARING (II Corinthians 5:11, Galatians 6:9).

The common denominator of success is determination and persistence.

Press On by Calvin Coolidge: "Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not: unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent."

Give the prospect at least opportunities to do what's right by following the three samples suggested entitled "Asking for a Decision".

I SUGGEST YOU TRY TO BUILD THE PILLAR OF TRUTH FIRST, BEFORE KNOCKING DOWN THEIR CURRENT BELIEF SYSTEM.

This is not absolute, but often times I have found that people become hostile when you start to chip away at the foundation they are standing upon, because they don't understand what the alternative is.

Look for opportunities to present "Undenominational Christianity" first, and then when you begin to expose error, you will find they will find it easier to repent of the error, if they have in mind the truth that has been presented.

Remember that when people believe error it is often not a question of dishonestly, but the fact they have been trained to look at the scriptures in a certain way for so long, that after a while they sincerely perceive it differently.

They have been "deceived" and need to "with all longsuffering" be taught what the scriptures actually do teach.

This can be illustrated well by a "Figure and Ground" perception test that I use in my communication's classes. (SEE BELOW).

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Click to View

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What do the symbols on the left mean to you?

1. Most people see only a bunch of ink blots that say nothing much at all to them, except perhaps a hat on its side on the far left, and an Indian on the far right, next to an arrow to the Indian's immediate left.

2. The reason for this, is that most people are used to thinking of the dark part of picture as being in the foreground and the light part as being in the background. As a result, one does not usually perceive that this is actually the word FLY until it is pointed out. You must show them how they need to let the light part be the foreground and the dark part be the background, and suddenly it literally jumps out at them!

3. It is fun to see the "A-Ha", "Eureka Experience" as it dawns on the person.

4. Now it appears obvious that this is the word FLY, and you wonder how you did not see it before.

5. Often times that is exactly the case with your prospect. They have been taught that baptism is not necessary for salvation for so long, that they will read a plain passage like Mark 16:16 and not see the obvious truth. Why can't they see it ? It seems so clear to us. Be careful; blatant dishonesty may not be the reason the other won't accept it. It may simply be a different and wrong perception that needs to be pointed out to enable them to "see it."

ASKING FOR A DECISION:

3 SAMPLE REQUESTS

Introduction:

After a prospect has heard the gospel, usually the teacher needs to ask the prospect if he will submit to (obey) what he has heard (Acts 22:16; James 1:22).

Here I suggest for your consideration three requests that others and I have used effectively. WHY THREE?

Three are given because it is often necessary to ask the prospect to obey more than one time after he/she has given an objection to the first "request".

The other two (or more) are used to do some additional teaching. This way, one asks for the same response, but in three different ways.

Request #1 "Would you like to have all the spiritual blessings in Christ?" (Ephesians 1:3)

Physical blessings are given at random (Matthew 5:45).

All spiritual blessings are reserved for those in Christ.

What are some of these blessings?

Romans 8:1 -- "no condemnation"

II Corinthians 5:17 -- "new creature"

II Timothy 2:10b -- "salvation"

John 8:32 -- "set free" -- Free from what? Free from Sin - and its resulting guilt, worry, anxiety.

Summary -- All these things are reserved only for those "in Christ"

From our study ...what is the only way one can get into Christ? Baptism is the only way...two passages show this plainly... Romans 6:3; Galatians 3:27.

Look the prospect in the eye and say firmly and kindly -- "Would you like to have all the spiritual blessings in Christ?" (Yes) "Would you allow me to baptize you into Christ now, so you might have these blessings?" (Normally they will put their head down and break eye contact.)

Do not interrupt the silence...Wait a while..then if no response...

The baptistry is ready, the water is warm, garments are ready. It will only take a few minutes to go to the building and attend to this matter.

Won't you do it now? It is not necessary that you be embarrassed in front of a big group of people. The important thing is that you obey God.

Remember to baptize at all hours (Acts 10:33).

Wait in silence...give prospect time...to think about the truth he has been taught and to make personal applications. In this way the Holy Spirit is performing open heart surgery.

If prospect is not immediately affirmative, don't be concerned; they rarely are.

If he gives an objection, then respond briefly and ask him to obey again using Request #2.

Request #2. "A Hardened Heart or a Good and Honest One?"

The Parable of the Sower (Luke 8:4-15)

Seed is the Word of God (Luke 8:11)

The different types of soil represent different types of hearts.

vs. 4-8--Wayside (closed mind), Rocky (crazed mind), Thorny (cluttered mind), Good (converted mind).

vs 5 - "some fell by the wayside and it was trodden underfoot and the birds of the heaven devoured it".

vs. 12--Devil comes and takes the word from their heart that they might not believe and be saved.

Right now the seed is lying on top of your heart.

You have two choices--either to let it remain there or let it germinate and bear fruit.

What kind of heart do you have?

I believe you have a good and honest heart, just take this first step "hold it fast, and bearing forth fruit with patience" (vs. 15)!

If you choose to do nothing...let it lie there...Satan will come and snatch it away before it even gets a chance to germinate and produce 30, 60, or 100 fold!

Won't you demonstrate your good and honest heart and allow me to baptize you into Christ now?

Wait in silence -- same procedure as above, except go to Request #3.

Request #3. "Do you understand all that God has required of you?" (Don't show anger or frustration but instead concern and puzzlement.)

If he does not -- explain again...and ask him one last time!

If he does, but chooses not to obey, say, "I don't understand why you won't obey these truths you acknowledge to be right." Then have him read one or more of the following verses:

Luke12:47-48 - Read

Do you believe you know the Lord's will for you at present?

You know more now than you did before we started studying. God holds you responsible for what you know.

II Thessalonians 2:10--"The unrighteous will perish (why?)...because they received not the love of the truth that they might be saved." Do you have the type of heart that will receive the love of the truth?)

II Thessalonians 1:8-9--If not, God will "render vengeance to them that...obey not the gospel!"

Do you believe the Bible? (Yes)

Do you believe that what we have studied is from the Bible? (Yes)

The Word of God invites you to obey His will, will you?

Will you accept the gift of salvation now?

Ask--"Is there anything to keep you from being baptized tonight?"

Remember, though ultimately "few" will obey (Matthew 7:13-14) this person has agreed to study the Bible, has in most cases studied with you for 5-7 weeks and indicated he/she is a true seeker that Jesus said could "find" (Matthew 7:7). If you believe the prospect has a "good and honest" heart then you need to let your belief in him show and expect him/her to obey.

Another possibility is to tell the person you are going to leave and come back in one hour.

While you are gone ask the person to write down all the reasons why he/she shouldn't obey. (He can probably answer his own objections in silence better than you can).

Tell him when you come back that if he has a towel with him you'll know his answer and that you both can get busy and find some water!

Another possibility is to ask him/her to write down based on the Bible all the reasons why a person ought to be baptized.

Hand him/her a piece of paper with ,"Reasons why a person ought to be baptized" at the top.

Then after he/she have listed several reasons, a) cross out "a person" and write his/her name; b) add the word "NOW" to the end of the sentence.

Have these changes changed what should be written below? Then why not obey now?

If negative response:

Pray audibly with him. Why is this a good idea?

We believe God answers prayers.

Prayer causes a person to see himself as God sees him.

Pray that your prospect will realize his sinful condition and how much he needs God. Ask that God give him the conviction to make the right decision and to realize the dangers of putting it off. Ask forgiveness for any mistakes or bad attitudes you may have had as a teacher.

Why is it important to ask forgiveness for any mistakes you as a teacher might have made?

When you introduce "dissonance" into a person's mind they automatically strive for "consonance". Something known as "psychological equilibrium".

They achieve this by doing one of three things:

They try to discredit source of the dissonance--by attacking it in some way.

They choose to avoid the dissonance.

They change.

Let's consider each of these briefly.

When you hear something someone has said about you, what is the first thing you want to know? Who said it.

If it is someone you and others respect then it bothers you. If it is "some jerk", then it has very little impact.

People often attack the source (for example, they will try to convince themselves you as the teacher are some sort of hypocrite, or worse) in order not to have to deal with the message.

This can usually be avoided by keeping a humble attitude and asking God and the prospect to forgive you for any bad attitudes you might have manifested during the study, or wrongs in your life the prospect may be aware of.

This keeps the focus on the message and not the messenger.

Do not take attacks personally. Christians will be attacked because of what we represent. This is the reason for II Timothy 3:12. Even without saying a word, our life and actions will "judge" some people.

People will go to great extremes to avoid "dissonance". Illust. People who say, "I never discuss politics or religion".

You will find occasionally a study is going well and to your surprise the person calls and suddenly cancels the study.

It was going well. The person was wrestling with truth and began to feel uncomfortable about the idea of changing, so he avoided the source of the dissonance by canceling suddenly.

If the source cannot easily be dismissed or avoided, and the person continues to expose himself to the truth, the only other way to deal with the dissonance is to change! And when he/she do --he/she feel great relief and goes on his/her way rejoicing (Acts 8:39)!

Tell him he can call you any time if he changes his mind.

See if you can study with him again at a later date; however, at some point you must determine whether or not you are "casting your pearls before swine." (Matthew 7:6) Our time is better spent seeking for someone who is seeking.

Often after the prayer he will ask to become a Christian.

Pray again and thank the Lord for his decision and for answering your prayer.

Then ask the prospect to explain why he wants to be baptized to make sure he understands.

Remind him that he must "count the cost" (Luke 14:26-35). This would be the time to go over the "Counting the Cost" lesson.

Remind him that he will have a responsibility and a privilege to teach others (II Timothy 2:2). ("Evangelism is not complete until the evangelized become the evangelists").

Final Note:

Don't ask, "Do you think you'll obey eventually?"

Assure him that you have confidence he'll do what is right.

Often they will call up the next morning because they couldn't sleep the night before.

Remember -- people often live up to the expectations others have of them.

ANSWERING OBJECTIONS

INTRODUCTION

There is a great need to understand objections (Matthew 10:16).

Many souls are lost right here because of poor judgment or a lack of understanding of how to answer objections.

Sad to lead someone to the door of salvation, have him turn the knob, begin to walk in and then change his mind.

Frightening to have a "soul in your fingers" and lose it!

Whether we are sharing the gospel out of "duty" or out of sincere love and concern for the person's soul is determined by the way we answer objections.

Our attitude here is especially important (Ephesians 4:2).

We need to understand objections are a good indication the prospect is interested.

"Buy the truth and sell it not" (Proverbs 23:23).

With any big "purchase" or major step an individual will do a lot of investigating; ask a lot of questions; ponder (etc.) before making the decision.

How much more so with a "priceless soul" when the most important decision of his life is under consideration?

One often has to give up (change) beliefs of 20 to 30 years. Be patient ...

You should hope ... expect objections. This shows the prospect is serious.

Prospects are interested but reluctant to change. It is always easy to find excuses (objections) why not to do the things you don't want to do.

We need to understand the purpose of answering objections.

Not to make decisions for him, but to help him make the right decision (follow his "oughta" rather than his "wanta").

The devil often throws up barriers to prevent people from obeying.

Barrier #1 - PRIDE

Barrier #2 - RESISTANT TO CHANGE

Barrier #3 - WHAT WILL PEOPLE SAY? (etc.)

We need to make it as easy to change and for the person to swallow his/her pride as possible.

Psychology does not convert the person - the gospel does, but we need to share the gospel in the most effective way possible (Colossians 4:6).

Each objection you hear will make you better able to answer the next one! (Illust: Life is an emotional key ring. Each emotional experience (objection) you encounter and overcome gives you another key to put on your key ring to help you unlock future emotional problems, or to answer future objections.)

THE BEST WAY TO HANDLE OBJECTIONS

Remember that even though most prospects that you are able to get this far with are "sincere," 99% of their objections are rationalizations or excuses. They are actually heeding the voice of the devil!

The reason we know this to be so is that when you agree or merely say, "I know what you mean," and ask the prospect again to obey the gospel, he will usually give you a different objection, the first objection not being the real reason.

People usually don't give real reasons first - but a reason that sounds better than the real one! (Don't get caught wasting time discussing false reasons!)

Example: Rarely will a prospect say: "I'm not going to change - too old," or "I have too much pride to admit I'm wrong."

More likely to switch to nobler statements like "I don't know enough yet" or "Not now."

Illust: The enemies of Christ claimed to be concerned about the fact that Jesus was not a friend of Caesar. Pilate correctly perceived the real motive - envy (Matthew 27:18).

Understand this about people: People seldom give the real reason first, but they seldom will give the wrong reason twice!

Therefore the best way to handle an objection is to initially deflect it.

Assume prospect is saying, "Tell me more - I need more information to make a proper decision."

Teach a little more and then ask for a decision again (See Asking For a Decision, requests 1, 2 and 3).

Continue the process until prospect gives you the same objection twice, then you must answer it because you probably have gotten to the real reason.

In order not to become "pushy," I suggest not ever asking for a decision more than three times in one study, after the real objection(s) are discovered. (Illust: Sherrie Simmons).

Now that we understand objections better and how to handle them, let's look at how some common objections can be answered effectively in order to help the prospect overcome the barrier and make the right decision.

"I WILL LATER ... BUT NOT NOW. LET ME WAIT AWHILE." THE DEVIL LOVES TO GET PEOPLE TO PROCRASTINATE. IT IS ONE OF HIS GREATEST WEAPONS.

Remind the person that he/she may think he/she has three possibilities at this time (to decide to obey and say "yes" to the Lord, to decide to refuse to obey and say "yes" to Satan, or simply "to decide not to decide").

Jesus said, "You are either for me or against me." There is no middle ground.

You have only two choices to make - to decide to enter God's kingdom or to remain in Satan's kingdom.

Your salvation is not left up to chance but to your choice. God votes for you, the devil votes against you, and you cast the deciding vote. What will it be?

Illust: Assume a caller at this moment informed you that you had a time bomb underneath your house that might go off at any minute. Now you don't know when it is set to go off. What would you do?

Why, you would get out immediately. Here eternity is at stake!

In the language of the Bible, "what doth hinder you?"

Delay can be a very dangerous thing.

Illust: If a doctor informed you that your appendix needed to come out, would you "wait and do it later," or would you do it immediately with a sense of urgency?

Why so with the body and not the soul?

See Matthew 10:28.

Illust: A dentist shoots novocaine into the gum so that, after a time, there will be no feeling. Paul speaks of a person's heart becoming "past feeling" too (Ephesians 4:29). Satan shoots novocaine into the hearts of those who delay so that it becomes easier and easier to not obey.

"I'm not trying to hurry you into obeying the truth, but if it's the truth, you had better hurry."

The Bible example is to obey immediately. (Ex: the jailor in Acts 16:33). Immediacy was the rule rather than the exception.

Use ONE or MORE of these answers - whichever you feel the most comfortable with.

"I DON'T KNOW ENOUGH YET!"

Compliment his desire to know more. Tell him that you don't know all you would like to know yourself. Christianity is a constant growth process.

The best way to learn more is to practice what you do know.

Obeying the gospel means you are merely to take the first step to begin learning more. Are you willing to do that?

After one is baptized, he is merely a babe and is expected "to desire the sincere milk of the word" (1 Peter 2:2).

The great commission (Matthew 28:19-20) shows teaching comes before and after baptism.

Go back to Bible conversions and see how much they knew before they obeyed. Let the Bible decide how much you need to know!

Three examples

Pentecost (Acts 2)

Eunuch (Acts 8)

Jailor (Acts 16) The first two knew a lot from their Jewish backgrounds. But the Jailor was a raw pagan and knew next to nothing. Yet after one night's study, he knew enough to make the decision.

How many lessons did each of these hear? How many times have you heard? Don't you think you know now as much or more than they did?

"I WANT TO WAIT UNTIL I CAN LIVE THE CHRISTIAN LIFE" or "I'M NOT GOOD ENOUGH YET ... I WANT TO IMPROVE MY LIFE."

These are often just other ways of saying, "I feel unworthy to be a Christian."

Often they are picturing some person who has been a Christian for twenty years and trying to be like him/her overnight.

They envision trying to change everything at once (perhaps foul language, drinking, smoking, entire lifestyle).

They psychologically are trying to take too big a step at once.

Jesus, the Master teacher, knew that people grow and learn in stages (John 16:12).

We must not expect too much too fast, but be patient.

Encourage them to live one day at a time and take one step at a time.

One is not supposed to be full grown or totally mature, the day one is born.

Same in the spiritual realm. We start out as babes (1 Peter 2:2; II Peter 3:18).

When a child first learns to walk, it falls down, needs help, but eventually it learns.

Babies crawl before they walk and walk before they run.

Mothers give birth to babies, not toddlers, teenagers or adults. The same is true spiritually.

OVERCOMING THE FEAR OF REJECTION

AND STEPS FOR DEVELOPING COURAGE

PART I

INTRODUCTION:

Statistical examples to illustrate the great need to reach the lost.

Within the next 24 hours, 100,000 people will die unprepared to meet God.

In the next five years, enough will die unprepared to populate the USA.

Millions in the US have never been told the story of salvation.

Why is there such a dearth of personal evangelists?

It is not because we do not understand the value of it!

Why don't we do more of it? Because it is the most difficult, frightful, and terrifying work in the church.

IT IS FILLED WITH REJECTION POSSIBILITIES!

We desire that people think as highly of us as we think of ourselves.

We want to be loved and liked and would rather not run the risk of someone looking down with scorn upon us!

The Key to Overcoming the Fear of Rejection is not to take Rejection Personally.

Samuel was hurt and rejected, yet Jehovah told him "they have not rejected you, Samuel, but Me" (1 Samuel 8:7).

We go out in the name of Jesus and by His authority.

The message is not ours; we go out not for our own interests, but the interests of others.

Transfer that feeling of rejection from us to Him. Then it will help us to have more courage (Matthew 28:20).

Where do we begin?

You don't overcome the fear of rejection all at once, but in stages.

It is a step-by-step process.

We will climb a ladder together and start at the easiest and lowest level and then work up.

Before we begin to climb the ladder we must have a firm foundation on which to set the ladder.

A firm foundation means you have a right relationship with God.

We must start out with a right relationship.

"Sanctify in your heart Christ as Lord" and then "be ready to give an answer" (I Peter 3:15).

Is your relationship with God founded upon the rock or on the sand (Matthew 7:24-27)?

Were you convinced or were you converted?

Are you enduring your religion or enjoying it?

Are you sure you have a clear title to heaven?

How would you answer the question, "Are you saved?"

If you don't have confidence in yourself, how can you inspire confidence in others?

If you can't speak with assurance about your own salvation, how can you expect to lead someone else?

You can know for sure that you are saved and are supposed to have that confidence (I John 5:13).

Paul had confidence (Acts 28:31; II Timothy 4:8).

How can you get this confidence?

Hold fast that confidence we had right after we were baptized (Hebrews 3:6, 14).

Ponder on 1 John 3:18-24.

We must understand as we climb the ladder that God has not asked us to be lawyers, but has called everyone of us to be faithful to declare to others "the great things God has done for us" (This would include such things as forgiving our sins through the gospel of Christ, guarding our hearts though Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:7), and the other innumerable blessings found in Christ (Eph. 1:3).

We are not eyewitnesses as were the apostles (Acts 1:8). However, we should be willing to tell others that the Lord is living in our lives through what we have learned from the apostles.

Jesus commanded us to tell others the facts (Matthew 5:16).

What is "your light" you are to shine?

God's light is His word (Psalms 119:105). It follows that in some cases your light is your word and your example, as His word lives in you and you share it with others.

Light and works as not synonyms, but different words.

You can do all manner of good works and men will give you the glory and praise you for it unless, by your words you direct their attention to God!

Illust: A non-Christian is impressed with his Christian neighbor and tells him, "I've never met a man who keeps as good a care of his family as you do."

Man replies, "Thank you." WHO GOT THE GLORY?

If the man replied, "Children are a heritage for Jehovah, a blessing from God. My God says, 'If a man won't provide for his own, he's worse than an infidel.' I'm trying to live my life for God and do what He says."

WHO GOT THE GLORY? By letting his light shine (by opening his mouth) God gets the glory for his good works and not himself.

Illust: A very attractive girl is complimented for her modest dress. She replies, "My mother taught me to dress like this."

WHO GOT THE GLORY? Her mother.

What if she replied, "Thank you, I'm a Christian. My God tells me to adorn myself in modest apparel." WHO GOT THE GLORY?

Our example can cause people to see "Christ in us" but only our words as they reflect truth can save them. God would have us to be faithful to give Him the credit or glory for our good deeds.

We belong to God so we want people to glorify the Father which is in heaven.

Illust: This is a serious matter and the primary reason why Moses wasn't allowed to go into the Promise Land (Numbers 20).

We must be careful to give God His proper glory in our lives, and how we do this varies from person to person and from situation to situation. What is mentioned above are simply suggestions as to how this might be done.

When Faithful Christians glorify God, we will find a great deal of strength will be released to us.

However, God will not release it to us until we take the first step (Matthew 28:18-20).

The hard part in doing Personal Work is not what to say or how to say it, but learning to Trust God!

DON'T pray, "Make me bold and I'll go out and do personal work." You go out and the Lord will give you boldness as you need it.

Illust: Life Magazine had a picture of a straw sticking through a telegraph pole. Impossible?

It would have been, except for the fact the little straw completely yielded itself to the force of the tornado.

When we completely yield ourselves to God we can accomplish things we didn't know we could accomplish, or God can through us (Philippians 4:13).

We must trust in God enough to take the first step!

We must have enough faith "to launch out into the deep."

We must have enough courage to open our mouths and identify ourselves with the Savior.

When we do, we will experience a great storehouse of power opened to us on our behalf.

When that happens, give God the glory!

Illust: There was a woodpecker up in a high tree, just as his beak hit the bark of the tree a huge lightening bolt hit the tree. It cut the tree in half and sent the woodpecker flying several hundred feet away. Stunned, the woodpecker dusted off his feathers, surveyed the carnage, and said, "My, my, look what I have done!"

When you begin to impact lives remember soul winning is God's business.

We must be united to Him and let His Power do the converting (II Timothy 1:7)

PART II

Steps in Building Courage to tell others about Christ.

STEP #1 - Start out sharing Christ in a way which will not bring you face to face with people. Obviously this is not ideal, and illustrates a spirit of timidity (2 Timothy 1:7-8). This should not characterize God's children. However, it is better to begin here and do something, with the idea in mind that you will do more later as you move up "the ladder" later, than it is to do nothing.

Select some tract or tracts you feel are good and carry them in your pocket, purse, or car.

When you go into a Public Restaurant, as you are leaving (make sure no one is watching), slip it under your plate or cover it up with your napkin. Put it underneath your tip, (if you are a heavy tipper).

Be sure the tract is attractive, brief and inexpensive.

When writing letters to friends, relatives, drop it in the envelope.

Leave one in the seat of taxi, bus, or phone booth.

What happens to the tract is none of your affair; you've sown the seed and done what you are supposed to do.

It may be thrown in the waste paper basket and the custodian may fish it out and take it home and his neighbor may come over and read it.

The written word lasts longer than the spoken word.

STEP #2 - Identify who you are and personally hand your friend (prospect) a tract.

You are not directly teaching yet but using an indirect teaching method through the tract - but you are beginning to face people.

Give it to a friend personally ... "Sue, this is a short explanation of undenominational Christianity. We've been friends for some time now and I would like for you to read this and tell me what you think."

Ask him/her if he/she is interested in studying the Bible on their own time, at his/her own pace, in his/her home through a correspondence course.

Pay attention to sermon topics and ask him/her if he/she would be interested in hearing what the Bible says about...

Remember the backlog of cassette tapes that are available and get him/her to listen to a tape. Ask him/her what he/she thinks about it later.

How can you overcome the temptation to "chicken out?"

Ask yourself the question, "Am I more concerned with pleasing God or pleasing men?"

Repeat to yourself I John 4:18 - "Perfect love casts out fear" and you'll find "a courage fit will replace a fit of fear!"

Pray every day, "Lord, lead me to some soul today."

If I'm not willing to pray about it, I'm not in earnest about it.

Make a list and pray specifically for those you are concerned about.

STEP #3 -- Identify yourself to other Christians as one who is doing this type of work.

Actively seek the prayers of other Christians and tell them you are praying for them (James 5:16).

You know who's working in the church. Tell them, "I'm praying for you; would you pray for me and for my study with..?"

There is Power in combined prayer (Acts 12:5,12; James 5:16).

Don't leave any of these steps out, they build courage!

Discuss what you're doing with others.

Don't be overly afraid of "bragging".

It is edifying and encouraging to share with others and strengthening to you.

Go out together -- "two by two" (Luke 10:1).

The boldness you have is not just doubled but tripled and quadrupled.

Helps to induce Holy Discipline when another pair of eyes is watching and depending on you.

STEP #4 -- Identify yourself with non-Christians in Public. (Don't make a spectacle of yourself, but calmly be willing to confess that you belong to Him.)

When you eat in public places offer thanks for the food.

Silently bow your head and offer thanks.

You offer it privately at home, why be ashamed in public?

Daniel was not ashamed.

There is a big difference between acts done to be seen of men and things done that are seen of men.

Keep a Bible with you at all times and don't be ashamed to be seen reading it.

At work on your desk...keep a Bible.

In your purse, pocket or coat keep a Bible and read it as you have opportunity.

Illust: Barber Shop -- the barber always asked you about it.

Illust: On airplane next to man reading obscene magazine. Just the fact he saw me reading the Bible caused him to put his magazine away!

To bring a Bible to church is well and good, but in your pocket, lunch pail, or purse it carries a lot more wallop!

In our conversation we can identify with Christ. We must have the courage to speak up and stand out for the Lord!

A friend at work has confided in you with a problem -- tell him in all sincerity --"I'm praying for you."

In conversation mention some pertinent point made by the preacher, Bible class teacher, or from your private study.

Don't be afraid to use the term, the "Lord willing, I'll see you tomorrow" (II Corinthians 4:19; James 4:15).

Be willing to publicly say things like, "I thank the Lord for my good health."

Expressions like this help to build courage and serve as door-openers.

Analyze the feeling you get when someone finds out you are a Christian.

There is a price we have to pay for open identification with Jesus.

Perhaps we'd be more sure of our salvation if we were more willing to pay the price of admission.

The Devil tries to get you "to be conformed to this old world" (Romans 12:1) and turn on the dimmer switch! Don't let him do it!

Instead, allow God to open that store house of Power for you!

Remember: Jesus said -- "TRUST ME!" "Go and I'll be with you!" (Matthew 28:18-20).

He didn't say sit and I'll sit with you.

You can sit until you rot and He'll never be with you.

He said, "Go and I'll go with you," but you've got to be willing to take the first step.

STEP #5 -- Now you are ready and have built up enough courage to personally approach people about their soul and do the teaching yourself.

CONCLUSION:

Remember to have Faith--sometimes God waits until the very last second to give us the help we need.

Why did He wait so long in the case of Daniel?

Why did He wait so long in the case of Abraham and Isaac?

Why so long in the case of the children of Israel crossing the Jordan? (Not until the heels of the Levites touched the water!)

I don't know why He so often waits so long, but He does. Our first step must be a step of Faith!!!

This congregation has been progressing, but I assure you that we have just touched the hem of the garment!

We are to quick to limit God by our lack of Faith (Ephesians 3:20).

2. What type of growth have you been thinking in terms of?

Illust: Are you an Instrument of God (Ephesians 2:10)?

A terrible train accident occurred in Pennsylvania years ago. Hundreds were hurt and bleeding and dying as the Red Cross was called to the scene.

A Red Cross nurse noticed an elderly gentleman looking at all the people suffering. He was in shock and murmuring something about, "My instruments, my instruments, where are my instruments?"

As the nurse was leaving she noticed him sitting off to the side with his hands in his face. "Sir," she asked, "why were you muttering something about your instruments, where were your instruments, when you were on the train?"

"Young lady," he responded, "I'm a surgeon who spent years learning how to use my medical instruments so I could help and heal people who were in the type situation I saw people in all around me. But I did not have my medical bag with me, and without my instruments I was powerless to help them. I felt a sense of hopelessness and despair."

I wonder, how often God looks down from heaven and sees all the souls of hurting men and women, rotting and dying in their sins, and looks around for us and says, "My instruments, my instruments, where are my instruments?!"

MAKING THE APPROACH, THE SET-UP, AND

SUGGESTIONS FOR THE MEMBERS,

LOCAL PREACHER AND CONGREGATION

Making the Approach

Communication Principle #1: Meet People where they are (Mark 2:17).

People who are sick go the doctor. Why? Because they want the doctor to tell them why they are sick and what the solution is.

People come to Christ -- the great Physician -- because they hope Christ can meet their needs.

In order to show them how Christ can meet their needs one must first LISTEN and find out what their problems are.

What does one say first? The first thing you say is nothing -- just listen.

Illust: Zacchaeus -- Luke 19:1-10

He was a chief publican, rich, lonely, and lost -- looked down upon and snubbed by his own people, and out of fellowship with God.

This great rabbi comes to town and he wants to see Jesus.

Jesus (vs 5) decides to eat with him; Zacchaeus "received him joyfully" (vs. 6).

Zacchaeus welcomed Jesus because he was seeking for the kingdom of God.

Zacchaeus needed salvation, along with friendship and acceptance.

His need was so acute that when Jesus fulfilled it Zacchaeus voluntarily made a commitment (vs.8)

We must love people and befriend them before we can effectively teach them.

Communication Principle #2: The salvation comes in the message, but the preparation comes in the serving.

What role did John the Baptist play? He PLOWED the ground first so Christ could SOW the seed effectively.

Show genuine concern and love for the person's soul first so they know you are interested in them personally and not just as another church member.

The Written Approach.

This is done using a letter similar to the sample one at the back of this outline written by J.D. Tant.

Revise it and make it your own.

Write it out in your own handwriting.

There are several positive things about this:

Have you ever received a letter written out in long hand and addressed personally to you by a friend or acquaintance that you didn't read?

Sometimes when you ask someone outright it is awkward and he/she says "no" before you even get a chance to finish or he/she gets a chance to consider it seriously.

The written approach gives him/her time to think about it, digest a kernel of truth and get their thinking on the right path.

There are two basic oral approaches.

The "Scattering Seed" Approach.

The idea is to continue to "scatter seed" by mentioning services, your love for Christ, Christianity, etc., but wait to follow up later. (Note: Never share the church's "dirty laundry" with non-members!

Ex.: Gospel Meeting. Speak enthusiastically about a gospel meeting that is coming up and how much you're looking forward to it (about a week or so before the meeting). Then on Saturday night say, "Hey, remember that special service we are having tomorrow at the church where I attend?" (Yes) "Why don't you come on with us tomorrow, or would Monday night be better?"

Ex.: David Tant -- after a pleasant conversation with a checker in a store, he asked her, "are you a Christian?" (No) "I'm surprised. You seem like a Christian. How much did you say that was?" The idea is when you follow up later, they are much more receptive. Often -- after a time -- they even approach you!

Shift in Conversation approach -- achieve a smooth transition from secular to sacred.

A long-term friend --"We've been friends for a long time, and I place a high value on our friendship. Christ has come to mean so much to me, but one thing we have never discussed is the Bible, and I would really like to do so. I think it would be interesting and enjoyable...I would like to study with you sometime soon."

When discussing chaotic world conditions (such as super power tensions, the rise of terrorist activity, etc.), point out that some see these problems and think Christianity has failed. It has not failed, for much of religion is not true Christianity. "In the midst of so many problems, Christ and His Word mean so much. It is wonderful to have peace of mind that comes from forgiveness and knowing that all is right with God. I would be fearful of raising a family in this kind of world, but I find comfort in knowing that the Bible is God's wisdom that can give us guidance in times of stress. It's not a question of 'Look what the world's coming to,' but instead, 'Look what's come to the world!' I would enjoy us looking at some scriptures together..."

The following three questions serve as a good lead-in that rarely fails:

"If you were to die tonight...are you sure you'd go to heaven?"

If the reply is yes...say great! Please tell me about your salvation experience, and go from there.

IMPORTANT! Always get their salvation experience before you begin to teach them!

Write it down on a piece of paper and ask them if you have written it down correctly.

Keep this in case they change their story later -- this happens about 80 percent of the time.

No matter how silly it may sound, do not show disrespect or start arguing.

If no...or I hope so...anything but yes --proceed with the following.

"If you could know how you could know for sure you could go to heaven -- would you be interested?

"If I could show you from the Bible how you could know for sure, would you be willing to do what it said?"

The Bible says it is written so you could know (I John 5:13).

What night would be best for you? (etc.)

Give him a personal work card.

Have your name on it, phone number.

Put time of study on card.

Key things to keep in mind when making the approach:

Be natural, enthusiastic, and understanding.

Never doubt sincerity.

Never tell him, "you are wrong" until you can show the reason why. Most prospects already believe they are saved. Let him learn for himself that he is not.

Fulfill the prospect's need.

Be aware of Question Askers...

There is a wrong way to "shoot from the hip" in the foyer of the building without evoking the person to see for themselves out of the Bible is counterproductive in most cases.

Mechanical instruments are wrong because...

No Bible, little interest shown.

You tend to make him a better Mormon, Catholic, etc.

There is a right way.

"That's a good question. It deserves more than my opinion -- it deserves a Bible answer. One evening I am going to come over and bring my Bible and see if we can find an answer to it." (It may be he/she is sincerely interested and needs an answer right away. If so, get off to the side and study with him/her immediately.)

I'll try to get over this week sometime.

Go that very evening (if possible).

Since many prospects feel satisfied...teaching him the way about Christ, telling him about the church of Christ, etc., will not interest him. (Exception: If you think he's not confident about his salvation, always analyze the prospect and fulfill his needs.)

Most welcome an opportunity to gain greater knowledge of the Word in capsule form.

Appeal to him with the idea of "learning more about Undenominational Christianity."

Instead of studying "Bible stories" let's see how they all fit together and learn the Bible story.

Make your mission clear. Make sure they know:

Where the study will take place.

How many lessons and how long.

Whether or not it is agreeable to invite a neighbor.

Point out that there is no pressure or obligation and that it is informal where questions are encouraged. (In a formal class situations, people often hesitate to ask questions.) Change your approach accordingly if you are requesting they come to a small group Bible study set up to meet regularly during the week.

The Set-Up

Command--"Go teach." The best place is usually the prospect's home.

More convenient to prospect.

Informal atmosphere.

Usually more participation, confidentiality.

Keep studies small and simple...soul winning is personal.

Request that others not come.

Keep informal where individual feels free to enter into the discussion of problems.

Don't get side-tracked or feel like you have to answer everything the fellow says.

Illust: What about the rapture?

This is the sort of complicated issue that is best dealt with after the person has obeyed the gospel and may side track you from the basic premise that a sinner needs to be saved.

Don't be afraid to say, I don't know. Emphasis is on first principles and getting them "in Christ." FIRST THINGS FIRST!

Control the situation.

Keep the prospect close...study at the kitchen table, with prospect at right, or if you have two yourself in the middle.

Turn off T.V., radio, etc.

Read from the Bible together--if possible, using his Bible.

There is nothing more powerful than having the prospect read aloud from his own Bible.

Suggestions on how the members, the preacher, and the congregation as a whole can become more effective soul winners.

Helps for each individual Christian --"each one win one"

The following tools or helps will better help each soldier of Christ "to be ready to give an answer" and "know how to respond to each person".

Personal Work card -- (see appendix #2 to this lesson).

Bible Slide Rule -- (may be ordered from F.C. Bookstore - 3 for $1.50)

"New Testaments with Study Helps" (may be ordered from F.C. Bookstore -- $3.00 each)

A Bible code system used in the back of their Bible to aid in teaching. (See appendix #3 "Personal Work Scriptures".)

How the local preacher can better help the members to do personal evangelism.

It is not the preacher's sole responsibility.

Should make the atmosphere conducive for evangelism.

Should serve as a good example in soul winning along with the elders (1 Peter 5:3-2).

Should serve as motivator -- not only "comfort the afflicted but afflict the comfortable".

Suggestions for the local preacher.

Announce upcoming sermons ahead of time.

Members may invite guests at appropriate times.

Allow members to invite guests to hear a topic rather than just to "come to church".

When first principle lessons are taught, put lesson into outline form and encourage members to keep a "personal" notebook. This material should only be the start of the member's notebook.

What the local congregation can do.

Help to provide many of the needed tools and materials as members use them.

Make sure visitors receive notes from the congregation to let them know you appreciated their visit. Invite them back. If they don't come back, organize a visitation program so they will be visited.

We need to be "community conscious" rather than "brotherhood conscious", especially in advertising.

Emphasize undenominational Christianity.

Don't push the preacher's name but topics of interest.

The community may be unfamiliar with the term "Gospel Meeting" -- but call it an Undenominational Open Bible Discussion, or something else like an Open Bible Forum and watch the interest flare up.

Set up and use a tape library with a high speed duplicator.

Edifies members.

Very helpful to new converts.

Visitors should be shown lists of tapes to see if interest increases.

Good to make contacts. People often will listen to a tape even though they won't come to services.

Set up a special class involving personal evangelism. It should involve not only talking, but doing.

Incorporate role playing to increase confidence and competence. This should be an on-going class.

Good techniques and examples on how to handle difficult questions.

Incorporate discussion so everyone can learn from others' experiences (mistakes).

Bible Correspondence course (Gene Tope, "Know Your Bible", or "Jesus is the Way" by Sewell Hall.)

Make sure you provide personal classes for new converts as well as an ongoing class at the building Sunday morning. Don't "dip them and leave them!"

Many advantages to having church members study with new converts:

Members get to know new converts.

Teachers can enjoy these eager students and make them more able to handle tougher situations. The best way to learn how to teach the lost is first teach the saved!

Emphasize II Timothy 2:2 -- Remember -- Every new convert is your best door to reach others!

We have found that an on-going class on Wednesday nights entitled, "Foundations of the Faith," has been very helpful as well. It is designed so that someone can enter it at any time. When the year is up they have finished the material and are ready to go on into our regular teaching program. This way, new Christians immediately have a special class designed especially for them!

As soon as he is baptized, give the new convert:

Life In Christ (pamphlet by James Tolle)

A Church directory, personal work materials, Bible class schedule, and a tape index.

Set up a meeting with him/her and the elders so they can have a "new member orientation" with him/her.

God Speed and God Bless!

Personal work is a function of desire much more than ability.

The Master said "Come learn of me:, then commanded, "Go teach!"

If you still believe you can't do it, I believe you! But admit that the real reason you don't do it, if you don't, is the same reason why some people never learned to ride a bike or roller skate. They never thought it important enough or worth the scraped elbows involved to learn!

This concludes Personal Evangelism 101.

The tests will be given in the months ahead in the classroom of real life experiences.

Your Report Card will be received at the day of Judgment.

Your grade will be given by the Lord Himself.

I am yours for successful soul winning,

Brent Hunter

(Appendix #1 to "Making the Approach")

A Sample "Written Approach" Letter

Dear Joe and Sue,

This is written because of an interest in things spiritual and eternal. The passing of time draws us all closer to the inevitable destiny common to all, and there are moments when each of us reflects upon what the future -- eternity -- holds in store for us. Our future depends upon our present relationship with our Creator, and if it is a universal trait of mankind "that they should seek God, if haply they might feel after him and find him..." (Acts 17:27).

Man has sought after God and the meaning of life in many ways through the centuries. Man has looked for the answer through the worship of nature, the creation and worship of idols, the pursuit of science and knowledge, the glorification of pleasure, and through partisan denominational creeds.

But there is only one way we can be sure of the future, only one way that we can perfectly know God's plan for us and the full meaning of life. That way is in knowing God through the only avenue he has given -- his Word, Jesus declared, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:32). Later he said unto the Father, "Thy word is truth" (John 17:17). The way to "seek God" is not through emotional feelings which can be misleading (Proverbs 14:12), not through denominational creeds which may be contradictory and false (Matthew 15:19). Is it reasonable that God would contradict himself through these creeds? How can God teach through different church creeds that baptism is (1) by immersion; (2) by sprinkling of water; (3) by sprinkling of rose petals, or (4) forbidden? Again, differing creeds teach that baptism is (1) for the remission of sins, (2) not for the remission of sins, (3) for membership in a denomination, etc. Now does all this seem reasonable -- that truth would contradict itself and give different messages to different people? My friend, that is not the nature of truth in any realm. That is why we can rely on truth in mathematics, chemistry, or whatever. Truth is always consistent with itself. Therefore, what we have in the religious world is not the result of the proclamation of God's truth, but rather man's creeds. The divisions of denominationalism are proof that such is opposed to the consistency, unity and simplicity of truth. Such confusion and division is not from God (I Corinthians 14:33). See also Ephesians 4:1-6; I Corinthians 1:10-13.

There is an answer to the problem. It lies in believing and following the pure and simple teaching of the Bible. Would you allow me to share with you a concept of simple, un- denominational Christianity -- a plan that is based solely upon the Bible? would like to come into your home, at your convenience, and spend an hour or so discussing something that is so simple it may revolutionize your thinking. No coercion -- no pressure -- just a Bible study together.

I will call you in few days for your response to something that could be of supreme importance to you. I hope your response will be positive, but of course that will have to be your decision. Thank you for your time in reading this letter. Enclosed is a leaflet that I ask you to read. You might find it interesting.

Sincerely,

J. D. Tant

(Appendix #2 to "Making the Approach...")

THE "PERSONAL WORK" CARD

Below is a personal work card I designed several years ago so that each individual member would have his/her own "busy about his/her Father's business" card and not just the preacher. We are not supposed to have a "pastor system" where everything is centered around the preacher. This card helps to encourage everyone to have his/her own ministry. Here it is:

These cards are designed for all the members to use in inviting people to services or setting up a Bible study. Each member should keep a good number of these on his/her person at all times and look for opportunities to pass them out. These should be filled out with their name and number on the bottom so the prospect refers back to the member first instead of channeling everything through the elders or evangelists.

The card is designed so it will serve as a format for discussion. The front of the card carries a small "c" for a reason. It is typical for a person, after looking at the card, to respond, "Undenominational, I thought you were Church of Christ." Take this as an opportunity to explain there are some denominational Churches of Christ but we are not one of them. We simply desire to be the Lord's people using the Bible as our guide. The "c" on church is small because it simply denotes a relationship, not a proper name. You might also want to call attention to the fact that the elders (pastors) are not the same as the preachers or evangelists as is normally the case in denominational churches. We are following the Biblical plan of organization laid down in Phil 1:1; I Tim. 3: Titus 2 and other passages. If they look intrigued or interested, offer to study these things with them further and set up a study right then and there.)

The center of the card is a warm introduction to what some of the Lord' church has to offer that they are likely to find appealing. Emphasize how important these things are and how we desire to "unite on Christ and not on compromise".

The back of the card has a map with service times. This serves a constant reminder of how to get to the building and takes away excuses that people sometimes give in regards to, "I couldn't remember where it was or what time services started."

If you are a member of a sister congregation, you may duplicate cards like these if you don't have something similar to this already without getting "permission" to do so. Many congregations have used them with great success and I encourage their use. Their use will bear fruit if each member will keep in the habit of "sowing seed" consistently this way as they have opportunity.

(Appendix #3 to "Making the Approach"

PERSONAL WORK SCRIPTURES

Step one: Color code each of these verses in your Bible with a highlighter or color pencils.

Step three: By the side of each verse used in the text, write the next verse to be used so they can form a chain from one verse to the another.

Step two: The title of each point and the first reference under the title should be written on a page in the back of one's Bible.

Step four: Begin reading over these verses and committing them to memory. It will all come with time!

It is not necessary to use all the points. Choose those most needed and begin with them from the page in the back of your Bible. Move from one verse to another by means of the margin notations.

1. ALL SIN: Rom. 3:10 Rom. 3:23 Rom. 6:23

2. GOD'S GRACE: Eph. 2:8 Titus 2:11 Titus 3:7

3. JESUS' MISSION: John 10:10 John 3:34 John 12:47

Gal. 1:4 I Tim. 1:15 Heb. 2:9 Luke 9:10

4. UNITY OF BELIEVERS: John 17:20-21 Eph. 4:4-6 Eph. 2:16

5. ANY OTHER SOURCE: John 14:6 Acts 4:12

6. BIBLE IS COMPLETE: II Tim. 3:16,17 II Pet. 1:3 Gal. 1:8,9

7. DIVIDING GOD'S WORD: II Tim. 2:15 Col. 2:14, 17 Heb. 10:9 Gal. 3:24,25

8. HOW TO BECOME A CHRISTIAN: Acts 2:38 Acts 8:12-38 Acts 9:18 Acts 22:10-26;10:47,48 Acts 16:14-34; 18:8 Rom. 6:3 Gal. 3:27 Col. 2:12

9. ADDED TO THE CHURCH: Acts 2:41-47

10. WHO MAY BE SAVED? John 3:16 John 3:36 Acts 10:34,35

I Tim. 2:3,4 Rev. 3:20 Rev. 22:17 Heb. 5:8,9

11.CAN WE KNOW WE ARE SAVED: I John 5:13 Heb. 3:6 Heb. 3:14 I John 3:18-24

II Tim. 4:8

12.FAITH AND WORKS: James 2:24 Titus 3:5 II Tim. 1:9 Gal. 5:6 James 2:17 Luke 6:46 Heb. 10:24

13.OBEDIENCE IS NECESSARY: Matt. 7:21 Heb. 5:9 Acts 5:29 I Pet. 1:22 Rom. 6:17,18 II Thess. 1:7-9 Rev. 2:10

14.HEARING IS NECESSARY: Rom. 10:17 Rom. 10:13,14 Matt. 13:13-23

15.FAITH IS NECESSARY: Heb. 11:6 Acts 16:31 John 5:2, 8:24 Mark 16:15,16

16.REPENTANCE IS NECESSARY: Luke 13:3 Acts 5:19 Acts 17:30

17.CONFESSION IS NECESSARY: I Tim. 6:12 Rom. 10:10 Acts 8:35-36

18.BAPTISM IS NECESSARY: Acts 2:38, 22:16 Gal. 3:26,27 I Pet. 3:21 Mk 16:16

19.HOLY SPIRIT: John 16:7,8,13 John 6:63 I Cor. 6:9-11 John 15:26

20.BAPTISM IS IMMERSION: Rom. 6:1-4 Col. 2:12 Acts 8:35-39

21.LORD'S SUPPER: Acts 20:7 Matt.26:26-28 I Cor. 11:23-28

22.MUSIC IS VOCAL: Eph. 5:19 I Cor. 14:15 Col. 3:16

23.CHURCH ORGANIZATION: Col. 1:18 Phil. 1:1 I Tim. 3:1-8

24.NAME OF CHURCH: Matt. 16:18 I Cor. 1:2 Rom. 16:16 Acts 20:28

25.NAMES OF MEMBERS: Acts 11:26 I John 3:1 I Pet. 4:15-16 Phil. 1:1

26.ONE CHURCH: I Cor. 12:13 Col. 1:18 Eph. 4:4-6 Rom. 12:4,5 Eph. 5:23-32 Col. 3:15 I Cor. 4:17

27.IMPORTANCE OF CHURCH: Acts 20:28 Matt. 16:18 Eph. 1:22; 2:16; 3:10

28.DIVISION IS SINFUL: I Cor. 1:10-13 John 17:20,21 Gal. 1:6-10 II John 9-11 I Tim. 6:3-4

29.ATTENDANCE IMPORTANT: Heb. 10:25 Eph. 2:10 Titus 3:8 James 4:17

30.WORSHIP: John 4:24 Acts 20:7 I Cor. 11-20-34 I Cor. 14:15 Eph. 5:19,20 Col. 3:16,17 I Cor. 16:1,2 Acts 23:1 II Cor. 9:6-8

31.SINCERITY ALONE: Acts 26:9-11 I Cor. 4:3,4 II Cor. 10:18

32.WHO KNOW AND LOVES GOD? John 14:15 John 15:14 John 2:3-35 Luke 6:46-49 James 1:22 Rom. 6:16 Eph. 5:15-17

33.JUDGMENT: Heb. 9:27 John 12:48 II Thes. 1:8 Matt. 25:46

34.FUTURE OF SAVED: John 14:23 James 1:12 II Tim. 4:8

WICKED: Matt. 22:13 Matt. 25:41 Luke 16:22-24

36.RESTORING UNFAITHFUL: Acts 8:22 Rev. 3:19 Heb. 2:1-3 James 4:17

(Appendix #4 to "Making the Approach")

TRACK MAN!

NOTE: This material is not copyrighted. Please feel free to buy one copy and use it as a Master and run-off as many as you desire to use in teaching and training brethren how to be more effective soul winners. To God be the glory!

 

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