Good News Seminar The Bible Contains Good News for Modern Filipinos Bob Marshall & Dick Ady Bad News • US Heat Wave-summer 1995 • Medical Tragedies • Mothers Killing their Babies • Unemployment in the Philippines • Health Problems & Hunger • Wars, Revolutions, Population Crisis • Government Waste • Abortion • Ebola Virus • Spiritual Tragedies The Good News • "Gospel" (Greek "euangelion") Means "Good News." • The Message about Jesus is Good News! • Reconciliation with God. • Joy, Joy, Joy! God's Blessings • Bad News Helps Us Appreciate Good News. Imagine: •A bullet misses your head. •You are cured of cancer. •A truck misses you on a bridge. • Biblical Examples: • The woman with a back deformity "rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him [Jesus]" (Luke 13:17). • Paul was amazed and said, "the grace of our Lord overflowed for me" (1 Timothy 1:14). God's Blessings We Can Be Rescued from Sin • Romans 3: 23:"All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” • Romans 3:26: " The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” The Bible Pictures Sin as . . . • Gangrene - (2 Timothy 2:17). • Death - "You were dead through your trespasses and sins" (Ephesians 2:1-2a). • Blindness - (John 9:39-41). • Slavery - "You are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness" (Romans 6:16). The Bible Pictures Sin as . . . • Prostitution (Revelation 17:1-6) • Heart-disease "For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, fornication, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, foolishness (Mark 7:21-22). • Defilement "Let us cleanse ourselves of every defilement of body and spirit, and make holiness perfect in the fear of God" (2 Corinthians 7:1). The Amazing Grace of God • "Grace" is mentioned 150 times in the New Testament. • Words are not adequate to describe it. Paul exhausts his vocabulary: "Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift" (2 Corinthians 9:15). Grace is Rich • "God is rich in mercy" (Ephesians 2:4). • "In Christ "God has blessed us with "every spiritual blessing according to the riches of his grace which he has lavished upon us" (Ephesians 1:3, 7-8). • "To me ... this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ" (Ephesians 3:8). Grace…is Rich • God extends his grace to us in times of trouble. Paul had a thorn. God said to him, "My grace is sufficient for you" (2 Corinthians 12:8-10). • Paul said that we are able to give liberally because we have confidence in "the surpassing grace of God" (2 Corinthians 9:8-14). The grace of God is even more amazing when we consider where and what we were. • "While we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6,8). • "While we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son" (Romans 5:10). • "And you he made alive, when you were dead through the trespasses and sins in which you walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience" (Ephesians 2:1-2). • "But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ.” (Ephesians 2:4-5). That is What Has God Done for Us? • He has "blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 1:3). • "In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses" (Ephesians 1:7). • "In his divine power, "God "has granted us everything pertaining to life and godliness" (2 Peter 1:3). • He is the source of comfort, hope, and consolation" John 14:1-6). • He came that we might have life, and have it abundantly (John 10:10). That is, life that is filled with value, purpose, and meaning. "Meaninglessness" is a serious problem in the modern world. It Is Possible to Have Everything and to End Up with Nothing • The story of Homer & Langley Collyer. • Paul's warning: "As for the rich in this world, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on uncertain riches, but on God who richly furnishes us with everything to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17). • "They [the rich] are to do good, to be rich in good deeds, liberal and generous, thus laying up for themselves a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of life which is life indeed" (1 Timothy 6:18-19). End Up with Nothing • Jesus' Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13:3-9; 18-23). Some people hear the Good News and receive it with joy, then fall away. • The Story of the Pennsylvania Farmer: He grew tired of watering his cattle from a slimy creek near Titusville, PA. Sold his farm for $833 and moved to Canada to work in the oil fields. Oil was discovered in Titusville. Within 10 years, the oil income in Titusville was $100,000,000. By 1900, it reached $1,000,000,000. The farmer searched for something right under his feet. • William Randolph Hearst searched for a valuable piece of art and found it in his own collection. He searched for something what was right under his nose. End Up with Nothing? WORD PICTURES OF SALVATION I. Reconciliation: From to friends. a. Broken relationships are painful b. The restoration of a broken relationship with God is the essence of Christianity. (1) The parable of the Lost Son. (Luke 15: 11-31). (2) Man was made for fellowship with God, but because of sin, became God's enemy. Paul says, "God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). "...while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son" (Romans. 5:10). (3) The good news is: Enemies can become good friends. Salvation…Reconciliation c. The Greek word for "reconciliation" is "katallasso" which, in N.T. times, meant a change of enmity into friendship. (1) This word was used by Paul in five passages of scripture: (Romans 5:10-11; 11:15; 2 Corinthians 5:18-20; Ephesians 2:14-17; Colossians 1:19-22). (2) In 2 Corinthians. 5:18-20, Paul says that God, through Christ, reconciled us to himself...that is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them." Then, (a) Paul explains how God reconciled us to himself: "For our sake, he [God} made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of god: (2 Corinthians. 5:21). God put our sins on Jesus. Salvation…Reconciliation (b) By "sending his own son in the likeness of sinful flesh, "God “condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us" (Romans 8:3-4). (3) This peace offering brought peace to heaven and earth: "Through Christ, God was happy to bring all things back to himself again-things on earth and things in heaven. God made peace by using Christ’s blood (death) on the cross. At one time, you were separated from God. You were God's enemies in your minds, because of evil things you did were against God. But now, Christ has made you God's friends again. Christ ... brings you before God as people who are holy, with no wrong in you, and with nothing that God can judge you guilty of. Christ will [continue to] do this if you continue to believe in the Good News" (Colossians 1:20- 23a). ETR Version. Salvation…Reconciliation (4) This peace offering even brought peace between people and other people: "The Jews and the non-Jews were separated like there was a wall between them. They hated each other. But, Christ broke down that wall of hate by giving his own body. “... through the cross, Christ ended the hate between the two groups. And after the two groups became one body, Christ wanted to bring them both back to God. Christ did this with his death on the cross." (Ephesians 2:14). Salvation…Reconciliation Three points stand out in the passages: (1) Reconciliation between God and man was brought about by the death of Christ. (2) Man is reconciled to God, not God to man. God didn't leave man. Man, through his sin, left God. (3) Reconciliation was brought about by what God did, not by what we did. Salvation…Redemption Redemption: Paying the price for release. a. In ancient times, a "ransom" was the price paid to secure the release of a slave or a prisoner of war. b. This term is used by Jesus to describe the purpose of his coming and his death: "For the Son of man also came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Mark 10:45). (1) Jesus gave his life in order to set us free from bondage to sin and Satan. (2) He died that we might live. Salvation…Redemption c. Paul says to the Christians in Corinth, "He [God] has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins" (Colossians. 1:13-14) d. The writer of Hebrews says that Christ "entered once for all into the Holy Place, taking ... his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption" (Hebrews 9:12). e. We were slaves of sin trapped in the Enemy's prison. But, Christ paid the price that set us free from Satan's dominion forever. That's Good News! Salvation…Justification 3. Justification: Pronounced, "Not guilty." Acquittal. a. The term "justification" comes from the language of law courts. b. Paul uses it to describe what Christ has done for us. (1) "Since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, they are justified by his grace as a gift, … he justifies him who has faith in Jesus" (Romans 3:23, 24, 26). (2) In 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Paul describes people engaging in all kinds of sinful activity. Then, he says, "And such were some of you. But, you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ..." (I Corinthians 6:11). Salvation…Justification c. A modern illustration of justification. d. Justification makes us right with God, saves us from the past, gives us access to god in the present, and secures our future. (1) Paul asks, "Who will bring any charge [future of 'egkaleo'] against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies [present]. Who is he that condemns? [present and future] Christ Jesus, who died, more than that, who was raised to life is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us? Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?" (Romans 8:32-35). (2) The answer comes back, nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:39). Salvation…Rescue 4. Salvation. a. In the secular realm, the word "salvation" is used with reference to rescuing someone or something from danger and/or destruction. Example: Edmund Hillary was saved by his guide Tenzing Norgay. b. In the Bible, "salvation" is used with reference to our deliverance from spiritual death - eternal separation from God. It is being saved from our sins. (1) The angel of the Lord told Joseph that Mary would bear a son, "and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21). (2) Peter said, "There is salvation in no one else, for here is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:13). Saved from spiritual death. SALVATION The good news is: • God has given us Salvation • Safety, • Victory, • Deliverance, and • Liberation through Jesus Christ our Lord. THE HOLY SPIRIT THE HOLY SPIRIT 1. Is a person, a member of the Godhead. a. Personal pronouns are used with reference to him. Example: "He will teach you all things" (John 14:26). b. He is eternal. (Hebrews 9:14). c. He is everywhere. (Psalm 139:7-12). d. He knows everything. (1 Corinthians 2:10-11). e. He has emotions. "Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God" (Ephesians 4:30). THE HOLY SPIRIT 2. What he did: a. He took part in the creation (Genesis 1:2). b. He inspired men to write the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:20-21). c. He inspired men and women to speak for God as prophets and prophetesses (Acts 13:10-11; 21:9). d. He gave some the power to work miracles. (1 Corinthians 12:4-11). Temporary (1 Corinthians 13:8-10). GOOD NEWS ABOUT THE HOLY SPIRIT 1. Pentecost: 2 Commands, 2 Promises a. Commands: "Repent" and "Be baptized.” b. Promises: "Forgiveness of sins" and "the gift of the Holy Spirit." (Acts 2:38-39). c. These promises are universal. d. These gifts are made possible at great cost - by the death of Christ. ABOUT THE HOLY SPIRIT . . .helps us become like Jesus. 2. The Holy Spirit helps us become like Jesus. a. "God decided that those [his] people would be like his Son (Jesus). Then, Jesus would be the firstborn of many brothers and sisters. God planned for those people to be like his Son" (Romans 8:29-30). ETR b. An impossible assignment - unless we get help from God. We have a Helper! ABOUT THE HOLY SPIRIT . . .helps us become like Jesus. c. Jesus referred to the Holy Spirit as "the Helper" (Greek, "parakletos”) Meaning ”One who stands beside another as an advocate, counselor, comforter, exhorter, and helper). (See John 14:15-17; 14:25-26; 16:7- 11, 12-15). ABOUT THE HOLY SPIRIT . . .dwells in us d. Paul says that the Holy Spirit "dwells in us. " (1) "But, you are not in the flesh, you are in the spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Any one who does not have the spirit of Christ does not belong to him" (Romans 8:9). The Spirit lives in Christians. (2) "Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you" (1 Corinthians 3:16). ABOUT THE HOLY SPIRIT "dwells in & leads us " (3)."Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God?" (1 Corinthians 6:19). e. The Spirit leads us and walks beside us. (1)"Walk by the Spirit, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. ... But, if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law" (Galatians 5:16,18). (2) "If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit" (Galatians 5:25). ABOUT THE HOLY SPIRIT "dwells in & leads us " f. The Spirit bears spiritual fruit in our lives: "But, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self- control" (Galatians 5:22-23). Paul adds, "God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us" (Romans 5:5). ABOUT THE HOLY SPIRIT "dwells in us " g. The Spirit is helping us become like Jesus Christ, that is, like God. (1) Jesus Christ "is the image [likeness] of the invisible God" (Colossians 1:15). "He reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of his nature" (Hebrews 1:3). (2) "And we all, ... beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit" (2 Corinthians 3:18). (3) The Holy Spirit is a person ... a divine being who lives and works within us, changing us into the likeness of God. ABOUT THE HOLY SPIRIT supplements us 3. The Spirit help us but does not override our personality. a. He supplements us but does not replace us. b. He penetrates our life, lives in our heart, and influences us at the deepest level, but he doesn't overpower us. (1) He functions in us like power steering functions in a car. (2) He is not coercive. He helps us. ABOUT THE HOLY SPIRIT “Free” 4. When we are baptized into Christ, we arise to "walk in newness of life" (Romans 6:4). a. Our old sinful self is "crucified with him so that the sinful body might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin" (Romans 6:6). b. We are "made free from sin's control" (Romans 6:7). ETR c. But, being baptized does not deliver us from all contact with sin. It plunges us into a conflict with sin. d. A life-and-death struggle. ABOUT THE HOLY SPIRIT e. Paul's three imperatives: (1) "Don't let sin control you" (Romans 6:12). ETR (2) "Do not yield your members to sin as instruments of wickedness". (Romans 6:13a). A military term. It is translated "weapons" in 2 Corinthians 10:4 where Paul describes the war that we are fighting against the forces of evil: "For the weapons of our warfare are not worldly.” (3) "But, yield yourselves ... to God ... and your members to God as instruments of righteousness" (Romans 6:13b). We must cooperate. ABOUT THE HOLY SPIRIT But how? How can we conquer sin? ABOUT THE HOLY SPIRIT “POWER” 5. We can't conquer sin by our own power. a. Everyone who has tried to do so has failed. b. Paul said, "I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate" (Romans 7:15). c. Paul uses personal pronouns 32 times in Romans 7. d. Finally, Paul cries out, "Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?" (v.24). ABOUT THE HOLY SPIRIT “POWER” 6. Paul answers his own question: a. "Who will deliver me?" God will, "through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 7:25). Victory is ours! b. "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus ... who walk according to the Spirit" (Romans 8:1, 4b). ABOUT THE HOLY SPIRIT “POWER” c. We have victory in Christ because the Spirit of God is living in us and helping us 24 hours a day. (1) The "Spirit" is mentioned 17 times in Romans 8. What does he do? (2) He helps us conquer sin: "If by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live" (Romans 8:13). ABOUT THE HOLY SPIRIT “POWER” (3) He give us inner strength. He strengthens us "with might through his Spirit in the inner man" (Ephesians 3:16). Ben Alexander. (4) He leads us: "For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God" (Romans 8:14). (5) He bears witness with our spirit "that we are the children of God" (Romans 8:16). (See Galatians 4:6). ABOUT THE HOLY SPIRIT “POWER” (6) He "helps us in our weakness" (Romans 8:26). (a) "We do not know how to pray as we ought,” (b) "but, the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words" (Romans 8:26b). (c) "The Spirit intercedes for the saints" (Romans 8:27) ABOUT THE HOLY SPIRIT “POWER FOR GOOD” 7. Consequently (because the Spirit is helping us): a. "We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28). My Golden Text. b. Nothing and no one can separate us from the love of God in Christ. (See Romans 8:35-39). ABOUT THE HOLY SPIRIT “GOD’S PEOPLE” 8. The Holy Spirit marks us as God's people and guarantees our inheritance. a. God "puts the Spirit in our hearts to be a guarantee - a proof that he will give us what he promised" (2 Corinthians 1:22). b. We were "sealed with the Holy Spirit which is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory" (Ephesians 1:13-14). THE GOOD NEWS ABOUT FORGIVENESS 1. There is no sin in today's world that God will not forgive. a. Only one unforgivable sin is mentioned in the Bible (Matthew 11:22-23). Blasphemy against the H.S. b. Aside from this exceptional sin, we can bring any sin to God for forgiveness. ABOUT FORGIVENESS Forgiven c. Paul told the Corinthian Christians that some of them had been "immoral," "idolaters," "adulterers," "sexual perverts," "thieves," "greedy," "drunkards," "revilers," and "robbers." (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). Yet, all of them had been forgiven. d.On Pentecost Sunday, Peter offered forgiveness to those who had killed Jesus. ABOUT FORGIVENESS Forgiven e. The book of Acts shows people from every kind of background being forgiven. (1) Samaritan (Acts 8). (2) Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8). (3) Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9). (4) A Roman soldier, Cornelius (Acts 10) . (5) A Philippian jailer (Acts 16). ABOUT FORGIVENESS Forgiven 2. God's grace is larger than our capacity to sin. ABOUT FORGIVENESS Forgiven a. There are 9 words for sin in the N.T. ABOUT FORGIVENESS Forgiven b. But the are also many words that suggest forgiveness. (1) Rescue (Matthew 1:21). (2) Cleansing (Acts 22:16). (3) Not putting sin on our account (Romans 4:8): An accounting term. "Blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not reckon his sin." (4) Release, like releasing a slave (Romans 6:22): "You have been set free from sin." (5) Drawing a veil over our sins: "Blessed are those whose...sins are covered" (Romans 4:7). (6) Wiping out our sins: "Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out" (Acts 3:19). THE GOOD NEWS ABOUT FORGIVENESS We are Forgiven (7) Forgetting our sins forever: (a) Isaiah 43:25 "I am He who blots out your transgressions … and I will not remember your sins.” (b) Jeremiah 31:34 "I will remember their sin no more." Our sins. (c) See Psalm 103:11-12. THE GOOD NEWS ABOUT DEATH 1. Philip of Macedon. 2. Reminders of death: funerals, cemeteries 3. Many people avoid the subject. Freud. ABOUT DEATH 4. The Bible does not evade it. a. Job calls death "the king of terrors" (Job 18:14) b. One reason Jesus came to earth was that, through his own death, "he might destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage" (Hebrews 2:14-15). c. Paul said to the Thessalonians, "Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep (in death), or grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope" (1 Thessalonians 4:13). ABOUT DEATH gloom 5. Quotations from non-believers: a. Theognis, the Greek poet who lived in the 6th century B.C. "It is best of all things for the children of men not to be born, nor to see the rays of keen sunlight; but if born to pass as soon as may be the gates of Hades (death), and to lie beneath a vesture of much earth" (Elegies, 425). b. Euripides, the Greek playwright of the 5th century B.C. "It is better that we should call our friends together to lament over the newly born, that he has come to such a world of sorrows" (Oresphontes). ABOUT DEATH gloom c. Bertrand Russell, a brilliant 20th century philosopher in England, was as hopeless as the ancient Greeks "The life of Man is a long march through the night, surrounded by invisible foes, tortured by weariness and pain." d. Madame Curie of France wrote in her diary, upon the death of her husband "Your coffin was closed and I could see you no more... We saw you go down into that deep, big hole... Everything, everything, everything!" e. Such writings reflect pessimism and gloom. ABOUT DEATH hope 6. Quotations form believers: a. Psalm 116:15 "Precious in the sight of the Lord is he death of his saints." b. Paul "For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain" (Philippians 1:21). "My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better" (Philippians 1:23). c. Peter "By his great mercy we have been born to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead" (1 Peter 1:3). ABOUT DEATH hope d. Catacomb inscriptions (1) "Gordian, the courier from Gaul, strangled for the faith. Rests in peace.” (2) "Alexander is not dead, but lives above the stars." ABOUT DEATH hope e. The 1st century world was amazed at the joy and optimism of Christians in the face of death. ABOUT DEATH hope 7. The death of death: a. "...It is appointed for men to die once, and after that the judgment" (Hebrews 9:27). But, death is not final. b. As Jesus was raised from death, so all people who have died will be raised from death when he comes: "For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable" (1 Corinthians 15:52b). c. Then it can be said, "Death is swallowed up inVictory " (1 Corinthians 15:54b). ABOUT DEATH death of death 8. The second death. a. The Bible speaks of the "second death" (Revelations 2:11; 20:6, 14). b. We have no choice about the first death. All must die. c. But, we can avoid the second death. ABOUT DEATH death of death d. The second death is spiritual...eternal separation from God: "They shall suffer the punishment of eternal destruction and exclusion from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might" (2 Thessalonians 1:9). e. If, in this life, we reject Jesus Christ, we will die eternally. THE GOOD NEWS ABOUT DEATH f. But, the good news is: we don't have to experience the second death. Christ is offering us eternal life. THE GOOD NEWS ABOUT HEAVEN 1. The NT's word-pictures about heaven are attempts to describe things we have never seen: a. "...No eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived what God has prepared for those who love him" (1 Corinthians 2:9). b. Now, God has revealed some of these things "to us through the Spirit" (1 Corinthians 2:10a). c. Some are powerful images with strong emotional impact. ABOUT HEAVEN word-pictures 2. Jesus said, "Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And, when I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also" (John 14:1-4). Notice: a. Jesus is going to prepare a place for us. b. He is coming back to get us. c. There are plenty of rooms in his Father's house. ABOUT HEAVEN a place d. In heaven, we will be with God and his Son, Jesus, and will have loving fellowship with them forever. e. There, our deepest needs and longings will be satisfied. f. It is a tragedy that people cut themselves off from God by trying cheap substitutes: drugs, sex, booze. ABOUT HEAVEN a city 3. A beautiful city. a. During his life, Abraham lived in tents, but he "looked forward to the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God" (Hebrews 11:10). b. Christians also seek the heavenly city. "For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city which is to come" (Hebrews 13:14). c. John describes heaven as "the holy city, new Jerusalem" with streets of pure gold, gates of pearl, and walls adorned with precious jewels (Revelations 21:1-21). ABOUT HEAVEN a city d. But, the most compelling descriptions of life in the heavenly city is this: God "himself will be with them; he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away. … There shall no more be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and his servants shall worship him; and they shall see his face, and his name shall be on their foreheads. And, night shall be no more; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they shall reign forever and ever" (Revelations 21:3-4;22:3-5). THE GOOD NEWS ABOUT HEAVEN e.The Good News is: God has made it possible for us (you and me) to go there. BAPTISM 1. Baptism is important. a. Baptism is mentioned or referred to more than 100 times in the N.T. b. Jesus walked more than 100 kilometers to be baptized (Matthew 3:13). BAPTISM immersion 2. Baptism is an immersion in water. a. The Greek verb "baptizo" (baptize) means "to dip, plunge, or submerge.” b. John baptized people at Aenon "because there was much water there" (John 3:23). c. When Philip baptized the Ethiopian official, "they both went down into the water" and then "they came up out of the water" (Acts 8:38-39). d. Paul calls baptism a burial. BAPTISM Paul… immersion (1) He says, "When we were baptized, we were buried with Christ and shared his death. We were buried with Christ so that we could be raised up and live a new life" (Romans 6:4) ETR. (2) Again, Paul say, "When you were baptized, your old self died and you were buried with Christ" (Colossians 2:12). BAPTISM Paul… immersion e. Historical records indicate that the early church baptized people by immersing them in water. (1) Tertullian of Carthage (about A.D. 200) wrote, "Baptism itself is a bodily act, because we are immersed in water" (On Baptism, 7). (2) Ambrose of Milan (A.D. 340) said, "You were asked, 'Do you believe in God Almighty?' You said, 'I believe'; and thus you were immersed. That is, you were buried" (On the Sacraments III.i.1.2). (3) John Chrysostom, Basil the Great, and other church leaders also describe baptism as a burial in water. BAPTISM variations (4) The first known case of sprinkling for baptism is that of Novation about A.D. 251. Novation was apparently about to die of a threatening disease, so he was sprinkled in bed. Later, when he recovered, he was criticized for not having been baptized properly. (5) The first official statement favoring the practice of pouring water on the head was made in A.D. 753. Pope Stephen II was asked if, in a case of necessity due to illness, it was lawful to baptize by pouring water on the head. He replied, "If such a baptism were performed, in such a case of necessity, in the name of the holy trinity, it should be held valid." BAPTISM variations (6) In the year 1311, a council in Ravenna, Italy (attended by 214 bishops) declared that sprinkling and pouring are as good as immersion. (7) These departures from the N.T. slowly that nobody came so seemed to notice. BAPTISM biblical characteristics 3. Baptism is for penitent believers. a. Teaching comes before baptism. Jesus said to his apostles, "Go and make disciples (learners) of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you" (Matthew 28:19-20). b. Faith comes before baptism. Jesus said, "Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved" (Mark 16:16). c. Repentance comes before baptism. Peter said, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you..." (Acts 2:38). BAPTISM history d.There is no evidence that babies were baptized in New Testament times. Baptism was for penitent believers. BAPTISM history e. Historical records indicate that baptism was for people old enough to believe and turn away from sin, not for infants. (1) Justin Martyr (about A.D. 150) wrote: "As many as are persuaded and believe that the things taught and said by us are true, and promise to … live accordingly, these are taught to fast, pray, and ask God for the forgiveness of past sins, while we pray and fast with them. Then, they are led by us to where there is water, and ... they are born again" (Apology I.61). BAPTISM history (2) Clement of Alexander (about A.D. 200), said, "We who have repented of our sins, renounced our faults, and are purified by baptism run back to the eternal light, as children to their father" (Instructor I.vi.32.1). (3) All church leaders until the late 2nd century taught that infants are innocent and sinless. BAPTISM history (4) The practice of baptizing infants (by immersion) evidently began late in the 2nd century. (5) Tertullian (about A.D. 200) argued against baptizing infants and small children (On Baptism 18). (6) Origin (about A.D. 250) argued in favor of infant immersion on the ground that infants are born tainted by sin (Homily of Leviticus VIII:3). (7) In A.D. 418, the Council of Carthage ruled in favor of infant baptism. BAPTISM history f. Jesus taught that little children are innocent. "Let little children come to me. Don't stop them, because the kingdom of heaven belongs to people who are like these children" (Matthew 19:14). g. Paul said he was spiritually alive (innocent) as a child. Then sin came into his life, and he died (Romans 7:9-10). h. Infants were not baptized in the early church because baptism is for the forgiveness of sins. BAPTISM biblical purpose 4. Baptism is for the forgiveness of sins. a. On the Day of Pentecost, Peter said, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins" (Acts 2:38). b. Ananias said to Saul, "And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name" (Acts 22:16). BAPTISM biblical plea c. And that is the question I leave with you this evening. (1) If you are old enough to understand the Good News, (2) to believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, (3) and to turn away from sin in repentance, (4) Jesus is calling you, inviting you to come and be his follower today. Be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins. WHAT MAKES THE BIBLE DIFFERENT? 1. The Bible is unique in it's claims: a. Eternal "The word of our God will stand forever" (Isaiah 40:8). b. Inspired - God breathed - "All scripture is inspired by God" (2 Timothy 3:16). c. Truth "Thy word is truth" (John 17:17). THE BIBLE unique 2. The Bible is unique in the way it was written. a. Over a time-span of 1,500 years. b. By 40 human writers who came from diverse backgrounds: (1) Samuel was a judge (2) Amos, a sheep breeder (3) Ezra, a priest (4) Nehemiah, a statesman (5) David, a poet and King (6) Matthew, a tax collector (7) Luke, a physician (8) Peter, James and John were fishermen, and (9) Paul was a tentmaker (10) Some were educated, and others were uneducated. Yet, their writings form one united book, the Bible. THE BIBLE unique 3. The Bible is unique in its preservation. a. Men have tried to ban it and destroy it, but without success. b. Voltaire in France. c. Enver Hoxha in Albania. d. Today - the world's best seller. THE BIBLE unique 4. It is unique in accurately predicting the future. a. Isaiah 13:19-22 - Babylon b. Ezekiel 26:3-5 - Tyre 5. It is unique in its historical accuracy. a. Historians have challenged the Bible, but archaeology has vindicated it. b. For example, Belshazzar (Daniel 5) Vs. Nabonidus. THE BIBLE unique 6. Unique in its scientific accuracy. a. Isaiah speaks of "the circle of the earth" (Isaiah 40:22). b. David writes of "the paths of the seas" (Psalm 8:8). c. Job says that God "stretches out the north over the void, and hangs the earth upon nothing" (Job 26:7). THE BIBLE unique 7. The Bible is unique in its effect upon people. a. No other book has so profoundly influenced the culture and history of the world. b. No other book has changed so many lives, building character and producing hope, joy and purpose. WHY WE BELIEVE THE BIBLE 1. The Old Testament writers said they were speaking the Word of God. "Thus says the Lord," or something similar, is found more than 2,000 times in the O.T. 2. Jesus Christ regarded the Scriptures as the Word of God (Matthew 5:18; John 10:35). 3. The apostles regarded the Scriptures as the inspired Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21). 4. Fulfilled prophecy demonstrates that the Bible is the Word of God. WE BELIEVE THE BIBLE 5. Archaeology confirms the accuracy of the Scriptures. 6. Human experience proves the Bible is the inspired Word of God. a. Its promises are fulfilled b. It works in human experience. WE BELIEVE THE BIBLE PSALMS 19:7-11 1. The Word of God is a. Perfect - without error, complete b. Trustworthy - reliable, doesn't mislead. c. Right - straight, not crooked d. Radiant - gives light, illuminating e. Pure, enduring forever - not corrupt f. Sure and altogether righteous g. More precious than gold - valuable h. Sweeter than honey. THE BIBLE benefits 2. Benefits received from God's Word: a. Reviving the soul - from sin, trouble b. Making wise he simple c. Giving joy to the heart - happiness d. Giving light to the eyes. e. By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. SOMEONE IS COMING 1. He will be a male descendant of Eve: God said to the serpent (Satan), "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise [crush] your head, and you shall bruise his heal" (Genesis 3:15). 2. He will be a descendant of Abraham: God said to Abraham, "through your offspring, all nations on earth will be blessed" (Genesis 22:18). 3. He will be a descendant of Isaac: God said to Isaac, "Through your offspring, all nations on earth will be blessed" (Genesis 26:4). SOMEONE 4. He will be a descendant of Jacob: "All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring" (Genesis 28:14). 5. A descendant of Judah. "Men from Judah's family will be kings. The sign that his family rules will not leave his family before the real king comes" (Genesis 49:10) ETR. SOMEONE 6. He will be a prophet like Moses. God said to Moses, "I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him" (Deuteronomy 18:18). 7. A descendant of Jesse. "A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him" (Isaiah 11:1-2) 8. He is the source (root) of Jesse. "In that day the root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the people" (Isaiah 11:10). SOMEONE is Coming Branch/shoot Jesse Root SOMEONE 9. A descendant of David who will sit on David's throne. Nathan said to David, "Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever" (2 Samuel 7:16). 10.Born of a virgin, and called "Immanuel," meaning "God with us". "Therefore, the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel" (Isaiah 7:14). SOMEONE is Coming THE LORD (God) MY LORD (Jesus) DAVID SOMEONE is Coming 11. He will be born in Bethlehem. "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times" (Micah 5:2). 12. He will be David's Lord. David said, "The Lord said to my Lord: 'Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet" (Psalm 110:1). SOMEONE is Coming 13. He will reign on David's throne forever. "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given. ... And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. ... He will rule on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever" (Isaiah 9:6-7). 14. He will enter Jerusalem as a king, riding on a donkey. "Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey" (Zechariah 9:9). SOMEONE is Coming 15. He will be betrayed by a friend. "Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me" (Psalm 41:9). 16. He will be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver. "So they paid me thirty pieces of silver" (Zechariah 11:12). SOMEONE is Coming 17. He will die for the sins of others. "He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we were healed. ... The Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all" (Isaiah 53:5-6). 18. He will die by crucifixion. "They have pierced my hands and my feet" (Psalm 22:16). SOMEONE is Coming 19. He will be offered gall and vinegar. "They put gall in my food and gave me vinegar for my thirst" (Psalm 69:21). 20. They will cast lots for his clothing. "They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing" (Psalm 22:18). 21. His bones will not be broken. "He protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken" (Psalm 34:20). SOMEONE is Coming 22. He will be buried with the wicked and the rich. "For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death" (Isaiah 53:8-9). 23. He will be raised from death before his body decays. "You will not abandon me in the grave, nor will you let your holy one see decay. (Psalm 16:10). SOMEONE is Coming 24. He will ascend to the Ancient of Days and be given dominion over an everlasting kingdom. "Behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and kingdom that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed" (Daniel 7:13-14). SUMMARY A King is coming. He will be . . . 1. A male descendant of Eve. 2. A descendant of Abraham. 3. A descendant of Isaac. 4. A descendant of Jacob. 5. A descendant of Judah. 6. A prophet like Moses. 7. A descendant of Jesse. 8. The source of Jesse. 9. A descendant of David. 10.The Lord of David. 11. Born of a virgin. SUMMARY A King is coming. 12. Born in Bethlehem. 13. Reign on David's throne forever. 14. Enter Jerusalem on a donkey. 15. Be betrayed by a friend. 16. For 30 pieces of silver. 17. Die for the sins of others. 18. Die by crucifixion. 19. Be offered ball and vinegar. 20. People will cast lots for his clothing. 21. His bones will not be broken. 22. He will make his grave with the wicked and with the rich. 23. He will be raised from death. 24. He will ascend into heaven to rule over an everlasting kingdom. THE BIBLE IS OUR AUTHORITY 1. All authority ultimately rests in God. a. As the Creator of the universe, God has the right to command his creation, because he owns it. (1) If you own a piece of property, buy some lumber, and build a house on it, whose house is it? (2) If you buy some writing paper and a pen and write a poem, whose poem is it? THE BIBLE IS OUR AUTHORITY b. God says, "Every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the air, and all that moves in the field is mine" (Psalm 50:10-11). c. David prayed, "Everything in heaven and earth belong to you, God. You made the world and everything in it" (Psalm 89:11). ETR THE BIBLE IS OUR AUTHORITY d. God spoke with authority in Old Testament times. (1) Moses said to the Israelites, "You shall be careful to do, therefore, as the Lord you God has commanded you; you shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left" (Deuteronomy 5:32). (See 4:2). (2) God said, "Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to it or take from it" (Deuteronomy 18:32). (3) When Nadab and Abihu disobeyed God by offering strange fire on the alter, God sent fire from heaven and consumed them. (Leviticus 10:1-2). THE BIBLE IS OUR AUTHORITY 2. In New Testament times, God transferred all his authority to his Son, Jesus Christ. a. Jesus said, "All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me" (Matthew 28:18). b. The writer of Hebrews said, "In the past, God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son ..." (Hebrews 1:1-2). THE BIBLE IS OUR AUTHORITY c. The entire book of Hebrews is designed to convince us that Jesus is the person through whom God speaks today. (See your manual.) d. Jesus, himself, claimed to speak with the authority of God: "For I have not spoken on my own authority; the Father sent me has himself given me commandment what to say and what to speak" (John 12:49). THE BIBLE IS OUR AUTHORITY e. And Jesus demonstrated the authority of God in his actions. (1) He cast out demons. (Mark 1:21-28). (2) He healed people of incurable diseases. (Mark 1:40-42). (3) He brought dead people back to life: "Lazarus; come forth." (John 11). (4) He even stilled a storm on the Sea of Galilee. "Peace; be still" (Mark 4:39). (5) And he forgave sins (Mark 2:5). THE BIBLE IS OUR AUTHORITY 3. Jesus appointed twelve apostles, empowered them to perform miracles, and commissioned them to be his witnesses and representatives. a. The apostles and a few other inspired men wrote the New Testament as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. b. Jesus said to his apostles, "The Holy Spirit … will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you" (John 14:26). "When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth" (John 16:13). c. So, the writing of the apostles in the New Testament are the words of God. THE BIBLE IS OUR AUTHORITY d. The apostles Paul said, "Even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed" (Galatians 1:8). e. The apostle John warned at the end of the New Testament, "I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if any one adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if any one takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book" (Revelations 22:18-19).