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Monday, December 17, 2012

Why Bible Knowledge Is Important to You

Are you seeking spiritual direction in your life? Do you need answers to serious spiritual questions such as: Does God really exist? What is the purpose and meaning of life? Where did the world come from? Can we receive eternal life after death? How can we be forgiven of our sins and receive the favor and blessings of God.

We urge you to consider this study about spiritual direction based on belief in Christian teaching found in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Preservation of the Bible

Introduction:

People sometimes wonder whether the Bible, as we have received it, is an accurate record of God's will.

The Bible claims to be a message that tells how God wants us to live. Many people appeal to the Bible as the standard of right and wrong in morals and religion. But can we be sure we have Bibles that accurately record God's word?

Critics often claim that "hundreds of errors" have crept into the Scriptures over the years. As a result, some say they do not need to obey the Bible at all. Others say we need new revelation so we can know God's will today.

In this study we will consider the preservation of the Bible to see if it has been accurately transmitted to us over the centuries.

Origin of Jesus' Church and of Denominations

Introduction:

Ephesians 3:10,11 - The church that Jesus built in the first century was part of the eternal purpose of God. That church was so important that Jesus died for it and He adds all saved people to it (Acts 20:28; 2:47).

But today we have hundreds of different denominations, differing from one another in name, worship, organization, and plan of salvation.

The purpose of this lesson is to consider the origin of these churches.

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Sabbath or the First Day of the Week?

Introduction:

Does the Bible teach Christians today to observe the 7th-day Sabbath, or is the first day of the week the special day for Christians?

Modern Sabbath keepers distinguish parts of the old law. They say only the "ceremonial law" or "Law of Moses" was removed, not the "moral law" or "Law of God," the 10 Commands. The Sabbath was in the 10 Commands, so it is still binding.

What does the Bible really teach?

How Can We Benefit from Jesus' Blood?

Introduction:

My mother loved to tell about a little boy (whom I will not name) whom she once told to take a bath. So he filled the bathtub with water; but when she checked, he was sitting on the side of the tub dangling his feet in the water. She informed him that, to receive any good from a bath, you have to get into the water!

He wanted the benefit of a bath without doing what you have to do to take a bath! That was silly. But unfortunately, many people make a similar mistake about Jesus' death.

Tell Me the Story of Jesus

Introduction:

Two of our best-loved hymns talk about "telling the story" of Jesus. One is entitled "Tell Me the Story of Jesus." The other is "I Love to Tell the Story." Both of them emphasize the fact that everyone needs to know the story of who Jesus is, what He did, and what He teaches.

1 Corinthians 15:1-5 says that the truth about Jesus is the foundation of the gospel. And Jesus is the central theme of the Bible. So everyone needs to hear the story of Jesus.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Kinds of Thieves

Introduction:

When I was about 6 years old, my family visited a neighbor down the street. I saw lying on the floor a toy Mickey Mouse watch - it didn't really even tell time, but it looked like a wristwatch. I wanted it, so I picked it up, put it in my pocket, and took it home. Of course, I felt terrible, because I knew better. Besides, I couldn't wear it without my parents asking me where it came from. Next time we visited that neighbor, I took it back and put it where I had found it. I never told anybody, and nobody ever said anything about it, but I learned my lesson.

Most people do not want to think of themselves as thieves, because they know stealing is wrong.

Stealing is wrong for a number of reasons:

Gospel of Physical Health and Wealth

Introduction:

Consider the following quote:

"Rev. Terry [Terry Cole-Whittaker] is telling [people] that they have every right, and the power, to get anything they want out of life ... She believes we can have it all, everything we want ... her bumper sticker [says] 'Prosperity is your divine right'..." - Ft. Wayne News-Sentinel (1/19/85).

This doctrine is becoming increasingly popular among believers in the "Charismatic Movement," Pentecostalism, and faith healers. Preachers teach that God will reward faithful service with good physical health and material abundance: people have a right to expect this, and God will even do miracles to accomplish it. Many call this "the gospel of physical health and wealth."

The purpose of this study is to examine this doctrine.

Living Together Without Marriage

Introduction:

Increasingly, couples in our society are living together without marriage. Some say marriage is "just a piece of paper," a legal formality. Others have a "trial marriage," saying they want to know if they are compatible before they make a commitment. Others justify sexual relations for those who are just dating as long as they care for one another and have a "meaningful relationship." Still others get married but then have a lover on the side.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Biblical Unity & Biblical Division

Introduction:

Most people would agree that religious unity is important. Many plans have been proposed to unite people religiously, yet the religious world remains tragically divided. World religions are divided from one another. So-called Christian denomination are divided. The Lord's church has suffered major divisions in the first century and since.

The purpose of this lesson is to study the Bible teaching about unity and division.


Slander, Gossip, and Evil Speaking

Introduction:

Speech is one of the most difficult aspects of life to control.

James 3:2 - If we can control our speech, we can control all areas of our lives.
Titus 3:1,2 - Christians are told to "speak evil of no one."
1 Peter 2:1 - "Lay aside ... all evil speaking."

Most people are aware that the Bible gives guidelines about speech, and specifically about how we should speak about others. The Bible deals with "slander," "backbiting," etc.

Most are also aware that this is common problem.


Was Peter the First Pope?

Introduction:

Several religious groups teach as fundamental doctrine that Peter was the first earthly head and Chief Shepherd (pastor) of the church, and modern church leaders are his successors. Others claim that the Papacy is the foundation of the church. Consider this quotation:

"The Pope ... is the bishop of Rome and the Vicar of Christ on earth. He is the visible head of the whole Catholic Church ... Who was the first Pope? St. Peter, who was made Pope by Jesus Christ Himself ... Did Peter's authority die with him? No, it was handed down to a man named Linus, and after he died, it was handed down to another, and so on, during the past 2000 years ... Does Jesus require us to follow the Pope in matters of religion? Yes, because obedience and loyalty to the Pope are among the chief requirements of the Lord's plan for unity in His church" (A Catechism for Adults, by William Cogan, 1975 ed., pp. 55,56).

In this study we want to see what the Bible says about this doctrine. If it is true, as important as it is, we will surely find it in the Bible.


Monday, December 3, 2012

Are You a Pharisee?

Introduction:

Just as there are various denominations today among those who claim to be Christians, so there were various sects among Jews in Jesus' day. Studying what the Bible says about these groups may help us learn lessons useful in our service to God.

The purpose of this study is to consider some lessons from the Pharisees.

The Pharisees were a prominent sect. They correctly believed in spirits and in the resurrection of the dead, whereas Sadducees did not (Acts 23:8).

However, they also possessed many characteristics that Christians should avoid. Their errors, combined with their zeal and influence, often led them into conflict with Jesus and His disciples.

People today who believe in strict obedience to God's word are often accused of being "Pharisees."


Creation vs. Evolution

Note: We accept the Bible, even when it contradicts unproved "scientific" hypotheses, because of the evidence that the Bible is true. These proofs include eyewitness testimony of miracles, fulfilled prophecy, and Jesus' resurrection. For a discussion of these evidences, see the articles on our web site.

The following points are a summary of evidence that evolution can never be harmonized with the Bible.

Buddhism and Christianity

Introduction:

Our purpose is to examine the doctrines of Buddhism and compare them to the Bible.

The History of Buddhism
***********************

Buddhism is an offspring of Hinduism, similar to Hinduism in many ways. It began in India in about the 6th century B.C., and from there it spread throughout Asia. Today it is found mainly in Japan, China, and the Far East. Relatively few people in India itself are Buddhists today.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Importance of Active Involvement in a Local Church

Introduction:

Many principles teach the importance of the church in general. People often fail to appreciate the importance of the church. But consider:

The church was purposed by God from eternity - Ephesians 3:10,11.
The church was built by Jesus - Matthew 16:18.
The church was purchased by Jesus' blood - Acts 20:28; Ephesians 5:23,25.
The church is the household/family over which God is the Father - Ephesians 2:16,19; 1 Timothy 3:15.
The church is the body over which Christ is head - Ephesians 1:22,23. [Colossians 1:18,24]
The church is the kingdom over which Christ rules - Matthew 16:18,19; Colossians 1:13.
All saved people are added by Jesus to the church - Acts 2:47; Colossians 1:13,14. It follows that church membership is essential to salvation.

The Children's Liberation Movement

Introduction:

In recent decades our society has seen the rise of various "liberation" movements, including Women's Liberation, Animal Liberation, etc.

The purpose of this study is to examine the Children's Liberation movement.

This movement is generally promoted by "child advocates" working through various child welfare and social service agencies. These especially include official government agencies, such as child and family services agencies. In particular, a leading force in promoting the movement has been the United Nations, which sponsored the "International Year of the Child" (IYC). (This occurred some time ago, but we will see that the UN is still implementing its goals.)

The Doctrine of Baptisms

Introduction:

Hebrews 6:1,2 - The elementary principles of God's word include "the doctrine of baptisms."

The Bible mentions several different baptisms. Some that are mentioned several times are: John's baptism, water baptism of the gospel, Holy Spirit baptism. Others are mentioned, but only very rarely.

The purpose of this lesson is to study the three major baptisms of the Bible and determine which of them we should practice today.

How to Determine Whether the Bible Is True

Introduction:

What is the proper method to determine the validity of the Bible?

Over the years I have observed various ways people have tried to use to prove that the Bible - or some other religious standard - is or is not true. Some of these methods are valid and can lead to a proper conviction of truth; others are invalid and lead people to improper conclusions.

The purpose of this study is to compare methods sometimes used to determine whether or not a revelation is from God, and then determine what is the proper approach.