Table of Contents
“Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?”
This class is intended for new believers, someone who has decided to begin living for God and become a disciple of Jesus. The intention is to create genuine, bona fide disciples of Jesus and not nominal Christians or ordinary church members. A disciple is someone who BELIEVES and OBEYS Jesus’ teaching.
In this session, we will review the gospel message, the story of salvation. This is where it all begins.
1. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
2. “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23)
3. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
1. God created the universe.
a. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1)
i. Everything was good, perfect.
b. God created man in His likeness and image. Gen. 1:26-28
i. God made man in His likeness and image
ii. God made man to have dominion over the earth
iii. God blessed man.
2. Mankind rebelled against God.
a. Gen. 3 shows how man disobeyed God and sin entered the world.
b. We all have inherited a sinful nature. “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—” (Romans 5:12)
c. Man is a sinner - “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23)
d. Our sin separates us from God now and for eternity.
i. “but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.” (Isaiah 59:2)
ii. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
3. Jesus came to die as a perfect sacrifice for our sins.
a. “that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself,” (2 Corinthians 5:19)
b. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
c. We cannot be saved by any other way – religion, our righteousness, good works etc.
i. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8–9)
ii. “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
4. We must believe the gospel message, repent of our sins, and receive Jesus as our Savior.
a. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
b. “But to all who did receivehim, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,” (John 1:12)
The New Birth
When someone receives Christ as Savior a spiritual birth takes place, aka ‘born-again’, ‘saved’. There is a change of heart. God has removed the heart of stone and given us a heart of flesh.
“Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”” (John 3:1–8)
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
We know we are born-again when we sense a change in our lives, a change in desires, especially a desire to serve God and conviction when we sin.
The Need to Grow
After the New Birth, the baby Christian must grow in faith so he can live a victorious Christian life, not one of struggle or failure.
“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 3:18)
“Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,” (Ephesians 4:15)
The Parable of “The Seed and The Sower”
““Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.”” (Mark 4:3–8)
“And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? The sower sows the word. And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy. And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away. And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.”” (Mark 4:13–20)
Jesus teaches us through the Word/Bible. Let us examine the four types of soil
· The path: hard ground; seed cannot penetrate; the Word is stolen quickly
· The rocky ground: They receive the Word with joy but do not last; the emotional receiver.
· Among thorns: Cares, riches and other things choke the Word out
· Good soil: Hear the Word; obey the Word; they bear fruit
Application: After you are born-again, you must zealously desire and pursue spiritual growth.
Which type of soil are you?
The most important habit we can develop as disciples of Jesus is to spend time with God every day in prayer and meditation on His Word. It is the most potent means of spiritual growth but sadly, too many Christians do not have a regular devotional/quiet time and they remain stunted in growth, spiritually weak and ineffective in the kingdom. If you practice this, God will change your life!
Key verses: “And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.” (Mark 1:35)
“O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.” (Psalm 5:3)
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)
Many refer to this as “Quiet Time” or “Daily Devotions.” It is simply a time you set aside to spend with God daily. Here is a guide:
1. Start with 15 minutes daily and keep doing so until it is a habit.
a. It takes up to 30 days for a new habit to develop. You may forget and fall off the wagon but do not beat yourself up. Keep going.
b. It is better to do this first in the day.
c. Choose a special place.
2. Begin by prayer. Prepare your heart.
3. Read the Scripture slowly; meditate on it. Use the SPACEPETS as a guide to glean truth.
a. Sin to avoid
b. Promise to claim
c. Attitude to change
d. Command to obey
e. Example to follow
f. Prayer to pray
g. Error to avoid
h. Truth to believe
i. Something to thank God for.
4. Make some notes when you discover something new or God speaks to you.
5. Spend some time in worship and prayer. (See section on prayer.)
a. Adoration – praise and worship, include singing
b. Confession – of sins, failures, weaknesses
c. Thanksgiving – this changes our perspective
d. Supplication – make your requests
6. Apply what you learnt that day.
Application: This lesson is critical to your spiritual growth. Start immediately. In a short space of three months, you will see the difference in your spiritual life. Start a daily time with God. Keep doing it. Do not ever stop!
· “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16–17)
· “For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:21)
· “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)
· “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” (Joshua 1:8)
· “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditatesday and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” (Psalm 1:1–3)
· “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” (Psalm 119:11)
· “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105)
The Bible is God’s Word, a library of 66 books, written over 1500 years by more than 40 different men under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
God’s Word brings enlightenment to us. It gives knowledge, revelation, truth, guidance, and wisdom. It gives us strength and shows us how to deal with many problems in life. It is our primary source of counsel.
Each person must make time for God’s Word. We spend hours on the TV, internet, video games, Netflix etc.
A good approach:
· Get to know God by reading His Word. Dedicate 20-30 minutes daily to it and that should get you through the Bible in one year.
· Use a modern translation – ESV, NIV, NKJV
· Start by reading through the New Testament systematically, one book at a time. Do not limit yourself to a chapter/day. Please do not say “I read a Bible verse today.”!
· Get the big picture; do not worry about details at the beginning.
· Ask God - “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.” (Psalm 119:18)
· As you read, ask 3 simple questions:
o What does the passage say? (main facts)
o What does it mean?
o How can I apply this to my life?
· Have a notebook, diary e.g., Microsoft OneNote and write.
· Memorize important verses.
Application: God’s Word is powerful and exciting! We have a treasure trove in the Bible. Start your journey. Dig in! God’s Word will bring you strength, wisdom and victory.
Many new Christians struggle with guilt over their past and are uncertain about their salvation. This can hinder their growth.
· “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)
· “as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:12)
· ““I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.” (Isaiah 43:25)
· “…You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.” (Micah 7:19)
· These verses assure us of God’s forgiveness.
You can be sure that once you have repented of your sins and asked Jesus to forgive you and be your Savior, you are saved.
· “And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.” (1 John 5:11–13)
· “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.” (John 6:47)
· “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,” (Romans 8:16)
· Can this be any clearer? It is not in the future. It is now!
There are times in our early Christian life when we will doubt our salvation. We ‘feel’ as if we are not saved. That is quite common and expected because Satan would like us to doubt our relationship with God. But we “walk by faith, and not by sight.” We trust God’s Word.
Remember John 3:16
Application: Be reassured that you are forgiven of your sins and you are saved. God’s Word is clear on that. He does not want us to be in doubt or live our lives in uncertainty.
If you are trusting in Christ as your personal Savior, and if this faith results in a sincere love for Him and commitment to Him, then our heavenly Father wants you to know that you are His child. If you should today, you will be with Him in heaven.
Many have said, "I don't have to go to church to be a Christian". It may be true that going to church does not make you a Christian, but every true disciple will be part of a Bible-believing church.
God created the church, the body of Christ, as His family. We become part of it, and this is crucial to our growth in grace and knowledge. It is a source of inspiration and encouragement. Other believers serve as a model of the Christian life.
Key verse: “not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:25)
What is the church?
· Church (Greek “ekklesia”) – “called out ones.” A group of believers called out of the world system to serve Jesus Christ.
· It is not a building.
· There is the universal, invisible, mystical church
· There are local churches (fellowships) like PWC
· Jesus said: “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18)
Symbols used to describe the church:
· The body of Christ. “And he is the head of the body, the church.” (Colossians 1:18)
· The bride of Christ. “For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.” (Ephesians 5:23)
· The branches of Christ. “I am the vine; you are the branches.” (John 15:5)
· The building of Christ. “… built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:19–22)
How can I identify a good (authentic) church? A checklist:
· Is worship a key element of the gathering? Is God the focus?
· Is the Word of God being proclaimed? Are the Scriptures central to the message?
· Is the born-again experience mentioned?
· Is there evidence of love? Is it expressed?
o Or do you feel judged? Or like an outsider?
· Can you sense the Presence of God there?
Understand that there is no perfect church. The church is made up of imperfect human beings.
Warning: You will be hurt and disappointed in any church because there are some false saints, immature saints, carnal saints, and regular saints who stumble. The hurts do us a favor by helping us to grow and mature.
What about church membership?
· It shows you are committed to Christ.
· It enables you fulfil God’s purpose in the world.
· It combats the culture of selfishness and pride of independence.
· It shows who are on the team (workers prepared for service to God)
· It ensures growth by transparency and accountability.
Application: The church will be maligned by Satan, the world, and media. Remember she is the body of Christ and that He is returning for His Bride, a glorious church without spot or wrinkle.
Make a commitment today to regularly attend a local church. Be baptized and become an active member.
Introduction: In this lesson we will discuss the subject of prayer. Is it necessary? What are some conditions and suggestions for praying? Do you have some struggles with praying? What are they?
Key verses: “Men ought always to pray, and not to faint;” (Luke 18:1 KJV)
“And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.” (Mark 1:35)
“Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matthew 6:9–15)
Prayer is communication with God. More precisely, it is communion with God (talking to God and listening.)
We pray directly to God in Jesus’ Name, not to Mary or any of the saints.
The prayer life of Jesus:
· Jesus (and the Psalmist) prayed early in the morning. (Ps. 5: 3)
· Jesus also prayed all night (Luke 6:12)
· Jesus prayed before making important decisions, e.g., choosing the apostles. (Luke 6:13)
· Jesus prayed when facing the most difficult test in His life in the Garden of Gethsemane before the crucifixion. He prayed with such intensity His sweat was like drops of blood. (Luke 22:44)
· He is still praying for us. (Heb 7:25)
Examples of prayer: Hannah in 1 Sam. 1; The Early Church in Acts 12
What should we pray about? Some examples:
· To overcome temptation (Matt. 6:13)
· Things we desire (Mark 11:24)
· For wisdom, knowledge, and enlightenment; to know God more (Eph. 1.17-18)
· Our anxieties and cares (Phil. 4:6, 1 Peter 5:7)
· For those in in authority (1 Tim. 2:1)
· That all men be saved (1 Tim. 2: 4)
· That God would send laborers for the harvest (Matt. 9: 38)
· For the peace of Jerusalem (Ps. 122:6)
What are some conditions for prayer?
· Faith. “Therefore, I say unto you, what things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” (Mark 11:24 KJV)
· Forgiveness of others (Lord’s Prayer above)
· Righteousness. “If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear me:” (Psalm 66:18)
· Persistence. “And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?” (Luke 18:7)
· Abiding in Christ. “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” (John 15:7)
We are to “Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
Do not be afraid to ask God. “You do not have, because you do not ask.” (James 4:2)
““Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” (Matt 7:7)
Application: We learn to pray by praying. Desire to become a person of prayer, living a life of devoted prayer to God. Take time throughout the day to talk to God and acknowledge him.
Introduction: Believers are empowered to live for God, pray and share the gospel when they are filled with Holy Spirit. Pentecostals are distinguished from other evangelical Christians by our belief and emphasis in the power, presence, and manifestation of the Holy Spirit in the church today. We believe “It’s not by might, nor by power but by My Spirit, says the Lord.” (Zech. 4: 6)
“All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” (Acts 2:4.) The baptism in the Holy Spirit is an experience after salvation that is available to every child of God.
· Jesus promised the baptism in the Holy Spirit. “On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 1:4, 5
· God fulfilled this promise on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4). God came to dwell in them through His Holy Spirit.
· Five examples of Spirit Baptism in the book of Acts. Note that they all spoke in tongues.
o Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4).
o Samaritans (Acts 8:5, 12, 14-17).
o Saul’s conversion (Acts 9:17, 18; 1Cor.14:18).
o Cornelius’ household (Acts 10:44-46).
o Disciples at Ephesus (Acts 19:1-6).
· Tongues are the physical evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Why speak in tongues?
o I am speaking to God. (1 Cor.14: 12).
o I am building up myself with power (1Cor. 14:4)
o I open the door for the gifts of the Spirit.
· Other results of being Spirit-filled:
o We are empowered to be effective witnesses (Acts 1: 8).
o We receive boldness (Acts 4:8-13; 19:21).
o We sing and give thanks to God (Eph.5.18, 19).
· Every believer has the privilege of speaking in tongues. “Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy.” 1 Corinthians 14:5
· Praying in tongues is akin to praying in the Spirit.
o “For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful. 15 What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also.” 1 Corinthians 14:14–15
o “But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit.” Jude 20
o “Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.” Ephesians 6:18
· God gives His Spirit to believers for divine, supernatural power.
o God communicates to humans by His Spirit to our Spirit. Those who pray in the Spirit become sensitive to God’s voice.
o The Holy Spirit helps us pray for things that we do not understand or have trouble praying about (Romans 8:26).
o The Holy Spirit gives us power for signs and miracles.
· People receive the Holy Spirit by asking and the laying on of hands.
We must continue to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:18; 1Cor. 14:14, 15). We can and should pray in the Spirit daily.
Introduction: Every Christian faces an inner battle, a fight between the old sinful nature and the new spiritual nature.
The change: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
The conflict: “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being,” (Romans 7:15–22)
“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
The old nature: Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
The new nature: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” (Galatians 5:16–24)
What to do: “to put off your old self,which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:22–24)
· We all face this struggle until we die.
· It becomes easier as we grow spiritually.
· The nature we feed the most will win.
· We strengthen the old nature by:
o Unwholesome movies, Netflix shows, websites.
o Unwholesome speech, music, books
o Pornographic material
o Living closer to the world than God
o Pride – thinking we can manage on our own.
· We strengthen the new nature by:
o Daily time with God, prayer, and Word
o Fellowship - Surrounding ourselves with good Christian friends/community.
o Desiring holiness
o Reading good Christian books; listening to podcasts of preaching and teaching.
o Listening to good Christian music, e.g., worship music.
Application: Be aware of the battle on the inside. Do not be surprised. It is a fight you must engage in and win.
Every believer faces temptation to sin. We must learn how to deal with this.
Key passage: “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.
And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’” Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’”” (Matthew 4:1–10)
· Temptation is a suggestion to sin, but sin is yielding to the suggestion. Jesus was tempted yet he did not sin.
· What are some common areas of temptation? Lie, cheat, steal, gossip, lust. What else?
· Satan will always tempt us in the weak areas of our lives. He does not play fair. It will often bring discouragement.
· How did Jesus overcome temptation?
a. He was filled with the Holy Spirit.
b. He used the Word of God. “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” (Psalm 119:11)
c. He did not yield.
d. He resisted. “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)
e. He rebuked Satan.
· God has promised to help us when we are tempted. “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)
· We must resist the devil.
· What if we fail? And we may! Do not be discouraged. God loves you still. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
Application: We all face temptation as followers of Christ. It is our battle to win. This is how we become OVERCOMERS. Remember the Holy Spirit is with you to help you live in victory.
Introduction: You may know some who began to walk with Christ but fell away (backslid.) This course was designed to provide a foundation for your Christian walk. Now you can identify enemies you face. Can you list them?
The Sinful Nature (The Flesh)
· “For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.” (Galatians 5:17)
· “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.” (Romans 7:18)
· “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”” (Matthew 26:41)
· “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)
· “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:11–12)
· “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” (1 John 2:15–17)
· “You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore, whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” (James 4:4)
That line up may seem formidable but remember whose side we are on! Jesus is the Winner always. We are victorious and triumphant in Him.
· “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)
· “For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.” (1 John 5:4)
· “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37)
· “And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.” (Revelation 12:11)
Application: We face the enemies of faith every day. The battle will be manifested in our minds, flesh, family, friends, work mates, entertainment choices etc. Choose allegiance to Jesus above everything else. Take up the cross and follow.
Introduction: Our purpose is “to know Christ and to make Him known.”
“And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”” (Matthew 4:19)
“And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” (Mark 16:15)
“And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”” (Matthew 28:18–20)
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnessesin Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”” (Acts 1:8)
“The Lord is … not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)
· Sharing the gospel is also known as witnessing or evangelism.
· It is not a suggestion but a command from Jesus. Every person, including our family and friends, who does not know Jesus is headed for eternal punishment in hell. This should not sit well with us. We must win the lost at any cost.
· Sharing the gospel helps us to grow in our faith and brings us tremendous joy. The Holy Spirit is rejoicing in us when we talk about the Savior.
· Do not follow the example of many who have no burden (godly concern) for the lost or are ashamed of Jesus. God holds us all accountable. “For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.” (Luke 9:26) If you struggle with this, ask the Holy Spirit for boldness and to lead you in sharing Christ.
How do I begin?
· Write out your testimony.
o What were you like before you knew Jesus?
o How you came to receive Jesus?
o What happened after you received Jesus? What changes were there?
o You should be able to relate this in about 3 minutes to someone.
· Let your godly life be an example. “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)
· Have a list of people to pray for – family, friends, workmates etc.
· Start with one person.
o Love them. Be kind and gentle.
o Listen to questions and objections.
o Prepare a response. “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” (1 Peter 3:15)
· Take the prep session on Evangelism.
Application: Develop a lifestyle of witnessing and discover one of the greatest joys in the Christian life.
A steward is entrusted with the responsibility of managing resources and /or property provided by another. We are all stewards, entrusted with time, talents/gifts/abilities and treasure (riches, finances) to manage for the kingdom of God.
Scripture: ““For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability.Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here, I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So, take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’” (Matthew 25:14–30)
We must be good stewards of what God gave us – time, talent, and treasure.
“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15–16)
Disciples must use their time effectively for the Kingdom of God. Do not waste time. Life is short and there is much to be done for Jesus.
“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:” (1 Peter 4:10)
(See also: Romans 12: 6-8; 1 Corinthians 12: 4-11; Ephesians 4: 11-13; 1 Peter 4: 9-11)
We all have been given gifts, talents, abilities, skills that we can use for the Kingdom of God.
One way that ensures your growth and excitement in faith is to get involved in the Kingdom. Do whatever you can. Find something to do:
· Share the gospel with others you know.
· Invite others to church, online services.
· Join a small group.
· Get involved in greeting, ushering, Children’s church, youth ministry, music.
· Share on Social Media.
· Ask: What skills/gifts/abilities do I have? How can I use it for the Kingdom of God?
“Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.” (Malachi 3:8–10)
“Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”” (Luke 6:38)
“Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”” (Acts 20:35)
“The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:6–7)
This can be a difficult area for many as the thinking of the world and our personal greed surfaces. Believers who have obeyed God and been good stewards of his provision can testify that we cannot outgive God. Please note that this church does not subscribe to the Prosperity Gospel but we do believe in the blessing of God.
Application: When we ask Jesus to be our Lord, we are asking Him to assume full control over our lives. We obey and serve Him in every area of our lives.
Introduction: We are at the end of this course which centers around the words of Jesus:
“Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” (Matthew 16:24–26)
There is an old song: “I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back.”
To take up our cross as a follower of Christ means we are willing to die for Him. We can only enjoy our Christian life and be victorious if we are obedient to Him.
So far, we have covered important discipleship lifestyle habits of
· Going to church (Lesson 5)
· Growing by regular time with God in prayer and the Word (Lessons 2, 3, and 6)
· Going out to share the gospel (Lesson 10)
· Getting involved
We have seen the pitfalls/struggles we face with sin, Satanic temptation, our sinful nature, the pull of the world and our inner struggles.
If you want your life to count for Christ, let us look at what Jesus said:
· Deny himself: “I” no longer call the shots in my life. Jesus does. I deny “SELF” and I place Him place. My desires, dreams, wants, wishes are now subject to Him. However, do not make rash, foolish decisions. Get godly counsel. Keep whatever if good and glorifying God in your life but deny yourself of the wrong things.
· Take up his cross: The cross was an instrument of death. It symbolizes death to my old life. To take up your cross means we are willing to die for Him. We are now committed to Him.
· “Follow me”: I follow Jesus now, not the world. As we read the Scriptures daily, He tells us what we should do. We obey the Word. He also speaks to us in God’s house as the Word is being declared. In addition, the Holy Spirit speaks to us and we should follow His promptings, His guidance to us. There is that “inner voice” speaking. Listen. Obey.
· “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
· To be a disciple involves complete surrender to the Lord, not only today but throughout our lives. It is the way to inner peace, overflowing love, reassuring hope and tremendous joy. In the surrendered life, we find meaning and eternal purpose. Live for Jesus. This is all that matters.
Prayer: “Heavenly Father, I thank you for forgiving me of my sins and giving me eternal life. I am undeserving of your mercy and grace. I now surrender my life to you and ask you to purify my heart, cleansing me of all impurities. Strengthen me, O Lord, so I can live for you daily. Fill me with the Holy Spirit. Help me to pray, meditate on your Word and spend time with you every day. Lead me in your paths. Help me to know, listen and obey your voice, Lord Jesus. Dear God, I ask you now to use me. Show me what I can do to bring others to you and glorify Your name. May my life be pleasing to you. It’s all I can do to show you how much I love you and am thankful for your salvation. I ask these things in Jesus Name. Amen.”
May you continue to grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Rev. Dr. Michael Ali