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LESSON 1 – THE CHRISTIAN BIBLE STUDY
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LESSON 1 – THE CHRISTIAN BIBLE STUDY
A Scriptural Study THE CHRISTIAN By Alfred P. Gibbs.
HIS DEFINITION: HIS HISTORY: HIS TITLES.
The definition of the Christian
1. Some of man's definitions of a Christian
(1) The voice of Christendom
(2) The voice of the moralist.
(3) The voice of modernism.
(4) The voice of cultism.
2. God's definition of a Christian
(1) The Christian defined
(2) The Christian defied.
(3) The Christian despised.
The Christian's history
His past condition
His present position
The procuring cause
1. Christians. He belongs to Christ by -
(3) Personal acceptance
(4) Power of deliverance
(6) Indwelling presence
4. Children of God
This Course attempts to set forth, simply, briefly and clearly, some Scriptural truths regarding the Christian. They have designedly been cast into condensed form, and only those who are prepared to follow out, by personal study of the Bible, the suggestions made, will find them to be of any permanent spiritual profit. There is no royal road to learning the truth of God. It can only come through prayerful, painstaking, and persistent study of the holy Scriptures, plus prompt and wholehearted obedience to what is revealed therein. These pages therefore should be read with the Bible at one's side, and all the Scripture passages, to which reference is made, should be looked up, "read, marked, and inwardly digested." Though the price of knowledge is admittedly high, it is well worth all the time, money, and energy used to acquire it. The book of Proverbs, aptly called: "Laws of heaven for life on earth," is devoted to the extolling of the many excellences of knowledge and wisdom, and to describing the penalties, which await those who are guilty of wilful ignorance. Read Proverbs 1:1-9, 20-23; 2:1-9; 3:1-26; 4:1-13. Someone has given four good rules for effective Bible study. These rules are summarized by four little words: admit, submit, commit, and transmit. By this is meant that the student must first admit the truth of God into his mind by carefully reading what God has to say about the subject in question. Secondly, he must submit to whatever truth it reveals, and obey it, cost what it may. Thirdly, he must seek to commit what he has read and learned to memory, and by this fasten it indelibly upon his mind. This is not easy, but will prove to be a valuable investment, that will yield profitable dividends in the years to come. Finally, he should transmit this knowledge to others for, in so doing, it will not only become a blessing to others, but he himself shall be blessed in the doing of it. The Divine order is: "I will bless thee . . . and thou shalt be a blessing." (Genesis 12:1-3). With these things in mind, may it be yours and mine to pay good heed to the words of a great preacher and teacher of long ago who said: "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of God" (2 Timothy 2:15). We shall consider our subject under three main headings. First, The definition of the Christian, or what he is. Second, The history of the Christian, or how he became one. Third, The titles of the Christian, or how God describes him in His word.
LESSON 1 : THE CHRISTIAN
IT IS always wise, when discussing any subject, to define the meaning of the terms that are used. In this way, there will be no confusion of thought in the mind of the reader as to just exactly what the writer means when he uses certain expressions. Hence, we shall proceed at once to consider
1. THE DEFINITION OF THE CHRISTIAN, or what is meant by the term, as found in the holy Scriptures. We shall think of two things under this heading: First, some of man's definitions of what the word "Christian" implies; and second, what God has to say about it in His word.
SOME OF MAN'S DEFINITIONS OF A CHRISTIAN.
It is hardly necessary to say that there is a wide divergence of opinion as to what a Christian really is. In response to the question: "What is a Christian?" there will be a multitude of different answers, each person sincerely believing his own answer to be correct. A perusal of the current literature of Christendom will only serve to add to the confusion. Amidst this babble of contradictory voices, which combine to "darken counsel by words without knowledge" (Job 38: 2), the man in the street may be pardoned when he declares that he does not know what a Christian is! Let us listen to four different voices, each of which has its own explanation of what constitutes a Christian.
(1) THE VOICE OF CHRISTENDOM.
By Christendom is meant the sum total of all those systems of religion that name the name of Christ, whether they be good, bad, or indifferent. This voice loudly affirms that a Christian is one who has given his assent to the beliefs, or the creed, of his particular religious denomination, and has consequently submitted himself to the various rites, forms, and ceremonies connected with its membership. In other words, he has given a mental assent to the creed; he has been baptized, confirmed, joined the Church, takes communion regularly, and attends divine service faithfully contributes his money to the cause, and is consequently termed: "a church member in good standing." There are literally hundreds of thousands who come under this category. They honestly believe themselves to be Christians, merely because they have assented to certain doctrines, and passed through various ordinances. They know absolutely nothing of the regenerating power of the Spirit of God, which the Lord Jesus declared to be essential to either seeing or entering the kingdom of God. (John 3:3). They have never been led to see, and to take their place as lost and guilty sinners and, as such, to trust in the finished work of Christ, receive Him as their own personal Saviour, and confess Him as the Lord of their life. They are tragically ignorant of God's free, full, and eternal salvation, which Christ secured for sinners on the cross, and which alone fits a sinner for the presence and favour of a holy and sin-hating God.
(2) THE VOICE OF THE MORALIST.
This voice assures humanity that a Christian is one who endeavours honestly, sincerely and consistently, to do the best he can, to all the people he can, in all the ways he can, and as often as ever he can, and thus attempts to keep "the golden rule," which consists of doing unto others what he would like them to do to him. There are very many such individuals, whose exemplary lives would put many professing Christians to shame by their morality of life, honesty of conduct, sincerity of aim, and consistency in well doing. But these, alas, are seeking to be Christians without Christ! They fit the description given by Paul of those who: "Being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God" (Romans 10:3). These people, well meaning as they are, have utterly failed to realize that man cannot save himself by any efforts of his own. They seem unaware of the fact that, by seeking to merit God's favour on the basis of their own merits, they are virtually denying the necessity for the substitution sacrifice of the Son of God, and treating His work of redemption as a totally unnecessary thing, as far as they are concerned. This really represents an insult to God's wisdom, and to the whole Divine plan of salvation, purchased at such infinite cost. As well may a man lift himself by his own shoe straps, as a sinner, by his own merits, can lift himself into God's favour.
(3) THE VOICE OF MODERNISM.
This voice categorically denies the lost and ruined state of humanity by nature, and the consequent necessity for Christ's redeeming blood to make salvation possible for the sinner. Modernism asserts that all people are, by nature, the children of God, and that each person has within him a germ of divine life, which only requires self-cultivation to bring to fruition. Thus, the Christian life is viewed as an evolutionary process, in which each individual attains to a divine life by developing the forces, which are within himself. According to this theory, each person becomes his own saviour. Needless to say, Modernism both denies and ridicules the Divine inspiration and integrity of the holy Scriptures. In its place, it loudly proclaims the theory of: "The universal Fatherhood of God, and the universal brotherhood of man." There are thousands of such modernists today, and the tragedy is that many of them occupy supposedly Christian pulpits. From behind them they deny the very truths they promised to uphold and which they are paid to preach! These men fit the description given by our Lord to the religious leaders of His day, for they are but "Blind leaders of the blind"(Matthews 15:14).
(4) THE VOICE OF CULTISM.
The past century has witnessed the rise of dozens of false cults, all claiming to be of Divine origin, and each appealing to the Scriptures for verification of its peculiar doctrines. Each of these cults will therefore define a Christian as one who accepts its own particular teachings, and seeks to spread its theories. These cults are usually well organized, their doctrines cleverly stated and attractively propagated, and their adherents often more enthusiastic in spreading their errors than Christians are in preaching the gospel of the grace of God! Thousands of people have been led astray by their "cunningly devised fables," and thus, deceived and blinded by "the god of this age," they sincerely but mistakenly imagine themselves to be Christians! In the multitude of man-conceived theories and miss-interpreted Scriptures, God's statement in 1 Corinthians 2:14 is verified: "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."
TEST 1: THE CHRISTIAN LESSON 1
Please read carefully and fill in the blanks on the lines provided.
1. There are four good rules of Bible Study. Can you name two of them? .................. ..................
2. A divine principle of bless is "I will bless thee and .................. .................. .................. .................. BLESSING
3. The key verse for Bible Study is in 1st ..................
4. There are four voices that define what a Christian is. Can you name them?
5. The Moralist says, "live by .................. .................. Rule
6. Who says we are "all children of God? ..................
7. The Bible teaches that all people are children of God - True .................. False ..................
8. A church member in good standing is a born again Christian - True .................. False ..................
9. Modernists are .................. .................. of the blind Matthew 15:14
10. Jesus said "Ye .................. be born .................. " .
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Created by Harold Smith
Updated May 2012 by Shelly Allen