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LESSON 1 – IT MAKES SENSE TO BE SCRIPTURAL
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LESSON 1: IT MAKES SENSE TO BE SCRIPTURAL 1
It Makes Sense to be Scriptural
Water Baptism - Is it Scriptural?
How About a Scriptural Church?
Must Worship be Scriptural?
Scriptural Evangelism - Today
A SCRIPTURAL CONVERSION
It is most enlightening to compare the superficial used by men to describe conversion with the solid truth of the Scriptures. Instead of "decisions for Christ", "going forward,” or "giving one's heart to Jesus" we read, "Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness" (Romans 6:18) and "ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord" (Ephesians 5:8). We are well advised, also, to consider the Biblical evidences of conversion rather than being satisfied with the contemporary style of many who profess Christianity. While today, becoming a Christian is often nothing more than having a spiritual experience or changing churches, the Apostle Paul could say to the converts in Thessalonica, "ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come" (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10). Many equate spiritual conversion with a temporary ecstasy. Scripturally, however, it is recorded as obeying "from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered to you" (Romans 6:17). Others, of course, fail to recognize how conversion can be anything more than an intellectual social, convenience. However, the Word of God is very emphatic, "The disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost" (Acts 13:52).
Saul of Tarsus - a Sample
In a letter to his spiritual associate Timothy, the Apostle Paul (formerly known as Saul of Tarsus) suggested his conversion was a sample one: "for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on Him to life everlasting" (1 Timothy 1:16). Based on this let us find some marks of a scriptural conversion.
Conviction of Sin - Acts 9:4.
Saul became aware that his sin, that of persecuting the disciples, was really a sin against God. The prodigal son confessed, "I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight…" (Luke 15:21) - heaven first. Every true convert has had to face the fact of his sin in the sight of God, sin wicked enough to deserve hell forever. Christ came "not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance" (Mark 2:17). Paul called himself the chief of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15)
Contact with Christ - 1 Corinthians 15:8.
The sample conversion was not simply an intellectual assent to a creed, but rather a real, personal encounter with he Lord. The convicted sinner cried out, "Who art thou, Lord?" and the reply is recorded, "I am Jesus" (Acts 9:5. No wonder he could write later, "I know whom I have believed" 2 Timothy 1:12Even in the Old Testament, those who had authentic conversions were those who met the Lord -Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Samuel, Isaiah, etc. No one is genuinely converted in the scriptural sense, without being in touch personally with Him. "He that hath not the Son of God hath not life" (1 John 5:12).
Confession of Lordship - 1 Corinthians 12:3.
Here is where conversion begins to reveal itself. Is the convert prepared to acknowledge that Jesus is his Lord, and will he bow to all His directives? Saul asked, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" Moreover, when the Lord Jesus gave him a minor step to take, he took it. Obedience is not the Christian's foundation, but it is his trademark. And the Bible contains the directives.
Confidence in God - Acts 9:11.
Right after his encounter with Christ, we read, "One called Saul of Tarsus…behold, he prayeth." The convert prays be cause he has given up his self-confidence and self- assertion. He now is learning to depend upon his heavenly father for all things.
Consent to Baptism - Acts 22:16.
This was Saul's first official act as a Christian. Christ had ordained His messengers to make disciples, baptizing them (Matthew 28.19), with the promise that "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved" (Mark 16:16). The pattern convert, took the step of public identification with Christ, that he might thereafter live for his Lord. Every convert ought to do as was recorded of those at Jerusalem, "then they that gladly received His word were baptized" (Acts 2:41).
Communication of the Gospel - Acts 9:20.
No sooner was he baptized than Saul was telling about Jesus Christ. "I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ" (Romans 1:16). This is a sign of true conversion. It is not religion that is propagated, but truth about Christ.
The Christian is not a hermit, but his society has changed. A convert is known by the new company he keeps. Who are your friends?
IT MAKES SENSE TO BE SCRIPTURAL
One of the key ideas in the Satanic propaganda is that God's ways as outlined in God's Word do not make sense. That was basically the strategy of his attack on Eve in the Garden of Eden. And he has kept up the attack without abatement ever since. As Christians, we are well advised to realize where this idea comes from and to prove by our own experience that the devil is a liar. God's ways do make sense in every department of our lives. It is to be expected that the manufacturer would know best how to operate the equipment. And you can be quite confident that when our heavenly Father expresses the rules and regulations that govern the activities of His household, these will always prove most profitable and pleasant for His children. "As for God, His way is perfect" (Psalm 18:30). This applies just as much to the way Christians gather, that is, to their church life, as to anything else that pertains to them. It makes sense to be scriptural in the manner we gather. Our churches are on the right track if they are going God's way. It may surprise you to read this, but the plans and principles laid down in the Bible are really sensible and practicable. You may search in vain among the religious institutions of the world to see a proof of this, but thousands upon thousands of believers who have turned back to God and His ways have experienced the reality of it. Do not forget that not every church that calls itself Christian is necessarily a true Christian church. A true Christian church, however, is a beautiful thing. In the wisdom of God, it is structured so as to operate just as effectively in our modern age as it did in the days of the apostles. It can relate to a western culture just as easily as it can to an Oriental or African society. It functions successfully when composed of either rich or poor Christians, or a combination of both, and is not limited in any way by the meagre education or outstanding intelligence of any of its participants. Composed of Christians, followers of Christ, a scriptural church is the local dwelling place of God. Independent of all outside associations and legislation, it is free to obey the commandments of the Lord within the framework of the community in which it functions. Unhindered by sectarian or denominational names it can properly represent the interests of the Lord Jesus Christ, gathering in His Name alone, and thus acknowledging His exclusive authority. With the Spirit appointed bishops overseeing the house of God, the spiritually gifted brothers ministering to the congregation, and all those in the fellowship exercising their priestly prerogatives, the scriptural church need not be burdened with a salaried ministry or the complexities of an ecclesiastical hierarchy. (Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3; Titus 1). Able to conduct its meetings in any location, indoors or out, such a congregation can fulfil its service to God and society without the detractions of costly building programs, its worship being in spirit and truth, the New Testament assembly wastes no time with lengthy liturgies, unnecessary rituals, and tiring musical performances. (1 Peter 2; Hebrews 10:19, 13:15.) It does make sense to be scriptural. In this age of renewals, when we challenge the policies and procedures of that branch of Christendom with which we have been acquainted, should they not make sense, should they lack spiritual content, let us not sit back and dream up some new religion; rather, let us sit up and take notice of what God says in the Bible. Let us boldly act upon the noble conviction that if God says it we can be sure it will suit us. Congregations of Christians functioning scripturally really make sense.
TEST LESSON 1- IT MAKES SENSE TO BE SCRIPTURAL BIBLE STUDY
TRUE (yes) or FALSE (no)
1. Every true convert has had to face the fact of sin in his or her life. - TRUE ................ FALSE ................
2. In the Old Testament, they could not have real conversions. - TRUE ................ FALSE ................
3. It is not necessary to confess Him as Lord. - TRUE ................ FALSE ................
4. Baptism is necessary to salvation. - TRUE ................ FALSE ................
5. It makes sense to gather in a scriptural way. - TRUE ................ FALSE ................
Have you taken the Lord Jesus as your Saviour? ................
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Created by Harold Smith
Updated May 2012 by Shelly Allen