The Returning Christ
1Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. 2There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? 3When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.
10As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them. 11“Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!”
1 Thessalonians 4:15-18
15We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died. 16For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the believers who have died will rise from their graves. 17Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. 18So encourage each other with these words.
We will be with Him.
We believe in the personal return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. That the coming again of Jesus Christ is the ‘Blessed Hope’ set before us, for which we should be constantly looking.
20But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. 21He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control.
We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed.
36However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows. 37When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day. 38In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat. 39People didn’t realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes.
To be a disciple of Jesus involves living through the tension between the already and the not yet.
We do not wait for forgiveness and all graces as though we would not receive them until the life to come; rather, they are now present for us in faith—even though they are hidden and will be revealed only in the life to come. In the life to come, we shall no more have need of faith, for then we shall not see dark through a glass (as we do now) but we shall see face to face.
1 Corinthians 13:12
Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.
We know no more about eternal life than children in the womb of their mother know about the world they are about to enter.
1 John 3:1-3
1See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him. 2Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. 3And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure.
We will be like Him.
You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.
We are preparing to meet him when He comes.
1”Look! I am sending my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. Then the Lord you are seeking will suddenly come to his Temple. The messenger of the covenant, whom you look for so eagerly, is surely coming,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 2“But who will be able to endure it when he comes? Who will be able to stand and face him when he appears? For he will be like a blazing fire that refines metal, or like a strong soap that bleaches clothes.”
1Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven with the key to the bottomless pit and a heavy chain in his hand. 2He seized the dragon—that old serpent, who is the devil, Satan—and bound him in chains for a thousand years. 3The angel threw him into the bottomless pit, which he then shut and locked so Satan could not deceive the nations anymore until the thousand years were finished. Afterward he must be released for a little while. 4Then I saw thrones, and the people sitting on them had been given the authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their testimony about Jesus and for proclaiming the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his statue, nor accepted his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They all came to life again, and they reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5This is the first resurrection. (The rest of the dead did not come back to life until the thousand years had ended.) 6Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. For them the second death holds no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him a thousand years.
7Look! He comes with the clouds of heaven. And everyone will see him— even those who pierced him. And all the nations of the world will mourn for him. Yes! Amen! 8“I am the Alpha and the Omega—the beginning and the end,” says the Lord God. “I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come—the Almighty One.”
Though we very truly hear that the Kingdom of God will be filled with splendor, joy, happiness, and glory, yet when these things are spoken of, they remain utterly remote from our perception, and, as it were, wrapped in obscurities, until that day comes when he will reveal to us his glory, that we may behold it face to face.
“I firmly believe, nor am I ashamed to assert, that next to theology no art is equal to music.” Martin Luther
13When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14“Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.” 15Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?”
16Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
17Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. 18Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.
19So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family. 20Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. 21We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord. 22Through him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit.
Seven Characteristics of the Church
The Word of God
The Lord’s Supper
27“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, 29for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand. 30The Father and I are one.”
“We believe that the Church is composed of all those who truly believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. It is the body and bride of Christ. That every believer is baptized into the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit, whether Jew or Gentile, and thus being members of one another we are responsible to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, rising above all sectarian prejudices and denominational bigotry, loving one another with a pure heart fervently.
22God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. 23And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.
1 Corinthians 10:31-33
31So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 32Don’t give offense to Jews or Gentiles or the church of God. 33I, too, try to please everyone in everything I do. I don’t just do what is best for me; I do what is best for others so that many may be saved.
We believe that all believers in our Lord Jesus Christ are called to be set apart from the world and sinful practices and to be set apart to the Lord. Above all things we are to love the Lord, to know Him, to desire to live in His presence.
O God, you are my God;
I earnestly search for you.
My soul thirsts for you;
my whole body longs for you
in this parched and weary land
where there is no water.
And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 2Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
We believe that the mission of the people of God in this age is the evangelizing of the world and discipling those who know Jesus Christ as Savior.
2 Timothy 2:2
You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.
18Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Lindsay Whisenant – Guatemala
Sudan and Egypt—Sudanese Church Planting/Training
• Form a leadership team in Egypt for Sudanese refugees
• Formation of regional leadership teams in the Sudan
The Holy Spirit
26But I will send you the Advocate—the Spirit of truth. He will come to you from the Father and will testify all about me. 27And you must also testify about me because you have been with me from the beginning of my ministry.
John 16:8, 13-15
8“And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment.
13When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. 14He will bring me glory by telling you whatever he receives from me. 15All that belongs to the Father is mine; this is why I said, “The Spirit will tell you whatever he receives from me.”
The Five Solas
Sola Scriptura (“Scripture alone”)
Sola Fide (“Faith alone”)
Sola Gratia (“Grace alone”)
Solus Christus (“Christ alone”)
Soli Deo Gloria (“To the glory of God alone”)
We glorify God by making disciples of all people.
We believe that the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Godhead, the source and power of all acceptable worship and service, and infallible interpreter of the infallible Word, the One ever present to testify of Christ, regenerates and indwells all true believers, seals them unto the day of redemption, baptizes them into the one body of Christ, and seeks to occupy them with Christ and not with themselves nor with their own experiences.
4When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, 5he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. 6He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. 7Because of his grace he made us right in his sight and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.
By free choice in this place we mean a power of the human will by which a man can apply himself to the things which lead to eternal salvation, or turn away from them.
-D. Erasmus (1524)
63The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64But some of you do not believe me. (For Jesus knew from the beginning which ones didn’t believe, and he knew who would betray him.) 65Then he said, “That is why I said that people can’t come to me unless the Father gives them to me.”
For no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them to me, and at the last day I will raise them up.
And what do the words of Christ, where He said, "No one can come unto Me except My Father which hath sent Me draw him," leave to "Free-will?" For He says it is necessary, that everyone should hear and learn of the Father Himself, and that all must be "taught of God." Here, indeed, He not only declares that the works and devoted efforts of "Free-will" are of no avail, but that even the word of the Gospel itself, (of which He is here speaking,) is heard in vain, unless the Father Himself speak within, and teach and draw.
-Martin Luther (1525)
I believe that by my own understanding or strength I cannot believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to him, but instead the Holy Spirit has called me through the gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, made me holy and kept me in true faith, just as he calls, gathers, enlightens, and makes holy the whole Christian church on earth and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one common, true faith.
-Luther, Small Catechism (1529)
Not “Does God or Man?” but “Is man capable at all?”
4But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, 5that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) 6For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. 7So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.
Is it “synergism” or “monogism”?
12Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. 13For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.
The Salvation of Man
1. We are created in the image of God for a relationship with God.
2. Sin broke the relationship. We are spiritually dead toward God.
3. Salvation is the restoration of the relationship God intended.
Genesis 2:16 (NIV)
God tested their love
You must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.
They ate. They died (spiritually). They hid.
God sought. He cursed. He replaced their coverings with skins.
verse 24 “Build an altar”
Two important lessons:
1. Sin is punishable by death. (Romans 6:23)
2. God is merciful and does not want to punish. (John 3:16)
God promised the Messiah would be the final sacrifice.
5He was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. …
6All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all.
Matthew 1:21 Jesus, will save His people from their sins
Mark 10:28 Give His life a ransom for many
Luke 19:10 Seek and save the lost
John 1:29 Takes away the sin of the world
John 8:24 Unless you believe I AM, you will die in your sins.
How did He provide salvation?
2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV)
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Great Swap - “Identity theft.”
1 Peter 3:18 (NIV)
“God came down the mountain.”
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.
Romans 1:17 (NIV)
For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
He died for me, He made His righteousness mine, and made my sin His own; and if he made my sin His own, then I do not have it, and I am free.
No condemnation for those who are “IN CHRIST”
Purgatory denies the sufficiency of the death of Christ.
Ephesians 2:8-10 NIV
8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
45Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations.”
Acts 4:12 NIV
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.
Because He alone was sinless.
I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
Does any other religion offer a savior?
“Repent and believe” = change your mind
-about your sin
-Christ’s sinlessness and substitution for your sin
-a new relationship with GOD.
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. … how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?
6Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. 7So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’
No one is saved by looking at nature or by “spirituality.”
Why did God do all this?
8But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. 9And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. 1 For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. 11So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.
CFC Doctrinal Statement:
“That owing to universal death through sin, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless born again. That no degree of reformation, however great, no attainments in morality, however high, no culture, however attractive, no baptism or other ordinance, however administered, can help the sinner to take even one step toward heaven, but a new nature is absolutely essential to salvation, and only those thus saved are sons of God.” Jn. 3:3-8; Tit. 3:5; 2 Cor. 5:17; Jn. 1:12-13; I Jn. 5:1; Acts 4:12; Jn. 14:6; Isa. 64:6; Rom. 3:1-23; Gal. 3:22; Rom. 5:12.
“That Christ, in the fullness of the blessings He has secured by His death and resurrection, is received by faith alone and that the moment we trust in Him as our Savior we pass out of death into everlasting life, that we are justified, accepted by the Father, and loved as Jesus is loved. At the time of acceptance of Christ as Savior, He comes to dwell within the believer and to live out His life of holiness and power through him.” Eph. 2:6-8; Jn. 1:12, 5:24, 6:47; Acts 13:38; Rom.4:5, 24, 25, 5:1; 1 Cor. 1:30; Eph. 1:6; Col. 2:10; Heb. 10:10-14; Eph. 1:13, 5:30, 31; Gal. 2:20; Col. 1:27.
Anyone who truly understands how God's grace comes to us will have a changed life. That's the gospel, not salvation by law, or by cheap grace, but by costly grace. Costly grace changes you from the inside out. Neither law nor cheap grace can do that.
In Christ Alone
We believe that Jesus Christ, the eternal Second Person of the Godhead, was conceived in the Virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit, and is truly God and truly man.
20As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. 21And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet: 23“Look! The virgin will conceive a child. She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’” (Isaiah 7:14)
It is a high article to believe that this infant, born of Mary, is true God; for nobody’s reason can ever accept the fact that he who created heaven and earth and is adored by angels was born of a virgin. That is the article. Nobody believes it except he who also knows this faith, namely, that this child is the Lord and Savior.
-Martin Luther (1530)
“I am the Alpha and the Omega—the beginning and the end,” says the Lord God. “I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come—the Almighty One.”
We believe that Jesus Christ became the sinner’s substitute before God and died as an acceptable sacrifice for the sin of the whole world. That our redemption has been accomplished solely by the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, who was made to be sin and was made a curse for us, dying in our place. That no repentance, no feeling, no faith, no good resolutions, no sincere efforts, no submission to the rules and regulations of any church can add in the very least to the value of the precious blood or to the merit of His finished work.
When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned.
Long ages would put millions of years of death before sin, but Romans 5:12 says death came after sin, and is the reason we need a Savior.
For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood.
2 Corinthians 5:21
For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.
1 Peter 3:18
Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit.
When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God.
He took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
The meaning of Christ’s words becomes perfectly plain to this effect: “This feast signifies or is the symbol by which you will recall that my body, mine, the Son of God, your Lord and Master, was given for you.”
-Ulrich Zwingli (1525)
1 Corinthians 10:14-18
14So, my dear friends, flee from the worship of idols. 15You are reasonable people. Decide for yourselves if what I am saying is true. 16When we bless the cup at the Lord’s Table, aren’t we sharing in the blood of Christ? And when we break the bread, aren’t we sharing in the body of Christ? 17And though we are many, we all eat from one loaf of bread, showing that we are one body. 18Think about the people of Israel. Weren’t they united by eating the sacrifices at the altar?
The Lord’s Supper is a ceremony of our union with Christ and each other.
1 Corinthians 11:23-32
23For I pass on to you what I received from the Lord himself. On the night when he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread 24and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25In the same way, he took the cup of wine after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood. Do this in remembrance of me as often as you drink it.” 26For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord’s death until he comes again. 27So anyone who eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord unworthily is guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28That is why you should examine yourself before eating the bread and drinking the cup. 29For if you eat the bread or drink the cup without honoring the body of Christ, you are eating and drinking God’s judgment upon yourself. 30That is why many of you are weak and sick and some have even died. 31But if we would examine ourselves, we would not be judged by God in this way. 32Yet when we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned along with the world.
The Sovereign Creator
Genesis 1:1, 26-27 NLT
1In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. … 26Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.” 27So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
CFC Doctrinal Statement
That man was originally created in the image of God, with distinction – male and female – He created them after the likeness of God, and that man fell through sin, and as a consequence of his sin, lost his spiritual life, becoming dead in trespasses and sins, and that he became subject to the power of the devil. That his spiritual death, or total depravity, has been transmitted to the entire human race of man, the Man Christ Jesus alone excepted, and hence, that every person is born into the world with a nature that possesses no spark of divine life, but is essentially and unchangeably sinful apart from divine grace.
That instituting procreation for mankind, God established marriage as a lifelong, exclusive relationship between one man and one woman, illustrating the mysterious and loyal union between Christ and His bride, the church; and that all intimate sexual activity outside the marriage relationship, whether heterosexual, homosexual, or otherwise, is immoral and therefore sin. As God created the human race with such purpose and distinction, all conduct with the intent to adopt a gender other than one’s birth gender is immoral and therefore sin.
(Genesis 1-3; 2:18-25; Deuteronomy 22:5; Psalm 14:1-3, 51:5; Jeremiah 17:9; John 3:6, 6:53; Matthew 19:3-5; Romans 1:18-31, 3:10-19, 8:6-8; 1Corinthians 6:9-10; Ephesians 2:1-3, 5:21-33)
Did God really make us?
Could God have used millions of years and evolution as His way of creating?
1. Philosophical – Why would an intelligent, powerful, purposeful Being use chance to accomplish His purposes? Randomness and purpose are mutually exclusive.
2. Linguistic – all “theistic evolution” models make the days of Gen 1 long periods. Every other time the OT uses the word “yom” with a number, it refers to a “24 hour” day. 431 times! Also “evening and morning.” God could not have made it clearer. Also Exodus 20:11
3. Theological – Long ages would put millions of years of death before sin, but Rom 5:12 says death came after sin, and is the reason we need a Savior.
If God made us in His image:
1. We have purpose. Everything ever made was made for a purpose.
1In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He existed in the beginning with God. 3God created everything through Him, and nothing was created except through Him.
15Christ is the visible image of the invisible God…16Everything was created through Him and for Him
What is our purpose?
To hallow/honor His name (Matthew 6:9)
To do everything to the glory of God (1Corinthians 10:31)
To be conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29).
We are not limited by intelligence, strength, etc. We can ALL bring Him pleasure.
2. We have value, worth, dignity
Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?
9“Sometimes [our tongue] praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. 10And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!
Colossians 3:5-17 NIV
5Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. 12Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love … “
Treat others with respect, dignity, even if we disagree with them.
3. We are made for a relationship with God.
Philippians 3:7, 10, 12 NIV
3“I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, … 10 I want to know Christ … 12Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.”
4. We are moral creatures, accountable to God.
3Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people. 4Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. 5You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. 6Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the anger of God will fall on all who disobey him. 7Don’t participate in the things these people do. 8For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light!
2 Corinthians 5:10
For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body.
“Right” is not determined by popular opinion, nor is it just because God “says so.” It is that which is consistent with God’s nature.
If we are the result of evolution (time and chance) there is no basis for right and wrong.
If God made us male and female:
1Thessalonians. 4:3-5, 7-8
3God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin. 4Then each of you will control his own body and live in holiness and honor— 5not in lustful passion like the pagans who do not know God and his ways. … 7God has called us to live holy lives, not impure lives. 8Therefore, anyone who refuses to live by these rules is not disobeying human teaching but is rejecting God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.
Hebrews 13:4 NIV
Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.
9Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, 10or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. 11Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God … 13You say, “Food was made for the stomach, and the stomach for food.” (This is true, though someday God will do away with both of them.) But you can’t say that our bodies were made for sexual immorality. They were made for the Lord, and the Lord cares about our bodies. 14And God will raise us from the dead by his power, just as he raised our Lord from the dead. … 18Run from sexual sin! … 19Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.
We are sexual beings, but we are not only sexual beings. Jesus was fully human and perfectly fulfilled, and He remained sexually pure. We can do the same.
We believe that there is one God who eternally exists in three separate and distinct persons—God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. That each person of the Godhead is fully God, having precisely the same nature, attributes, and perfections, and worthy of precisely the same worship and obedience.
We Christians believe in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. We concede that it is a sublime article of faith beyond the grasp of reason, but we know that nothing is too sublime or impossible for faith. For faith relies on God's Word and is guided by it, not by reason. Faith is firmly convinced that the divine truth is unshakable and eternal; for God has said this, and His Word testifies to it.
No, this doctrine (of the Trinity) is not derived from reason; it is derived from the Holy Spirit. And therefore, I suppose, it will always remain incomprehensible to reason without the aid of the Holy Spirit.
-Luther’s Works, 22:76
Biblical Foundations of the Trinity
The Father is God (John 1:14; Romans 1:7; Galatians 1:1)
The Son is God (John 1:14; Romans 9:5; Titus 2:13)
The Spirit is God (Acts 5:3-9; 2 Corinthians 3:17)
Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us.”
John 1:1-3, 14
1In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He existed in the beginning with God. 3God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him.
14So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.
2 Corinthians 3:17
For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
For what purpose would God reveal himself to us as a triune being?
Christianity, alone among the world faiths, teaches that God is triune. The doctrine of the Trinity is that God is one being who exists eternally in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Trinity means that God is, in essence, relational.
-Tim Keller, The Reason for God; p. 223.
We could never come to recognize the Father's favor and grace were it not for the Lord Christ, who is a mirror of the Father's heart. Apart from him we see nothing but an angry and terrible judge. But neither could we know anything of Christ, had it not been revealed by the Holy Spirit.
-Luther’s Catechism, 2:63-65
12There is so much more I want to tell you, but you can’t bear it now. 13When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. 14He will bring me glory by telling you whatever he receives from me. 15All that belongs to the Father is mine; this is why I said, “The Spirit will tell you whatever he receives from me.”
36(After the Passover meal) Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” 39Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
The Trinity demonstrates for us the way to live in relationship with others.
3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. 5In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant
This article [of the Trinity] remained pure in the papacy and among the scholastic theologians, and we have no quarrel with them on that score.
-Luther’s Works 15:310
The Word Did It All: Sola Scriptura
What led up to the Reformation
~4 BC – Jesus born
~AD 29 – Crucified, Pentecost – people from Iraq, N Africa, to Rome
~36 Stephen stoned
50s – 60s Paul’s missionary journeys, persecution by Jews
64 - Nero’s persecutions in Rome
70 - Jerusalem destroyed with great slaughter, believers fled as refugees
70-312 – Christianity spread to most of the Roman world, N Africa, India
· Because of message of “Good News”, plus lifestyle of love for the poor, sick
· Persecution because they were “different” - did not worship idols or declare “Caesar is Lord”
312 – Emperor Constantine stopped persecution, showed favor to Christianity
325 – 450 Clarification of sound doctrine, creeds, canon
380 – Christianity became official religion of the Roman Empire
476 – Fall of the Roman Empire, the Church became the main unifying factor in what later became “Europe”.
620-632 - Mohammad
732 – Islam spread around Mediterranean world, into S Europe, stopped at Tours, France
800 – Charlemagne crowned by Pope Leo as head of revived Holy Roman Empire
900s – Contest between Feudal Lords and Church leaders over who was supreme
1000s – Pilgrims to Holy Land resisted by Turks, and called for help
· Seven Crusades to retake the Holy Land.
· Growing power of the Church – excommunication of individuals, interdiction of whole nations
· Construction of Cathedrals, Universities = The Church is supreme”
· Growing corruption, calls for reform, purity, poverty. Peter Waldo and others, called heretics
1215- Inquisition – secret trials and torture to root out “heresy”, which meant any criticism of the church.
1305-1377 Seven French Popes, rule from Avignon, Rome declines
1377-1409 Great Schism – 2 Popes excommunicating each other, then 3.
1377 – John Wycliffe, Oxford Prof calls both Popes “antichrists” and calls for purity, translates Bible into English.
1415 – Jan Hus, Prof in Prague, influenced by Wycliffe, translates Bible into Czech, called a heretic, burned at the stake.
1505 – Luther becomes a monk, desperately looking for peace with God
1515 – As theology prof, Luther discovers “justification by faith” (Rom 1:17)
1517 – Tetzel sells “indulgences” to finance new St Peter’s in Rome
Oct 31, 1517 Luther nails 95 “theses” to door of church in Wittenberg.
1520 – Luther declared a heretic, called to trial at Diet of Worms. Saved from arrest and death by the prince of Saxony, Duke Frederick the Wise.
Four main issues of the Reformation:
1. How is a person saved? Not by works, but by faith alone.
2. Where does religious authority lie? Church or Scripture?
3. What is the Church? Not the organization, but the “assembly” The whole community of Christian believers.
4. What is the essence of Christian living? Serving God in any useful calling, whether ordained or layperson.
Why “Sola Scriptura”?
Jesus - Mk 12:36 quotes Ps 110 “David spoke by the HS”.
Paul - 2 Tim 3:16 “All inspired by God” 1 Thes 2:13; Rom 15:4
Peter – Acts 1:16; 2 Pet 1:21 Not the ideas of men. Inspired by the HS. Ps 22, 110
CFC Doctrinal statement.
“That all Scripture is given by inspiration of God’, by which we understand that God superintended the human authors so that using their unique personalities they composed and recorded God’s revelation to man without error in the original manuscripts. That the Bible’s teaching and authority is absolute, supreme and final. 2 Pet 1:19-21; 2 Tim 3:16; Acts 1:16; I Thes 2:13; I Cor 2:11-14
Is the Bible accurate or full or errors?
NT has more MSS, older MSS than any other document of antiquity.
Bart Ehrman admits " Essential Christian beliefs are not affected by textual variants in the manuscript tradition of the New Testament."
Is the Bible authoritative? -
1. It gives Light
Psa. 19:7-10 “The instructions of the Lord are perfect, reviving the soul, … making wise the simple, … bringing joy to the heart . … giving insight for living, … lasting forever, … true, … They are more desirable than gold, even the finest gold. They are sweeter than honey, even honey dripping from the comb. They are a warning … a great reward for those who obey them.” See Proverbs
2. Necessary for “new birth/eternal life”
Rom 10:9-14 “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. … 13 For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 But how can they call on him to save them … if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?”
Acts 4:12 “There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” See also James 1:18; 1 Pet 1:23
Religion and “seeing God in nature” are not enough.
3. Necessary for spiritual maturity
2Tim 3:16-17 “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.” See also Rom 12:2
If Jesus was raised from the dead, He is who He said He was – GOD! And everything He said and taught is true. And the Bible is true and accurate and authoritative. And we feed on it to our blessing, or ignore it to our peril.