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Are You An Encourager?

SIH STSTA ICONBarnabas, the missionary companion of the Apostle Paul, is found mentioned throughout the pages of the New Testament Scripture.  Although Barnabas is mentioned several times, little is known about this man and his service to his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Barnabas, and his service to Christ, are overlooked subjects lost within the pages of the Word.

The name Barnabas means “son of prophecy”; “son of inspiration”; “son of consolation” or “son of encouragement”.  This name for Barnabas was not his given name, it was applied to him later in life as a description of his life and ministry (Acts 4:36).  Barnabas was a master at giving strength to those who were weary; he helped give hope to the hopeless and accompaniment to the lonely. Barnabas was, truly, an “encourager” above all fallen humans.

By studying the life of Barnabas we will be placing before us the prime Biblical example of giving encouragement to those who struggle in their service to Christ.  Would to God we all could become the “Barnabas” of our day…

THE SCRIPTURES:

Col 1:9-13; Luke 22:31-33; 2Cor 1:3-6; Acts 4:32-37; Acts 9:23-28; Acts 11:19-24; Acts 11:25-26; Acts 11:27-30; Acts 13:3-5; Acts 14:14; Acts 14:11-12; Gal 2:8-13

THE STUDY:

As we study the life of Barnabas, we find several events in his life that help us to understand important aspects of being an encourager…

Event #1 –

The first mention of the events in Barnabas’s life is in found in Acts 4:32-37… here, we find the gifts of sympathy for others in need and a willingness to sacrifice himself for the welfare of others…..

A time of great need had come upon the church members at Jerusalem.  Barnabas, realizing the people’s need, was willing to sell personal property to help the poverty stricken church members…

And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any [of them] that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.  Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, And laid [them] down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.  And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, [and] of the country of Cyprus, Having land, sold [it], and brought the money, and laid [it] at the apostles’ feet.”

 Event #2 –

The another event in the life of Barnabas displays his willingness to accept those rejected by others.  Also, he made honest, spiritual judgments not being influenced by the judgments made by others.

Here, we find Barnabas willing to stand with the newly converted Saul of Tarsus.  This same Saul was the one guilty of persecuting and murdering Christians in Jerusalem. Barnabas’ trust in Saul, and his conversion experience, can only be explained as a divine act of grace.

Acts 9:23-28 – “And after that many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel to kill him: But their laying await was known of Saul. And they watched the gates day and night to kill him.  Then the disciples took him by night, and let [him] down by the wall in a basket.  And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple.  But Barnabas took him, and brought [him] to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.  And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem.”

 Event #3

 In Acts 11:19-24, we see that Barnabas was selected to represent the church at Jerusalem as he visited the newly formed church at Antioch.  This tells us he was a very responsible man who could be trusted in difficult situations.  This speaks volumes about the person of Barnabas. Note how he was described in the later verses of this section of Scripture…

He is described as a “good man” and “full of the Holy Ghost and faith”.  In other words, an Godly encourager must be one that spent his life being beneficial to others; he allowed the Holy Spirit and trust in the Lord to control every aspect of his life.

Also, as we see his actions with the Antioch Christians … he was sensitive to the workings of God in the lives of others, he was joyful to see God at work in  their lives, and he called them to action by standing with them. 

Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only.  And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus.  And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord.  Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch.  Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord.  For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord.”

Event #4

Barnabas shows his humility by recognizing the need for Paul’s ministry at Antioch. There was no room for puffed up pride in his life.  He recognized that, for the Antioch church’s good, Paul need to minister to them as well as he.

Acts 11:25-26 – “Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul:  And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.”

Event #5

 Barnabas was used as a courier/representative by taking offerings from the church at Antioch and delivering it to the Judaean Christians.  This showed his trustworthiness, and willingness to serve in any capacity where needed to help others.

Acts 11:27-30 – And in these days came prophets from Jerusalem unto Antioch.  And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar. Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea: Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.

Event #6

Barnabas, along with Saul, was recognized as having the calling of God upon him.  This calling of Barnabus, in context, was to a ministry of missions… however, this calling included the  exercise of encouragement during the course of his missionary ministry.

(This is why Barnabas is said to be an Apostle of God in Acts 14:14.  Barnabas never held the office of apostle, however, a wider meaning of “Apostle” is “one called of God to be a delegate or ambassador” or “one called to do the bidding of another”.)

Also, please note that Barnabas was a willing servant of the Lord, willing to do whatever he was called to do.

Acts 13:2-5 – “As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.  And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid [their] hands on them, they sent [them] away.  So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.  And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they had also John to [their] minister.”

Event #7

As before in event #4, we see the humility of Barnabas, who was willing to take a back seat to the ministry of Paul.  Please recognize, the ministry of Barnabas was JUST AS IMPORTANT as the ministry of Paul. However, Paul’s ministry was a more public ministry that was recognized by many more individuals (“he was the chief speaker” of the two.)

Acts 14:11-12 – “And when the people saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in the speech of Lycaonia, The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men. And they called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercurius, because he was the chief speaker.”

 Event #8

 Here we find, perhaps the greatest exhibition of encouragement in the life of Barnabas.  Previously, John Mark had accompanied Paul and Barnabas on their missionary journeys.  John Mark, unexpectedly leaves them at Pamphylia.  As time passes, John Mark desires to rejoin Paul and Barnabas as they begin another missionary journey.  Paul is not willing to take John Mark for fear of him leaving the group again.  Barnabas is willing to give John Mark a second chance at service to the Lord.

Here, we see Barnabas exhibiting forgiveness, the willingness to give second chances, the  recognition that no one is perfect, and the desire to accompany those struggling to serve the Lord.

Acts 15:36-41 – “And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, [and see] how they do.  And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark.  But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work. And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus;  And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God.  And he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches.”

 As time passes, we find that Barnabas made the right decision in trusting John Mark.  We find Paul, in later years, desiring to have John Mark present with him because John Mark had proven himself faithful to the Lord once again…

 2Tim 4:11 – Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.

Event #9

 Encouragers are not always perfect… their ministry calls them to make judgments about others all the time.  At times, they can make wrong judgments about those they are trying to help… in spite of their imperfections and misjudgments, they continue to serve the Lord and attempt to encourage those who are trying to serve God.

 In this case, Barnabas mistakenly encouraging Peter to bend his beliefs to please other men.  In the context, there erupts a disagreement between Paul and Peter concerning the gospel going to the Gentiles.  At one point, Peter joins with John and James in agreeing with Paul that the gospel should go to the Gentiles… based upon this belief, Peter began to associate freely with Gentiles.  However, when Peter enters into the presence of other physical Jews who disagreed with his beliefs, he compromises his stand and separates himself from the Gentiles in an effort to please the Jews.  This was a horrible display of hypocrisy.  Unfortunately, Barnabas fell into the trap of compromise as well, following the example of Peter.  In doing so, Barnabas wrongly encouraged Peter by following his lead.

Gal 2:8-13 – “(For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:) And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we [should go] unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision. Only [they would] that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do.  But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.  For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.  And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.”

Here are a few more points about being encouragers ….

Additional Point #1

 Godly encouragers point others to the ultimate source of encouragement and strength, The Lord Jesus Christ

Col 1:9-13 – “For this cause we also, since the day we heard [it], do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;  That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;  Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;  Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated [us] into the kingdom of his dear Son:”

Additional Point #2

 Godly encouragers recognize the role of their life experiences in their ministry. They also recognize the importance of their ministry in the plan of God and the lives of God’s servants.

 Luke 22:31-33 – And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired [to have] you, that he may sift [you] as wheat:  But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.  And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death.

2Cor 1:3-6 – “Blessed [be] God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. And whether we be afflicted, [it is] for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, [it is] for your consolation and salvation.”

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For those who are saved…

Let us all be thankful to the Lord for the encouragers who have aided us throughout our lifetime of service to the Lord.  Also, let us take seriously, the opportunities the Lord opens to us to be an encouragement to others.  Let us always be watchful for those opportunities and be thankful when we are allowed to help others who are striving to serve the Lord.

For those who have never come to a saving knowledge of Christ…

Do you find yourself in need of encouragement?  Do you miss having someone who will always accompany and strengthen you throughout your walk on this earth?  Then look to the Lord for the forgiveness of your sins and an everlasting presence in your life.

I have a tab available on my blog that gives in depth information on what salvation is and what you must do to be saved.  Please click on this link for more information about salvation.

If you have any questions or concerns about your salvation, find a Bible-believing church in your area.  The Pastor would be glad to share Christ and the way of salvaiton with you.   If you feel more comfortable communicating through email, you are always welcome to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.

May the Lord bless you as you seek His truth.

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SIH Ministries Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org

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www.settledinheavenbibleblog.posterous.com

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To see this lesson taught on video please go to my Video Blog at  http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Take A Look At My Wife’s Artistic/Scriptural Devotion Blog http://alivewithchristart.blogspot.com

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

The Filling of the Spirit (The Spirit Controlling Our Lives)

SIH STSTA ICON(Due to the length of this blog entry, I have chosen to abbreviate the Scripture texts… please have an open Bible at hand as we study this important subject.)

One of the most talked about subjects among Christians is the doctrine of “Spirit filling” and the results of this filling in the lives of Christians.   The only way for us to come to a sound understanding of this doctrine is to examine the many examples of Spirit filling that are found in both the Old and New Testament scriptures:

THE SCRIPTURES:

Exod 28:1-4 (KJV)

…And thou shalt speak unto all [that are] wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him, …

Exod 31:1-5 (KJV)

….Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah:And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship,…

Exod 35:30-35 (KJV)

… Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah;And he hath filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship;…

Deut 34:9-12 (KJV)

And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom;…

Luke 1:13-16 (KJV)

…and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb.And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God.

Luke 1:39-42 (KJV)

… and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed [art] thou among women, and blessed [is] the fruit of thy womb.

Luke 1:67-70 (KJV)

And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied,…

Luke 4:1-2 (KJV)

And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan,…

Acts 2:1-4 (KJV)

…And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Acts 4:5-14 (KJV)

…Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, …

Acts 4:27-31 (KJV)

…and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.

Acts 6:3-5 (KJV)

Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom,…

Acts 7:54-60 (KJV)

…But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, …

Acts 9:10-19 (KJV)

…that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost…

Acts 11:22-26 (KJV)

….For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord…

Acts 13:8-11 (KJV)

…Then Saul, (who also [is called] Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him,And said,…

Acts 13:50-52 (KJV)

…And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost.

THE STUDY:

  1. The OT references to “Spirit filling”
    1. Exo 28:3, 31:3, 35:31–     In each of these cases, the Spirit filled men which gave them the wisdom and ability to construct the furniture and garments related to the tabernacle and the worship services.
      1. Exo 28:3 – Being “wise-hearted” was the result of Spirit filling

ii. Exo 31:1-3, 35:31 – The God’s sovereign call of Bezaleel brought about the Spirit filling which gave him the wisdom understanding and knowledge to perform all manner of workmanship.

  1. Deut 34:9–     The filling of Joshua took place when Moses laid hands on him.   Laying on of hands was the public declaration of God’s choice of Joshua was the successor to Moses.
    1. This filling then enabled Joshua to lead the children of Israel in the promised land.

The NT references to “Spirit filling”

    1. Luke 1:15–     Here we find John the Baptist, filled while in his mothers womb. John the Baptist as the forerunner of Christ was to announce Christ’s coming to the world.  This event was the first time he announced Christ’s coming.
      1. This filling enabled John to recognize, and react to, the Messiah who was still in the womb of Mary.
    2. Luke 1:41-67–     In these verses, we read of John’s parents Elizabeth and Zacharias blessed Mary and the Messiah who was in her womb.
      1. The Spirit filling allowed both Elizabeth and Zacharias to recognize the Messiah in Mary’s womb and also enabled them to make their proclamations of blessings upon Mary and the Christ.
    3. Luke 4:1–     Following Christ’s baptism, we find Him described as being filled with the Spirit.  Perhaps this Spirit filling took place from His conception, or perhaps from His baptism.  In either case, we find Him filled before His encounter with Satan in the wilderness.
      1. Probably, Christ was filled with the Spirit to enable Him to perform all His wondrous acts during His earthly ministry.  However, in the context, we can see, for certain, that one reason for His filling was to empower Him during the temptation that was about to take place.
    4. Acts 2:4 –     The Holy Spirit sovereignty filled the believing church members of the church at Jerusalem.  This took place during the Day of Pentecost
      1. This filling enabled the church members to speak in known human languages that were unknown to the speakers (but known to the hearers).  This allowed the Christians to proclaim the wondrous works of the Lord to foreigners who did not speak the Greek language.
    5. Acts 4:8 –     Peter and John were filled with the Spirit during their examination at the hands of Jewish religious leaders.
      1. This filling allowed them to answer with boldness and clarity as they were being questioned.
    6. Acts 4:31–     The believers, assembled to hear John and Peter speak were filled with the Holy Ghost as they were listening to the account of John and Peter.
      1. The believers were enabled to speak the word of God with boldness in the face of threatened persecution.
    7. Acts 6:3-5–     Here we read the Godly men of Jerusalem, who were soon to become the first deacons of the church at Jerusalem, were filled with the Spirit
      1. This filling gave these Godly men the ability to fulfill the office of deacon.
    8. Acts 7:55–     Stephen was filled with the Spirit immediately before he was martyred for the cause of Christ.
      1. This filling gave Stephen the ability to continue to proclaim the truth of God even in the face of death by stoning. Also, the filling allowed him to look into heaven and see the Lord.
    9. Acts 9:17–     Saul (Paul) was filled with the Holy Ghost immediately following Ananias hands being laid upon Him. This marked the beginning of Paul’s earthly ministry
      1. This filling resulted in Paul receiving his sight, gaining strength and then beginning his public ministry for the Lord.
    10. Acts 11:22-26–     Here Barnabus is described as being “a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith”.
      1. This filling allowed Barnabus to preach Godly messages empowered by the Spirit resulting in many souls being saved.
    11. Acts 13:8-11–     Here Paul, as he faces Elymas the sorcerer, is said to be filled with the Spirit.
      1. This filling of the Spirit resulted in Paul’s being able to stand up against the demoniac sorcerer and strike him blind.
    12. Acts 13:52–     Paul and Barnabus, following being cast out of Antioch, is filled with the Sprit and joy before beginning to minster in Iconium.
      1. This filling allowed Paul and Barnabus ot remain encouraged in the Lord and to minister to those at Iconium resulting in “a great multitude both of the Jews and also of the Greeks believed”

Please notice, in all the above examples the filling of the Holy Spirit was given to fulfill a specific ministry or calling.  Although forgiven of our sins, we, as Christians, are still sinful, fallen human beings, constantly hindered from faithful service by our sinful flesh.  The filling of the Spirit is one way that God enables us to serve Him in extraordinary capacities.

Also notice that the speaking of tongues only took place in one instance out of seventeen instances of Spirit filling.  There is no reason to believe that the speaking of tongues automatically accompanies the filling of the Spirit…. it is clear that, normally, tongues not did accompany Spirit filling in Bible times.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

Eph 5:1-20 (KJV)

Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.Be not ye therefore partakers with them.For ye were sometimes darkness, but now [are ye] light in the Lord: walk as children of light:(For the fruit of the Spirit [is] in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove [them].For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord [is].And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

In this passage of Scripture, Paul gives us instructions on the necessity of living a Godly life in the midst of this sinful world.  Loving with a self-sacrificial love, separation from the sin and the sinful influences of this world, living a life of wisdom, understanding and fulfilling the will of God in our lives; these all are themes touched upon by Paul.

Then Paul makes the statement “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit”.

The need for the Spirit’s filling in every Christian’s life is clearly linked to living a life that rises above the sinful influences of this world.   As a part of fallen mankind, we all have a bent toward sin.  Without the Holy Spirit filling our life and controlling it we are destined for spiritual failure in our day to day walk with Him.

Also, please note that Paul, in a sense, relates “Spirit filling” with “being drunk with wine”.  Why?  Drunkenness controls every aspect of a person’s demeanor… It affects speech, movement, judgement… the list goes on and on.   This is very similar to the Spirit filling a person’s life.  It is then that the Spirit is in control of our entire being.  Our thoughts, emotions, words, and actions are all under submission to His will and ways.

What are some results of this Spirit filling? A joyous, contented., thankful heart set on glorifying the Lord … “ Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”

How is a Christian filled with the Spirit?  By, willfully, turning over every aspect of our lives to the rule and reign of Jesus Christ.  That is when the indwelling Spirit will take control of our entire being and work in us bringing about success in our individual ministries the Lord has chosen for us.

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To see this lesson taught on video please go to my Video Blog at  http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Take A Look At My Wife’s Artistic/Scriptural Devotion Blog http://alivewithchristart.blogspot.com

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

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What Must We Do To Be Saved? Part 3 – Faith/Belief

SIH STSTA ICONTHE most important question that anyone can ask is the question posed by the keeper of the prison in Acts 16:30… “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”.

The answer to this question is more valuable than gold, silver and all the wealth this world has to offer.  This answer will reveal to us the path that leads to the forgiveness of our sins, the receipt of the indwelling Holy Spirit, fellowship with the Only True and Living Creator, and eternity in paradise with God Himself.  Our very spiritual life and  eternal destiny rely upon finding the answer to this question.

This question is of such importance we will be taking several blog entries to carefully  answer this question…

Blog Entry #1 Salvation

Blog Entry #2 Repentance

Blog Entry #3 Faith / Belief

Blog Entry #4 What about good works?

Blog Entry #5 What about baptism?

Blog Entry #6 What about the Lord’s Supper?

Blog Entry #7 What about church membership?

We now begin our study with blog entry #3…. Faith (or Belief) ….

THE SCRIPTURES:

Acts 16:29-34 (KJV)

29) Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas,

30) And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?

31) And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

32) And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.

33) And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed [their] stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.

34) And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.

Acts 13:36-39 (KJV)

36) For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption:

37) But he, whom God raised again, saw no corruption.

38) Be it known unto you therefore, men [and] brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins:

39) And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.

John 1:10-14 (KJV)

10) He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.

11) He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

12) But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name:

13) Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

14) And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

John 3:14-17 (KJV)

14) And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:

15) That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

16) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

17) For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

John 3:35-36 (KJV)

35) The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.

36) He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

John 6:32-47 (KJV)

32) Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.

33) For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.

34) Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.

35) And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

36) But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.

37) All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

38) For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.

39) And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.

40) And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

41) The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven.

42) And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven?

43) Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves.

44) No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

45) It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.

46) Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father.

47) Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.

John 11:25-27 (KJV)

25) Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:

26) And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

27) She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.

John 20:30-31 (KJV)

30) And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:

31) But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

Rom 4:23-5:1 (KJV)

23) Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him;

24) But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;

25) Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

1) Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

Eph 2:4-10 (KJV)

4) But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,

5) Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

6) And hath raised [us] up together, and made [us] sit together in heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus:

7) That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

8) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God:

9) Not of works, lest any man should boast.

10) For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

1 John 5:10-13 (KJV)

10) He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.

11) And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

12) He that hath the Son hath life; [and] he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.

13) These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

THE STUDY:

What is faith?  The Biblical term “faith” carries with it the idea of “reliance”, “persuasion”, “conviction”, or “trust”.  To believe or to trust are other Biblical terms for the same idea.

When we speak of faith, or belief, or trust, in Christ… we are saying that an individual is persuaded, and becomes thoroughly convinced of the Bible teachings about the person and work of Christ. This conviction leads him to totally rely upon the work of Christ as the basis of the forgiveness and salvation from his sin.  This is a Biblical faith in Christ.

A Saving faith is centered on the work  of Christ on the cross.

John 3:14-17 (KJV) – And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:  That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

Following the plague of the serpents that fell upon the Israelites, they were told to look unto the brazen serpent on the pole to receive healing.  This was a wonderful picture of the salvation that comes through faith in Christ and his work.

Just as mankind is facing eternal spiritual death due to the “bite” of sin in their lives… by looking to Christ and His work on the cross by faith, they can receive forgiveness and healing from the wounds of sin. (Psa 41:4, 1 Pet 2:20-24, Isa 53:4-6)

Saving Faith is a necessity for salvation and therefore, it is a part of the great commission

Mark 16:15-16 (KJV) – And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

Here, we find the authority to proclaim the gospel message (the great commission) being handed down from Christ to His assembled believers.  Please note that belief, and the lack thereof, dictates the gain, or loss, of salvation.  “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”  In other words, He that believes with a sincere belief (displayed publically through the act of baptism) shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.   (John 3:14-19, John 8:21-24, 1 Pet 1:18-23)

Please note in these verses, baptism, in this context, is a distinguishing mark of a genuine belief.  Anyone who believes in Christ, and is willing to declare that belief publicly, shall be saved.  Anyone who claims to believe, but is not willing to make a public profession, for fear of ridicule, harm or rejection cannot be certain of salvation.  Why?  A true saving faith will trust in Christ to handle any adverse results of a public profession of faith.

Please note that this verse does not say… “but he that is not baptized shall be damned”.  The lack of baptism is not even mentioned as a cause of remaining under the damnation of God.

This verse, and the entire subject of the role of baptism in salvation, will be covered in great detail in blog entry #5 of this series.

A Saving Faith results in…

The removal of God’s wrath

John 3:35-36 (KJV) – The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.

He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

In the prior verse, faith was said to be necessary to be removed from the damnation of God.  Here, it is said to deliver us from God’s wrath.  “Damnation” carries with it the idea of “a judicial judgment”, “condemnation”, or a “just decision rendered”.  “Wrath” involves the idea of  “hot anger”, “vengeance according to justice”, “passionate fierceness”.

When these ideas are put together, we find that a saving faith removes the sinful man from God’s just sentence of punishment against sin.  The punishment He has decreed against our sin is a fierce punishment flowing from His fervent anger.  (Psa 2:12, Rom 1:16-20)

The gift of eternal life

John 11:25-27 (KJV) – Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?  She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.

John 20:30-31 (KJV) – And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:  But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

Death involves separation.  Physical death is the state of separation between the body and the soul (spirit).  Spiritual death is the state of separation between the individual and God due to the sin of the individual.  Eternal death is the never ending state of separation from God.  The individual eternally dwelling in theLakeofFireunder God’s punishment, while God is eternally dwelling on the New Earth in eternal bliss.  (Rev 20:12-15, Rev 21:1-8)

A saving faith in Christ undoes the spiritual results of sin on mankind.  Once saved, a man’s communion with God is restored and when he enters eternity, he will dwell with the Lord in heaven and later on the New Earth.  (Hebs 11:16, Rev 21:, Rev 22:)

Being declared innocent of the sin we have committed

Rom 4:23-5:1 (KJV) – Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

Although guilty of the commission of sin, man can find forgiveness and the removal of sins guilt  through faith in Christ.  As the shed blood of Christ is applied to our account washing away our sin, we then can be declared innocent of the very sin that before had condemned us. (1 John 1:5-10, Rev 1:4-6)

The presence of saving faith in our life can be a certainty.

1John 5:10-13 (KJV) – He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; [and] he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

It is through a lifestyle of trusting in Christ that we can find assurance of our salvation experience.  Trusting in Christ is not simply a one time act, it is an act repeated every day many times a day under the leadership of the indwelling Holy Spirit.  Once we are genuinely saved, a part of our changed life is a continuous looking to Him, believing His Word and relying on Him during all our day to day issues of life. (Rom 1:17,  Hab 2:4, Gals 3:10-14)

Salvation is given to sinful man by faith not keeping the works of the law

Acts 13:36-39 (KJV) For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption:  But he, whom God raised again, saw no corruption.  Be it known unto you therefore, men [and] brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins:  And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.

Eph 2:4-10 (KJV) But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)  And hath raised [us] up together, and made [us] sit together in heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

The sinfulness of mankind can never be covered, nor outweighed by a man’s morally good works.  The Bible makes it plain that a man cannot merit salvation through his good works.  This principle is so important we will be devoting blog entry #4 in this series to an in depth study of the Bible teachings concerning the relationship of good works to salvation.

In the above two verses, we can clearly see that neither the keeping of the Mosaic law, nor good works of any kind can merit salvation.  This teaching eliminates many good works that are falsely taught to merit salvation… baptism, church membership or partaking of the Lord’s supper.  Again, as our series progresses, each of these false teachings will be examined in detail. But for now, suffice it to say that good works cannot merit salvation.  Salvation comes by grace through faith upon the people of God. (Roms 3:23-28, Roms 4:1-8, Roms 10:1-10, Titus 3:3-8)

Saving Faith comes to mankind via the will and grace of God

John 1:10-14 (KJV)  He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not.  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name:

Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

John 6:32-47 (KJV) Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.  For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.  But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.  All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.  For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.  And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven.  And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven?  Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves. No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.  It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father.  Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.

Faith and repentance are very similar in many aspects.  One of those aspects is the fact that mankind is unable to repent nor believe apart from Divine intervention in his life.  Please notice in the above verses, we find explicit teaching on this truth…

“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

“But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.  All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”

“Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves. No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.”

Although mankind is responsible to repent and believe, because of their fallen nature and sinful condition they cannot come to Christ apart from the gracious intervention of God.  This is one of the greatest displays of God’s love and grace…. to intervene in the life of a rebellious, sinful,  helpless man and open his sin blinded eyes, convict him of his sin, lead him to Christ and grant him repentance and faith.  (James 1:17-18, Roms 8:29-31, 2 Tim 1:8-12)

Faith and Repentance are two sides of the same coin

Mark 1:15 (KJV) And saying, The time is fulfilled, and thekingdomofGodis at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

Matt 21:28-32 (KJV)  But what think ye? A [certain] man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard.  He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went.  And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I [go], sir: and went not.  Whether of them twain did the will of [his] father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.  For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen [it], repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.

You cannot have repentance with faith and faith without repentance.  This is what I mean by the phrase, “faith and repentance are two sides of the same coin.”   For a person to come to faith in Christ, he must experience a change of attitude and heart concerning God’s Word, Christ and His work, and his own sinful condition.  This change is repentance.  Without it genuine faith in Christ cannot be experienced.  Likewise, without a new set of beliefs existing in the heart, no real change can take place in the lives of man.  Truly, in the mind of God repentance and faith are inseparably linked.

Clearly, both repentance and belief are necessary in the experience of salvation.  Note in our verses above…. “repent ye, and believe the gospel” and “and ye, when ye had seen [it], repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.”   Although both are necessary, many times only one or the other is mentioned as a necessity for salvation….  Here are two examples…

Luke 5:31-32 (KJV) And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Acts 16:31 (KJV)

31) And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

In these examples only one or the other is mentioned not both…. Why does this take place?

Because, they are so closely related that when the Bible mentions one, it is automatically implying the other.  We CANNOT believe without experiencing repentance that leads us to that belief.  Likewise we CANNOT repent and turn to Christ without becoming convinced of Bible truths about ourselves, our condition and Christ and His work.

In this blog entry we have seen the very basic principle of the necessity of faith (or belief) in the salvation experience… In the following blog entries we will continue to study, in detail, the answer to the question “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

If you have any questions about your condition or the salvation that the Lord so graciously offers,  you can look to several sources for further information:  A local Bible-teaching church in your area, or you are welcome to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com, or you can refer to my blog page entitled “How to have a relationship with God” for more teachings on the subject of salvation.

 May the Lord bless you as you seek His truth.

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