Category Archives: Discipleship

Series: Christian Growth, Maturity and Discipleship (Lesson 1: Who Is Jesus Christ?)

Objective: To recognize Jesus Christ as the Son of God

  • Read: John 1:1–34
  • Memorize: John 14:6

What if you could predict that a major world event would take place five minutes from now?

What if you could accurately describe what would happen?

Would knowing the future give you unusual power?

Would anyone believe you?

Possibly some would, but how many would not?

Many people do not believe the Bible, yet it miraculously foretells hundreds of events, sometimes in minute detail, and usually hundreds—sometimes thousands—of years ahead. Some prophecies concern cities and countries, such as Tyre, Jericho, Samaria, Jerusalem, Palestine, Moab, and Babylon. Others relate to specific individuals. Many have already been fulfilled, but some are still in the future.

Jesus Christ is the subject of more than 300 Old Testament prophecies. His birth nearly 2,000 years ago, and events of His life, had been foretold by many prophets during a period of 1,500 years. History confirms that even the smallest detail happened just as predicted. It confirms beyond a doubt that Jesus is the true Messiah, the Son of God and Savior of the world.

Bible Study

Jesus’ Claims Concerning Who He is

  1. In your own words, write the claims Christ made concerning Himself in the following verses:
  • Mark 14:61,62 (I am the Christ.)
  • John 6:38; 8:42 (God the Father sent me.)
  • John 5:17,18 (I do whatever God the Father does.)
  • John 10:30 (I and the Father are one.)
  • What did those who heard what Jesus said think He meant?
  • John 14:7 (We know God by knowing Jesus.)
  • John 14:8,9 (Anyone who has seen Jesus has seen the Father.)
  1. What did Jesus claim to do in the following verses?
  • John 5:22 (Judge mankind.)
  • Matthew 9:6 (Forgive sins.)
  • John 6:45–47 (Anyone who comes to Jesus comes to the Father too.)
  1. What did Jesus predict in the following verses?
  • Mark 9:31 (His betrayal and death.)
  • Luke 18:31–33 (He would be handed over, mocked, spit on, flogged, and killed.)
  • John 14:1–3 (He would go to heaven to prepare a place for His followers, then come back again.)
  1. What characteristics of Jesus are attributes of an omnipotent God?
  • John 2:24 (He knows all men.)
  • Matthew 8:26,27 (He controlled nature.)
  • John 11:43–45 (He raised the dead.)

According to the above passages, Jesus claimed to be God. He made the kinds of claims that only a person who presumed he was God would make. Both His friends and His enemies called Him God, and He never attempted to deny it. He even commended His followers for believing He was God.

The Importance of the Truth About His Identity

  1. Suppose Jesus Christ were not God. If He knew He was not God and that none of those claims were true, what could we conclude about Him?
  • (That He was a liar or an imposter.)
  1. Suppose Jesus were sincerely wrong. Suppose He sincerely believed all these fantastic claims even though they were not true. What could we conclude about Him?
  • (He was crazy.)
  1. Why is it important to investigate His claims?
  • (He claimed to be the only way to God. If that is true, His claims are essential for our future.)

What Others Said About Who He Was

  1. His followers:
  • John the Baptist (John 1:29) (The Lamb of God who takes away sin.)
  • Peter (Matthew 16:16) (The Son of the living God.)

How did Jesus respond to what Peter said (verse 17)?

  • (God has revealed this to him.)
  • Martha (John 11:27) (The Son of God.)
  • Thomas (John 20:28) (My Lord and my God.)

How does Christ’s response to what Thomas said (verse 29) apply to you? (We are blessed because we believe even though we haven’t seen Jesus.)

  • Paul (2 Corinthians 5:21; Titus 2:13) (He was made sin for us; He is God and Savior.)
  1. His enemies:
  • The Jews (John 10:33) (He blasphemed because He claimed to be God.)
  • Judas (Matthew 27:3,4) (Innocent.)
  • Pilate (Matthew 27:22, 23) (Hadn’t committed any crime.)
  • The Roman soldier (Matthew 27:54) (He was the Son of God.)
  1. Who do you believe Jesus is and on what do you base that belief? List the facts that particularly help you know that He is God.

LIFE APPLICATION

  1. Why is it important that you personally recognize who Jesus Christ really is?
  2. Have you invited Jesus Christ into your life? (See “Your Invitation to Life” on page 33.)
  3. What changes do you expect to experience in your life as a result of receiving Christ as your Savior and Lord?
Excerpt From Ten Basic Steps Toward Christian Maturity by Bill Bright

“A Man Without Equal” (Video) – Introducing Jesus to Others and Assisting Believers to Grow and Mature in Their Christian Faith

One of the most effective ways to introduce Jesus to others and to assist believers to grow and mature in their Christian faith is to watch the thirty-minute video, “A Man Without Equal”

Questions for Reflection and Discussion:

1. What was Jesus’ greatest teaching?

Answer: (Mark 16:16; John 3:16-18) That salvation is by faith, not works. According to Romans 3:23, all of us have sinned and do not measure up to God’s standards. Sin is going our way independent of God. Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. He came to reconcile us to God.

Why was this teaching so unique?

Answer: All other major religions teach that we must work our way to God.

What does this teaching mean in your life?

Answer: It means that I can have a relationship with God without first having to make myself acceptable to Him.

2. Give several examples of how Jesus’ influence on people and nations has altered the course of history, your country, your city, your neighborhood.

3. What are people in your circle of influence saying about Jesus? What are some of the doubts you have felt about Jesus either in the past or in the present?

4. What personal feelings about Jesus were confirmed as you watched the video?

5. Jesus claimed to be the Son of God and the Savior of mankind. After viewing the video, who do you believe He is?

Answer: Jesus is the Son of God and my Savior.

Right Thinking in a Church Gone Astray

The Master’s Seminary is pleased to announce the publication of a new book, Right Thinking in a Church Gone Astray.

This volume serves as a sequel to Right Thinking in a World Gone Wrong.

The book’s contributors are comprised of TMS professors and/or pastors at Grace Community Church. Here is a list of the chapters included in this volume:

Foreword by John MacArthur

Section 1: The Church and Contemporary Issues

Chapter 1: When the Church Goes Astray: Evangelicalism’s Misguided Quest for Popularity and Prestige (Nathan Busenitz)

Chapter 2: Rock-Star Religion: Countering the Church’s Celebrity Culture (Tom Patton)

Chapter 3: The Crescent and the Cross: Engaging Muslims for the Sake of the Gospel (William D. Barrick)

Chapter 4: When Truth Meets Love: The Church’s Response to Homosexuality (Alex Montoya)

Chapter 5: Is This Jesus Calling? Evaluating a Bestselling Book in Light of Biblical Truth (Jesse Johnson)

Section 2: The Church and Sound Doctrine

Chapter 6: Who’s In Charge of Your Church? Submitting to the Headship of Christ in Everything (Michael Mahoney)

Chapter 7: Nothing But the Truth: Why We Cannot Compromise Our Commitment to Scripture (Abner Chou)

Chapter 8: The Hallmarks of Heresy: Discerning the Difference Between Doctrinal Confusion and False Teaching (Michael Riccardi)

Chapter 9: The Charismatic Question: Are the Miraculous Gifts Still in Operation Today? (Nathan Busenitz)

Chapter 10: Things That Should Not Be Forgotten: Why Church Leaders Should Care about Church History (Nathan Busenitz)

Section 3: The Church and the Great Commission

Chapter 11: To the Ends of the Earth: God’s Global Agenda to Reach the Lost (Irv Busenitz)

Chapter 12: Compassion Without Compromise: Thinking About Social Justice in Light of the Great Commission (Jesse Johnson)

Chapter 13: Fit for the Master’s Use: Proclaiming the Gospel from a Platform of Personal Piety (Carl Hargrove)

Chapter 14: Global Risk Assessment: Threatening Trends Within Evangelical Missions (Mark Tatlock)

Chapter 15: To the Praise of His Glory: A Call to Remember the Church’s Ultimate Priority (James Mook)

The post Right Thinking in a Church Gone Astray appeared first on The Master’s Seminary.

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How to Ignore “Discernment Bloggers” and Remain Comfortably Clueless

Steve Kozar of Messed Up Church offers 7 ways for professing Christians to rebuff “discernment bloggers” in order to hang on to beliefs not found in Scripture, should they so choose.  Here are his suggestions:

discernment-3Want to stay comfortable in your (theologically shallow & Biblically illiterate) Christian beliefs? Even if those beliefs are not really based on God’s Word?? Of course you do! Here’s a guide that will keep you in the dark, and will help you to avoid the bothersome content of whichever discernment bloggers are currently bugging you:

  1. Start with this assumption: There aren’t any false teachers. With this handy starting point everything else falls comfortably into place. Just tell yourself that people who proclaim a different Gospel are just… different. It’s like the difference between hotdogs and hamburgers. If there are no false teachers, then it logically follows that all discernment bloggers are wrong. Now you won’t have to consider what they say!

  2. Go with the group. If the majority agrees with you, you must be right. Remember, Jesus wants you to follow the most popular teachers, even when they twist the Bible. Discernment bloggers are not popular, so they must be wrong. Now you won’t have to consider what they say!

  3. Lump them all together. It’s true: some discernment bloggers are too extreme and exaggerate too much, or they go off on some crazy bunny trails; therefore you can ignore everything that every discernment blogger says (see points 1 & 2).

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Tozer’s Three Concerns

Although A.W. Tozer’s writings ranged over all kinds of topics, three concerns dominated Tozer’s writings. You’ll find him returning to these often, and giving them different treatments each time. What they amount to is what Tozer saw as the most serious maladies of evangelicalism and fundamentalism.

The first was what he called textualism. For Tozer, this was a rationalistic expounding of biblical texts, with little to no expectation of the Holy Spirit’s ministry of illumination. He saw a kind of depersonalization of Scripture taking place. Scholars and pastors were treating Scripture as a collection of inert facts, which could be discovered and communicated as surely as a scientist recording laboratory findings. He saw this as the shortest path to dead orthodoxy, and incessantly called for the church to recognize the doctrine of the Spirit’s illumination. “You can be,” Tozer delighted in saying, “straight as a gun barrel theologically and as empty as one spiritually.” For Tozer, the deadness and lack of piety was evidence that people were not seeking God Himself when reading the Word. He called for solitude, silence, and self-denial as means of seeking God in His Word so as to experience His illuminating ministry. This was the Deeper Life – a surrendered pursuit of the knowledge of God Himself in His Word.

His second major concern was pragmatism in the church. Tozer saw the pragmatism begun in the 19th century beginning to bring in its harvest. He spoke out against using methods and techniques from the world to make church more popular, palatable, fun, or attractive to unbelievers. Tozer was writing in the 40s, 50s, and early 60s, but already pragmatism was changing the very nature of what styled itself as the heir of the apostolic and historic church. Evangelicalism was culturally apostatizing while claiming fidelity to the gospel. Long before Bill Hybels, Rick Warren and the worldliness you now see around you, Tozer stood as a signpost to the church pointing away from pragmatism.  He wrote, “The temptation to introduce “new” things into the work of God has always been too strong for some people to resist. The Church has suffered untold injury at the hands of well intentioned but misguided persons who have felt that they know more about running God’s work than Christ and His apostles did. A solid train of box cars would not suffice to haul away the religious truck which has been brought into the service of the Church with the hope of improving on the original pattern. These things have been, one and all, positive hindrances to the progress of the Truth, and have so altered the divinely-planned structure that the apostles, were they to return to earth today, would scarcely recognize the misshapen thing which has resulted.”

His third major theme was true worship. Tozer saw that the church was losing a sense of majesty, reverence and awe in its worship, and had trivialized the whole act. Worship was becoming a form of entertainment. Hymnody was being replaced by the gospel song and the religious entertainer, reverence was being replaced with breezy cheeriness or childish hilarity, and sobriety and simplicity were being wounded in the house of their friends. “Worship,” Tozer explained, “is to feel in your heart and express in some appropriate manner a humbling but delightful sense of admiring awe and astonished wonder and overpowering love in the presence of that most ancient Mystery, that majesty which philosophers call the First Cause but which we call Our Father Which Art in Heaven.”

And what was said of Ezekiel could be easily said of Tozer, whom everyone loves to quote, “Indeed you are to them as a very lovely song of one who has a pleasant voice and can play well on an instrument; for they hear your words, but they do not do them. (Eze 33:32)

Source: Tozer’s Three Concerns