The Bible is made up of two main sections. The first is called the Old Testament. It focuses on the history of the nation of Israel and God’s covenant with that nation based on their obedience to the Law of Moses. The second section is the New Testament which focuses on God’s covenant with the followers of Jesus Christ based on their trust in Christ as Savior and their submission to him as Lord.
The Old Covenant was given for a certain people and was limited to earthly commands, punishments and promises. Though it no longer directly applies to those under the New Covenant, God sovereignly guided the writing of the Old Testament, along with the history which it relates, for the purpose of teaching His New Covenant people through examples, analogies, prophesies and symbols, as well as giving a basic doctrinal understanding of the nature of God and His moral law.
The New Covenant is not limited to one nation but is open to people from any nation who will place their trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. The New Testament is a collection of the writings of the Apostles (i.e. original disciples of Jesus) and their companions. The New Testament presents the ministry and teachings of Jesus Christ as well as the teaching of the Apostles. It shows not only the way in which Jesus Christ saves people from the guilt and power of sin, but also gives us the standard of what Christians should believe and practice. Through these New Covenant writings we learn how Christ fulfilled the Old Covenant and how Christians should read and understand the Old Testament. Continue reading “Brief Intro to Content of the Bible”
Read (Being Informed by God’s Word)
And it shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God and be careful to observe all the words of this law and these statutes, that his heart may not be lifted above his brethren, that he may not turn aside from the commandment to the right hand or to the left, and that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he and his children in the midst of Israel.
Continue reading “Daily Time in God’s Word (Christian Practices)”
This lesson is to be taught after the disciple has been baptized.
Lesson Goal: Help the disciple understand what the evidences are for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit so that they can be confirmed in their faith as they see the influence of the Spirit at work in their life. Also help them understand that if they do not eventually see the effects of God’s Spirit manifested in their heart and life they should accept that absence of spiritual fruit as a serious warning that something is wrong with their profession of faith.
Justified and Renewed
Instructor’s Notes: Help the disciple understand the positional and experiential aspects of salvation. Help them understand the difference between our justification and adoption which is received through our faith in Christ’s work on our behalf, and our sanctification and renewal that is progressively worked into our lives as we submit to the transforming grace of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Our status before God is changed through conversion (repentance, faith and baptism), but our experience with God is changed by the renewing of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5, John 3:5). Our justification is foundational, but it is not all we need. We do not only need forgiveness for our sins, we also need power from God to be free from the bondage of sin. We need forgiveness and the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38-39). Continue reading “Evidences of the Renewal of the Spirit (Post-Baptism Lesson)”
The Baptism Ceremony
Read the following notes to the disciple one point at a time, making sure they understand what to expect during baptism.
- At the time of your baptism you and the person baptizing you will go into the water. You will be asked “What is your faith,” to which you will respond by reciting the Apostles’ Creed to those who have gathered to witness your baptism.
- After reciting the Apostles’ Creed you will be asked to answer three questions to affirm your personal repentance and trust in Christ:
– Are you determined to submit every area of your life to Jesus Christ and learn to obey all of His commands?
– Do you acknowledge that there is nothing you can do to save yourself from the just wrath of God and the power of sin?
– Do you believe that Jesus, through His death on the cross, His resurrection from the grave, and His ascension to the right hand of God has the authority to save you from God’s wrath and sin’s power? Continue reading “Practical Instructions for Baptism”
Lesson Goal: Help the disciple understand the nature and meaning of Christian baptism, and determine whether or not they are ready to follow the Lord Jesus into the waters of baptism.
Instructor’s Notes: The word “baptism” is a word that has an unclear meaning in our English Bibles. The Greek word from which we derive the English word “baptize” is “baptizo.” This Greek word means, “to immerse.” This is why Jesus went into the Jordan River to be baptized (i.e. immersed) and why Philip and the eunuch “went down into the water” for the eunuch’s baptism (Mark 1:9-10, Acts 8:38).
The examples of Jesus and the Ethiopian eunuch, along with the definition of the Greek word “baptizo,” show us that Christian baptism is by immersion, but this conclusion is also confirmed by the biblical significance of baptism. Romans 6:3-4 teaches that through the act of Baptism we are identifying with the death and resurrection of Christ by being “buried with him through baptism” and walking in “newness of life” after baptism. Baptism is an acting out of the Christian faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection by being immersed in water and then coming up out of the water. In baptism we are reenacting a death, burial and resurrection; if one were “baptized” by the sprinkling of a little water on the head this would not express the meaning that is intended by Christian baptism. Continue reading “Be Baptized”
Lesson Goal: Help the disciple understand the nature of saving faith and determine whether or not he has placed his hope in what Jesus Christ has done for him and is not trusting in his own righteousness or sincerity to save him.
Instructor’s Notes: When a person is convicted of their sin by the Holy Spirit, God shines a spotlight on the sinfulness of their hearts. The purpose of this is to show the person that they are under the wrath of God and that they can do nothing to save themselves. The conviction of the Holy Spirit brings them to see that their righteousness is unacceptable to God (Isaiah 64:6).
When the person is convinced of their own helplessness the Holy Spirit will begin to open their spiritual eyes to the truth contained in the Gospel message. He begins to reveal to them that though they have no righteousness of their own, God has sent Jesus Christ to be a perfect Savior. God brings the person to despair in themselves so they can place their trust in Another. Continue reading “Believe”
Lesson Goal: Help the disciple understand the nature of repentance and determine whether or not they have repented.
Instructor’s Notes: When one repents their entire mindset about life changes, particularly their view of God, sin and themselves. They begin to realize that they are not as good as they thought they were, but are actually rebels against a good and holy Creator. This radical alteration in thinking leads to a fundamental shift in the focus of their lives. Whereas before their own desires and plans were the driving force of their life, God and His will now become the main focus of their lives. They determine that they will no longer live for themselves but will learn to obey everything that Jesus taught.
It is important to understand that genuine repentance is not perfect. True Christians often fail to perfectly obey God’s will out of ignorance, and sometimes due to willful disobedience. But in general they live in obedience to the commands they know and are determined to learn more about God’s will for every area of their lives. Disciples must understand that true repentance is not equal to absolute moral and spiritual perfection. Instead it is a real determination to live a new life of obedience to God and to leave behind the rebellious self-centered life. This determination is not a process, it is a decision we make in response to the conviction of the Holy Spirit, but walking out this determination is a lifelong process with many ups and downs. Continue reading “Repent”
Lesson Goal: Help the disciple understand the nature of divine conviction and discern whether or not they have been convicted by the Holy Spirit.
Instructor’s Notes: The conviction of sin comes in different ways to different people. To some it might be very dramatic and last for an extended period of time during which the person is very aware that they are under God’s wrath and in bondage to sin. This experience might greatly influence their day to day life as they wrestle with their guilt and fears; they might have trouble sleeping, eating or concentrating on day to day activities. Other people might experience the Holy Spirit’s conviction in a more subtle way. They might grow concerned about the state of their soul and their relationship with God over a period of time, but not to the point where it interferes with their day to day activities. For others the conviction of sin and judgment might come in a moment of time which immediately leads them to repent of their sins and trust in Christ. Continue reading “Convicted by the Holy Spirit”
“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”
Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”
This passage teaches us how God brings people to salvation in Christ. It shows us the order of conversion. In these lessons we will discuss each point in this conversion process in order to help the candidate for baptism, and the instructor, discern whether or not the candidate meets the conditions for baptism. There will also be a lesson discussing the practical issues related to baptism and a post-baptism lesson designed to help the disciple recognize the influence of the Holy Spirit in the life of a genuine believer. The 6 lesson topics are as follows:
- Conviction of sin by the Holy Spirit
- Repentance from rebellion against God
- Saving faith in Jesus Christ
- Baptism in water
- Practical instruction about the baptism ceremony
- Evidences of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling
Continue reading “Intro to Pre-Baptism Instruction”
When God saves someone He first brings them under conviction. This means that He, by His Holy Spirit, convinces them of their sin, their bondage to sin and the judgment that they deserve.
Read and Discuss: Romans 3:23, Romans 7:18-20, Romans 6:23
Share about how God convinced you of these things. Continue reading “Your Testimony (New Convert’s Series – Lesson 1)”