Category Archives: Body of Christ

The Rapture

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The word rapture refers to an event which will mark the end of the Church Age and which will be an occasion of great joy to Christian believers. All believers, both those who have died and those who are alive at the time, will be taken up to meet Jesus Christ, who will have returned to “the air”, earth’s atmosphere. Then, the Christians and the Lord Jesus will return to heaven together. At the time of the Rapture, Christ will not set foot on earth; and He will be visible only to believers. READ 1 Thess. 4:17; Acts 1:11.

The Rapture is to be distinguished from the Second Advent of Christ. While the Rapture sets the stage for the Second Coming, these are two separate events. A chart giving comparisons between these two future appearances of Christ is found in a later section of this article.

There has been controversy for many generations concerning the timing of the final events in human history. The position held by the majority of categorical and fundamental Bible teachers is as follows:

  • We are presently in the dispensation known as the Church Age, and we do not know when this age will end.
  • The Rapture will occur at the end of the Church Age; and the day of the Rapture will be the first day of the sever-year period known as the Great Tribulation.
  • The Second Coming of Christ will occur on the last day of the Tribulation period and will usher in the thousand-year reign of Jesus Christ.

The statements above are part of a position, or viewpoint, concerning the chronology of the final events of human history, a doctrinal concept known as the Pre–Tribulation Rapture / Pre–Millennium Tribulation view. There are several other schools of though among Christian scholars; and this article does not attempt to sort out the differences in these viewpoints categorically.

The study of the various points of view, and an examination of the proofs that the Pre-Tribulation/Pre-Millennial position is the correct one, is indeed a fascinating study. But the students needs considerable background to handle such research, including a thorough knowledge of general prophecy, a good general orientation to the whole Bible, and a lot of practice in tracing threads of logic through interwoven networks of Bible doctrine. For the time being we will settle for …

A Description of the Rapture

The Rapture was promised by the Lord Jesus Christ just before His crucifixion, John 14:1–3. At the Rapture, He keeps His promise and fulfills the prophecy. The Rapture completes the Redemption of the body because the believer receives a resurrection body at that time, Phil. 3:20,21; 1 John 3:1,2. It would be useful at this point to read the description of the Rapture in 1 Cor. 15:51–53 and then to note the comments below concerning the terminology used.

mystery – a doctrine “hidden” from the Old Testament saints. The Rapture is pertinent only to the Church Age and was never revealed to believers living before the beginning of the Church Age.

we shall not all sleep — i.e., there will be some believers alive at the time of the Rapture.

we shall all be changed – refers to the resurrection body.

in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye – a reference to the time element. The Rapture is not a long, drawn out process of evacuation. We will be with Christ instantly.

the dead shall be raised incorruptible – the resurrection body does not include the decay and corruption of sin and death.

we shall all be changed – another reference to the new physical body and new personal attributes associated with the resurrection body.

this corruptible must put on incorruption -the most important feature of the resurrection body is that there will be no Sin Nature.

this mortal must put on immortality – the believer will not die but will receive an immortal body.

The dead in Christ (believers who have died previous to the Rapture) will be raised first. Then, those who are still alive will be taken up. 1 Thess. 4:16,17.

The Rapture is a rendezvous for living and dead Christians. Confidence in the Rapture is based on the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 1 Thess. 4:18.

In principle, the Lord Jesus Christ is the “first fruits” of the believer, as noted in 1 Cor. 15:20–23. Read this passage first, then note the following comments:

firstfruits – pictures the resurrection of Christ which is a guarantee of our bodily resurrection.

by man came death – through Adam came spiritual death with the end result of physical death for every human.

by man came also the resurrection – by Jesus Christ, in His humanity, came spiritual resurrection (salvation) followed by physical resurrection, Phil. 3:21.

The word “hope”, translated from the Greek word ἐλπίς (elpis), meaning “confidence”, is a technical designation for the Rapture in at least three Bible passages, including:

  • The living hope, 1 Peter 1:3
  • The blessed hope, Titus 2:13
  • The purifying hope, 1 John 3:3

The Rapture takes the sting out of death, 1 Cor. 15:54–56. Therefore, the Rapture removes the despair of bereavement, 1 Thess. 4:13–18. This confidence in the Rapture comes through the obtaining of wisdom, discernment, and knowledge of the Plan of God, Job 19:25–27. The edified believer has confidence. The result is blessing, peace, a relaxed mental attitude, and stability.

The believer has a “reservation” in heaven, 1 Peter 1:4; Eph. 2:6. The Rapture takes the believer to the “mansion” which Christ has prepared in advance, John 14.

The testing which the believer and the Church endure during the Church Age is terminated with the Rapture. The Body of Christ is no longer a target of Satan in spiritual warfare.

It is not known, and cannot be predicted, when the Rapture will occur. Nevertheless, the Bible directs us to pursue certain activities while waiting for the Rapture. These are given in the last section of this article. Meanwhile, take a look at …

What to do While Waiting for the Rapture

Stay in Fellowship. “And now, little children, abide in Him; that when He shall appear, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.” 1 John 2:28

Employ the Faith-Rest techniques. “Now we beseech you, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by forged letters as from us, as that day of Christ is at hand.” 2 Thess. 2:1,2

Have Confidence. “Being confident of this very things, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Phil. 1:6

Have Patience. “Be patient, therefore, unto the coming of the Lord…” James 5:7

Grow in Christ by continuing to be edified. “…be ye also patient, stablish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.” James 5:8 See also Isaiah 33:4 and 2 Tim. 2:15

Contrasts Between the Rapture and the Second Coming of Christ

The Rapture

The Second Coming of Christ

Only believers see Christ. The Rapture is private. Heb. 9:28; Acts 1:11

Every eye shall see Him. The Second Coming of Christ is public. Rev. 1:7

Christ meets believers in the air, 1 Thess. 4:17

Christ sets foot on the Mount of Olives, Zech. 14:4

Believers are taken off the earth, John 14:3

Unbelievers are taken off the earth, Mt. 24:37f

Believers go to heaven, 1 Thess. 4:17

At the Second Coming, believers come back to earth with Christ, 1 Thess. 3:13; Col. 3:4;, 2 Thess 4:13; Zech. 14:5

There is no timetable for the Rapture

The Second Coming is seven years after the Rapture, Matt. 24:29-30

Believers are rewarded. 1 Cor. 3:11-15; Rev. 22:12

Unbelievers are judged at the Second Coming; the Baptism of Fire takes place, Matt. 25:31,32,46

The Rapture is a source of comfort to the believer, 1 Thess. 4:18

The Second Coming of Christ is a source of terror for the unbeliever, Rev. 6:15-17

There are no changes in nature associated with the Rapture

There are many changes in nature associated with the Second Coming, Isa. 35

The world is not judged at the Rapture.

The people of the world are judged, Jude 15

The Rapture is a mystery of the Church Age, 1 Cor. 15:51

The Second Coming is the subject of extensive prophecy in the Old Testament.

The unconditional covenants such as those with Abraham and David are not fulfilled at the Rapture.

The covenants are fulfilled at the Second Coming; Israel inherits her possessions.

There is no dealing with Satan or demons at the Rapture.

At the Second Coming, Satan is bound for a thousand years, Rev. 20:2.

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Servants of God

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God commands Christians to be faithful and obedient servants.

Deut. 10:12 “And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord with all thy heart and with all thy soul.”

Micah 6:8 “He hath shown thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord required of thee, but to do justly and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”

Psalm 100:2 “Serve the Lord with gladness; come before his presence with singing.”

Josh. 24:14,15

Service is to be rendered as unto the Lord Jesus Christ, John 12:23-26

Col. 3:24 “Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.”

The believer’s service is to be rendered to people.

Christian service makes life noble.

Mark 10:43,44 “But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: and whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister.”

Christian service exemplifies neighborliness.

Luke 10:36,37

Christian service is Christ-like, John 13:1-17

Christian service demonstrates love, John 21:15-17

Christian service lightens life’s burdens, Gal. 5:13-15; Gal. 6:1-10; Acts 20:17-20; Heb. 10:23-25

The place of worship and the place of service. We also “assemble” for service. The Body functions as a congregation.

As God’s servants, believers have specific responsibilities.

Christians are to leave all to follow Christ.

Phil. 3:7,8 “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord; for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but refuse, that I may win Christ.”

Believers are to render undivided service.

1 Chron. 15:10-15

1 Sam. 7:3 “And Samuel spoke unto all the house of Israel, saying, If ye do return unto the Lord with all your hearts, then put away the foreign gods and Ashtaroth from among you, and prepare your hearts unto the Lord, and serve him only; and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines. Then the children of Israel did put away Baalim and Ashtaroth, and served the Lord only.”

Believers are to serve with humility, Acts 20:18,19

Believers are to serve with courage.

Deut. 1:17 “Ye shall not respect persons in judgment, but ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man, for the judgment is God’s; and the cause that is too hard for you, bring it unto me [Moses], and I will hear it.”

Prov. 29:25 “The fear of man bringeth a snare; but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe.”

Examples of faithful service

The Lord Jesus Christ served men.

Phil. 2:7 “But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.”

Godly men served the Lord by serving other men.

  • Peter and Andrew, Mark 1:17,18
  • Zaccheus, Luke 19:6 ff
  • Paul, Acts 9:20

The rewards of faithful service

The faithful servant gains spiritual knowledge.

Hos. 6:3 “Then shall we know, Lord; his gome unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.”

The faithful servant gains divine viewpoint.

John 8:12 “Then spoke Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world; he that followeth me shall not walk darkness, but shall have the light of life.”

The faithful servant has spiritual guidance.

John 10:27 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them and they follow me.”

The faithful servant receives honor from God.

John 12:26 “If any man serve me, let him fol­low me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honor.”

The faithful servant has a life of joy.

Psalm 40:8 “I delight to do thy will, O my God; yea, thy law is within my heart.”

John 4:36 “And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal, that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.”

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Peace of God, and Peace with God

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The word peace in the Bible, from the Greek word (EIREINEI), refers to a mental attitude of tranquility based on a relationship with God in the Christian way of life. It is a word which describes the result of a person’s correct response to God’s grace.

The Bible uses peace in two ways. There is personal peace with God which comes when a person accepts Jesus Christ as savior. Then, there is the peace of God which is available on a daily basis as the believer participates in the Christian way of life according to the plan of God.

So, where you find peace mentioned in the Bible it refers either to the reconciliation of a Christian in salvation, as in Ephesians 2:14,17, or to the mental attitude found in the believers described in 2 Timothy 1:7.

Peace with God – Peace in Salvation

Peace with God is never available apart from grace. The cross of Christ is the focal point of grace and is the source of peace. Jesus Christ is our eternal peace.

Romans 5:1 “Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Grace removed the barrier and made peace between man and God. So, when the unbeliever responds to grace by faith, the result is peace.

Ephesians 2:14-18 provides a good illustration of how God made it possible for anyone to have peace with God, with special emphasis on the fact that such different people as Jews and Gentiles have a clear opportunity for accepting Christ.

Verse 14 deals with peace as a product of reconciliation. Verse 15 explains that the enmity between God and man, that which we call the barrier, was abolished once and for all. Verses 16 to 18 explain that the enmity has been slain for both Jews and Gentiles so that now those who were near to God, the Jews, and those who were far off, non Jews, have been brought into union with Christ through the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Peace in the Christian Way of Life

In our lifetime we can experience peace on a daily basis. When the believer responds by faith to grace, God provides many blessings which can result in great inner happiness.

Isaiah 26:3,4 “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee; because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the Lord forever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength.”

In the Christian way of life, peace comes through fellowship with God followed by daily growth and advancement in spiritual things which brings stability, a relaxed mental attitude, orientation to the plan of God, occupation with Christ and the ability to employ faith rest principles in all areas of life.

Read Philippians 4:6-9

Peace or tranquility, precedes the enjoyment of prosperity. It is part of the preparation for prosperity. One must have peace to have the capacity for prosperity. God may hold prosperity back until there is the capacity to enjoy it.

Acts 9:31 “Then had the churches rest throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, were multiplied.”

Read Jeremiah 29:1-7

Any loss of peace is followed by adjustment to the plan of God. Confession and restoration to fellowship, faith rest a relaxed mental attitude and peace will appear in the new situation from God’s viewpoint and follower of Christ can choose to accept God’s best plan for you.

The man or woman who receive grace and peace from the Lord is in perfect position for spiritual production and reproduction.

Read James 3:13-18

The peace of God is shown through wisdom. The Christian has to choose to follow God’s wisdom which is first pure, peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits which is unwavering without hypocrisy. The Christian can choose to follow the wisdom of the world which is leads to bitter jealousy, selfish ambition, disorder and every evil thing. Choosing God’s wisdom leads to peace in every day decision making. God allows you to make this choice of which source of wisdom to follow every day.

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Doctrine of Preaching

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Definition and Etymology

The word “preach” is found in many places in the New Testament (KJV); however, it has been translated from several different Greek words. For example, in 1 Cor. 1:17, the phrase “preach the Gospel” comes from eujaggelivzw (euangelidzo); while in 1 Cor. 1:18 we see the phrase “the preaching of the cross”. You can see that the translators took some liberties with their use of the word “preach”.

The Greek verb κειρυσω (keiruso) was commonly used in ancient times to refer to public proclamation or public teaching, and there are many NT verses where it is found. A complete listing can be found in a Greek concordance.

The noun κειρυξ (keirux) refers to the “proclaimer; publisher; messenger” who is making the proclamation. Thus,

1 Tim. 2:7, “Whereunto I (Paul) am ordained a preacher (keirux), and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.” (Likewise in 2 Tim. 1:11)

In 2 Pet. 2:5, Abraham is called a “preacher (keirux) of righteousness”.

The word keirux was used in several ways in ancient times. The keirux was a “publisher”, or “herald”, in the sense that he would broadcast important news to townspeople. The person making official proclamations or announcements to the public was called keirux, a sort of town cryer.

A man assigned to carry messages between enemies on a battlefield was also called keirux.

The message of the keirux is the κειρυγμα (keirugma). The keirugma is what was given to the keirux to proclaim. The originator of the message may have been a battlefield officer or a public official.

In the Bible, the keirux is the preacher, the keirugma is his message, and keiruso is the act of preaching.

The English word “preaching” would be correct if it were used in its primary etymological sense of “proclaiming before the public”, the meaning which is derived from the Latin,praedicere. However, the modern use of “delivering a moral discourse or religious message of any kind and in any manner” does not give the meaning of keirugma. There is no finger-pointing or arm waving in keirugma.

Scripture References Using keirugma

In Matt. 12:41 and Luke 11:32, Jonah’s message to the Ninevites is called keirugma . Jonah’s job was to proclaim God’s message of salvation in the Assyrian capital.

1 Cor. 1:17-22, “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel (euangelidzw): not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.

For the preaching (logos) of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

For it is written, I will destroy the wis­dom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.

Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?

[Note: to “stop the mouths” of those who are opposed (Titus 1:9-11), the Lord employs preachers to bring an unusual message.]

For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness (morias) of preaching (keirugma) to save them that believe.

For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:

But we preach (keiruso) Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;

But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

1 Cor. 2:1-10

Titus 1:3

Principles of keirugma

  1. The emphasis of **keirugma** is on the message. Someone in authority, who has something to communicate, gives the message to a messenger, the **keirux**, preacher, who passes the information on to someone else, usually in a public setting. It is expected that there will be attentive hearers who will be receptive to the message and who expect to derive some benefit from the message.
  2. The messenger does not proclaim his own viewpoint, his own political opinions, his own grievances. The message is another person’s communication. The public proclamation is not the platform for him to expound his own theories, to support his side in a debate, talk about his own projects, or get things off his chest. The **keirux** does not call the people together for an important proclamation, then, instead, lecture them on some private matter not associated with the real message.
  3. The Bible teacher gets his **keirugma** from God Himself, as revealed in the Word of God. Correct preaching is done by making the message clear to the people who are listening to the proclamation. Public teaching protects the privacy of the believer. Confining himself to the message, the preacher does not unduly influence the listeners with personality dynamics or bullying techniques. The listener can accept or reject the message in private.

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Ambassadorship

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“Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be reconciled to God.” 2 Cor. 5:20

“For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.” Eph. 6:20

The following are comments regarding the concept of a Christian’s position as an ambassador of Christ.

  • An ambassador does not appoint himself. A Christian is appointed by the Lord.
  • An ambassador does not support himself. God provides all of our needs. Phil. 4:19.
  • An ambassador does not belong to the country to which he is sent. A Christian is not a citizen of this world, but of heaven.
  • An ambassador does not enter a country for his personal interest. He is a representative of the country he represents. Believers, as ambassadors, represent the Lord Jesus Christ.

    TOPIC: Citizenship of the Believer

  • An ambassador has instruction in written form. The Word of God is the policy statement for believers. Believers have the mind of Christ. 1 Cor. 2:16
  • When an ambassador is recalled, it is because hostilities are imminent. When the Church is recalled (the Rapture), hostility begins in the Tribulation.
  • An ambassador does not take an insult as personal. It is his country which is being insulted. God takes care of His reputation, His name, and His Word. We are not here to defend the Word but to preach it. The Holy Spirit takes care of the results.
  • To be an ambassador is the highest possible calling. Christians are called to the highest calling in Christ.
  • Perspective is service; prospect is reward. We serve Christ; and we are rewarded in heaven.

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Teaching in the Local Church

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Introduction

Eph. 4:15,16 provides a concise description of a mature, productive local church.

  • “Speaking the truth in love,
  • we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ,
  • from whom the whole body,
  • being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies,
  • according to the proper working of each individual part,
  • causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.”

The mature local church is made up of mature believers who work together to fulfill the Plan of God and the Christian mission.

The Local Church’s Mission

The local church’s mission includes the following activities:

Worship as a local assembly – “forsake not the assembling of yourselves together”

Evangelism – the winning of people to the Christian faith. “He that winneth souls is wise…”

Edification – “Feed the church of God …” “Feed the flock”

Training – “Study to show yourselves approved unto God, a workman …”

Service – Attention to the details of encouragement and support of everyone in the body of Christ.

The local church’s mandate, then, is to maintain an organizational structure for the purpose of meeting God’s requirements for worship, evangelism, edification, and the development of skilled workers to carry out the work associated with the stated mission.

We are to worship “in Spirit and in truth”. The work of the local church must be carried out in the presence of the Holy Spirit, with His control, and through His total ministry of teaching, convicting, and controlling. The work of the local church must center in and deal exclusively with the Bible, the Word of God. The revealed Word of God, the “mind of Christ” is the only effective tool for learning what God’s will is and carrying it out.

Therefore, the main daily work of the pastor and members of a local church is to provide a maximum of high quality Bible teaching, in sufficient quantity to allow believers to make rapid progress in the Christian Way of Life. The main activity of the local church, apart from prayer and worship, is Bible teaching

To meet the teaching requirements of the church’s mission, the following are required:

  1. A well-defined strategy for providing the teaching needs of the church.
  2. A mature set of plans for developing and carrying out a teaching program.
  3. Execution of the plans by assigning and employing people to the work, setting schedules, and putting the plans in motion

The Church’s Teaching Ministry

2 Tim. 2:1,2 “You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.”

Bible study has four main components:

Bible Analysis – exegesis and exposition. The process of dissecting a passage of Scripture into its component parts (vocabulary, syntax, grammar) in order to learn as well as possible the meaning (interpretation) of the passage.

Topical Development – categorization. Briefly, the process of determining the meaning of words and concepts found in a passage of scripture by searching the whole Bible for clues, explanations, and illustrations of the subject under study.

Historical Study – The process of studying the social history of the people and cultures in the context of the Bible passage, and the language history of the text, to learn as much as possible about the text, as used colloquially in the time in which it was written, and to learn how the text was applied to the people living in that time and place.

Correlation of Categorical Doctrine – This involves the gathering together of groups of related doctrinal studies that deal with specific subject areas of application.

With these things in mind, a local church can design a comprehensive Bible teaching curriculum which will meet the needs of all age groups as they grow in Christ. Such a curriculum will contain components such as the following:

Bible Studies

Include:

  • Verse by verse expositional studies of books of the Bible
  • Studies of Bible topics regarding salvation, stability in the Christian way of life, and spiritual production
  • Survey studies: Old Testament survey, New Testament survey, life of Christ, Acts and Life/Epistles of Paul, etc.

Historical Studies

  • Survey of Ancient History (early times to Byzantine Empire)
  • Survey of Hebrew History (in Bible light)
  • History of major mid-Eastern world powers – Egypt, Assyria, Sumer, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Hittites, Greece, Rome
  • History of Judea
  • History of the Jewish religion and practices
  • Detailed history of the period from 100 BC to 100 AD
  • American History (from Christian viewpoint), American and state government
  • Law – short courses in “legal research” or “orientation to law and the courts”

Studies in Preparation for Teaching

  • Biblical languages (Greek, Hebrew, etc.), introductory and advanced.
  • Hermeneutics and exegesis
  • Use of reference materials: concordances (English, Greek, Hebrew); Bible dictionaries and encyclopedias; commentaries; systematic theology studies
  • Development of expertise in preparing Bible studies
  • English grammar and composition
  • Public speaking
  • Christian literature (non-fiction)
  • Bible lesson development and organization
  • Use of parallel passages
  • How to find and use illustrations
  • How to determine and teach appropriate applications

Such a curriculum is very ambitious and will require several years for any individual to complete. But when this effort is compared to the requirements for obtaining a high school diploma or college degre e, the eternal results to be gained certainly make the work of organization, teaching, and study worthwhile.

Doctrinal Studies (Partial Listing)

The following is a partial listing of the doctrinal topics to be covered in a comprehensive Bible teaching ministry. These topics can be considered the essential “fundamentals” for any believer who is motivated to move toward spiritual maturity.

Salvation Doctrines

Grace Mental Attitude of God

Blood of Christ

Barrier Doctrines (Propitiation, Reconciliation, Redemption)

Salvation and Positional Truth

Ark of the Covenant and Mercy Seat

Imputation

Regeneration

Sin and the Penalty of Sin

Heaven and Hell

Faith

Adoption

Resurrection and Ascension of Christ

Christian Life Techniques

Confession of Sin

Faith Rest

Living in the Word

Occupation with Christ

Orientation to Grace

Spirituality vs Carnality

Divine Viewpoint vs Human Viewpoint

The Lord’s Supper

Baptism

Judgment and Judging

Justice of God

Divine Guidance and the Plan of God

Forgiveness

Christian Giving

Inheritance

Royal Family

Love

Repentance

Sanctification

Spiritual Adultery and Worldliness

Suffering – Deserved and Undeserved

Divine Discipline for Nations and Individuals

Stability Doctrines – Christian Life Foundations

Essence of God

Salvation Doctrines (the believer at the moment of salvation; 36 Things)

Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ

Person and Work of the Holy Spirit

Sin and the Sin Nature

Mental Attitude

Volition: The Will of Man

The Soul

Positional Truth

Marriage

Grace

Law and Legalism

Privacy

Works: Dead and Alive

The Faith System of Learning Divine Viewpoint

Edification

Productivity Doctrines

Grace in Production

Holy Spirit: spiritual gifts, power

Friendships

Personal Evangelism

Local Church – organization and work

Spiritual Testing and Suffering as a witness

Christian Missions

Divine Institutions

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Workers, Qualifications for Christian

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The following qualifications apply to anyone who is going into Christian service in some capacity to minister to others. These criteria particularly apply to those who take up Christian work as a vocation, such as pastors, evangelists, teachers, or missionaries.

  • The Christian worker must be born again and he must understand the Plan of God in all of its phases.
  • He must exercise his spiritual gift, such as that of pastor, evangelist, teacher, helps, governments, or other gift. The spiritual gift is a divine enabling for service given at the time of salvation and developed through intensive preparation.
  • He must be spiritually mature in the sense of being familiar with the whole counsel of God’s Word both by academic understanding and by application in his own life.
  • He must have spiritual endurance.

Maturity and the ability to do God’s work comes through years of study of God’s Word and practice in using doctrinal principles. Following is a review of the doctrinal ideas found in 2 Timothy 2:15.

Study — from the Greek word σπουδαζω (spoudzo) meaning “to be industrious, eager, to be diligent, to exert oneself”. It has a stronger meaning than “study”. It is actually connotes a way of life which includes the proper mental attitude and motivation to learn Bible doctrine daily. This word could be translated “make every effort”. And it is a command.

to show yourself or, “to make every effort to represent yourself…”. It means to make every effort to concentrate, to be objective to doctrine. to give priority to the Word of God. The reason that you are entering the Lord’s work is to live the life of Christ.

approve” — “to pass an exam”. δοκιμος (dokimos) The emphasis is on success, not failure. To be a successful Christian worker, you must study (Test #1), and you must use what you study (Test #2).

Can you teach to the glory of God? The test is on the accuracy of what you teach.

Can you work to the Glory of God? The test comes when you apply, whether you use Grace or legalism, whether you depend upon man or God.

Can you fix a car, iron a shirt, type a letter to the glory of God? The test is on whether you know how to do this.

workman” — ἐργατης (ergateis), an agricultural worker, a laborer, a routine worker. This word indicates one who is involved in the mundane, routine, ordinary, distasteful, or dull things in life. In the ancient world it meant feeding the cattle, working in the fields, cleaning out the barn, etc. Many people want to do great things for God, to get written up in articles, to get peer recognition for accomplishments.

Some people think that leading someone to Christ is more spiritual than giving a cup of cold water in the Lord’s name. But this is wrong! Any task can be done as unto the Lord; the Christian life is fantastic. The emphasis here is on doing small, routine things as unto the Lord. Stay in fellowship and wait for God’s promotion.

needeth not to be ashamed — literally, with the previous word, “a not–ashamed workman”. You don’t have to be ashamed of your station in life if you have an honest vocation. Every believer is in full time service. A Christian worker must keep grace oriented and not despise the ordinary things, or those who live an “ordinary” life. And he must have these qualities before moving out.

rightly dividing with the word of truth. — to cut straight, to line out a straight path. Use Bible doctrine to keep from straying into the cults, into the movements, to stay with accurate interpretation and application of the Word of God. This enables a life with no detours, no hangups, no blind alleys. Therefore, the verse says, “Making every effort to represent yourself approved to God, an irreproachable worker cutting a straight path with the Word of Truth.”

The Christian worker must also be able to stand the test of negative volition on the part of those he is reaching. READ Acts 13. Nothing tests the Christian worker more than a lack of response. Paul began his first missionary journey about ten years after he was saved, when he was mature. He ran into negative volition and corrected the situation with the direct approach (Acts 13:6-13).

Religion always has negative volition attached to it, as we see in this context. The religious people were filled with envy, jealous of Paul getting a hearing. They fabricated lies and began a vicious campaign of gossip and maligning. They “spoke against those things which were spoken by Paul”. They spoke against doctrine; they didn’t like Christ being called the Messiah; they didn’t like Paul’s authoritative teaching. They were the religious bosses and controlled everything religious in the town.

Paul and Barnabas “waxed bold” – that is, they spoke dogmatically with authority and confidence. He said, “It was necessary that the Word of God should first have been spoken to you (Jews)”, but they ran into negative volition, “but seeing you put if from you”. So Paul and Barnabas left and went to a place of positive volition (13:46-49) and had great results.

In Acts 15, they ran into the problem of negative volition on the part of believers, toward doctrine taught categorically (Circumcision). The believers were dragging works into God’s plan of Grace. The Christian worker must understand the doctrine of volition, both positive and negative aspects.

A Christian worker must also possess spiritual endurance. The idea is expressed in 2 Tim. 4:7,8 as having iron in the soul, “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” Or. “Iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” (Prov. 27:17).

The enemy of spiritual endurance is “brittleness in the soul”, as seen in Jer. 13:8‑14. In the ancient world they understood how a dried out wineskin would shatter. This passage is talking about the disintegration of the soul of an individual, like Prov. 6:32. The soul becomes brittle when the believer fails to respond to doctrine and either goes into idolatry or sexual sins. The believer drinks the jug of the foam of this life and not only does the jug shatter in his face but so does his soul. It is part of the frantic search for happiness of the person who has received some prosperity, like Solomon who prospered materially but found nothing to satisfy himself (Ecclesiastes).

Brittleness in the soul can become a way of life, like the nation which goes into terrible judgment (Jer. 13:19). This is the pursuit of success and happiness apart from God’s Plan and provision. A brittle soul has not been fulfilled by the Lord and His Word. Instead of Grace orientation, the believer with a brittle soul has legalism, self-righteousness, pride, super sensitivity, human viewpoint, self-justification, a critical and irritable spirit, and accepts no authority but his own.

Instead of being a master of the details of life, the details master him, so he seeks satisfaction with cheap substitutes. Instead of having a relaxed mental attitude, the brittle soul has mental attitude sins: bitterness, jealousy, hatred, cruelty. Instead of a capacity for personal and impersonal love, the brittle soul has pseudo-love, a sickly sweet love accompanied by boredom and instability. Instead of perfect happiness, the brittle soul has depression, frustration, and accepts instant stimulation followed by instant misery. This condition is the opposite of spiritual endurance and has destroyed many Christian workers in all parts of the world.

The mechanics of obtaining spiritual endurance are simple, salvation plus edification. Stability and endurance come through the daily intake of the Word of God accompanied by the continuous filling of the Holy Spirit and application of doctrine to the life through faith. Eph. 4:1-13.

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