The following notes were written to train up new leaders in the basics of sound biblical and systematic theology. I pray they might be a source of spiritual knowledge and growth in your life. Prepare yourself though– there is a lot here! But if you take the time to study through this material, you’ll have a wealth of good, sound theology. You can also find this material in smaller articles under Resource Center, Articles. There it has been broken down to a single doctrine (e.g. The Doctrine of Scripture). I gleaned material for these notes from many different sources, and due to a faulty memory, have not been able to footnote them in these notes. Please excuse me.
1. The Justification For What We Are Doing
A. The majesty of God demands it.
B. The church and the world need it.
2. Essential Definitions
A. Hermeneutics: The setting forth of methodological principles and techniques necessary to interpret the biblical text.
B. Exegesis: The application of the hermeneutical principles to the biblical text in order to understand and explain it.
C. Theology: “Theos” = God. “ology” = the study of. The study of God. The discovery, systematizing, and presentation of the truths about God.
D. Systematic Theology: Systematizing the doctrinal content of Scripture about God in appropriate categories.
3. Admitted Presuppositions
A. Foundational Presupposition: We believe the Scriptures to be true and the primary source of revelation about God.
B. Methodological Presupposition: Accurate exegesis must precede sound theology.
C. Hermeneutical Presuppositions:
1. We believe in the necessity of normal, plain interpretation.
2. We recognize the priority of the New Testament.
D. Personal Presuppositions:
1. We must be born again (Jn. 3:1-3; 1 Cor. 2:14-16; Eph. 2:1-3).
2. We must depend on the Holy Spirit (Jn. 14:26; 16:12-15; 1 Cor. 2:10‑16).
3. We must respond to the theology we learn (James 1:22-25).
4. Some Final Words Of Warning
A. Biblical knowledge can be dangerous when it becomes an end in itself.
B. Biblical knowledge can be dangerous when it isn’t balanced by love and grace.
C. Knowledge can be dangerous when it remains theoretical.
Leadership Training and Development
The Doctrine Of Scripture
1. Definition Of Bibliology: A science within systematic theology which deals with the nature of the Bible; its inspiration, authenticity, revelation, canonicity, authority, illumination and preservation.
2. Preliminary Observations:
A. The key question one must answer when studying bibliology is not, “Do you believe in God?” but rather “Do you believe God?”
B. The primary attack of the enemy centers on the integrity of the Scriptures.
3. Pertinent Definitions Associated With The Study Of Bibliology:
A. Revelation: The self-disclosure of God in history whereby He communicates to mankind through various actions, events, or words, the truth about Himself, His ways and His works.
1. Natural Revelation: God’s communication of Himself to all persons (Mt. 5:45; Acts 14:17) at all times and in all places (Ps.19:1-6), particularly through creation (Rom. 1:18-20), history (Acts 17:26), and man (Rom. 1:20; 2:14-15).
1. Glory (Ps.19:1)
2. Power (Ps.19:1)
3. Supremacy (Rom.1:20)
4. Divine Nature (Rom.1:20)
5. Providential Control Over Nature (Acts 14:17)
6. Goodness (Mt. 5:45)
7. Intelligence (Acts 17:29)
8. Living Existence (Acts 17:28)
1. To display God’s goodness
2. To give weight to Theism (belief in the existence of God)
3. To justly condemn sinners
2. Special Revelation: God’s communication of Himself to particular persons at definite times and places through particular events with a general purpose of enabling those persons to enter into a redemptive relationship with Him.
A) Specific Examples:
1. The Urim and Thummim (Num.27:21)
2. Dreams (Gen.20:3,6)
3. Visions (Isa.1:1; 6:1; Acts 16:9-10)
4. Theophanies (Gen.16:7-14; 18:1; 32:24-30)
5. Angels (Lu.2:10-11)
6. Prophets (2 Sam. 23:2)
7. Events (Ex.7-14)
8. Jesus Christ (Jn. 1:1,14,18)
9. The Bible
B) Inherent Qualities:
1. Partial (Jn.21:25)
2. Accurate (Jn.17:17)
3. Progressive (Heb.1:1-2)
4. Purposeful (2 Tim. 3:16-17)
B. Inspiration: The supernatural influence of the Holy Spirit upon the Scripture writers which rendered their writings an accurate record of the revelation or which resulted in what they wrote actually being the Word of God (2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:21; 1 Cor. 2:13).
1. Qualifiers Of Inspiration:
A) Verbal (the inspiration was to the very words of Scripture)
1 Cor. 2:13; Mk. 12:26; Gal. 3:16
B) Plenary (the inspiration was to every part of Scripture) 2 Tim.3:16
2. Corollaries Of Inspiration:
A) Authority: The Bible carries with it the divine authority of God. It is binding upon man — on his mind, conscience, will, and heart. Man, creed, and church are all subject to the authority of Scripture.
B) Infallibility: The Bible is true and reliable in all matters that it addresses. It will not mislead or fail to accomplish its intended purpose.
C) Inerrancy: When all the facts are known, all the Scriptures in their original autographs and properly interpreted will be shown to be wholly true in everything they teach, whether that teaching has to do with doctrine, history, science, geography, geology, or other disciplines or knowledge.
C. Illumination: The ministry of the Holy Spirit helping the believer to understand the truth of the Bible.
D. Canonicity: “Canon” = a rule, standard or unit of measurement by which a writing was determined to be inspired or not, and the compilation of those writings deemed inspired. As applied to the Bible, it means those books which have been measured, found satisfactory, and approved as inspired of God. Christians have always assumed that God guided the formation of the canon of Scripture. The Old Testament as we know it today in our Bibles had been established and formed by the nation of Israel by the time of the life of Jesus. The New Testament as we know it today in our Bibles went through a long process in the early church which determined its formation. The criteria used for determining the inclusion of a writing included the following:
1. The apostolicity test: meant that the document had to be written by an apostle or someone closely related to an apostle who might receive divine revelation.
2. The authenticity test: was the attempt to prove that the writing had actually been written by the apostle (there was much counterfeit writing circulating).
3. The inspiration test: determined whether or not the manuscript exhibited definite evidence of being inspired by God (note that every portion of the writing must pass the test, not just the parts that reflect divine ideas).
4. The analogy test: determined whether or not the writing was completely consistent with the general analogy of faith of Scripture (i.e., every statement must be consistent or the writing could not have been inspired by God).
5. The universality test: was the question of whether or not the entire church accepted the writing as being inspired.
Every writing had to pass every test before it could be admitted into the canon of Scripture!
E. Anthropic: The fact that the inspired revelation of Scripture is marked by human characteristics throughout, yet its words are the very words God wanted to be said. (Example: the virgin Mary was sinful, yet she conceived the perfect Son of God by the power of the Holy Spirit. Human biblical authors were sinful, yet they brought forth the perfect Word of God by the power of the Holy Spirit.)
4. Defective Theories Of Inspiration:
A. Natural (Intuition) Inspiration: This view understands that inspiration is merely a superior insight on the part of natural man.
B. Concept Inspiration: This view understands that God authoritatively delivered conceptual revelation but left it to man to formulate the specific words.
C. Partial (Purpose) Inspiration: This view advocates that in issues of faith and practice the Bible is infallible while in other areas it may or may not be infallible.
D. Barthian (neo-orthodox, Existential, Word within the Word) Inspiration: This view understands that the Bible becomes God’s Word when the Living Word of God, Christ, speaks to us through its pages.
E. Dictation Inspiration: This view holds that the authors of the Scripture were mere pens, automatons, or robot-like machines.
5. The Consequences Of Leaving Inerrancy:
A. Doctrinal Issues:
1. Denial of historical fall of Adam
2. Denial of historical facts of experiences of Jonah
3. Explaining away some/all miracles in OT and NT
4. Denial of Mosaic authorship of Pentateuch
5. A belief in two or more authors of Isaiah
B. Life-style Issues:
1. Loose view of the seriousness of adultery
2. Loose view of the seriousness of homosexuality
3. “Cultural” reinterpretations of the Bible (role of women in church)
4. Ignoring the severity of sin (man is basically good)
6. Proofs For The Inspiration Of The Scriptures:
Proofs for Inspiration of Old Testament Scriptures:
A. The Witness of Jesus Christ:
Jn.10:35; Mt.5:18; Mk.7:10-13
B. The Witness of the Apostles of Christ:
2 Tim.3:16-17; Heb.3:7 (Ps.95:7); Acts 13:35 (Ps.16:10); Acts 4:24-25 (Psa. 2);
Heb.1:7-8 (Ps.104:4, 45:6)
C. 75% of Books of Old Testament are Cited in the New Testament
Proofs for Inspiration of New Testament Scriptures:
A. The Witness of Jesus Christ:
B. The Witness of the Apostles of Christ:
2 Pet.3:16; 1 Tim.5:18 (Lu.10:7); Rev.22:18-19; 1 Cor.14:37; 1 Thess.2:13
Proofs for Inspiration of All of Scripture:
A. Prophecies of Scripture: (Josiah, Cyrus, Jewish exile, Jesus Christ)
B. Unity of Scripture
C. Biblical Writers willing To Suffer & Die For What They Wrote
D. Changed Lives
E. Confirmation of Miracles (Heb.2:3-4)
F. Weakness & Character of Biblical Writers: (unlearned, good, expose sins)
7. The Power of the Scriptures:
A. Reflects: The human heart as in a mirror, thus allowing us to see ourselves as God actually sees us (James 1:22-25)
B. Judges: The thoughts and intentions of the human heart (Heb.4:12)
C. Washes: The human heart from all sin and iniquity of every kind (Eph.5:26; Jn.15:3)
D. Reproduces: As a seed since the Word of God is the imperishable seed by which every believer is born again (1 Pet.1:23)
E. Nourishes: The child of God; the Word is the spiritual food of all true believers (1 Pet.2:2)
“The Bible contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable. Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy.
It contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you. It is the traveler’s map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword, and the Christian’s charter. Here paradise is restored, heaven opened, and the gates of hell disclosed.
Christ is its grand subject, our good the design, and the glory of God its end. It should fill the memory, rule the heart, and guide the feet. Read it slowly, frequently, and prayerfully. It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory, and a river of pleasure. It is given you in life, will be opened at the judgment, and be remembered forever. It involves the highest responsibility, will reward the greatest labor, and will condemn all who trifle with its sacred contents.” (from an anonymous Puritan author)
WE MUST TRUST, LOVE, DEFEND, STUDY, APPLY, AND EXPLAIN THE WORD OF GOD!!!
Leadership Training and Development
The Doctrine of God
A. Great men of God are preoccupied with knowing God (Knowing God evolves into monumental service for God. Examples: Moses (Ex.33), David (Pss), Daniel (Da.6), Paul (Phil.3), Josiah (2 Chron.34), Jeremiah (Jer.9:23-24). Think about great servants you know. Is there passion to know God? What about those who have no appetite to know God. Are they making an impact for God’s Kingdom? 2 Pet. 3:18.
B. The development of one’s spiritual life is dependent upon his knowledge of God. Trust, worship, faith. Jb.19:25; Ps.56:9; Hos.4:6; 2 Pet.2:1-2
C. Knowing God is an endless process… God is ultimately incomprehensible. Isa.40; Job.38-42. This truth engenders reverence, humility, worship. There is no place for arrogance. God is infinite; we are finite. Even if we could understand everything that the Bible said, still God is beyond that. Incomprehensibility means we don’t know God’s qualities completely and exhaustively. God is more than the sum total of His perfections we know. While His self-revelation is accurate, it is not exhaustive.
THE EXCELLENCIES (PERFECTIONS, ATTRIBUTES) OF GOD: The excellencies of God are not synonymous with the acts of God (creating), nor the roles He embraces (Creator), nor a definition of Him, but a description of those qualities which constitute what He Isa. Attribtutes = qualities inherent to someone. Sometimes they are called perfections (all His qualities are perfect). Sometimes they are called excellencies (1 Pet. 2:9).
A. Preliminary Observations
1. God’s excellencies are permanent qualities. They cannot be added to, taken away, gained or lost. They are intrinsic qualities. They are essential and inherent dimensions of His eternal nature.
2. God’s excellencies are objective characteristics of His nature, not our conceptions projected upon Him. They are who He is whether anyone believes them or not. It is possible for us to emphasize one attribute of God to the exclusion of another. Our perceptions of God can be distorted.
3. God’s excellencies are not component parts of God. Each describes His total being. Love is not a part of God’s nature; His total being is love. He is not 10% mercy, 10% just, 10% holy. This is what we mean by the Unity of God or the doctrine of Divine Simplicity.
4. God always acts in complete harmony with all of His excellencies. While He may display one quality or another at a given time, no quality is independent of or preeminent over any of the others. (Example: heresy of universalism — God loves, so He will save all people)
5. God’s excellencies describe equally the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. They are intrinsic to each member of the Godhead.
B. A Catalog Of Excellencies:
1. Eternity: God exists endlessly, both backward and forward from our viewpoint of time (Ps.90:2; Gen.21:33; Dt.33:27; Isa.57:15; 1 Tim.1:17). There is no division of past, present, future with God. This is inherent in His name “I AM.” He possesses the whole of His existence in one individual present. This is sometimes called His Self-Existence. God never came into existence nor was He ever caused to come into existence. This is a comforting doctrine. God will never cease to exist — therefore His sustaining control of all things is assured.
2. Freedom: He is independent of His creatures and His creation (Isa. 40:13-14; Rom.11:33-36). Application of Doctrine: God is not obligated to us in any way unless He chooses to initiate an obligation. He owes us nothing. We cannot put Him in our debt.
3. Immutability: God is unchangeable and unchanging (Mal.3:6; Ps.102:26‑27; James 1:17; Ps.33:11). This does not mean that God is inactive or immobile, but He is never developing or growing. Application of Doctrine: God’s promises never fail; His purposes never change. He is our immovable Rock in this shaky world! What comfort!
4. Infinity: God has no bounds or limits (1Kings 8:27; Acts 17:24-28; Isa. 66:1; Jer.23:23). God is not limited by His universe nor time and space. This is different from omnipresence in that it focuses on His transcendence (not bound by time and space, separate from creation, superior to it), while omnipresence focuses on the immanence (everywhere present and active in creation).
5. Omnipotence: God is all-powerful and able to do anything consistent with His own nature (Gen.17:1; Job 42:2; 2 Cor.6:18; Rev.1:8; 19:6) Does God’s omnipotence have any limitations? Yes: 1) natural limitations — when it is contrary to His nature (Tit.1:2; James 1:13; 2 Tim. 2:13); 2) Self-imposed limitations. Example: He has not chosen to save all people.
6. Omnipresence: God is everywhere present with His whole being at all times (Ps.139:7-11; Jer.23:24). His whole being is everywhere and everyplace, not diffused throughout the universe. Even in the lake of fire, men will not be separated from Him who is omnipresent (Rev.14:10), although he will be separated from the face presence (prosopon) of God (2 Thess.1:9). No presence of fellowship. Separated from God’s mercy, but not from God’s wrath.
7. Omniscience: God knows everything, things actual and possible, effortlessly and equally well (Ps.139:1-6; Mt.6:8; Jn.21:17; 1Jn.3:20). Application of Doctrine: Comfort! Nothing that happens in a believer’s life would surprise God. Also, since God knows all things, heed what He says!
8. Holiness: Negatively, that God is separate from all that is unclean and evil; positively, that God is wholly pure (Ex.15:11; Lev.11:44; Ps.99:3; Isa.6:1-3; 1 Pet.1:15). Application of Doctrine: Sinners must be separated from God unless somehow they become holy. Lifestyle of believers: shouldn’t ask is something permissable, but is it holy.
9. Love: Affection; seeking the highest good for the object loved (1Jn.4:8, 10-11, 19; Rom.5:5,8; 8:35,39; Jude 1:1; Rom.9:13; Heb.12:6; Rev.1:5). We show love to children both by cuddling and correcting — both are expressions of love.
10. Goodness: God’s benevolent concern for creatures (Ps.145:9,15; Mk.10:18; Acts 14:17; Mt.5:45).
11. Mercy: An aspect of God’s goodness which causes Him to show pity and compassion (Eph.2:4; James 5:11; 1Pet.1:3; Lu. 1:50; Rom.9:15‑16,18,23; Titus 3:5). Sometimes this is referred to as compassion.
12. Patience: Self-restraint in the face of provocation (Rom.2:4; Rom.9:22; 2 Pet.3:9,15; 1 Pet.3:20; 1Tim.1:16).
13. Graciousness: Unmerited favor of God shown to man, based on the person and work of Jesus Christ. It is the eternal and absolute free favor of God manifested in the bestowal of spiritual and eternal blessings to the guilty and unworthy. It is what all need, what none deserve, and what God alone can give! (Ex.34:6-7; Neh.9:31; 2 Cor.8:9; Eph.2:5-8; Rom.3:24)
14. Justice: God’s treatment of the creature according to what is righteous. God’s justice is inflexible. (Nahum 1:3; Rom.12:19; Dt.32:4; Ps.99:4; Acts 17:31; Rom.2:5-6; 3:26).
15. Sovereignty: God is the Supreme Person and the Supreme Power in all the universe. (Ps.103:19; 115:3; Dan.4:25,34-35; Eph.1:11; Isa.46:9-10; 1 Tim.6:15). God does whatever He wants, whenever He wants, however He wants, to whomever He wants.
16. Veracity: God is absolute truth (Num.23:19; Jn.17:3; Rom.3:4; Titus 1:2; Heb.6:18). Carries with it the idea of faithfulness and consistency. Application of Doctrine: what comfort! His promises will never be broken!
THE TRIUNITY OF GOD: “Trinity” not biblical word, yet very early use in church. Latin “trinitas” which means threeness used by Tertullian 220. Helpful, because sometimes one word helps to capture systematized biblical idea.
A. Definition: “There is only one and true God, but in the unity of the Godhead there are three co-eternal and co-equal persons, the same in substance but distinct in subsistence” (necessary existence) B.B. Warfield. One life substance existing consciously as 3 persons.
1. Nicene Creed (325): “We believe in one God – And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father, light of light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father – And in the Holy Ghost.”
2. The Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed (381): clauses concerning Father & Son practically same as Nicene Creed, but concerning the Holy Ghost is changed to: “And in the Holy Ghost, who is the Lord and giver of life, who proceedeth from the Father, who, with the Father and Son, is worshipped and glorified, who spake by the prophets.”
3. The Athanasian Creed (origin uncertain): “And the Catholic Faith is this: that we worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity, neither confounding the Persons nor dividing the Substance; for there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost is all one; the glory equal, the majesty co-eternal. For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every Person by Himself to be God and Lord, so we are forbidden by the Catholic Religion to say, There are three Gods, or three Lords.”
4. The Augsburg Confession (1530) – the oldest Protestant creed and the accepted standard of Lutheranism: “There is one Divine essence which is called and is God, eternal, without body, indivisible, of infinite power, wisdom, goodness, the Creator and Preserver of all things, visible and invisible. And yet there are three Persons of the same essence and power, who also are co-eternal, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.”
5. The Thirty-Nine Articles (1571) – the creed of the Church of England and of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States: “There is but one living and true God. And in the unity of this Godhead there are three Persons, of one substance, power and eternity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.”
6. The Westminster Confession (1647), the creed of the Presbyterian Church, agreeing with the Canons of the Synod of Dort: “There is but one living and true God. In the unity of the Godhead there are three Persons, of one substance, power, and eternity – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. The Father is one, neither begotten nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son.”
1. Arianism (Modern Day Jehovah Witnesses): Claimed that the Son was created by the Father and that the first creation of the Son was the Holy Spirit.
2. “Oneness” Doctrine (United Pentecostal Church): Claim that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are 3 successive modes in which God reveals Himself. Believe only 1 person in Godhead. Terms Father, Son, and Holy Spirit denote this 1 Person in different capacities. Same God who in OT times was known as Father, afterward became incarnate as the Son, and reveals Himself in Church as the Holy Spirit. Similar to a man known in family as father, in church as elder, and in community as doctor. But destroys distinction in Persons. Also, if the phases are successive God has ceased to be the Father when He became the Son, and He ceased to be the Son when He became the Holy Spirit.
3. Tritheism: Belief in 3 different gods.
C. Scriptural Proof of the Doctrine of the Trinity:
1. There is Only 1 God: Deut.6:4; Isa.44:6; James 2:19; 1 Cor.8:4; Eph.4:5-6. Christians don’t believe in 3 Gods!
2. This 1 God Exists Eternally As Three Persons: Christians don’t believe in 1 Person.
A. The Father is God: 1 Cor. 8:6; Gal. 1:1; Eph. 4:6; Mt. 11:25; Jn. 6:27;
1 Pet. 1:2; Phil.2:11; Jn.20:17
B. The Son is God: Rom.9:5; Col.2:9; Jn.20:28; Jn.10:30; Titus 2:13; Jn.5:18; Mk.2:5; Jn.1:1
1) He Possesses the attributes of God:
Holiness – Jn.6:69; 2Cor.5:21; Heb.7:26
Eternity – Jn.1:1; 8:58; 17:5
Life – Jn.1:4; 14:6; 11:25
Immutability – Heb.13:8; 1:11,12
Omnipotence – Mt.28:18; Rev.1:8
Omniscience – Jn.16:30; Mt.9:4; Jn.6:64; Col.2:3
Omnipresence – Mt.28:20; Eph.1:23
Creation – Jn.1:3; Col.1:16-17
Raising the Dead – Jn.5:27-29
Judging All Men – Mt.25:31-46
Receives Prayer & Worship – Jn.14:14; Lu.24:51-52; Acts 7:59
C. The Holy Spirit Is God: Acts 5:3-4; Jn.15:26; Mt.28:19; 2 Cor.13:14.
1) He is not a power, influence, or force. Has attributes of personality:
Speaks: Acts 8:29; Acts 10:19-20; 13:2
Teaches: Lu.12:12; Jn.16:13-14
Can Be Grieved: Eph.4:30
Can Be Blasphemed: Mt.12:31-32
Can Be Resisted: Acts 7:51
Directs: Acts 16:6-10
Gifts: 1 Cor.12:11
Regenerates: Jn.3:5; Titus 3:5
Inspires: 2 Pet.1:20-21
2) He Possesses the Attributes of God:
Omnipresence – Ps.139:7-10
Omniscience – Isa.40:13-14; 1 Cor.2:10-11
Omnipotence – 1 Cor.12:11; Rom.15:19
Eternity – Heb.9:14
Creation – Gen.1:2; Job 26:13; 33:4
Raising the Dead – Rom.8:11
3. The Terms Father, Son, and Holy Spirit Designate Distinct Persons: Mt.17:5; Jn.17:1; 16:28; 16:13. Father loves Son; Son loves Father; Spirit glorifies Son; Son prays to Father; Father sends Son; Father & Son send Holy Spirit. Therefore, they can’t be the same persons.
D. Ramifications Of A Triune Doctrine Of God:
1. All Persons of the Godhead are involved in the work of Redemption
2. Priority without inferiority as seen in the Trinity is the basis for proper relationships between husbands and wives: Eph.5:22-33; 1 Cor.11:3
3. Prayer is practiced in a trinitarian way: Though we may address any person of the Trinity, ordinarily according to biblical precedent we address the Father in the name of Christ as the Spirit directs us (Jn.14:14; Eph.2:18; 3:14; 6:18). All members of trinity are worthy of worship!
Try to explain it, and you’ll lose your mind; but try to deny it and you’ll lose your soul.
Leadership Training and Development
The Doctrine Of Sin
1. Adam’s Sin:
A. The Covenant Of Works:
1) Adam Is Created Holy & Able To Obey God: Eccl.7:29
2) Adam Is Placed Under A Covenant Of Works: Hos.6:7
3) Adam Is Put Under Probation & Made The Representative Of All Mankind: Rom.5:12-21
4) Obedience To God Results In Life For Himself & Mankind: Gen.2:16-17
5) Disobedience Results In Death For Himself & Mankind: Gen.2:16-17
B. Various Views Of The Fall:
1) The Myth Theory Of The Fall: There was no factual, historical fall. Adam & Eve are mythological symbols to explain man’s corruption. Genesis 3 is a parable teaching a moral lesson. All men are born neutral, but like Adam choose sin.
2) The Realist View Of The Fall: (sometimes called the Augustinian or Seminal View). Since Adam contained the seed of all his descendants, when he sinned, all actually sinned. Mankind was not just represented by Adam, but actually organically joined to Adam. When Romans 5:12 says “all sinned,” it means that all humanity was a participant in Adam’s sin (Heb.7:9-10).
3) The Representative View Of The Fall: (sometimes called the Federal View). Adam was the representative (federal head) of the whole human race so that when Adam sinned his sin became the ground of condemnation of his race. In the “Covenant of Works” God entered into an agreement with Adam whereby if he passed the test the entire human race would have eternal life; if he failed he would bring suffering to the entire race. As a result of his failure, sin was imputed to each of his descendants.
2. The Consequences Of Adam’s Sin:
A. The Imputation of His Sin To The Entire Human Race: imputation means to reckon or ascribe something that belongs to one person to another; to transfer accounts.
1) Three Basic Imputations In Scripture:
a. The Imputation of Adam’s Sin To The Human Race (Rom.5:12-19)
b. The Imputation of The Elect’s Sin To Christ (2 Cor.5:21)
c. The Imputation of Christ’s Righteousness To Believers (Rom.5:18-19)
B. The Total Depravity Of The Entire Human Race: (sometimes referred to as Radical Corruption or Original Sin. It refers to the sinful state and condition into which all people are born.
1) What Total Depravity Does Not Mean:
a. Sinners are as bad as they can possibly be. (not utter depravity)
b Sinners do not have a conscience.
c. Sinners are incapable of performing actions that are good in the sight of others
d. Sinners do not admire virtuous character and actions in others
e. Sinners will indulge in every form of sin
2) What Total Depravity Does Mean: Sinners are depraved in their totality. Every part of man has been affected by the Fall.
a. His Mind: Gen.6:5; Rom.3:11; 1 Cor.2:14; 2Cor.4:4; Eph.4:17-18;
b. His Affections: Gen.6:5; Jer.17:9; Ezek.36:26; Jn.3:19;
c. His Will: Jn.5:40; Jn.6:44,65; Rom.3:11; Rom.8:7-8
C. The Total Inability Of The Entire Human Race: This refers to the doctrine that man as a result of the Fall is so enslaved to sin and Satan that he has no desire or power to turn to God. He cannot repent, believe on Christ, or do good without the sovereign efficacious work of God.
1) He Is A Slave To Sin: Jn.8:34, Rom.6:20; Titus 3:3
2) He Is A Slave To Satan: Jn.8:44; Eph.2:2; 2 Tim.2:25-26; 1Jn.5:19;
3) He Is Spiritually Dead: Eph.2:1-4; Col.2:13
4) He Cannot Change His Nature: Jer.13:23; Jn.3:6
5) He Cannot Come To Christ: Jn.6:44,65; Rom.5:6
3. Various Views Of Original Sin:
A. Pelagian View: Adam’s sin affected him alone, except as a bad example to us. Infants are born in the same moral condition in which Adam was originally created. Every man possesses absolute ability to repent and obey whenever he wills. Ability is always the measure of responsibility — in other words God can’t hold man responsible for what he is unable to do. Pelagians deny that Adam’s sin was imputed to the human race, and that men are born with a sinful nature. Through the work of Augustine, the teachings of Pelagius were condemned as heretical in the early 5th century. They were revived in part during the Middle Ages in a milder form in Semi-Pelagianism (closely related to Arminianism). MAN IS SPIRITUALLY WELL! (view held by modern liberals)
B. Armianian View: (Methodists, Wesleyans, Pentecostals) Adam’s sin was not imputed to the human race. A corrupt nature is transmitted to all men at birth, but the possession of this sinful nature does not make us guilty before God, since God can only punish men for their own actual sins consisting of voluntary transgressions. Though man does not possess original righteousness, he is not totally depraved but can by his own will choose God and good. God gives prevenient grace to all men, enabling them to repent & believe if will only choose of their own free will. The ultimate determining factor in a man’s salvation is his choice of Christ. The human will takes the initiative; God responds in regeneration. Infants are guiltless until they reach the “age of accountability.”
MAN IS SPIRITUALLY SICK!
C. Reformed View: The guilt of Adam’s sin is imputed to the whole human race. Additionally, original sin is transmitted from one generation to the next. We inherit it from our parents and pass it on to our children (Gen.5:1-3; Ps.51:5; Ps.58:3; Eph.2:3). Consequently, man has been so seriously affected by the Fall that he is spiritually dead, unwilling and unable to come to Christ, helplessly & hopelessly lost. Unless God in His matchless mercy comes to the sinner in sovereign grace and imparts spiritual life, he will be lost for all eternity.
MAN IS SPIRITUALLY DEAD!
4. God’s Punishment For Sin:
A. Spiritual Death: loss of communion with God, freedom of will, power to do good, knowledge of God (Gen.2-3)
B. Physical Death: including sickness, suffering, calamity in this life (Gen.3:19)
C. Eternal Death: eternal separation from God and eternal torment in hell (Rev.14:10-11)
5. Objections To The Reformed View Of The Fall:
A. How Can God Hold Man Responsible For That Which He Is Unable To Do? (repent & come to Christ). Must make a distinction between moral ability and natural ability. All men possess natural ability (they possess a mind, conscience, and will — the faculties necessary to repent & believe). They do not have moral ability – a desire to please God, obey His commands, repent and believe. (Illustration of God commanding gardener to trim bushes by 3:00 p.m. but warning to stay away from pit.) Is it just for God to hold men less responsible the more enslaved to sin (inability) they become? Hardly! God holds men responsible for the way He created them. Their depravity is their own fault – not His.
B. How Can God Hold Us Responsible For The Sin Of Another? You ought just as well ask yourself “How can God save a man by the righteousness of Another?” God justifies men on the same basis that they are condemned. All are condemned by the sin of Adam, their representative. We had nothing to do with that. But the elect are justified by the righteousness of Christ, their representative. We had nothing to do with that! If we complain about imputed sin, we had better complain about imputed righteousness!
APPLICATION OF THE BIBLICAL DOCTRINE OF SIN:
1. See the helpless state of lost sinners! Pity them, pray for them, preach to them!
2. Marvel at the superabounding grace of God! He saved you when you didn’t have a human hope in this world!
3. Give God all the Glory for your Salvation!!!
4. Be Careful Not To Implement UnBiblical Methodology In Evangelism: Human manipulation, altar calls emphasizing decisional regeneration.
Leadership Training andDevelopment
The Doctrine Of Predestination
Intro: We will examine the doctrine of predestination under two main headings — election and reprobation, both of angels and men.
THE DOCTRINE OF ELECTION
1. The Election of Angels
A. Scriptural Proof of Angelic Election: 1 Tim.5:21
B. Author of Angelic Election: God Lu.12:8-9
C. The End of Angelic Election: Preserved from apostasy, confirmed in a state of holiness, chosen to eternal glory, communion with God and elect men to all eternity.
2. The Election of Men
A. National Election: Deut.7:6-8
B. Vocational Election: Acts 9:15 (examples: Saul, sons of Aaron, 12 apostles)
C. Salvational Election:
1. Definition Of Election: “Election is God’s free, sovereign, eternal and unchangeable purpose to glorify the perfections of His chaacter in the salvation of a definite number of the human family by Jesus Christ, without regard to any foreseen faith or good works on their part, as the ground or condition of this choice.”
2. The Necessity of Election: Man is a slave of sin, a child of Satan, hostile to God, blind to truth, dead in sin, unable and unwilling to seek God (Jn. 6:44; 8:34, 44; Rom.8:5-8; 1 Cor.2:14; Eph.2:1). Therefore, election is the ONLY hope any man has!
3. Author of Election: Election is By God and in Christ
By God – 1 Thess.1:4; Rom.8:33; Eph.1:4; 1 Pet.1:2.
In Christ – Eph.1:4 (election does not find men in Christ, but puts them there. It unites men to Christ. Certain men were given to Christ, put into His hands to be saved by Him)
4. The Objects of Election: Sinners headed for hell – Rom.9:22; the foolish, weak, base, despised – 1 Cor.1:26-29; vessels of mercy; few in comparison with those outwardly called – Mt.20:16; a little flock – Lu.12:32; considered by themselves a great multitude which no man can number (Rev.7:9)
5. The Date of Election:
a. Before men were born – Rom.9:11
b. From the beginning – 2 Thess.2:13
c. From before the foundation of the world – Eph.1:4; Rev.17:8; Mt.25:34
d. From all eternity – 2 Tim.1:9
6. The Cause of Election:
a. Not foreseen faith: Acts 13:48; 2 Thess.2:13; Eph.2:8; Titus 1:1
b. Not the good works of men: Rom.9:11; 11:5-6
c. Not personal holiness: Eph.1:4
d. Is only the Sovereign Good Pleasure of Almighty God! Eph.1:5; Mt.11:25-26
7. The Means God Uses To Accomplish His Purpose of Election:
a. Redemption of Christ: 1 Pet.1:2
b. Sanctification of the Spirit: 2 Thess.2:13
8. The Blessings Of Election:
a. Faith: James 2:5; Acts 13:48
b. Adoption: Eph.1:5
c. Obedience: 1 Pet.1:2
d. Progressive Sanctification: Rom.8:29
e. Salvation: 1 Thess.5:9; Acts 13:48
f. All spiritual blessings: Eph.1:3-14
g. Effectual Calling: Rom.8:29-30; 2 Tim.1:9
h. Communion with God: Ps.65:4
i. Justification: Rom.8:33
j. Glorification: Rom.8:30, 9:23
9. The End of Election: The glory of God! Eph.1:6; Rom.11:36
10. The Properties of Election:
a. Eternal: Eph.1:4
b. Sovereign: Rom.9:18, 22-23
c. Unconditional: Rom.9:11
d. Immutable: Rom.11:29
e. Particular: Acts 13:48
3. Objections To the Doctrine of Election:
A. Election is Based on Foreknowledge: He knew I would choose Him, so He chose me. This one sounds so good! We love it! We want to believe it! Why? Because in our fallenness we want some responsibility for our salvation; and in our fallenness the other sounds unfair. But this view cannot be correct, because:
1. This Makes Man Sovereign: Jn.15:16. If we are sovereign, then God is not. If He’s not sovereign, then He’s not God, because there is something more powerful in the universe than He.
2. This Gives Man The Credit for His Salvation: It allows him to share in the glory. If my salvation is based on the right use of my free will, then I will have something to boast about in heaven. “The reason I’m in heaven and that sinner is in hell, is because I made the right choice, and He didn’t!”
3. This Assumes That Man Seeks After God: Rom.3:11 He doesn’t!
4. This Makes Salvation A Result of a Human Work: Bible teaches faith comes from God as a gift. Eph.2:8-9; Acts 18:27; Phil.1:29.
5. This Makes God A Victim of Man’s Choice: But God is never frustrated! Eph.1:11; Ps.115:3.
6. Foreknowledge is Linked to God’s Predetermined Plan: 1 Pet.1:20; Acts 2:23. Foreknowledge doesn’t mean foresight. Means God’s prior knowledge of what He plans to do. To know in Scripture means to have an intimate relationship with (Mt.7:23). Foreknew = foreloved. Long before they were created God’s elect stood present before His mind, were foreknown by Him and were the definite objects of His eternal love.
7. Foreknowledge is Spoken of in Connection with a People and Not in Connection with Any Action Which People Perform: Rom.8:29
B. Election Is Unjust: No! Election does not damn any man who ought to be saved. It only saves many men who ought to be damned! God does no injustice to those who perish. They receive what they rightly deserve. God will be just to all men. He is just to the elect by bringing them to heaven, because their sins were justly paid for. He is just to the wicked by sending them to hell to perish in their sins. We must remember that God is the Creator, the Potter, and can do what He likes with His creatures.
C. Election Is Unfair: Well, if what you mean by that is that God does not give equally to all men, then you are right! He decides where a person will be born, when they will be born, what natural gifts they will possess, whether they will hear the gospel, etc. But God has never told mankind that He is going to give all men exactly the same thing. He reserves the right to do as He pleases (Mt. 20:15).
D. This Doctrine Seems Like Somethng New & Novel – Nobody Believes It:
1. It Is Stated in the Following Creeds: Waldensian – 1400’s; Belgic Confession, Heidelberg Catechism – 1560; Helvetic Confession – 1564; Canons of the Synod of Dort – 1619; The 39 Articles of the Church of England – 1562; the Westminster Confession, the Savoy Declaration, the Baptist Confession of Faith – 1689; the New Hampshire Confession -1833.
2. It Was Believed and Taught By Almost All Major Denominations Between 1517 and 1800: Reformed, Presbyterian, Baptist, Anglican, Congregational.
3. It Has Been Believed by Great Men of Church History: Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Knox, Hugh Latimer, William Tyndale, Jn. Owen, Jn. Bunyan, Matthew Henry, George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, David Brainerd, Isaac Watts, Jn. Newton, William Carery, Robert Murray McCheyene, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Donald Barnhouse, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, A.W. Pink, R. C. Sproul.
C.H. Spurgeon: “It is no novelty then that I am preaching; no new doctrine. I love to proclaim these strong old doctrines that are called by the nickname Calvinism, but which are surely and truly the revealed truth of God as it is in Christ Jesus. By this truth I make a pilgrimmage into the past and as I go I see father after father, confessor after confessor, martyr after martyr standing up to shake hands with me. If I were a Pelagian or a believer in the doctrine of free will I would have to walk for centuries all alone. Here and there a heretic of no very honorable character might rise up and call me brother, but taking these doctrines of grace to be my standard of faith, I see the land of ancients peopled with my brethren. I behold multitudes who’ve confessed the same as I do, and I acknowledge that this is the religion of God’s own truth.”
E. This Is Fatalism! No – fatalism is the belief that the affairs of men are controlled either by whimsical sub-deities (the Fates) or impersonal forces of chance. Predestination is rooted in the character of a personal and righteous God. Would you rather have your destiny in the hands of an impersonal, cold force called Fatalism, or in the hands of a loving and gracious God?
F. But Doesn’t The Bible Say God Desires All Men To Be Saved?
1. Must understand the the Bible speaks of the will of God in three different ways:
The will of His Purpose – this is His sovereign efficacious will. Nothng can resist the will of God in this sense.
The will of His Command – this is His will that we obey Him by keeping His laws & commands. It is resistible.
The will of His Desire – He takes no delight in the death of the wicked.
2. Both 1 Tim.2:4 and 2 Pet.3:9 may be understood as the will of God’s desire. But additionally, there are some very good reasons to suspect that the apostles may have had the elect in view in both cases.
G. But This Doctrine Would Cut the Nerve of Evangelism! No! God not only foreordains the end of salvation, but also the means to that end. Far from causing man to cease evangelizing, it gives us the certainty that our efforts will not be unsuccessful. If there were no such thing as election, there would be no converts! Jn.10:16. Only look at Church History to see that this doctrine increases evangelistic zeal: Whitefield, Edwards, Carey, Spurgeon.
4. Application of The Doctrine of Election:
A. It Ought To Crush Our Pride: We had absolutely nothng to do with our salvation!
B It Ought To Exalt God: Salvation is of the Lord! Ps.115:1.
C. It Ought To Produce Joy: Ps.65:4. We would have no hope of salvation apart from election!
E. It Ought To Give Us Strength: Jn.6:39 – We are secure in Christ!
F. It Ought To Quicken the Church to Evangelize: There is an elect people out there. Results are certain!
THE DOCTRINE OF REPROBATION
1. The Reprobation of Angels
A. God Decreed Not To Give Confirming Grace to Some of the Angels: 1 Tim.5:21;
2 Pet.2:4; Mt.25:41
B. God Decreed Not To Provide Salvation For the Rebelling Angels: Heb.2:16
2. The Reprobation of Men
A. The Definition of Reprobation: “God’s intention from all eternity to pass by the non-elect, leaving them in their sins to endure their deserved punishment.”
B. The Biblical Proof of Reprobation:
1. The Rest: Rom.11:5,7
2. Those He Never Knew: Mt.7:23
3. Those Not Given To Him: Jn.17:6,9
4. Those Whose Names Were Not Written in the Book of Life: Rev.17:8
6. Those Not Of His Sheep: Jn.10:26
7. Those Appointed To Doom: 1 Pet.2:8
8. Those Marked Out Long Beforehand For Condemnation: Jude 4
9. Vessels of Wrath Prepared for Destruction: Rom.9:22; 1 Thess.5:9
C. The Cause of Reprobation:
1. Not Sin: otherwise all would be reprobated
2. The inscrutable sovereign purpose of God! Rom.9:11, 17,22; Mt.11:25-26;
D. The Date of Reprobation:
1. Long Beforehand: Jude 4
2. Long ago: 2 Pet.2:3
3. Before Birth: Rom.9:11
4. Before the Foundation of the World: Rev.17:8
E. The Properties of Reprobation:
2. Sovereign: Rom.9:18
F. The End of Reprobation: The glory of God seen in the magnifying of His justice and holiness (Pr.16:4; Rom.9:17-18)
3. Application of the Doctrine of Reprobation:
A. Humble Yorself Beneath His Awesome Sovereign Hand!
B. Bless God That He Decided to Have Mercy on You!
C. Fear God!
Leadership Training and Development
The Doctrine of Jesus Christ
1. The Eternal Existence Of Jesus Christ:
A. The Importance of the Eternal Existence of Christ:
1) If Christ came into existence at His birth, then no eternal Trinity exists.
2) If Christ was not pre-existent then He could not be God, because, among other attributes, God is eternal.
3) If Christ was not pre-existent then He lied because He claimed to be.
B. Biblical Evidence for the Eternal Existence of Christ:
1) Jn. 1:1 “in the beginning was the Word” (imperfect tense stresses continual existence in past time, i.e. “in the beginning the Word was continually existing”).
2) Jn. 8:58 “I AM” (direct statement of eternality: “Before Abraham was born I was continually existing”).
3) Col. 2:9 (Possessing full Deity, all attributes)
4) Heb. 1:8 (Acknowledgement from the Father)
5) Micah 5:2 (Eternality of Messiah)
6) Isa. 9:6 (Father of Eternity)
7) Jn. 1:3; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:2 (His work of creation)
8) Jn. 17:5 (Equal glory with the Father before the world began)
9) Jn. 1:15, 30 (Existed before John the Baptist)
10) Jn. 3:13, 31 (Pre-existence in Heaven)
C. Activity of the Preincarnate Christ: (Creation)
1) By Him: Jn. 1:3; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:2 (Demonstrates His Divine Power)
2) For Him: Col. 1:16 (Demonstrates His Divine Prerogative)
3) Sustained Through Him: Col. 1:17 (Demonstrates His Divine Presence)
2. THE INCARNATION OF JESUS CHRIST: (The eternal second Person of the Trinity took on Himself humanity without surrendering His deity. (Jn. 1:14; 1 Jn. 4:2; 2 Jn. 7)
A. The Prediction of the Incarnation: (Isa. 7:14; 9:6; cf. Mt. 1:23).
B. The Means of the Incarnation: Virgin Birth (Mt. 1:18-25; Lu. 1:26-38).
C. The Purpose of the Incarnation:
1) To Reveal God To Us: (Jn. 1:18; 14:7-11; Heb. 1:1-2)
2) To Provide An Example For Our Lives: (Jn. 13:15; 1 Pet. 2:21; 1 Jn. 2:6)
3) To Destroy The Works Of The Devil: (1 Jn. 3:8; Heb. 2:14)
4) To Be A Sympathetic High Priest (Heb. 4:14-16)
5) To Provide An Effective Sacrifice For Sin (1 Tim. 1:15; Heb. 10:1-10)
D. The Nature of the Incarnation: (The eternal second Person of the Trinity took on Himself humanity without surrendering His deity. Jn. 1:14; 1 Jn. 4:2; 2 Jn. 7).
1) Jesus As Fully God:
a. He Possesses Divine Attributes:
1. Eternality: Jn. 8:58; 17:5
2. Omnipresence: Mt. 18:20; 28:20
3. Omniscience: Mt. 16:21; Col. 2:3; Jn. 18:4
4. Omnipotence: Mt. 28:18; Eph. 1:20-22; Jn. 11:38-44; Mk. 5:11-15
5. Holiness: Jn. 6:69; 1 Pet. 2:22; 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 7:26
6. Life: Jn. 1:4; 14:6; 11:25
7. Immutability: Heb. 13:8; Heb. 1:11-12
b. He Performs Works Only God Can Do:
1. Grants Forgiveness of Sins: Mk. 2:1-12
2. Gives Life: Jn. 5:21
3. Raises the Dead: Jn. 5:28-29
4. Judges All Men: Jn. 5:22, 27
c. He Is Given the Names and Titles of Deity:
1. Jehovah: Lu. 1:76; Rom. 10:13
2. God: Jn. 1:1; 20:28; Heb. 1:8
3. Lord: Mt. 22:43-45
4. King of Kings and Lord of Lords: Rev. 19:16
5. Son of God: Jn. 10:36; Mt. 26:63-64
6. Alpha and Omega: Rev. 1:17-18; 22:13; Isa. 44:6
7. The Lord of Glory: 1 Cor. 2:8
8. The Image of God: 2 Cor. 4:4
9. The Radiance of His Glory: Heb. 1:3
10. The Exact Representation of His Nature: Heb. 1:3
11. The Prince of Life: Acts 3:15
12. The Almighty: Rev. 1:8
d. He Claimed To Be God: (Jn. 5:17-18; 10:30,33; 14:9)
e. He Accepted Prayer and Worship From Others: (Mt.14:33; Jn. 20:28; Mt. 28:17; Acts 7:59)
2) Jesus As Fully Man:
a. He Had a Human Body: (Heb. 10:5; Lu. 2:52)
b. He Had a Human Soul: (Mt. 26:38; Lu. 23:46; Jn. 12:27)
c. He Exhibited the Physical Characteristics of a Human Being:
1. Hunger: Mt. 4:2
2. Thirst: Jn. 19:28
3. Fatigue: Jn. 4:6
4. Suffering: Lu. 24:46; Heb. 5:8
5. Death: Mt. 27:50; 1 Cor. 15:3
d. He Exhibited Human Emotions:
1. Anger: Mk. 3:5
2. Grief: Mk. 3:5
3. Compassion: Mt. 9:36; Mk. 1:41
4. Love: Mk. 10:21; Jn. 13:23
5. Joy: Jn. 15:11
6. Distress: Mt. 26:37
7. Sorrow: Jn. 11:35
e. He Had Human Names: (Jesus, Son of David, Son of Man)
E. The Hypostatic Union:
1) Definition of Hypostatic Union: In the incarnation of the Son of God, a human nature was inseparably united forever with the divine nature in the one person of Jesus Christ, yet with the two natures remaining distinct, whole, and unchanged, without mixture or confusion so that the one person, Jesus Christ, is truly God and truly man. In other words, the single person of the incarnate Christ retained the total complex of the divine attributes and possessed all the complex of human attributes essential to a human being. The attributes of both natures belong to the one Person without mixing the natures or dividing the Person. Christ’s personality resides in His divine nature because the Son did not unite with a human person but with a human nature. Christ’s human nature was impersonal apart from the incarnation; this however, is not true of the divine nature.
2) Importance of the Hypostatic Union:
a. Christ must be human if He was to take man’s place, suffer and die, because God as such is not capable of that.
b. Christ must be Divine if His death is to have infinite value. His humanity made His sufferings possible. His Deity gave them an infinite value.
3. THE SINLESSNESS OF JESUS CHRIST:
A. Necessity For Christ To Be Sinless: in order to be the perfect substitionary sacrifice atoning for the sins of others He must have no sin of His own. Otherwise, His sufferings and death would only be just payment for His own sin.
B. Biblical Evidence for Christ’s Sinlessness:
1) Testimony of Christ Himself: (Jn. 8:29; 14:30; 8:46; 15:10; 17:4). Christ never prayed for personal forgiveness nor offered any sacrifice at the temple.
2) Testimony of Christ’s Enemies:
a. Judas: Mt.27:4
b. Pilate’s Wife: Mt. 27:19
c. Pilate: Mt. 27:24
d. Thief: Lu. 23:41
e. Centurion: Mt. 27:54
f. Demons: Mk. 1:24
3) Testimony of Christ’s Apostles:
a. Peter: 1 Pet. 2:22
b. John: 1 Jn. 3:5
c. Paul: 2 Cor. 5:21
d. Luke: Lu. 1:35
e. Author of Hebrews: Heb. 4:15; 7:26; 9:14.
4. THE OFFICES OF JESUS CHRIST:
A. Prophet (Revealer): The role of a prophet was to reveal God to man (Jn. 1:18; Heb.1:1-3; Deut. 18:15; Acts 3:22; Mt. 13:57; Lu. 13:33; Jn. 6:14) Christ has always been the One who has communicated by His Word and Spirit the will of God for man’s salvation.
1) In the Old Testament: He spoke through the prophets (1 Pet. 1:11).
2) In the days of His flesh: He taught & preached Himself.
3) In the Church Age: He teaches through His Spirit (Acts1:1). He is the Wonderful Counselor (Isa.9:6), & the Wisdom of God (1 Cor.1:24).
B. Priest (Reconciler): The role of a priest is to represent man before God (Heb.7:24-28; 10:11-12). As our Great High Priest, Christ’s duties are primarily two-fold:
1) To offer Himself as a sacrifice to satisfy divine justice and reconcile us to God. (Heb.7:27; 10:12)
2) To make continual intercession for us. (Heb.7:25; Rom.8:34)
C. King (Ruler): The role of a king is to exercise sovereign rule over his kingdom. Jesus Christ exercises sovereign rule over 3 different kingdoms:
1) The Kingdom of Power: This is the universe at large. He upholds all things by the Word of His power, whether visible or invisible, forces of nature, the starry galaxies of space, the course of history, demons and men. Here Christ exercises His Providential Rule over all His universe for the benefit of His Church. He employs the angels to minister to the heirs of salvation. He controls & restrains the devil and demons (Eph.1:11; Dan.4:35; Eph.1:20-22; Rom.8:28). Christ as God has the right by nature to rule this kingdom. He rules over this kingdom jointly with the other 2 Persons of the Trinity.
2) The Kingdom of Grace: This is the spiritual kingdom in which He rules in the hearts and lives of regenerated persons through His Word and Spirit (Jn. 3:5; Col. 1:13; Mt. 13:38). Christ as Mediator was appointed to rule this kingdom by His Father as a reward for His obedience and sufferings (Ps. 2:6; Isa. 9:6-7; Lu. 22:29; Phil. 2:9-11). When the full number of His elect are gathered in through effectual calling, He will deliver up the Kingdom to the Father, perfect and entire that God may be all in all (1 Cor.15:28; 2 Pet.3:9).
a. Characteristics of Christ’s Kingdom of Grace:
1. Present: (1 Cor. 15:25; Jn.3:5; Col.1:13; Rom.14:17)
2. Spiritual: Jn. 18:36; Lu. 17:20
3. Righteous: Isa.9:7
4. Peaceful: Isa.9:7
5. Ever-Increasing: Isa.9:7
6. Eternal: Isa.9:7
3) The Kingdom of Glory: This is the kingdom in which Christ rules over the holy angels and the spirits of just men made perfect in heaven. Here we have the Kingdom of the Church Triumphant (Phil.1:23; 2Cor.5:8; Rev.14:13).
Leadership Training and Development
The Doctrine of the Accomplishment of Redemption
Introduction: Though the elect of God had been chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world, their election did not actually save any of them. It only marked out particular sinners for salvation. Those who were chosen by the Father and given to the Son must be actually redeemed if they were to be saved. The Doctrine of the Accomplishment of Redemption deals with those specific aspects of the Work of Christ which He performed in order to secure the redemption of His people. I will expand upon three various aspects in this section:
1. The Perfect Life of Christ
2. The Substitionary Death of Christ
3. The Bodily Resurrection of Christ
1. The Perfect Life of Christ: This is sometimes referred to as the “active obedience” of Jesus Christ. God’s holy law demands not only perfect obedience to its precepts, but the payment of a penalty for any and all infractions. Christ, in His perfect life, obeyed perfectly God’s holy Law (His active obedience), thereby earning heaven and eternal life, not only for Himself, but also for all He represented. Christ, in His substitionary death, paid the penalty for every infraction of God’s Holy Law (His passive obedience) for all He represented. The death of Christ paid the debt we owed to divine justice, but in a sense was only a negative service. It brought us back to the zero point, back to the position Adam was in before he fell. The perfect life of Christ gives us something positive — eternal life, heaven, and the righteousness of Jesus Christ Himself. Not only did Christ die as a substitute for His people, He lived as a substitute for His people. Not only did Christ die for you, He lived for you! By Christ’s passive obedience we have been rescued from hell. By Christ’s active obedience we are given entrance into heaven.
Scriptural Basis for the Imputation of Christ’s Righteousness To Believers:
3. 1 Cor.1:30
4. 2 Cor.5:21
2. The Substitutionary Death of Christ:
A. The Efficacy of the Atonement:
1) The Bible Teaches That the Death of Christ Redeems Men: To redeem is “to set free by the payment of a ransom.” To say that Jesus is your redeemer, is to say that He is your Ransomer. Inherent in the idea of redemption are the ideas of deliverance and purchase. The price that He paid was His bloody death. He has set believers free from the curse of the Law, the power of the devil, this evil world, the penalty and power of sin, and one day even to the presence of sin. (Gal.3:10-13; Heb.2:14; Gal.1:4; Eph.1:7; 1Pet.1:18-19; Rom.8:23)
2) The Bible Teaches That the Death of Christ Saves Men: This concept is closely related to redemption. Salvation speaks of being rescued. Men are in danger of the merited penalty of their sin — eternal destruction. They need to be rescued. The death of Christ does just that! We have been rescued from wrath! (Mt.20:28; Lu.19:10; 1Tim.1:15).
3) The Bible Teaches That the Death of Christ Propitiates God: A propitiation is that which removes God’s wrath. An infinitely holy God can have only one response to sin – wrath and righteous indignation. The death of Christ turns away God’s righteous indignation so that He can accept the believing sinner without violating His own nature. (Rom.3:24-26; 1Jn.2:2; Heb.2:17; 1Jn.4:10)
4) The Bible Teaches that the Death of Christ Reconciles God and Man: This means that it is that by which the enmity between a Holy God and a sinful man is removed, so that they can dwell together as friends in peace. Before conversion, a sinner is an enemy of God. Through faith in Christ he becomes the favored of heaven, no longer alienated by wicked works but brought near through the blood of Christ. (2 Cor.5:18-19; Rom.5:10; Col.1:22; 1 Pet.3:18)
5) The Bible Teaches That the Death of Christ Has Merited Justification For Men: Justification refers to God legally declaring the believing sinner righteous in His sight. It is the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to his account at the moment he believes. In Christ’s death the believer’s sins were imputed to Him, so that when He died, the believer’s sin debt was cancelled. (Rom.5:9; Rom.3:24; Rom.8:33-34; 1Cor.1:30)
For the sake of clarity you may wish to think of the effects of the death of Christ in these 5 categories: Redemption, Salvation, Propitiation, Reconciliation, and Justification.
B. The Extent of the Atonement:
1) What The Issue Is: At this point we must ask ourselves the obvious question, “For whom did Christ die? For whom did He secure redemption, salvation, propitiation, reconciliation and justification?” This is a difficult question, and one in which there has been much controversy. It would behoove us all to enter into the discussion with much humility, trusting only in God’s revealed word for our answers!
a. The Universalist Position: Christ’s death is efficacious. It actually redeems, saves, propitiates God’s wrath, reconciles and justifies. It was offered on behalf of every man, woman, and child that has ever lived. Therefore, all men who have ever lived or who will ever live will be saved. They believe that as Adam represented all men, so Christ came to represent all men. They reject the doctrine of hell.
b. The Arminian Position: The death of Christ is non-efficacious. It is offered for the salvation of all men. Christ’s redeeming work made it possible for everyone to be saved but did not actually secure the salvation of anyone. Although Christ died for all men and for every man, only those who of their own free will choose to believe will be saved. The death of Christ did not actually put away the sins of anyone. Christ’s death becomes effective only if man chooses to accept it. This view maintains that the death of Christ has made all men saveable, but in and of itself, does not save anyone at all.
c. The Reformed Position: Historical or main line Calvinism has consistently maintained that Christ’s redeeming work was definite in design and accomplishment – that it was intended to render complete satisfaction for certain specified sinners and that it actually secured salvation for these individuals and for no one else. The salvation which Christ earned for His people includes everything involved in bringing them into a right relationship with God, including the gifts of faith and repentance. Christ did not die simply to make it possible for God to pardon sinners. Neither does God leave it up to sinners as to whether or not Christ’s work will be effective. On the contrary, all for whom Christ sacrificed Himself will be saved infallibly. Redemption, therefore, was designed to bring to pass God’s purpose of election.
2) What The Issue Is Not:
a. Whether There Is Infinite Value In Christ’s Death: Arminians and Calvinists all agree that the worth and value of Christ’s death cannot be limited whatsoever. It is valuable enough to have saved not only every person who has ever lived on this planet, but also a billion others besides, if God had so intended.
b. Whether There Are Benefits From the Death of Christ for All Men Indiscriminately: Both Arminians and Calvinists agree that there are such benefits for the elect and non-elect alike, such as God’s common grace in sending rain, sunshine, harvests, food, clothes, and the benevolent efforts of Christians towards others in relieving their suffering through hospitals, feeding hungry, clothing the naked, etc.
c. Whether All People Will Be Saved: Both Armians and Calvinists agree that not all men will be saved, as Scripture makes very clear. (Mt.25:31-46; Rev.20:15).
3) In What Way Is The Atonement Limited? Calvinists are told that they believe in a “limited atonement”, but actually anyone who believes there will be anyone in hell believes in a limited atonement. Either the atonement is limited in its efficacy (Arminians) or in its extent (Calvinists). The real question is, “Who limits the atonement?” Does man limit it by His free will, or does God limit it by His sovereign purpose? Has God put the greatest thing He has ever done in the fickle hands of sinful men to do with what they will, or has He kept it in His own hands to do with it what He wills? The Calvinist’s view of the atonement is like a narrow bridge which goes all the way across the stream; while the Arminian’s atonement is like a great wide bridge that goes only half-way across.
Spurgeon: “We are often told that we limit the atonement of Christ, because we say that Christ has not made a satisfaction for all men, or all men would be saved. Now, our reply to this is, that, on the other hand, our opponents limit it: we do not. The Arminians say, Christ died for all men. Ask them what they mean by it. Did Christ die so as to secure the salvation of all men? They say, ‘No, certainly not.’ We ask them the next question – Did Christ die so as to secure the salvation of any man in particular? They answer ‘No.’ They are obliged to admit this, if they are consistent. They say, ‘No. Christ has died that any man may be saved if’ – and then follow certain conditions of salvation. Now, who is it that limits the death of Christ? Why, you. You say that Christ did not die so as infallibly to secure the salvation of anybody. We beg your pardon, when you say we limit Christ’s death; we say, ‘No, my dear sir, it is you that do it.’ We say Christ so died that He infallibly secured the salvation of a multitude that no man can number, who through Christ’s death not only may be saved, but are saved and cannot by any possibility run the hazard of being anything but saved. You are welcome to your atonement; you may keep it. We will never renounce ours for the sake of it.” Quoted from Packer, “Introductory Essay,”
4. Arguments for the Doctrine of Particular Redemption:
a. The Argument From the Nature of the Atonement? Was the atonement of Christ efficacious, or non-efficacious? Does it make salvation possible, or certain? Is it described in terms of benefits which are potentially secured or actually secured? You be the judge! (Mt.1:21; Mt.26:28; Lu.1:68; Lu.19:10; Acts 20:28; Rom.8:33-34; Heb.1:3; 9:12; 9:26; 9:28; 10:14)
b. The Argument From The Testimony Of Scripture: In many places the death of Christ is said to effect the salvation of a particular group of people — His people, the many, the church, the sheep, those given to the Son, the elect. (His people – Mt.1:21; The many – Mt.20:28; 26:28; Heb.9:28; Isa.53:10-12; The Church – Acts 20:28; Eph.5:25-27; The Sheep – Jn.10:11,15; Acts 20:28; Those Given to the Son – Jn.17:2,6,9,19; The elect – Rom.8:31-34).
c. The Argument From The Unity of the Trinity in the Plan of Salvation: If God the Father has from the beginning chosen a people unto salvation (2 Thess.2:13) and God the Spirit applies salvation to these very ones (2 Thess.2:13), then is it reasonable to believe the God the Son should seek to enlarge upon God’s plan? Do the three persons of the Trinity work together to accomplish the same purpose, or do they have different purposes from one another? Has the Father elected a people, and then Christ died to save all, while the Holy Spirit regenerates only those the Father has elected? Jn. 6:38-39
d. The Argument From The Intercession Of Christ: Christ’s heavenly intercession is definitely restrictd to the elect (Jn.17:9; Heb.7:25; Rom.8:35). Did Jesus die for those whom He will not intercede for? The Bible teaches that Christ dies to secure the salvation of all those the Father has given Him, and then rises to intercede that all the blessings He has purchased for them will infallibly be theirs.
e. The Argument From The Justice Of God: There are only 4 possible alternatives. Either 1) Christ died for all the sins of all men; 2) Christ died for all the sins of some men; 3) Christ died for some of the sins of all men; and 4) Christ died for some of the sons of some men. If it is either #3 or 4, then no one will be saved, because they still have some sins to account for. If #1 is true, then why aren’t all men saved? The common answer is “Because of their unbelief.” But isn’t unbelief sin? (Jn.16:9). Thus, in that case, it would not matter if you believed or not. Unbelief would be atoned for as well as every other sin. The only option that is left is #2. How can God be just and yet punish Christ for my sins and then punish me for them in hell!
Augustus Toplady: Payment God cannot twice demand; First at my bleeding Savior’s hand, and then again at mine.”
Charles Spurgeon: “To think that my Savior died for men who were or are in hell, seems a supposition too horrible for me to entertain. To imagine for a moment that He was the Substitute for all the sons of men, and that God, having first punished the Substitute, afterwards punished the sinners themselves, seems to conflict with all my ideas of Divine justice. That Christ should offer an atonement and satisfaction for the sins of all men, and that afterwards some of those very men should be punished for the sins for which Christ had already atoned, appears to me to be the most monstrous iniquity that acould ever have been imputed to Saturn, to Janus, to the goddess of the Thugs, or to the most diabiolical heathen deities. God forbid that we should ever think thus of Jehovah, the just and wise and good!”
f. The Argument From The Absolute Necessity of an Effectual Atonement: If man is dead in sin, then a potential atonement not only may have ended in failure, but most certainly would have done so. None could have been saved at all, for a spiritually dead man cannot respond of his free will to embrace Christ’s death. Rather, the Bible teaches that when Christ went to the cross, He knew He would be victorious! He knew He would redeem His seed, and thus was satisfied (Isa.53:10-12). If Christ was trying to save all men at the cross, then His death has been a woeful failure. If, on the other hand, He was actually saving His elect, then it is a glorious success!
5. Objections to the Doctrine of Particular Redemption:
a. The Bible Says that Christ Died for the World: 1Jn.2:2
1) In Scripture “World” has at least 8 different meanings:
a. Planet earth – Acts 17:24
b. The Heavens as distinguished from the earth – Ps.90:2
c. Every single person in the world – Rom.3:6,19
d. Many persons in the world – Jn.12:19; 16:8; 17:21; 1 Cor.4:9; Jn.8:26
e. God’s People in the World – Jn.6:33,51
f. Jews & Non-Jews Alike: Jn.4:42 (context)
g. The Unbelieving/Wicked of the World – 1Jn.5:19; Jn.1:10; 14:17,22
h. Gentiles: Rom.11:12,15
Very rarely does the word “world” refer to every person in the world! Its meaning must be determined from other considerations, such as context, parallel passages in the author’s other writings, etc.
2) The Hebrew Mindset: believed God loved them exclusively and was going to send the Messiah to save them alone! When the Bible says that Christ is the Savior of the world, the meaning may be that He is sent to be the Savior of Gentile nations as well as the Jews (Rev.5:9).
Matthew Henry’s Exposition of 1 Jn.2:2: “It is not confined to 1 nation; and not particularly to the ancient Israel of God. Not only for the sins of us Jews, us that are Abraham’s seed according to the flesh, but also for those of the whole world. Not only for the past, or us present believers, but for the sins of all who shall hereafater believe on Him or come to God through Him. The extent and intent of the Mediator’s death reaches to all tribes, nations, and countries. As He is the only, so is He the universal atonement and propitiation for all that are saved and brought home to God, and to His favor and forgiveness.”
3) John’s Parallel Passage: Jn.11:49-52. Us Only – parallel’s “the nation only”. The Whole World – parallels “the children of God scattered abroad.”
4) Likely John Writing to Jewish Believers: Gal.2:9. James wrote to dispersed Jews (James 1:1). Peter wrote to dispersed Jews (1Pet.1:1).
b. The Bible Says Christ Died For All Men: 1 Tim.4:10; Heb.2:9; 1 Tim.2:6.
1) There Are Many Different Ways The Word “All” Is Used In Scripture:
a. All In Christ: Rom.5:18
b. Many: Mk.1:5; 1:37; Jn.4:39; Acts 22:15
c. All Without Distinction: all kinds – Jn.12:32; 1Tim.2:6
1. Rejoice that Christ had you in mind personally when He went to the cross!
2. Rejoice that Christ paid an actual atonement! You can never perish! God cannot punish your sins twice!
3. Worship, serve, and love your God for such an indescribable gift!
3. The Bodily Resurrection Of Christ:
A. The Importance of the Resurrection:
1) If Christ did not rise from the dead then He would be a liar (Mt.20:19).
2) If Christ did not rise from the dead then we would have no High Priest, Intercessor, Advocate, and Head of the Church.
3) If Christ did not rise from the dead we have no Gospel to proclaim (1Cor.15:3-8).
4) If Christ did not rise from the dead our faith is without content (1Cor.15:13-19).
B. Evidences for the Resurection:
1) His appearances (Mary Magdalene and other women, Peter, disciples on Emmaus road, disciples in upper room except Thomas, disciples including Thomas, disciples at Sea of Galilee, apostles, James, more than 500 brethren, those who witnessed ascension).
2) Effects which must have a cause (empty tomb, Mt.28:11-15; Day of Pentecost, Acts 1:5; 2:33; Day of worship, Rev.1:10).
C. Results of the Resurrection:
1) Proof that our Bodies will Be Raised: Jn.14:19; 1Cor.15:22
2) Proof of Christ’s Claims: Mt.28:6
3) Proof That God Accepted Christ’s Sacrifice: Rom.4:25
4) Proof that Christ Now Exercises All Authority on Behalf of His Church: Eph.1:20-22
Leadership Training and Development
The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit
1. The Personality Of The Holy Spirit:
A. His Attributes Confirm His Personality:
1) He Has Intelligence (1 Cor.2:10-11,13; Rom.8:27)
2) He Has Feelings (Eph.4:30)
3) He Has A Will (1 Cor.12:11; Acts 16:6-10)
B. His Works Confirm His Personality:
1) He Teaches And Testifies About Christ (Jn.14:26; 15:26)
2) He Guides Us Into The Truth (Jn.16:13)
3) He Convicts The World (Jn.16:8)
4) He Performs Miracles (Acts 8:39)
5) He Regenerates People (Titus 3:5; Jn.3:3-8)
6) He Intercedes For Believers (Rom.8:26-28)
7) He Commands The Church (Acts 8:29; 13:2,4; 16:6)
C. His Position Confirms His Personality:
1) He is To Be Obeyed (Acts 10:19-23)
2) He Can Be Lied To (Acts 5:3)
3) He Can Be Grieved (Eph.4:30; Isa.63:10)
4) He Can Be Blasphemed (Mt.12:31-32; Mk. 3:29-30)
5) He Can Be Resisted (Acts 7:51)
6) He Can Be Insulted (Heb.10:29)
D. His Relationships Confirm His Personality (Person to Person)
1) His Relationship To The Apostles (Acts 15:28)
2) His Relationship To Other Trinity Members (Jn.16:14; Rom.8:27; 1 Cor.2:11; Mt.28:19; 2 Cor.13:14)
E. His Designations Confirm His Personality: (Jn.15:26; 16:8,13-14)
2. THE DEITY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT:
A. The Divine Titles Of The Holy Spirit:
1) Spirit of God (1 Cor.2:11; 1 Cor.6:11;)
2) Spirit of Christ, Spirit of Father (Acts 16:6-7; Rom.8:9-11)
3) “Another” Helper (Jn.14:16 – “allos” means another of the same kind)
B. The Divine Attributes Of The Holy Spirit: (refer to Trinity notes)
C. The Divine Works Of The Holy Spirit:
1) Creation (Gen.1:2; Ps.104:24-26,30; Job 33:4; Isa.40:12-13)
2) Virgin Birth (Mt.1:20; Lu. 1:35)
3) Inspiration Of Scripture (2Pet.1:21)
4) Regeneration (Titus 3:5; Jn.3:6)
D. The Divine Relationships Of The Holy Spirit (Inter-trinitarian relationships)
1) The Spirit As Yahweh (The New Testament identifies the Holy Spirit as Yahweh of the Old Testament – Heb.10:15-17 & Jer.31:31-34)
2) The Spirit As God (Acts 5:3-4)
3) Equality Among the Persons of the Godhead (Mt.28:19; 2Cor.13:14)
3. THE REPRESENTATIONS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT:
A. Dove (Mt.3:16; Mk. 1:10; Lu. 3:22; Jn.1:32)
B. Pledge (2 Cor.1:22; Eph.1:14)
C. Seal (2 Cor.1:22; Eph.1:13; 4:30)
D. Water (Jn.7:37-39)
4. THE HOLY SPIRIT’S MINISTRY IN THE OLD TESTAMENT:
A. Inspiration And Revelation
C. Selective Coming Upon of the Holy Spirit
1) The Spirit’s Coming Upon People Was Selective (1Sam.16:12-13; Num.27:18)
2) The Spirit’s Coming Upon People Has No Relationship To The Person’s Spiritual Condition (1Sam.10:6,10; 1Sam.28:7)
3) The Spirit’s Coming Upon Was Temporary (1Sam.16:14; Jud. 13:25; 16:20; Ps.51:11)
4) The Spirit’s Coming Upon Was A Sovereign Work Of God In The Person To Accomplish A Specific Task (Ex.31;2-5; Num.11:16-17, 27-29; 24:2; Jud.3:10; 6:34; 11:29; 14:6,19; 15:14)
D. Regeneration (Jn.3:5,10)
5. THE HOLY SPIRIT’S MINISTRY IN THE LIFE OF CHRIST:
A. The Virgin Birth (Mt.1:20; Lu. 1:35)
B. The Life and Ministry of Christ
1) Jesus Was Indwelt and Filled by the Holy Spirit (Lu. 4:1; Mk. 1:12)
2) Jesus Received the Coming Upon of the Holy Spirit (Mt.3:16; Isa.11:2; 42:1)
3) Jesus Rejoiced in the Spirit (Lu. 10:21)
4) Jesus Was Empowered By The Holy Spirit (Mt.12:28; Lu. 4:18)
6. THE HOLY SPIRIT’S MINISTRY TODAY:
A. The Indwelling Of The Holy Spirit (Jn.14:16-17; Rom.8:9; 1 Cor.6:19)
1) This Indwelling Is For All Believers (Jn.7:37-39; Rom.8:9; Rom.5:5; 1 Cor.2:12; 2 Cor.5:5)
2) The Believer Is Indwelt At The Point of Salvation (Eph.1:13)
3) If A Man Does Not Possess The Indwelling Spirit He Is Not A Christian (Rom.8:9; Jude 19)
4) This Indwelling Is Permanent (Jn.14:16; 2Cor.1:22; Eph.4:30)
B. The Baptizing Work Of The Holy Spirit
1) Pentecostal and Charismatic View: “The coming upon of the Holy Spirit, usually subsequent to salvation, equipping him with gifts and power for service and witness.” Often the gift of tongues is seen as the initial “sign” that a person has been baptized in the Spirit. (Acts 1:8 – these disciples were already saved; Acts 8:12-17 – here people believed and were baptized but did not receive the Spirit; Acts 9:9,17 – here Paul was saved three days before being filled with the Holy Spirit; Lu. 11:13)
a. Answer to Charismatic Position: Principle of Hermeneutics — never build a doctrine on historical narrative alone but make sure it is clearly taught in the didactic portions of Scripture. These examples are all taken from the Book of Acts – a section of historical narrative. They are also taken from a period of history in which the church was in transition from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant. You would expect some irregularities in this period of the Church. The reason the 120 disciples were baptized with the Spirit on Pentecost after they were already believers is because they could not have been baptized in the Spirit before that date – it was a prophetic day (Acts 2:1) sovereignly appointed by God. The reason the Samaritans in Acts 8 received the Holy Spirit after conversion was because God wanted to make sure there be no division in the early church, so He sovereignly delayed the bestowal of the Spirit, until Jewish apostles could be there to witness and confirm that God had granted them the same access into the Church as them. The same principle would hold true of Saul’s reception of the Spirit in Acts 9 and the Old Testament believers’ reception of the Spirit in Acts 19. Since the transition period of the New Testament has been closed, all believers today are baptized in the Holy Spirit at the point of regeneration.
2) Non-Charismatic View: “That one-time work whereby the Holy Spirit places the believer into union with Christ and into union with other believers in the Body of Christ (1Cor.12:13).”
a. The Baptism Of The Spirit Is Unique To The Church Age (Acts 1:5; 11:15-16)
b. The Baptism Of The Spirit Includes All Believers In The Church Age (1 Cor.12:13; Rom.6:3,5; Gal.3:27-28)
c. The Baptism Of The Spirit Brings Believers Into Union With Christ (Rom.6:3,5; Gal.3:27)
d. The Baptism Of The Spirit Brings Believers Into Union With Other Believers (1 Cor.12:12-13; Eph.4:3)
e. The Baptism Of The Spirit Is A One-Time Event (1 Cor.12:13; Eph.4:5)
f. The Baptism Of The Spirit Is Non-Experiential
C. The Sealing Of The Holy Spirit (2Cor.1:22; Eph.1:13; 4:30)
D. The Gifting Of The Holy Spirit
1) The Charismatic View: All the gifts of the Holy Spirit mentioned in the New Testament can be received today. God desires that His church operate in all of them, including the supernatural or “sign” gifts in 1Cor.12:8-10.
2) The Non-Charismatic View: The “sign” gifts in the New Testament such as tongues, interpretation of tongues, miracles, healings, being evidences given to confirm the validity of the apostles’ ministry as vehicles of new revelation passed away with the death of the last living apostle.
3) Evaluation Of These Views:
a. We have no hard and fast Biblical data to prove that certain gifts would cease after the 1st century. This argument is built on theory and church history – not the Word of God.
b. It must be admitted that a primary purpose of these extraordinary gifts was to confirm the ministry of Christ’s apostles (Heb.2:4; Mk. 16:20).
c. It must also be admitted that these “sign” gifts were exercised by non-apostles (Acts 6:8; 8:6-7).
d. All gifts are given sovereignly when, where, and to whom the Spirit pleases (1 Cor.12:11).
e. Therefore, it seems that to be in keeping with the Word of God we ought not decide that all supernatural gifts have been done away with, but also ought not believe that they are given today in the same measure that they were given to the infant church. All gifts must be tested and proved by the Word of God – 1 Thess.5:19-22.
E. The Filling Of The Holy Spirit
1) Controlling Aspect: “to be continually controlled by the Spirit who indwells the believer and results in Christ-like character” (Eph.5:18-21). This aspect of the Holy Spirit’s filling is something that all believers are commanded to possess. They experience it by an act of the will – self-surrender and conscious dependence.
a. Conditions Of Being Filled With The Spirit
1. Do Not Grieve The Holy Spirit (Eph.4:30)
2. Do Not Quench The Holy Spirit (1Thess.5:19)
3. Keep In Step With The Spirit (Gal.5;16)
b. Evidence Of Being Filled With The Holy Spirit (Eph.5:19-21; Gal.5:22-24)
2) Empowering Aspect: “to receive a sovereign enduement of power for ministry, similar to the coming upon work of the Holy Spirit for specific tasks in the Old Testament” (Acts 4:8; 13:9; cf. 1 Cor.2;4; 1 Thess.1:5). This aspect of the Holy Spirit’s filling is something that is given when and to whom God pleases to give it. It is not received by an act of the will of man, but given by the sovereign will of God.
F. The Teaching Of The Holy Spirit (Jn.16:12-15; 1 Cor.2;12-14; 2 Cor.4:4-6)
1) Content Of Instruction: Truth About Christ (Jn.14:26; 15:26-27; 16;14)
2) Purpose Of Instruction: Glorify Christ (Jn.16:14)
3) Procedure Of Instruction
a. Spiritually gifted teachers (Rom.12:7; Eph.4;11-16)
b. Confirmation of the Holy Spirit (1Jn.2:27)
G. The Guiding Of The Holy Spirit (Acts 16:6-7)
H. The Initial Sanctifying Work of The Holy Spirit: Regeneration (2 Thess.2:13; 1 Pet.1:2; Jn.3:3-5; Titus 3:5)
I. The Progressive Sanctifying Work of The Holy Spirit: Being conformed to Christ’s image (1 Thess.4:7-8; Rom.8:13). The initial sanctifying work of the Spirit is monergistic (God works alone), but the progressive sanctifying work of the Spirit is synergistic (we work with God). Jn.1:13; Eph.2:4-5; Rom.8:13; Phil.2:12-13.
J. The Assuring Of The Holy Spirit (Rom.8:16)
K. The Praying Of The Holy Spirit (Rom.8:26-27)
Leadership Training and Development
The Doctrine Of The Application Of Redemption
1. The Call Of God
A. The Gospel Call: This is a general, indiscriminate call to all who hear the gospel to repent and believe in Christ in order to be saved from sin. It is made to the elect and non-elect alike. It is a call of God which is often not answered. Mt. 22:14; Lu. 14:16-24; Acts 17:30.
B. The Effectual Call: This is the sovereign action of God through His Holy Spirit, whereby He enables the hearer of the gospel call to respond to His summons with repentance, faith, and obedience. The effectual call is given only to the elect. This call is always answered in conversion. The effectual call is identical to regeneration. This call is irresistible, because it destroys the disposition in the sinner to resist, having changed his heart. Rom.8:28-30; 1 Cor.1:22-24; 2 Pet.1:10; Gal. 1:15; 1 Pet.2:9; Acts 16:14.
Westminster Confession of Faith: “All those whom God hath predestinated unto life, and those only, He is pleased, in His appointed and accepted time, effectually to call, by His Word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death in which they are by nature to grace and salvation by Jesus Christ; enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God; taking away their heart of stone and giving unto them a heart of flesh; renewing their wills, and by His almighty power determining them to that which is good and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ, yet so as they come most freely, being made willing by His grace.”
Thomas Watson: “The inward call is when God wonderfully overpowes the heart, and draws the will to embrace Christ. God, by the outward call blows a trumpet in the ear, by the inward call He opens the heart. The outward call may bring men to a profession of Christ, but the inward call brings them to a possession of Christ. The outward call curbs a sinner; the inward call changes him.”
1) The Nature Of Effectual Calling: It is the sovereign activity of God alone (monergistic): man plays no part in this work. He cannot participate, being spiritually dead. Eph.2:1-5; Jn. 1:13; James 1:18. Therefore, effectual calling must precede faith and repentance. Effectual calling is the cause; faith and repentance are the effects. This ought not be understood as God effectually calling a man one day, and next month the called man gets around to repenting and believing in Christ. The man begins to believe and repent of sin the moment God effectually calls him. But the faith and repentance are results of God’s effectual call, not the cause. It is like a person flipping a light switch. The lights come on the instant the switch is flipped, but the turning of the switch produced the light; the light didn’t cause me to flip the switch!
2) The Means Of Effectual Calling:
A. The Word Of God: 1 Pet. 1:23; James 1:18
B. The Spirit of God: Jn. 3:5,6,8
3) The Importance Of Effectual Calling:
A. Without This Call No One Will Enter The Kingdom Of Heaven:
4) The Results Of Effectual Calling:
A. New Life: 2 Cor.5:17
B. Changed Heart: Ezek. 36:25-27
C. Bent Toward Holiness: 2 Tim.1:9; 2 Pet.1:4
D. Love For God: Rom.8:28
E. Justification and Glorification: Rom.8:30
2. Conversion: The conscious act of regenerate persons turning to God in repentance (renunciation of sin) and faith (trusting in Him alone). It is the outward evidence of regeneration. Conversion is the Christian life looked at from the viewpoint of its new direction: away from sin and toward God. Conversion is the work of God and man (synergistic). God regenerates making repentance and faith certain, but it is us and not God who believe and repent. Lu. 45:22; Ezek. 33:11; Acts 2:38; Acts 16:31; Rom. 10:9; 2 Cor.5:20.
“Looking away from self, and leaning wholly on Christ for salvation. The personal appropriation of Christ and His merits” — taken from Saved By Grace, Anthony A. Hoekema.
“In response to the revelations of His grace and provisions of His mercy, faith commits itself without reserve and with renunciation of all self-dependence, to Him as its sole and sufficient Savior, and thus, in one act, empties itself of all claim on God and casts itself upon His grace alone for salvation” — taken from Biblical and Theological Studies, B.B. Warfield.
“A whole-souled movement of self-commitment to Christ for salvation from sin and its consequences.” taken from Redemption Accomplished and Applied, Jn. Murray
“What is faith in Jesus Christ? Faith in Jesus Christ is a saving grace, whereby we receive and rest upon Him alone for salvation, as He is offered to us in the gospel.” Question 86 from Westminster Shorter Catechism.
1) The Elements Of Faith:
a. Knowledge: A certain degree of knowledge is indispensable to faith. Rom.10:13,14,17
b. Assent: That activity by which we firmly accept the teachings of God’s Word as true.
c. Trust: Faith is knowledge passing into assent, and assent passing into confidence.
2) The Object Of Faith: Not a creed, or a set of biblical facts, but a Person. Jn. 8:24; 3:36; Eph.1:15; Jn. 20:28; 5:24; Rom.3:22; 4:5.
3) The Source Of Faith:
a. The Gift Of God: 1 Jn.5:1; 1 Cor.12:3; Jn.6:65; Heb.12:2; Eph.2:8; Phil.1:29
b. The Fruit of Divine Election: Acts 13:48
4) The Evidence Of Faith: Good Works — James 2:17-26; Titus 1:16; 3:8.
B. Repentance: The conscious turning of the regenerate person away from sin and toward God in a complete change of living, which reveals itself in a new way of thinking, feeling, and willing.
Baptist Confession of 1689: “The repentance that leads on to salvation is a gospel grace by means of which a person who is caused by the Holy Spirit to feel the manifold evils of sin is also caused by faith in Christ to humble himself on account of sin. This humiliation is characterized by godly sorow, a detestation of the sin, and self-loathing. It is accompanied by prayer for pardon and strength of grace, and also by a purpose and endeavor, in the power supplied by the Spirit, to conduct himself in the sight of God with the consistency of life that pleases Him.”
1) The Importance Of Repentance
a. It was the message of the OT prophets (Dt.30:10; 2 Kings 17:13; Jer.8:6; Ezek.14:6; 18:30)
b. It was the keynote preaching of John the Baptist (Mt.3:2,8,11; Mk.1:4; Lu. 3:7-14)
c. It was announced in the preaching of Jesus (Mk.1:15; Lu. 13:3-5)
d. It was part of the preaching of the 12 (Mk.6:12)
e. It was to be proclaimed as part of the Gospel (Lu. 24:45-47)
f. It was included in apostolic preaching (Acts 2:38; 3:19; 20:21; 26:20)
g. It is identifiable with saving faith (2 Pet.3:9)
2) The Elements Of Repentance:
a. The Intellectual Element: (A change of mind that includes a knowledge of sin, God and self) Rom.3:20; Ps.51:3-4; Lu. 15:17
b. The Emotional Element: (A sorrow for sin) 2 Cor.7:9-11; Ps.38:18
c. The Volitional Element: (A change of decisions based change of mind) Mt.11:21; 12:41; Acts 3:19-26; 26:18-20; 19:18-19; 1 Thess.1:9
3) The Source Of Repentance: It is a gift of God – Acts 5:31; 11:18; 2Tim.2:25.
A. Meaning Of Justification:
The Heidelberg Catechism (1563) — Question #60 — How are you right with God? Answer — Only by true faith in Jesus Christ. Even though my conscience accuses me of having grievously sinned against all God’s commandments and of never having kept any of them, and even though I am still inclined toward all evil, nevertheless, without my deserving it at all, out of sheer grace, God grants and credits to me the perfect satisfaction, righteousness, and holiness of Christ, as if I had never sinned nor been a sinner, as if I had been as perfectly obedient as Christ was obedient for me. All I need to do is to accept this gift of God with a believing heart.
The Belgic confession (1561) — “And therefore we justly say with Paul that we are justified “by faith alone” or by faith “apart from works” (Romans 3:28). However, we do not mean, properly speaking, that it is faith itself that justifies us — for faith is only the instrument by which we embrace Christ, our righteousness. But Jesus Christ is our righteousness in making available to us all His merits and all the holy works He has done for us and in our place. And faith is the instrument that keeps us together with Him in communion with all His benefits. When those benefits are made ours they are more than enough to absolve us of our sins.”
The Westminster Confession of Faith (1647): “God freely justifies the persons whom He effectually calls. He does this, not by infusing righteousness into them, but by pardoning their sins and by accounting them, and accepting them, as righteous. This He does for Christ’s sake alone, and not for anything wrought in them or done by them. The righteousness which is imputed to them, that is, reckoned to their account, is neither their faith nor the act of believing nor any other obedience to the gospel which they have rendered, but Christ’s obedience alone. Christ’s one obedience is two-fold — His active obedience rendered to the entire divine law, and His passive obedience rendered in His death. Those thus justified receive and rest by faith upon Christ’s righteousness; and this faith they have, not of themselves, but as the gift of God…
God continues to forgive the sins of all the justified. They can never lose their justification; but they may, by reason of sin, fall under God’s fatherly displeasure; in which case, until they humble themselves, confess their sins, beg God’s pardon, and renew their faith and repentance, God will not usually restore to them ‘the light of His countenance.”
Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question 33 What is justification? Answer – “Justification is an act of God’s free grace, wherein He pardons all our sins, and accepts us as righteous in His sight, only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone.”
Taken from Anthony Hoekema in Saved By Grace, “Justification may be defined as that gracious and judicial act of God whereby He declares believing sinners righteous on the basis of the righteousness of Christ which is credited to them, and forgives all their sins…
B. The Nature Of Justification:
1) Justification Is The Work Of God Alone: Only God can justify men, because only He is their Judge.
2) Justification Is The Declarative Act Of God: It is not a process. It takes place once and for all when a person believes in Christ. God pronounces us righteous, not on the fluctuating basis of what we are in ourselves, but on the unchanging basis of the righteousness of Jesus Christ.
3) Justification Is Perfect: It is not subject to degrees. God’s work in us is subject to degrees. We differ in the degree to which His Spirit works in us making us like Christ, and it is possible to be more or less Christ-like. But it is not possible to be more or less justified. The Apostle Paul is not more justified than you.
3) Justification Is Permanent and Eternal: Rom.8:1,33; 5:9; Dan.9:24.
4) Justification Is Received Through Faith Alone: In no sense is it received by our good works. Faith is merely the instrument that receives justification. Justification is not because of faith. Rom.4:5; Phil.3:9; Eph.2:8-9.
5) Justification Is By Grace: Not the reward of anything in us or wrought by us, but it proceeds from God’s free and unmerited favor. Rom.3:24; 5:15-21
6) It Is Based Upon The Substitionary Work Of Christ for Us: Rom.3:24; 5:9; 2Cor.5:21
7) Justification Is Rooted In Union With Christ: It is only because we are one with Christ that His righteousness can be credited to us, and can therefore become our own.
8) Justification Is Inseparably Connected To But Distinct From Sanctification: 1 Cor.1:30
a. Justification removes the guilt of sin, whereas sanctification removes the pollution of sin and enables the believer to grow in his likeness to Christ.
b. Justification takes place outside the believer and is a declaration made by God about his legal status. Sanctification takes place within the believer and progressively renews his nature.
c. Justification takes place once for all and is neither a process nor a repeated event. Sanctification, however, is a process which continues throughout life and is not completed until after this life is over.
9) Justification is Non-Experiential: It is something declared by God, not experienced with us. It is completely objective.
A. Meaning Of Adoption:
The Westminster Confession, Question 34, What is adoption? “Adoption is an act of God’s free grace, whereby we are received into the number, and have a right to all the priveleges, of the sons of God.”
Like justification, adoption is a judicial act. It is the bestowal of a new status in relationship to God. It is the action of God which places the believer into His family. In Greek society when a person was adopted they:
1. Lost all rights in their old family and gained all the rights of a fully legitmate son in their new family.
2. Became an heir to the new father’s estate.
3. Had their old life (legal debts) completely eradicated.
4. Became, in the eyes of the law, literally the son of the new father.
B. The Agent Of Adoption: The Father – 1Jn.3:1. Like regeneration, and justification, this is the work of God alone. Man plays no part in adoption. It is non-experiential.
C. The Origin Of Adoption: The eternal decree of God – Eph.1:4-6.
D. The Basis of Adoption: Union with Christ. Eph.1:5
E. The Motive Of Adoption: The good pleasure of His will. Eph.1:5
F. The End Of Adoption: The praise of the glory of His grace. Eph.1:6
G. The Consequences Of Adoption:
1) The Holy Spirit Given To Us: Rom.8:15-16; Gal.4:4-5
2) We Are Made Heirs of God: Rom.8:17-18
A. Meaning Of Sanctification:
Taken from Anthony Hoekema in Saved By Grace, “That gracious operation of the Holy Spirit, involving our responsible participation, by which He delivers us from the pollution of sin, renews our entire nature according to the image of God, and enables us to live lives that are pleasing to Him.”
Westminister Shorter Catechism, Question 35 “What is sanctification? Sanctification is the work of God’s free grace, whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God, and are enabled more and more to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness.”
These definitions deal with the meaning of Progressive Sanctification developed below.
B. Aspects of Sanctification:
1) Initial Sanctification: that instantaneous, never to be repeated work of God whereby He unites the sinner to Christ in His death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and enthronement, so that the virtue of Christ’s work becomes theirs. There has been a radical and permanent cleavage with the old life. The believer has died to sin, his old self has been crucified, and he has been made alive to God in Christ Jesus. Sin has been dethroned, and shall not be master over him any longer. (Rom.6:1-14; Eph.2:4-5; Col.2:12; Phil.2:20). This aspect of sanctification differs from progressive sanctification in that it is instanteous and never to be repeated, whereas the latter is lifelong and continual. Additionally progressive sanctification is the work of God alone, whereas progressive sanctification is the work of both God and man. (1Cor.1:2; 6:11; Acts 20:32; 26:18; 2 Thess.2:13)
2. Progressive Sanctification: “That ongoing work of the indwelling Spirit whereby the believer is conformed into the image of Jesus Christ.” This work is begun at regeneration and is completed at death. It is a work in which both God and man are active. (Rom.8:13; Col.3:5; 2 Cor.7:1; 1Jn.3:3; 2 Cor.3:18)
3. Ultimate Sanctification: “The complete separation of the believer from all sin, so that he is perfectly holy in every way.” This aspect of sanctification is brought to pass at his death or the coming of Jesus Christ.
3. The Agent of Sanctification:
A. The Triune God:
1) The Father: Jn.17:17; Heb.12:10; Rom.8:29
2) The Son: Eph.5:25-27; Titus 2:14
3) The Spirit: 1 Pet.1:2; 2 Thess.2:13; 1 Thess.4:3-7
4. The Believer’s Role in Sanctification: (Rom.12:1-2; Phil.2:12-13; 2 Cor.7:1)
5. The Means of Sanctification:
A. The Word Of God: Jn.17:17; 2 Tim.3:16-17; Eph.5:26
B. Faith: Acts 26:18; Gal.2:20
6. The Goal of Sanctification:
The glory of God (Phil.1:9-11; Eph.1:4-6)
A. The Meaning Of Perseverance:
The Westminister Confession “The saints are those whom God has accepted in Christ the Beloved, and effectually called and sanctified by His Spirit. To them He has given the precious faith that pertains to all His elect. The persons to whom such blessings have been imparted can neither totally nor finally fall from the state of grace, but they shall certainly persevere in grace to the end and be eternally saved, for God will never repent of having called them and made gifts to them. Consequently He continues to beget and to nourish in them faith, repentance, love, joy, hope, and all the graces of the Spirit that issue in immortality. Many storms and floods may arise and beat upon them, yet they can never be moved from the foundation and rock on which by faith they are firmly established. Even if unbelief and Satan’s temptations cause them for a time to lose the sight and comfort of the light and love of God, yet the unchanging God remains their God, and He will certainly keep and save them by His power until thety come to the enjoyment of their purchased possession; for they are engraven on the palms of His hands, and their names have been written in the book of life from all eternity.
The Canons of Dort (1618) “So it is not by their own merits or strength but by God’s undeserved mercy that they (true believers) neither forfeit faith and grace totally nor remain in their downfalls to the end and are lost. With respect to themselves this not only easily could happen, but also undoubtedly would happen; but with respect to God it cannot possibly happen, since His plan cannot be changed, His promise cannot fail; the calling according to His purpose cannot be revoked, the merit of Christ as well as His interceding and preserving cannot be nullified, and the sealing of the Holy Spirit can neither be invalidated nor wiped out.
B. The Basis for Perseverance:
1) The Promise Of God: Jn.10:27-29; Phil.1:6; Jn. 5:24; Jn. 6:38-39; Rom.8:29-30
2) The Power Of God: 1 Pet.1:3-5
3) The Perfections Of God: He is Omnipotent, Omniscient, Immutable. Nothing can arise which He has not foreseen from all eternity. Nothing can hinder the saints’ perseverance which He is not powerful enough to overcome. Nothing can possibly cause Him to change His purposes.
4) The Prayers Of God: Jn.17:11,12,15; Rom.8:33-34; Lu. 22:31-32; Heb.7:25
5) The Preservation Of God: Jude 1:1; Eph.1:13-14. Believers are able to persevere only because God is actively at work preserving them.
C. The Misconceptions of Perseverance:
1) That all professing Christians are eternally secure regardless of the extent to which they fall into sin or apostasize from the faith.
2) That a professing Christian is eternally secure regardless of whether he continues in the faith until the end. For this reason it is probably best not to refer to the doctrine as “Once Saved Always Saved” or “The Security of the Believer.” “To teach this doctrine in such a way as to present only its comfort and not its challenge, only the security and not the exhortation, is to teach it one-sidedly. And the Bible constantly warns us against such one-sidedness” – taken from Saved By Grace, by Anthony Hoekema.
A. Meaning Of Glorification: Glorification is the final phase in the application of redemption. It is the instanteous change that will take place for the whole company of the redeemed when Christ will come again the second time, granting them a completed sanctification, the removal of sinful flesh and creation of a new glorified body. At this same time God will create a new heavens and a new earth. Rom.8:18-23; 1 Cor.15:51-54; 1 Thess.4:13-17.
B. Properties of Our Glorified Bodies:
1) Imperishable: 1 Cor.15:42. No longer will they be subject to disease, aging, or death.
2) Glorious: 1 Cor.15:40-41. Mt.13:43. Beautiful and full of splendor.
3) Spiritual: 1 Cor.15:44. The body will be absolutely subservient to the spirit, not a hindrance to it. Perhaps this means our bodies will be able to move swiftly like the angels.
4) Immortal: 1 Cor.15:53. Lu.20:35-36.
5) Powerful: 1 Cor. 15:43
Leadership Training and Development
The Doctrine Of The Church
1. The Importance Of The Church:
A. It is that which God purchased with the blood of His own Son: (Acts 20:28; Titus 2:11-14; 1 Pet. 1:17-19; Rev. 5:8-10)
B. It is that which Christ loves, nourishes, cherishes, and that for which He died: (Eph. 5:25,29)
C. It is that which He shall one day present to Himself blameless: (Eph. 5:26-27; 2 Cor. 11:2; Jude 24; Rev. 19:7-9)
D. It is that which displays the wisdom of God to the angelic realm (Eph. 3:8-10; 1 Pet. 1:10-12)
2. The Definition Of The Church:
A. The Greek Word “ekklesia” (ekklhsia):
1. The Greek verb “kaleo” means “to call.” The preposition “ek” means “out”. Thus the ekklesia is the “called out ones.” It is the assembly of those whom God Himself has called out of the world to Himself.
2. Outside the New Testament, ekklesia meant an assembly, and was used in a political, non-religious sense. It did not refer to the people, but to the meeting.
3. Within the New Testament, ekklesia appears 107 times; 3 times in the Gospels (Matt. 16:18 and 18:17 twice), 23 times in Acts, and 81 times in the rest of the epistles and Revelation.
a. Sometimes it refers to a non-religious political assembly: (Acts 19:32,39,41)
b. Sometimes it refers to the assembly of Israel at Mount Sinai: (Acts 7:38) In this case, Israel is a type of the NT church.
c. Sometimes it refers to the Universal Church — all of God’s people throughout the world: (Matt. 16:18; Eph. 1:22-23; 3:10,21; 4:4; 5:25; Col. 1:18; Heb.12:23).
d. Most often it refers to the Local Church — particular expression of the Universal Church in a given locality (approx. 90 times): (Rom. 16:5; 1 Cor. 16:1,19; 1 Cor. 16:1,19; 1 Thess. 1:1; Philem. 2; Acts 9:31; 1 Thess. 2:14)
B. The English word “church” comes from the Scottish word kirk which is derived from the Greek word kuriakon, which means “belonging to the Lord.”
3. The Purpose Of The Church: To Glorify God (Rom. 15:6,9; Eph. 1:3-14; 3:21; 2 Thess. 1:12; 1 Pet. 4:11)
A. To Worship God: (Jn.4:23; Rev. 22:8-9)
1) Word (1 Tim. 4:13)
2) Prayer (Acts 2:42; 12:5; 13:3; 1 Tim. 2:1-8)
3) Singing (Col. 3:16)
4) Giving (2 Cor. 8:1-5, 11-12; 9:7; 1 Cor. 16:2)
5) Ordinances (1 Cor. 11:23-31; Acts 2:42; 20:7)
B. To Edity Itself: (Eph. 4:11-13; 2 Tim. 2:2)
C. To Provide Genuine Fellowship (Acts 2:42; Heb. 10:24-25)
D. To Evangelize The World: (Mt. 28:19-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:46-48; Jn. 20:21; Acts 1:8)
E. To Keep Itself Pure: (Eph. 5:26-27)
1) There is a purifying performed by the Father (Jn. 15:2; Heb. 12:10)
2) There is a purifying performed by the believer (1 Cor. 11:28-31; 2 Cor. 7:1; 1 Jn. 3:2)
3) There is a purifying performed by the local church (Mt. 18:17; 1 Cor. 5:6‑8)
4. The Expressions Of The Church:
A. Universal and Local (Emphasis is upon unity vs. independence of the church)
1) The Universal Church: all those, who in this age, have been regenerated by the Spirit of God and have by that same Spirit been baptized into the Body of Christ.
2) The Local Church: a group of believers who identify themselves as a local assembly or congregation (Acts 11:26; 13:1; Rom.16:1)
B. Invisible and Visible (Emphasis is upon true vs. professing believers)
1) The Invisible Church: this is used most often to refer to the fact that the church is essentially spiritual and as such we cannot infallibly discern by the physical eye those who do and do not belong to her. The invisible church is comprised of those who are truly regenerate.
2) The Visible Church: the externally apparent local assembly of people who profess faith in Christ, preach the Word, partake of the ordinances, and organize themselves. Some people in the visible church may not in actuality belong to the invisible church (Mat. 7:21-23; Acts 20:29; 1 Jn. 2:19).
5. The Characteristics Of The Church:
A. Founded By Jesus Christ:
1) Jesus didn’t say He would continue to add something already in existence but would do something not yet begun (Mat. 16:18; cf. Eph.2:20; Acts 4:8-12)
2) The church could have no functioning Head until after the resurrection; therefore it could not exist until some time after He rose from the dead (Eph. 1:20-23)
3) The church could not be an operating entity with functioning spiritual gifts until after Christ’s ascension (Eph. 4:7-12)
4) The church, being comprised of Jews and Gentiles together, forming one body in the Lord, was not experienced in the OT (Eph.2:11-3:6)
B. Indwelt By the Holy Spirit:
1) The coming of the Holy Spirit inaugurated the birth of the church (Acts1:5; 2:1-4; 11:15-16; 1 Cor. 12:13; Eph. 1:20-23)
2) The Holy Spirit enabled the church to do Christ’s bidding (Acts 1:1; 1:8; 2:37-41; 13:1-2,4; 16:6-7)
3) The indwelling of the Holy Spirit in every believer was unique to the church (Rom.8:9; 1Cor.6:19 — Judges 16:20; 1 Sam. 16:14)
4) The indwelling Holy Spirit reproduces Christ’s character in genuine Christians (Rom. 8:12-13; Gal. 5:16-23)
6. The Figures Of The Church:
A. The Church As A Body: this figure illustrates the unity, diversity, growth, and dependence of the church (Eph. 4:4,15-16; 1 Cor. 10:17; 12:12-27)
B. The Church As A Bride: this figure reveals the magnitude of Christ’s intimate love for the church and the church’s exalted position (Eph. 5:23‑25; Rev. 19:7-9)
C. The Church As A Temple: this figure emphasizes Christ’s work of constructing His church (Eph. 2:20-22; 1 Pet. 2:5)
D. The Church As A Priesthood: this figure stresses our privelege of offering spiritual sacrifices to the Lord (1 Pet. 2:5,9; Heb. 13:15-16; Rom. 12:1)
E. The Church As A Flock: this figure emphasizes that members of the church as the sheep of Christ belong to Him, and are cared for and protected by Him (Jn. 10:11-16, 27-29; Acts 20:28; 1 Pet. 2:25)
F. The Church As Branches: this figure emphasizes Christ as the source of our life and the union and communion we have with Him (Jn. 15:1-6)
G. The Church As A Family: this figure explains the nature of the relationships between believers (Eph. 2:19; 1 Tim. 3:15; Philem. 15-16; Mt. 23:8)
7. The Government Of The Church:
A. Three Common Forms:
1) Episcopal: this name comes from the Greek word “episkopos” meaning “overseer” (translated “bishop” in the KJV) and identifies churches governed by the authoritiy of bishops. Examples of churches which follow this model are Methodist, Lutheran, Episcopalian, and Roman Catholic.
a. Authority rests with the bishops who oversee not one church, but a group of churches.
b. Bishops have the authority to ordain ministers or priests. Some (Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox) suggest this authority is derived through apostolic succession from the original apostles.
c. This form of government arose in the second century.
2) Presbyterian: this name comes from the Greek word “presbuteros”, meaning “elder”, and emphasizes representative rule by the elders who are elected by the people. In some cases where there is also a denominational structure, individual churches give up aspects of their autonomy to a higher organizational structure. Examples of churches which follow this model are the Presbyterian and Reformed churches.
a. Each local church has a “session”, which consists of the elected ruling elders, with the teaching elder presiding over it.
b. Above the session is the “presbytery,” which includes all ordained ministers or teaching elders as well as one ruling elder from each local congregation in a district.
c. Above the presbytery is the “synod,” and over the synod is the “general assembly” the highest court. These all possess authority over the local church.
3) Congregational: in this form of government, authority rests not with a representative individual or “session”, but with the entire local congregation. Two things are stressed in a congregationally governed church — autonomy and democracy. Examples of churches which follow this model are Baptists, Evangelical Free, Congregational, Mennonite, and some Lutherans.
a. No authority outside of the local church has any power over the local church.
b. All members have voting rights to make the decisions that guide and govern the church.
B. The New Testament Model:
1) A Local Church Is Self-Governing (autonomous)
a. The authority to judge its own membership (1 Cor. 5:9-13)
b. The authority to settle its own internal difficulties (1 Cor. 6:1-5)
c. The authority of a local church is final as far as its own affairs are concerned (Mt. 18:17)
d. There is no NT example of any authoritiy over the local churches except the apostles.
2) A Local Church Is Overseen By Elders
a. There are to be a plurality of Elders in each local church (Acts 14:23; Acts 20:17,28; Phil. 1:1; 1 Thess. 5:12; 1 Tim. 5:17; Titus 1:5; James 5:14; 1 Pet. 5:1-2.
b. The terms Elder, Bishop (Overseer), and Pastor all refer to the same individuals. In the Bible these terms and functions are used interchangeably. The term “Elder” emphasizes the spiritual maturity of the man; the term “Overseer” speaks of what he does; the term “Pastor” speaks of how he ministers. (1 Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:5,7; 1 Pet. 5:1-2; Acts 20:17,28)
c. The Elders are to teach, shepherd, protect, and oversee the church (1 Tim. 5:17; Acts 20:28-31; 1 Pet. 5:2; Titus 1:9; 3:10-11; 1 Tim. 3:1,5; Heb. 13:17)
3) A Local Church Is Served By Deacons
a. The difference between a Deacon and an Elder is not one of character, but of giftedness and calling. The moral qualifications for Deacon and Elder are the same. An Elder, though, must be skilled in teaching and called to care for and oversee the flock, while a Deacon does not need to be. (1 Tim. 3:8-13)
b. We are never told what the job description of a Deacon is in the New Testament. Therefore, he may have a very fluid ministry, working in whatever areas the Elders need him to.
c. The word for Deacon is the common word for “servant.” A Deacon, then, must be a model of Servanthood within the local church, whose quality of life is such that it is a good example for others to follow.
d. Although the seven men of Acts 6 are never referred to as Deacons, it can be helpful to see them as a prototype of Deacons — what Deacons would one day become.
e. The “women” of 1 Tim. 3:11 probably refer to “Deaconnesses” because:
1. He uses the word “likewise.” In this chapter Paul is dealing with the qualifications for persons holding an office within the church. He begins with Overseers (3:1-7); then says “likewise” and speaks of Deacons (3:8-10,12-13), then says “likewise” and speaks of women. It would be out of character with the flow of the chapter for this “likewise” not to refer to an office in the church.
2. Paul says “Women.” If he meant to speak of Deacons’ wives, he would have said “Their women”; but he doesn’t.
3. If Paul had meant to give qualifications for Deacons’ wives, why does he not give qualifications for elders’ wives?
8. The Discipline Of The Church:
A. The Objectives In Discipline:
1. To remove the defilement and leavening influence that sin brings (1 Cor. 5:1‑8)
2. To protect other believers from sinning and challenge them to godliness (Gal. 6:1; 1 Tim. 5:20)
3. To produce soundness in faith (Titus 1:13)
4. To reclaim and restore the erring brother (Mt. 18:15; 2 Cor. 2:5-11)
B. The Attitudes In Discipline:
1. Self-Examination (Gal. 6:1; Mt. 7:3-5)
2. Gentleness (Gal. 6:1)
3. Brotherly Love (2 Thess. 3:6-15)
4. Uncompromising Stand Against Sin (Titus 1:13; 1 Cor. 5:3, 6-7, 11)
5. Forgiving Spirit Upon Repentance (2 Cor. 2:5-11)
6. No Partiality (1 Tim. 5:19-21)
7. Hot Hasty, But With Deliberate Steps (Mt. 18:15-20)
8. Maintaining The Goal Of Correction And Restoration (Mt. 18:15; Gal. 6:1)
C. The People To Be Disciplined:
1. An Accused Elder (1 Tim. 5:19-20)
2. A Sinning Brother (Mt. 18:15-20)
a. A private rebuke (Mt. 18:15)
b. Involvement of other people (Mt. 18:16)
c. Exposure to whole church (Mt. 18:17)
d. Removal from the church (Mt. 18:17; 1 Cor. 5:11)
3. A Man Caught In A Trespass (Gal. 6:1)
4. An Unruly Brother (2 Thess. 3:6)
5. False Teachers (Titus 1:10-16)
6. Factious People (Titus 3:10-11; Rom. 16:17)
7. The Immoral Brother (1 Cor. 5:1-13)
9. The Ordinances Of The Church: (outward rites prescribed by Christ to be performed by His church)
A. Water Baptism:
1. Various Views Of Baptism:
A. Means Of Saving Grace (baptismal regeneration): the means by which God imparts saving grace, resulting in the remission of sins. By either awakening or strengthening faith, baptism effects the washing of regeneration. Roman Catholics belive that faith is not necessary; the rite itself, properly performed, is sufficient. The Lutherans believe that faith is a prerequisite; infants should be baptized and may possess unconscious faith or faith of the parents.
B. Sign and Seal of the Covenant: this view is held by the Reformed and Presbyterian churches. They believe that baptism and the Lord’s Supper are signs and seals of an inward and invisible thing by means whereof God works in us by the power of the Holy Spirit. Like circumcision in the Old Testament, baptism makes us sure of God’s promises. The act of baptism is both the means of initiation into the covenant and a sign of salvation.
C. Symbol of Salvation: this is the view held by Baptists. They believe that baptism is only an outward sign of an inward change. It serves as a public testimony of faith in Christ. It does not produce any spiritual change in the one baptized. Baptism conveys no direct spiritual benefit or blessing. Moreover, it is to be conducted only with believers. This is the only view that holds that only regenerated believers should be baptized. The first two views state that, along with adult converts, children (infants) should or may be baptized.
2. The Proper Subjects Of Baptism:
A. Disciples: Mt.28:18-20
B. Those Who Believe The Gospel: Mk. 16:15-16; Acts 8:12; 8:37-38; 16:14-15; 18:8
C. Those Who Have Repented: Acts 2:38;
D. Those Who Have Received The Holy Spirit: Acts 10:47-48
3. The Mode Of Baptism:
A. Sprinkling: some Christians believe in baptizing by sprinkling. In the early centuries sprinkling was reserved for the sick or those too weak to receive public baptism by immersion or pouring. It was not accepted in general usage until the 13th century. They refer to the Old Testament passages of Num. 8:5-7 and 19:8-13 where a person is cleansed by having water sprinkled on them in their defense, as well as Hebrews 9:10 which refers to these ritual cleansings as “baptisms.” In the 3rd century, Cyprian declared it was not the amount of water nor the method of baptism that cleansed from sin; rather, where the faith of the recipient was genuine, sprinkling was as effective as another mode.
B. Pouring: other Christians believe in baptism by pouring. Often the one baptizing pours water three times over the head of the one being baptized – once for each member of the Trinity. It is argued that pouring best illustrates the work of the Holy Spirit bestowed on the person (Acts 2:17-18). The Didache, a manual written by the early church in the 2nd century states, “But concerning baptism, thus shall ye baptize. Having first recited all these things, baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit in living (running) water. But if thou has not living water, then baptize in other water; and if thou art not able in cold, then in warm. But if thou hast neither, then pour water on the head thrice in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” The inference is that it allowed for pouring, although most baptizing was done by immersion. Moreover, it is argued that it would be more likely that pouring rather than immersion was employed in the household baptisms of Cornelius (Acts 10:48) and the Phillippian jailer (Acts 16:33).
C. Immersion: the word baptizw, (baptizo), means “to dip, immerse”. It is used in ancient literature in the sense of “to sink a ship”, “to dip a cloth into a dye”, “to drown.” Jesus was baptized by John in the Jordan, and He came up “out of the water” (Mk. 1:9-10; cf. Acts 8:38). On the other hand, the Greek has words for sprinkle and pour that are not used for baptism. It is generally acknowledged that the early church immersed the people coming for baptism. Immersion best illustrates the truth of death and resurrection with Christ in Romans 6:3-4.
B. The Lord’s Supper:
1. Transubstantiation: the Roman Catholic view meaning “a change of substance.” This view maintains that a miracle takes place at the eucharist (the Mass) in which the elements of the bread and wine are actually changed into the literal body and blood of Christ, although the sensory characteristics (which the Catholics call “accidents”) of the elements – touch, tasste, smell – may remain the same. The Creed of Pope Pius IV stated: “I profess that in the Mass is offered to God a true, proper and propitiatory sacrifice for the living and the dead;… there is truly, really, and substantially, the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ; and that there is a conversion of the whole substance of the bread into the body, and of the whole substance of the wine into the blood.”
The problems with this view are numerous:
1) it views the work of Christ as unfinished, the sacrifice of Christ continuing in the Mass. Yet Christ declared His work completed, as did the writer of Hebrews (Jn. 19:30; Heb. 10:10-14).
2) Christ’s human body would have to be omnipresent if this teaching were true; however, Christ’s human body is localized in heaven (Acts 7:56).
3) In instituting the Supper, Christ used a common figure of speech – “This is My body… my blood” in referring to the bread and cup. He was physically present yet distinct from the elements when He referred to them as His body and blood. Similarly in Jn. 6:32-58 Jesus used a powerful metaphor to vividly picture a saving faith-relationship to Himself.
4) It was forbidden for Jews to drink blood (Lev.17:10-16), yet this is what Jesus would be asking them to do if transubstantiation was what He intended.
2. Consubstantiation: the Lutheran view meaning Jesus’ body and blood are actually present in the elements but the bread and wine remain such; they do not change into literal body and blood as taught in Roman Catholic dogma. Martin Luther illustrated the point by stating that as heat penetrated an iron bar when placed in the fire, the bar nonetheless remained iron. Lutherans also reject the notion of the perpetual sacrifice of Christ in th eucharist. Luther insisted however, “that by partaking of the sacrament one experiences a real benefit – forgiveness of sin and confirmation of faith. This benefit is due, however, not to the elements in the sacrament, but to one’s reception of the Word by faith.”
The problem with the Lutheran view of the eucharist is the failure to recognize Jesus’ statement, “This is My body” as a figure of speech.
3. Reformed View: Adherents to this view reject the notion of the literal presence of Christ in any sense and in this are similar to adherents of the memorial view. They do, however, emphasize the “present spiritual work of Christ.” Calvin taught that Christ is “present and enjoyed in His entire person, both body and blood. The body and blood of Christ, though absent and locally present only in heaven, communicate a life-giving influence to the believer.” Because of the mystical presence of Christ in the elements, grace is communicated to the participant in the elements. It’s a grace that is similar to that received through the Word and in fact, it adds to the effectiveness of the Word.
A problem with this view is that there is no explicit statement or inference from Scripture suggesting that grace is imparted to the participant.
4. Memorial View: also referred to as the Zwinglian view because the Swiss reformer Ulrich Zwingli (1484-1531) is considered a clear exponent of this view in contrast to other current views of his time. Zwingli taught that there is no real presence of Christ, but only a spiritual fellowship with Christ by those who partake in faith. This view maintains that the bread and the cup are figurative only — only a memorial of the death of Christ. The memorial view emphasizes that the participants demonstrate faith in the death of Christ through this symbolic activity.
This view has much to commend it in the Scriptures. The Bible teaches that the Lord’s Supper is a memorial to His death (1 Cor. 11:24,25): the recurring statement, “in remembrance of Me,” makes this clear, the bread symbolizing His perfect body offered in sin-bearing sacrifice and the wine His blood shed for forgiveness of sins. It is a proclamation of the death of Christ while waiting for His coming (1 Cor. 11:26). It is a communion of believers with each other (1 Cor. 10:17).
Leadership Training and Development
The Doctrine Of Last Things
A. Eschatology Not An Issue To Divide Over: Over the history of the church age there have been 4 broad ways that Christians have understood the 2nd Coming of Christ: Historic Premillennialism, Amillennialism, Postmillennialism, and Dispensational Premillennialism. Until about 100 years ago, none of these 4 views were made a test of fellowship for believers. The creeds and confessions were framed in such a way that a man could hold any one of the four views and be accepted in a church in good standing. It was held that the most essential matter was the Gospel — the church must be united on that. But it was held that a person’s brand of eschatology was not nearly so important and much more freedom and latitude was given in this area. In our studies of eschatology, this will be very important to remember. You can find strengths and weaknesses in each of the 4 major views. There is not a single view which has no problems. Therefore, it behooves us to step softly when approaching this subject!
2. 4 Major Views of Eschatology: below is a rough outline of the 4 major views of eschatology. It should be noted that are many variations within each school of thought.
A) Dispensational Premillennialism:
1. History of View: this is the view that we are probably most familiar with. It originated in the mid 1800’s in the teachings of John Nelson Darby of the Plymouth Brethren. It did not gain widespread popularity until the turn of the 20th century and the printing of the Scofield Reference Bible first published in 1909. In the 20th century several Bible Colleges and Seminaries have embraced dispensational thought such as Moody Bible Instititue and Dallas Theological Seminary. Additionally, many popular writers and teachers have written from this perspective including Hal Lindsay, Chuck Smith, John MacArthur, Charles Ryrie, and John Walvoord. Seen in this light, this particular view is the most novel of all the four views, having only been embraced by Christians for less than 150 years.
2. Basic Beliefs:
1) Dispensations: the history of man is divided into 7 dispensations — Innocence (Gen.1-2), Conscience (Gen.3-8), Human Government (Gen.9-11), Promise (Gen.12 – Exodus 19), Law (Sainai to Resurrection of Christ), Grace (Pentecost – Rapture), and the Kingdom (millennium). They believe that during each of these dispensations man is tested with respect to obedience to some definite revelation of God’s will.
2) Israel and the Church: They believe that the church is a “parenthesis” in God’s plan; an afterthought. God’s primary concern is with Israel. When Christ came He offered the kingdom to Israel. Because they rejected the offer and crucified God’s Son, the establishment of the kingdom of God is delayed until after God is finished with the Church. The earthly millennium after Christ returns is essential in order to fulfill the promises of the kingdom which God made to Israel. There are 2 completely separate purposes of God — an earthly purpose for Israel and a heavenly purpose for the Church. The church was not predicted in the Old Testament. In the millennium Christ rules over a kingdom which is primarily Jewish, though Gentiles also share its blessings. Animal sacrifices are reinstated, the temple rebuilt, and the priesthood reinstituted.
3) 2-Stage Coming of Christ: dispensationalists believe that Christ will secretly rapture the Church, return with the saints to heaven for seven years while the earth is undergoing the “Great Tribulation” and then return with the saints to usher in the millennial kingdom.
4) Multiple Resurrections and Judgments: dispensationalists believe there will be a resurrection and judgment of church age saints at the rapture, of Old Testament and Tribulation saints at the 2nd Coming, of millennial saints and the wicked at the end of the millennium at the Great White Throne Judgment (Rev.20:11-15). Thus, this system necessitates at least 3 different resurrections and judgments.
3. Strengths of Dispensational Premillennialism:
1) Harmonizes Prophetic Texts: it has an answer as to how all of the prophetic texts should be understood.
2) Pride Themselves On Literal Interpretation Of Prophecy: their rule is that you take the prophecy literally wherever it can be.
3) Sees Revelation 4-19 in Future: they say it’s obvious why we can’t figure out what these chapters mean — they haven’t happened yet!
4) Preserves The Idea of Imminency: they are quick to tell others that any other view other than their view destroys the notion that Christ could come back at any time.
5) Appealing View for Saints to Believe: it tells you that you will not go through the Great Tribulation. Saints will be raptured out before it begins.
6) Their View is Realistic Assessment of Wickedness in World: they say it’s easy to see that the world is getting worse and worse, and that it’s clear that wickedness will dominate the world in the Tribulation period.
4. Weaknesses of Dispensational Premillennialism:
1) It Must Hold To At Least 3 Different Resurrections and Judgments: the natural, plain interpretation of the vast number of NT texts would indicate there will be a single resurrection and judgment of all men (Jn. 5:28-29; Jn. 6:39 cf. 12:48; Acts 24:15; Dan.12:2; Mt.16:27; 2 Thess. 1:7-10; Mt. 13:36-43, 47-50; Mt. 25:31-46; Rom. 2:5-16; Acts 17:30-31; 2 Tim. 4:1; Rev. 11:15-18; Rev. 20:11-15).
2) It May Be Too Literal: it is obvious that many portions of the Bible demand a figurative interpretation (Gen.3:15; Ps. 22; Is. 40:3-4; Acts 15:14-18). Sometimes Christ’s disciples made a mistake by taking His teaching too literally (Jn. 3:4; Mt.16:6-7). Surely if there is ANY book in the Bible that would lend itself to a spiritual interpretation it would be the Book of Revelation!
3) It Makes An Unnecessary Separation Between The Church and Israel: it re-estabalishes the middle wall of partition that Christ abolished in His death (Gal.6:15-16; 1Pet.2:9; Gal.3:28-29; Heb.12:22-24; Eph.2:14-19; Rom. 11:17-24; Rom.4:11-12, 16-18)
4) It Flourishes In Arminian Churches Which Hold To Easy Believism: if the test in this “dispensation” is just to accept Christ by making a decision, you can see why it would flourish in these circles. However, usually when a man comes to understand salvation in light of the doctrines of sovereign grace, he will reject this understanding of eschatology as being inconsistent with his overall understanding of God and His plan of salvation.
5) It Requires Absurd Interpretations of OT Prophecy: this view requires us to believe in the restoration of the temple, priesthood, sacrificial system, distinction between clean and unclean animals, the circumcision of all who enter the sanctuary (Ezek.44:9), the necessity of all nations visiting Jerusalem from year to year (Zech.14:16) and even from week to week (Is.66:23), the reappearance of the ancient extinct nations like the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Phillistines (Is.11:14; Amos 9:12; Joel 3:19; Mic. 5:5-6), sons of Zadok serving as priests (Ezek. 44:15-41; 48:11-14), Jesus Himself offering animal sacrifices (Ezek. 46:2), and animal sacrifices offered to atone for sins (Ezek. 45:17). The theme of Hebrews is that all these are abolished and done away in Christ. He warns his readers against returning to this system which has been done away. He nowhere hints there will be a time when these will be restored and its observances required of all Hebrews.
6) It Requires The Exalted, Glorified, Risen Christ to Subject Himself to Humiliation Again: according to this view, at the end of the 1,000 years, the ungodly on the earth will be led by Satan to openly rebel against Christ and fight against Him, and only fire from heaven can save Christ and His Church. But the thrust of Scripture is that Jesus humbled Himself in His 1st Coming, but rose victorious forever in His resurrection. He would have to humble Himself again to be scorned, rejected, and fought against by His enemies.
7) It Requires The Presence Of Sin and Death in the Millennium: this view holds that many of the children of believers who enter the millennium will not be saved, and that the great host who rebel against Christ at the end of the millennium will be formed from this group. They believe that those who are openly rebellious are put to death as Christ rules with a rod of iron. But does this sound like the Golden Age of the Old Testament? It is not a pleasing picture to think of our Messianic King sitting enthroned on a smouldering volcano! Will Jesus reign upon a peaceful earth which inwardly seethes with hatred and rebellion? Will people yield outward obedience because the inevitable consequence of disobedience and opposition is to be cut off?
8) It Fails To See That The Church Was The Focus Of OT Prophesy: instead of being a parenthesis in God’s dealings with Israel, it would appear that the church is the fulfillment of everything that God had been leading up to (Acts 3:24; 1Pet.1:10-12; Acts 26:23; Is.65:1; Rom.9:24-26; Rom.10:19‑20).
9) There Is No Passage in the NT Which Unmistakeably Teaches an Earthly Millennium: all of our data for this “golden age” is found in OT writings of the prophets. This is shaky ground to build doctrine on.
10) It Does Violence to One of the Primary Rules of Hermeneutics: we must interpret obscure passages in light of clear passages. But this view interprets the clear passages througout the rest of the NT in light of the obscure passage of Revelation 20 instead of interpreting Revelation 20 in light of the rest of the clear passages in the NT.
11) It Requires Us To Believe That Men In Natural Bodies Will Dwell With Men in Glorified Bodies: How can glorified saints live in this sin-laden atmosphere amid scenes of death and decay? How will sinners and saints in the flesh be able to stand in the presence of our glorified Savior when even Paul and John were completely overwhelmed by just a vision of Him? When He comes, the very brightness of His coming will destroy the man of sin. Can any mere mortal endure His presence?
12) It Requires Us To Insert 1,000 Years Between Christ’s Coming and His Creating of the New Heavens and Earth: 2Pet.3:10-13 seems to indicate that these events will happen simultaneously.
13) It Is A Pessimistic View Of Prophecy: they don’t believe there will be any great success of the gospel in the Church Age.
14) It Is A Relatively Novel View: it didn’t originate until the mid 1800’s. If this was the truth of the Word of God, why did it take 1850 years for the church to discover it?
B. Historic Premillennialism:
1. History Of View: this view is referred to as “historical” because it was the predominant view of the early church (100 – 400 A.D.). It has been held by others throughout the history of the church including Charles Spurgeon, Andrew Bonar, John Gill, and George Eldon Ladd.
2. Basic Beliefs:
1) Israel and the Church: historical dispensationalists do not believe God has separate and distinct plans for Israel and the Church. They believe that the Church is the “spiritual Israel”; the true seed of Abraham. They do not believe the Church is a parenthesis between God’s dealings with Israel. They believe God is done dealing with Israel except perhaps for the conversion of a great many at the end of earthly history, but in that case they would be added to the Church.
2) The 2nd Coming of Christ: historic premillennialists understand the 2nd Coming as a single event, the rapture happening simultaneously with Christ’s 2nd coming.
3) The Millennium: the millennium will be an earthly rule of Jesus Christ for approximately 1,000 years after His 2nd Coming.
4) Resurrections and Judgments: there will be at least 2 different resurrections and judgments (believers at 2nd coming, and believers and wicked at end of millennium at the Great White Throne).
3. Strengths of Historic Premillennialism:
1) It Was The View of the Early Church for About the First 400 Years:
2) It Follows The Natural Reading Of The Book Of Revelation: Rev. 20:1 begins with the word “and.” The natural reading of the book lends itself nicely to understanding Rev.20:1 as occurring after Rev.19:21.
3) It Preserves the Unity Of God’s People: this view does not present a dichotomy between Israel and the Church as the Dispensational view does.
4) It Applies Old Testament Prophecies To A Future Kingdom: it at least gives an answer as to how to interpret OT prophecies such as Is.2:1-4; 11:6-9, etc.
5) It Gives A Realistic Assessment of Evil In The World:
4. Weaknesses of Historic Premillennialism:
1) It May Give Too Much Weight To The Testimony Of The Early Church: the early church had a lot of heretical views. They were still working through many foundational issues at this period of time, including the nature and identity of Jesus Christ. Just because the early church believed something does not necessarily make it true!
2) It Ignores the Cyclical Nature of the Book of Revelation: there are recapitulations in the book of Revelation (compare Rev.11:18 with 12:1‑2).
3) It Requires 2 Resurrections and Judgments: this would appear to contradict the natural interpretation of the plain texts in the New Testament. No where else in Scripture do we read of a 1,000 year period of time between the judgment of the just and the unjust. (Mt.25:31-46)
4) It Does Not Explain Conditions In The Millennium: there are many passages in the OT which refer to a reinauguration of the Mosaic Covenant, replete with animal sacrifices, priesthood, and temple. Do we really believe that the types and shadows once taken out of the way will be put back in place again? If not, what do these passages refer to?
5) It Gives Too Much Weight To Revelation 20: if it were not for this one chapter in the Bible, there would probably be much less controversy on eschatology! This chapter is the ONLY chapter which speaks of 1,000 years. Therefore, perhaps our interpretation of Rev. 20 is wrong.
1. History Of View: the first influential exponent of postmillennialism was Thomas Brightman (1562-1607). It first flourished in the 17th century among the Puritans. The 18th century was the great age of postmillennialism. It played a key role in the development of missionary thinking. The great revivals under Whitefield and Edwards were seen as the first ripples of a movement of conversion which would engulf the world. In the 20th century it largely declined and almost died out, but there has been a resurgence of interest in postmillennialism recently and it is again gaining ground under the branch of postmillennialism known as “Reconstructionism.” Some great theologians have been postmillennialists including John Owen, Jonathan Edwards, Charles Hodge, R.L. Dabney, B.B. Warfield, and Lorraine Boettner.
2. Basic Beliefs:
1) Millennium: they believe that the millennium is a long, indefinite period of time BEFORE the 2nd coming of Christ in which a great portion of the world will be converted, and the rest of the world Christianized. They believe this Golden Age will be brought about by the preaching of the gospel accompanied by the power of the Holy Spirit. It is this period of time that is predicted so often in the OT (Is.2:2-4; 11:6-9). Christ will exercise a spiritual reign over the world from heaven.
2) Israel and the Church: postmillennialists do not make a sharp distinction between Israel and the Church, believing as the historic postmillennialists that the Church is “spiritual Israel”, the true seed of Abraham. They do, however, believe that according to Rom.11:12,15,25-26 there will a great conversion of Jews before the 2nd Coming of Christ. These Jews, though, will become part of the Christian Church (the same olive tree) and not remain a separate and distinct people from the Church.
3) The 2nd Coming of Christ: like historic premillennialists, they believe in a single coming of Christ, the rapture happening simultaneously with it.
4) Resurrection and Judgment: they believe in a single, general judgment of all men who have ever lived at Christ’s second coming.
5) 3 Different Kinds of Postmillennialism:
A. Social Postmillennialism: those who held this view were in large numbers around the turn of the 20th century. They believed that they were entering a new age which would be unparalleled in terms of learning, prosperity, and moral advancement. This was the age of the great modern missionary movements. They believed that the gospel was about to conquer the world. But with the rise of both world wars, this brand of postmillennialism has all but been discarded. Lorraine Boettner holds to a form of this postmillennialism.
B. Dominion Postmillennialism: (also called Christian Reconstructionism or Theonomy) those who hold this view believe that the institution of the church will take over the institutions of government and society and use the Law of God in both old and new testaments as the rule for this government. This brand of postmillennialism is growing and expanding in our day. Advocates of this kind of postmillennial thought would be Gary North and Rushdooney.
C. Catastrophic Postmillennialism: those who hold this view do not hold to a gradual evolution from a day of darkness to light as the social brand does, or a takeover of governmental instutions like the dominion people, but a “latter day glory of the church” which will be brought on by catastrophies by the hand of God. They believe that Christ will bring a judgment upon the antichrist, which will lead to worldwide influence of the gospel. This is the type of postmillennialism which Jonathan Edwards believed in.
3. Strengths Of Postmillennialism:
1) It Is An Optomistic View Of Prophecy: it teaches that the church wins! It teaches that the gospel is going to triumph in the earth! An age is coming in which the gospel will hold sway & conquer!
2) It Is Able To Give A Good Explanation Of OT Prophecy: see Is.2:2-4; 11:6-9; Ps.72; Hab.2:14.
3) It Holds to A Single General Judgment & Resurrection Of All Men At The Second Coming Of Christ: the bible seems to indicate that this will be the case (Mt.25:31-46; John 5:28-29; 2Thess.1:6-10)
4) It Takes Seriously The Fact That Christ Reigns NOW From Heaven: see 1Cor.15:24-28; Ps.110:1-3.
5) It Sees the Rapture As Taking Place at the 2nd Coming of Christ: we read in 1Thess.4:13-18 that the rapture takes place when men are raised from the dead. If it is true that all men are raised at the same time, then the rapture must take place upon the 2nd coming of Christ, as the postmillennial view says it will.
4. Weaknesses of the Postmillennialism:
1) It Is Not A Realistic View of Prophecy: yes, it is optimistic, but is it true to the biblical facts? We would all love to believe that the majority of people on the world will be converted, but is this taught in Scripture? Mt.7:13-14; 22:14; Luke 18:8.
2) It Tends To Be Far More At Home in the OT than in the NT: if the OT prophets were in a day of relatively dim light compared to the NT saint, why is it that when we go from the day of types and shadows into the day of bright light of NT truth, there was not more light shone upon this whole matter? Where are the NT passages which CLEARLY teach a “latter day glory” of the church? The NT passages that are brought forward as proof of a “latter day glory” can be interpreted in other ways than a postmillennial interpretation (Rom.11:11-15, 25-26).
3) It De-Emphasizes Revelation 19: postmillennialists interpret Revelation 19 as a spiritual coming of Christ to destroy antichristian forces and introduce the “latter day glory.” But if Revelation 19 is not presenting the visible, personal return of Christ in glory, where is that to be found in the Book of Revelation!? Is the one event that all the ages have been pointing toward mysteriously missing from the only NT book dealing exclusively with prophecy?
4) It Does Not Seem To Line Up With Revelation 20:7-10: if the majority of the world has been converted to Christ, how is Satan able to gather people in number as the sand on the seashore together to fight against Christ and His church? The picture is that Christ and His church are the great minority, being surrounded by a great majoritiy of antichristian forces. How can this be so?
1. History Of View: the early church by and large held to a historic premillennial view until the early 300’s A.D. when Augustine popularized the amillennial position in his book, City Of God. This was the prevalent position held by the Christian Church until the 1600’s when postmillennialism grew in influence. This was the view held by Luther, Calvin, and Knox. Louis Berkhof in his book, Systematic Theology has made this observation: “Amillennialism had at least as many advocates as Premillennialism among the church fathers of the 2nd and 3rd centuries, supposed to be the heyday of Premillenialism. It has ever been the most widely accepted view and is the only view that is either expressed or implied in the great historical confessions of the Church, and has always been the p revalent view in Reformed circles.” This view was held by Louis Berkhof, William Hendriksen, & Martyn Lloyd-Jones. It is the official view of the Missouri Synod Lutheran Church, the Christian Reformed Church, the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and the Reformed Presbyterian Church. It is taught in Calvin Seminary and Westminister Theological Seminary.
2. Basic Beliefs:
1) The Millennium: advocates of this view believe that the Church Age is the 1,000 years of Revelation 20. They believe that the 1,000 years is to be interpreted figuratively as a long, indefinite period of time. They believe that Satan was bound (as far as his ability to deceive the Gentile nations) by the work of Christ at calvary (Mt.12:28-29; Luke 10:17-18; Jn.12:31-32). Some amillennialists believe that those in Rev.20:4-6 who rule and reign with Christ refer to believers who have died and now rule with Christ from heaven. Others believe that this language pictures believers on earth who are made alive spiritually in regeneration, and then rule & reign with Christ in this life over sin, the world, and the devil. (Jn.5:25-26; Eph.2:4-7).
2) The 2nd Coming of Christ: those who hold the amillennial view believe that the rapture will occur simultaneously with Christ’s 2nd coming. At His 2nd coming, all men will be raised and judged, the present heavens and earth will be destroyed, and God will create a new heavens and earth in which righteousness will dwell. The 2nd coming of Christ will introduce the eternal state.
3) The Resurrection and the Judgment: with postmillennialists, amillennialists believe that there will be only 1 resurrection and judgment of all men to occur at the 2nd coming of Christ.
4) Israel and the Church: with historic premillennialists and postmillennialists, the amillennialists do not believe that God has a separate and distinct plan for national Israel and the Church. They believe that the Church is “spiritual Israel”, and that in the judgment of 70 A.D. God set aside Israel and is working to draw out from all nations an elect Bride (which will consist of some Jews as well as Gentiles).
3. Strengths Of Amillennialism:
1) It Gives A Spiritual Interpretation to the Book of Revelation: if we would ever expect to interpret scripture figuratively, we would expect to do so in the book of Revelation. We are told in Rev.1:1 that Jesus Christ revealed the things of this book by signs. Therefore, it would be in keeping with this fact that the details of a dragon, serpent, chain, and 1,000 years would be symbolically interpreted.
2) It Is Consistent With the Clear Teaching In The Rest Of The NT: one of the principles of hermeneutics is to interpret the obscure in the light of the clear. If we regard Revelation 20 as obscure, we ought to go to the rest of the NT teaching on the 2nd coming of Christ, the resurrection and judgment to see what they teach. When we do so, we never read of an earthly millennium to follow Christ’s 2nd Coming. Instead, we read that He raises and judges all men, and assigns them to their eternal destinations, as well as destroying the present heavens and earth and creating new heavens and earth. There is no teaching of an earthly millennium in the parables of the wheat and the tares or the dragnet of Matthew 13, or the parables of the 10 virgins or the talents in Matthew 25.
3) It Greatly Reduces the Complexity Of Prophecy: in contrast to the dispensational premillennial view, it is a very simple and clear view. It teaches that Christ will come, raise & judge all men, and assign them to their respective destinies. That’s it! The 2nd coming is not divided into 2 stages, and there are not 3 or 4 different judgments and resurrections.
4) It Synchronizes The 2nd Coming of Christ with the Ending of the Temporal State and the Beginning of the Eternal State: this appears to be the clear teaching of Scripture in many places (Mt.25:31-46; Mt.13:36-43, 47-50; 2Thess.1:6-10; Jn.6:40 & 12:48
4. Weaknesses of Amillennialism:
1) A Common Criticism is That It Overly Spiritualizes Passages That Do Not Lend Themselves To Being Spiritualized: the dispensational premillennialist prides himself on taking prophecy in the most literal way possible and believes that the amillennialist is just spiritualizing away prophecy, and that he has lost all objectivity in interpreting it. The amillennialist must interpret many OT prophecies as either referring to the Church Age or to the Eternal State (Is.2:2-4; 11:6-9).
2) It Does Not Give A Good Answer To The Cessation of the Binding of Satan: amillennialists believe that the binding of Satan in Revelation 20 is a result of Christ’s work on the cross. But how does he explain that Satan is loosed later on for a “little season?” Does the power of the cross cease to be effective at that point?
3) It Tends To Ignore The Flow Of The Narrative In Revelation 19 & 20: if it were not for the chapter division, would we come to the conclusion that chapter 20 begins a recapitulation and jumps back to the beginning of the Church Age? Furthermore, the beast and the false prophet are cast into the lake of fire in Rev.19:20. But in Rev.20:10 the devil is cast into the lake of fire “where the beast and the false prophet are also.” If the amillennial view is correct, we would expect that all three would be cast in at the same time — at the 2nd Coming of Christ. But the text seems to indicate that the beast and the false prophet are already there. That gives strength to the view of the premillennialist, that Revelation 20 should be seen as chronologically subsequent to Revelation 19.
E. Personal Evaluation Of All 4 Views: As you can readily see, no single view of eschatology is without problems. But at this point in my understanding of Biblical truth, it seems to me that the amillennial view harmonizes best with the rest of clear teaching on the subject of eschatology in Scripture. Although it presents its own set of difficulties, none are insuperable. Therefore, I find myself leaning toward an amillennial return of Christ. However, we may find out in the end that our Lord will return in a way that none of us quite expected, involving various aspects of all 4 views! Until we receive further light, let’s fervently serve Him until He comes, and resolve that we will not allow differences of eschatology to separate us from other true believers in the Lord Jesus Christ!
3. Matthew 24-25:
A. Futuristic View: this view believes that although some of the details of this chapter were fulfilled in the lifetime of those who heard this sermon, its primary purpose is to outline events immediately preceding the 2nd Coming of Christ (24:5-31).
B. Preteristic View: this view believes that 24:5-34 were fulfilled in the generation from the Cross to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.
1) Context: the immediately preceding context has to do with a great judgment to fall upon the Jewish leaders (23:35-39).
2) Time Text: Mt.24:34 informs us that this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. Jesus’ disciples had asked Him, “when will these things be, and what will be the sign of Your coming and the end of the age?” Jesus was answering their question. He was telling them what the things that would precipate God’s judgment upon the Jewish nation would be. He says that all of them would take place within the generation of those alive at that time. If a generation is 40 years, Jesus’ statement was literally fulfilled. If these things were not fulfilled before 70 A.D., then either Jesus was mistaken, or we have to find another explanation for “this generation.”
3) Local Expressions: throughout 24:5-34 we find words of local expression (temple, sabbath, Palestine, Judea). In addition throughout we find reference to “those days” (24:19, 22, 29). But the 2nd Coming of Christ is referred to as “that day”, or “the great day” or the like.
4) Outline: 24:1-35 refer to the Destruction of Jerusalem. 24:36 – 25:46 refer to the 2nd Coming of Christ. Jesus had been very definite about the time and circumstances of 24:1-35. Now He disclaims knowledge of the time of His coming or the events to precede it (24:42, 44, 50, 25:13). The 1st section is identified with observable signs (famines, pestilences, wars) – but this section is noticeable by an absence of signs. As the flood came without signs, even so would be the coming of the Son of Man. He compares His coming to a thief in the night. A thief gives no warning. The parable of the thief and the parable of the fig tree are in direct contrast. The fig tree gives warning of approach of summer, whereas the thief gives no warning. The emphasis in the second section is on delay (24:48, 25:5,19), whereas the emphasis of the first section is that it will happen within a generation. For a fuller exposition from this approach see J. Marcelus Kik’s book An Eschatology Of Victory.
4. Daniel 9:24-27:
A. Gap View: this view (usually held by dispensationalists) holds that there is a gap between the 69th and the 70th week. They believe this is the Church Age, where God’s prophetic timeclock has ceased ticking. They believe the prince who is to come (26) refers to the Antichrist who will make a covenant of peace with the Jews, but after 3 1/2 years will violate the covenant, set himself up as God in a rebuilt Jewish temple, and require men to worship him. They believe this is the abomination of desolation referred to by Jesus in Mt.24:15 & Luke 21:20.
B. Historical View: these believe that all 70 weeks of years occurred from beginning to end without a gap. They do not believe that any of this passage refers to the Antichrist immediately preceding Christ’s 2nd Coming. Below are their reasons:
1) No Mention Of Gap In Text: there is not the slightest indication in the text that a gap of time is intended between the 69th & 70th weeks. If the purpose of Daniel was to inform his readers that certain things would transpire within 70 weeks (24) and then neglect to tell them that there would be a 2,000+ year gap in between the 69th & 70th week, I think that he would have brought them much more confusion than clarity! Furthermore, the weeks of years are split up as 7+ 62+1. Well, no one believes there is a gap between the 7th and the next 62 weeks of years. Why then, do we believe there will be a gap between the 69th & 70th week? Additionally, vs.26 says, “then AFTER the 62 weeks, the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing.” Well, if Jesus is crucified after the 62 weeks, that means he must be crucified during the 70th week. But the gap view holds that the 70th week does not even begin until the last 7 years of human history.
2) Prince Refers To Jesus, not the Antichrist: vs.25 refers to Messiah the Prince. Thus when we read in vs.26 of “the people of the prince who is to come” shouldn’t we assume that this is the same prince referred to in the preceding verse? If so, then it is simply saying that in the 70th week of years, Jesus will be crucified, followed by the Romans coming in and destroying Jerusalem and the Jewish temple through war. The firm covenant made with the many refers to the “new covenant” Jesus made on behalf of God’s elect (Mt.26:28). His death put a stop to sacrifice and grain offerings, because now that the Perfect Sacrifice has been offered, all other animal or grain offerings are useless and obsolete.
3) The Abomination of Desolation Refers to The Destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple: compare the account in Luke 21 with Matthew 24.