A FAITH MEDIA PRODUCT
An Easy Guide To Christianity: The Daily Walk With Christ By Demetria Zinga
©2005 Faith Media, All Rights Reserved. www.christianladies.net
[The Daily Walk With Christ]
Please feel free to pass this e-book along to anyone you like. This ebook may not be reproduced or sold. This e-book is FREE to give away. --------------Demetria Zinga is the editor and publisher of ChristianLadies.net and Christian Ladies’ Talk Radio, and is a freelance writer, web designer, technology specialist, and musician. She resides in Alabama with her wonderful husband and two daughters. Please visit www.demetriazinga.com to find out more about her. ---------------
Course Objectives: • To provide a basic, thorough understanding of what Christianity is, according to scriptures of the Holy Bible. • To explain how one may become a Christian • To provide practical examples of daily living with Christ •To bring recognition to the benefits associated with and as a result of leading a Christian life. Intended Audience: Unbelievers and Seekers Newborn Christians Mature Christians (refresher course)
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Course Outline :
I. II. III. IV. V.
Who is Jesus? Why we must come to Christ How to come to Christ The results of not walking with Christ The exceeding rewards of His kingdom
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Foreword: (Why it's good to start with the basics) I realize that many of us are on different levels on our journey with Christ. Some of us may be very strong and mature Christians and others of us are new to the faith and would love to learn from the mature Christians. I personally feel that I fall in between these two categories, but I know also that God has given me a gift to teach His word in simplicity and understanding. In teaching, I find that I learn so much, so teaching these lessons are serving a two fold purpose for me. For that reason, this first lesson of a six part series is a basic review of the foundational principles of Christianity. Though you may be tempted to skip Lesson #1, I ask that you don't for several reasons. First of all, even if for review only, meditating on the basics on what we believe as Christians is always helpful for our walk in Christ. Secondly, after reading Lesson #1 you may find that it might be helpful to pass this information along to a new Christian or an unbelieving friend. Thirdly, if we are all on the same page, it will be easier to progress linearly in this lesson and to understand where we are going as a group. If you are a new Christian I believe this first lesson will help to keep you grounded in what's important in our faith. This first lesson will serve as a catalyst for all the lessons to come and you will have a better foundation if you start here. Of course, I will make it less tempting to skip through the first week since I will be posting only this lesson and no others, but in the weeks to come as more information is posted it may become more inviting to start at another point-- and to all new-coming members of Christian Ladies Connect, I would strongly encourage to start from the beginning. Okay! That said, and all housekeeping out of the way...we can proceed.
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Let's say a prayer: Heavenly Father, we thank you for this time we are able to come together and study your Word. We realize that there is no distance in You, and that our hearts and souls all connect in You. For those of us who need to grow stronger in You, or meet You for the first time, I pray that these lessons will be eye-openers and words of truth and encouragement that will bring conviction and correction, life, peace, knowledge, and joy in You, Jesus. For those of us who already know You but need a faithbooster, I ask that You will bring clarity and spiritual precision in our lives. Let us know who we are in You, and never forget! I know that without You I am nothing, Lord, and I pray that You will give me the words to say (type) and that your anointing will touch all those who study Your truths in these lessons. In Jesus' Name we pray, Amen.
Introduction: No doubt if you’ve ever attended a church service you’ve heard the phrase “Come to Jesus”. You’ve probably seen billboard ads in front of churches urging the masses to “come on in and dine”, or maybe you’ve seen graffiti walls in the inner cities sprayed with messages such as “Jesus is coming soon”. Commonplace to most, however, are friends, family, or co-workers who incessantly talk about their faith, their church, or their spiritual walk with God. Imagine this: you’ve never attended church in your life, and you have no clue what it means to be “lost”, much less “saved”. So what do you say when someone asks you, “Are you saved?” What does all of this Page 5 of 29
mean, this spiritual talk? Why is your spiritual state and moral status so important to others, namely Christians, and what difference should it make to them? Furthermore, with the free will that you were born with, isn’t it your right to decide how you want to live your life, which god you choose to serve and which religion you practice? Let’s take another scenario: let’s say you are a Christian. Or you think you are—maybe not sure? But you were baptized once. And you make a conscious effort to follow the Ten Commandments, at least the big ones: “thou shalt not kill”, and “thou shalt not steal”. Oh, and you even attend church regularly, for the most part. Sunday services are okay, the sermon is fine, worship is awesome. But—there is still that little nagging doubt, the whole moral code issue—“as long as I stay true to myself and my own moral conscience, I should be fine. I’ll go to heaven, and hey, death is a long call from now”. Scenario #3: You have definitely realized the life change that accompanies a Christian lifestyle, and you exhort Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. But you feel miserable almost every day of your life— bills are due, family relationships are strained, your job is dead-end, and there is never enough time to concentrate on improving yourself and your situation, much less time to pray or read your bible. Where is God now when you need Him? Are you still a Christian? Does God still recognize you as His child, and if so, why doesn’t He seem to be doing anything about your situation? So, what is Christianity, really? What does it mean to be truly Christian? Can anybody be a Christian? Aren’t everyone God’s children? HOW do you become a Christian? How hard to do you have to work at staying a Christian once you become one? Isn’t it too hard? Wouldn’t it be easier to choose another religion—one with easily spelled moral codes to follow? My job in this bible study series is to provide you some insight into Christianity, and the reasons why we as Christians are so concerned about the welfare of others around us as well as the reason we should
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be concerned with studying the Bible and encouraging others to do so. I will discuss these issues from the standpoint of a Christian explaining the concepts to one who is new to the faith, and attempt to shed light on some very important scriptural references found in the Holy Bible that will fully explain what it means to be a Christian. I will serve as a guide or facilitator and will be available to answer questions you may have concerning this subject area. Granted, I am still in my own growth phase in Christianity and am learning quite a lot, but as I grow I hope to birth insight and wisdom in others, so that all may have the opportunity to see Christianity for what it truly is. Please fellow Christians, say a prayer for me as I prepare our lessons each week. Though the following serves as very introductory material. I am not a theologian by any means, but I will need your prayers each week as I dig deeper into uncovering the truths of God's word. Your Faithful Servant in Christ,
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Lesson 1: Who is Jesus?
In the Beginning: In the very beginning of time God created both Adam and Eve. The very intents of their hearts were tested as they were commanded by God to eat anything in the garden with the exception of a particular tree- the tree of Good and Evil. Satan (through the form of a serpent) tempted Eve, and of course, sin entered her heart, she disobeyed God’s command, and she ate of the fruit from the tree. Not only did Eve partake of this fruit, but she offered some to Adam, and then he ate as well. This is when sin initially entered the world. Adam and Eve were ashamed, God banned them from the Garden of Eden, and the future of man would be one of great toil and sweat (Genesis 3).
There would be many days of vanity, unrest, dissatisfaction, and weariness. The exquisite joy of God’s presence as was evident in the Garden of Eden would now be extremely hard to attain now that the curse had entered the world. Through the laws God delivered to the prophets as revealed in the Old Testament, the people of God (the Israelites) would learn to please God – by the sacrificial offerings of animals and completely rigid rules and rituals. (Leviticus 22:17-33; Hebrews 10:10-11)
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Centuries later, a Child was born in the town of Bethlehem. The Israelites (the Jews) had been looking for their Messiah to arrive all these centuries because it had been promised them from God to the prophets that a Savior would come into the world: “But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are not the least among the rulers of Judah; For out of you shall come a Ruler who will shepherd My people Israel” (Matthew 1:6). Jesus had come on the scene. Jesus touches the world: When Jesus was thirty years old he began to teach and preach about the Kingdom of God. He was revered as a prophet and a teacher (rabbi). But those who knew Him best knew that He was also the Son of God, the Savior of the world, and their Messiah manifest in flesh (Matthew 16:13-17). Jesus healed the sick, raised the dead, and blessed everyone whom he passed by and spoke to. His words gave life, and multitudes of crowds followed him to hear Him speak. There was something different about Him. His speech was well learned, and yet He had never been taught officially in the Jewish synagogues. The Philistines and Saduccees wondered how this man who was born from the lowly town of Bethlehem and who had never had formal training in the religious laws could understand scriptures so well. They did not understand where His power came from, to heal the sick and to raise the dead (Matthew 21:23). The religious leaders were so disturbed by Jesus’ presence that Jesus had to literally flee from town to town until the hour that He knew would come had actually come: the hour in which He would give His life for the world in order to meet God the Father’s will for humankind (to be given an opportunity to be reconciled or drawn back in to Him). Remember how the curse had entered the world when Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s command and ate the forbidden fruit from the tree of Good and Evil? From that time on, sin had entered the world and had preeminence over the face of the earth (preeminence just means that sin prevailed, and ruled over in some ways). Sacrificial animals and many rituals and rigid rules were to be followed and adhered to if the
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Israelites wanted to remain in good standing with God. God, in His holy and pure nature, could not stand to look upon or behold sin, and the blood of the animals’ sacrifices served as a temporary covering for the sins of God’s people until the hour that Jesus gave up His life on the Cross.
Jesus Died for our sins: He hung there on a blood-stained cross, His flesh ripped from the thorny whips that were slashed on His body by those who “killed” him—and yet, He was never “killed” but He humbly bled, and died, giving up His life for the will of the Father and for every human being on this earth, so that HIS blood would cover our sins (John 18-19). Today the very mention of the blood of Jesus Christ is precious—it is in His blood that we find “remission of sins”. In other words, Christ has covered our sins. Imagine that our sins are black, ugly blotches of ink, stained on a white page. Now imagine that His red blood is dripped over our blotches and are made white (as white as snow!). Our sins have disappeared from the pages of our lives! We now have a clean slate. We can start over. We can do it over. There really IS hope for us. Why? Because not only did Jesus Christ take our sins away, but after His death and His burial, He was resurrected. (Luke 24:13-45; John 20:19-30; Luke 24:36). Jesus is not dead any longer! He is alive and seated on the right hand of God on the throne. He rules and reigns with God and as God—and He has empowered us to live a life of victorious Christian living in Him.
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Review Questions: 1.) Who is Jesus? 2.) What did Jesus do that gives us another chance to start our lives over when we have sinned? 3.) Jesus died on the cross, but He is not dead any longer. The fact that Jesus was resurrected and now is seated on the throne beside God the Father has great implications for us. How does this supernatural event affect us today? What are the benefits we reap from Christ being alive today? Application: 4 . ) If you are a Christian, how did this basic review of our faith help you to remember who you are in Christ? Was this helpful? 5 . ) If you are seeking more information about the Christian faith, please reflect on the person of Jesus, who makes up the core of our beliefs. Reflect on His life, His words, His actions, and discover through scripture who Jesus Christ is. You may find the books of Matthew and John especially helpful. 6 .)Any additional questions? Concerns I look forward to sharing Lesson 2 with you. This is very introductory material, I know, but we will begin to go further into the things of God as we proceed. Please feel free to pass these lessons along to anyone you know who may like some introductory material on the bible.
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Lesson 2: Why We Must Come to Christ The basic logistics of Christianity is this: Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. You can find this scripture here: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6. Because Christianity is based around the fact that Jesus Christ is the only way to eternal salvation, one must come to terms with this underlying concept first as the very basics and foundation of the Christian walk. All other facets of Christianity are based around this first building block, which is the acceptance of Jesus Christ as the only true way to salvation. There is no other redemptive way to achieve eternal salvation and security except through acceptance of Jesus Christ as one’s personal Savior. In other words, Jesus the Christ is the only true and living God. The acceptance of Christ in one’s heart and the repentance of sins is the process of Salvation, and is, in essence, the cleansing of one’s sins, and the rebirth of one’s spiritual life. But why would you choose to come to know Christ as your Savior? Why wouldn’t you choose to be Buddhist, for example, or for that matter, one of the many new world religions of mysticism and New Age? Well, besides the fact that Jesus Christ is the only true way to God the Father and the only way for salvation of one’s soul, let’s explore some other reasons it is imperative that each individual CHOOSE to follow the ways of Christ. We must come to Christ because: 1. Before God, there was nothing. God is the beginning foundation of this world. John 1:1 says “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Page 12 of 29
This really causes us to think. If before God, there was nothing, we can then realize how BIG He is…not so much in demeanor or stature— but in His presence. If nothing was present before Him, that must mean God is the beginning. Revelations 1:11 says “I am the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end…” So if God is the beginning, AND the end, then surely that means He is everything in between. Whew! That’s quite a significant span to fill – the beginning of time and the end of time, and everything in between! Beginning=God *** God fills the time gap *** End=God
Here is another concept to keep in mind: Jesus = God. God=Jesus. Jesus is the son of God, and yet He IS God. Sound confusing? Check out these words that Jesus spoke in John 10:30: “I and my Father are one.” With this is mind, let’s find out more reasons we should come to Christ… 2. God is all powerful and Almighty. He is to be feared and revered. The following scriptures reiterate the majesty of God: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever.” Psalm 111:10. “For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.” Deuteronomy 4:24. Page 13 of 29
“Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing whether good or evil.” Ecclesiastes 12: 13-14. and finally: Matthew 10:28, which reads: “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell”. Pretty bold, blunt statements, don’t you think? Coming from Jesus, it sounds pretty sharp. But why shouldn’t it? Christianity is a faith in which there are absolutely no grey areas. The Holy Scriptures are sharp, and are powerful: Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” The scripture goes on to say in verse 13: “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” Because there are really no grey areas in Christianity, many people choose to follow different faiths, or perhaps create a "variation of Christianity" to fit their lifestyle’s purpose. Becoming a Christian and living a Christian life is not a hard task—but the concept of a God who is all-knowing and all-powerful, who is able to judge even the intent of our hearts, and who separates evil from good—may be quite a pill to swallow, and has definitely caused many in today’s society to think twice about the Christian faith. But perhaps with better understanding of who God is, and who we are, as well as what God expects from us, and what we should expect from God—we can come to understand and appreciate the basic tenets of faith in Jesus Christ. Furthermore, after understanding fully what Jesus has done for us on the cross and developing a relationship with Him, we begin to fall in love with a Savior who cares so much for us-- and we cannot help but to want to live for Him.
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Let’s look at a few more reasons we should come to Christ: 3. Because God knows us from the very beginning of time. Before we were ever conceived in the womb of our mothers, He knew us: “For you formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.” Psalm 139: 13-16 4. Because we become weary of the things of this world and the burdens and stressors of this life are too much to handle alone. We need a force greater than ourselves-- a God higher than us. The God who uniquely created us and knows us so well will take our burdens and lead us through the storms of life, which is something no other person or thing in this world can do for us. Matthew 11:28-30 reads: "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (29) Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (30) For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." 5. Because God knows our future. We cannot get away from God. “Oh Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. You have hedged me behind and before, and laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it. Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?” Psalm 139: 1-7. "I am fearfully and wonderfully made" Psalm 139:14. Page 15 of 29
"If I make my bed in hell, you are there..." Psalm 139:8. "Who can separate me from the love of Christ?" Romans 8:35 Truly everything we are and everything we are meant to be has to be created and uniquely woven by a Creator greater than ourselves. We are not here by accident. Each and every one of us has a purpose to fulfill in our lives. God himself knows every secret of our hearts. He knows our intentions and our desires. He made us to be able to choose Him, or not. God gave us the flexibility to make our own choices in the paths that we follow while living on this earth. Because of Jesus' great love for us, He died on the cross for our sins, taking every sin we have committed and will commit, upon Himself. When we become Christians, we have traded our sorrows for the joy of the Lord. We have given Him our "filthy rags" and He has in exchange given us His robe of righteousness. We now have eternal salvation in Christ. This is why we as Christians are so concerned about the welfare of others. We want the world to know that Jesus Christ really is the answer. It is not a clichĂŠ or church lingo. We are truly spiritually "born again" in every sense. Having experienced the rebirth in Christ, we know the joys and the challenges this walk brings. However, it's worth every moment, because we have victory in Christ to live a Christian life on this earth. And the future rewards of being with Him forever in glory are eternal. If you are not a Christian, this, my friend, is the reason Christians are after you. We love you. Christ loves you. And we want you to experience the hope in Jesus that is available to you. There are so many riches in Him. Jesus waits for you and is calling out to each and every day to come to Him. If you are already saved, your mission is to reach out to the lost and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are all "preachers" by our lives and our words. Remember that our lives are open books and may be the only Bible a sinner would ever read. Accepting Christ as our personal Savior means victorious living on this earth. Jesus gives us the power to live joyfully no matter our circumstances, because as our Savior, He takes our burdens and makes them easy. He also gives us hope in hopeless situations. Page 16 of 29
Furthermore, He fulfills His promises of abundant living in Him by giving us the power to operate in the "fruit of the spirit" (more about that in Lesson #3). Not to mention that God has promised to "supply all of our needs according to His riches and glory" (Philippians 4:19) and that He would give us "exceedingly, abundantly all that we could ask or think" (Ephesians 3:20), and that includes more than our spiritual riches in Him.
Review Questions: 1.) Name a few reasons it is important to come to Christ. 2.) What did you learn about the majesty (greatness) of God in this lesson? Application: 3.)If you are not a Christian, how do the concepts of this lesson help you to understand Christianity better? Do you now see why you are in need of a Savior who is big enough to handle the complexities of life and give you peace in the hardest situations? 4.)If you are a Christian, how does this lesson prepare you to be a witness for Christ? Now that we have discussed several reasons for coming to Christ, or becoming a Christian, we'll talk about HOW to come to Christ in the next lesson.
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Lesson 3: How to come to Christ If you are a parent, then surely you've experienced the wonder and beauty of your child running into your open arms for a special hug. This moment is further heightened when your child asks the most innocent questions regarding life and nature. For example, "Mommy, who made the sun?" or "What is heaven like?" You know what? When we come to Jesus, He wants us to come as little children, 1.) knowing nothing per se, but in need of His help. When we come to Him as a little child (Mark 10:15), God is able to reveal Himself in all of His glory and speak to our hearts in ways that He never could if we did not humble ourselves. The reason for this is that pride can get in the way of our experiencing all that God is. In other words, the Kingdom of God is a mystery, and understanding God's mysteries are going to be very difficult for one who is proud or arrogant, or for one who thinks he/she knows so much already about the things of God (i.e., an adult or mature person). This is why I believe Jesus uses the analogy of the little child when He says "Let the little children come unto me, and do not forbid them; for such is the kingdom of God" (Mark 10:14). You know, oftentimes as we have grown more mature in the things of God and understand scripture better daily, we forget what it was like to first come to Him. We forget the rudimentary things that helped us in the very beginning. God wants us to “hold fast” to the things we were first taught. This will help us not to fall into temptations, to be strong, and to not get caught up in false doctrine. Revelations 2:4 speaks of the “Loveless Church” who had been absolutely perfect in their walks with Christ with the exception of one thing: they had left their first love. They were spending so much time and labor fighting the things of the enemy that they had forsaken to seek the heart of God, which is their first calling. When we come to Jesus, we are admitting that all of our righteousness are as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6) and that without Him our sins and transgressions would keep us far away from our destinies in Him. We are admitting that we do not have the answers to life's problems and that we realize only He can make our lives what they should be and Page 18 of 29
give us eternal hope both on earth and in glory with Him. Though we don't understand everything about God and what it means to be a Christian (or follower of Christ), by admitting our sins to Him and accepting His grace we are saying that God's ways are better than ours. I like the scripture that further reiterates this in Isaiah 55:8: " 'For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,' says the Lord". 2.) We come to Him as knowing nothing, yet open and ready to receive brand new revelation and life from Him. 3.) We come expecting and desiring Him to change us to be more like Him. Being a Christian means you love Jesus. And when you are in love with your Savior, you will want to be like Him, live like Him and partake of His love. In Him is found refuge and strength, peace and joy, and hope for tomorrow. We must also realize, however, that our coming to Christ is only the first step of a lifelong journey. The road to holiness doesn't happen over night, although deliverance from certain addictions or sins may. But ahead of us remains the process of deliverance from our flesh, which is a lifelong journey that is to be taken one day at a time.
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Lesson 4: The Results of Not Walking With Christ We know why you should walk with Christ. We know how you should walk with Christ. But…what if you decided to reject Christ? What if you wanted to find your own way, spiritually? I mean, we are all spiritual beings right? Can’t we just find our own way in life—our own path to Truth? Don’t we all end up on the same road, on our way to the same Paradise when it’s all said and done? Surely there is no such thing as devils, demons, and hell right? I mean, it all sounds so ludicrous… My Friend…can I call you my Friend? If you are reading this today and you have not accepted Christ into your heart, then I want to be your Friend today. Friends tell each other the truth. And I am about to tell you the one Truth that is missing in your life. It’s the one puzzle piece that’s missing…the one chord in the orchestra of your life that is out of tune. It’s the one color in the rainbow that doesn’t appear for you, and the one song that hummingbirds in your life don’t sing. The God of the Universe created this world with color! He created you with gusto, creativity, skill, and grandeur. He created you in HIS image. He also created you with a need, a desire, and a passion to have intimate fellowship and relationship with your Creator. Without this most needed relationship, you will have no color in your rainbow, no song, no completion of your puzzle…no LIFE. But this is not the end of the sorrows for those who choose not to accept Jesus Christ as Savior. Not only will life on this earth be without joy or victory, but without Christ, we die a long spiritual death as well. Matthew 22:13 “Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” Matthew 25: 30 “And cast the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth”
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Matthew 24:41 “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels…” Matthew 8:12 “But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 “And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power…” Matthew 26:46 “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal” Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord”. And to answer the question above, no, we do not all travel the same road in life. We certainly do not all end up at the same place at the end of our road. Any philosophy that teaches that all people are children of God, that we all worship the same God, and that we all travel roads which end with the same spiritual destiny, is a vain and foolish philosophy, and not to be trusted. You must measure any philosophy you hear against the principles and standards of the Word of God, which is God’s Holy Scriptures. Remember earlier in the lessons we talked about the validity of God’s Word. We also covered the basic premise of the Holy Scriptures being the inspired absolute Word of God. Before we can move on in our Christian faith and walk with God, we must come to the conclusion and the acceptance of God’s Word being true, not just for us, but for all mankind. Page 21 of 29
In Matthew 7: 13-14, scripture says this: “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” According to the above passage, there are TWO different “ways” and TWO different “gates”. Are you on the narrow, difficult gate which leads to life, but on which there are very few people traveling because of its straightness and its difficulty? Or are you on the broad way in which the road is wide and easy to travel and the gate is easy to enter because it is wide as well, and you would have plenty of company because there are many, many others on the same road… Which road are you on? The narrow, difficult way, is the way of God. It is the way of righteousness and holiness. The difficulty of this road lies within ourselves…as we travel this journey and learn to let go of ourselves and hold on to God, it becomes easier by grace to travel this road. This road is a lonely one at times, but praise God for the few who are on this road, because we can encourage each other in Christ and pray for one another. Our load becomes lighter because we give our baggage to Christ. We don’t need the baggage—there isn’t room for the baggage on this narrow road anyway. Jesus Christ sets us free on the narrow road. He comes to take us into Himself, fellowship with us, and make our paths straight so that we may enter the narrow gate and be with Him in Heaven forever. The wide gate is a way of destruction. There is plenty of room there for your baggage, but no one to take the load off. There is no rest on this road. Plenty of people, plenty of partying, business, foolishness, clowning around…but not true knowledge of where you are headed and you have no clue why you are traveling the road you are on. You just know that somehow you got on this road. You took a wrong turn somewhere. Or maybe you feel that you were born on this road. You are right…we were all born into sin. That is why we must be saved and redeemed, and brought on to the right road. The end of the wide road leads to destruction. Eternal spiritual and physical death and hell are on the other side of the wide gate. If you have not accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, today I
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talk to you as a friend. I am warning you as a friend. I am asking you as a friend to consider your ways. Consider your path. Consider the road you are on today. Which road are you on: the Narrow way or the Wide way? Are you on the road to righteousness and everlasting life, or the road to Destruction , Death, and hell? Do you realize that we all need a Savior? I need a Savior. You need a Savior. When you decide to accept Jesus Christ to become your Savior, you then become “born again”. It’s a spiritual re-birth in which you are made brand new because you are now born into the Kingdom of God as a Child of God. Before you accept Christ as your Savior and Lord, you are not truly His Child. In fact, if you rejected Christ and died in your sins, He would say to you before the judgment throne “Depart from me, I never knew you”…and those are words you NEVER want to hear. Please do not allow yourself to neglect the most important aspect of our life: your spirit. And please do not fill your spirit with cheap substitutions for the Real Thing: like Buddhism, Darwinism, crystals and meditation, and other forms of New Age philosophies, including yoga, which may cause you to believe that within you lies a god or goddess, and that you write your own destiny. You are only in control of your destiny when you know where you are going to spend your eternal life. We’ll talk more about the benefits of knowing Christ, and how this relates to your destiny both on this earth and in the afterlife…in the next chapter.
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Lesson 5: The Exceeding Rewards of His Kingdom A life of victory = a life with Christ. You + Jesus Christ = eternal salvation for you, and a new Child added to His Kingdom Heaven rejoices when even just one more soul receives the plan of salvation and enters the Kingdom of Heaven as a “baby Christian”. In return for your desire for His 1st place status in your life, Jesus will free you of the pressures of this world. No, you will not be freed of the world, but Jesus will take the load off you, and relieve you of the pressures—if you let Him. Christianity is not simply an overnight event – it is a lifelong journey. The first step to becoming a Christian is to: • accept Jesus Christ into your heart as your Lord and Savior. You must first realize your need for a Savior, your need for repentance and forgiveness. Many of our new age, new world philosophies tell us that we were born with a clean slate. However, research shows us that when we were born, we already had thousands of mental impressions and great memory of what it was like being in mother’s womb. The comfort of being swaddled in a soft, warm blanket and hearing the voice of the mother is due to the memory, or impression, of what it was like in the womb. So, we weren’t necessarily born with a clean slate as far as our physical state and memory is concerned. Now how about our spiritual state? Were we born with a clean slate spiritually? While research cannot prove anything about our spiritual states at birth, God’s Word definitely can. His Word says in John 3:5-8 that we were born into sin: “Jesus answered, ‘Verily, verily I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit…” Page 24 of 29
John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only son. That whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” • After recognizing we need a Savior, and accepting Jesus as that one True Savior, we must begin to learn His ways and begin walking with Him on our new journey. How do we learn the ways of God? By studying God! How do we study God? By listening to Him and reading what He has to say in His word. We do this through communicating with God daily (through prayer) and studying His words (the Bible). Drawing closer to God brings many benefits to us: • We find refuge and safety in His arms (Psalms 57:1) • We learn the secret things of God’s Kingdom (Ephesians 1:8-9) • We grow in maturity in our faith and get to know the Lord better ( 2 Corinthians 3:18) • Jesus becomes our daily bread, and we need nothing more in life than His awesome presence (Psalms 23 and John 6:35) • Though we are in the world which is full of evil and destruction, we have the power to live victoriously through the power of God (Ephesians 6:11-18) • Jesus has prepared a place for us in Heaven to live with Him eternally after we die What a blessing to know that not only does God intend to give us eternal life through Jesus His son, but He intends for us to live victoriously on this earth as well. We will still have our rough times, our situations and problems that we can’t fix…but the difference between a Christian and one who does not know Christ as Lord and Savior is that as a Christian, I have not only a higher power and source of strength to see me through my tough times, but I have THE ultimate source, THE Creator of the Universe, THE Creator of my soul, THE and only true and living God, ON MY SIDE! Isn’t that awesome?
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If you haven’t already started your spiritual journey with Jesus Christ, now is the time. NOW is the time for salvation. NOW is the time to give your old life to Jesus, and to allow Him to give YOU new life. This requires an act of faith on your part. You need to make the first step. God requires our first act of faith because coming to Him means that we came on our own free will. He gave us all a free choice. …. God says “I set before you this day life and death. Choose life.” When you are lonely, God will be with you. When you are hungry, He will feed you. When you are depressed, He will lift your spirit. When you are happy, He will rejoice with you. When you are cold, He will warm you up. When you are thirsty, He will provide you drink. When you need money, He will make a financial way for you. When you need clothing, God will provide that too! Jesus says in Matthew 6:25 “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the filed, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown in the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore, do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ Or ‘What shall we drink?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” You see, Jesus will be everything to you.
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If you are already a Christian, remind yourself daily that He is your very Best Friend. If you don’t feel His presence in your life, you should… If you are spending time daily in communion with your Savior, you will know His heart and feel His presence. Sometimes in our journey with the Lord we turn spiritually cold. We become accustomed to church, church events, church protocol, church lingo, and church pop culture, that we forget about our personal relationships with our Savior, and we fail to nourish our communications with Him. If we failed to communicate with our spouses, do you think we’d be on the same page in life for very long? Do you think perhaps we would grow apart, and fail to know each other as we could? It is the same with our relationships with our Savior. We grow cold to Him when we crowd Him out with events or other people and things. We must constantly stay in communion with Him. Paul says that we should be “…praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to the end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints…” That means we need to be praying constantly in communion with Him, and praying for others as well. Prayer is essential to our relationships with the Lord as communication is to our friends and family. It is even more important that we continue our communion with the Lord, for He is our source and in Him is everything we need. Without our source we have nothing. We are not little gods, nor are we goddesses. We are children of the most High God, in need of help from our Savior to have victory on this earth and eternal life afterward. We must come to Him as little children and accept Him as our Heavenly Father…only then we can we grow into maturity and become strong in the things of God.
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Conclusion Friends, it's been a great bible study series, and I want to give you more. If you have been helped by this e-book, please write me and let me know: email@example.com. I would love to hear from you. If there is anything I can help you with in terms of this material, please let me know, and I'll be glad to take some time with you personally and share God's word with you. Please visit my website at www.christianladies.net, and join my mailing list and our social networking group (http://christianladies.ning.com) for updates on new training products for Christian women, and for fun and fellowship with other Christians. Also be sure to tune in to Christian Ladies' Talk Radio found at http://www.christianladiestalkradio.com . May God bless you! And remember, I want to hear from you. Sincerely, Demetria Zinga
ÂŠ2005 Faith Media, All Rights Reserved. www.christianladies.net
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