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The Book of Life New Testament
Do you want to know more? The Book of Life holds the keys to meaningful life!
The Book of Life
The Book of Life (New Testament) is part of the Holy Bible and tells the story of Jesus Christ, his extraordinary life and unique teachings. Jesus said about himself, “I am the way, the truth, and the life”. He talked about God as our Heavenly Father who loves us and cares for us.
New Living Translation
The Book of Life
is very eager to establish a personal, loving relationship with you through His son, Jesus Christ. He is patiently waiting for you to respond to His invitation: “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends” (Revelation 3:20 page 331).
A major barrier that prevents us from knowing God personally is ignorance of who God is and what He has done for us. The New Testament is God’s way of explaining to us what it means to have a personal relationship with Him through Jesus Christ. Inside these pages, you’ll discover that Jesus is the only one who pardons sin, gives ultimate purpose to life, grants inner peace and supplies the power to change. This New Testament is designed to assist you in your spiritual journey. Included are four lessons, which will help you take the next step in understanding and developing your relationship with God.
The Book of Life NEW TESTAMENT N E W
L I V I N G
T R A N S L A T I O N
Text of the New Testament is from The Holy Bible, New Living Translation, New Testament, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved This edition was ﬁrst published in 2015 New Living Translation, NLT, and the New Living Translation logo are registered trademarks of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. “Knowing God Personally”, copyright © 1968-2012 Bright Media Foundation and CCCI (A version of “Have You Heard of the Four Spiritual Laws?” by Bill Bright © 1965-2012 BMF and CCCI); and “Your Life in Christ”, copyright © 1984-2012 CCCI. All rights reserved Published by MediaServe www.mediaserve.org ISBN 978-1-906389-41-3 Printed in India, 2015
Table of Contents Preface: Knowing God Personally vii
The New Testament Matthew 1
Your Life in Christ: Lesson one: The Beginning 349 Lesson two: Experiencing Godâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Love 355 Lesson three: The Power Source 361 Lesson four: Growing In Christ 367
Knowing God Personally Just as there are physical laws that govern the physical universe, so there are spiritual laws, which govern your relationship with God. Law one God loves us and offers a wonderful plan for our lives. (References should be read in their biblical context. Page numbers are given for your convenience.) God’s love “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 page 122). God’s plan (Christ speaking) “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life” (John 10:10 page 135). Why is it that most people are not experiencing a rich and satisfying life? Because…
Law two We are sinful and separated from God. Therefore, we cannot know and experience God’s love and plan for our lives. We are sinful “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard” (Romans 3:23 page 197). We were created to have fellowship with God, but because of our stubborn self-will, we chose to go our own independent way and fellowship with God was broken. This self-will, characterized by an attitude of active rebellion or passive indifference, is evidence of what the Bible calls sin. We are separated “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord” [spiritual separation from God] (Romans 6:23 page 200).
This diagram illustrates that God is holy and we are sinful. A great gulf separates us. The arrows illustrate that we are continually trying to reach God and the abundant life through our own efforts, such as a good life, philosophy or religion.
The third law explains the only way to bridge this gulf…
Knowing God Personally
Law three Jesus Christ is God’s only provision for our sin. Through Him alone we can know and experience God’s love and plan for our lives. He died in our place “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners” (Romans 5:8 page 199). He rose from the dead “Christ died for our sins… He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve. After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers…” (1 Corinthians 15:3-6 pages 228-229).
He is the only way to God “Jesus told him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me’” (John 14:6 page 141).
This diagram illustrates that God has bridged the gulf, which separates us from Him by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross in our place to pay the penalty for our sins.
It is not enough just to know these three laws…
Law four We must individually receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, then we can know and experience God’s love and plan for our lives. We must receive Christ “But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12 page 119). We receive Christ through faith “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it” (Ephesians 2:8-9 page 252). When we receive Christ, we experience a new birth (read John 3:1-8 page 122). We receive Christ by personal invitation (Christ is speaking) “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends” (Revelation 3:20 page 331). Receiving Christ involves turning from self to God (repentance) and trusting Christ to come into our lives to forgive our sins and to make us the kind of people He wants us to be. Just to agree intellectually that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that He died on the cross for our sins is not enough. Nor is it enough to have an emotional experience. We receive Jesus Christ by faith, as an act of the will.
Knowing God Personally
These two circles represent two kinds of lives: Self-directed life:
Self is on the throne
: Christ is outside of the life
Interests are directed by self, often resulting in discord and frustration
Christ-directed life: : Christ is in the life and on the throne
S: Self is yielding to Christ
Interests are directed by Christ, resulting in harmony with God’s plan
Which circle best represents your life? Which circle would you like to have represent your life? You can receive Christ right now by faith through prayer. Prayer is talking with God. God knows your heart and is not so concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart. The following is a suggested prayer: “Lord Jesus, I need you. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of the throne of my life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be.” Does this prayer express the desire of your heart? If it does, pray this prayer right now, and Christ will come into your life, as He promised.
Matthew The Ancestors of Jesus the Messiah This is a record of the ancestors of Jesus the Messiah, a descendant of David and of Abraham*: 2
Abraham was the father of Isaac. Isaac was the father of Jacob. Jacob was the father of Judah and his brothers. Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah (whose mother was Tamar). Perez was the father of Hezron. Hezron was the father of Ram.* Ram was the father of Amminadab. Amminadab was the father of Nahshon. Nahshon was the father of Salmon. Salmon was the father of Boaz (whose mother was Rahab). Boaz was the father of Obed (whose mother was Ruth). Obed was the father of Jesse. Jesse was the father of King David. David was the father of Solomon (whose mother was Bathsheba, the widow of Uriah). Solomon was the father of Rehoboam. Rehoboam was the father of Abijah. Abijah was the father of Asa.* Asa was the father of Jehoshaphat. Jehoshaphat was the father of Jehoram.* Jehoram was the father* of Uzziah. Uzziah was the father of Jotham. Jotham was the father of Ahaz.
Ahaz was the father of Hezekiah. Hezekiah was the father of Manasseh. Manasseh was the father of Amon.* Amon was the father of Josiah. Josiah was the father of Jehoiachin* and his brothers (born at the time of the exile to Babylon). After the Babylonian exile: Jehoiachin was the father of Shealtiel. Shealtiel was the father of Zerubbabel. Zerubbabel was the father of Abiud. Abiud was the father of Eliakim. Eliakim was the father of Azor. Azor was the father of Zadok. Zadok was the father of Akim. Akim was the father of Eliud. Eliud was the father of Eleazar. Eleazar was the father of Matthan. Matthan was the father of Jacob. Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Mary gave birth to Jesus, who is called the Messiah.
17 All those listed above include fourteen generations from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the Babylonian exile, and fourteen from the Babylonian exile to the Messiah.
The Birth of Jesus the Messiah 18 This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage
1:1 Greek Jesus the Messiah, Son of David and son of Abraham. 1:3 Greek Aram, a variant spelling of Ram; also in 1:4. See 1 Chr 2:9-10. 1:7 Greek Asaph, a variant spelling of Asa; also in 1:8. See 1 Chr 3:10. 1:8a Greek Joram, a variant spelling of Jehoram; also in 1:8b. See 1 Kgs 22:50 and note at 1 Chr 3:11. 1:8b Or ancestor; also in 1:11. 1:10 Greek Amos, a variant spelling of Amon; also in 1:10b. See 1 Chr 3:14. 1:11 Greek Jeconiah, a variant spelling of Jehoiachin; also in 1:12. See 2 Kgs 24:6 and note at 1 Chr 3:16.
“Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel,* which means ‘God is with us.’”
24 When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. 25 But he did not have sexual relations with her until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus.
Visitors from the East Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men* from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, 2 “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose,* and we have come to worship him.” 3 King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem. 4He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked, “Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?” 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they said, “for this is what the prophet wrote:
took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. 19 Joseph, her fiancé, was a good man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement* quietly. 20 As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. 21And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus,* for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet:
‘And you, O Bethlehem in the land of Judah, are not least among the ruling cities* of Judah, for a ruler will come from you who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.’*”
7 Then Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men, and he learned from them the time when the star first appeared. 8Then he told them, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!” 9 After this interview the wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. 10When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! 11 They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12 When it was time to leave, they returned to their own country by another route, for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod.
The Escape to Egypt 13 After the wise men were gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up! Flee to Egypt with the child and his mother,” the angel said. “Stay there until I tell you to return, because Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” 14 That night Joseph left for Egypt with the child and Mary, his mother, 15 and they stayed there until Herod’s death. This
1:19 Greek to divorce her. 1:21 Jesus means “ The LORD saves.” 1:23 Isa 7:14; 8:8, 10 (Greek version). 2:1 Or royal astrologers; Greek reads magi; also in 2:7, 16. 2:2 Or star in the east. 2:6a Greek the rulers. 2:6b Mic 5:2; 2 Sam 5:2.
fulfilled what the Lord had spoken through the prophet: “I called my Son out of Egypt.”* 16 Herod was furious when he realized that the wise men had outwitted him. He sent soldiers to kill all the boys in and around Bethlehem who were two years old and under, based on the wise men’s report of the star’s first appearance. 17Herod’s brutal action fulfilled what God had spoken through the prophet Jeremiah:
“He is a voice shouting in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord’s coming! Clear the road for him!’”*
4 John’s clothes were woven from coarse camel hair, and he wore a leather belt around his waist. For food he ate locusts and wild honey. 5People from Jerusalem and from all of Judea and all over the Jordan Valley went out to see and hear 18 “A cry was heard in Ramah— John. 6And when they confessed their weeping and great mourning. sins, he baptized them in the Jordan Rachel weeps for her children, River. refusing to be comforted, 7 But when he saw many Pharisees for they are dead.”* and Sadducees coming to watch him baptize,* he denounced them. “ You The Return to Nazareth brood of snakes!” he exclaimed. “ Who 19 When Herod died, an angel of the Lord warned you to flee God’s coming wrath? appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt. 8Prove by the way you live that you have 20 “Get up!” the angel said. “Take the child repented of your sins and turned to and his mother back to the land of Israel, God. 9Don’t just say to each other, ‘ We’re because those who were trying to kill the safe, for we are descendants of Abrachild are dead.” ham.’ That means nothing, for I tell you, 21 So Joseph got up and returned to the God can create children of Abraham land of Israel with Jesus and his mother. from these very stones. 10Even now the 22 But when he learned that the new ruler ax of God’s judgment is poised, ready to of Judea was Herod’s son Archelaus, he sever the roots of the trees. Yes, every was afraid to go there. Then, after being tree that does not produce good fruit warned in a dream, he left for the region will be chopped down and thrown into of Galilee. 23 So the family went and lived the fire. 11 in a town called Nazareth. This fulfilled “I baptize with* water those who rewhat the prophets had said: “He will be pent of their sins and turn to God. But called a Nazarene.” someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not John the Baptist Prepares the Way worthy even to be his slave and carry his In those days John the Baptist came sandals. He will baptize you with the to the Judean wilderness and began Holy Spirit and with fire.* 12He is ready preaching. His message was, 2 “Repent of to separate the chaff from the wheat your sins and turn to God, for the King- with his winnowing fork. Then he will dom of Heaven is near.*” 3 The prophet clean up the threshing area, gathering Isaiah was speaking about John when the wheat into his barn but burning the he said, chaff with never-ending fire.” 3
2:15 Hos 11:1. 2:18 Jer 31:15. 3:2 Or has come, or is coming soon. 3:3 Isa 40:3 (Greek version). 3:7 Or coming to be baptized. 3:11a Or in. 3:11b Or in the Holy Spirit and in fire.
The Temptation of Jesus Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. 2For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry. 3 During that time the devil* came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4 But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say,
The Baptism of Jesus 13 Then Jesus went from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized by John. 14But John tried to talk him out of it. “I am the one who needs to be baptized by you,” he said, “so why are you coming to me?” 15 But Jesus said, “It should be done, for we must carry out all that God requires.*” So John agreed to baptize him. 16 After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened* and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him. 17And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.”
Next the devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 “I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will kneel down and worship me.” 10 “Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say, 8
‘You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’*” 11 Then the devil went away, and angels came and took care of Jesus.
The Ministry of Jesus Begins When Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he left Judea and returned to Galilee. 13He went first to Nazareth, then left there and moved to Capernaum, beside the Sea of Galilee, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali. 14This fulfilled what God said through the prophet Isaiah: 12
“In the land of Zebulun and of Naphtali, beside the sea, beyond the Jordan River, in Galilee where so many Gentiles live, ‘People do not live by bread alone, 16 the people who sat in darkness but by every word that comes from have seen a great light. the mouth of God.’*” And for those who lived in the land 5 Then the devil took him to the holy where death casts its shadow, city, Jerusalem, to the highest point of the a light has shined.”* Temple, 6 and said, “If you are the Son of 17 God, jump off! For the Scriptures say, From then on Jesus began to preach, ‘He will order his angels to protect you. “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.*” And they will hold you up with their hands The First Disciples so you won’t even hurt your foot on 18 One day as Jesus was walking along the a stone.’*” shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw two 7 Jesus responded, “ The Scriptures brothers—Simon, also called Peter, and also say, ‘You must not test the Lord your Andrew—throwing a net into the water, God.’*” for they fished for a living. 19 Jesus called 15
3:15 Or for we must fulfill all righteousness. 3:16 Some manuscripts read opened to him. 4:3 Greek the tempter. 4:4 Deut 8:3. 4:6 Ps 91:11-12. 4:7 Deut 6:16. 4:10 Deut 6:13. 4:15-16 Isa 9:1-2 (Greek version). 4:17 Or has come, or is coming soon.
out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” 20And they left their nets at once and followed him. 21 A little farther up the shore he saw two other brothers, James and John, sitting in a boat with their father, Zebedee, repairing their nets. And he called them to come, too. 22 They immediately followed him, leaving the boat and their father behind.
God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice,* for they will be satisfied. 7 God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 8 God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God. 9 God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children Crowds Follow Jesus of God. 23 Jesus traveled throughout the region of 10 God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, Galilee, teaching in the synagogues and for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of 11 “God blesses you when people mock disease and illness. 24News about him you and persecute you and lie about you spread as far as Syria, and people soon be- and say all sorts of evil things against you gan bringing to him all who were sick. because you are my followers. 12Be happy And whatever their sickness or disease, or about it! Be very glad! For a great reward if they were demon possessed or epileptic awaits you in heaven. And remember, the or paralyzed—he healed them all. 25Large ancient prophets were persecuted in the crowds followed him wherever he went— same way. people from Galilee, the Ten Towns,* Jerusalem, from all over Judea, and from Teaching about Salt and Light east of the Jordan River. 13 “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you The Sermon on the Mount make it salty again? It will be thrown out One day as he saw the crowds gather- and trampled underfoot as worthless. 14 ing, Jesus went up on the mountain“You are the light of the world—like a side and sat down. His disciples gathered city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. around him, 2 and he began to teach 15No one lights a lamp and then puts it them. under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyThe Beatitudes one in the house. 16In the same way, let 3 “God blesses those who are poor and your good deeds shine out for all to see, realize their need for him,* so that everyone will praise your heavfor the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. enly Father. 4 God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Teaching about the Law 5 17 God blesses those who are humble, “Don’t misunderstand why I have come. for they will inherit the whole I did not come to abolish the law of earth. Moses or the writings of the prophets. 6
4:25 Greek Decapolis. 5:3 Greek poor in spirit. 5:6 Or for righteousness.
No, I came to accomplish their purpose. 18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God’s law will disappear until its purpose is achieved. 19So if you ignore the least commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God’s laws and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. 20 “But I warn you—unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven!
Teaching about Adultery 27 “You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’* 28But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29So if your eye—even your good eye*—causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30And if your hand— even your stronger hand*—causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.
Teaching about Anger “ You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’* 22But I say, if you are even angry with someone,* you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot,* you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone,* you are in danger of the fires of hell.* 23 “So if you are presenting a sacrifice* at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, 24leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God. 25 “When you are on the way to court with your adversary, settle your differences quickly. Otherwise, your accuser may hand you over to the judge, who will hand you over to an officer, and you will be thrown into prison. 26And if that happens, you surely won’t be free again until you have paid the last penny.*
Teaching about Divorce “You have heard the law that says, ‘A man can divorce his wife by merely giving her a written notice of divorce.’* 32But I say that a man who divorces his wife, unless she has been unfaithful, causes her to commit adultery. And anyone who marries a divorced woman also commits adultery.
Teaching about Vows “You have also heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not break your vows; you must carry out the vows you make to the Lord.’* 34But I say, do not make any vows! Do not say, ‘By heaven!’ because heaven is God’s throne. 35And do not say, ‘By the earth!’ because the earth is his footstool. And do not say, ‘By Jerusalem!’ for Jerusalem is the city of the great King. 36 Do not even say, ‘By my head!’ for you can’t turn one hair white or black. 37Just say a simple, ‘Yes, I will,’ or ‘No, I won’t.’ Anything beyond this is from the evil one. 33
5:21 Exod 20:13; Deut 5:17. 5:22a Some manuscripts add without cause. 5:22b Greek uses an Aramaic term of contempt: If you say to your brother, ‘Raca.’ 5:22c Greek if you say, ‘ You fool.’ 5:22d Greek Gehenna; also in 5:29, 30. 5:23 Greek gift; also in 5:24. 5:26 Greek the last kodrantes [i.e., quadrans]. 5:27 Exod 20:14; Deut 5:18. 5:29 Greek your right eye. 5:30 Greek your right hand. 5:31 Deut 24:1. 5:33 Num 30:2.
Teaching about Revenge 38 “You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’* 39 But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also. 40If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too. 41If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile,* carry it two miles. 42Give to those who ask, and don’t turn away from those who want to borrow.
in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. 4Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.
Teaching about Prayer and Fasting 5 “When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. 6But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. Teaching about Love for Enemies 7 43 “When you pray, don’t babble on and “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’* and hate your enemy. on as people of other religions do. They 44 But I say, love your enemies!* Pray for think their prayers are answered merely those who persecute you! 45In that way, by repeating their words again and again. you will be acting as true children of your 8Don’t be like them, for your Father knows Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight exactly what you need even before you to both the evil and the good, and he ask him! 9Pray like this: sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. Our Father in heaven, 46 If you love only those who love you, what may your name be kept holy. reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax 10 May your Kingdom come soon. collectors do that much. 47If you are kind May your will be done on earth, only to your friends,* how are you differas it is in heaven. ent from anyone else? Even pagans do 11 Give us today the food we need,* that. 48But you are to be perfect, even as 12 and forgive us our sins, your Father in heaven is perfect. as we have forgiven those who sin against us. Teaching about Giving to the Needy 13 And don’t let us yield to temptation,* “ Watch out! Don’t do your good but rescue us from the evil one.* deeds publicly, to be admired by oth14 “If you forgive those who sin against ers, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. 2 When you give to you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. 15 But if you refuse to forgive others, your someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the syna- Father will not forgive your sins. 16 “And when you fast, don’t make it obgogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, vious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to they have received all the reward they will look miserable and disheveled so people ever get. 3But when you give to someone will admire them for their fasting. I tell 6
5:38 Greek the law that says: ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ Exod 21:24; Lev 24:20; Deut 19:21. 5:41 Greek milion [4,854 feet or 1,478 meters]. 5:43 Lev 19:18. 5:44 Some manuscripts add Bless those who curse you. Do good to those who hate you. Compare Luke 6:27-28. 5:47 Greek your brothers. 6:11 Or Give us today our food for the day; or Give us today our food for tomorrow. 6:13a Or And keep us from being tested. 6:13b Or from evil. Some manuscripts add For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get. 17But when you fast, comb your hair* and wash your face. 18Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. Teaching about Money and Possessions 19 “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. 20Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. 22 “Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. 23 But when your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is! 24 “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. 25 “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? 27Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? 28 “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they
grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, 29yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? 31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33Seek the Kingdom of God* above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. 34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. Do Not Judge Others “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. 2For you will be treated as you treat others.* The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.* 3 “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye* when you have a log in your own? 4How can you think of saying to your friend,* ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? 5Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye. 6 “Don’t waste what is holy on people who are unholy.* Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you. Effective Prayer “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and
6:17 Greek anoint your head. 6:33 Some manuscripts do not include of God. 7:2a Or For God will judge you as you judge others. 7:2b Or The measure you give will be the measure you get back. 7:3 Greek your brother’s eye; also in 7:5. 7:4 Greek your brother. 7:6 Greek Don’t give the sacred to dogs.
you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 8For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. 9 “You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? 10Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! 11So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him. The Golden Rule “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets. 12
The Narrow Gate 13 “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell* is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. 14But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it. The Tree and Its Fruit “Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. 16You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. 18A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. 19So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. 20Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions. 15
7:13 Greek The road that leads to destruction.
True Disciples 21 “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. 22 On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ 23 But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’ Building on a Solid Foundation 24 “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. 25Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. 26But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. 27 When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.” 28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 for he taught with real authority—quite unlike their teachers of religious law. Jesus Heals a Man with Leprosy Large crowds followed Jesus as he came down the mountainside. 2 Suddenly, a man with leprosy approached him and knelt before him. “Lord,” the man said, “if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.” 3 Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared. 4Then Jesus said to him, “Don’t tell anyone about this. Instead, go to the priest and let him
examine you. Take along the offering required in the law of Moses for those who have been healed of leprosy.* This will be a public testimony that you have been cleansed.” The Faith of a Roman Officer 5 When Jesus returned to Capernaum, a Roman officer* came and pleaded with him, 6 “Lord, my young servant* lies in bed, paralyzed and in terrible pain.” 7 Jesus said, “I will come and heal him.” 8 But the officer said, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come into my home. Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed. 9 I know this because I am under the authority of my superior officers, and I have authority over my soldiers. I only need to say, ‘Go,’ and they go, or ‘Come,’ and they come. And if I say to my slaves, ‘Do this,’ they do it.” 10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed. Turning to those who were following him, he said, “I tell you the truth, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel! 11 And I tell you this, that many Gentiles will come from all over the world—from east and west—and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the feast in the Kingdom of Heaven. 12But many Israelites—those for whom the Kingdom was prepared—will be thrown into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 13 Then Jesus said to the Roman officer, “Go back home. Because you believed, it has happened.” And the young servant was healed that same hour. Jesus Heals Many People 14 When Jesus arrived at Peter’s house, Peter’s mother-in-law was sick in bed with a high fever. 15 But when Jesus touched her
hand, the fever left her. Then she got up and prepared a meal for him. 16 That evening many demon-possessed people were brought to Jesus. He cast out the evil spirits with a simple command, and he healed all the sick. 17 This fulfilled the word of the Lord through the prophet Isaiah, who said, “He took our sicknesses and removed our diseases.”* The Cost of Following Jesus 18 When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he instructed his disciples to cross to the other side of the lake. 19 Then one of the teachers of religious law said to him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” 20 But Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man* has no place even to lay his head.” 21 Another of his disciples said, “Lord, first let me return home and bury my father.” 22 But Jesus told him, “Follow me now. Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead.*” Jesus Calms the Storm Then Jesus got into the boat and started across the lake with his disciples. 24Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” 26 Jesus responded, “ Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm. 27 The disciples were amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked. “Even the winds and waves obey him!” 23
8:4 See Lev 14:2-32. 8:5 Greek a centurion; similarly in 8:8, 13. 8:6 Or child; also in 8:13. 8:17 Isa 53:4. 8:20 “Son of Man” is a title Jesus used for himself. 8:22 Greek Let the dead bury their own dead.
Jesus Heals a Paralyzed Man Jesus climbed into a boat and went back across the lake to his own town. 2 Some people brought to him a paralyzed man on a mat. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “Be encouraged, my child! Your sins are forgiven.” 3 But some of the teachers of religious law said to themselves, “ That’s blasphemy! Does he think he’s God?” 4 Jesus knew* what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you have such evil thoughts in your hearts? 5Is it easier to say ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up and walk’? 6So I will prove to you that the
Jesus Heals Two Demon-Possessed Men 28 When Jesus arrived on the other side of the lake, in the region of the Gadarenes,* two men who were possessed by demons met him. They lived in a cemetery and were so violent that no one could go through that area. 29 They began screaming at him, “Why are you interfering with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torture us before God’s appointed time?” 30 There happened to be a large herd of pigs feeding in the distance. 31So the demons begged, “If you cast us out, send us into that herd of pigs.” 32 “All right, go!” Jesus commanded them. So the demons came out of the men and entered the pigs, and the whole herd plunged down the steep hillside into the lake and drowned in the water. 33 The herdsmen fled to the nearby town, telling everyone what happened to the demon-possessed men. 34Then the entire town came out to meet Jesus, but they begged him to go away and leave them alone.
Son of Man* has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!” 7 And the man jumped up and went home! 8Fear swept through the crowd as they saw this happen. And they praised God for sending a man with such great authority.* Jesus Calls Matthew As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed him. 10 Later, Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. 11 But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such scum?*” 12 When Jesus heard this, he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor— sick people do.” 13 Then he added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’* For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” 9
A Discussion about Fasting One day the disciples of John the Baptist came to Jesus and asked him, “Why don’t your disciples fast* like we do and the Pharisees do?” 15 Jesus replied, “Do wedding guests mourn while celebrating with the groom? Of course not. But someday the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast. 14
8:28 Other manuscripts read Gerasenes; still others read Gergesenes. Compare Mark 5:1; Luke 8:26. 9:4 Some manuscripts read saw. 9:6 “Son of Man” is a title Jesus used for himself. 9:8 Greek for giving such authority to human beings. 9:11 Greek with tax collectors and sinners? 9:13 Hos 6:6 (Greek version). 9:14 Some manuscripts read fast often.
“Besides, who would patch old clothing with new cloth? For the new patch would shrink and rip away from the old cloth, leaving an even bigger tear than before. 17 “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the old skins would burst from the pressure, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine is stored in new wineskins so that both are preserved.” 16
Jesus Heals in Response to Faith As Jesus was saying this, the leader of a synagogue came and knelt before him. “My daughter has just died,” he said, “but you can bring her back to life again if you just come and lay your hand on her.” 19 So Jesus and his disciples got up and went with him. 20 Just then a woman who had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding came up behind him. She touched the fringe of his robe, 21 for she thought, “If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.” 22 Jesus turned around, and when he saw her he said, “Daughter, be encouraged! Your faith has made you well.” And the woman was healed at that moment. 23 When Jesus arrived at the official’s home, he saw the noisy crowd and heard the funeral music. 24“Get out!” he told them. “The girl isn’t dead; she’s only asleep.” But the crowd laughed at him. 25 After the crowd was put outside, however, Jesus went in and took the girl by the hand, and she stood up! 26The report of this miracle swept through the entire countryside. 18
Jesus Heals the Blind After Jesus left the girl’s home, two blind men followed along behind him, shouting, “Son of David, have mercy on us!” 27
10:1 Greek unclean.
They went right into the house where he was staying, and Jesus asked them, “Do you believe I can make you see?” “Yes, Lord,” they told him, “we do.” 29 Then he touched their eyes and said, “Because of your faith, it will happen.” 30 Then their eyes were opened, and they could see! Jesus sternly warned them, “Don’t tell anyone about this.” 31But instead, they went out and spread his fame all over the region. 32 When they left, a demon-possessed man who couldn’t speak was brought to Jesus. 33 So Jesus cast out the demon, and then the man began to speak. The crowds were amazed. “Nothing like this has ever happened in Israel!” they exclaimed. 34 But the Pharisees said, “He can cast out demons because he is empowered by the prince of demons.” 28
The Need for Workers Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. 36When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. 38So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.” 35
Jesus Sends Out the Twelve Apostles Jesus called his twelve disciples together and gave them authority to cast out evil* spirits and to heal every kind of disease and illness. 2Here are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (also called Peter), then Andrew (Peter’s brother),
James (son of Zebedee), John (James’s brother), Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew (the tax collector), James (son of Alphaeus), Thaddaeus,* Simon (the zealot*), Judas Iscariot (who later betrayed him).
and harmless as doves. 17But beware! For you will be handed over to the courts and 3 will be flogged with whips in the synagogues. 18You will stand trial before governors and kings because you are my followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell the rulers and other unbelievers about me.* 19When you are arrested, don’t worry about how to respond or 4 what to say. God will give you the right words at the right time. 20For it is not you 5 Jesus sent out the twelve apostles with who will be speaking—it will be the Spirit these instructions: “Don’t go to the of your Father speaking through you. 21 Gentiles or the Samaritans, 6but only to “A brother will betray his brother to the people of Israel—God’s lost sheep. 7Go death, a father will betray his own child, and announce to them that the Kingdom and children will rebel against their parof Heaven is near.* 8Heal the sick, raise ents and cause them to be killed. 22And all the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast nations will hate you because you are my out demons. Give as freely as you have followers.* But everyone who endures to received! the end will be saved. 23When you are per9 “Don’t take any money in your money secuted in one town, flee to the next. I tell belts—no gold, silver, or even copper you the truth, the Son of Man* will return coins. 10Don’t carry a traveler’s bag with a before you have reached all the towns of change of clothes and sandals or even a Israel. 24 walking stick. Don’t hesitate to accept “Students* are not greater than their hospitality, because those who work de- teacher, and slaves are not greater than serve to be fed. their master. 25Students are to be like their 11 “Whenever you enter a city or village, teacher, and slaves are to be like their massearch for a worthy person and stay in his ter. And since I, the master of the househome until you leave town. 12When you hold, have been called the prince of enter the home, give it your blessing. 13If demons,* the members of my household it turns out to be a worthy home, let your will be called by even worse names! 26 blessing stand; if it is not, take back the “But don’t be afraid of those who blessing. 14If any household or town re- threaten you. For the time is coming fuses to welcome you or listen to your when everything that is covered will be message, shake its dust from your feet as revealed, and all that is secret will be you leave. 15I tell you the truth, the wicked made known to all. 27What I tell you now cities of Sodom and Gomorrah will be in the darkness, shout abroad when better off than such a town on the judg- daybreak comes. What I whisper in your ment day. ear, shout from the housetops for all to 16 “Look, I am sending you out as sheep hear! 28 “Don’t be afraid of those who want to among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes 10:3 Other manuscripts read Lebbaeus; still others read Lebbaeus who is called Thaddaeus. 10:4 Greek the Cananean, an Aramaic term for Jewish nationalists. 10:7 Or has come, or is coming soon. 10:18 Or But this will be your testimony against the rulers and other unbelievers. 10:22 Greek on account of my name. 10:23 “Son of Man” is a title Jesus used for himself. 10:24 Or Disciples. 10:25 Greek Beelzeboul; other manuscripts read Beezeboul; Latin version reads Beelzebub.
The twenty-four elders sitting on their thrones before God fell with their faces to the ground and worshiped him. 17And they said,
front of the woman as she was about to give birth, ready to devour her baby as soon as it was born. 5 She gave birth to a son who was to rule all nations with an iron rod. And her child was snatched away from the dragon and was caught up to God and to his throne. 6 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where God had prepared a place to care for her for 1,260 days. 7 Then there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon and his angels. 8And the dragon lost the battle, and he and his angels were forced out of heaven. 9 This great dragon— the ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, the one deceiving the whole world— was thrown down to the earth with all his angels. 10 Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens,
“We give thanks to you, Lord God, the Almighty, the one who is and who always was, for now you have assumed your great power and have begun to reign. 18 The nations were filled with wrath, but now the time of your wrath has come. It is time to judge the dead and reward your servants the prophets, as well as your holy people, and all who fear your name, from the least to the greatest. It is time to destroy all who have caused destruction on the earth.”
“It has come at last— salvation and power and the Kingdom of our God, Then, in heaven, the Temple of God and the authority of his Christ.* was opened and the Ark of his covenant For the accuser of our brothers could be seen inside the Temple. Lightand sisters* ning flashed, thunder crashed and roared, has been thrown down to earth— and there was an earthquake and a territhe one who accuses them ble hailstorm. before our God day and night. 11 And they have defeated him by the The Woman and the Dragon blood of the Lamb Then I witnessed in heaven an and by their testimony. event of great significance. I saw a And they did not love their lives woman clothed with the sun, with the so much moon beneath her feet, and a crown of that they were afraid to die. twelve stars on her head. 2 She was preg12 Therefore, rejoice, O heavens! nant, and she cried out because of her laAnd you who live in the heavens, bor pains and the agony of giving birth. 3 rejoice! Then I witnessed in heaven another But terror will come on the earth and significant event. I saw a large red dragon the sea, with seven heads and ten horns, with for the devil has come down to you seven crowns on his heads. 4His tail swept in great anger, away one-third of the stars in the sky, and knowing that he has little time.” he threw them to the earth. He stood in 19
12:10a Or his Messiah. 12:10b Greek brothers.
When the dragon realized that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. 14But she was given two wings like those of a great eagle so she could fly to the place prepared for her in the wilderness. There she would be cared for and protected from the dragon* for a time, times, and half a time. 15 Then the dragon tried to drown the woman with a flood of water that flowed from his mouth. 16 But the earth helped her by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that gushed out from the mouth of the dragon. 17And the dragon was angry at the woman and declared war against the rest of her children—all who keep God’s commandments and maintain their testimony for Jesus. 18 Then the dragon took his stand* on the shore beside the sea. The Beast out of the Sea Then I saw a beast rising up out of the sea. It had seven heads and ten horns, with ten crowns on its horns. And written on each head were names that blasphemed God. 2 This beast looked like a leopard, but it had the feet of a bear and the mouth of a lion! And the dragon gave the beast his own power and throne and great authority. 3 I saw that one of the heads of the beast seemed wounded beyond recovery—but the fatal wound was healed! The whole world marveled at this miracle and gave allegiance to the beast. 4They worshiped the dragon for giving the beast such power, and they also worshiped the beast. “Who is as great as the beast?” they exclaimed. “Who is able to fight against him?” 5 Then the beast was allowed to speak
great blasphemies against God. And he was given authority to do whatever he wanted for forty-two months. 6And he spoke terrible words of blasphemy against God, slandering his name and his dwelling—that is, those who dwell in heaven.* 7And the beast was allowed to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And he was given authority to rule over every tribe and people and language and nation. 8And all the people who belong to this world worshiped the beast. They are the ones whose names were not written in the Book of Life that belongs to the Lamb who was slaughtered before the world was made.*
Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand. Anyone who is destined for prison will be taken to prison. Anyone destined to die by the sword will die by the sword.
This means that God’s holy people must endure persecution patiently and remain faithful. The Beast out of the Earth 11 Then I saw another beast come up out of the earth. He had two horns like those of a lamb, but he spoke with the voice of a dragon. 12He exercised all the authority of the first beast. And he required all the earth and its people to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. 13 He did astounding miracles, even making fire flash down to earth from the sky while everyone was watching. 14And with all the miracles he was allowed to perform on behalf of the first beast, he deceived all the people who belong to this world. He ordered the people to make a great statue of
12:14 Greek the serpent; also in 12:15. See 12:9. 12:18 Greek Then he took his stand; some manuscripts read Then I took my stand. Some translations put this entire sentence into 13:1. 13:6 Some manuscripts read and his dwelling and all who dwell in heaven. 13:8 Or not written in the Book of Life before the world was made—the Book that belongs to the Lamb who was slaughtered.
the first beast, who was fatally wounded and then came back to life. 15He was then permitted to give life to this statue so that it could speak. Then the statue of the beast commanded that anyone refusing to worship it must die. 16 He required everyone—small and great, rich and poor, free and slave—to be given a mark on the right hand or on the forehead. 17And no one could buy or sell anything without that mark, which was either the name of the beast or the number representing his name. 18Wisdom is needed here. Let the one with understanding solve the meaning of the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man.* His number is 666.*
proclaim to the people who belong to this world—to every nation, tribe, language, and people. 7 “Fear God,” he shouted. “Give glory to him. For the time has come when he will sit as judge. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and all the springs of water.” 8 Then another angel followed him through the sky, shouting, “Babylon is fallen—that great city is fallen—because she made all the nations of the world drink the wine of her passionate immorality.” 9 Then a third angel followed them, shouting, “Anyone who worships the beast and his statue or who accepts his mark on the forehead or on the hand 10 must drink the wine of God’s anger. It has been poured full strength into God’s The Lamb and the 144,000 Then I saw the Lamb standing on cup of wrath. And they will be tormented Mount Zion, and with him were with fire and burning sulfur in the pres144,000 who had his name and his Fa- ence of the holy angels and the Lamb. ther’s name written on their foreheads. 11The smoke of their torment will rise for2 And I heard a sound from heaven like the ever and ever, and they will have no relief roar of mighty ocean waves or the rolling day or night, for they have worshiped the of loud thunder. It was like the sound of beast and his statue and have accepted the mark of his name.” many harpists playing together. 12 3 This means that God’s holy people This great choir sang a wonderful new song in front of the throne of God and be- must endure persecution patiently, obeyfore the four living beings and the twenty- ing his commands and maintaining their four elders. No one could learn this song faith in Jesus. 13 except the 144,000 who had been reAnd I heard a voice from heaven saydeemed from the earth. 4They have kept ing, “Write this down: Blessed are those themselves as pure as virgins,* following who die in the Lord from now on. Yes, the Lamb wherever he goes. They have says the Spirit, they are blessed indeed, been purchased from among the people for they will rest from their hard work; for on the earth as a special offering* to God their good deeds follow them!” and to the Lamb. 5 They have told no lies; they are without blame. The Harvest of the Earth 14 Then I saw a white cloud, and seated on The Three Angels the cloud was someone like the Son of 6 And I saw another angel flying through Man.* He had a gold crown on his head the sky, carrying the eternal Good News to and a sharp sickle in his hand. 14
13:18a Or of humanity. 13:18b Some manuscripts read 616. 14:4a Greek They are virgins who have not defiled themselves with women. 14:4b Greek as firstfruits. 14:14 Or like a son of man. See Dan 7:13. “Son of Man” is a title Jesus used for himself.
Then another angel came from the Temple and shouted to the one sitting on the cloud, “Swing the sickle, for the time of harvest has come; the crop on earth is ripe.” 16So the one sitting on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the whole earth was harvested. 17 After that, another angel came from the Temple in heaven, and he also had a sharp sickle. 18Then another angel, who had power to destroy with fire, came from the altar. He shouted to the angel with the sharp sickle, “Swing your sickle now to gather the clusters of grapes from the vines of the earth, for they are ripe for judgment.” 19 So the angel swung his sickle over the earth and loaded the grapes into the great winepress of God’s wrath. 20The grapes were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed from the winepress in a stream about 180 miles* long and as high as a horse’s bridle. 15
The Song of Moses and of the Lamb Then I saw in heaven another marvelous event of great significance. Seven angels were holding the seven last plagues, which would bring God’s wrath to completion. 2I saw before me what seemed to be a glass sea mixed with fire. And on it stood all the people who had been victorious over the beast and his statue and the number representing his name. They were all holding harps that God had given them. 3And they were singing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb: “Great and marvelous are your works, O Lord God, the Almighty. Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations.*
Who will not fear you, Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous deeds have been revealed.”
The Seven Bowls of the Seven Plagues 5 Then I looked and saw that the Temple in heaven, God’s Tabernacle, was thrown wide open. 6The seven angels who were holding the seven plagues came out of the Temple. They were clothed in spotless white linen* with gold sashes across their chests. 7 Then one of the four living beings handed each of the seven angels a gold bowl filled with the wrath of God, who lives forever and ever. 8The Temple was filled with smoke from God’s glory and power. No one could enter the Temple until the seven angels had completed pouring out the seven plagues. 15
Then I heard a mighty voice from the Temple say to the seven angels, “Go your ways and pour out on the earth the seven bowls containing God’s wrath.” 2 So the first angel left the Temple and poured out his bowl on the earth, and horrible, malignant sores broke out on everyone who had the mark of the beast and who worshiped his statue. 3 Then the second angel poured out his bowl on the sea, and it became like the blood of a corpse. And everything in the sea died. 4 Then the third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs, and they became blood. 5And I heard the angel who had authority over all water saying, “You are just, O Holy One, who is and who always was,
14:20 Greek 1,600 stadia [300 kilometers]. 15:3 Some manuscripts read King of the ages. 15:6 Other manuscripts read white stone; still others read white [garments] made of linen.
because you have sent these judgments. 6 Since they shed the blood of your holy people and your prophets, you have given them blood to drink. It is their just reward.” And I heard a voice from the altar,* saying,
“Yes, O Lord God, the Almighty, your judgments are true and just.” 8 Then the fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, causing it to scorch everyone with its fire. 9Everyone was burned by this blast of heat, and they cursed the name of God, who had control over all these plagues. They did not repent of their sins and turn to God and give him glory. 10 Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom was plunged into darkness. His subjects ground their teeth* in anguish, 11 and they cursed the God of heaven for their pains and sores. But they did not repent of their evil deeds and turn to God. 12 Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great Euphrates River, and it dried up so that the kings from the east could march their armies toward the west without hindrance. 13And I saw three evil* spirits that looked like frogs leap from the mouths of the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet. 14They are demonic spirits who work miracles and go out to all the rulers of the world to gather them for battle against the Lord on that great judgment day of God the Almighty. 15 “Look, I will come as unexpectedly as a thief! Blessed are all who are watching for me, who keep their clothing ready so they will not have to walk around naked and ashamed.”
And the demonic spirits gathered all the rulers and their armies to a place with the Hebrew name Armageddon.* 17 Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air. And a mighty shout came from the throne in the Temple, saying, “It is finished!” 18Then the thunder crashed and rolled, and lightning flashed. And a great earthquake struck—the worst since people were placed on the earth. 19 The great city of Babylon split into three sections, and the cities of many nations fell into heaps of rubble. So God remembered all of Babylon’s sins, and he made her drink the cup that was filled with the wine of his fierce wrath. 20And every island disappeared, and all the mountains were leveled. 21There was a terrible hailstorm, and hailstones weighing as much as seventyfive pounds* fell from the sky onto the people below. They cursed God because of the terrible plague of the hailstorm. 16
The Great Prostitute One of the seven angels who had poured out the seven bowls came over and spoke to me. “Come with me,” he said, “and I will show you the judgment that is going to come on the great prostitute, who rules over many waters. 2 The kings of the world have committed adultery with her, and the people who belong to this world have been made drunk by the wine of her immorality.” 3 So the angel took me in the Spirit* into the wilderness. There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that had seven heads and ten horns, and blasphemies against God were written all over it. 4The woman wore purple and scarlet clothing and beautiful jewelry made of gold and precious gems and pearls. In her hand she held a gold goblet full of obscenities and the impurities of her immorality. 5A
16:7 Greek I heard the altar. 16:10 Greek gnawed their tongues. 16:21 Greek 1 talent [34 kilograms]. 17:3 Or in spirit.
16:13 Greek unclean. 16:16 Or Harmagedon.
mysterious name was written on her forehead: “Babylon the Great, Mother of All Prostitutes and Obscenities in the World.” 6I could see that she was drunk— drunk with the blood of God’s holy people who were witnesses for Jesus. I stared at her in complete amazement. 7 “Why are you so amazed?” the angel asked. “I will tell you the mystery of this woman and of the beast with seven heads and ten horns on which she sits. 8The beast you saw was once alive but isn’t now. And yet he will soon come up out of the bottomless pit* and go to eternal destruction. And the people who belong to this world, whose names were not written in the Book of Life before the world was made, will be amazed at the reappearance of this beast who had died. 9 “This calls for a mind with understanding: The seven heads of the beast represent the seven hills where the woman rules. They also represent seven kings. 10Five kings have already fallen, the sixth now reigns, and the seventh is yet to come, but his reign will be brief. 11 “The scarlet beast that was, but is no longer, is the eighth king. He is like the other seven, and he, too, is headed for destruction. 12 The ten horns of the beast are ten kings who have not yet risen to power. They will be appointed to their kingdoms for one brief moment to reign with the beast. 13 They will all agree to give him their power and authority. 14Together they will go to war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will defeat them because he is Lord of all lords and King of all kings. And his called and chosen and faithful ones will be with him.” 15 Then the angel said to me, “The waters where the prostitute is ruling represent masses of people of every nation and
language. 16The scarlet beast and his ten horns all hate the prostitute. They will strip her naked, eat her flesh, and burn her remains with fire. 17 For God has put a plan into their minds, a plan that will carry out his purposes. They will agree to give their authority to the scarlet beast, and so the words of God will be fulfilled. 18 And this woman you saw in your vision represents the great city that rules over the kings of the world.” The Fall of Babylon After all this I saw another angel come down from heaven with great authority, and the earth grew bright with his splendor. 2He gave a mighty shout: “Babylon is fallen—that great city is fallen! She has become a home for demons. She is a hideout for every foul* spirit, a hideout for every foul vulture and every foul and dreadful animal.* 3 For all the nations have fallen* because of the wine of her passionate immorality. The kings of the world have committed adultery with her. Because of her desires for extravagant luxury, the merchants of the world have grown rich.” 4 Then I heard another voice calling from heaven,
“Come away from her, my people. Do not take part in her sins, or you will be punished with her. 5 For her sins are piled as high as heaven, and God remembers her evil deeds. 6 Do to her as she has done to others. Double her penalty* for all her evil deeds.
17:8 Or the abyss, or the underworld. 18:2a Greek unclean; also in each of the two following phrases. 18:2b Some manuscripts condense the last two lines to read a hideout for every foul [unclean] and dreadful vulture. 18:3 Some manuscripts read have drunk. 18:6a Or Give her an equal penalty.
She brewed a cup of terror for others, so brew twice as much* for her. 7 She glorified herself and lived in luxury, so match it now with torment and sorrow. She boasted in her heart, ‘I am queen on my throne. I am no helpless widow, and I have no reason to mourn.’ 8 Therefore, these plagues will overtake her in a single day— death and mourning and famine. She will be completely consumed by fire, for the Lord God who judges her is mighty.” 9 And the kings of the world who committed adultery with her and enjoyed her great luxury will mourn for her as they see the smoke rising from her charred remains. 10They will stand at a distance, terrified by her great torment. They will cry out,
15 The merchants who became wealthy by selling her these things will stand at a distance, terrified by her great torment. They will weep and cry out,
“How terrible, how terrible for that great city! She was clothed in finest purple and scarlet linens, decked out with gold and precious stones and pearls! 17 In a single moment all the wealth of the city is gone!” 16
And all the captains of the merchant ships and their passengers and sailors and crews will stand at a distance. 18They will cry out as they watch the smoke ascend, and they will say, “Where is there another city as great as this?” 19And they will weep and throw dust on their heads to show their grief. And they will cry out,
“How terrible, how terrible for you, O Babylon, you great city! In a single moment God’s judgment came on you.” 11 The merchants of the world will weep and mourn for her, for there is no one left to buy their goods. 12She bought great quantities of gold, silver, jewels, and pearls; fine linen, purple, silk, and scarlet cloth; things made of fragrant thyine wood, ivory goods, and objects made of expensive wood; and bronze, iron, and marble. 13She also bought cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, frankincense, wine, olive oil, fine flour, wheat, cattle, sheep, horses, wagons, and bodies—that is, human slaves. 14
“The fancy things you loved so much are gone,” they cry.
18:6b Or brew just as much.
“All your luxuries and splendor are gone forever, never to be yours again.”
“How terrible, how terrible for that great city! The shipowners became wealthy by transporting her great wealth on the seas. In a single moment it is all gone.” 20
Rejoice over her fate, O heaven and people of God and apostles and prophets! For at last God has judged her for your sakes.
21 Then a mighty angel picked up a boulder the size of a huge millstone. He threw it into the ocean and shouted,
“Just like this, the great city Babylon will be thrown down with violence and will never be found again.
Songs of Victory in Heaven After this, I heard what sounded like a vast crowd in heaven shouting, “Praise the Lord!* Salvation and glory and power belong to our God. 2 His judgments are true and just. He has punished the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her immorality. He has avenged the murder of his servants.” And again their voices rang out:
“Praise the Lord! The smoke from that city ascends forever and ever!”
God, who was sitting on the throne. They cried out, “Amen! Praise the Lord!” 5 And from the throne came a voice that said,
The sound of harps, singers, flutes, and trumpets will never be heard in you again. No craftsmen and no trades will ever be found in you again. The sound of the mill will never be heard in you again. 23 The light of a lamp will never shine in you again. The happy voices of brides and grooms will never be heard in you again. For your merchants were the greatest in the world, and you deceived the nations with your sorceries. 24 In your* streets flowed the blood of the prophets and of God’s holy people and the blood of people slaughtered all over the world.” 22
“Praise our God, all his servants, all who fear him, from the least to the greatest.” 6 Then I heard again what sounded like the shout of a vast crowd or the roar of mighty ocean waves or the crash of loud thunder:
“Praise the Lord! For the Lord our God,* the Almighty, reigns. 7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and let us give honor to him. For the time has come for the wedding feast of the Lamb, and his bride has prepared herself. 8 She has been given the finest of pure white linen to wear.” For the fine linen represents the good deeds of God’s holy people. 9 And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb.” And he added, “These are true words that come from God.” 10 Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said, “No, don’t worship me. I am a servant of God, just like you and your brothers and sisters* who testify about their faith in Jesus. Worship only God. For the essence of prophecy is to give a clear witness for Jesus.*”
The Rider on the White Horse 11 Then I saw heaven opened, and a white Then the twenty-four elders and the horse was standing there. Its rider was four living beings fell down and worshiped named Faithful and True, for he judges fairly 4
18:24 Greek her. 19:1 Greek Hallelujah; also in 19:3, 4, 6. Hallelujah is the transliteration of a Hebrew term that means “Praise the LORD.” 19:6 Some manuscripts read the Lord God. 19:10a Greek brothers. 19:10b Or is the message confirmed by Jesus.
and wages a righteous war. 12His eyes were like flames of fire, and on his head were many crowns. A name was written on him that no one understood except himself. 13He wore a robe dipped in blood, and his title was the Word of God. 14The armies ofheaven, dressed in the finest ofpure white linen, followed him on white horses. 15 From his mouth came a sharp sword to strike down the nations. He will rule them with an iron rod. He will release the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty, like juice flowing from a winepress. 16 On his robe at his thigh* was written this title: King of all kings and Lord of all lords. 17 Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, shouting to the vultures flying high in the sky: “Come! Gather together for the great banquet God has prepared. 18Come and eat the flesh of kings, generals, and strong warriors; of horses and their riders; and of all humanity, both free and slave, small and great.” 19 Then I saw the beast and the kings of the world and their armies gathered together to fight against the one sitting on the horse and his army. 20And the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who did mighty miracles on behalf of the beast—miracles that deceived all who had accepted the mark of the beast and who worshiped his statue. Both the beast and his false prophet were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. 21Their entire army was killed by the sharp sword that came from the mouth of the one riding the white horse. And the vultures all gorged themselves on the dead bodies. The Thousand Years Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven with the key to the bottomless pit* and a heavy chain
in his hand. 2He seized the dragon—that old serpent, who is the devil, Satan—and bound him in chains for a thousand years. 3 The angel threw him into the bottomless pit, which he then shut and locked so Satan could not deceive the nations anymore until the thousand years were finished. Afterward he must be released for a little while. 4 Then I saw thrones, and the people sitting on them had been given the authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their testimony about Jesus and for proclaiming the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his statue, nor accepted his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They all came to life again, and they reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5 This is the first resurrection. (The rest of the dead did not come back to life until the thousand years had ended.) 6 Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. For them the second death holds no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him a thousand years.
The Defeat of Satan 7 When the thousand years come to an end, Satan will be let out of his prison. 8He will go out to deceive the nations—called Gog and Magog—in every corner of the earth. He will gather them together for battle—a mighty army, as numberless as sand along the seashore. 9And I saw them as they went up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded God’s people and the beloved city. But fire from heaven came down on the attacking armies and consumed them. 10 Then the devil, who had deceived them, was thrown into the fiery lake of
19:16 Or On his robe and thigh. 20:1 Or the abyss, or the underworld; also in 20:3.
burning sulfur, joining the beast and the false prophet. There they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. 7All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, The Final Judgment 11 And I saw a great white throne and the and they will be my children. 8 “But cowards, unbelievers, the corone sitting on it. The earth and sky fled from his presence, but they found no rupt, murderers, the immoral, those who place to hide. 12I saw the dead, both great practice witchcraft, idol worshipers, and and small, standing before God’s throne. all liars—their fate is in the fiery lake of And the books were opened, including burning sulfur. This is the second death.” 9 the Book of Life. And the dead were Then one of the seven angels who judged according to what they had done, held the seven bowls containing the as recorded in the books. 13 The sea gave seven last plagues came and said to me, up its dead, and death and the grave* gave “Come with me! I will show you the bride, up their dead. And all were judged ac- the wife of the Lamb.” 10 cording to their deeds. 14Then death and So he took me in the Spirit* to a great, the grave were thrown into the lake of high mountain, and he showed me the fire. This lake of fire is the second death. holy city, Jerusalem, descending out of 15 And anyone whose name was not found heaven from God. 11It shone with the recorded in the Book of Life was thrown glory of God and sparkled like a precious into the lake of fire. stone—like jasper as clear as crystal. 12 The city wall was broad and high, with twelve gates guarded by twelve angels. The New Jerusalem Then I saw a new heaven and a And the names of the twelve tribes of new earth, for the old heaven and Israel were written on the gates. 13 There the old earth had disappeared. And the were three gates on each side—east, sea was also gone. 2And I saw the holy city, north, south, and west. 14The wall of the the new Jerusalem, coming down from city had twelve foundation stones, and on God out of heaven like a bride beautifully them were written the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. dressed for her husband. 3 15 I heard a loud shout from the throne, The angel who talked to me held in saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his hand a gold measuring stick to meahis people! He will live with them, and sure the city, its gates, and its wall. they will be his people. God himself will 16When he measured it, he found it was a be with them.* 4He will wipe every tear square, as wide as it was long. In fact, its from their eyes, and there will be no more length and width and height were each death or sorrow or crying or pain. All 1,400 miles.* 17 Then he measured the these things are gone forever.” walls and found them to be 216 feet 5 And the one sitting on the throne said, thick* (according to the human standard “Look, I am making everything new!” And used by the angel). 18 The wall was made of jasper, and the then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” city was pure gold, as clear as glass. 19 The 6 And he also said, “It is finished! I am the wall of the city was built on foundation 21
20:13 Greek and Hades; also in 20:14. 21:3 Some manuscripts read God himself will be with them, their God. 21:10 Or in spirit. 21:16 Greek 12,000 stadia [2,220 kilometers]. 21:17 Greek 144 cubits [65 meters].
stones inlaid with twelve precious stones:* the first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. 21 The twelve gates were made of pearls—each gate from a single pearl! And the main street was pure gold, as clear as glass. 22 I saw no temple in the city, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23And the city has no need of sun or moon, for the glory of God illuminates the city, and the Lamb is its light. 24The nations will walk in its light, and the kings of the world will enter the city in all their glory. 25 Its gates will never be closed at the end of day because there is no night there. 26And all the nations will bring their glory and honor into the city. 27 Nothing evil* will be allowed to enter, nor anyone who practices shameful idolatry and dishonesty—but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Then the angel showed me a river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2It flowed down the center of the main street. On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit,* with a fresh crop each month. The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations. 3 No longer will there be a curse upon anything. For the throne of God and of the Lamb will be there, and his servants will worship him. 4And they will see his face, and his name will be written on their
foreheads. 5And there will be no night there—no need for lamps or sun—for the Lord God will shine on them. And they will reign forever and ever. 6 Then the angel said to me, “Everything you have heard and seen is trustworthy and true. The Lord God, who inspires his prophets,* has sent his angel to tell his servants what will happen soon.*” Jesus Is Coming 7 “Look, I am coming soon! Blessed are those who obey the words of prophecy written in this book.*”
8 I, John, am the one who heard and saw all these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me. 9 But he said, “No, don’t worship me. I am a servant of God, just like you and your brothers the prophets, as well as all who obey what is written in this book. Worship only God!” 10 Then he instructed me, “Do not seal up the prophetic words in this book, for the time is near. 11Let the one who is doing harm continue to do harm; let the one who is vile continue to be vile; let the one who is righteous continue to live righteously; let the one who is holy continue to be holy.”
“Look, I am coming soon, bringing my reward with me to repay all people according to their deeds. 13I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”
14 Blessed are those who wash their robes. They will be permitted to enter through the gates of the city and eat the fruit from the tree of life. 15Outside the city are the dogs—the sorcerers, the sexu-
21:19 The identification of some of these gemstones is uncertain. 21:27 Or ceremonially unclean. 22:2 Or twelve kinds of fruit. 22:6a Or The Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets. 22:6b Or suddenly, or quickly; also in 22:7, 12, 20. 22:7 Or scroll; also in 22:9, 10, 18, 19.
ally immoral, the murderers, the idol worshipers, and all who love to live a lie. 16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this message for the churches. I am both the source of David and the heir to his throne.* I am the bright morning star.” 17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” Let anyone who hears this say, “Come.” Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life. 18And I solemnly declare to everyone who hears the words of proph-
ecy written in this book: If anyone adds anything to what is written here, God will add to that person the plagues described in this book. 19And if anyone removes any of the words from this book of prophecy, God will remove that person’s share in the tree of life and in the holy city that are described in this book. 20 He who is the faithful witness to all these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon!” Amen! Come, Lord Jesus! 21 May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s holy people.*
22:16 Greek I am the root and offspring of David. 22:21 Other manuscripts read be with all; still others read be with all of God’s holy people. Some manuscripts add Amen.
Your Life in Christ Lesson One
The Beginning Knowing Jesus Christ can become the most exciting relationship you can have. It is the beginning of a life of adventure with an all-loving, all‑powerful God. The Four Spiritual Laws (see Preface) concisely explains all a person needs to know to begin a relationship with Jesus Christ. A brief review of these will help you understand some principles regarding your new relationship with Christ. Law one: God loves us and offers a wonderful a plan for our lives. Law two: We are sinful and separated from God. Therefore, we cannot know and experience God’s love and His plan for our lives. Law three: Jesus Christ is God’s only provision for our sin. Through Him alone we can know and experience God’s love and plan for our lives. Law four: We must individually receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, then we can know and experience God’s love and plan for our lives.
Your Life in Christ
Confidence in Your Relationship with Christ You can be confident in your relationship with Christ because you have been completely forgiven and accepted by God. Only Christ’s death on the cross is sufficient to provide this proper relationship with God. Read Ephesians 2:8-9 (page 252). Three important words in these verses explain the basis of our acceptance before God: Kindness: Unmerited favor, an undeserved gift. What role did kindness play in establishing your relationship with God? (You didn’t deserve this relationship nor did you earn it by any good works. Rather, it is a free gift from God that you accepted when you received Christ.) Saved: Rescued, spared from disaster. What do you think this verse means by saying you are “saved”? From what are you rescued? (Romans 6:23 [page 200] says that the final result of sin is death. When you accepted Christ’s death on the cross as the payment for your sins, you were rescued from eternal condemnation, from having to pay the penalty for your own sin.) Trust: Belief, faith, commitment of mind, attitude, action. What does trust have to do with receiving Christ? (Having trust or confidence in God and His word. When you received Christ, you put your trust in Christ and His death for your sin. Instead of believing in your own ability to earn God’s favor, you now trust that you have been reconciled to God through what Christ has done for you.) Key question: Suppose you were standing before God and He asked you, “Why should I let you into heaven?” What would you say?
Lesson One • The Beginning
Understanding Your Relationship with Christ There are many exciting things that are true in your relationship with Christ. Understanding these truths will help you build a firm foundation on which to grow. Here are five biblical truths, which focus on what Christ has done for you. 1. Christ forgave your sin. Read Ephesians 1:7 (page 251). When you trusted Christ for the forgiveness of your sin, all your sins were forgiven… past, present, and future. What difference do you think it makes to know that all of your sins have been forgiven? 2. Christ made you a child of God. Read John 1:11,12,13 (page 119). What took place in order for you to become a child of God? (You received Christ. You trusted Him to save you.) 3. Christ came into your life and He will never leave you. Read Revelation 3:20 (page 331). If you have prayed to receive Christ, where is He right now in relation to you? (In your life.) Read Hebrews 13:5 (page 301). Under what circumstances might Christ leave you? (None.) According to this, how many times is it necessary to receive Christ? (Only once.) 4. Christ gave you new life. Read 2 Corinthians 5:17 (page 236). When you trusted Christ to be your Savior and Lord, you began a new spiritual life. God will increasingly produce many new qualities in you as you grow in Him.
Your Life in Christ
5. Christ gave you eternal life. Read 1 John 5:11-13 (page 322). In whom is eternal life found? (God’s Son.) Who has eternal life? (Whoever has God’s Son.) Do you have the Son (Jesus)? Do you have eternal life? When did eternal life begin for you? Key question: If you were to die tonight, how sure are you that you would spend eternity with God? (Circle one.) 0% ——— 25% ——— 50% ——— 75% ——— 100% Summary: These wonderful benefits are based totally on Jesus Christ. None of them can be earned. You received them the moment you placed your faith in Christ. Which of these five truths are especially meaningful to you now? Why?
Lesson One • The Beginning
Dealing with Doubts in your Relationship with Christ Even though feelings are important, your relationship with Christ is based on facts, not on feelings that can change daily. Doubts, questions and varying emotions are common parts of everyone’s life, but they are very unreliable gauges of anyone’s relationship with Christ. The Christian (one who has trusted Christ to be their Savior and Lord) lives by faith in the trustworthiness of God and His word. This truck diagram illustrates the relationship between fact (God and His word), faith (your trust in God and His word), and feeling.
The truck will run with or without the trailer. However, it would be useless to attempt to pull the truck by the trailer. In the same way, do not depend upon feelings. The promise of God’s word, not your feelings, is your authority. But what if you don’t feel like a Christian tomorrow? Place your faith in the faithfulness of God Himself and the trustworthiness of His word. The more you learn of His word, the more you will be able to answer any doubts with solid facts. Your feelings will begin to respond to the truth of God’s word and not to your circumstances.
Your Life in Christ
Practical Application Since you have… …Trusted in Christ’s payment for your sin, …Understood the basis of your relationship with God, …Learned five truths about your relationship with God, you can be confident in your relationship with Christ. Throughout this week, begin to make these truths part of your life as you grow in Christ:
• You are forgiven: Colossians 1:13-14 (page 263); Colossians 2:13-14 (page 265); Hebrews 10:15-18 (pages 297).
• You are a child of God: John 1:11-13 (page 119); Romans 8:15 (page 202); 1 John 3:1 (page 320).
• You are indwelt by Christ: Revelation 3:20 (page 331); Galatians 2:20 (page 246).
• You have a new life: 2 Corinthians 5:17 (page 236); Ephesians 2:4-5 (page 252).
• You have eternal life: 1 John 5:11-13 (page 322); John 5:24 (page 126); John 10:27-29 (page 135).
Take one truth each day and reflect on it. Read the verses listed by each truth. Thank God that this is now true of you. Knowing these essential truths is critical to your growth in Christ. Tell someone this week that you have a relationship with Christ. Key question: What happens when we struggle and fall short in our efforts to live the Christian life?
Your Life in Christ Lesson two
Experiencing God’s Love Your relationship with God is secure because, through Christ, you are forgiven and accepted by God. In addition to providing this secure relationship, God also desires for you to walk closely with Him and communicate with Him throughout each day. This is called fellowship. When we choose to sin, our relationship (our position as God’s children) is not affected, but our fellowship is interrupted. The example of the Father and child: your relationship with your earthly father is permanent. No matter what you do, you will always be His child. But suppose you rebelled against your father and angrily left home in spite of his efforts to reconcile your grievances. Would you still be your father’s child? (Yes.) What would happen to your fellowship? (It would be interrupted.)
Your Life in Christ
Compare your relationship with God to your fellowship with God. Your relationship with God:
Your fellowship with God:
Began when you received Christ (John 1:11-12 page 119)
Began when you received Christ (Colossians 2:6 page 264)
Is everlasting (1 Peter 1:3-4 pages 308)
Can be hindered (Isaiah 59:2 *)
Maintained by God (John 10:27-29 page 135)
Maintained in part by us (1 John 1:9 pages 318)
Never changes (Hebrews 13:5 page 301)
Changes when we sin (Psalm 66:18 **)
Though all Christians have a relationship with God, not all Christians are experiencing fellowship with Him. How can we consistently experience fellowship with God? * Isaiah 59:2: ”It’s your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, he has turned away and will not listen anymore.” ** Psalm 66:18: ”If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.”
The Need for God’s Love and Forgiveness Sin keeps us all from experiencing God’s love. But many people are confused about what sin is and what it is not. What is sin? It’s more than cheating, lying, immoral behavior, etc. These actions are
Lesson two • Experiencing God’s Love
only the results of an attitude of sin. A simple definition of sin is: doing what we want instead of what God wants–both in actions and attitudes. What are the results of sin? For non-Christians (a person who has not trusted in Christ [see page 353]), sin prevents a relationship with God. Read Ephesians 2:1-3 (pages 252). What about people who try to reach God through living a good moral life? Are they separated from God? Why or why not? (See page viii. We cannot reach God through living a good moral life because sin separates us from God. Only Jesus Christ bridges the gap.) For Christians, sin inhibits fellowship with God. Read 1 John 1:6-8 (page 318). Summary: All of us sin. Therefore, we need to experience God’s forgiveness for our attitudes and actions.
The Basis for God’s Love and Forgiveness Christ’s death is the basis for forgiveness to bring us into a proper relationship with God. His death is also the basis for forgiveness in our daily fellowship with God. Read 1 Peter 3:18 (page 311). Read Colossians 2:13-14 (page 265). In the day when this was written, “the record of the charges” meant an itemized list that was nailed to the prison cell door, listing every crime for which the prisoner had been convicted. When the sentence was served or restitution paid, the authorities removed the list and wrote “paid in full.” The prisoner used this as proof that he could never be tried for those crimes again. The believer who trusts Christ’s payment for sin can never be tried again. His sins have been “paid in full.” He has full pardon from God.
Your Life in Christ
What has God done with your sins? (God has forgiven them.) For how many of your sins did Christ die? (All of them.) When Christ died on the cross for you, how many of your sins were in the future? (All of them.) What difference will it make in your daily life to know that you are totally forgiven?
You Can Experience God’s Love and Forgiveness Every Day Even though you are totally forgiven, you still need to deal with your sins on a day-to-day basis in order to experience continuing fellowship with God. Put yourself in the father-child illustration (page 355). What would you do to restore fellowship with your father? Let’s look at how you restore your fellowship with God. Read 1 John 1:9 (Pages 318). A. Confession: agreeing with God about sin. When God brings to your attention that something you have done is sin, confess it. This confession involves at least three factors: 1. Agree with God that you have sinned. 2. Thank God that He has already forgiven you. 3. Trust God to change your wrong attitudes and actions. By turning back to God and away from your sin (repentance), you will experience his love and forgiveness provided by Christ’s death on the cross. Instead of feeling guilty or condemned, you can know that your fellowship with God is restored.
Lesson two • Experiencing God’s Love
B. Confession: putting it into practice. Right now or tonight before you go to bed: 1. Ask God to reveal any sins in your life. 2. List these on a piece of paper. Be completely honest; this is just between you and God. 3. After completing your list, write over it the promise of 1 John 1:9 (pages 318). 4. Thank God for the forgiveness he has provided for you through what Christ did on the cross. 5. Tear up the list and throw it away. How often do you need to confess a sin to God? (Once.) When should you confess a sin? (As soon as you realize it is sin.) C. Confession: experiencing the results. What should you do if you still feel guilty after you have confessed your sins? [Read Psalm 32:3-5 *; 103:12.**] (Rely on God’s word that you are forgiven and don’t depend on your feelings.) What do these passages say about guilt and cleansing? (If anything is not confessed, there is reason for guilt to remain.) In light of what you have learned concerning guilt and forgiveness, how would you complete this statement? “When I have confessed all my sins, I
* Psalm 32:3-5: “When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long. Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat. Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.” ** Psalm 103:12: “He has removed our sins as far away from us as the east is from the west.”
Your Life in Christ
Practical Application Take some time before you go to bed tonight to apply the things you have learned about Godâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s love and forgiveness. Be sure to make your list tonight (page 358). Try to spend 15 minutes or so each day alone with God in Bible reading and prayer. Here are some suggestions: 1. Read the story of the young man who ran away from his father and wasted his inheritance. The story was told by Jesus and is found in Luke 15:11-32 (pages 102-103). What does the story illustrate about our relationship with God, our forgiveness, and our fellowship with Him? 2. Read Galatians 5:16-23 (page 249-250). Notice the differences that will take place as you allow God to work in your life. As you become aware of an area in your life that displeases God, deal with it according to 1 John 1:9 (pages 318), and then enjoy your fellowship with God. Summary: Understanding Godâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s great love and forgiveness allows Christians to enjoy a growing fellowship with Him. Key question: How can a Christian experience the power God has made available for living the Christian life?
Your Life in Christ Lesson three
The Power Source In order to experience God’s love and forgiveness on a daily basis you must confess your sin as soon as you become aware of it. Confession plus God’s forgiveness restores the fellowship with your heavenly father. You are now beginning to live the Christian life, which isn’t a standard of performance or a code of ethics, but a vital personal relationship with a loving God. Read John 7:37-39 (page 130). Just as our relationship with God is totally dependent on what God has done through Jesus Christ, so the power to live a dynamic Christian life also comes totally from God. A computer has all the potential to do what it was created to do, but it has no power of its own. Similarly, through your new identity in Christ, you have all the potential you need to live as a new creation in Christ. You must continually draw from the proper source of power, the Holy Spirit.
Your Life in Christ
The Holy Spirit is the Power Source of the Christian Life The Holy Spirit is God (1 Corinthians 2:11-12 page 215). He came to dwell in you (Romans 8:9 page 202). He came to convict the world of sin and justice (John 16:8 page 143). He came to lead you into the truth (John 16:13 page 143). He came to glorify Christ (John 16:14 page 143). What role does the Holy Spirit play in your relationship with God? Read Romans 8:14-16 (page 202). (He confirms that we are God’s children.) What does he desire to produce in your life? Read Galatians 5:22-23 (pages 249-250). Which of these qualities would you most like God to begin developing within you? What does Jesus say we are to do in order to see this fruit produced in us? Read John 15:4-5 (page 142). (We are to live in Christ, rely on and stay close to him.) What does the Holy Spirit desire to equip you to do? Read Acts 1:8 (page 152). What does it mean to you to be a witness for Christ? (A witness tells what he has seen and heard. A Christian witness tells others what he knows is true about Christ.) Why do you think the Holy Spirit’s power is needed to be a witness? (He promises to give you the right words to say and the boldness to say them.)
Lesson three • The Power Source
Summary: The degree to which these traits of godliness are manifested in your life depends upon how much you trust the Lord with every detail of your life and upon how long you have been trusting him. One who is only beginning to understand about the Holy Spirit should not be discouraged if he is not as fruitful as more mature Christians who have experienced this truth for a longer period. Trusting God + Time = Spiritual Maturity.
Not all Christians Experience the Holy Spirit’s Power You became a Christian through the Holy Spirit’s work (Ephesians 1:13 page 288). From that moment you have been indwelt by the Spirit (John 14:15-17 pages 141-142). Although the Holy Spirit lives within all Christians, not all Christians are directed and empowered by the Holy Spirit. The Bible tells us there are three kinds of people:
1) The natural person (1 Corinthians 2:14 page 216).
Those who have not trusted Christ’s death to pay for their sins and thus Christ does not live in them.
The circle represents a person’s life. The natural person directs his or her own life and thus sits in control (S). Christ ( ) does not live in the natural person’s life and is therefore outside the circle.
Your Life in Christ
2) The spiritual person (1 Corinthians 2:15 page 216). Those who have trusted Christ as their Savior and are trusting in the power of the Holy Spirit to live the Christian life. The spiritual person has invited Christ ( ) into his or her life and has allowed Him to take control through the Holy Spirit. This person therefore yields to Christ’s direction.
3) The carnal person (1 Corinthians 3:1-2 page 216).
Those who have trusted Christ to pay for their sins, but who are trusting their own efforts to live the Christian life. (Carnal refers to “flesh” as opposed to “spirit.”) A carnal Christian lives in the energy of the flesh, not in the power of the spirit.
Although Christ lives in the carnal person’s life, the Holy Spirit is not allowed to direct it. Instead, this person remains in control. Key question: Which of these circles best represents your life?
You Can be Filled with the Holy Spirit The spirit-filled life is the Christ-directed life by which Christ lives His life in and through you in the power of the Holy Spirit. You can be filled with the Holy Spirit only by faith, by trusting God to produce in you the fruitful life He promised. The following three steps explain how you can be filled with the Spirit. Confess: Confess all known sin. Psalm 66:18 says, “If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.” Why is it important to confess all known sin in order to be filled with the Spirit? (Until we consciously have clean hearts before God, He cannot have fellowship with us.)
Lesson three • The Power Source
Yield: Yield every area of your life to God (Romans 6:12-13 page 200). What do you think yielding every area of your life to Christ would involve? (Consult with God before making decisions regarding my finances, my relationships, my career, my family, etc.) Trust: Trust the Holy Spirit to fill you. 1. God has commanded you to be filled with his Spirit (Ephesians 5:18 page 255). 2. God has promised to answer your requests, which are in accord with His will (1 John 5:14-15 page 322). You can be filled with the Holy Spirit by faith alone. This prayer is a good way to express that faith: “Dear Father, I know that I have been directing my own life and, as a result, I have sinned against You. Thank You for forgiving my sins through Christ’s death on the cross. I now invite Christ to take His place on the throne of my life. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit as You commanded me to be filled, and as You promised that You would do if I asked in faith. As an expression of my faith, I now thank You for taking control of my life and for filling me with the Holy Spirit.” Does this prayer express the desire of your heart? What do you think would happen if you prayed this prayer right now? If this is the desire of your heart, you can pray this prayer and be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Practical Application If you have retaken control of your life through sin–any definite act of disobedience–simply breathe spiritually (exhale the impure and inhale the pure). This important
Your Life in Christ
exercise will enable you to continue to experience Christ’s loving control in your life. Exhale: Confess your sin (1 John 1:9 page 318; Hebrews 10:1-25 pages 296-297). Remember the three factors involved in confession: 1. Agree with God that you have sinned. 2. Thank God that He has already forgiven you. 3. Trust God to change your wrong attitudes and actions. Inhale: Claim by faith the fullness of the Spirit in your life (Ephesians 5:18 page 255). 1. Surrender the control of your life to Christ. 2. Trust that He now directs and empowers you. Continue to spend 15 minutes alone each day with the Lord in Bible reading and prayer. Here are some suggestions: 1. Read Ephesians 5:18-21 (page 255), and Colossians 3:12-17 (pages 265266). Compare these two passages in what they say about the spirit-filled life. 2. Read Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:14-21 (page 253). What is the “power” that He desires for His friends? From where does this power come, and what will He do for us? 3. Read the story of the disciples in the storm when they doubted His care (Mark 4:35-41 page 50). Why were they afraid? What did they doubt about God? Summary: The Holy Spirit is the power source of the Christian life. As you trust Jesus Christ, God’s spirit will produce His character within you and empower you to be His witness. Key question: How has God planned for you to get to know Christ better as you grow in the Christian life?
Your life in Christ Lesson four
Growing In Christ The Holy Spirit desires to empower you to live a Christdirected life. As you continue to breathe spiritually (exhale– confess your sin, and inhale–claim the fullness of the spirit), you will experience a deepening fellowship with God enabling you to grow in Christian maturity.
Maturity takes time–there are no shortcuts.
It is a lifelong process!
Your life in Christ
What does it Mean to Grow in Christ? It means to increase in our knowledge of Christ, our love for Him, and in our obedience to Him. What does Jesus say is the essence of eternal life? Read John 17:3 (pageÂ 144). (Knowing God.) There are more than 600 commands in the Old Testament. Why do you think Jesus singled this one out in Matthew 22:37-39 (page 32)? (If we are truly loving God, we will be fulfilling the other commandments.) How would loving God with all your heart, soul and mind affect your life? What will be a result of your growing love for Him? Read John 14:21 (pageÂ 142). Just as it is a natural process for a child to grow in a loving relationship with a parent, so it is also natural for you to grow in your love relationship with God.
Lesson four â&#x20AC;˘ Growing In Christ
How can You Grow in Christ? Communication is vital to any relationship, including your relationship with Christ. There are four aspects of communication that will help you grow in your relationship with Christ as you walk in the power of the Holy Spirit:
God Prayer NonChristians
Bible: God communicates with us through the Bible, revealing His character and His will.
Your life in Christ
Read 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (page 282). Listed below are the benefits described in this passage: Teach us what is true: presents truth about God and ourselves; Make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong. Teaches us to do what is right: describes how to live a life which pleases God. Which of these benefits would be most helpful to you right now? How would you evaluate the helpfulness of the Bible reading you have done so far? Prayer: We communicate with God through prayer–sharing our thoughts, our needs and our desire to do His will. Read Philippians 4:6-7 (page 261) and 1 John 5:14-15 (page 322). What do these verses tell us about prayer? (Pray about everything. When we pray according to God’s will, He hears and answers us.) What are some things which you can be praying about? Read 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (page 271). Why is it important to be thanking Him? (God wants us to; by thanking God, we express our trust in Him.) Fellowship: We communicate with Christians through fellowship– encouraging and building up one another.
Lesson four • Growing In Christ
Several logs burn brightly together, but put one aside on the cold hearth and the fire goes out. So it is with your relationship to other Christians. Read Hebrews 10:24-25 (page 297) and Philemon 1:7 (page 286). Why is it important to spend time with other Christians? (To be in an environment of mutual encouragement, to love and do good deeds.) Why would this be important for you now? Read Acts 2:42-47 (page 155). Where could you find supportive Christian fellowship on a consistent basis? (In a good church or Bible study group.) We desperately need to share our Christian experience with others who love God and walk with Him, and likewise allow them to share with us. The church where we can meet other Christians and hear God’s word is God’s appointed place for Christians to meet. Bible studies and meetings are also extremely helpful. Witnessing: We communicate with non-Christians by witnessing–sharing about our relationship with Christ. Read Acts 4:12 (page 156). What would motivate you to tell another person about Christ? (Because of what Christ has done in your life.) Who would you like to tell about what Christ has done in your life? The Four Spiritual Laws (see page vii) is a concise presentation of the gospel message that you can easily share with someone you know. Summary: Read 1 Corinthians 3:6-7 (page 216). God is the source of your growth. You cannot develop spiritual maturity by “trying real hard.” As you walk in the power of the Spirit, read the Bible, pray, tell people about Christ and spend time with other believers, God will be at work in you producing fruitfulness and maturity.
Your life in Christ
Practical Application List some characteristics that you want God to produce in your life. 2 Peter 1:5-9 (page 314) gives us a picture of Christian growth. According to this passage, what is the primary hindrance to our growth? (Forgetting the forgiveness of our sin and Godâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s amazing kindness toward us.) Remember: God loves you unconditionally, just the way you are. His boundless love toward you is not dependent upon your growth as a Christian. Set aside time and a place for daily personal Bible study and prayer. A good book to begin with is the New Testament book of John (page 119). As you read, underline particularly meaningful verses. Pray and ask God to show you who He is and how you can respond to Him. Try using a journal to record your thoughts, list your prayer requests and answers as they occur. For further study, review the passages in this lesson. Other passages to study are Colossians 1:9-12 (page 263); Matthew 7:7-11 (pages 8-9); 2Â Corinthians 5:17-21 (page 236); 1 Corinthians 12:12-27 (pages 225-226); John 15:1-7 (page 142); and Luke 9:23-26 (page 91). Remember to talk to someone about Christ.
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The Book of Life New Testament
Do you want to know more? The Book of Life holds the keys to meaningful life!
The Book of Life
The Book of Life (New Testament) is part of the Holy Bible and tells the story of Jesus Christ, his extraordinary life and unique teachings. Jesus said about himself, “I am the way, the truth, and the life”. He talked about God as our Heavenly Father who loves us and cares for us.
New Living Translation