Three Basic of Christian Beliefs Faith, Love and Hope

Mark 11:22-24
Faith is powerful! God wants us to have faith.
Hebrews 11:1, 6

Q What is faith?
Q Why do you think God wants us to have faith in him?

Romans 10:17
Where does faith come from?
Reading the Bible, hearing the Word preached Mark 1:35, Luke 5:15-16

This is where Jesus got his faith: bible study, prayer.
James 2:14-17

Q How can you tell if someone has faith?
A  Look at the fruit of their life.

Q Do you want more faith?
Q Are you willing to do what it take to get faith?

ANSWER: The Word of God
Purpose: To teach what the Word of God can do

Romans 10:17 Faith in God comes from the Word.

Q What is the message?
(the Good News of Christ)
James 1:21; 1 Corinthians 15:1-2

The Word can save you.
Q How does it save you?
I Timothy 4:16

ANSWER:  To Fight Against Temptation to Sin
(Matthew 4:1-11)

Q How did Jesus fight against temptation?
Q What is significant about Satan using scripture to tempt Jesus?
II Timothy 3:16-17

The Word can fully equip you.
Q How does it equip you?
 I Peter 3:15; Mark 12:24

Q How important is the Word of God to you?
|2 Timothy 3:16-17

• Where does all scripture come from?
• How is it useful in our lives? (To teach, rebuke, correct and train us)
• The Bible is what helps us become a Man/Woman of God. Cast this vision!
• God’s desire is to thoroughly equip us for our lives. Do you want that?

Hebrews 4:12-13
• What does it mean for the Word of God to be living and active?
• The Word cuts our heart. What is it trying to cut out?
• We are all responsible for how we choose to live and will give an account to God one day for those choices.

 Are you ready to stand before God? 1 Timothy 4:15-16
• The Bible will prepare us for that day.
• What does it mean to watch your life closely?
• What does it mean to watch your doctrine closely?
• What will be the result of neglecting one or both?
• What will be the result of persevering in both?
• God wants everyone to be saved! That’s why He gave us his word.

John 8:31-32
• Did the Jews in this passage believe in Jesus?
• Was their belief enough for Jesus? Why not?
• Holding to the truth of God’s word by obeying is really what sets us free.
• What are we set free from?

John 12:47-48
• Jesus did not come to judge us but to save us.
• There is a judge for those who reject Jesus and following His word.
• According this passage, what will we be judged by?
• Are you ready to be judged by God’s word?

Acts 17:10-11
• Why were the Bereans described as having noble character?
• They eagerly accepted the message and examined the scriptures every day to make sure what men had taught them was true.
• Berean Challenge: Read your Bible daily and go over your study notes.
Additional Scriptures if needed: 2 Peter 1:19-21, Mark 7:1-13, James 1:22-25 & Ps.19:7-11


1.God Loved Us First
a.John 3:16 – God so loved us he gave us the very best
b.Romans 5 – even while we were still sinners
c.1 John 4:16-19 – he initiated with love, so we can respond in love
d.Mark 12:28-31 – “most important command” Love God with heart, soul, mind and strength

2.How can we Love?


a.John 14:15 – Obeying his commands is showing love to God (introduces Word of God study) (see also 1 John 5:3-5)

b.Luke 7:36-50 – Repentance from sin is showing love to God (introduces Sin/Repentance study)

c.Matt 25:31-46 – Serving the needy is showing love to Jesus (introduces study on serving the poor and needy)

d.1 John 4:19-21 – Loving your brother (Christian brother or Human brother?) is showing love for God (introduces discipleship and/or church study – relationships in the body).

e.Luke 12:22-34 – Seeking first the kingdom is showing love to God

f.Mark 5:1-20 – Sharing your faith is showing love to God (introduce evangelism study)

Love Your Neighbor

Matt 22:34-39
•The greatest commandment includes loving your neighbor as yourself.
•Being a Christian means devoting yourself to loving others. We are destined to live a life of love.

Q Who is your neighbor?

A The church: our brothers and sisters A Lost neighbors, friends and family A The poor

Loving the church
Colossians 1:18

•The church = Jesus’ body. If we love Jesus, we will love and care for his “Body,” too!

1 Corinthians 12:12-27
•Christians are not intended to have unhealthy dependent relationships with each other or be independent. The goal is to have relationships that are INTERDEPENDENT!

•In other words – you need the church and the church needs you!

•We each have a role to fill to help build the family of God, and…

•If we distance ourselves from God’s family/Jesus’ body we risk distancing ourselves from God himself….we may even die spiritually on our own.

•We must be committed to: loving and allowing ourselves to be loved.

Galatians 5:13-15

•Once we are free (as in, freed from the slavery of sin– see Gal 5:1), we are truly free to serve each other through love.

Other references can include:
Hebrews 3:12–13
Hebrews 10:23-25
Romans 12:4-5

Q How will you change your life to be committed to serving the church through love?

Loving the lost
Luke 19:10
•Jesus came to love lost souls – he looked for them and saved them.
•If we are committed to being his followers, we too should imitate his passion for seeking and saving the lost.

Luke 5:31-32
•Jesus came to heal the spiritually sick.

•If we are committed to being his followers, we too should have a heart for those who are in need of spiritual answers to their problems.

Other references can include
Matthew 28:18-20
|Mark: 1:16-20

Q What will it take for you to be committed to loving the lost the way that Jesus did?

Loving the Poor
Matt 25:31-46
•The way we treat the poor – by being aware (not apathetic) of who is poor around us and living a lifestyle that offers help – is a salvation matter for Jesus.

Matt 6:1-4
•This passage assumes that a believer gives to the needy (“When you give to the needy…”).

•It is not to be done out of obligation or for show. The goal is to be so self-motivated by God’s example and teaching, and by the condition of the poor, that we do our “act of righteousness” in secret – without getting attention for it or recognition.

Q Have you made a commitment in your heart to love and care for the poor?
Q Have you thought through what you will need to adjust in your life to do this?

1.The Christian life is a life of love: caring for others and serving them.
2.As Christians we make a commitment to give our thoughts, prayers, time and labor more than ever before to love the church, the lost and the poor.

The church as the body of Christ

Purpose: To encourage, inspire and teach God’s plan for success as Christians

Colossians 1:18—The church is not an institution, building, or denomination, but the body of Christ. Not an organization, but an organism. As there is only one head, so there is only one body.

 Ephesians 2:19-20—Extra passage. The church is not a building, but is compared to one because God dwells in his people, the church. It is also a family (1 Timothy 3:15). As with a natural family, you must be born into it. At that time God becomes your father, and every other Christian your brother or sister. The church is the kingdom of God, his people. The church must base itself on the New Testament (NT apostles and prophets [Ephesians 3:5, 4:11]—i.e. their teachings) in order to have a claim to legitimacy. It is through obedience to his word that we submit to Christ.

1 Corinthians 12:12-27—Analogy: church = human body. According to 12:13, we are baptized into the church.20 According to 12:14, the church needs us, and we need the church. The goal (12:25) is that there be no division in the body, rather equal concern and love for one another.

18 There is another approach to studying the church which is also very effective: tracing the following themes in the book of Acts: (1) Boldness, (2) Persecution, and (3) Growth. For each theme select verses from the book of Acts, proceed straight through for each of the 3 themes, and stress that these are characteristics of God’s church.

19 Church = translation of ekklesia, which means assembly, or congregation. For example, in Acts 19 ekklesia is used three times of the illicit assembly of the enemies of the church! (19:32, 39, 40)!

20 Moreover, we are baptized in the Spirit when we are baptized in water. The Spirit makes us members of the body of Christ.

Romans 12:5—Extra passage. As in an earthly family, each member belongs to all the others. We are no longer our own! So surrender that independent spirit! We are interdependent, not independent (refusing direction) or dependent (refusing to take responsibility for our own decisions).

Hebrews 10:23-25—To do well spiritually (“hold unswervingly”—analogy of car swerving all over the road) you need the church—this is God’s plan. Attend all the meetings of the body. Think in advance of how to meet the needs of other members of the body.

Hebrews 3:12-14—Personal involvement in one another’s lives, lest sin cause anyone to forfeit salvation. We must persevere to the end (3:14). We are responsible for the spiritual welfare of our brothers and sisters in Christ. This entails openness (Ephesians 4:24), confession (James 5:16), counseling (Colossians 1:28), and daily encouragement (contact), as seen in many NT passages.

Acts 2:42-47—Ask,

Q What are the characteristics of a New Testament church? (If people followed all these principles, what would the church be like?)

A  Devotion to God’s word, leading to a working knowledge of it.

A  Devotion to the fellowship.

A  Devotion to communion (Acts 20:7).

A  Devotion to prayer.

A  Sense of awe and excitement!

A  Generous sharing with one another, both of money and hospitality.

A Growth of the body: not only spiritual, but also numerical. In the New Testament, this is the result of daily evangelism. (At this point you might trace the growth of the church in Acts if you have not already done so in the Discipleship study.)

Urge your friend to keep coming to as many of the meetings as possible. Stress that we will do poorly spiritually if we do not take advantage of the terrific opportunities to grow which God has given us in the church.

Theme: Kingdom of God

Purpose:     To teach about the coming and nature of God’s kingdom

This study is a good companion to – and somewhat less complicated than – the Pre-millennialism study. In some cases you may wish to use this study as an alternate to the basic Church study.

Many OT passages discuss the kingdom, which is described as present but also as future.37 See Daniel 2:31-45 (c. 600 BC).

Main Study

Kingdom     Substance   Dates

Babylonian gold   605-539 BC

Medo-Persian       silver 539-333 BC

Greek          bronze         333-63 BC

Roman        iron + clay  63 BC

Church        mountain of stone which fills earth   30 AD

Approach of kingdom in first century AD

•        John the Baptist’s message—Matthew 3:2, see Malachi 3:1, 4:5 (Matthew 11:11-14). This marks the start of the “forceful advancing” (Matthew 11:12).

•Jesus’ teaching—Matthew 4:17

•Jesus’ disciples’ teaching—Matthew 10:7

•Luke 24:49, Acts 1:3-8

•Peter to hold keys to kingdom (church)—Matthew 16:19

Nature of the kingdom

•Not political—John 6:15, 18:36

•Not visible—Luke 17:20-21

•Entered spiritually—John 3:3, 5, 7

•Grows!—Matthew 13:31-33

Day of Pentecost (Acts 2)—Coming of the kingdom: all the loose ends are tied up on that day. (All the prophecies are fulfilled. Very convincing.) Perspective of the NT: The kingdom is now established on earth in the church (Acts 2:30, Colossians 1:12-13, Revelation 1:5-6, 5:10). Yet we may pray for it to continue to “come” (Matthew 6:9), and we eagerly anticipate the kingdom in heaven, as our citizenship is already there (Philippians 3:20). Seek it first!—Matthew 13:44-46, 6:33: Put God first, live right, spread the word, come to church!

The Holy Spirit II Anyone with questions about

 Purpose:    To answer common questions about the Holy Spirit


The format of this unit is, as with the Word II, a question and answer forum.

Main Study the Holy Spirit

 Q Can God heal today?

•Nevertheless, God does heal through prayer, even though there is no supernatural gift of healing today.

Q Don’t miracles prove one’s salvation?

•Deuteronomy 13:1-5. Even if someone performs a miracle, if he isn’t preaching the Word, he isn’t right with God. Do not go after him; God may be testing you.

•1 Samuel 19:18-21. God enables Saul and others to prophesy. Doesn’t prove they were saved.

(They were opposing God, and by this point Saul has fallen away.)

•Revelation 13:13, 2 Thessalonians 2:9. Some “miracles” are of the devil.

•Acts 19:13. Jews are casting out demons.

•Mark 13:22. False Messiahs.

•Matthew 7:22. Perhaps the most useful passage. Doing the will of God, not miracles, leads to salvation.

Q Doesn’t the Spirit lead us today?

•Yes, but what does that mean?

•It is not “reading your feelings”: Proverbs 14:12, Jeremiah 17:9.

•Galatians 5:16-26, Romans 8:1-16. Putting the flesh to death; becoming more like Jesus.

•Psalm 143:10. Being taught by God to do his will—through the precepts of the Word. Ezekiel 36:27. This is a learning process, a matter of discipline. No short-cuts!

Q Didn’t people have the Holy Spirit in the OT?

•No, not in the indwelling sense. John 7:39, Romans 8:9. Strictly speaking, there were no Christians before Pentecost, neither in the OT nor in the gospels. And yet many in the OT are spoken of as having the Spirit, or having the Spirit fall on them: Balaam (Numbers 24:2), Othniel (Judges 3:10), Jephthah (Judges 11:29), Saul (1 Samuel 19:18), David (1 Samuel 16:13), Amasai (1 Chronicles 12:18).

Q Can we nail down the idea that miraculous gifts were passed on only by the apostles?

•Basic verses: Acts 6:6, 8; 8:6, 17-18.

•Also 2 Timothy 1:6, Romans 1:11, 1 Corinthians 1:4-7.

•Paul was in Corinth 18 months, in Ephesus 3 years—a considerable time. They had miraculous gifts because Paul had been there.

Q What about Holy Spirit Baptism?

•There is only one baptism (Ephesians 4:5), and the “rules” are unchanging (Acts 2:39).

•John the Baptist said that Jesus would baptize us with the Spirit (Mark 1:8).

•This baptism is the alternative to damnation (“baptism” with fire).

•Christian baptism involves two elements: water and Spirit (John 3:5, 1 Corinthians 12:12-13). Both are crucial, and we were all baptized with/in/by the one Spirit.

•No supernatural abilities are conferred through this baptism.

•In other words, baptism in the Spirit is simply another way of describing Christian conversion.

•For more on this subject, see chapter 24 of my book The Spirit (DPI).

Q Don’t we need to be filled with the Spirit?

•Absolutely, but what does it mean?

•Acts 6: apostles laid hands on men already filled with the Spirit (v3). “Spirit-filled” has no connection with ability to perform miracles.

•John the Baptist was Spirit-filled from birth (Luke 1:15), but he never performed miracles (John 10:41).

•Ephesians 5:17-20, Colossians 3:16. Counseling one another, singing to one another, putting the Word into our lives. It’s a progressive thing, not just one-time. We should strive to be filled with the Spirit every moment of the day.

•Being “filled with the spirit” means being spiritual.

Q Doesn’t the Spirit do things for us beyond what the Word enables us to do?

•The Spirit convicts of sin, for example (John 16:8), but not apart from the Word (Romans 10:17).

•The Spirit operates through the Word. For example, it

a. Quickens us (Psalm 119:50)

b. Strengthens us (Psalm 119:28)

c. Sanctifies us (John 17:17)

d. Gives us wisdom (2 Timothy 3:14-15)

e. Enlightens us (Psalm 119:130)

f. Allows us to participate in the divine nature…(2 Peter 1:4)

•All these things are normally attributed to the power of the Spirit, and rightly so. But notice that in these passages it is the Word of God that provides all these blessings.

Q Are there any miracles outside Christianity?

•Montanism (2nd century AD heretical charismatic sect.

•Sufis (charismatic Islamic sect).

•God may answer the prayer of a non-Christian and heal him, for example, just to drive him onward in his search for God.

•But 99.99% of “miracles” outside Christianity are fraudulent, psychosomatic or exaggerated.

Q Don’t we still needs miracles today?

•The historical purpose of the miracles was to confirm the spoken word (Exodus 4:5, 1 Kings 17:24, Mark 16:20, Acts 14:3, Hebrews 2:4). There is no record of confirmation given for the written word (scripture).

•Luke 16:19-31. If they don’t listen to the Word, they won’t believe even if someone rises from the dead. The Word is sufficient for anyone with a pure heart (John 20:30).